Concert Review: Ace Frehley- “10,000 Volts Tour” Capitol Theater, Rome, NY

10,000 Volts Tour 2023

Ace Frehley, Angel, Bad Marriage,

Friday, April 12th 2024
Capitol Theater, Rome, NY

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

In support of his newly release solo album titled “10,000 Volts” original Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley made a stop at the historic Capital Theater, located in Rome, NY for night of out of this world music. The weekend jaunts will run through August and feature a variety of opening acts sharing the stage with the Space Man but for this night the bill included Bad Marriage and 70’s Casablanca label mates Angel.

The band Bad Marriage would take the stage promptly at 7pm performing their own unique signature blend of 80’s tinged rock and roll which set the stage nicely for the nights other performers. The band consisting of Mike Fitz, Ian Haggerty, Todd, Boisvert, Michael Delaney and former Tesla guitarist Tommy Skeoch were full of energy and wasted no time transitioning between songs over the course of their 45 minute set. Though a majority of the crowd were still making their way to their seats the band put on a top notch performance both musically and visually.

Veteran 70’s hard rockers Angel would be next to the stage clad in their signature white leathers. Original members Frank DiMino and guitarist Punky Meadows worked the stage like seasoned veterans taking time to thank the growing crowd for their continued support over all these years. The set featured songs from all aspects of the bands of the bands 40 plus year career and those in attendance showed their appreciation for the band through loud applause and cheer which the band seemed very appreciative of.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Ace Frehley closed out the night by blasting onto the stage opening the night with “Shock Me” from Kiss’s 1977 album Love Gun. The crowd seemed surprised the Space Man was starting things off with one of his more well known sounds however they didn’t seem to mind is the entire theater seemed to instantly take to their feet to dance and sing along. “Rocket Ride” would be next on the set list album and as the closing notes rang out Frehley would take a brief pause to address the crowd and talk about his newly released solo album “10,000 Volts” which was followed by the track of the same name. This would be the only new material that was included in the evenings set and though Frehley seemed to struggle some with the vocals his backing band made up of bassist Ryan Cook, guitarist Jeremy Asbrock and drummer Scot Coogan all did great jobs filling in for the hard rock legend. As the night stretched Frehley pulled out all the signature stops which made him a fan favorite in his previous group. From his light up guitar on “New York Groove” to his smoke billowing solo guitar Frehley was the consummate professional and much like he had done for thousands of shows before he and the band closed things out with the sing along anthem “Rock and Roll All Night” which had fans of all ages leaving the venue with smiles on their faces and ringing in their ears.

The “10,000 Volts” tour runs through late August and has Ace and Co. performing all over the U.S. If the Spaceman is set to land in your area I highly recommend catching a show as you will be hard pressed to find another 73 year old artist performing at this level.

 

 

 

Ace Frehley SetList:

1.) Shock Me
2.) Rocket Ride
3.) 10,000 Volts
4.) Rock Soldiers
5.) Love Gun
6.) Parasite
7.) New York Groove
8.) Rip It Out
9.) Detroit Rock City
10.) Cold Gin
11.) Guitar Solo
12.) Strange Ways
13.) Shout It Out Loud
14.) Deuce
ENCORE:
15.) Rock and Roll All Night

Concert Review: “Croce Plays Croce”

 

  • A.J. CROCE
  • The Kauffman Center, Kansas City, MO
  • April 13, 2024

 

“And I carry it with me like my daddy did.”

“I Got a Name” – Jim Croce

 

I remember when Michael Douglas won his Oscar for “Wall Street” he thanked his dad for allowing him to “step out of a shadow.”  In the history of singer/songwriters, very few people left a shadow as large as that of Jim Croce.  In a tragically shortened career that lasted less than two years, Croce wrote and performed some of the most popular songs of the 20th Century.  His son, A.J., following in his father’s footsteps, has become an influential singer/songwriter of this century.  This past Saturday night, the two centuries converged on the Kauffman Center as, to paraphrase the name of the tour, Croce played Croce.

 

The show opened with a film clip of Jim Croce talking about his young son, Adrian James, asking his wife, Ingrid, to “bring him out.”  With that introduction, A.J. took the stage and, for the next two and a half hours, kept the audience grooving with a combination of songs by himself, his father and some of his musical heroes.

 

Musically, the show was flawless.  Mr. Croce is an accomplished musician and, along with his backup band made up of some amazing session players, he rocked the house.  But even better then the music were the stories Mr. Croce shared with the audience.  Stores about his father.  Stories about his own musical journey.  A highlight was when he opened the show up to the audience, encouraging them to shout out titles of songs they wanted to hear, Mr. Croce and the band obliging them.  The songs were presented with a variety of videos, featuring everything from family films of his father to an animated cartoon of “Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown,” which I can remember watching as a kid on “The Sonny and Cher Show.”

 

While I could not grab a set list, both Croce’s catalogues were well represented.  A great story about Rod Stewart evolved into a kick-ass version of “Stay with Me.”  Another musical highlight was “Name of the Game,” a song Jim Croce was working on before he passed that A.J. finished.

 

All in all, it was an amazing night filled with amazing music.  One I highly recommend.  On a scale of zero to five, “Croce Plays Croce” receives ★★★★

 

“Croce plays Croce’ continues though the end of the year.  For tickets, please click HERE.   

