As with my 2012 and 2013 Year in Review features, it’s always a challenge to reflect back on a year of music and summarize the highlights. Honestly, I don’t know if I will have have a year that beats 2013, which was an incredible one for me with a lot of travel as well. This year, I ended up attending 60-something shows, most with two or more artists, so hundreds of different sets of incredible talent and music. As such, I feel it is important to highlight the best of the best of the best, in an attempt to celebrate the year that was. You can also check out my Top 100 Concert Photos of 2014 in that separate article.
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.
I usually open my reviews with a quote from the headlining artist at a show… and I generally don’t care for audience sing-a-longs (I come to hear the artist, not drunk people that don’t know the lyrics). But Saturday night was a different, special sort of show with the perfect fans in attendance. Tom Bailey from the Thompson Twins hasn’t played live for over 25 years, and came out of retirement for the newly rebranded Retro Futura tour (which was previously operating as Regeneration Tour). I cannot emphasize enough how much I loved the Thompson Twins and their music growing up, and that I never imaged I would have an opportunity to see them perform live. So at Saturday night’s stop at Mountain Winery in Saratoga, following the awesome sets by Howard Jones, Midge Ure (of Ultravox) and Katrina Leskanich (Ex Katrina and the Waves), Tom Bailey and his fantastic new backing band absolutely blew away every expectation I had. It was as if, as a performer, he was in hibernation for the past quarter of a century and came out the same as he was in his prime to play this show. It was quite surreal. So getting back to that sing-a-long… the final song of the night was Thompson Twins’ “Hold Me Now” (which a friend of mine captured on video from the audience) and everyone in attendance was so elated to see that man performing in front of them. As the song came to an end, the entire audience was on their feet, singing the chorus. Tom looked moved by the whole thing, stopped singing in mic, pulled out his ear monitors, motioned for his band to join him at the end of the stage, and it all came to a close acapella. A beautiful thing, and I think a way for us fans to let him know that we still love him, love his music, and want him to stay. A perfect ending, and maybe new beginning. “Hold me now, warm my heart… stay with me, let loving start, let loving start…”
The Retro Futura Tour 2014 (renamed from prior years, previously known as Regeneration Tour) kicked off in New York City last week, and is heading westward. The tour this time around features Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey (his first time playing live in 27 years), Howard Jones (who co-headlines last year’s tour), Katrina Leskanich (Ex Katrina and the Waves), Midge Ure (from Ultravox), and China Crisis. The group will be playing The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Friday, Mountain Winery in Saratoga on Saturday, and a different line-up with The English Beat featuring Dave Wakeling (in place of Ultravox and China Crisis) will be performing at the annual 80’s Rewind Music Fest by WorldOne Presents at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln on Sunday. [Read more…]
The Mountain Winery has announced this year’s Summer Concert Series, in conjunction with AXS, all kicking off May 28th with Gary Allan and running through October 3rd with Larry The Cable Guy closing out the season. With a few pre-sales having happened this week, the general sale of tickets starts April 28th on AXS.com.
As with last year’s 2012 Year In Review, reflecting on the many shows attended in 2013 and trying to make some sense of it all was a challenge. Having attended nearly 100 events, which usually includes at least one supporting act and a headliner, as well as one 10-day festival and many multi-artist shows, I saw literally hundreds of sets. Miraculously, I can probably count on one hand the number that were “bad”, and the majority were awesome in one or more ways. Still, I feel it is important to highlight the best of the best of the best, in an attempt to celebrate an amazing year of music. You can also check out my Top 100 Concert Photos of 2013 in that separate article.
Readers of The Rock Subculture Journal know that my favorite decade of music is the 80s, so a multi-headliner concert like The Rewind Festival Featuring Regeneration Tour 2013 at Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s Outdoor Amphitheater is an event I’ve been anticipating for months. With a stellar line-up of some of my favorite artists, it was certainly a night to remember. The Regeneration Tour is in the midst of a 9-date tour across the U.S. with a final show in Mexico City, with a varying line-up as it goes along. Music fans lucky enough to attend the show in Lincoln, California last night got to see a show which included Men Without Hats, Berlin with Terri Nunn, Erasure’s Andy Bell, and Howard Jones, as well as local talent Larisa Bryski kicking things off as part of the World One Presents and 93.7 Jack FM promotion. All of the artists were in top form, the sound system was excellent, and things moved along briskly, offering a non-stop show of hits from the 80s and beyond. It was a stellar show, and definitely one to catch if you are able to with the remaining dates on the tour.
Regeneration Tour, which went through some line-up changes earlier this year, has settled it’s dates and cities with a few different configurations for different dates on the east and west coasts, closing out the tour with one show in Mexico City. Artists participating in the tour include Erasure’s Andy Bell, Howard Jones, Information Society, Berlin with Terri Nunn, A Flock of Seagulls, Men Without Hats, and Naked Eyes. The tour will feature throughout August, with the one Mexico date in early September. [Read more…]
The Mountain Winery has announced this year’s Summer Concert Series, in conjunction with AXS, all kicking off May 24th with Juanes and running through October 6th with Bonnie Raitt closing out the season. With a few pre-sales having happened this week, the general sale of tickets starts April 22nd on AXS.com.