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U2 with Grace

Yesterday we saw U2 in San Jose. On a whim, I bought Red Zone tickets, which looked amazing at the time of sale. However, by the time the concert was laid out, the RZ areas were moved out to the side of GA with a small portion reserved for the ends of the main stage. After much research on the internet and reconnaissance from Sabs, I had a plan.

We got there about 15 minutes too late to get right on the rail, but we posted up 2 deep right in the middle of the center catwalk in regular GA. There was no single optimal spot for this show, and for part of it, the band are inside of the huge screen, which we could not see very well. After intermission, they moved to the b-stage, so we left our spots and moved closer to it. There was plenty of room in GA to move around. When they finished the show on the main stage, we finally went into the RZ and were only one row off the rail.

I think our maneuvering paid off and we got to experience the show from many angles. The band sounded great and the energy in the arena was amazing. Bono called an audible and they played Bad, which was one of my favorites.

Though still my favorite band, I'll admit I haven't been as into them lately and our last concert experience wasn't great because we were so far and removed from the stage. I'm glad Grace was game for the additional overhead of gaming GA (even if she did almost get into a fight with an angry lady behind us). The setlist was unbelievalbe and was a great reminder of why they're such a strong connection with my youth, even as we're all getting older.

Set 1:

  • Intro
  • Beat on the Brat 
  • (Ramones song)
  • The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) 
  • The Electric Co. 
  • (First time played since 2006,… more )
  • Vertigo 
  • (with "Do You Remember Rock 'n'… more )
  • I Will Follow 
  • Iris (Hold Me Close) 
  • Cedarwood Road 
  • Song for Someone 
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday 
  • (acoustic: without final verse)
  • Raised by Wolves 
  • (with "Psalm 23" snippet)
  • Until the End of the World 

Set 2:

  • Intermission
  • (Johnny Cash animation on video screen)
  • Invisible 
  • Even Better Than the Real Thing 
  • Mysterious Ways 
  • (with "Young Americans" snippet)
  • Desire 
  • (on second stage, with "1969"… more )
  • Sweetest Thing 
  • (on second stage)
  • Every Breaking Wave 
  • (on second stage, Edge on… more )
  • Bullet the Blue Sky 
  • (with "America" and "19" snippets)
  • Pride (In the Name of Love) 
  • (with "The Hands that Built America" intro)
  • Beautiful Day 
  • (with "I Remember You" snippet)
  • Bad 
  • (with "Into the Mystic" and "… more )
  • With or Without You 

Encore:

  • City of Blinding Lights 
  • Where the Streets Have No Name 
  • (with "Mother and Child… more )
  • One
By Jason Rhee · May 20, 2015 · 0 Comments ·

Brian's 41st Birthday Party

On Saturday, May 16th, we celebrated Brian's 41st birthday in San Francisco. The party started at Jane on Larkin. I'm not sure if they locked the doors to keep us in or the "public" out.

I almost got the best candid of Lisa and Brian ever, but it was woefully out of focus. Grrr. I did manage to get the best candid of Sabs ever.

The party continued at McTeague's on Polk. This group was the life of the party. I've never seen Brian dance this much. Dror was his own show. Any image of Melissa was incidental or accidental.

Happy Birthday, Brian!

By Jason Rhee · May 17, 2015 · 0 Comments ·

Mother's Day Brunch at St. Regis in SF

My parents are visiting for a few weeks to help out as Grace has gone back to work. Thus, we were fortunate to spend Mother's Day with my mom, as well as Addy and Charles and the Moons. Grace, my mom, and Julie enjoyed the spa at the St. Regis in the morning and the rest of us joined for brunch afterwards.

Happy Mother's Day!

By Jason Rhee · May 17, 2015 · 0 Comments ·

Kellogg 15-Year Reunion

This past weekend we celebrated our 15-year Kellogg reunioni in Evanston and Chicago. It was so nice to reconnect with old friends and I even made a few new ones, too. I feel fortunate to have such an awesome group of friends from all over the world.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the next one or hopefully sooner. Until then, be well!

