Tag Archives: america

bruce springsteen en madrid

Hello readers, I’m so sorry for the delay in posting about the Bruce Springsteen concert I went to last weekend!  Unfortunately, the memory of my beloved MacBook is completely full (could it be the 10,000 pictures in my iPhoto?), and I was worried it would crash if I tried to upload anything else.  This blog post would just not do the concert justice, without some photos though!  I asked Dan to give us a short summary of the concert since he is such a big Bruce fan, so here you go…

Back in the early spring, my favorite musician Bruce Springsteen announced not only a new album, but a world tour that included our new home Madrid.  At first, I was quite hesitant and somewhat confused about the tour.  Just over a year ago, the rock n roll world lost an extremely important figure.  How could the E Street Band continue without the Big Man?  A body ceases to function when its heart stops pumping, right?  Yet, I overcame my doubts and knew that Bruce would find a way to continue on, at the very least, to honor the memory of the late Clarence Clemons.

Obviously, I gave in and bought tickets (read: thanks Teddy!) for Colette, Gabby and Kenny, who were all “Bruce virgins” as I like to call them.  How could you pass up an opportunity like Bruce in Madrid?  I have been lucky enough to have seen four concerts, although quite different ones (Seeger sessions, solo for Devils & Dust and Wrecking Ball Giants Stadium Tour), before the Madrid show.  Therefore, I was very excited to be able to share this experience with my friends.

  

As the date approached, I assumed we would witness lots of hard rocking music, but I also expected many tears and a feeling of emptiness in the band.  However, almost as if the stars aligned perfectly and Clarence’s soul was playing vicariously through the various members of the E Street Band, some new and some extremely familiar, Bruce was absolutely phenomenal and completely exceeded expectations.  Jake Clemons, Clarence’s nephew, was elected to fill in his uncle’s shoes on the saxophone, a feat well accomplished, but certainly not easy to fulfill.  As well, the crowd was extremely energetic, something that surprised me a lot.  Although they were unfamiliar with a handful of the songs, people were singing, dancing and clapping to the beat the whole show.  Believe it or not, this is the first time Santiago Bernabeu (Real Madrid’s soccer stadium) has had people on its feet!

We met up at Colette’s apartment a few hours before the show and had some chips and white bean dip accompanied with beer.  Then, we proceeded to the wild streets that surround Bernabeu and enjoyed a beer with my co-worker Roger, who lives right by the stadium.  Bruce started the show at 9:30 p.m. (on a Sunday night, only in Spain!) with the crowd favorite “Badlands,” to which the 50,000+ in attendance went wild.  He then followed with “No Surrender,” “We Take Care of Our Own,” “Wrecking Ball” and “Death to My Hometown,” sharing a vintage Bruce song, as well as three songs off of his new album.

What followed next was a moment that was extremely beautiful and sorrowful.  Bruce began speaking to the crowd, surprisingly in somewhat broken, clearly rehearsed Spanish, while the band played the soulful rhythm to “My City of Ruins.”  He informed us about the significance of the song, which is about the decline and slow destruction of his so-called birthplace, Asbury Park, N.J.  He then began singing the song, which was a bit more upbeat than the studio version.  Yet, it was very bittersweet as Bruce paused in the middle of the song to famously introduce the E Street Band one by one and then asked us numerous times, “¿Estamos hechando de menos de alguien?,” which means, “Are we missing anybody?”  As the tears rolled down my face, I was blown away by this stunning rendition of a song that became famous in the wake of 9/11.  At the end of the song, Bruce started asking the crowd, “Can you feel the spirit?  Can you feel the spirit?  I can feel the spirit.  Can you feel it?”  This was followed by one of my favorite classics “Spirit of the Night,” which made me immediately wipe the tears from my face and jump for joy.  Almost eerily, I certainly felt that there was some sort of spirit in the air.

