“Foreigner has just passed our 40th anniversary… Four zero… that’s a big deal!” Kelly Hansen at Ironstone Amphitheatre in Murphys on Sunday night, the third lead singer of Foreigner over the course of the past four decades. The evening served as a celebration of a wide variety of music and genres, with performances by Foreigner, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening, and Queensrÿche. [Read more…]
“I know you know the words to this song; we love the words to this song because it’s more timely and relevant right now than it’s ever been… It was relevant in the 60’s when it was written but it seems to have grown only more relevant with the years. This song, if people sing along with us and sing it loud, maybe the rest of that world out there will hear what we’re saying tonight…” Michael McDonald at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento on Tuesday night, in preface to his encore beginning with a soulful cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”. It was quite a night for fans of one of the great voices of his generation, as he played hits from his solo career as well as works he created with the Doobie Brothers. Special with his most recent tours is the showcase of several songs from his latest album, Wide Open, which was released in late 2017. His first studio album of all-new material in 17 years, it’s really a brilliant work and the songs are even more remarkable live in concert. If you have seen Michael McDonald in concert in the past, it is well worth turning out for this current tour just to hear some of the new songs. Fantastic show. [Read more…]
“I wanted to write a song about that… I wanted to reflect the idea of the country, and the sense of the country…” Adam Duritz of Counting Crows brought a mix of concert and storytelling to Ironstone Amphitheatre at Ironstone Vineyards on Tuesday night, as part of the band’s “25 Years And Counting Tour”. He shared some stories about the origins and inspirations behind the songs that are so familiar to their fans, in a sprawling set approaching two hours. In addition, the crowd also enjoyed a lengthy set from the band Live as well as younger act Boom Forest. It was a beautiful night in Murphys and the mix of musical styles and genres entertained the massive crowd in attendance. [Read more…]
“I mean, I don’t think there’s anything that we love more than California, drinking wine, and singing some songs…” Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town, performing before a massive crowd at Ironstone Amphitheatre Sunday night. It seemed to be a sentiment shared by all in attendance as the band played through their own hits as well as some interesting cover songs, putting on a show that really impressed. [Read more…]
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.