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International Space Station

Viewing the International Space Station

We saw the International Space Stations (ISS) as we drove from Houston to Austin Monday evening (10/16/17) at about 7:50pm looking at the NW horizon. At first we saw lots of planes and stars thinking it might be the ISS, but once it came shooting across the sky it was easy to see.

International Space StationWe heard about it on the news, but found the directions looking at SpotTheStation, a NASA website that will not only tell you when the ISS is coming into view in your area and alert you via email, but if you scroll down the page it will tell you what the directions for viewing mean (see image to the right).

Watching the ISS go over reminded me of another website I had found: WhoIsInSpaceRightNow. As the ISS was going overhead, the number was 6…as always, an amazingly small number compared to the 7.4 billion people on the earth.

And the total number of people who have ever been in space currently stands at 536 according to this Wiki article.

Both current and all time space travelers remain an exclusive club…until the bus starts loading for Mars!

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar and The Circle – Sugarland 09/15/17

I wrote a long article about Sammy Hagar then and now about a week before this  concert. Here’s my notes on the show.

Opening act – The Contagious

The ContagiousWe arrived expecting to see Sammy’s son as the opening act. Instead, we witnessed three 9th graders from Montgomery, Texas, baby-faced young men who rocked the crowd in the absence of Sammy’s son (who was ill). They were loud, and they were quite good. It was hard to tell they were youngsters until the lead singer/guitarist got up to the microphone in between sets and said “Thanks, guys!”. He also said “at 5am this morning we were getting ready to go to school…now we are opening for Sammy Hagar and the Circle.”

TheContagiousLeadOne of the ushers told me they had opened earlier in the week for ZZTop, as one of the band members parents is friends with one of the ZZ members. And this usher seemed to know everything.

Here’s The Contagious’ Reverb Nation link, they have a couple of songs on there to download.

Sammy and The Circle

Sammy Hagar and The Circle

At the opposite end of the age spectrum from the opening act, Sammy Hagar has been rocking for four decades. Between Montrose, Van Halen, Chickenfoot and his solo career, the list of songs to choose from is LARGE.

In addition to Sammy (lead vocals and guitar), the Circle is:

  • Michael Anthony (bass, backing vocals).  Van Halen bassist, Chickenfoot.
  • Jason Bonham (drums). John Bonham of Led Zeppelin’s son.
  • Vic Johnson (lead guitar). Vic has been playing with Sammy since 1997 on solo albums and in Sammy’s band the Waboritas.

Sammy and “Mikey” have been together for a long time. They introduced each other and the party started (and included Santo Mezquila and Sammy’s Rum on stage).

The Setlist of 16 songs included:

  • 5 Sammy Hagar songs (including a renamed “Mas Mezquila” with Sammy pouring out shots from a bottle to the folks in the pit);
  • 6 Van Halen songs  (including an acoustic version of “Dreams” as the final number);
  • 1 Chickenfoot song;
  • “Rock Candy” from Montrose (I was hoping for this and “Bad Motor Scooter”…but 50% is good enough!) and
  • 2 well performed Led Zeppelin tracks (When the Levee Breaks, which the top picture is off, dry ice and all, and Rock and Roll in the Encore).

Michael Anthony sang on a few tracks, and the more I hear him singing lead or background vocals, the more I believe he was the main voice behind that signature Van Halen background chorus.

Sammy Hagar and The Circle

Soon-to-be-70-year-old Sammy Hagar had as much energy as the three freshman high school rockers….and had more fun all the way through. I’m hoping to get lucky enough to see him again at his show in Clearwater, Florida which was postponed due to the hurricane.

Sammy Hagar

The Venue

A couple of words on the Smart Financial Center in Sugarland: after our first visit there (to see Steve Martin and Martin Short) I swore I’d never go back because the traffic getting in and out was so terribly handled. I made an exception for Sammy, and I’m glad I did – we had no trouble getting in or out. I was told that attendance was equivalent for both

Also, the usher that I spoke with throughout the concert was not only knowledgeable about the venue and the acts, he was amazingly courteous to everyone he spoke with that evening (he was stationed right beside us).

And lastly…someone in attendance had a sweet and appropriate ride!

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