Concert Review: Gladys Knight

  • Gladys Knight     
  • Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts – Kansas City, Missouri   
  • November 19, 2023

 

 

Multi-Grammy Award winning Gladys Knight’s performance in front of a sold-out audience at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center was an entertaining 90 minutes of original hits as well as crowd pleasing covers including a raucous version of the Jackson 5’s  “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” or the poignant “The Way We Were,” a hit for both Barbra Streisand and Ms. Knight.   Backed by a trio of ladies (but no PIPS ☹ )  and an impressive band, the Empress of Soul proved she still has what it takes to deliver her style of music.

 

While I wasn’t familiar with every song, the hits were certainly a treat to behold. “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”,” Love Overboard”, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” (recorded after Marvin Gaye but released first) Grammy winners “Neither One of Us *Wants to be the First”) and my all-time favorite “Midnight Train to Geogia”.  I really missed the classic choreography of the Pips for that one……

 

It is always nostalgic and does my heart good to see the musical stars from my childhood, even in their waning years.  The style and talent such as Gladys Knights is no longer a part of the music industry of today…IMHO.

Ms. Knight’s tour continues both in the sates and in Europe through July 2024.  For tickets and more information, please click HERE.  

 

While I was unable to get a set list for this show, here is a set list from a recent show to give you an idea of what to expect when she comes to your town!

 

Taste of Bitter Love, Love Overboard, Every Beat of My Heart, Daddy Could Swear – I Declare, Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me, Oh! What a Love I Have Found, On and On, I’ve Got to Use My Imagination, Shake Your Body (On to the Ground), Save the Overtime (For Me), I Heard it Through the Grapevine, The Way We Were, Midnight Train to Georgia, Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye), If I Were Your Woman.

Concert Review: Baroness- Sweet Oblivion Tour 2023

Sweet Oblivion Tour 2023
Baroness, Soul Glo, Spotlights

Sunday, November 26th 2023
Town Ballroom Buffalo, NY

Media Mikes Score 3.5 out 5 stars

In support of their sixth studio “Stone” heavy metal group Baroness along with special guests Soul Glo and Spotlights made a stop at the quaint Town Ballroom which is located deep in the heart of Buffalo, NY. With both the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres being out of town on this post Thanksgiving weekend, the historic music venue was the place to be on an unseasonably snowless night.

Starting off the night with a thunderous dirge that shook the rafters of the vintage room was the three piece doom metal trio Spotlights. The group consisting of husband and wife duo Sarah Quintero (bass) and Mario Quintero (guitar/vocals) along with drummer Chris Enriquez performed a brief set which was a mixture of extremely down tuned instrumentation and multi layered sonic landscapes which gave listeners plenty to listen to despite numerous redundancies which could be easily identified from song to song.

Despite a majority of the crowd being huddled around the bar television due to the Bills/Eagles football game going into overtime the Philadelphia based punk/hardcore band Soul Glo would take the stage next. I found little to be impressed with as the bands sets was a chaotic mess of noise and sloppy musicianship. The group which appeared to be heavily influenced by legendary D.C. punk band Bad Brains did little to captivate the crowd which was evident in the minimal applause that was garnered at the end of the bands thirty plus minute set.

Headliner Baroness would take the stage next launching immediately into the song “Last Word” from the bands latest album “Stone” followed by “The Sweetest Curse” from the bands 2009 album “Blue”. Frontman John Baizley addressed the crowd briefly through out the bands fifteen song set taking time only to thank the fans and other bands on the bill and to ask for some leniency from the Bills fans in attendance due to the bands ties to Philadelphia. (The Buffalo Bills lost in overtime shortly before Baroness took the stage). Also gracing the setlist this evening were long time fan favorites such as “March to the Sea” and “Cocainium” along side more tracks from the new “Stone” album including “Beneath the Rose” and my personal favorite of the night “Anodyne”. Baizley and co-lead guitarist Gina Gleason worked flawlessly together replicating even the most minute detail and lick heard on the studio recordings. Bassist Nick Jost and drummer Sebastian Thomson added to the units tightness as each of their playing elevated the bands performance on multiple levels.

Before leaving the stage for the evening the band treated the crowd to a two song encore which was made up of the song “The Gnashing” and probably the bands most well know the song “Take My Bones Away”. Just like the thirteen previous songs these final two sounded just as good with the final number garnering a tremendous applause from Buffalo faithful. Though the tour only has a few more dates left on this leg we can only hope that 2024 will bring fourth a whole new slew of dates. If that ends up being the case we highly recommend getting out there to one of those shows as the level of musicality that Baroness bring to the stage is really enjoyable to experience in a live setting.

Baroness Setlist:

1.) Last Word
2.) The Sweetest Curse
3.) Isak
4.) A Horse Called Golgatha
5.) March to the Sea
6.) Cocainium
7.) Beneath the Rose
8.) Green Theme
9.) Anodyne
10.) Seasons
11.) If I Have to Wake Up (Would You Stop the Rain?) / Fugue
12.) Under the Wheel
13.) Shock Me

Encore:
14.) The Gnashing
15.) Take My Bones Away

Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with Baroness guitarist Gina Gleason here.

