“I’m old; I need to catch my breath…” Words from the legendary Smashing Pumpkins founder and frontman Billy Corgan during a momentary pause, about two hours into a massive set which kicked off with their newly released Oceania (also the title of this tour), played front to back and in its entirety, followed by an awesome cover of Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, and well into live performances of their many, many classic hits. I think it was more of a breath of fresh air for the fans packed onto the floor of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium last night, who had the privilege of witnessing a true rock god at the top of his game, and in contrast to most popular music acts today: sans Auto-Tune, pre-recorded backing vocals, an army of dancers, and other artificial sweeteners. Billy Corgan and his Smashing Pumpkins are legendary for their layered, sweeping guitar-based sound and his unique, soul-baring vocals delivering authentic, sometimes fairly dark lyrics and sentiments. Ever the innovator, Billy Corgan continues to turn the music industry on its head, having essentially declared the album dead about four years ago, he now rebels against not the past, but the future. A strange era in music, but the Smashing Pumpkins keep doing their own thing in spite of changes and trends, and the Oceania-based concert last night was fantastic.
Maroon 5 played a special one-off U.S. show last night at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harvey’s at Stateline, Nevada, as part of their Summer Concert Series. The band will now embark on a broad international tour for their newest album, “Overexposed”. Fronted by Adam Levine, who has further broken into the mainstream with his role as a judge on NBC’s “The Voice” and other activities, the band easily and quickly sold out the outdoor venue in South Lake Tahoe, and the audience at large were enthusiastic in their response to the show. The band put together a great set of old and new hits alike, and the generally flawless performance (save for one bug swallowed by Levine) was high energy and very impressive. The group’s funk and R&B infused pop hits really came alive on stage, and the band’s live renditions of the songs, with a bit of the polish off, came off great.
“Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Molly Hatchet could not be here tonight, but they all had sex and are proud to announce the birth of their two-headed baby, Tenacious D”. And that is how I was originally introduced to Tenacious D, back when they started out with a comedy series on HBO in 1997. I never would have imagined that I’d see the then faux band in concert some day (following several albums and a feature film). But the D on stage last night – fronted by Jack Black and Kyle Gass, as they would say, “blew our asses out” at the Fox Theater in Oakland, the second gig on their tour supporting their new album, Rize of the Fenix. [Read more…]
Powerbalance Pavilion in Sacramento hosted an incredible concert event Saturday night, with two awesome bands – The Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys. Being fans for both, I would have paid to see either one, so it was something special to have both acts on the same bill. Both rocked the stage and the packed stadium hard, but in totally different ways, with Arctic Monkeys bringing their UK style of alternative rock, and The Black Keys showcasing a more raw style of soulful rock. Collectively for about three and a half hours, it was a relentless onslaught of rock and roll, and it was freaking awesome. I was fortunate enough to take it all in from arguably the best spot in the house – center front of the GA floor in the immense area. If you are a fan of either or both these bands, I highly recommend checking out this show, should you have a chance to see them on tour. Phenomenal. [Read more…]
Last night I finally saw a band I’ve been following since their first album, but have never seen live – Florence + the Machine. I’ve always been a huge fan of their work, their unique sound, and, well, everything about them. However, they are one of those bands who turn real fans into something more than that… I really expected true musicianship and a real stellar performance, but all the same, the passion and energy that came from the stage was unreal. You don’t expect a band with a harpist to rock that hard. I was extremely fortunate to have a front row center seat, which always offers such a unique perspective and experience, and of course much of the purpose of this website and these articles is to share in these experiences (through my review and photos) and inspire people to go out and see live music. I really cannot recommend enough going to check out Florence + the Machine if you ever have the opportunity. Stellar. [Read more…]