Daryl Hall and John Oates at Mountain Winery | Saratoga, California | 10/16/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

Darryl-Hall-and-John-Oates-Concert-Review-Tour-2014-Live-Photos-Mountain-Winery-Saratoga-Setlist-FI

“We keep moving back now, further back to the 70s…  you guys are fans of the 70s, right?”  Daryl Hall and John Oates continued to delve deep into their catalog at their show at Mountain Winery in Saratoga on Thursday night.  With a seemingly endless reservoir of top hits, the number one duo of all time were in a special groove.  I’ve always counted them as one of the top live acts of all time, and every time I see them play I feel that sentiment more strongly.  As incredible as their studio cuts of each song are, they come to life in such a special way at their live shows.  There is an element of improvisation and a kind of subconscious jamming among the band where they can riff and extend songs out in a way that makes everything fresh and new and unpredictable.  And somehow better than ever.  They usually hit Mountain Winery every year, but were missed in 2013, so it was great to have them return this year.

[Read more…]

Last Leg of 2014 Black Keys “Turn Blue” World Tour Picks Up At End of October and Runs Through End of December

The-Black-Keys-Turn-Blue-World-Tour-Concert-2014-North-America-Live-US-Dates-Cities-Announcement-Tickets-Information-FI

The Black Keys have spent a lot of 2014 on the road, supporting their latest studio album, Turn Blue from Nonesuch Records.  Kicking off in May at Hangout Music Festival, the year has seen the garage/blues rock duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney take their unique blend of authentic music all over the world at headlining shows and festivals.  Having taken a little break at the end of September, they will pick back up again in Minneapolis, crisscrossing throughout North America until the end of December. [Read more…]

Crystal Castles Comes To An End As Alice Glass Announces Break-Up; Special Exclusive Concert Tour Photography Showcase from 2012 & 2013

Crystal-Castles-Break-Up-Split-Quit-Concert-Photos-Live-Photography-Oakland-Fox-Theater-Pictures-Alice-Glass-Leaves-2012-2013-2014-FI

Today, Alice Glass announced her departure from – and thus the break-up of – Crystal Castles with Ethan Kath.  She made a short statement on social media, including her personal Facebook page (with her first post since July): I am leaving Crystal Castles.  My art and my self-expression in any form has always been an attempt towards sincerity, honesty, and empathy for others.  For a multitude of reasons both professional and personal I no longer feel that this is possible within CC.  Although this is the end of the band, I hope my fans will embrace me as a solo artist in the same way they have embraced Crystal Castles.”  Crystal Castles, who I had a chance to cover and photograph at two shows (one in Seattle in 2012 and the other in Oakland in 2013), and they were as unique in live form as they were in studio recordings.  I thought I’d bid farewell to the band with a pictorial showcase of photos I shot at those two concerts, some of which have never been published previously. [Read more…]

Billy Idol Announces 2014/2015 World Tour Following “Dancing With Myself” Book Tour, New “Kings & Queens Of The Underground” Album

Billy-Idol-Concert-Tour-2014-2015-Live-Dates-Kings-&-Queens-of-the-Underground-Book-Signing-Meet-and-Greet-Tickets-Contest-Presale-Code-FI

2014 and 2015 are shaping up to be epic for fans of Billy Idol, starting with the Dancing With Myself autobiography, hitting stores and online retailers tomorrow.  Today is the last day to pre-order for an entry into the Dancing With Myself Sweepstakes, and today is the first day of a limited number of book signings in the United States and the United Kingdom throughout October.  In just a few weeks, on October 21st, the first new Billy Idol studio album in some time, Kings & Queens Of The Underground, will drop.  The new single, “Can’t Break Me Down”, is already available.  While UK and European concert dates were announced for November some time ago, today North American dates were announced for January and February 2015, including special meet and greet tickets. [Read more…]

Tears for Fears at The Wiltern | Los Angeles, California | 9/23/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

Tears-For-Fears-Concert-Review-Tour-2014-Photos-Setlist-The-Wiltern-Los-Angeles-FI4