Editor's Note: The focus on some of these are very soft. This was unintentional.

By Jason Rhee · May 4, 2015 · 0 Comments ·

Florence + the Machine Date Night in LA

I was still feeling bad about blowing up Grace's plans for our birthday a couple weeks back. Right before we left for Spring break, I learned that Florence + the Machine were coming to San Francisco to play a couple last-minute shows at the Masonic before Coachella. We're big fans and enjoyed them in Paris and at Shoreline a couple years ago. I really wanted to see them, but it was too late to cancel Spring break and the kids would have been pissed (hehe).

They were, however, playing one other show in LA the following week. I checked schedules and told Grace to clear hers and get an overnight sitter. I had this thing at work, so I planned to attend that meeting in our LA office, but that required us to take the first flight out to LA, which was brutal. Tradeoffs. I have a serious love-hate relationship with StubHub, but they came through with first row tickets and I got them before people started asking crazy sums of money for tickets way back. We were all set.

Because this was a do-over on our birthday trip, I made this one a surprise like her 40th. She didn't know where we were going until we met Mr. TSA. We had a 6:45am flight, which ended up being completely unnecessary because my work thing was canceled after I booked the tickets. Too late.

When we arrived, it was too early to do anything, so we did the default thing and headed to Manhattan Beach. We grabbed a coffee and walked down the strand, which we haven't done in years. A lot of the homes are the same from when I lived there a couple decades ago, but many are new, too. One thing I noticed is that those ocean-front homes get weathered really quickly. We walked all the way down to my old place at Marine and then turned around.

Grace didn't know where we were staying, but we headed over to Beverly Hills. I considered the Montage because we enjoyed it so much last time, but it was insane so I thought we would try the Beverly Wilshire. I gambled on an upgrade to one of the serious suites and lost big time. The theme of the trip was that we were too early for everything. The room wasn't ready when we arrived, so we went over towards the Montage and had lunch at Bouchon, which wasn't open yet either. I never met a croque madame I didn't like, but that one was special.

The room was possibly a bit much for a 36 hour trip, but we ended up enjoying it. Grace kept singing the Pretty Woman theme song, which almost ruined the hotel for me. I saw exactly zero hookers, which actually did ruin the hotel for me. We had the afternoon to relax and I thought Grace might enjoy the spa, but we just went to the pool together. We got there around 1:30pm and completely checked out. It's great traveling with the kids, but it's also really great traveling without them. We both took a nappy nap - for 3 hours. It got windy and chilly during that time. Although I might have been suffering a little, I was too tired to move or do anything about it. When I finally did come to, it was nice again.

Dinner was at 6pm downstairs at Cut, so we got cleaned up. I'm sorry (not sorry) about all the car porn, but I couldn't help myself. I've never seen a Bugatti up close and this one was brown. Despite being half the price, it was the hybrid LaFerrari (1 of 499) that I couldn't resist. Grace is lucky I didn't hug it. Not pictured was this lowly black Aventador. They're a trio because they're all owned by the same sheik, who rolls into town every once in a while with the 3 cars and rents an entire floor at the Beverly Wilshire for a month. Does he need a driver?

The restaurant wasn't quite ready for us when we arrived. We got the Kobe beef tour and I decided to try my first one (American). Neither of us was particularly hungry (still full from Spring break), but we did our best. The entire meal was really amazing.

Afterwards, we were off to the event. I will note that there was now a parade of Bugattis outside. At this point, Grace didn't know for sure what we were doing, but she loves to spoil surprises by guessing and guessing. We took a car to downtown LA to the Ace Hotel. The venue was a beautiful old theater that only held 1,600 people. Grace and I were both excited.

