“I ain’t gonna waste a lot of time talking. All I’m gonna tell you is this… For the next two and a half hours, I promise to take you on a roller coaster ride you will never forget…” A pledge from the Bon Jovi front man, Jon Bon Jovi, about 15 minutes into their supporting act-free “An Evening With…” concert for their “Because We Can Tour” at the massive HP Pavilion in San Jose last night, which appeared near filled to its 17,496 capacity. Admittedly, I am not a dedicated Bon Jovi follower – I am a big fan of a handful of hits – so I don’t feel as though I was the intended audience. Having said that, I tried to imagine how I would take it all in if I were a fan, and I still find the roller coaster metaphor challenging to wrap my head around, as I found the show to be, for lack of a better description… ill-suited, and frankly boring… for such a large venue. While Richie Sambora did not make it through the tour to appear at this last date on the U.S. leg of their journey in support of the new What About Now album, I can’t imagine his being part of last night’s show would have been enough to overcome the shortcomings (and fill-in Phil X was fine). Bon Jovi seems like a genuine, appreciative, kind guy, but at least from my perspective, maybe he arrived last night and forgot to load that six string on his back.
Day 9 of Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland… it was the final one for the incredible series of a wide-ranging line-up of artist from a variety of music genres that drew thousands upon thousands to the resort area in the Swiss Alps. The themes for the final night, which drew one of the largest and most energetic crowds, was rap music and, well, a marijuana culture. I would have to rate the night near the top as far as high performance and crowd enthusiasm go, regardless of how one might feel about either of those things, as the artists collectively put out more energy than probably any other night’s show – they were each really amazing in their own ways, and gave fans what they wanted as well as probably cultivated some new ones for themselves. Really impressive stuff.
Day 8 of Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland… as the event approached its final two days Friday night, those in attendance seemed to have a desire to keep the party going, as Mika drew the largest crowd to date, not only filling the vast airline hanger-like space of The Moon, but overfilling the standing room only space in front of the stage. The popular British singer-songwriter drew such a crowd people were spilling out, standing watching from the hallway space in-between The Moon and The Tube, and was far and away the largest crowd pulled in thus far for the 9-day festival. The more pop-oriented line-up also included rising star Nadine Carina, local pop/folk singer Célien Schneider, and the ever versatile and classy Nelly Furtado, who put in one of my favorite shows of the past week.
Day 7 of Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland… Definitely one of the strongest nights for performances, if not the strongest overall, with a really unique and stellar line-up including The Heavy, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Alice Cooper. The theme tonight was rock and roll (though in a variety of different packages), and it was really like a triple headliner. I also had the unique opportunity to meet with and interview two of the four bands that took to the stage at The Moon at Caprices.
Day 6 of Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland was unfortunately one of disappointment for all involved, as headliner The Killers were not able to make to to play their set due to weather conditions. I was really looking forward to seeing them again after their epic show in their hometown of Las Vegas that closed out 2012. The rest of the line up for the evening was present, and this included many, many acts, of which I viewed four in whole or part, including the headliner by default The Spinto Band, 2ManyDJs, SebastiAn, and March. It was a high energy night for both rock and DJ/electronic music.
Day 5 of Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland… wow, what a night. I’ve loved Portishead since their first album, but never had an opportunity to see them live until last night. They completely and utterly exceeded all of my expectations – brilliant performance, every aspect of it. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. I also saw Baxter Dury, who opened for them on The Moon stage, and they made me a fan. Late into the night, I also got to see Model 500 featuring Juan Atkins, one of the originators of techno music. Caprices has put together such a stellar line-up of entertainment, and experiencing the entire show, day by day, with it’s wide ranging collection of artists, provides a different atmosphere for music each night, and I would count last night as one of the highlights.
Day 4 of Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland was somewhat about expectations and culture… my own expectations about performances proved incorrect (good and bad) and I’m beginning to get a better sense of how culture in Switzerland intersects musical tastes and preferences. Björk’s fans filled The Moon stage – which is massive – as much as any other artist here at Caprices thus far, and while she was one of the artists I most looked forward to seeing, I guess I just didn’t quite get her music and her set overall. The Weeknd followed, and while they didn’t retain the Björk fans, in my mind at least The Weekend saved the weekday (with Day 4 falling on a Monday), as I thought they were fantastic. But I guess that’s the thing about music – nothing is quite as subjective and to each person’s own taste… as music.
Day 3 of Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland showcased entirely different styles of music from Day 1 and Day 2, and drew a different crowd as well. This shows just how dynamic the overall line up is for this festival, to the point where in many cases there is nearly no crossover at all. Personally, Tori Amos has been the highlight for me thus far, and may remain so for the balance of the 9-day concert event, as she is one of my all-time favorite music artists. Also of headliner stature, Roger Hodgson – The Legendary Voice of Supertramp – performed as well, and I count his “The Logical Song” as one of my all-time favorites, and it was really a special moment for me to finally see and hear it performed live. Also performing was Noa, who I was not previously familiar with, but for being first on the bill for The Moon at Caprices, she filled out the capacity of the vast indoor special purpose space quite well. Each of the three artists actually seemed to turn out their own fan base, as I noticed the crowd shifted from set to set. All in all it was an awesome night, and that is one of the best performances I’ve seen Tori Amos put on (and I’ve seen her a number of times).
Day 2 of Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland… and my first full day of the show (arrived up after dark for Day 1, traveling form California for the event). Last night’s line-up included a mix of styles that flowed nicely set to set on the main stage, The Moon. Opening up was UK indie band Crash Island, one of the finalists of the Orange New Talent Contest. Next on stage served as an unexpected highlight of the night for me with Cody ChestnuTT, who was simply amazing with his music and genuine, soulful delivery. Popular hip hop artist Nas was a huge draw, really bringing the audience to life and jumping around. UK DJ and electronic music artist Tom Staar kept things moving to set up for the legendary Fatboy Slim, who closed out the stage for the night, with his own pioneering brand of relentless electronic/house/trip hop/rave/rock music. Truly a special line-up that thrilled the crowd. It was one of those shows where I found myself taking more than the usual number of reverse shots of the crowd to capture some of the energy and emotion driven by a night of incredible music.
This serves as my official Day 1 coverage of Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, in the heart of the picturesque Swiss Alps. The obvious highlight to me was seeing -M- (Matthieu Chedid) take to the stage (my first time seeing him), and I could not have possibly been more impressed. As the top headliner on the very first day of the festival, even with amazing talent following, he and his band truly brought out an amazing performance that had the audience jumping along and filling in key choruses and phrases, almost as if they were, in part, under his captivating control. And it is incredible that this was just the beginning to a stellar line-up of music over nine consecutive nights on multiple stages for the 10th anniversary of this unique music festival that features a true assortment of musical styles and genres. [Read more…]