by Sarah St. John

After nearly a decade hiatus, Creed is back, and they have come “Full Circle” as their newest album title suggests, coming back to their harder rock roots reminiscent of their 1997 debut release “My Own Prison” rather than their mellower follow up records: 1999’s “Human Clay” and 2001’s “Weathered.”

Creed headlined for a packed, but not quite sold-out, show on Friday night at Center.  Even after all these years, Creed still garners attention from its dedicated fans,  but is it because their fans still adore them or because, as was in my case, it is hard to pass up such cheap tickets to a band you once loved and wanted a stroll down memory lane with? Tickets were $20 or $10 hence the double entendre of their “20-10 Tour.”

Openers included Theft and Skillet. Theft had a surprisingly short set, but that makes sense given the band only has a three-song EP currently available.  Their performance might have been more enjoyable if Center had a better sound system, and one could actually understand the band’s lyrics. Also, their stage performance was lacking in entertainment and creativity. But, they are a new band, probably with a low budget, so we’ll let that slide. However, I have to admit that the second opener, Skillet, put on a show so entertaining that Creed had a lot to live up to in order to top it. I have seen Skillet in concert before, but they have most definitely kicked it up a few notches since then. They have added a violinist and cellist to their live performance versus using a laptop or synthesizer to make the sounds come alive as in the past. Besides the fact that they have a chick drummer such as myself, the band is stunning live: flashing LED lights and a stage that rises and lowers are just the beginning.  All in all, Skillet gave everyone a run for their money and was arguably the highlight of the night, but only by a smidgen.

Creed caught the audience’s attention from the moment they hit the stage. They opened with heart-thumping, foot-stomping and chair-banging “Bullets” set to pyrotechnics. Very quickly into their set, they played the title track to their debut album, “My Own Prison” which got the audience pumped, as if they weren’t already. Throughout the evening, Creed enchanted the audience by getting the crowd to mimic the band by putting their index finger in the air during “One” and waving their lighters (or cell phone for the non-smokers) during fan-favorite “With Arms Wide Open.” Creed closed the night with a two-song encore including “One Last Breath” and their most colossal hit of all time, “Higher.”

Lead singer, Scott Stapp, hasn’t changed much in the past few years, other than sporting a shorter haircut.  S.S. (as one audience member shouted out during the concert) is still his energetic-fist-pumping-throwing-his-head-back-and-spreading-his-arms-out self.

But, what stood out the most wasn’t so much the songs Creed sang or how much they were able to engage the crowd. Heck, it wasn’t even the flashy LED lights, video screens and pyrotechnics. It was their message. As most Creed fans know, the band believes in God and isn’t afraid to express it through their music or their words. There were several occasions where this was apparent, but one that stands out is when Scott Stapp explained that they were offered a lot of money to have their hit-song “Higher” be the theme song in Miller High Life commercials, but they turned it down because they didn’t want to degrade a song that is about Heaven. Also worth noting is the band’s recognition to our servicemen and women as they dedicated “My Sacrifice” to all the military heroes fighting for our country and our freedom.

The band played a mix of songs from all four albums, but fans were more enthralled with the older songs than the newer ones which makes one question the success and likeability of the new album. After all, last year’s “Full Circle” has not even hit the half million mark on copies sold to date.

Clearly, Creed’s fan base has dwindled from their late 90’s mega-fame, but that is to be expected after such a long sabbatical. One thing is clear: the fans that Creed has still managed to captivate after all these years are in it for the long haul.



Sleeperstar Concert Promo Videos

Posted: September 4, 2010 in YOU TUBE VIDEOS

Check out our friends, Sleeperstar, and their always-hilarious concert promo videos.

Going the Distance

Posted: September 2, 2010 in MOVIE REVIEWS

by Sarah St. John

“Going the Distance” is an adult-minded romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, who just happen to be a former couple off screen, which could account for their great rapport in the film.  Garrett (Long), suffering from a break up earlier that day, meets Erin (Barrymore) in a bar by distracting her from beating her high score on an arcade game.  Erin has six weeks left in New York City as a summer intern for a local newspaper, but despite this the two hit it off, date and ultimately fall in love.  A journalism major at Stanford, Erin must soon head across the country to her hometown of San Francisco, and reality hits the couple hard.  Who expects to fall in love in such a short period of time?  So they try to make a very long distance relationship work.