“Is that the new iPhone 6?”  Roland Orzabal, early on in the show, as he and Curt Smith looked out over the sea of cell phones in the air, held by an exuberant sold out crowd at the historic Wiltern in Los Angeles last night.  Tears for Fears, best known for their collection of timeless and classic New Wave hits from the 80s, do not tour very often, and when they do, the tours are usually not too many dates and cities.  So there was a bit of an “event” feeling in the air, and based on some of their comments later in the show, they both seem to have quite an affinity for the City of Angels.  As such, it seemed to be one of those special sort of shows, that unfold in a different sort of way.  About halfway through the show, Curt even gave a shout out to Richard Blade, who was at the front of the GA crowd in the pit…  if you didn’t know him by his own lifetime in music, you would think he was the band’s biggest fan (and maybe he is).  Perhaps the development that represented the biggest point of fan service, prefaced by Roland with “nothing like changing it up for L.A.; obviously this is a special place for us…” was the surprise encore opener, a song that “we haven’t done for many, many years”.  He said that this version will be included in their deluxe reissue of Songs From the Big Chair in November.  He said it has been impossible for them to do live “until now”, and then proceeded to play “The Working Hour”.  Definitely a special show by a fantastic band, and the place was certainly buzzing when it all came to a close after upwards of a two hour show.

[Read more…]

Elton John’s “All The Hits Tour” coming to West Coast of United States

Elton-John-All-The-Hits-Tour-2014-Concert-Live-US-World-Dates-Cities-Tickets-Announcement-News-FI

Elton John has had an extensive world tour underway since last year (following a hugely popular and periodic residency in Las Vegas with The Million Dollar Piano, which I reviewed in 2012).  Playing Denver tonight, shows in Portland, Seattle, Sacramento, San Jose, and a pair of back-to-back concerts in Los Angeles will bring the U.S. tour to an end.  In addition to many Top 40 hits, he will also be performing songs from his latest release, The Diving Board. [Read more…]

Heart at Mountain Winery | Saratoga, California | 9/16/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

Heart-Concert-Review-2014-Tour-Photos-Setlist-Ann-Wilson-Nancy-Wilson-Mountain-Winery-Saratoga-FI

“In the spirit of toasting, here’s a song by Paul McCartney…”  Nancy Wilson of Heart giving an appropriate intro to their cover of the Wings song, “Let Me Roll It”, from 1974, with her sister Ann sharing the stage in the wonderful atmosphere at Mountain Winery in Saratoga last night.  This was one of several cover songs performed, though the rest were Led Zeppelin songs for their encore.  I’ve saw Heart twice last year, and they always deliver with stunning performances and are truly as great as they’ve ever been.  In addition to their own vast and growing (with last year’s Fanatic) catalog, they’ve also in some way become the caretakers of keeping Led Zeppelin songs alive and well (in addition to Jason Bonham’s own Led Zeppelin Experience, which toured with them last year).  Who else but Ann Wilson can give epic delivery of those vocals, and yet with her own trademark style?  But of course fans turn out to hear Heart songs first and foremost, though they only played one song off the new album, “Mashallah” (which Ann said drives her into the stratosphere).  Each time I see them, the familiar songs sound a bit different, as though they find new and innovative ways to translate them into a live experience.  In any event, they put on a fantastic show in a gorgeous venue, so it was a wonderful celebration of them and their great music (as well as a tribute to some other greats in music).

[Read more…]

Daryl Hall & John Oates’ U.S. Summer Concert Tour Heads West in October

Daryl-Hall-&-John-Oates-2014-Concert-Tour-US-Live-Dates-Cities-Preview-Tickets-FI

Daryl Hall & John Oates, currently in the midst of a Summer U.S. tour, will be coming to the west coast next month, playing Saratoga, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.  The Philly duo hit makers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year (already recognized by the Songwriters Hall of Fame); each also have new solo work out in 2014 (John Oates’ A Good Road To Follow and Daryl Hall’s Laughing Down Crying).  They put on one of the best live shows today, so it is most definitely worth turning out to one of their concerts if you have the chance. [Read more…]

“Big Block Party” with Morris Day & The Time (The Original 7ven), Sheila E., Guy, and Doug E. Fresh at Thunder Valley Casino Resort | Lincoln, California | 9/13/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

Big-Block-Party-2014-Concert-Review-Photos-Morris-Day-&-The-Time-Sheila-E-Doug-E-Fresh-Guy-Thunder-Valley-Casino-Resort-FI

