“Two words to introduce this next song! Two words! Two words to introduce this next song! Two words to introduce this next song!” Billy Idol getting the sold out crowd of nearly 3,000 screaming, fist pumping fans shouting “Rebel Yell” at the opening night of Grand Sierra Resort’s new Grand Theatre. I can’t imagine a better way to launch a high end new concert venue than having none other than Billy Idol kicking off a new tour of his own on the vast stage built on the $10 million dollar renovation of the live music space. Billy Idol has been building on his own career and accomplishments of late, with 2014’s awesome new album Kings & Queens of the Underground (the first in nine years) and bestselling Dancing With Myself autobiography. In the midst of a resurgent mainstream interest in all things Billy Idol, he seems to be as popular as ever. Alongside his incredible band, they’ve put together probably their best live show ever with this tour. It also clocked in as the longest show I’ve seen, at around two hours. I’ve always noted this band as one of my all-time favorite live shows, and I’d have to say that this was the best I’d ever seen them. I’ve always complimented Idol on his boundless and limitless energy and he seems to have reached a new high with this show and tour. He is at once an icon and an enigma, as he continues to evolve his style while retraining his trademark lip curl and tongue in cheek uncensored gestures, looks, and poses. And one can’t neglect to mention Mr. Steve Stevens on lead guitar, who could put the audience in a trance even if he stood alone on the stage – one of the best guitarists performing today, if not the very best. If you haven’t been to a Billy Idol concert lately, you haven’t seen him and his band at all, as they are better than they’ve ever been, and that is saying a lot.
Depeche Mode has been my favorite band since Black Celebration came out, so when I came across the new of this special DJ set show at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club in Santa Barbara, I was excited for an opportunity to see the man behind some of my all-time favorite songs express himself in a completely different setting. Part of SOhO’s 20th Anniversary Fundraising Show Series, it did not disappoint. Martin Gore played his unique style of live music for around two hours. It was amazing to see the man at work, and being close enough to see his own facial expressions reacting to his own music.
In a few weeks, U2 will be kicking off their first indoor arena tour in over a decade, in support of last year’s Songs of Innocence. The iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour will take U2 to 20 cities worldwide for 70 concerts over the next six months, with multiple dates in each city (from two to eight), running through November. Special shows are reportedly being planned for Dublin fat the end of the year to benefit the U2-initiated Music Generation project. [Read more…]
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…]
I don’t go to very many hip hop/rap shows, but loved the artists that got their start (and really got that genre of music into the mainstream) in the 80s. My first ever concert, at the age of 14, was Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, and Ice-T at Cal Expo in Sacramento in 1987. So when I heard about this “Kings of the Mic Tour” earlier this year, and that it was headlined by LL Cool J, it was a must see concert for me. Unfortunately, the Bay Area show conflicted with other travel plans, but a date was added onto the end of the tour in Los Angeles at the Greek Theatre, so I knew that was the one to catch. I am certainly glad that I did attend that specific show Sunday night, as it seemed to be a special one on all counts (and clocked in at over four hours of nearly non-stop entertainment). However, the highlight for me took me back to that very first concert experience I ever had, as there was a special surprise guest… toward the end of the last set, Darryl McDaniels (from Run-DMC) joined LL Cool J on stage, and the two performed “Peter Piper”, which was amazing. Stunning for me, really. Overall, it was a very impressive and high energy show from start to finish by all artists involved, and it definitely left me feeling that I need to catch more old school hip hop shows, though I think the bar was set very high by this last stop on the Kings of the Mic Tour.
Last night’s Depeche Mode concert was the last for me, representing the fifth show in the past two weeks. The second of two concerts back-to-back at the O2 Arena in London, as with the night before, I elected to take a spot in the front row center at the end of the catwalk extending into the vast general admission standing floor. Waiting for the band to come out, it was a bit of déjà vu, but it turned out to be anything but… with the prior four shows, the set list was exactly the same at Bratislava, Slovakia’s Štadión Pasienky, Zagreb, Croatia’s Zagreb Arena, Budapest, Hungary’s Puskás Ferenc Stadion, and the prior night’s show at London, England’s O2 Arena. The signal that last night’s gig had something different in store was the familiar sound of distorted guitar feedback that marked the opening of Depeche Mode’s “In Your Room”, which opened into the awesome Zepyhr Mix version of the song. A friend of mine from California also turned out for the two O2 shows, and we turned to each other at the same time with a “holy shit!” expression on our faces. We knew at that point we were going to be treated to an amazing – and unpredictable – show put on by my favorite band on Earth, and they did not disappoint. An epic conclusion to an amazing personal (and literal) journey with the band and their music over the past two weeks, spanning a number of countries all over Europe and coming to a close in their home of England.