Bruce continued with “Be True” and then “Jack of All Trades,” where the whole crowd took out their cell phones and lit up the dark night, while Bruce promised revenge on the banking industry that he so very much loathes.  Next, we heard the booming “Youngstown,” “Murder Incorporated” and extremely surprising Born to Run song, “She’s the One.”  Bruce was then accompanied on stage by Southside Johnny, an old friend/band mate from the Asbury Park days for “Talk to Me.”

We were subsequently treated to Darkness on the Edge of Town outtake (recently released on The Promise) “Spanish Eyes”, played for the very first time live in concert.  Then, we listened to “Working on the Highway,” “Shackled & Drawn” and a fan sing-along “Waiting on a Sunny Day,” where Bruce brought a little Spanish boy on stage to barely successfully sing the chorus.  Bruce then played the rare “Apollo Medley,” that was filled with outstanding a cappella and dedications to soul music and a portion of “The Way You Do The Things You Do.”  Bruce then continued with “The River,” “Because the Night,” “My Love Will Not Let You Down,” “The Rising,” “We Are Alive” and an excellent performance of “Thunder Road.”

Clocking in at about three hours already, one could only expect the encore to be about 20 minutes at most.  Yet, what happens when you assume?!  As Colette, Ken, Gabby and I could barely stand anymore (meaning our feet hurt, not the music of course!), Bruce delighted us with the new song “Rocky Ground.”  What came next was quite possibly the most fantastic succession of songs in Bruce Springsteen history.  “Born in the U.S.A.” sent shivers down my spine, as the Spaniards surprisingly screamed along with him.  At the end of the song, I whisper to Colette, “Well, that’s a shame, odds are now he won’t play Born to Run…” as I heard that famous, melodic intro to one of the greatest rock songs ever written.  What did I say again about assuming?  Bruce then pretended to fall asleep on the stage, apparently exhausted, as Little Stevie Van Zant squeezed a sponge full of water all over his face two times to wake him up.  Next, Bruce enchanted us with the early Springsteen-era “Hungry Heart,” a song he rarely plays live.  We then were thrilled by “Dancing in the Dark,” to which Bruce pulled some fans out of the crowd to come dance on the stage Courtney Cox style.

Lastly, or as Bruce claimed to be “uno más,” was my absolute favorite song in Bruce’s discography, “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out.”  There is just no other song ever created like it.  Detailing the beginning of the E Street Band, this song is filled with a fun, catchy rhythm, as well as a horn section that blasts notes to create a warm, jazzy feeling that makes you want to dance the “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out,” something Bruce himself still has no idea what it is.  Yet, I knew what was coming next.  As Bruce proclaims for all the fans in the middle of the song, “Now, here is the important part,” after singing, “When the change was made uptown and the Big Man joined the band,” which is usually followed by a powerful blast on Clarence’s sax.  The band stopped playing as images of Bruce and Clarence famously leaning on each other’s backs flashed across the screen.  As Bruce claimed in Clarence’s eulogy, the “towering fairy tale figure” was something of mysticism, the permanent resident of the Temple of Soul.  Again, the tears started pouring down my face, as I turned to see just about every other person, including my friends, crying as Bruce honored his best friend, sax player and the so-called Big Man, who was “too big to die.”  It was a beautiful, emotional dedication as Bruce concluded the song with his classic “booty-shakin, earth-quaking, love-making, record-breaking, legendary E Street Band.”  (Read Bruce’s eulogy here)  Yet, Bruce still wasn’t over.  He just absolutely refused to stop playing last night and for the second time in my life, I was overjoyed to witness “Twist and Shout,” to watch everybody dancing in the crowds as Southside Johnny came back out to assist.