“Sacramento… you may notice a bit of moisture forming on my forehead… falling down my face…  I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, ‘Morris has lost it.’  You may even be thinking, ‘Morris is not cool anymore.’  But let me fix that shit for you, Sacramento.  Just like you take a cool bottle of champagne out of the refrigerator, and you set it on the counter… what does it begin to do?  See, it sounds like you all don’t know.  See, it begins to condensate, Sacramento.  Because that’s what you do when you’re cool from the inside out…   So please understand, Morris is not sweatin’.  I’m condensatin’.   And, hell yes, Morris Day is still cool!”  Words from the legendary Morris Day from Morris Day & The Time (now The Original 7ven), headlining the Big Block Party by WorldOne Presents at Thunder Valley Casino Resort Saturday night.  Having come on stage after the sun dropped out of view, which hit a high of 100 degrees, it left me wondering if the sweat rolling off everyone in the sold out concert venue was from the heat of the day, or the heat coming off the stage from the outrageous funk band, who followed the incredible line-up of Sheila E., Guy, and Doug E. Fresh.

[Read more…]

Tears for Fears Launch Small Concert Tour in The United States This Month

Tears-for-Fears-Concert-Tour-2014-Live-Shows-Dates-Cities-United-States-80s-Music-FI

Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith’s English New Wave band Tears for Fears will be playing a select number of concert dates in the U.S. this month, which has caused quite a buzz among fans and anyone with a fondness for their many hit songs.  They celebrated the 30th anniversary of their classic album, The Hurting, last year, and also recorded a cover of Arcade Fire’s “Ready To Start”.  Tears for Fears will be kicking off this tour in Austin next week, following by a show in Oklahoma, a pair of shows in California (Northern and Southern), and a three-night showing at Project Pabst in Portland.  Rock Subculture Journal last reviewed Tears for Fears back in 2012. [Read more…]

Huey Lewis and The News at Mountain Winery | Saratoga, California | 9/6/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

Huey-Lewis-And-The-News-Concert-Review-2014-Photos-Setlist-Mountain-Winery-Saratoga-September-6-FI

“We don’t do this one often… this is awful fast; it’s awful hard…”  Huey Lewis of Huey Lewis and The News giving an intro and tribute to a song they rarely play live in concert, “Hip To Be Square”.  He went on to explain to the crowd at Mountain Winery in Saratoga on Saturday night that San Francisco 49ers players Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott contributed backing vocals to the song, so were performing it to support their team.  Having come off of their “Sports 30th Anniversary Tour” in 2013, they are still drawing large crowds with a mix of old and new material, which seems to change show to show.  Whatever the setlist, they seem to have a lot of contagious fun, and their shows always have a family affair sort of vibe.  As Huey introduced his band, he mentioned that he and drummer Bill Gibson even went to middle school together.  I think the spirit of all that shines through in their music (recorded and live), and it’s pretty remarkable that those relationships can endure in the music industry, when I’ve seen it completely tear other bands apart (even blood family members).  They always put on an amazing concert, and Mountain Winery always serves as an awesome host, overlooking the night lights of San Jose and Silicon Valley.

[Read more…]

80s Rewind Music Fest 2014 / Retro Futura Tour (Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey, Howard Jones, The English Beat, Katrina) at Thunder Valley Casino Resort | Lincoln, California | 8/31/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

80s-Rewind-Music-Fest-2014-Retro-Futura-Concert-Review-Photos-Thompson-Twins-Tom-Bailey-Howard-Jones-English-Beat-Thunder-Valley-FIa

The show at Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s Outdoor Amphitheater Sunday night was continuing on in WorldOne Presents’ tradition of their annual “80s Rewind Festival Music Fest”, and arrived in Lincoln, California with it’s own unique line-up and variation on the newly christened Retro Futura Tour 2014 (formerly Regeneration Tour).  With this event, the same co-headliners – Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey and Howard Jones – shared the bill, as did Katrina Leskanich (formerly of Katrina and The Waves.  But in place of Midge Ure and China Crisis was the incredible English Beat featuring Dave Wakeling.  As usual, the show took on a character all it’s own, playing out to a large and enthusiastic crowd.  I think the Katrina/English Beat/Howard Jones/Tom Bailey line-up featured artists that all have one thing in common: authentic optimism driving their music.  Of course, the modern day ’10s are not the classic ’80s, and though the music played came from the past, it could also serve as a beacon of hope for the future.  And, as with the show at Mountain Winery the night before, there seemed to be quite a reception for Tom Bailey, who stopped touring and performing live as Thompson Twins way back in 1987.  It was another exceptional performance by all of the artists, and both shows are certainly on the short list for top concerts of the year for me personally.

[Read more…]