Concert Review: More Than Meats the Eye Tour (Mac Sabbath, Cybertronic Spree, Playboy Man Baby)

More Than Meats the Eye U.S. Tour

Mac Sabbath, Cybertronic Spree, Playboy Man Baby

Friday, November 3rd, 2023
Town Ballroom
Buffalo, NY

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Mac Sabbath returned to Buffalo’s Town Ballroom on Nov. 3rd as part of their current “More Than Meats the Eye” U.S. Tour.  Joining the always entertaining Ronald Osbourne and company this time around is the Cybertronic Spree and Playboy Man Baby both of which bring their own unique mix of cheesy goodness to the tours bill.

Taking the stage first this evening were the Phoenix, AZ natives Playboy Manbaby. The quirky five piece band played a chaotic blend of devo-esque tunes which featured everything from single string guitar riffs, trumpet fills, and plenty of thick bass lines which were further accentuated by the bands singer Robbie Pfeffer whose unique attire was a site unto its own. The bands brief set started off a little slow but ended on a high note with an energetic dance party led by Pfeffer who by this point in the show had kept from the stage and was now in the middle of the floor commanding the audience like a possessed televangelist preacher as the band stormed through their closing number “Falafel Pantyhose”.

Next to take the intimate stage was the Cybertronic Spree. Hailing from the planet of Cybertron by way of Toronto, ON the members Hotrod, Arcee, Rumble, Unicron, Soundwave  and Shockwave rolled onto the stage ready to rock. From the opening chords of the “Transformers Theme Song” and on through songs like  the Weird Al classic “Dare to Be Stupid” the band sounded great and looked just as good as each member was clad in cartoon accurate robot attire that made the members look as though they had just been transported from the television. The later part of the bands ten song set included the Stan Bush song “The Touch”, and an original song titled “Wheels of Fire” from the groups recently released album “Ravage” before ending the set with a cover of Spectre General’s “Hunger”.

Closing out the evenings festivities was the fast food infused Mac Sabbath whose members consist of singer Ronald Osbourne, guitarist Slayer McCheeze, Grimalice and Dummer The Catburglar. The band would sizzle on to the stage flanked by giant demonic Ronald Osbourne heads which lit up and billowed smoke which caused an eerie haze to linger in the air. Bursting onto the stage clad in a mustard colored straight jacket was the evenings resident mad man Ronald Osbourne who after a brief moment freed himself from the binding jacket and took to center stage where he not only worked the mic in a foe British accent but also flipped burgers on a make shift grill complete with a variety of condiments. In between the Black Sabbath tinged songs “Organic Funeral”, “Sweet Beef” and “Frying Pan” the band also spread their foodie enriched wings with the songs such as “Grilled By Death”, “Love Buns” and “Bread”. The band took multiple stops in order to provide the crowd with a variety of food parody names and jokes that after awhile seemed to fall flatter then a fast food hamburger. After Mac Sabbaths initial ten song set the band now joined by two members of Cybertronic Spree returned to the stage for a sing along version of “Hallowiener Schnitzel” before closing out the evening with the song “Pair-a-Buns”.

The “More Than Meats the Eye” tour has a little something for everyone who may be looking for a night of fun music and entertaining stage antics. Yes, some of the jokes and gimmicks might come off hokey and get old pretty quickly however, the musicality of each of the bands makes up for any of the stage banter short comings making this a show worth checking out. With the tour running through mid November there are still a few opportunities to catch this show as you won’t want to pass up a good night of laughs and music.

 

Playboy Manbaby Setlist

1.) Chemical Reprieve
2.) Unknown
3.) Unknown
4.) Cadillac Car
5.) You Can Be a Fascist Too
6.) Falafel Pantyhose

Cybertronic Spree Setlist

1.) Run For Your Life
2.) The Transformers Theme
3.) True Survivor
4.) Dare to Be Stupid
5.) Instruments of Destruction
6.) Mortal Kombat (Techno-Syndrome 7″ Mix)
7.) The Touch
8.) Thunderstruck
9.) Wheels of Fire
10.) Hunger

Mac Sabbath Setlist

1.) Organic Funeral
2.) Sweet Beef
3.) The Lizard
4.) Grilled by Death
5.) Drive Thru the Void
6.) Bread
7.) Love Buns
8.) Supersize
9.) Chicken for the Slaves
10.) Frying Pan
Encore
11.) Hallowiener Schnitzel
12.) Pair-a-Buns

Concert Review: Brit Floyd Delivers on the 50th Anniversary of Dark Side of the Moon

GRANTVILLE PA, August 25, 2023 — Brit Floyd founder and musical director Damian Darlington told me “It’s not just about the music, it’s about the multi-media experience.” Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album release, the band presented flawlessly executed tracks from the Pink Floyd catalog, showcasing musical mastery from start to encore and highlighting the band’s remarkable musical expertise.

The sound was perfect throughout the concert. Video projections on the immense circular screen and choreographed fog and dancing lights added to the experience, as they played to a sold-out crowd at the Penn Heros Stage at Hollywood Casino. Everyone had a good seat in the outdoor space and the staff was very courteous and helpful.

Brit Floyd vocalist Eva Avila earned a standing ovation for her thrilling performance of “The Great Gig in The Sky” from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album. Bassist Ian Cattle played homage to Roger Waters with his vocals. Edo Scordo’s guitar solos were inspiring and Ryan Saranich’s soulful saxophone solos created unique and memorable experiences on their own. 