The only real wrench in our plans so far was the Florence had broken her foot stage diving at Coachella the weekend before. While we were lucky she didn't cancel, we were unlucky in that she had to remain seated the entire set and she would not be grabbing my hand like last time.

The show was stripped down and she had to change up her set list to something more "unplugged." She added an eight-person string section, who were right in front of us in the orchestra pit. Despite her injury, she sounded amazing. As before, I'm pretty sure she was singing to me at some point. She definitely waved to me as the curtain was going down. And that was that.

The next morning, we invited Grace's parents to the hotel for breakfast. They've probably driven past it thousands of times since moving to LA, but this was the first time they had been inside.

The Facebook had informed me that one of my long-lost brothers was also in LA. Joseph (JP) and I are BFFs on FB, but haven't seen each other in almost 30 years, when he was an "observer" at my summer camp. I was so glad he and his wife, Younyoung (YY) were able to meet us for lunch. It was super fun catching up. After lunch, it was time to head home.

It's amazing how such a short trip can be so rejuvenating (you know, after a tough week in NYC). I'm really happy it all worked out and we didn't have to go all the way to Europe to see Flo this summer. Though, you never know...

By Jason Rhee · April 22, 2015 · 0 Comments ·

Spring Break in NYC - Day 6 - Cousins!

Sunday was our final full day in NYC. After a late night, we had to wake up early for breakfast. Ana, Bobby and the kids came into Manhattan to meet us at Ai Fiori. Colin and Caden are growing up fast and all the kids had fun together.

We were just a couple blocks away from Dave's place, so we stopped by. He moved into a two-bedroom in the same building with Charles while he has been commuting from the Bay Area. The 270-degree views were amazing, but I have to admit the windows at the floor gave me a bit of vertigo. I had to retreat to the interior of the apartment.

Ellie and Sandor graciously hosted all the families, including Dave and Grace's parents for lunch. Sunday was Dave's actual birthday, so we got to celebrate 4-0 again. This was our first chance to meet baby Lily and baby Max. Both are super cute. Each of us, including Olivia, took our turns with the babies. We spent all afternoon together, including a marathon session in the play room and basement. In the small world department, I ran into a high school friend, who happens to live in the same building.

Afterwards, we headed straight to Jen's, who hosted everyone for dinner. Liz and Clarence joined us there as they had sports all day. I tried to turn down the magenta on Clarence, but it turned out it was just his sunburn. All of these cousins wore each other out some more. It was a great family reunion.

We went home to pack and get in a few hours of sleep before our 7:30am flight. The kids weren't too compliant for their 5am wake-up, especially because we stayed on West coast time all week. We bid farewell to our hotel. Ironically, we had the amazing Central Park view, but didn't enter the park once. Until next time, NYC!

By Jason Rhee · April 20, 2015 · 0 Comments ·

Spring Break in NYC - Days 4 and 5 - K-Town, Brooklyn, Statue of Liberty, Dave's 40th

On April 10th, we slept in a bit and headed to Koreatown for lunch with the families. Grace's parents also came to town, so we all met up at BCD Tofu. Coincidentally, we ran into Sandor and Xavier, who were having a boys day out.

Afterwards, Grace went to meet Sueann, so I took the opportunity to take the kids to Brooklyn to see Jeffrey. We didn't pick a spot to meet, so Google just told me to take the M to Williamsburg and get off at the first stop. I admit to being a bit turned around and there wasn't a cab in sight. I got pointed in the right direction and started to walk. Lucas, of course, wasn't up for a big walk and Olivia had to potty, so we popped into the first civilized establishment, which was some hipster café. Jeffrey came to meet us there.

We got a ride to the L and took that too 8th to transfer uptown. Lucas was so sleepy, he just sat down on the floor of the train and Olivia joined him. When we got back, Jeanah came over to visit and eventually Grace came back, too. We ordered room service and had dinner together.

On Saturday morning, everyone met up at Battery Park for a trip out to the Statue of Liberty. The kids were excited and this was was my first trip, too (that I can remember). We stopped briefly at Ellis Island before coming back to Manhattan for lunch (K-town again).

