Rod Stewart – Mohegan Sun Arena – March 24, 2018

At 73 Rod Stewart is still going strong. He treated the Mohegan Sun Arena’s sold out crowd to a high energy performance. He brought to the stage an enthusiastic young set of singers and a mix of young and older members in his 12 piece band.

Before he took the stage a local band the Mystic Highland Pipe Band wound its way through the isles with bagpipes and drums.
The opening song “Soul Finger” had a 60’s feel to it with the singers shimmying out until Rod appeared and made he was across the stage. The energy of the night was palpable from that moment to the last note of the evening. They played almost nonstop for 2 hours including a number of costume changes.

His back up singers called the Rodettes shimmed and strutted right along with Stewart as has sang “Young Turks” followed by “Infatuation.”
Stewart and the Rodettes sang a great version of the Muddy Waters tune “Rollin’ and Tumblin’.”
The persussion section performed a great solo while part of the band did a quick outfit change.
During the song “Love Is” the ladies in the band were dressed tartan skirts. Julia Thornton played the banjo as J’anna Jacoby and Caissie Levy joined in on the violins. The ladies all accompanied Stewart twirling and dancing with the backup singers in a foot stomping dance to the song.
Stewart dedicated “Rhythm of My Heart” to those who died in battle during World War II. They then dedicated “People Get Ready”  to students who took part in the “March for Our Lives” against gun violence the same day.
Jimmy Roberts performed a great solo on saxophone allowing Rod and the Rodettes time for one of several costume changes.
Stewart told the audience to have a seat as he and part of his band and singers joined him at the front of the stage. They seated themselves and performed a multi song acoustic set. They did “The First Cut is the Deepest” followed by a fan favorite “Reason To Believe.” Next was Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately.” It was refreshingly laid back and intimate. Then the band went right into “You’re In My Heart.” The audience needed no encouraging to wholeheartedly join in the songs. They knew the words and Stewart enjoyed the participation.
Stewart’s final songs of the night were from his time with The Faces, including “Stay With Me” with Stewart kicking and throwing signed soccer balls into the audience. He is great kicker and landed a couple into the upper decks to the delight and shouts of approval from the crowd. He followed this with his Number 1 hit “Maggie May.”
The encore was “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” and the audience loved it as this is one of Stewart’s best known songs.
Stewart and his band are definitely a must see if you get the chance. I don’t know how many more years he will tour, but he has an ageless quality and puts on a thoroughly enjoyable concert from beginning to end. I can’t think of one thing he didn’t do or could have done to make the evening more entertaining and enjoyable.
The band members:
Conrad Korsch – bass guitar
Dave Palmer – drums
Jimmy Roberts – saxophone
J’anna Jacoby – violin, mandolin, acoustic guitar
Julia Thornton – vocals, banjo, harp
Caissie Levy – vocals, violin
Chuck Kentis – keyboards
Emerson Swinford – guitar
Bridget Cady – vocals and dance
Becca Kotte – vocals and dance
Di Reed – vocals and dance
http://www.rodstewart.com/
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Setlist:
Young Turks
Infatuation
Having a Party (Sam Cooke cover)
Some Guys Have All the Luck (The Persuaders cover)
You Wear It Well
Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)
Love Is
Rhythm of My Heart (Marc Jordan cover)
Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (Hambone Willie Newbern cover)
Forever Young
Downtown Train (Tom Waits cover)
The First Cut Is the Deepest (Cat Stevens cover)
Reason to Believe (Tim Hardin cover)
People Get Ready (The Impression cover)
You’re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)
Have I Told You Lately (Van Morrison cover)
Stay With Me (Faces song)
Maggie May
Encore:
Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?

 

 

Dixie Dregs – Dawn of the Dregs Tour 2018 – Ridgefield Playhouse – March 14, 2018

The Ridgefield Playhouse hosted the Progressive jazz/rock fusion band Dixie Dregs for a tour many thought would never happen. The Dregs original members have reunited this year to the delight of many long time hard core fans. The Dixie Dregs original members are Steve Morse on lead guitar, Andy West on bass, Allen Sloan on violin, Steve Davidowski on keyboards and Rod Morgenstein rounding out the band on drums. This is the 45th anniversary reunion tour and though through the years other members have come and gone it was fantastic that the five members who started the band were able to come together for this tour.

The crowd enthusiastically awaited the bands arrival onstage. The energy in the air was palpable. Many in the lobby and theater were reminiscing about when they saw the Dregs the first time or the last time they saw them. One thing was clear though that this reunion of the original Dregs was an eagerly anticipated event. It was obvious that throughout the years the band has garnered a mass of loyal fans referred to as “Dregheads.”
Getting these original members of the Dixie Dregs together after four decades was something most didn’t expect. Even though in recent years it seems many bands of the 70’s era are regrouping for one last tour and run at pleasing long time fans, each of the members of Dixie Dregs have gone on to live their separate lives and some even had other polar opposite careers. Allen Sloan is a physician and Andy West a video game designer. Rod Morgenstein went on to add his percussion talents to many bands including Winger. Steve Morse is probably the most active in the music world over these previous decades as he has been playing as lead guitarist for Deep Purple while also performing with Flying Colors and The Steve Morse Band.
They perform jazz, rock and bluegrass with a classical overtone to their music. What may be called progressive country rock with a hint of jazz fusion. Their tempo and rhythm change up in one song keeping your ears entertained with the changing sound and tones and variations in the beat. With that being said it has always been hard to categorize the Dixie Dregs into one genre.
The night was a mix of the broad range of cuts from various albums in the bands history. The majority of the selections were from the Freefall album. They also performed “Take If Off The Top” and “Day 444” off the What If album. It was as if they had been playing for all these years together and each song was performed flawlessly.
The second set included “Cruise Control,” one of the better known Dixie Dreg songs. The set crossed over from the heavier rock influenced to a more classical sound. This set showed the range of the band and their ability to fuse different genres into a consistently enjoyable set that satisfied the audience and left them wanting more. The band returned to the stage for the encore with “Bloodsucking Leaches.”
It was indeed a rare chance to see a classic lineup play so well and enjoy their time onstage together again. They had and continue to have a unique sound. With many bands saying they’re performing farewell tours in the last few years, it’s hard to know if you’ll ever see this combination together again. If you do get the chance to catch the Dixie Dregs on this tour do try get out and see them. You won’t be disappointed and this chance may not come again.

