To those who are Jimmy Buffett fans or Parrotheads, and even to those who are not, a Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band concert is a once in a lifetime thing not to be missed. They are not just concerts. It is an event.
Most concerts begin at about 8 pm. Not a Buffett event. It starts as soon as the officials open the gates, usually about 11am on the day of the concert. The Parrotheads flood in with their cars sporting fins on the roofs and “Buffett or Bust” and “Follow us to Margaritaville” signs smeared on windows. You can spot them coming with their Hawaiian shirts, leis, coconuts and every array of parrot hued outfits and hats that could be imagined in a tropical bird and cheeseburger filled caribbean dream. The pop-up tents, grills, blenders, and inflatable palm trees and other inflatable items decorate each tailgate space with individual ideas of island paradise in a parking lot. Buffett music wafts through the lots and a sea of Parrotheads and Pirates float around the crowd, or island to island, enjoying the company and cheeseburgers of neighbors washed down with an assortment of inventive and tropical drinks.
When the venue opened at about 7 in the evening the party was in full swing. This no small party by any means. The Xfinity center holds about 19,900 people so you get the idea of how many grass skirt wearing wahines were mingling with the land sharks, some who were also wearing coconuts, throughout the day. If you are going to take in a Jimmy Buffett concert make sure to arrive early and enjoy the pre show in the parking lot. It’s a friendly crowd just wanting to unwind and live for an afternoon on island time.
The Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA or as it is still fondly know as “Great Woods” is a New England Parrothead staple festival. It draws fans who have come there for so long they have brought their children and now their children’s children, called “Parakeets” for their introductions to the Parrothead life.
Now on to the concert itself. The Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band part of it. Buffett and eleven top notch musicians and singers who make up the Coral Reefer Band took the stage and the crowd went wild. The conch shell horn sounded the beginning. Buffet led in with “SummerZcool”. The audience was on their feet singing along as he went right into “We Are The People Our Parents Warned Us About”. Beach balls flew across the crowd with a few landing on the stage and kicked about by the barefooted Buffett. I don’t think many ever sat down for the rest of the concert.
Buffett played “Grapefruit – Juicy Fruit” followed by “Son of a Sailor” with beautifully sung solo by Nadirah Shakoor. These songs are played so often the whole band could probably do them in their sleep and still pull it off perfectly. Buffett then changed the tone to a more bluegrass style and they brought out the mandolin and accordion for “Gypsies in the Palace” which then led into the “Take It Easy” cover in tribute to the late Glenn Frey of the Eagles.
Mac McAnally took over Alan Jackson’s part in the duet of the cover of Jackson’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”. They then slowed things down a bit for “Come Monday” and “Meet Me in Memphis”. Bass player Jim Mayer took the lead on “I Don’t Know and I Don’t Care” with the chorus of “Spicoli’s Theme” added in from the song Buffett wrote for the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
At the opening note of “Fins” played by Michael Utley on the keyboard the audience immediately threw their arms over their heads to create fins. Buffett led the audience pointing their fins to the left and fins to the right. He laughed with the crowd and did his own land shark bites from the stage. You would never tell he is turning 70 years old this year. He seemed to draw from some fountain of youth he has found as he bounced barefoot across the stage.
They did an a acoustic version of the song “Delaney Talks to Statues”, the Margaritaville Door Number Three pick of the week. The Door Number Three pick is an opportunity for the fans on the Margaritaville website to choose a song they would like performed live from list of songs that aren’t performed on a regular basis. He does it to change things up because with 27 albums there are always songs many want to see performed. This gives Buffet a chance to showcase the most popular requests.
Of course no Buffett concert is not complete without the standards “Margaritaville”, “Changes in Latitudes” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, all on the must play list or the evening would not feel complete.
The crowd roared as Buffett and the Coral Reefers returned to the stage for the encore with Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” and then “One Particular Harbor” The evening ended with a solo acoustic version of “Last Mango In Paris”.
The entire day was fantastic. They put on a great show with contagious enthusiasm. It was a perfect evening for a summertime island getaway. I would definitely go again.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About
Son of a Son of a Sailor
It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (Alan Jackson cover)
Meet Me in Memphis
Love and Luck
I Don’t Know and I Don’t Care
I Don’t Know (Spicoli’s Theme)
(Only the chorus lyrics are sung)
Quietly Making Noise
Delaney Talks to Statues
Gypsies in the Palace
Take It Easy (Eagles cover)
Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
Jolly Mon Sing
Cheeseburger in Paradise
A Pirate Looks at Forty
Southern Cross (Crosby, Stills & Nash cover)
Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison cover)
One Particular Harbour
Last Mango in Paris
To many, when you speak of “Grand Funk Railroad” the person who comes to mind will always be founding member Mark Farner. He was the heart and soul of the supergroup.
