This is part of a continuing series of my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts while traveling to attend concerts worldwide. This stay was during my recent trip to San Diego in January 2014. This review is for Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn & Suites in San Diego, California. [Read more...]
The Invisible Lighthouse – A Film and Live Performance by Thomas Dolby at Crest Theatre | Sacramento, California | 11/23/2013 (Concert Review)
“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.
Whodini, Kurtis Blow, and Rob Base (V101′s Hip Hop Halloween House Party 2013) at Thunder Valley Casino Resort | Lincoln, California | 10/25/2013 (Concert Review)
Last night was all about old school hip hop legends, with Whodini, Kurtis Blow, and Rob Base each taking the stage during V101′s Hip Hop Halloween House Party at Pano Hall inside Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln. Pioneers in what has since become a wildly popular genre of music, it was a celebration of the artists who built the foundation of hip hop, with respect paid to many of their peers who were not part of the concert, by way of mention and covers. It made for an interesting and unpredictable night of music, with legend Kurtis Blow doing his own music, like “The Breaks” (the first gold certified rap song back in 1980) as well as some unexpected works from others that followed many years later, like House of Pain’s “Jump Around”. Hip Hop has obviously changed tremendously in the past three decades, but those in attendance last night, I think, appreciate that it was probably at its best in those early years, and it is gratifying to have seen these artists do their thing on stage last night in a relatively intimate atmosphere with a great crowd, some of whom also took to the stage throughout the show.
V101′s Old School Funk Fest 2013 (The Brothers Johnson, Midnight Star, The Dazz Band, and Sinbad) at Thunder Valley Casino Resort | Lincoln, California | 9/7/2013 (Concert Review)
“You can’t be what this is…” Part of comedian Sinbad’s introduction of The Brothers Johnson, headliners of V101′s Old School Funk Fest 2013. The legendary American Funk and R&B group took to the stage after Midnight Star and The Dazz Band through down the bass-driven hits for a few hours leading up to George “Lightnin’ Licks” Johnson and Louis E. “Thunder Thumbs” Johnson rocked Thunder Valley’s Outdoor Amphitheater with classics like “Strawberry Letter 23″, “Stomp!”, and “I’ll Be Good To You”, to the thrill of the sold out crowd at the World One Presents production. It was definitely an evening of sublime entertainment with groups that unfortunately don’t perform on stage much too often these days, though their old school sound definitely is a reminder of a lot of what is missing in music today in many respects.
“Hey Gina, did you play your brother’s 78s?” The Go-Go’s bass player Jane Wiedlin giving their drummer a hard time as Gina tried to give a preface to their stellar cover of the Rolling Stone’s hit “Paint it Black” by talking about how when you were a kid you would borrow your older brother or sister’s “records or CDs or whatever“. Like co-headliner The B-52s, both bands brought a combination of rock and good fun on stage at Mountain Winery in Saratoga last night, and even shared the stage for one song, contributing to the intimate, party-like atmosphere. I’ve seen both bands in the past 12 months, but it was something special to be treated to their respective New Wave sound on the same night. It was also kind of neat to see members of each band watching each others’ sets from side stage (like Belinda Carlisle fully immersed in The B-52s show and Kate Pierson taking in The Go-Go’s performance). Maybe the combination gave special energy all around, as each put on the best show I’ve seen from either band, so it was a pretty amazing night celebrating some of the best songs from my personal favorite era of music.
The Go-Go’s and The B-52s started touring North America this month, and lucky fans in certain cities will be treated to co-headlining shows featuring both bands. Each innovators in their own right, the groups each have innumerable hits from the past three decades. While both have their own distinct sound of New Wave and pop rock, most of the songs are high energy and positive, and together I imagine create quite a party atmosphere. [Read more...]
Jewel “Greatest Hits Tour” at Ovations LIVE! Showroom, Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino | Chandler, Arizona | 6/8/2013 (Concert Review)
“I’ve been losing my voice, so I’m probably going to be singing a lot of sweet, falsetto songs tonight. I apologize for not being able to do more of my trademark growling and Janis Joplin screaming that I’m so famous for… but I’ll do what I can.” A few songs into her set, how singer-songwriter Jewel framed her performance at Ovations LIVE! at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino last night in Chandler, Arizona, well into her “Greatest Hits Tour”. Having had an opportunity to meet her backstage before the show, where conversation was limited to whispering, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. Amazingly, sitting in the audience, you would never have any idea that she was having any issues at all, as she put on an incredible showcase performance, reflective of her place in the music world as one of our most gifted vocalists in popular music today, with range, versatility, and emotion bursting out of every song. Having penned over 500 songs, later in the show Jewel mentioned that no two shows are ever the same, yet in addition to the music she provided some personal insights into her life and journey in music, both of which seem forever intertwined. It was really a fantastic evening, and her (mostly) solo, all acoustic show is definitely a must see in live music today.
Metric Continues ‘Synthetica’ Tour with Coachella Appearances and Headlining Dates in U.S. and Canada
Metric has thus far this year plotted out dates through June, with appearances at Coachella as well as their own headlining shows in and around the United States. Having covered two of their shows last year, they are really a must see band with amazing music and songs from their latest studio album, Synthetica, get a lot of play on this tour. [Read more...]
Visit & Tour of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas (Music Memorabilia Collection Photos & Pictorial)
In my recent trip to Las Vegas to cover concerts, I visited the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino as “The Joint” – their official concert venue – is inside the resort. The Hard Rock is world famous for their collection of music and rock and roll memorabilia, and the displays within this location is the most impressive I’ve seen. [Read more...]
Last month I had an opportunity to check out the Hard Rock Cafe Maui in Old Lahaina Town. During the visit, I took some photos of the music memorabilia on display to share in this article.
“Not So Silent Night” by Live 105 (Night 2, #NSSN) at Oracle Arena | Oakland, California | 12/8/2012 (Concert Review)
As noted yesterday, Not So Silent Night (NSSN) is Live 105′s “Annual Holiday Rock Show”, with 2012 being the first year it spans two consecutive nights. This second night featured headliner The Killers, along with M83, Passion Pit, Tegan and Sara, GROUPLOVE, and Imagine Dragons. Again, I was very, very impressed at how extremely well managed this multi-artist event was on both nights. Oracle Arena again served as host to six amazing acts in about seven hours time, with very brief breaks in-between. I found the two night show to be such a great event to attend, to have an opportunity to see so many great bands back to back, with a stellar closing set by The Killers.