“We have to love one another. We can always find a way. We can always find a way”. Ziggy Marley at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Grass Valley on Sunday night, before a crowd of people that seemed to be very receptive to his messages and ideas shared throughout his set. Playing in support of his latest album, Rebellion Rises, Ziggy Marley brought a message that seems to run counter to the general vibe that we encounter day to day in the U.S., which I found both refreshing and timeless. He is all about positivity and the power behind everything that is about, rather than the current climate permeating social media and the news that is more about dividing and judging one another and being intolerant. Personally, I would choose to stand beside Ziggy Marley and celebrate his music and his message of coming together with one another, and I think that would hold true for the fans in attendance at this concert. The show was excellent and I am really enjoying the new music, which mixes together well with his massive catalog of work as well as the handful of covers done in tribute to his father’s work as well. Really a fantastic experience and nice escape from the day to day negativity found out in the “real” (and not so real) world. This is definitely a tour to come out to see if it is headed to a city near you in the next couple of months.
“Thank you so much for having us back; this is the first night of the “High As Hope Tour”. This next song is from… oh you guys flustered me! This next song is from High As Hope and I wrote it about the place that I was born which is south London, which has a lot less trees than this…” Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine at Harvey’s Outdoor Arena in South Lake Tahoe on Thursday night, kicking off her latest tour in support of her amazing new album. “I’m with you… I’m with you like… at the moment my heart, it hurts a lot of the time and I just want to say I want you all to hold hands because I really believe in you and I believe in the power of change. And I believe in love and I want you to hold hands for this song because if we connect, I really think amazing things can happen”. A lot of performing artists say things about connecting with their audience, and say those things from the stage, and the audience watch from below as they perform. With Florence, it is not just words. Toward the end of her set, into the song “Delilah”, Florence came off of the stage and ran deep into the audience while she sang, literally connecting with fans in the crowd. Then she actually came running across (barefoot of course) the seat in the row I was in, and I got to witness first hand something unlike anything I’d ever seen at a concert. Florence was engaging with fans one at a time, one on one. In many instances she was grabbing their faces and pressing her forehead against theirs, as if she was forming a mystical bond with them. She was right in front of me for a good length of time, and it was kind of surreal to hear her voice singing directly from her, not just through the sound system. It’s actually been years since I uploaded concert footage to my YouTube channel, but it was such an incredible experience, I thought this would be the best reason ever to share a snippet of this amazing concert moment (iPhone quality, unedited): LINK Really, it takes a lot to put me at a loss for words, but this concert really transcended what anyone might expect from a live show. For some fans, I think it was a near religious experience. Currently tied for my favorite concert of the year. Definitely the best tour of 2018 I am guessing. And since this was the first show on this tour, everyone has time to try to get out to make one of the upcoming dates.
“This next song I’ve been singing since I first came to the USA many years ago… it still means a great deal to me. It’s called Kings of the Wild Frontier.” Adam Ant with his amazing band, in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Silver Legacy Resort Casino’s Grande Exposition Hall in Reno, Nevada. Performing artists say things like that all the time, and a jaded concert-goer might consider it mere banter in-between songs. Not so, with Adam Ant. After performing that song on Saturday night – originally released early in the New Wave era way back in 1980 – Adam Ant paused for a moment as the heartfelt accolades of the fans in the room showered over him. For some reason, I happened to capture the moment in video on my iPhone from the video screen off to the side (iPhone video snippet here), and at the time and in review again going through my notes and videos I took another look and Adam Ant has so much emotion and gratitude on his face at that moment that it’s genuinely moving to, well, feel him “feel”. He brings so much to the stage with his concert and presumably touring in general these days that I felt so fortunate to just be part of this incredible show that brings his latest North American tour to an end. It’s definitely may favorite show of 2018 thus far, and I can’t imagine anything besting the experience. Truly an icon of music and pop culture for my generation, and I firmly believe his live shows today are the best he’s ever given his fans.
“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…]