The energy kept climbing from the start, leading to more standing ovations as Brit Floyd performed the Pink Floyd classics and dug deep in the Pink Floyd playlist to thrill the crowd with their faultless musical talent. Images of co-founder Syd Barret beamed on the screen as the band performed “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” while the crowd reveled in Matt Riddle’s keyboard skills. Damian told me that his favorite Pink Floyd song to play is “Comfortably Numb.” The second set ended with his flawless guitar solo of the David Gilmour classic producing another standing ovation by the crowd.

If you like Pink Floyd’s music, attending a Brit Floyd concert in your town is a must. The immersive experience they offer is unforgettable, making it an event that will linger in your memory. Don’t miss the opportunity to be captivated by their incredible performance.

Walter Zapotoczny is an author, historian, and local Pink Floyd fan. He can be reached at mail@wzaponline.com.

Photo credit: Aaylan Zapotoczny

Concert Review: 8/6/23 Pantera, Lamb of God, Child Bite The Pavilion, Scranton, PA

Pantera, Lamb of God, Child Bite

Sunday, August 6th, 2023
The Pavilion at Montage Mountain
Scranton, PA

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Child Bite from Detroit, Michigan started the evenings festivities, with a manic fueled set of punk tinged metal which grabbed listeners attention however, I am not completely sure if it was the four pieces mixture of spastic stage moves and chaotic songs structure or if it was that they were actually enjoying what was being performed. Thankfully the set was brief and the minimal change over time made up for it as veteran Richmond, VA metalers Lamb of God would hit the stage next with a bombastic barrage of stacatoing guitars and rumbling double bass which shook the venue from front back and side to side as frontman Randy Blythe led the ever growing crowd through songs like “Walk With Me in Hell”, “Ruin” and, “Omens”. Blythe paused briefly during the 40 plus minute set to help energize the crowd and to elecit multiple sing-alongs which echoed throughout the mountainous venue. Before leaving the stage for the night the band dedicated their final song “Redneck” to the fallen Abbott brothers which garnered the loudest crowd response thus far.

As the closing notes rang out and with lingering pyro smoke still hanging in the air a giant banner emblazoned with the Pantera logo was dropped from the ceiling shielding the now tightly packed crowds view of the stage. With Clips of the bands “Vulgar Videos” showing on the sides screens and the band blasting through the PA, the curtain would be dropped as the band layed into a thunderous version of the song “A New Level” from the “Vulgar Display of Power” album. The band which now consists of founding members Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown has been completed with the addition of Anthrax’s Charlie Benanti on drums and Ozzy Osbourne/Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde filling in for the dearly departed Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell. The band looked and sounded great as they flawlessly plowed through tracks such as “Mouth for War”, ” 5 minutes Alone” and “This Love” with reckless abandance and ease. On stage banter was kept to a minimum as the show seemed to be very regimented and only paused briefly allowing for Anselmo address the crowd with his signature gravely growl. The shows production was top knotch as it included tons of corresponding visuals, dual lighted CFH logos flanked both sides of the stage and a giant flaming Pantera sign hung high above the band. Anselmo may not jump and stalk the stage as he did in his younger years his performance he sounded really good and I think the lesser movement helped with that. Bassist Rex Brown popped his foot up on the monitors in his signature lanky pose like no time had passed at all. With easily the largest shoes to fill both Charlie Benanti and Zakk Wylde showed why they were the obvious choices for these jobs. Both players showcased their high level of musician ship by not only nailing the performance side of each song but also capturing a number of the nuances that both Abbott brothers were known for.

Though you can never replace the loss of the original members and the twenty two years since the bands last performance certainly have taken a toll in one way or another on the original two members however I can tell you that the bands current line and production captures nearly all the elements of the original with an air of aged perfection which fans both new and old will surely enjoy banging their head to. With lots of dates remaining you will surely want to catch this show if it comes to your town.

Lamb of God Setlist:

1.) Memento Mori
2.) Walk With Me in Hell
3.) Resurrection Man
4.) Now You’ve Got Something to Die For
5.) Ruin
6.) Ditch
7.) Omens
8.) Contractor
9.) Laid to Rest
10.) Redneck

Pantera Setlist:

1.) A New Level
2.) Mouth for War
3.) Strength Beyond Strength
4.) Becoming (w/ “Throes of Rejection” outro)
5.) I’m Broken (w/ “By Demons Be Driven” outro)
6.) Suicide Note Pt. II
7.) 5 Minutes Alone
8.) This Love
9.) Fucking Hostile
10.) Planet Caravan (Black Sabbath cover)
11.) Walk (with Child Bite)
12.) Domination / Hollow
13.) Cowboys From Hell

Encore:
14.) Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit (w/ “Stairway to Heaven” outro)

Theater/Concert Review: “RAIN – a Tribute to the Beatles

 

  • RAIN – A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES
  • STARLIGHT THEATER – KANSAS CITH, MISSOURI
  • JULY 21, 2023

 

I was 9 years old when the Beatles broke up, almost four years after the band stopped touring so I never had the opportunity to see them perform live.  As a child of the 1960s, I was swept up in Beatlemania.  The very first record I ever bought with my own money was the “Hello Goodbye” 45 single.  I have a couple of older friends that did see the band live, one of which grew up in Liverpool and had the band play his school dance, back when the lineup included Pete Best and Stu Sutcliffe.  I’ve seen Paul McCartney live many times, and it’s always great to hear him do a Beatles song, but I always thought that was the closest I’d ever come to seeing the band on stage.  I was wrong!

