“Halloween is so brilliant though, isn’t it? ‘Cause everyone can dress up; be what they want to do… nobody is like judging you at all for how you look or anything or what you’re doing or who you’re with, blah, blah, blah …” Andy Bell of Erasure on Halloween at the Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Certainly an interesting combination of band, date, and city to be sure. As the more extroverted of the duo, Andy came dressed in a sort of skeleton costume with accompanying face paint that has some resemblance to the cover art of their latest album; Vince Clarke, set back from the front of the stage and back to one corner, I don’t think said anything all night, and was dressed in more business-style attire (though he had the aforementioned art one his laptop lid. However the two contrasting personalities found one another for their journey into music that has gone on for nearly three decades, the magic worked in the beginning and continues to do so today. This was definitely an interesting (in a great way!) night on many levels. I had an opportunity to meet Vince Clarke and Andy Bell from Erasure via the special tickets made available through their PledgeMusic campaign for that newest latest album, The Violet Flame. The aptly named Violet Flame Tour included a number of those new songs mixed into the set, as well as a lot of their many, many hits and favorites. I got the sense that it was a different sort of show for this series of shows, and I’m happy that I got a chance to experience this new music and tour.
This is off topic from music, but I thought some readers might enjoy… During my coverage for The Original Prop Blog at San Diego Comic Con last week, the one “must see” discussion panel for me was the one that came about from the Blake J. Harris book, Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation. Panelists included Sega of America’s former President Tom Kalinske, and former Director of Marketing Al Nilsen, as well as Nintendo of America’s former Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Affairs Perrin Kaplan and former Director of Marketing Bill White. [Read more…]
“He had all these things there… Sandman comics… things like that…” Tori Amos, coincidentally playing in San Diego during Comic Con week, reminiscing about her brother (who was in attendance) back in the day, and the inspiration for her song, “Flying Dutchman”, which was third up on her phenomenal setlist at Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay. This was my second show seeing the “Unrepentant Geraldines Tour” (having seen the show in Oakland on Monday night at the Paramount Theatre). As with that show, Tori is ever full of surprises, and the two shows were completely different on many levels. The most obvious being the venues, with the indoor, ornate, classy and historical Paramount Theatre having a certain sophistication, while the outdoor Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay is more relaxed, with the unmistakable coastal air and open feeling sitting out under the stars. With the setlists from the respective shows sharing only three songs (opening with “Parasol”, closing with “Cornflake Girl” and having “16 Shades of Blue” in their encores), it was two very different shows in terms of the music as well. The show in San Diego was at least to some degree a celebration of “Under the Pink”, as it was highly represented in the song choice. I loved both shows, but I’d have to say – for me – my love for Oakland’s was on more of an intellectual level, while San Diego’s was because she played more of the songs I truly love (and if I had to pick any one song for her to play, it would be “Bliss”, and she totally killed it on stage at Humprey’s. One of those rare artists that has the ability to completely change up her show night to night, this is definitely one of the best tours of 2014.
“So this is one of your requests… I’ll see if we got this right.” Tori Amos in the “Lizard Lounge” section of her performance at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland last night, wherein on this “Unrepentant Geraldines Tour” she does a few covers suggested by fans. With Monday night’s show, the first was a kind of dark rendition of the Calvin Harris and Rihanna electro-house hit song, “We Found Love”. What? Tori Amos doing “We Found Love”? Yeah, I know the song well, but it took my thought process a few seconds to catch up with the familiar lyrics played out in such a different manner. As I settled into that incredible collision of techno pop and, well, however you might categorize what it is that Tori does, when she does her thing… I started imagining what might be the most amazing cover to hear from her following that. Immediately, I thought of “Tiny Dancer” (it has a special connection with my fiancé and I, and she was seated next to me in the orchestra pit for her first Tori concert)… So after finishing “We Found Love” on her electric keyboard, Tori spun around and found her way to the deeper keys on her Bösendorfer piano and started into the classic Elton John tune. I’ve seen, I would guess, thousands of artists live in concert – that was the first time I’d felt that maybe one read my mind. Very surreal moment, and maybe the coolest moment for me at any Tori Amos concert (and I’ve been to my fair share). She was certainly full of surprises last night, as a fan might see simply from taking a look at the set list, which had songs from her latest, Unrepentant Geraldines, going all the way back to her failed synthpop band, Y Kant Tori Read. With the new album and this current tour, Tori has certainly hit her stride both in the studio and on the road, and she’s always been one of those rare artists that is a master at both.
