Sarah McLachlan (Shine On Tour 2014) at Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harvey’s | Stateline, Nevada | 6/24/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“It enabled me to finish writing a bunch of these songs and create more of a positive spin.  A hopeful, hopeful spin.  This one is for my sweetie; it’s called “Brink of Destruction”…  which is not a very positive title, now that I think about it.  [laughter]  …but, I don’t know, I like it; I like the dark side…  and, you know, you walk to the edge and you look over and you go, “holy shit, do I want to jump?” and, yeah…  I always do.”  Sarah McLachlan talked about loss, and love, and new love, and like her music, it all reflects a very complex and deep feeling soul behind that soulful voice and heartfelt words.  She is probably the most gifted vocalist to emerge in the past few decades, and having an opportunity to hear her in a live venue is definitely a memorable experience.  Over the course of two hours, Sarah and her extremely talented band put on a showcase concert that hit on all cylinders – sound, lighting, audience interaction and some storytelling about some of the songs, as well as several Q&A opportunities (fans wrote down questions which she drew at random).  Truly an “evening with” performance if there ever was one.  Sarah has been writing and recording amazing songs for many years now, and her latest – Shine On – has quality that is right there with the best of it.  End to end, the event presented a kaleidoscope of feeling and emotion, and Sarah can connect with people with her music unlike anyone else – she is truly peerless on many levels, and this is definitely one of the best tours going this year.

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Rick Springfield “Stripped Down” at Yoshi’s San Francisco | San Francisco, California | 3/13/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“…I thought, ‘you know, there’s no better translator of Black American Blues than a middle-class, 16 year old Australian white child’.”  Part of Rick Springfield’s storytelling in-between songs, it was apparent early on that not only has he led an interesting life, but he has real depth as well as a self-deprecating sense of humor.  Though he is best known for that one big 80s hit (“Jessie’s Girl”) and acting on General Hospital as Dr. Noah Drake, he is a great storyteller and certainly a real artist with some great music and a knack for bringing it alive in a special way in an intimate venue.  The highlight of the night for me was his very personal rendition of “My Father’s Chair”, a song about the loss of his dad many years ago.  It’s rare to see an artist connect with such a powerful song on stage, and present such vulnerability to an audience.  This set of solo shows is definitely well worth checking out, and in many ways more compelling than the traditional, full band rock show, as Rick Springfield has a lot of storytelling in him, in both personal accounts from his life as well as his music.

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The Invisible Lighthouse – A Film and Live Performance by Thomas Dolby at Crest Theatre | Sacramento, California | 11/23/2013 (Concert Review)

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It’s a happy and a sad occasion…”  Thomas Dolby talking about his last stop at Creat Theatre in Sacramento last night, in his preface to “performing” his very personal documentary film, The Invisible Lighthouse Tour.  Really a film unlike any I’ve ever experienced, it was just that – an experience.  Dolby has been a pioneer in pop culture from his very beginnings, well known for his 1982 New Wave hit, “She Blinded Me With Science” among a number of other accomplishments in and out of music.  Dolby’s partner on the stage, Blake Leyh, produced some amazing “analog”, impressionistic sound effects during the film, which Dolby scored and narrated, which made it clear that each performance of his film has been quite unique and different.  A real pioneer in the arts, Dolby certainly has consistently blazed his own path, and after hearing his candid thoughts throughout the event, it would seem that he operates in a bit of a pop culture bubble, and looks to technology to find new ways in which to create meaningful art and vehicles for expression, and currently he is inspired by the ability today to make powerful films, sans Hollywood budgets and crews.  The result is something that literally has to be experienced in a theater, and hopefully this event is truly not the last for The Invisible Lighthouse.

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Aerosmith at Oracle Arena | Oakland, California | 8/4/2012 (Concert Review)

Epic and Legendary… in this rare instance, both words apply.  An Epic performance from a truly Legendary rock band.  Unless you’ve been stranded on a deserted island for the past 40 years, you would at least know who they are, and some of their songs, as they are often referred to as “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band”, and honestly, I can’t imagine who could give them a run for their money for that title.  In any event, just sticking with the premise of this review, these guys are just remarkable.  They are living the rock and roll dream (in spite of the music industry’s ongoing implosion – more on that in a bit), and I think they sound and perform better than ever – they just become more incredible the older that they get, and I feel age suits them, as they are elder statesmen in music, they have an incredible history, and they – and their music – is as relevant as ever.  If you get the opportunity, you must see this band.  The current set of live dates is called “The Global Warming Tour”.

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