 

A musical/multimedia celebration, RAIN is a two hour journey through the adventures of the Fab Four, from their appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show’ to their final roof top concert.  Each song is performed flawlessly, both musically and vocally.  The show consists of four featured mjsicians – Steve Landes on vocals/rhythm guitar, Paul Curatolo (vocals/bas), Aaron Chazza (drums) and Alastar Mcneil (vocals/lead guitar).  Landes and Curatolo also handle piano duties.  They are joined by a very talented Mark Beyer, who handles the background instruments, including piano, strings and horns.    I look at him like Billy Preston.

 

If you are wondering why I don’t list Mr. Landes as John, Mr. Curatolo as Paul, etc it’s because that is not how they are identified in the program.  I know from doing research on a Beatles themed book that the lads are very protective of everything of theirs, including their names.  Over newsreel footage from the past, familiar quotes by the lads are heard, but they are recreated comments.  The boys are even protective of their voices.

 

Each member is outstanding on their instruments, with Mr. Chazza providing a perfect backbeat.  Mr. McNeil had the licks down perfectly, but was indeed playing the “quiet” Beatle as none of Harrison’s songs were performed.  I do see that a couple of Harrison’s songs are noted In the program, so maybe the set lists change nightly.  One thing that did catch my attention was that, even though “Paul” was playing bass left handed, when he brought out the acoustic guitar to solo on “Yesterday,” he was playing right handed.  Which to me, someone who plays guitar, is an amazing feat!  I’ve never heard of an ambidextrous musician before, but Mr. Curatolo excelled on both instruments.

 

RAIN runs through July 23rd at Starlight Theater.  For tickets to these or future shows, please click HERE.

 

RAIN receives five out of a total of five stars!   

Concert Review: The Doobie Brothers – 50th Anniversary Tour

  • The Doobie Brothers – 50th Anniversary Tour
  • Starlight Theater
  • Kansas City, Missouri

 

Some of my fondest musical memories came courtesy of the Doobie Brothers.  I still remember the episode of “What’s Happening!” where the boys got caught sneaking a tape recorder into one of the band’s concerts.  My high school kitchen band – that’s where we rehearsed – used to do a kick ass version of “China Grove.”  When he was younger, my son and his mother used to sing along to “Black Water” every day on the ride to school.  And I loved how almost every photo of Tom Johnston in the mid-70s showed him wearing a “Jaws” t-shirt!  The band went from being big to being HUGE once Michael McDonald came on board, with the band winning four Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year for “What a Fool Believes.”  Like most bands, the members eventually went their seperate ways and I’ve seen both the Doobies and Michael McDonald in the past.  But never todgether.  Until now!

 

Patrick Simmons

 

Kicking off their amazing (24) song set with “Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While),” the band took myself and a sold out Starlight Theater crowd on an amazing trip down memory lane.  The vocals were solid and the music was tight, as 50-years of music poured over the willing crowd who sang along at every chance.

 

Michael McDonald

Other well known songs, including “You Belong to Me,” “It Keeps You Runnin’,” and “Takin’ It to the Streets” were mixed in with great album cuts like “South City Midnight Lady” and “Eyes of Silver” kept the crowd up on their feet and dancing all night.  Other highlights included a rousing version of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” with McDonald at his most soulful and a great cover of Steely Dan’s “Pretzel Logic.”

 

Besides founding member Patrick Simmons, along with long time Doobie’s McDonald and John McFee, the band included long time touring members John Cowan on bass and the amazing Marc Russo on the saxophone.

 

Marc Russo

 

The Doobie Brother’s 50th Anniversary Tour runs at least through October.  For tickets and tour information please click HERE!

 

SET LISTTake Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While), Here to Love You, Dependin’ on You, Rockin’ Down the Highway, Neal’s Fandango, You Belong to Me, Slack Key Soquel Rag, South City Midnight Lady, Clear as the Driven Snow, It Keeps You Runnin’, Eyes of Silver, I Heard it Through the Grapevine, Better Days, Real Love, Minute by Minute, Without You, Jesus is Just Alright, What a Fool Believes, Long Train Runnin’, China Grove  ENCORE:  Black Water, Takin’ It to the Streets, Listen to the Music, Pretzel Logic.  

 

 

 

 

Concert Review: Tenacious D – The Spicy Meatball Tour

 

  • TENACIOUS D: the Spicy Meatball Tour
  • Starlight Theater
  • Kansas City, Missouri

 

I first heard of Tenacious D 20-years ago when a friend of mine told me he was going to see the band along with Weezer.  The next day he raved about the “D,” and urged me to buy their CD.  I did.  And I loved it.  20 years later, I finally got to see what I was missing.

 

Consisting of the always manic Jack Black and the more reserved Kyle Gass, Tenacious D is best described as if Heavy Metal and Classical Music had a baby.  Both men are amazing musicians, each note from their guitars hitting your ears clearly.  Where Black’s input is mostly power chords, Gass plays as intricately, and as beautifully, as one of my favorite classical gitarists, the late Roy Clark.

 

For nearly two hours the boys rocked, combining beautifully written music with amazingly strong, often funny, lyrics.  Like “Weird” Al Yankovic, Jack Black has an amazingly strong voice, suited for the music he plays and reminiscient of the late, great Ronnie James Dio.  