That evening, we all gathered again at Del Frisco's for the main purpose of the trip, which was to celebrate Dave turning 40. Minwha and Jae came in from Connecticut. We all had a great meal together.

Happy 40th, Dave!

By Jason Rhee · April 19, 2015 · 0 Comments ·

Spring Break in NYC - Day 3 - MOMATH, POPSUGAR and Anniversary

On Thursday, April 9th, we set out after breakfast to do something with the kids in the city. Our SF friends suggested the Museum of Mathematics, which is just of Madison Square Park. Coincidentally, we ran into Eugine and Ed when we got there. It was a fun place to spend the morning.

POPSUGAR NYC was just down the street, so we met Jen and my parents there for a quick tour. Had lunch at Hillstones right across the street afterwards and then went shopping for some gifts. I'm sure the kids were puzzled how we left FAO Schwartz and the Lego Store empty handed for them. After they grew bored of Saks, I took them to American Girl. They had $26 of their own money to spend. They soon realized that $26 does not go far in that (or any) store. In the end, they took home a cat. I offered to fund the difference to upgrade to a puppy, but they declined. We had fun riding the subway back to Columbus Circle, which conveniently let out right at the hotel.

That evening, Jen and my parents stayed at the hotel with the kids so Grace and I could celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. I consulted Jen and decided on Jean Georges for dinner. Grace is obsessed with his wife, Marja, and we've enjoyed his restaurant in Hawaii. Purely coincidentally, it was located just downstairs in our hotel. We had a really amazing meal and the service was great.

Happy 10th Anniversary to us!

By Jason Rhee · April 17, 2015 · 0 Comments ·

Spring Break in NYC - Days 1 and 2 - Matilda and Nets Game

This year we spent Spring break in NYC for the first time. All the families got together for Dave's birthday later in the week. We stayed in Columbus Circle, which was a convenient location and we had a great view of Central Park for the week.

My parents arrived the day before us and were staying with Jen. The seven of us went to see Matilda on Broadway. We stopped in Carmines about 45 minutes before the show for a very quick bite to eat. Everyone enjoyed the performance, especially the kids, who have seen the movie several times.

Afterwards, we all took the bus up Avenue of the Americas, which dropped us off right in front of Quality Italian. Dave joined us for dinner, which was one of the best meals we've enjoyed together in NYC. My mom was especially pleased with her lobster pasta dish. Lucas continued to perfect his stink-face for no good reason.

My cousin, Sandor, was just returning from Disney that day and couldn't use some Nets tickets he received so he graciously gave them to us. My dad agreed to join me, so we headed to Brooklyn after dinner. It's been a while since we enjoyed a game together and we had a great time with amazing seats. Thanks, Sandor!

Spring break was off to a great start.

By Jason Rhee · April 16, 2015 · 0 Comments ·

Easter Sunday in Marin with Moons and Binzers

We met the Moons and Binzers for Easter brunch at the Dipsea Cafe. Afterwards we had planned a hike, but it happened to be raining during the one hour window we planned to be outside. We almost abandoned the idea, but decided to just go for it.

We drove out to the trailhead of the Tennessee Valley Trail and set out. It only took about 0.1 miles for Lucas to start bellyaching about how far it was. The Binzers and Moon boys are used to long hikes.

When we finally made it to the beach, Mike, the Easter Bunny, had gone ahead to hide eggs all over the beach for a surprise Easter egg hunt. The kids had a great time.

Lucas bucked up and hiked his way back, counting for only the last 600 seconds. Afterwards, we went over to the Moons' house and the kids watched Star Wars (Episode IV). Olivia and Lucas didn't watch the whole thing, so that's still on the to-do list. We spent the afternoon there and then had dinner at Tiburon Lodge before heading home.

By Jason Rhee · April 14, 2015 · 0 Comments ·