Mark Farner led “Grand Funk’ from their breakout concert in 1969 right into the mid 70’s. After “Grand Funk” split up in 1976, Farner rejoined the group a couple of times, which didn’t work out, He has continued making music and performing for decades and has not stopped just because he is no longer with “Grand Funk Railroad”.
During recent years there have been ups and downs. Farner successfully continued his career and in 2012 at the age of 64, cardiac problems finally caught up with him and he underwent pacemaker insertion. Since then he hasn’t missed a beat and is still going strong. Farner says his faith is what keeps him going. Even today you still hear fans say they wish the group would reunite. I doubt that will happen, but it does not matter. He is still the ball of energy he always was and his show is non-stop from begining to end..
They began with “Footstompin’ Music” and rolled right into “Rock & Roll Soul” and then “Aimless Lady”. Farner was energetic and animated. He cavorted about the stage playing up to the audience. His energy was boundless. They blasted away at “We’re We’re an American Band” much to the audiences delight.
Accompanying Mark Farner at the Wolf Den was his band N’rG consisting of Dennis Bellinger on Bass and background vocals, Hubert (The H-Bomb) Crawford on Drums and Karl Propst on Keyboards and vocals. Together they treated the Wolf Den audience to an evening jam full of Grand Funk hits and a few extras.
Farner spoke of the times when songs stood for something and joined a generation collectively toward causes. He then launched into “Ohio”, a well-known Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song. The band the lightened up the tempo and ended the set with “The Loco-Motion” and “Some Kind of Wonderful”.
They returned to the stage for an encore that started with a fantastic drum solo by Hubert Crawford . When Farner introduced the last song of the evening “I’m Your Captain” (Closer to Home). he asked the audience to sing along and as they did to remember and honor the American servicemen and servicewomen who are keeping the country safe far from their homes and families. He didn’t have to ask the audience to sing along though, they already were and had been all evening.
It was a memorable concert and a treat to see Mark Farner perform so many of the songs he is so well known for, After all these years,he still plays with such energy, enthusiasm and happiness. His voice and guitar playing are still impeccable and he gives his all in concert and his band is a perfect accompaniment to his sound. Would gladly see them again.
Footstompin’ Music Rock&Roll Soul Aimless Lady We’re an American Band Heartbreaker Shinin’ On Creepin’ Mean Mistreater Sin’s a Good Man’s Brother Ohio – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young cover Bad Time The Loco-Motion – Soul Brothers Six cover
Encore: Drum Solo I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)
Our friend Patrick Markham, a lifelong musician from northern Virginia, enthusiastically messaged me about seeing the best concert he has ever seen at the Filene Center at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Va. It was one of our favorite artists “Jackson Browne”. So we made arrangements to see his show at a similar venue in the northwest hills of Massachusetts.
It was the first day of summer 2016 and there is arguably no better way to spend the evening than enjoying a cool breeze watching Jackson Browne sing as the sun sets over the Berkshire Mountains. The Shed at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts is a great venue set in the rolling mountains. It offers the choice of seeing the performers up close under the shed in seating or bringing their own seat or blanket and enjoying the music under the stars as the sun sets.
Browne began the night with “Rock me on the Water”. He recalled memories of his early years struggling to make it in the music industry. His easy banter with the audience made for a comfortable evening and his exceptional band consisting of Val McCallum (guitar), Mauricio Lewak (Drums), Jeff Young (keyboards), Bob Glaub (bass), Alethea Mills (Vocals) and Greg Leisz (guitar, lap steel, pedal steel) all meshed seamlessly giving the audience a night full of magical music.
Browne spoke of friends in his life. He sang the song “For a Dancer”, which he wrote after a friend died a few years back. This night it was also sung in memory of those who died in the tragic shooting in Orlando this month, as well as their families and friends. They ended set one with “Doctor My Eyes” and left the crown anticipating more to come after the break.
After a 15 minute intermission the band returned for the second set. This set consisted of mostly the hits from his early career with lyrics the crowd sang along with. Browne upped the tempo, sending the crowd to their feet. Many ran up to the stage and at one point Browne said it was ok to go back and sit down and return to their seats. That lasted for about one song and the crowd returned to the stage.
Never one to shy from political statements Browne sang “Which Side”, a song off his album “Standing In The Breach ” released in 2014. A song relevant in the current political and social climate in America.