Not unlike other long-distance-relationship stories, “Going the Distance” shows us the trials and tribulations the couple goes through while trying to keep their love alive across thousands of miles: distractions, temptations and time zone differences.  Both Erin and Garrett look for jobs in each other’s cities so they can be closer to each other, to no avail.  However, Erin’s willingness to sacrifice lifestyle and career quickly becomes obvious, while Garrett doesn’t bend as easily.  A junior executive at a record label, Garrett doesn’t even like his job, but expects Erin to give up a once-in-a-lifetime journalism opportunity in San Francisco to live with him in NYC.  Erin has tried this before, and doesn’t want to leave her life behind for a guy who doesn’t seem willing to reciprocate.

Erin and Garrett are fun-loving characters, but seem rather dull and mundane in comparison to some of the more interesting supporting cast.  Standouts include Erin’s protective, paranoid sister, Corrine (Christina Applegate), who also suffers as a germaphobe.  Corrine’s husband, Phil (Jim Gaffigan), tends to show up at the wrong place and time.  Humor is also supplied by Garrett’s friends, Dan (Charlie Day) and Box (Jason Sudeikis), who like to set the tone for Erin and Garrett’s hookups by DJing through the bedroom walls.

The film’s style shifts, at times feeling like a hand-held documentary, leaving the camera movements shaky and the picture fuzzy.  It is unclear if the few scenes in which this occurs are intentional, and it distracts from the enjoyment of the story.

“Going the Distance” really falls short in how its humor has been targeted: based on the film’s trailers, audiences will probably expect a date-night version of fun, light romantic comedy.  Think again.  The humor is highly sexually-charged, to the point of being over-the-top and annoying at times.  The filmmakers could have reached a much broader audience by toning down some of the more crass, immature high school-level jokes.  “Going the Distance” promises sturdy, adult, romantic comedy, but starts to come across as silly and crude as a lost “American Pie” sequel.


Posted: August 27, 2010 in MOVIE REVIEWS

by Sarah St. John

“Takers” revolves around a group of five guys (Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Michael Ealy, Chris Brown & Hayden Christensen) who call themselves…well, “Takers”.  They run bank heists to support their posh lifestyle (fancy clothes, luxurious cars and elite parties).  They leave no evidence behind and come up with elaborate escape methods that would make David Copperfield and Criss Angel jealous.  If anyone gets in their way, they are well-versed in martial arts and can take down an army of men.  After a $2M bank heist, a pair of LAPD detectives (Matt Dillon, Jay Hernandez) are eager to prevent another robbery, but the Takers tend to lay low and wait a year between jobs.  That is, until one of their old colleagues, Delonte “Ghost” Rivers (rapper T.I.), is released from jail a year early and divulges his elaborate plan to take down a couple of armored trucks which will net the group twenty million dollars. The catch: they only have five days to prepare, and like any good heist movie, things will not go according to plan.

“Takers” is action-packed and fast-paced from the get-go.  It will keep you on your toes and entertained throughout.  The film has a unique sense of style that works particularly well during action scenes, as in a final-act shoot-out filled with slow motion guns blazing, bodies leaping about and the feathers from pillows flying through the air.  Yet the film’s plot is so similar to “The Italian Job” that the earlier film gets a shout-out (“We’re gonna go Italian Job.”).

“Takers” offers subtle hints of humor through Gordon (Elba) and his “crack-head” sister, Naomi (Marianne Jean-Baptiste).  We are never really sure why she is in the story, or how it is relevant other than simple comic relief, as Naomi repeatedly appears at the wrong time and place, completely out of touch with reality much of the time.  Also somewhat pointless is the inclusion of Zoe Saldana’s character, who shows up in four very brief scenes, mostly without dialogue.  Maybe her character was a victim of last-minute editing, but one would imagine the star of one of the biggest blockbusters of all time would be worth a little more screen time.  In addition, eyebrow-furrowing ensues as Idris Elba switches back and forth between American and British accents as if he couldn’t remember what role he was playing.  This is strange and distracting.

