The Go-Go’s and the Psychedelic Furs closed out my own personally selected Summer concert series at the always awesome Mountain Winery last night and I can’t imagine a better send off, with two classic and important 80s bands in top form playing their many hits, back to back. A bit of a contrast in styles (though both bands, in their own ways, were a result of and reaction to the 70s punk movement), it was very much a celebration of the wide ranging and innovation music born during my favorite decade. The Furs opened with what I would characterize as the best live performance I’ve seen from them, and the Go-Go’s closed it out with a fun and energetic set that felt very warm and personalized for the audience. A great night hosted by two stellar bands, and I feel fortunate to have had a chance to be part of it.
“I am not perfect. But I’m perfect for you.” This was a sentiment expressed by Huey Lewis early on in his performance with Huey Lewis and the News at Mountain Winery last night, which was a reference to the fact that this was a make-up show for one that was canceled about a month ago. A Bay Area native, the band certainly put in a lot of “heart and soul” into producing a very special concert last night, playing through many of their hits and going the extra mile to bring their special brand of rock and roll to the stage. It was a great show put on by this classic band that helped to define the 80s while mostly defying the sound of their peers with a musical identity all their own. As one might expect, they put on a classy, positive, high energy show in Saratoga last night.
An ongoing personal tradition of mine, I have made a commitment to try to see Daryl Hall and John Oates perform live every year, preferably at my favorite venue – Mountain Winery in Saratoga – and am happy to have been a part of that event again last night. As readers of the Rock Subculture Journal would likely surmise, music from the 80s is the foundation for my love of popular music, and among all those wonderful artists that were highly prolific in those times, I would personally rate Hall and Oates among the very top. Billboard Magazine rates them as the number one duo of all time for very good reason – they are simply brilliant songwriters, and have published seemingly endless hits, and their live shows are some of the best I’ve experienced. Last night I had a great vantage point from which to take it all in.
Roxette played the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco last night, and more than delivered with their unique brand of rock infused pop to an eager audience, the majority of which appeared to be made up of truly hardcore fans of the Swedish band front by the duo of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle. High energy, enthusiasm, and joy emanated from the stage as the band played through a set framed by their many international hits, having sold over 60 million records worldwide. The fact that they were able to break out so big back in 1989 is a testament to their incredible songwriting skills, and having had four number one hits in the U.S. and nineteen Top 40 hits in the UK illustrates their ability to craft really catchy and hooky tunes that appeal to fans of music the world over. More impressive is that they were able to break out globally back when artists were completely reliant on record labels and radio stations to be heard, long predating the ubiquitous nature of the Internet and all the opportunity it has brought to the masses since those days. All that aside, they are a band that really need to be experienced live to fully appreciate their music, as their performance was stellar.
Last night, Mountain Winery in Saratoga played host to a true co-headlining concert, with the two artists – Blondie and Devo – alternating opening and closing duties, date-to-date, as this joint tour gets underway, having kicked off just this week. The show was mixed overall, with Blondie putting on a stellar performance in her opening slot and Devo powering through some technical glitches that diminished their quite obvious intent to provide some serious fan service. Overall, it was a great night of 80s nostalgia for those in attendance. Both artists brought their very unique styles and presence to the stage, and overall it was a great opportunity to experience two very different performances.
Duran Duran kicked off their North American tour this week with two back-to-back dates at my favorite venue, Mountain Winery in Saratoga, California. I was fortunate enough to attend the second date on August 9th. Duran Duran is one of my all-time favorite bands, and it was just an amazing night, with an incredible set that stretched two hours and kept the audience on their feet and singing and chanting along to favorites, old and new alike, as soon as they came out onto the stage. [Read more…]
Last night Seal put on an incredible performance at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay in San Diego. Stunning voice, amazing performance, he really filled the smaller, intimate, outdoor venue with life. Beautiful songs (both his own and a few covers of classic material) and real, true emotion on full display. Seal is an artist that sings from the heart, and I can’t imagine him being any other way, especially after having had the privilege of spending a good amount of time with him and a small group later, after the concert. He is really singular in the field of music, and if he could not sing, after spending around 40 minutes hearing him open up to us about his thoughts and feelings on a few different subjects – talking with strangers as though they were old, close friends – if he could not sing, I would still remain a huge fan of Seal the man. He is undoubtedly a person to look up to, who lives life with a great deal of introspection, honesty, and modesty. Overall, the night was an unforgettable experience, and I feel so, so fortunate to have been a part of it.
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”.
The Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium hosted last night’s concert performance by Tears for Fears. It doesn’t get much better than a set that opens with “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, closes with “Head Over Heels”, and finishes an encore with “Shout”. Some of the most classic songs of the 80s, and the band looks and sounds as great as ever. It was a fantastic evening with an awesome set that spanned their catalog and reflected the real diversity of their work. Truly one of best songwriting teams that helped define the 80s. A fantastic evening and true thrill to see them perform live, and in top form. The songs never sounded better.
As part of their Summer Concert Series, Harvey’s hosted an incredible night of music at their Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena on Sunday, July 22nd. The concert featured Journey as headliner, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, and Loverboy. Truly an amazing line-up particularly for fans of 80s music, as all three had many hits during that decade, though their works of course span multiple decades, and their popularity has been ongoing. It’s hard to summarize what was an amazing show in a couple of lines to open this review, but it was just an unforgettable evening, even for someone like me that regularly goes to many, many concert events. Really, it was one of the best. [Read more…]