 

 

The show also had it’s fun bits, including a recurring bit with the band’s pyro technician who always seemed to set of the effects at the wrong time.  Another highligh was the premiere of a new song, scheduled to be released the next day, called “Video Games.”  Later, Black produced a Sax-a-Boom, an oversized member of the horn family,  Not to be outdone, Gass emerged from the shadows with an enormous MAX-a-Boom and blew a great rendition of the Gerry Rafferty hit “Baker Street.”  The group also covered Chris Issak’s “Wicked Games” and did a kick-ass version of Led Zepplin’s “Good Times, Bad Times.”

 

 

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the D’s opening act, Steel Beans, a literal one-man-band who played guitar, drums and keyboards at the same time.  And very well.  

SET LIST:  Overture, Kickapoo, Low Hangin’ Fruit, Wonderboy, Tribute, Video Games, Rize of the Fenix, The Metal, Sax-a-Boom, Baker Street, Roadie, Dude (I Totally Miss You), Wicked Games, Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown), Double Team.  ENCORE:  Good Times, Bad Times, Master Exploder, The Spicyt Meatball Song, Fuck Her Gently.  

If you’d like to catch the “D” on tour, or learn more about the band, please click HERE.

Concert Review: Tommy James and the Shondells

 

  • Tommy James and the Shondells
  • The Kaufman Center
  • Kansas City, Missouri 

 

I’ve said in the past that the “oldies” groups often put on the best shows.  Tommy James was no exception.

 

An AM radio staple in the 1960s, James and his group, the Shondells, gave the world such amazing songs as “Hanky Panky,” “Crimson and Clover,” “Crystal Blue Persuasion” and many more.

 

Looking much younger then his 75 years, James and his band played an amazing set of familiar hits and newer material.  As the music played, the audience sang along loudly.  The power of James’ music is that it is well known by many generations.  Not only was James and his music huge when I was a youngster, but three of his songs gained a new legion of fans in the 1980s.  Joan Jett hit #7 in 1982 with her version of “Crimson and Clover” while Tiffany and Billy Idol had back to back #1 hits with “I Think We’re Alone Now” and “Mony Mony,” respectively.  Don’t quote me but I believe this was the first time that back to back #1 songs were performed by different artists but written by the same songwriter (Ritchie Cordell wrote “I Think We’re Alone Now” and co-wrote “Mony Mony”).

 

James was in fine voice and his band was tight as any recent group of musicians I’ve seen.  Not only did they play the hits, they also put new spins on some old classics.  Talking about an upcoming film about his life, James played a sweet acoustic version of “I Think We’re Alone Now” and a spot on rendition of a cover version of “Hanky Panky” done by the Raindrops.  The music took me back to my youth, which is always a nice place to visit!

 

SET LIST:   Draggin’ the Line, Crystal Blue Persuasion,Say I Am, I Think We’re Alone Now (Acoustic), Tighter, Tighter, Crimson & Clover, Hanky Panky (The Raindrops cover), I Think We’re Alone Now, Do Something to Me, Mony Mony, Sweet Cherry Wine.   ENCORE:  Mirage/Mony Mony.

 

For tickets and information about Tommy James on Tour please click HERE.

Concert Review: Roger Waters: This is Not a Drill

 

 

Roger Waters: This is Not a Drill

T-mobile Center/Kansas City, MO

September 3, 2022

 

IN THE FLESH AND OUTSIDE THE WALL

 

Near the ceiling of the T-Mobile Center, the electronic signs warned patrons not to use offensive language and advised reporting people who engaged in that sort of discourse to management.

 

Thankfully, Roger Waters missed that note before hitting the stage last Saturday night. There were enough F-bombs to flatten Moscow.

 

Throughout his 2½ hour set, the former Pink Floyd bassist, lyricist, singer and driving force made his views on politics explicit. When some Pink Floyd fans lament the activist bent in his more recent music, it’s tempting to wonder if they had simply been using the Floyd for chemical recreation and missed Waters’ agitation in the words for “Us and Them” and the entire George Orwell-inspired album Animals.

 

At 78, Waters may be campaigning for the release of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during his performances, and his set seemed like a refutation of some of the themes he and his former bandmates explored in The Wall.

 

This was for the best.

 

Waters conceived The Wall because he was disturbed by how fame and massive area shows (like the one he was giving when I saw him) had separated Pink Floyd from their audience.

 

Nearly 4½ decades later, Waters seemed sociable. The slender Englishman bounced around the stage. He quoted Wilbert Harrison’s “Kansas City” and made a point of thanking fans who had held onto their tickets for two years. Covid ruined a lot of plans. He even left the T-Mobile Center marching through the crowd with the band. He repeatedly acknowledged that his shows were for the fans, and they clearly returned the love.

 

For a guy who has written tunes about grief, alienation and even the price of nuclear war, Water came off as contagiously giddy. Even when he briefly tripped over the words to one of his newer songs, Waters’ enthusiasm buoyed the entire night.

 

Opening with “Comfortably Numb,” the performance of the offering from The Wall missed David Gilmour’s soaring and then ominous guitars solos. Nonetheless, it still sounded captivatingly eerie.