“Welcome To My World” – the song Depeche Mode has been using to kick off each gig for the European leg of their Delta Machine World Tour – took on a whole different meaning for me tonight as I had an opportunity to see Depeche Mode play in their native home country of England. Playing two shows back-to-back at The O2 Arena in London, this marks my fourth consecutive Depeche Mode show in the past two weeks (having seen them previously at Bratislava, Slovakia’s Štadión Pasienky, Zagreb, Croatia’s Zagreb Arena and Budapest, Hungary’s Puskás Ferenc Stadion. Surprisingly, though the set list has not changed show to show, the concerts themselves have all been pretty different from one another, and completely different experiences on a personal level to be sure. One thing I didn’t expect with the London shows was that what seemed like a majority of the concert goers (close to stage on the floor at least) were not from England, but other countries, so it was quite a multicultural affair. I’ve also made a concerted effort to change my own point of view – literally – with each show, and with this first O2 gig planted myself at the foot of the catwalk that extends out into the audience (and is much shorter in the indoor arenas compared with the outdoor stadiums), and it was really a fantastic experience. Seeing the expression on Dave Gahan’s face as he came out to the end for “Never Let Me Down Again” – close up and in real life – made this relentless two week country-hopping adventure worth it just for that amazing moment (which I managed to catch on video as well). As I’ve mentioned over and over in the reviews leading up to this, Depeche Mode has long been my favorite band, and these concerts have been nothing short of epic.
Bratislava, Slovakia’s Štadión Pasienky played host to the third consecutive Depeche Mode concert that I am reviewing as part of the European Leg of their worldwide Delta Machine Tour (having covered Budapest, Hungary four days ago, and Zagreb, Croatia two days ago, with the two London shows at the O2 still to come). Funny enough, each show has been a completely different experience for me, and while all awesome in their own ways, as far as the pure show itself goes, I would have to say the one in Bratislava last night was the best. The crowd was awesome, there was a certain energy in the air, and everything seemed to be flawless with the show itself. I’ve been telling people that the best spot in the “front of stage” area is in the front to the left of the ramp (looking at the stage); I went against my own advice going for the front row on the opposite side of the ramp, and it ended up being awesome. Halfway down the ramp, you have an unobstructed view of Dave and Martin, and Dave seemed to go down the ramp many more times last night, which was awesome, as he shifted tremendous energy into the massive crowd, who just ate it up.
So this is the second of five consecutive Depeche Mode concerts that I will be covering as part of the European Leg of their worldwide Delta Machine Tour (having covered Budapest two days ago, with Bratislava and two London shows still to come). With the last review I gave some background on my own views on Depeche Mode, and a general overview of this tour. Last night was a totally different experience from the first, so I will compare and contrast and share some thoughts for those who might be looking for some insights to prepare for upcoming shows. As was the case with Budapest, their appearance in Zagreb was nothing short of amazing, and while I was up front for the first show on my itinerary, for this one (after shooting the first three songs directly below the stage) I headed to the back of the huge indoor arena to get the “distant” experience, the highlight of which was taking in Anton Corbijn’s amazing (as expected) video collateral that filled the displays during some of the songs.
Well, it’s a challenge for me to be objective on this one, as Depeche Mode is my all-time favorite band. I will be covering a total of five concerts on this European Leg of their Delta Machine Tour, which officially kicked off in recent weeks. First on my itinerary last night was their date in Budapest, Hungary at Puskás Ferenc Stadion, which is a massive outdoor stadium. Depeche Mode is touring to promote their new album, Delta Machine, which I have really enjoyed, and the set list for this tour includes a sampling of tracks from that new album as well as favorites from their huge body of work going back decades (a few reworked quite well). The band certainly has a loyal fan base in Hungary, as there was a sizable turn out of very dedicated fans (I lost count of the number of tattoos I saw with Depeche Mode-related art). They sounded incredible, and put on a great show with Dave’s typical high energy and beaming stage presence. Highlights for me included “Halo” (in my opinion one of their very best songs, and not recognized as such to the extent in which it should be) and the show closer, my favorite song of all time (from any band), “Never Let Me Down Again”. A fantastic evening and I’m more than thrilled to follow them around over the next two weeks, going to the shows in Zagreb, Croatia, and Bratislava, Slovakia, and then back to back shows at the O2 in London, England. In my opinion, this is the tour of the year, but again, I am pretty predisposed to that opinion.