At 63 years old, Bruce Springsteen accompanied by the E Street Band clocked in at just less than 4 hours.  According to Backstreets, we were blessed with the LONGEST E STREET BAND CONCERT EVER at 3 hours and 48 minutes.  They played 32 songs, spanning 12 studio albums, 3 cover songs, 1 B-side, 1 guest appearance and 3 newly infatuated Bruce fans.  The concert exceeded all expectations and will go down in my books as one of the greatest concerts I have ever been to (although I say that after every show, this is certainly applicable in this case).  Even though the Big Man was not there physically, he was certainly there spiritually, especially through his nephew who was a great addition to the band and even reminiscently shared center stage with Bruce a couple of times.  The stage was certainly missing a particular presence last night, but there was something in that stadium that drove Bruce to the brinks of self-destruction by playing such a lengthy show.  The Spaniards and us Americans were flattered to receive such a fabulous gift from easily the best live act to ever do it.  One can only imagine that he will be performing until the end of his days, when he will join Clarence in the Temple of Soul for eternity.  With some luck, I will hopefully be able to attend another Bruce concert in September in my home state of New Jersey, as long as Teddy’s American Express card still works!

As you can see, we had an absolutely fantastic time; thank you so much, Dan!  And thank you so much, Teddy for buying us the tickets:)  Hope everyone enjoyed their Fathers’ Day while we were at the concert!  More updates soon on this weekend and the heat wave we just embarked on this week!  Hasta luego, amores:)

 

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vacación familiar en las islas canarias

If you speak Spanish, you’ll know that the title of this post translates to a family vacation in the canary islands.  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I moved to Madrid with about 12 of my very best friends.  It’s fun, totally crazy and comforting, even if it means I speak a little bit too much English sometimes.  A lot of the time it’s also pretty dysfunctional.  We’re just like a big huge family of twenty-somethings high on the lives we’re living here.  In short, it’s absolutely awesome.

The second to last week of class was jam-packed with homework, papers and study guides.  We were slaving away to the ICADE-beast with the end coming closer and closer into sight.

Two days later, shoot to the most deserved beach weekend of my life.  We took a late flight from Madrid to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria on Thursday night and spent all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the beach.  We napped in the sun a lot, but also went for a swim, explored a sandbar full of tidal pools, little waterfalls & all sorts of sea creatures, and played beach paddleball.  We also walked around the Garden City of Las Palmas – a neighborhood of old, beautiful homes with even more beautiful gardens.  At night we made family dinners and sat around playing some drinking games in the apartment we had rented.  Dan found an awesome 9-person apartment online that worked out perfectly.  There was a huge new kitchen that even had a washer and dryer!!  We’ve missed dryers so much that we did all of our laundry before coming back to Madrid on Tuesday morning (#studyabroadproblems).

  

It was so relaxing to just be at the beach for the long weekend with a bunch of my American friends; the perfect rejuvenation needed for the last week of class and a week of finals (which I’m in the home stretch of right now!).  Hope you’ve all been getting some r&r mixed in with the hard work you’ve been up to.  Ciao, amores:)

  

P.S. In case this post didn’t answer the question, here’s an interesting article about why being in your 20s is awesome? (Via SP&A)  Enjoy!

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feliz cumpleaños, teddy!!

Here’s a little video we made to wish Dan’s dad a very happy 60th birthday, all the way from Spain!!  Hope you had a great time at Dusal’s last weekend and that you have a great day, Teddy!

 

I promise updates on my trip to Paris last weekend as soon as possible!  Ciao, amores:)

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superbowl snapshots

{superbowl XLVI hummus}

Just because we weren’t in American to watch the Superbowl, doesn’t mean we weren’t just as excited as we would have normally been.  I actually think I may have personally been more excited than usual, since it was a great opportunity to make all sorts of American Superbowl foods that I haven’t had since I moved to Spain!

    

We enjoyed so many delicious things, and I was absolutely stuffed for the remainder of the night!  Everyone contributed one or two dishes, so we wound up with a wide variety:  spinach artichoke dip bread, homemade hummus, guacamole, buffalo chicken dip (my favorite!), nachos with all of the fixings, Spanish ham & chorizos, salad, vegetable crudité, turkey chili, and cornbread.

     

Since the game started around 1:00am in Spain we were up until after 4:00am!  But, for the once a year greatness of the Superbowl foods, commercials and the game itself, it was definitely worth it!