 

That song came with unsettling images of bombed out rooftops and people mindlessly waking through lines as the walked through lines mindlessly. The screens would be raised and lowered at strategic moments and supplemented the newer songs to illustrate why Waters had written pointed tunes line “The Powers That Be” and “The Bravery of Being Out of Range.” He ran a slide show of unarmed people across the world who had died in police shootings. The list seemed even more urgent that night because it included Donnie Sanders, who had died here in Kansas City.

 

The screens also enabled Waters to add backstory to songs he was performing from Wish You Were Here. Waters still mourns original Pink Floyd leader Syd Barrett and slides of the band’s early lineup made the tunes even more poignant. Seamus Blake’s passionate sax solos on those tunes and on “Money” and “Us and Them” certainly helped. The rest of the band delivered a solid, tightly rehearsed set. Apart from “Comfortably Numb,” they followed Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright’s original playing on the Floyd songs.

 

The dancing animated pigs on “Money” made of up for any lack of spontaneity.

 

In addition, longtime fans were rewarded with the expected lasers, giant inflatable pigs and sheep and theatrics that recalled Alan Parker’s movie of The Wall.

 

When Waters broke into songs from Amused to Death or Is This the Life We Really Want, the crowd lost none of its enthusiasm. It probably helped that the enormous screens displayed a disclaimer letting anyone who objected to his takes on indigenous rights or police shootings to “f**k off to the bar.”

 

It’s a nod to his newer song “The Bar,” which deals with being able to freely discuss difficult topics. Waters clearly knows how to entertain (who doesn’t love giant, floating pigs?), and much of his outrage is sadly warranted. His songs may have launched a thousand bong hits, but if Bob Dylan, whom he cited in his show, can write “Blowin’ in the Wind,” Waters can warn us about the urgency of addressing nuclear war.

 

I attended the show as a guest of Kansas City Veterans for Peace, Chapter 97. I’m merely a former military contractor (a cubicle jockey) who doesn’t want troops being put into peril for a fool’s errand, and nuclear conflict certainly qualifies. Waters correctly cited Kansas’ Dwight D. Eisenhower, who repeatedly expressed many of the same concerns.

 

That said, I’d like to have a beer with him at a bar sometime. I’m not sure how we’d get along, or if alcohol would be conducive to the topics at hand. I have quibbles about Mr. Assange, but challenging subjects don’t get the attention they need when people simply shut up and sing.

Concert Review: “Weird Al” Yankovic w/Emo Philips

 

 

  • “Weird Al ” Yankovic w/Emo Philips
  • Kaufman Center for the Performing Arts/Kansas City, MO
  • September 2, 2022

 

Roger Daltrey.  Tina Turner.  Robert Plant.  Freddie Mercury.

 

These amazing people possess some of the greatest and most powerful voices in the history of Rock and Roll.  To that list I humbly add Mr. Alfred Matthew Yankovic.  That’s right…”Weird Al.”

 

In a show that, except for the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer,” included only original songs – there was a brief medley of some of his more popular parody songs towards the end – Yankovic gave a show that I would put up against any concert I have ever seen.  After opening the show with “Fun Zone,” Yankovic reminded the audience that this was going to be a show that some fans have complained about, because he was doing the “funny” stuff.  He noted that “the name of the tour should have tipped you off.”  And he was right, as the show was billed as “The Unfortunate Return of the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour.”  Not a lot of leeway there.  And while I secretly hoped he’d break out his new “Hamilton” medley, I went home utterly amazed at what I’d just witnessed.

 

True fans of Yankovic are, of course, familiar with his parody hits, but also enjoy his original tunes as well.  On this night, he interspersed several of his more popular originals – “One More Minute,” “You Don’t Love Me Anymore” and “The Night Santa Went Crazy” with an array of great tunes, some done much differently then their album versions.  “Dare to Be Stupid” was done like a 60s lounge song, while “Craigslist” could have easily been included on an album by the Doors.  He really let his rock chops loose when he introduced a song he claimed he’d written for the band Rage Against the Machine.  Apparently, the band didn’t record it, so he did.  The song, “I’ll Sue Ya,” brought the audience to its feet with its growling vocals and kick ass music.  And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the musicians accompanying Yankovic on stage were amazing, showing the skill, and tightness, of a band that had been together for over four decades!

 

Opening the show was comedian Emo Philips, whose comedy I was introduced to late at night while listening to Dr. Demento with my friends.  I always enjoyed his style of comedy and it was a true treat to have the opportunity to see him in person.  Speaking of Dr. Demento, early next week (September 14th) will mark the 42nd Anniversary of when I heard “Weird” Al live on Dr. Demento’s radio show introducing his first big parody song, “Another One Rides the Bus.”  Wow!  I should write a book titled “Everything I Need to Know About Life I Learned from Dr. Demento!”

 

 

“Weird” Al’s “The Unfortunate Return of the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour” continues through the end of October.  Many shows are sold out, but if you’re thinking about going – and after reading this review,  why the hell aren’t you? – click HERE

 

SET LIST:  Fun Zone, Close But No Cigar, Melanie, Bob, One More Minute, Dare to Be Stupid,  Dog Eat Dog, Velvet Elvis, Craigslist, You Don’t Love Me Anymore, I’ll Sue Ya, Franks 2000” TV, Don’t Download This Song, The Night Santa Went Crazy, Skipper Dan, Good Old Days, Albuquerque.  ENCORE:  Psycho Killer, UNPLUGGED MEDLEY – Amish Paradise/Smells Like Nirvana/White & Nerdy/Word Crimes/Yoda.