Legendary singer-songwriter Tori Amos has announced her U.S. dates for 2014’s world tour supporting the May 13th release of her 14th studio album, Unrepentant Geraldines. She will cross the United States throughout July and August. Fans can gain access to a special pre-sale of all dates and venues by pre-ordering the new album (in CD, CD/DVD, and vinyl formats) on a special site. [Read more…]
“Joy is not supposed to… it’s never meant to be this seamless stream of happiness, you know? Joy happens in moments, in little minutes, in little capsules of time…” Alison Moyet, talking about the ideas and themes and inspiration behind her latest studio album, The Minutes. As I gushed about in my preview last month of this very special three date, three city stop in the United States by New Wave icon Alison Moyet, she has been one of my all-time favorite vocalists, so I had really high expectations for this concert. I expected it to be a highlight among the approximate 100 concerts I’ll have attended by the end of the year. Remarkably, my expectations were exceeded in every way. Truly a fantastic concert and I know from being within the crowd of fans that I am not alone in my assessment. She was joined on stage by band members John Garden and Sean McGhee, and there were ample songs from her latest album (in my opinion maybe her best solo record of her career) as well as favorites going all the way back to her beginnings with Vince Clarke with whom she partnered with for Yazoo (Yaz in the U.S.). It is too bad for the masses here in the States that this must-see show is limited to just San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, but if you have a chance to catch one of the other two upcoming dates, it is well worth it. A phenomenal and unforgettable show by one of the most gifted singer-songwriters of my generation.
Day 9 of Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland… it was the final one for the incredible series of a wide-ranging line-up of artist from a variety of music genres that drew thousands upon thousands to the resort area in the Swiss Alps. The themes for the final night, which drew one of the largest and most energetic crowds, was rap music and, well, a marijuana culture. I would have to rate the night near the top as far as high performance and crowd enthusiasm go, regardless of how one might feel about either of those things, as the artists collectively put out more energy than probably any other night’s show – they were each really amazing in their own ways, and gave fans what they wanted as well as probably cultivated some new ones for themselves. Really impressive stuff.
Day 8 of Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland… as the event approached its final two days Friday night, those in attendance seemed to have a desire to keep the party going, as Mika drew the largest crowd to date, not only filling the vast airline hanger-like space of The Moon, but overfilling the standing room only space in front of the stage. The popular British singer-songwriter drew such a crowd people were spilling out, standing watching from the hallway space in-between The Moon and The Tube, and was far and away the largest crowd pulled in thus far for the 9-day festival. The more pop-oriented line-up also included rising star Nadine Carina, local pop/folk singer Célien Schneider, and the ever versatile and classy Nelly Furtado, who put in one of my favorite shows of the past week.
Day 7 of Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland… Definitely one of the strongest nights for performances, if not the strongest overall, with a really unique and stellar line-up including The Heavy, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Alice Cooper. The theme tonight was rock and roll (though in a variety of different packages), and it was really like a triple headliner. I also had the unique opportunity to meet with and interview two of the four bands that took to the stage at The Moon at Caprices.
Day 6 of Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland was unfortunately one of disappointment for all involved, as headliner The Killers were not able to make to to play their set due to weather conditions. I was really looking forward to seeing them again after their epic show in their hometown of Las Vegas that closed out 2012. The rest of the line up for the evening was present, and this included many, many acts, of which I viewed four in whole or part, including the headliner by default The Spinto Band, 2ManyDJs, SebastiAn, and March. It was a high energy night for both rock and DJ/electronic music.