“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.
When Depeche Mode announced the North American dates and cities for their Delta Machine Tour, I immediately identified the one at Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort as the one to go to, since I was familiar with the (relatively) small and intimate venue from past shows, and it was one of just a few in the United States with a general admission standing floor area in front of the stage. Having seen them five times overseas earlier this year, I had become spoiled with standing right in front of the stage, so that has become a must for me in experiencing my favorite band. With the show last night, I certainly wasn’t disappointed, and I suspect most to all in the crowd felt the same, as Vegas is one of those rare cities that pull fans from not only all over the U.S., but all over the world. It was quite a celebration for not only the audience, but seemingly the band as well, who were quite jubilant throughout the performance, which clocked in at about two hours (there was no supporting act at this date). For me, being surrounded by friends who also traveled from California for this show, it was the perfect way to close out an amazing year of live music by the band who have in many ways impacted my life with their art, particularly in my formative years throughout the 80s. [Read more…]
“We were just having a conversation back stage – I’m not fucking with you – best Vegas show ever!” A sentiment expressed by Karen O, upon returning to the stage for the encore, leading out with “Zero”. I think many of the fans in attendance for the show were in agreement. Las Vegas seemed to be a well-suited city to host Yeah Yeah Yeahs Saturday night as they hit a handful of U.S. venues as well as headlining Coachella appearances supporting their fourth studio album, Mosquito, due out this week. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, fronted by Karen O, share much with Vegas… both exhibiting glitzy style, extroverted personality, edgy sensibility, and non-conformist attitudes. Atop the fourth floor of the Cosmopolitan, at their Boulevard Pool concert venue overlooking the Strip as well as other sights, such as the faux Eiffel Tower at the Paris resort, the band played through old and new material in the open air concert space, broadcast to the packed house as well as anyone down on the Strip who cared to watch on the giant video screen to the side of the stage. Blown up on the billboard-sized screen, Karen O put on his own waterworks show – taking large swigs of water and spitting it into the air – that rivaled anything that the stuffier Bellagio might offer with their famous water feature attraction outside of the hotel. Book ended by their two weekend Coachella appearances, I was thrilled to see the band do their thing away from the massive music festival, and based on the reaction of the audience at the Cosmo, I was not alone in those feelings.
“Because we’re sentimental folks, and we like symmetry, and we like to tie things up. And we like to make amends, and we love to give thanks. So thank you for being here tonight.” Shirley Manson from Garbage opened up to the fans in attendance at The Pearl Concert Theater at The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas last night, as the concert marked their return back to where it all started one year ago, and thus the U.S. leg of their world tour came to an end last night with a mix of mutual heartfelt emotion and gratitude from the stage and from the audience as well. The band has come a long way in the past year, and comparing the show at the same venue in April 2012 to the one put on last night, they have certainly matured as a live act, but it is more than obvious the bonds between the band members as well as between them and their fans has strengthened tremendously. It was an incredible show, and for me at least, is a frontrunner for concert of the year. They will be missed, but are going back to create a new album, and I’m certain that when they return it will open up a new journey for the group that we can all then become a part of again.
This is probably the first and last concert in which I will have seen and heard two of my three all-time favorite songs performed live at the same show – New Order’s “Blue Monday”, and “How Soon Is Now?” by original guitarist and co-songwriter for The Smiths, Johnny Marr. If only Depeche Mode were on hand to play “Never Let Me Down Again”, I would have had all three. Obviously, the rare combination of Johnny Marr and New Order playing on the same bill made for an incredible night of music at The Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Though they never shared the stage at the same time, it was a show that celebrated some of the most significant and influential players in music in the past three decades. Johnny Marr’s first solo record, The Messenger, came out earlier this year to great critical reception, and his set included a mix of the new work as well as a few songs from The Smiths, Electronic number, and one cover. New Order changed things up a bit since their tour last year, playing “World (The Price of Love)” live for the first time and closed out with an encore of three Joy Division songs.
The Black Keys played the first of two special New Year’s Eve show at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino last night, and delivered the special mix of garage/blues/indie rock to what appeared to be a sold out crowd in the Las Vegas venue. Having seen them earlier this year at Sleep Train Arena, which was a phenomenal show, I knew what to expect but was still blown away by the brilliance of this drums and guitar duo, who played through old and new material, including hits from one of 2011’s best albums, El Camino. On a personal note, as my 58th concert of the year, I can’t imagine a better way to close out an incredible year of live music. The Black Keys have no other purpose on stage other than to put on a rocking show and get their fans jumping with authentic rock and roll.
“I would kind of skim through and look at the influences that they had, you know… if it was Megadeath, nothing against Megadeath, it just wasn’t gonna be the guy that I was gonna call…” As per tradition, The Killers front man Brandon Flowers reminisces about the fortuitous twist of fate in his life which lead to his musical partnership with guitarist Dave Keuning in the City Life section of their local Las Vegas Weekly more than a decade ago, though I’m not really sure if it is a tradition for the benefit of the audience or his own grounding in life. Regardless, the audience in the second and final night of the sold out show at the 4,000 capacity Chelsea Ballroom at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas were treated to an amazing show by the home town band that reimagined an 80s New Wave sound over a decade ago with great success. Maybe his now traditional on stage retelling of the anecdote is more out of tribute to the happenstance from which this music and their careers were born rather than being insightful, as the crowd was heavy with hardcore, long-time fans of the band, who traveled for this show from all over the U.S., and even overseas to see what was for me, and some I talked with after the show, the best show that the band has put on… a really great night with a perfect mix of old and new material that pushed the show well into the next day on this special New Year’s Eve weekend.
In a perfect world, Metric would represent the future of music. But we don’t live in a perfect world, of course, but all the same, we have Metric and their music, and with my first experience seeing them live, it reaffirms my belief that there is tremendous talent in the music industry among some relatively newer bands (though Metric is five studio albums in, they still feel relatively fresh and new). Metric’s latest album, Synthetica, is one of my favorite new albums of the year, and most of it was played at the House of Blues Las Vegas last night. They make brilliant music that wants to be free – that wants to be played live – and they delivered with the fans in attendance last night, though talking with them, they came from not only all over the U.S. but outside of it as well. People who have discovered this band a really dedicated to experiencing their live shows, and having been to one now myself, I can understand why.
So. A classic album with heart and soul. Last night Peter Gabriel played the PH Live at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to the nearly filled 7,000 seat venue as part of his ‘Back to Front’ tour, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of his classic album, So. In fact, the full So album was played as the third part of a concert running well over two hours, with the first two parts comprising music from other works. It was definitely a dream concert for fans of the legendary artist, and he did not disappoint; his voice, to my ears, sounded better than ever. In this day and age when albums as a musical framework unfortunately means less and less, it was something special to be part of this show celebrating the album that gave Mr. Gabriel his real mainstream success and identity as an innovative and ground-breaking solo artist.
GROUPLOVE is one of those bands that, I think, will take a bit of hindsight to figure out… maybe a decade from now, in that their talent, earnestness, and originality seems boundless. They are definitely doing their own thing, and in these somewhat darker times with people facing a lot of struggles and challenges, their unique and incredibly upbeat music is truly a breath of fresh, sweet air. While they appear quite Earthy and friendly in appearance, and those familiar with the hits they’ve generated that have gotten the most airplay and attention may expect them to be a bit more quiet and acoustic-driven, by the end of their hour and a half long set atop a rooftop along the Las Vegas strip, they were completely rocking The Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan. Though only formed a couple of years ago, this band is going places, and it is definitely a journey on which their growing fans are happy to accompany them.