As some of you know, I wrote a preview story for this page a few weeks ago about the national tour stop of the show “SIX” in Wichita and earlier this week, I got the chance to actually see the show with my mom. It was a show I didn’t really know a lot about (save for the music, thanks to the cast recording being available on Spotify) and we ultimately ended up coming out of the show with a big grin on my face.
For those who are unfamiliar with the show, it is a modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII, presented in the form of a pop concert. Throughout the show, each of the wives (Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr) take turns telling their story through song to determine who suffered the most from their common husband.
To start, the show overall has enough energy to power an entire city beginning with the opening number, and there’s very little slowing down throughout the show’s 80-minute runtime. I was drawn in right away and I couldn’t wait for each of the subsequent songs to get started as the show went on. If I had to pick my absolute favorite song from the show, I’d have to have it as a tie between “Don’t Lose Ur Head” (Anne Boleyn’s number) and “Get Down” (Anne of Cleves’ number). I loved how each Queen’s song had its own individual sound and influences, and given how one of the main themes of the show is how the ladies seek to tell their story apart from their connection to their shared ex, it’s awesome hearing it all come together. And while the show might not fully appeal to history purists, the songs actually do give a good outline of the ladies’ lives and what they endured during their marriages to Henry VIII, so the show is entertaining as well as somewhat educational.
Back in 2017, I was introduced to the singer ZZ Ward thanks to her song, “Ride,” which played at the end of Pixar’s “Cars 3.” Shortly after that, I went to YouTube and discovered she had a couple other albums she’d released, both of which I’ve listened to multiple times since that introduction.
So when I heard a few weeks ago she would have a new album coming out, I knew I would have to listen to it either on YouTube or on Spotify. I did just that earlier this week while working on some other work and ultimately ended up pleased with what I heard.
For those who haven’t heard of Ward, she entered the music business in 2012 with her debut album, “Til the Casket Drops,” which was ultimately voted #6 on Blues Rock Review’s Top 20 Albums of 2012. Her next album, “The Storm,” followed in 2017 and ultimately went to #1 on the Billboard Blues chart.
The album opens with the instrumental “Welcome To Dirty Shine” which quickly transitions into “Ride Or Die” featuring Vic Mensa. “Ride or Die” is very fun and is definitely a Bonnie & Clyde type of love song, while also being kind of sad because the story of someone being attracted to a toxic partner after a rough upbringing/childhood is sadly, not uncommon. With “Ride or Die,” I must admit I wasn’t entirely sure about Mensa’s part because I didn’t feel it entirely fit into the rest of the song. The song’s lyrics are also pretty strong, and Ward’s WHOOP vocals are a pretty accurate depiction of a police siren.
Most people throughout the world have at least some memory or story of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and where they were. Monday commemorates the 22nd anniversary of the event and earlier this week, I wanted to find something to review that related to that.
Being a musical fan, I ultimately decided on the pro shot of the show “Come From Away,” which tells the true story of 7,000 people from many different countries and walks of life who were stranded in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland after all flights into the US were grounded the week of Sept. 11, 2001. As the people of Newfoundland graciously welcome the “come from aways” into their community in the aftermath, the passengers and locals alike process what’s happened while finding love, laughter, and new hope in the unlikely and lasting bonds they forge. I’d heard of the show before, and I’d only listened to the cast recording once or twice before hearing of the pro shot being available, which came to Apple TV in 2021. With that in mind, I actually went into the show somewhat blind, which ultimately ended up being a benefit.
Overall, the show is absolutely beautiful and I was taken in right from the opening number, “Welcome to the Rock,” which shows how everyone thought 9/11 was going to be another average day, even all the way in Canada. It’s very energetic and captures the feeling of going about a normal day before the chaos to come, and that shift is very subtly felt as the song goes on. I enjoyed the rest of the music throughout the show and found it all absolutely stunning, particularly a scene later on in the show when the characters make their way to houses of worship around the town which features a few different religious songs. The scene is an absolutely stunning show of how religions CAN (and should, in my mind) coexist in the world and I have to admit I shed a few tears. The show’s epilogue and final scenes are also very emotional and stunning and capped everything off perfectly.