Browne did two encores. Encore one was an ever popular cover of the Eagles “Take it Easy” done with a Jackson Browne twist. Followed by “Our Lady of the Well”. He ended the night with “I Am a Patriot”, a Litte Steven cover. This sent the crowd home on a positive note.
The performance was just around 3 hours of great music with an exceptional band. Everyone we saw seemed to thoroughly enjoy the night. If you have haven’t seen Jackson Browne and you get the chance, DO IT!!
He sounds just as wonderful as he did early in his career. Some performers’ voices change and it gets harder as the years pass to keep the sound their fans recognize when performing live. This is not true with Jackson Browne, after many years and multiple albums his voice is as true and spot on as it ever was. Browne’s last song sounded as good as the first. His songs, old and new, still play daily on the radio and his sound is as relevant as ever. Pat Markham was right, this was a concert well worth taking in and ranks as the best concert we have seen this year.
Rock Me on the Water
Just Say Yeah
Looking Into You
Fountain of Sorrow
The Long Way Around
Call It a Loan
For a Dancer
Doctor My Eyes
The Birds of St. Marks
Your Bright Baby Blues
The Barricades of Heaven
Late for the Sky
In the Shape of a Heart
Running on Empty
Take It Easy (Eagles cover)
Our Lady of the Well
Carlos Santana has done what many bands these days are trying to do, go back in time. He has assembled most of the original Santana band including Greg Rolie on keyboard and vocals, and Neal Schon on guitar and made it work exceptionally well. They started with “Soul Sacrifice” followed by “Jin-go-lo-ba”. Then “Evil Ways” sung by Greg Rolie. Neal Schon came out and joined the band on “Batuka” and jammed with Carlos. Seeing Carlos Santana and Neal Schon playing together again was a real treat. They complemented each other so well. It was as if time turned back and it sounded amazing.Santana and the band played a mix of the well know Woodstock era songs and introduced the music off their new album.
The concert coincided with the release of the new album Santana IV. It was as if time turned back and it sounded amazing. His new songs are reminiscent of the his older style with alot of percussion and drums. Each player did a own solo to highlight their talents. Bassist Benny Rietveld did particularly well on his solo.
The second half of the concert Andy Vargas and Tony Lindsay took the stage with the rest of his current band and they sound fantastic as well. They did just about every song you would want to hear Santana’s long list of hits and memorable music.. The sound was spot on and it was a great show, Carlos Santana never disappoints. A memorable evening and worth seeing.
Batuka (with Neal Schon)
No One to Depend On
Anywhere You Want to Go
New York City
Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (with Neal Schon)
Oye como va
Like a hot, steamy drink to take the chill off the arctic blast of cold air in New England on Valentine’s Day, Ana Popovic heated up the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den with an exceptional concert. Ana Popovic and her band brought their blues, soul and jazz with a funky style sound to a packed house. Any guitar aficionados in the audience were wowed by the caliber of music we heard last night.
Ana Popovic is fast becoming legendary as one of the best blues guitarists out there. Being a four times Blues Music Awards nominee and a woman just gives her that much more credibility. She credits her sound to her influences, Jimi Hendricks and Stevie Ray Vaughan among others.
The band blasted out the title song off her “Can You Stand the Heat?” album. Then, onto to a tribute cover of Albert King’s “Can’t You See What You’re Doing to Me?” She made her guitar sing, whine and moan with the accompaniment of Carlton Armstrong’s Bass, Keyboard by Stephen Malinowski and Stéphane Avellaneda on the Drums. They played “Object of Obsession”, also from the “Can You Stand the Heat?” album.
The band turned it up a notch when they played “Count Me In”. Then, on to the Jimi Hendricks cover “House Burning Down”. That was followed by an awesomely done drum solo by Stéphane Avellaneda as he pounded, beat and slammed his drums. He beat through one set of sticks and had to get a second set.
ANA spoke about her newest album “Trilogy” which will be released in May. The aptly named “Trilogy” is a mix of Ana’s three favorite music genres which are blues, jazz and funk combined into one three album set.
Ana Popovic has also been invited back for a third time to join the Experience Hendrix Tour in March. Ana stated it was with great pride that she again takes her place as one the few women chosen to join this mostly male dominated tour. She then tore it up on her version of Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic”.
The night ended with a second standing ovation for Ana Popovic and the band for giving the audience a fiery night.Bassist Carlton Armstrong, said “She doesn’t need a band” as Ana finished wailing on the last song.
It was great they played on Valentine’s Day because Ana Popovic captured the hearts of the audience with her energy packed show at The Wolf Den. If you haven’t seen her performance yet, you really should put it on the top of your list.