 

Concert Review: The HAPPY TOGETHER Tour

 

 

  • HAPPY TOGETHER TOUR
  • Kauffman Center – Kansas City, Missouri
  • August 21, 2022

 

Part two of my wonderful musical weekend!

 

What if I told you that you could see the Cowsills, the Vogues, the Buckinghams, the Association, Gary Puckett and the Turtles all in one night?  No, really!  They are all together on the most recent HAPPY TOGETHER tour, which made a stop in Kansas City this past weekend.

 

For those who may not know this, the Cowsills was a group made up of a mother and her musical children.  Sound familiar?  That’s right.  The Cowsills were the inspiration for television’s “Partridge Family.”  On this night, brothers Bob and Paul, along with sister Susan, opened the show with a set of the most popular songs.  They even threw in the theme to television’s “Love, American Style,” which I had no idea they’d done. 

 

The Vogues took the stage and opened with their classic “Five O’ Clock World.”  The group was in fine voice, with amazing harmonies.  The Buckinghams were represented by original members Nick Fortuna and lead singer Carl Giammarese, who was celebrating his 75th Birthday this evening.

 

Next up was the Association, who sounded as good on this evening as they did in their heyday.  Songs like “Cherish” and “Never My Love” filled the Kauffman Center, with the crowd signing along.  Next up was the amazing Gary Puckett.  I had seen him in 1986 when he opened for the Monkees.  He didn’t disappoint then, and he didn’t disappoint on this evening.  With his distinct voice, songs like “Young Girl” and “This Girl is a Woman Now” rolled over the audience.  Mr. Puckett noted that Carl Giammarese was 75 but that Susan Cowsill was 63.  He also noted that he had them both beat as he will be turning 80 later this year!

 

Closing out the night was the Turtles, whose hit “Happy Together” gives the tour its name.  A big bonus, for me anyway, was that Ron Dante was the lead singer.  Dante, who turns 77(!) today also was the lead vocalist on the biggest selling song of 1969, “Sugar, Sugar.”  Which means that I can legitimately tell people that I saw the Archies in concert!

 

The night ended with everyone one stage in a mini-medley of some of the night’s best moments.

 

The HAPPY TOGETHER tour continues through the year.  You can find tickets for it HERE.

 

SONG LIST:  Cowsills:  The Rain, the Park and Other Things, We Can Fly, Indian Lake, Love, American Style, Hair.  The Vogues:  Five O’Clock World, My Special Angel, Turn Around Look at Me, You’re the One.  The Buckinghams:  Don’t You Care, “Hey Baby (They’re Playing Our Song), Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, Susan, Kind of a Drag.  The Association:  Windy, Never My Love, Cherish, Along Comes Mary.  Gary Puckett:  Lady Willpower, Over You, This Girl is a Woman Now, Woman, Woman, Young Girl.  The Turtles:  She’d Rather Be With Me, You Baby, It Ain’t Me Babe, You Showed Me, Sugar, Sugar, Eleanor, Happy Together.

Concert Review: Boz Scaggs, Robert Cray Band, Jeff Leblanc

 

  • BOZ SCAGGS/ROBERT CRAY BAND/JEFF LEBLANC
  • Kauffman Center – Kansas City, Missouri
  • August 19, 2022

 

What an amazing weekend of music I just concluded.  Keep an eye out for my piece on the HAPPY TOGETHER show – this one is all about the night I got to listen to one of my all-time favorites and discovered a new one.

 

I had certainly heard of the Robert Cray Band, and was familiar with their biggest song, “Smoking Gun,” and I had known for years that Mr. Cray was the guitarist for Otis Day and the Knights in “Animal House.”  But I’d had no idea that he was a master of the guitar, with an amazing band to match him lick for lick.  I will mention here that my wife is a big fan and has told me for years that I didn’t know what I was missing.  She was right.  With Mr. Cray changing guitars for almost every song played, the music lept from his fingers and filled the sold-out Kauffman Center.  His band kept pace, with bass player Richard Cousins supplying the beat while changing instruments almost as much as Mr. Cray did.  The set ended with a bluesy rendition of Chuck Berry’s (You Never Can Tell) C’est La Vie.

 

After a short break it was time for headliner Boz Scaggs and his band to take the stage.  I’m old enough to remember when hits like “Ledo Shuffle,” “Lowdown” and “Look What You’ve Done to Me” – a great song to have on the turntable when you were “entertaining” a lady friend – were first released.  I played Mr. Scaggs’ “Silk Degrees” album constantly as a teenager and it was quite a joy to hear those songs – and others – performed live.   I just realized I may have confused our younger readers by using both words “turntable” and “album.”  Still the best way to listen to music.  Don’t believe me?  Ask your parents.

 

Besides the hits, Mr. Scaggs also played a selection of songs from his latest album, “Let it Roll.”  The mixture of old and new was well received by the audience, as was the rousing “Ledo Shuffle” sing-along.

 

The evening began with a short set from singer/songwriter Jeff Leblanc, who easily engaged the audience with his stories, including a folksy rendition of Al Green’s (or, if you’re my son’s age – Tina Tuner’s) “Let’s Stay Together,” which he introduced as a song he had to learn for a wedding.  A budding talent who I’m sure we will all hear more about sooner than later.

 

For upcoming shows, please click HERE.  

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