Early in his rare solo acoustic headlining performance at Notes & Words 2018, Dave Grohl at once revealed his laid back humor and his insightful personal pondering on life and how it intersected with the feelings of the evening in his stream of consciousness commentary leading into one of his famous Foo Fighters songs: “As I was thinking about the setlist earlier… 15 minutes ago… [laughs] I thought that maybe that I would begin the set with this song, but then decided not to… But I think that this song is one of the ones that makes most sense tonight. I wrote this song in a period of my life where I was down… and I finally stopped and took at look at everything I had and all the things that I’d taken for granted. A wonderful home and appreciation of life, and love, and my friends. And the good things, and the good people, and the big picture and how we’re all connected in some way. I wrote this song and it’s called “Times Like These”. Every year, there is magic all around at the Notes & Words: Benefit For UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital event, and it was off the charts again Saturday night, as per tradition. The format remained the same – entertainment including both writers and musicians on stage – and this year featured musicians Dave Grohl with Emmett Reeed and Oakland School for the Arts, as well as writer George Saunders and, as always, writer and event host Kelly Corrigan. The highlight of the evening for sure was watching Dave perform on stage with his two very talented daughters, Violet and Harper Grohl. Not just the music, but the opportunity to see a loving family share with the crowd in such an amazing, candid and joyful way. And all this good will went toward making new happy beginnings as seen with some of the real life stories shared by families who have been helped by UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
“It’s always weird on the first night of tour… I’m well-rested… I’m not hung over… It doesn’t seem right. One thing I know is I’ve been to Reno before several times. We will not be well-rested tomorrow. We will not be showered. We will be hung over. We’re Portugal The Man. Thanks for hanging out with us tonight.” Zach Carothers, in preface to the encore to their show at Grand Theatre at Grand Sierra Resort and Casino on Wednesday night. The band put on an electric show that impressed not only with their unique sound but a spectacle of visuals and lasers. They even had warnings in many forms before the show about the latter… and a pre-set disclaimer about their overall lack of banter. Coupled with a drumhead featuring Weird Al Yankovic, it was clear from the start that Portugal. The Man is a band that is driven by their own unique beat, and I don’t think that fans would want them any other way. [Read more…]
“How we doing out there?” Ellie Rowsell with Wolf Alice at a rare appearance in Sacramento at Ace of Spades Saturday night, a few shows into their massive schedule taking them all over the world in 2018. In addition to their own headlining shows, they are playing gigs in support of Queens of the Stone Age as well as shows across the festival circuit. I’ve been following the band since 2015, and now with two studio albums under their belt (sophomore effort Visions of a Life came out late last year), they are better than ever, with a massive amount of killer songs to fill up their sets. I’ve always seen them as a band made to play live, and they did not disappoint. This concert will certainly rank among the top at the end of the year for me personally, so I can’t recommend enough getting out to one of their shows if they stop in at a city near you. [Read more…]
“…so for us, it was a very difficult time indeed. This song kind of sums it up, really quite well. Tonight, I’m going to dedicate this song to Rex Tillerson.” Roger Daltrey’s intro to “Another Trick Day”, performing before a relatively intimate crowd at the Bob Hope Theatre in Stockton on Tuesday night, given that he is the front man for one of the bands most anyone would name as one of the greatest of all time. This was my first time seeing any incarnation of The Who live on stage, and I was struck by how much Daltrey seemed to enjoy it himself. A born performer with boundless energy and enthusiasm, he is also a storyteller, giving background, stories, contest and inspiration behind the music that he and The Who Band played for the crowd. And that crowd… one of the best ones I’ve stood among in some time, looking around, it would seem to almost be a religious experience for a lot of the people who turned out for the show.
“San Francisco, the great and unexpected joy in my adult life is that I make music and I get to play it every night people with that I care about…” K.Flay taking a moment to express gratitude to the sold out crowd at The Fillmore in San Francisco on Wednesday night. In the midst of a North American headlining tour prior to supporting Imagine Dragons in a massive world tour, it was a rare chance to see the rising artist before she starts moving on to much larger venues (which she will soon likely be headlining herself), as the masses continue to catch up to her unique sound and amazing album, Every Where Is Some Where. No stranger to the San Francisco bay area, K.Flay was a transplant to Oakland while she was attending Stanford and beginning to craft her sound and style in music. This was my first show of 2018, and she absolutely set the bar high for everything that follows, as I will be surprised if anyone can top this concert event. [Read more…]
As with my 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Year in Review features, this article looks back on a year of music with a summary of the highlights. This is my attempt to (subjectively) share my favorites of the year, from live shows to new songs and albums. You can also check out my Top 100 Concert Photos of 2017 in that separate article.
This is the first of my two 2017 “Year In Review” articles. As with my articles in 2012, 2013, and 2014, 2015 and 2016, I reviewed a sampling of my concert photos from 2017 and compiled some of my favorites and stopped when I hit around 100 photos in total. Please also check out my companion 2017 Year in Review article, which covers my Top 5 Concerts, Top 5 Albums, Top 50 Songs and more. [Read more…]
“This next song is one of our very, very oldest ones. One of the first ones… And I just wanted to say thank you, because it means a million times more to me now then it did years ago when it first came out and I owe that to you. Your hearts and your experiences and this whole thing that we’ve been sharing together for the past twenty years… so thank you!” Amy Lee’s preface to the Grammy nominated song “My Immortal” in her live performance to a sold out crowd at the Grand Theatre at Grand Sierra Resort & Casino in Reno, Nevada on Friday night. The song was one of the singles off of their debut album, Fallen, in 2003. In 2017, Amy Lee has brought that song and other Evanescence hits on the road in a completely rearranged and re-imagined form with this “Synthesis Live with Orchestra” tour, along with the release of their fourth studio album, Synthesis, which features the same music along with two new songs. The concert itself was magnificent – marrying the original music and that incredible voice with her rock and roll band playing alongside a 28-piece full symphony orchestra – really it was a show unlike any I’d ever experienced. I watched some snippets of past shows in advance to get some idea of what it might be like, but it is really something else to experience it and take it in at a venue like the Grand Theatre. It was certainly the most impressive production I’d seen this year, and the performance overall was stellar. It’s really one of the best tours going in 2017.
I think I was too “in the moment” to make note of any particular quote from the band during Oingo Boingo Dance Party’s performance in Pano Hall at Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Friday night. Oingo Boingo Dance Party what? Yes, exactly. What the heck is Oingo Boingo Dance Party? In short, it is more or less Oingo Boingo minus original front man Danny Elfman, with a very impressive Brendan McKian (formerly Brendan McCreary) on vocals. It was really a spectacular show and experience for me personally (Oingo Boingo is one of my all-time favorite bands). I never thought I would get such a live experience with all of that brilliant music ever again. So I really can’t recommend enough turning out for one of these shows if Oingo Boingo Dance Party is ever in a town near you. Highest recommendation. [Read more…]
“Cheers everybody! Good health and be well! Thank you for being lost with us!” Tony Hadley, formerly of Spandau Ballet, in his headlining performance at Rewind Fest ’17’s Lost 80’s Live concert at Thunder Valley Outdoor Amphitheater on Sunday night. Filling out the line-up was Wang Chung, Berlin, Missing Persons, Cutting Crew, Naked Eyes, Trans-X, The Flirts, and Pretty Poison. World One Presents continues to bring out the top 80’s era live shows to Thunder Valley every summer, and this one was really great.