Lita Ford played the Mohegan Sun’s Wolf Den wearing a stunning red leather suit with her long blonde hair flying as she strutted the stage with her band to bring her brand of 80’s rock music back with a vengeance. One of the guitar queens of the eighties Lita and her band played to a full house plus the extra crowd that spilled out to the casino floor outside on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. Many fans waited for hours to gain entrance to the concert. Those that didn’t get a seat circled the outside of the Den to take it in standing.
Ford started as a sixteen year old lead guitarist for the all-female rock band The Runaways in the late 70’s. After a short stint and rough breakup with the band she embarked on a long solo career. At 57 Ford is still out on tour rocking crowds 40 years into her career. LIta Ford still has staying power and proved she can still fill the seats.
Lita lead off with “Larger Than Live”, followed by “Relentless”. The warmed up crowded then rocked among to Ford’s rendition of Elton John’s “The Bitch Is Back”. They continued with many of her best known songs.
The song “Can’t Catch Me” included drummer Bobby Rocks in an exceptionally fun and interesting drum solo. He beat on the drums shirtless and focused finishing with a flair and with his forehead. I have never seen head banging taken to that extreme. Evidentially, many others had not either and he wowed the crowd.
Patrick Kennison on guitar did a great job filling in for Ozzy Osborne’s part on the hit “Close My Eyes Forever”. The song was probably Ford’s most critically acclaimed hit when she performed it as a duet with Osborne on the self titled “Lita” album.
They performed “Devil in My Head” which let Marty O’Brien on bass shine with its heavy bass and drum beats. Then crowd helped out by singing along on the well known song Ch..Ch..Ch…”Cherry Bomb”.
“Kiss me Deadly” was the final song and there was no encore, but much to the fans’ delight Lita graciously held a meet and greet and signed photos for almost an hour after the show.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Larger Than Life
The Bitch Is Back
Falling In and Out of Love
Gotta Let Go Back to the Cave
Devil in My Head
Can’t Catch Me
Out for Blood
Close My Eyes Forever
Kiss Me Deadly
Ian Anderson’s Jethro Tull: The Rock Opera is not just another concert. It’s the story of Jethro Tull, an 18th Century agriculturist, as seen through Ian Anderson’s eyes and imagination. The whole concept of a rock opera is not often done, but when pulled off right it’s a night not to be missed. Ian Anderson has spent decades fluting his way around the stage as one of the most recognizable front men in rock. Who else is instantly associated with standing on one leg, like the Pied Piper of rock, with flute in hand? His opera consists of many songs we are familiar with mixed with 5 new songs and narration from the projected video of virtual guests on the back screen to tell the story of Jethro Tull. It was an entertaining mix of the English countryside, fields of grain, and other interesting imagery along with wailing guitar and Anderson owning the stage.
Most of the band members were considerably younger than Anderson’s age of 68, but you didn’t notice the gap as he cavorts about the stage shifting from flute to mandolin and on to harmonica. They played 2 sets with a short intermission and it was pure energy the entire time. After many years of singing Anderson’s voice is a bit raspier, but he hasn’t lost his bounce or swagger.
The stage band consisted of John O’Hara on keyboard, Florian Opahle, who played particularly well on lead guitar, Grieg Robinson on bass and Scott Hammond on drums. The virtual guests were Unmur Birna Björnsdóttir playing Tull’s wife. She added clean and frankly beautiful note to production as her voice pierced the theater and took it that next level. The virtual young Tull was played by Ryan O’Donnell, who also used to tour with Anderson a couple of years ago.
They started off with “Heavy Horses”, followed by “Wind-up”. Then came “Aqualung” with cheers from the crowd for Florian’s guitar playing on that oh so familiar song. “With You There to Help Me” and “Back to the Family” were next. “Farm on the Freeway” was backed by scenes of farmland being pushed out by loaded freeways clogged with streams of cars. Anderson new song “Prosperous Pasture” was followed by the heavy beats of “Fruits of Frankenfield”. He then ended set one with the well know and more folkish “Songs From the Wood ”
The band resumed the opera with set two and “And the World Feeds Me” and ” Living in the Past” always well received. Next came “Jack-in-the-Green” and “The Witch’s Promise”. The set continued with new songs “Weathercock” and “Stick, Twist, Bust”, which was a new song . Anderson and the band followed with “Cheap Day Return”, “A New Day Yesterday” and “The Turnstile Gate” another of his new tunes.
It only took the first few notes of the closing set and opera song on the keyboard by John O’Hara for the audience to know “Locomotive Breath” was coming down the track and many rose from their seats singing along to the steady pounding beat and “No way to slow down”.