“Takers” does a nice job of forcing audience sympathy for its “good” criminal characters, to the point we can understand their choices and actions.  Yet it also puts the viewer in the awkward position of choosing “hero” criminals over good cops, even when Hernandez’s Eddie is shown to have a shady secret.  The trend of romanticizing thieves is not a new one, but the movie doesn’t allow the viewer to fall in love with the police officers.  No, we want the bad guys to win.  To balance all this out, there are those really bad guys who are after the Takers and their money.

“Takers” is above all a great action film and true to its hype.  With its flash, style and youthful cast, it should do well in theaters during this final summer weekend.  Those who have been waiting over a year for its release will not be disappointed.  “Takers” will also make a great date movie, as it offers the fast-paced, driving action for the guys, and is loaded with eye candy for the ladies

A Kid With Talent…

Posted: August 21, 2010 in YOU TUBE VIDEOS

Justin Bieber move aside. Greyson Chance is a 12 year old who sang his rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at a school talent contest. He has talent, and writes some of his own music. He got a record deal w/i a week or so after all the hits he got on the internet from this. You’ve probably all seen this by now, but if not…here it is.


Posted: August 21, 2010 in BLOG

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Date Night

Posted: August 21, 2010 in MOVIE REVIEWS

by Sarah St. John

Date Night, starring Steve Carrell (The Office, 40 Year Old Virgin) and Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, and known for her Sarah Palin impersonations), will make you laugh so hard you may need a diaper. Mr. Carrell and Ms. Fey play a married couple, Phil & Claire Foster, with two young children. Both have successful careers, but we sense that the exhaustion of work and the role of being parents have taken a toll on their relationship. Throughout the beginning of the movie, we discover that Phil & Claire have an infrequent sex life, and their highlight of the week is book club and date night.

It is during date night one evening that it all goes wrong. The Fosters decide to go to a nice seafood restaurant situated in the heart of Manhattan. Although this restaurant normally takes reservations months in advance, they decide they’ll take their chances. As predicted, there is no availability, so they wait at the bar in the event a table opens up. As a waitress goes around trying to find the “Triplehorn” couple and their table for two, Phil decides to claim that they are the Triplehorns in order to obtain a table.  The beginning of the night is all fun and games as they watch other couples and make up fake conversations that these couples are having. But, before their main course even arrives, two burly men in leather jackets ask them to step outside. The Fosters assume this is because they stole a reservation that wasn’t theirs, but quickly learn that isn’t the reason for the interrogation. The two men think they are the Triplehorns, and the Triplehorns have a flash drive that the men want.

At first, the Fosters try explaining that they are not the Triplehorns and that they just used that name to get a table. The men in leather claim that Triplehorn must be their alias. After the Fosters realize that they are not going to be able to convince these men that they are not the Triplehorns, Phil Foster tries to buy some time by saying the flash drive is in Central Park. After being escorted by the men to Central Park, they realize that that was a bad idea as Central Park isn’t populated at night. The Fosters try to pull all sorts of shenanigans to break free, including a story about Phil Foster needing medical attention for his penis.

Throughout the course of the movie, the Fosters go through a vast array of hilarious struggles to get access to the flash drive or find the Triplehorns. During this time, they break into office buildings, get invited by a shirtless Mark Wahlburg and his character’s girlfriend to have a foursome, steal one of Wahlburg’s cars and crash and get stuck to a taxi, and perform a silly strip tease together. Throw in Carrell and Fey’s witty and sarcastic humor, and you have a great “date movie”, and it will keep you laughing and on your toes.

So what is on that flash drive and who does it involve, you ask? You will just have watch it for yourself. But, be sure to stay for the credits/out takes as they are some of the most humorous moments in the whole movie.