{my first box pool - no skill required}

How was your Superbowl Sunday?  Did you win any money?  I lost 3 euro in our box pool, but lucky Trent and Gabby won 20 and 30 euro, respectively!  Any delicious favorites you ate over the weekend or in front of the TV?  Hope you all had a great weekend!  Ciao, amores:)

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happy thanksgiving!

As I scramble to finish my homework and pack my bags (read: one piece of hand luggage thanks to RyanAir) before flying to London tomorrow, I really wish I could be driving down this road that screams New England fall.

Spain just doesn’t have the bright colors of Autumn leaves, especially since Madrid is located in the middle of the desert.  Thankfully, I’m heading to London with my boyfriend to spend Thanksgiving with close friends and their families, and hopefully we’ll get the chance to Skype with our families on the big day too.

Enjoy the Thanksgiving day parade, turkey, and all of the fixings, amores:)

I love and miss you all!

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galletas americanas en españa

 

{Milk & cookies}

Though I haven’t posted much about it since I’ve been in Spain, I absolutely love to bake.  Cookies, cupcakes, muffins, scones, anything!!  It’s always so fun and relaxing, but there has been a serious baking void in my life since baking for Jackie’s birthday brunch.  Thankfully, that void has been filled.  If you follow my twitter, you may have seen my tweet Sunday night… I finally attempted baking our beloved Chocolate Chip Cookies with all of the equivalent Spanish ingredients.

{Spanish ingredients}

I would just like to start off by saying that it is a serious struggle to find baking ingredients at the grocery store.  Flour is with the pasta, sugar is near the bottled water and boxed wine (yes, there is a boxed wine section in every grocery store), baking chocolate is with the candy, and eggs are on the shelf (which I have finally gotten used to).  Spanairds have apparently not caught on to the “baking section” of the grocery store idea yet.

{Spanish vanilla on a mountain of flour}

Once home I started the search for a Spanish equivalent recipe, since I had all of the Spanish equivalent ingredients.  Some of the differences include:

  • Powdered vanilla extract, which is only half vanilla.  The other half is sugar.
  • Brown sugar the consistency of Sugar in the Raw
  • Spanish butter.  It’s hard to tell the difference, but it’s not as hard as American butter and melts much quicker – creating flat cookies if you aren’t careful!

Anyway, I first stumbled upon a German recipe… the author’s story is very touching, and I really suggest reading it (by clicking above on “German recipe”).  However, the Spanish ingredients are also different from the suggested German ingredients in that recipe, so I unfortunately couldn’t use it.  I ended up using a recipe suggested to me by Jackie which she found on Spanish Yahoo! Answers.

In the end they were absolutely delicious, and I certainly suggest the following recipe to be used through out Spain by anyone craving their beloved homemade American Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Buen provecho, amores:)

American Chocolate Chip Cookies, adapted from Yahoo! en Español Respuestas

Ingredients
250 grams butter.
¾ cup white sugar.
¾ cup brown sugar.
2 eggs.
2 small spoons vanilla.
2 ¼ cups flour, but I add an extra quarter cup so they’re soft, like my mom & Aunt Betty Ann taught me.
1 small spoon baking soda (español = bicarbonato).
½ small spoon salt.
2 cups chopped walnuts if you choose, which I did.
1 baking chocolate bar chopped into “chunks.”

Instructions

  1. In a mixer (or with an immersion blender as I did) cream the butter and two types of sugars, then add the eggs one by one.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except chocolate chips & walnuts) and beat until mixed and fully incorporated.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts with a wooden spoon.  If you have a friend, invite them over because this part is very tiring.
  4. If you feel so inclined, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to 3 hours.  I was to eager to try the cookies to wait anytime longer, and they came out delicious as always.
  5. Drop the dough in large spoonfuls onto a baking sheet because they will grow in the oven.
  6. Bake at 170 °C for 7 to 10 minutes if you like them extra chewy like me, or 10 to 15 minutes if you like them crispy.

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