The final song and encore of the evening was “Requiem and Fugue”.
Well done and very entertaining night. If you get a chance to take it in don’t hesitate, even if you have seen Anderson perform many times. This rock opera rounds out a long career wonderfully.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Set list :
With You There to Help Me
Back to the Family
Farm on the Freeway
Prosperous Pasture Anderson
Fruits of Frankenfield Anderson
Songs From the Wood
And the World Feeds Me
Living in the Past
The Witch’s Promise
Stick, Twist, Bust
Cheap Day Return
A New Day Yesterday
The Turnstile Gate
Requiem and Fugue
(with Bourée snippet)
Joe Walsh has a reputation of putting on a consistently enjoyable concert and this was no exception. On October 16th at the Mohegan Sun Arena he treated the audience to a great show. The 67 year old is not only former member of the James Gang and Eagles, Walsh also has a number of songs written and performed in his long running solo career. This concert was a sampling of his many great and enduring songs. The only drawback is that he has so many songs in his bag of tricks there is no way we could hear them all in one concert.
Walsh was joined by one of his Barnstorm keyboardists and drummer Joe Vitale. He was also accompained by Gannin Arnold on guitar, Larry Young on bass, Jason Freeze on keyboards and ssaxaphone, Clayton James on synthisizer keyboards and Drew Hester on drums. Melanie Taylor, Windy Wagner and Connie Jackson rounded out the band with their back-up vocals.
Walsh sang “Walk Away”, “The Bomber” and a whimsical take on “Funk #49” with a midsong inclusion of lines from “Funk #50” off his solo album “Analog Man”, all sounded great. Along with “Turn To Stone” from his first solo album “Barnstorm” in 1974 he had the audience entranced in the moment. He used various guitars through out the show, so the sounds were consistently changing .
The encore started with I.L.B.T’s “I Like Big Tits”, a Breast Cancer awareness song, which was a hit with the crowd. Joe brought up the importance of this topic with the fact that his wife is a Breast Cancer survivor. He brought the message home in a positive way. Walsh then finished with ” Rocky Mountain Way”, always a favorite.
All in all a great concert and Joe Walsh never fails to put on a fun show. We’ll be seeing him next time as well.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
A Life of Illusion
Over and Over
In the City
Pretty Maids All in a Row
Turn to Stone
The Bomber: Closet Queen/Bolero/Cast Your Fate to the Wind
Life’s Been Good
I.L.B.T.s (for breast cancer awareness month)
Rocky Mountain Way
Carlos Santana, a man who’s career spans decades is still so relevant. The opening songs at the Mohegan Sun Arena were an omage to Woodstock and the tron above the stage showed scenes of his performance with his signature sound and style that is instantly recognizable. With the Corazon tour Carlos is still spreading the message of “Love and Light” through his music and his wish for a world living in harmony. This tour is a melding and mixing of Carlos. With his legendary guitar playing, and his staying power of almost 50 years. Strong and fresh vocals by Andy Vargas and Tony Lindsay as they sang “Soul Sacrifice”, “Freedom in Your Mind”, and “Maria Maria”.
Midway through the show, Carlos’ son Salvador Santana, who is an accomplished keyboardist, vocalist, and songwriter, took the stage and performed “Summers Day”, “Rise Up” and “Fantasy Reality” from his newly released CD “Fantasy Reality”. His upbeat rap style and ease on stage is a testament to someone who truly has performing in his blood. Savador was accompanied by Alex Nestor’s with her strong and soulful voice.
Oh, and how many times have you heard a trombone solo? Jeff Cressman marched around the stage and provided a top notch solo followed by David K. Mathews on the keyboard.
The evening was an enjoyably spicy and rhythmic time with Carlos Santana and his band that included brass and percussion sections as they played “Corazon Espanado”, “Smooth” and “Tequila” and others from his large collection of songs.
Time flew by and too soon they wrapped it up with an encore that included “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va”. Great night, and as anyone would expect, a great concert.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
1. SOUL SACRIFICE
3. LOVE MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND
4. FREEDOM IN YOUR MIND
5. MARIA MARIA
6. FOO FOO
8. *SUMMERS DAY
9. *RISE UP
10. *FANTASY REALITY
11. CORAZON ESPINADO
13. EVIL WAYS/ A LOVE SUPREME
14. BLUE TRANE/ A PLACE W/ NO NAME
17. BLACK MAGIC WOMAN / GYPSY QUEEN
18. OYE COMO VA
19. TOUSSAINT L’OUVERTURE