“…hopefulness and lifting up and then deep, deep grief and then lifting up… because that seems to be the human experience right now, doesn’t it?” Tim Booth of James, part of their co-headlining tour across North America with The Psychedelic Furs this summer, with one of their last stops in Reno at the Grand Theatre at Grand Sierra Resort & Casino. When the band first came out on the stage, he commented that they had just changed up their set list in reaction to the news coming out of Texas. Both bands put on stellar shows and each seemed to have their own respective hardcore fans as the audiences seemed to change up in-between sets. I really enjoyed seeing James for the first time and The Psychedelic Furs play at one of my favorite venues with a massive stage and stellar lighting.
As with my 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Year in Review features, this article looks back on a year of music with a summary of the highlights. This is my attempt to (subjectively) share my favorites of the year, from live shows to new songs and albums. You can also check out my Top 100 Concert Photos of 2018 in that separate article.
“Can’t believe it’s been, I don’t know, one or two decades since we’ve been able to tour the States extensively… we count our blessings. I can tell already we’ll all have a great time tonight. We know that people have traveled from all around to come here tonight, so we really appreciate that as well. I should tell you that, because we don’t get to come here… because we haven’t been able to come here as much as we would have like – would have loved – we’re going to go the extra mile tonight.” Jim Kerr, front man and vocalist of Simple Minds at the Grand Theatre at Grand Sierra Resort & Casino on Saturday night, before a crowd that was on it’s feet for two full sets from the band. Simple Minds – led by Kerr and co-founder and guitarist Charlie Burchill – have been recording and performing for 40 years. And they show no signs of slowing down (and after seeing them live, I imagine that going “the extra mile” is a way of life for them). Incredible music – old and new – stunning work on guitar by Burchill, and that voice of Kerr’s… still absolutely captivating. The duo have an amazing band and this is one concert I will never forget. Highest recommendation to get out to see this band in a very rare North American tour. It was a transcendent experience.
Oingo Boingo Dance Party concerts are happening throughout California in the month of October, with a final Halloween show taking place at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. I was lucky enough to catch their tour last year and the show at Thunder Valley Casino Resort (where they will be returning to on October 26th) was one of my favorite shows of 2017. If you are a fan and the band and the music, it is one of the best live concert experiences around, as the original members of the band keep the spirit of what they created alive still today. [Read more…]
“I guess the 80’s is the best thing around…” Mike Score of A Flock of Seagulls, putting things in simple terms before the massive crowd at the joint presentation of Rewind | Lost 80’s Live ’18 concert event at Thunder Valley Outdoor Amphitheater on Sunday night. Known for it’s rotating series of artists who made significant marks on the music scene throughout the 80’s, each year the show presents a unique concert going experience. The line-up this time around featured A Flock of Seagulls, Mickey Thomas from Starship, Wang Chung, Dale Bozzio from Missing Persons, Animotion, Farrington and Mann from When In Rome, and Annabella Lwin from Bow Wow Wow. [Read more…]
“We have to love one another. We can always find a way. We can always find a way”. Ziggy Marley at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Grass Valley on Sunday night, before a crowd of people that seemed to be very receptive to his messages and ideas shared throughout his set. Playing in support of his latest album, Rebellion Rises, Ziggy Marley brought a message that seems to run counter to the general vibe that we encounter day to day in the U.S., which I found both refreshing and timeless. He is all about positivity and the power behind everything that is about, rather than the current climate permeating social media and the news that is more about dividing and judging one another and being intolerant. Personally, I would choose to stand beside Ziggy Marley and celebrate his music and his message of coming together with one another, and I think that would hold true for the fans in attendance at this concert. The show was excellent and I am really enjoying the new music, which mixes together well with his massive catalog of work as well as the handful of covers done in tribute to his father’s work as well. Really a fantastic experience and nice escape from the day to day negativity found out in the “real” (and not so real) world. This is definitely a tour to come out to see if it is headed to a city near you in the next couple of months.
“This next song I’ve been singing since I first came to the USA many years ago… it still means a great deal to me. It’s called Kings of the Wild Frontier.” Adam Ant with his amazing band, in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Silver Legacy Resort Casino’s Grande Exposition Hall in Reno, Nevada. Performing artists say things like that all the time, and a jaded concert-goer might consider it mere banter in-between songs. Not so, with Adam Ant. After performing that song on Saturday night – originally released early in the New Wave era way back in 1980 – Adam Ant paused for a moment as the heartfelt accolades of the fans in the room showered over him. For some reason, I happened to capture the moment in video on my iPhone from the video screen off to the side (iPhone video snippet here), and at the time and in review again going through my notes and videos I took another look and Adam Ant has so much emotion and gratitude on his face at that moment that it’s genuinely moving to, well, feel him “feel”. He brings so much to the stage with his concert and presumably touring in general these days that I felt so fortunate to just be part of this incredible show that brings his latest North American tour to an end. It’s definitely may favorite show of 2018 thus far, and I can’t imagine anything besting the experience. Truly an icon of music and pop culture for my generation, and I firmly believe his live shows today are the best he’s ever given his fans.
“Foreigner has just passed our 40th anniversary… Four zero… that’s a big deal!” Kelly Hansen at Ironstone Amphitheatre in Murphys on Sunday night, the third lead singer of Foreigner over the course of the past four decades. The evening served as a celebration of a wide variety of music and genres, with performances by Foreigner, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening, and Queensrÿche. [Read more…]
After much success touring in 2017, Adam Ant will be bringing his “ANTHEMS: The Singles Tour” back to the U.S. starting this Friday in New Jersey. On this set of selected dates, it is expected that fans will be treated to the best singles including classics and B-sides as well as rarities and personal favorites. On tour supporting Adam Ant are the all-female band Glam Skanks. [photo above by Dave Newbold, provided by Adam Ant management] [Read more…]
The new tour for 2018 with Psychedelic Furs launches tomorrow at the Pleasantville Music Festival in New York, and then heads west with shows in Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington and Utah through the rest of July. The English post punk/New Wave band is one of my favorite live acts, and they did not disappoint with their Singles Tour last year. Definitely one of the tours to catch up with in 2018. [Read more…]