 

 

http://dixiedregs.com

Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Setlist
Set1:
Divided We Stand
Free Fall
Holiday
Assembly Line
Twiggs Approved
Take It Off the Top
What If
Country House Shuffle
Moe Down
Odyssey
Set 2:
Violin Solo (Allen Sloan)
Northern Lights
Go for Baroque
Day 444
Refried Funky Chicken
Leprechaun Promenade
Wages of Weirdness
The Bash
Cruise Control
Encore:
Bloodsucking Leeches

The Dixie Dregs coming to Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT

Critically acclaimed and six-time GRAMMY®-Award nominated musical virtuoso’s, THE DIXIE DREGS (a.k.a The Dregs), are gearing up for a national U.S. tour starting February 28. The performances will mark the first time in 40 years the original band–Steve Morse (guitar), Andy West (bass), Allen Sloan (violin), Steve Davidowski (keyboards) and Rod Morgenstein (drums)–will share the stage. Tickets are on sale now.

The “DAWN OF THE DREGS” 25-date tour–with additional dates to be announced soon–will take the band across the country starting on February 28 in Clearwater, FL and make stops in Atlanta, Charleston, Washington D.C., New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Boulder and Phoenix, among many others,before wrapping April 25 in Dallas, TX. For more information about the “DAWN OF THE DREGS” tour and to purchase tickets, visit: http://dixiedregs.com/.

“This tour is the result of the overwhelming requests we’ve received from a loyal audience of die hard Dregheads, and new fans who have never seen us perform live, but discovered the band for the first time through Steve’s membership in Deep Purple, or Rod as the drummer for Winger,” said Dreg’s bassist, Andy West. “We can’t wait to play for them all,” adds West.

For guitar aficionados, Steve Morse needs no introduction, and his place in the pantheon of guitar greats is certain. But in fact, his career started with the DIXIE DREGS. The band traces its true beginnings to the band Dixie Grit, which started in a Georgia high school with Steve on guitar and Andy West on bass. Dixie Grit morphed into the DIXIE DREGS at the University of Miami School of Music, where Allen Sloan (violin) and Rod Morgenstein (drums) joined up with Steve and Andy, who were the “dregs” of Dixie Grit.

The members of the DIXIE DREGS remained committed to attending the University of Miami School of Music, which hosted a lively and talented musical community during their tenure, including future greats Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, T Lavitz, and Bruce Hornsby, among many others. In 1975, the group’s demo album, The Great Spectacular, was recorded at the University of Miami and then re-released on CD in 1997.

After graduation, the band moved back to Augusta where Steve Davidowski (keyboards) completed the band. The band paid its dues and honed its skills playing in bars and venues throughout the South in the mid-70’s. They established themselves in the firmament of American instrumental music, seamlessly fusing rock with progressive and jazz elements to create a uniquely instrumental-driven style that has stood the test of time.

Based on a short demo and a tip from former Allman Brothers keyboardist Chuck Leavell along with legendary Allman/Dregs tour manager Twiggs Lyndon, Capricorn Records signed the DIXIE DREGS to record Free Fall (1977). The success and critical acclaim of Free Fall announced the DIXIE DREGS to the world, and after its release, they would become a cult-favorite band that would have a lasting influence on much of modern rock.
Keep your eyes on www.dixiedregs.com and www.facebook.com/TheDixieDregs for all the news.

POCO – Infinity Music Hall Hartford, CT – February 24, 2018

Poco played the Infinity Music Hall to a sold out crowd of dedicated fans. The band is celebrating their 50th anniversary and is still giving it their all.
Poco in 2018 consists of Rusty Young – pedal steel guitar, banjo, Dobro, guitar, mandolin, lap steel guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals; Jack Sundrud – bass, acoustic guitar, vocals ; Michael Webb – keyboard, accordion and mandolin; and Rick Lonow on drums, percussion.
Rusty Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina, Randy Meisner and George Grantham were the founding members of the band Poco in 1968. Although most of the original members are no longer playing the four present this night were very much into making an enjoyable night for everyone. They are still holding up the traditions of one of the most well loved bands of the late 20th century.
Rusty started out the evening with a big smile and made the comment that the guys in the band were “All Fired Up” before launching into the well known song. The audience clapped along and got right into the spirit of the night.
They then played “Good Feelin’ To Know” which was followed by “Rose of Cimarron” It seemed like Rusty may have had a slight cold and coughed a couple of times during the songs. But, that didn’t detract from his recognizable voice and the band’s top notch playing.
Jim Messina, one of the founding members and the opening act to Poco, did a walk on to play a couple of songs. You could tell by the banter between Messina and Young that they still after all these years are friends and enjoy the chance to perform together. The audience got a kick out of it too.
Rusty Young quipped between songs about Poco’s history. He shared with the audience a couple of stories. He and Messina joked about a some of the early years and what they went through together.
Being the only 50 year member of the band Young did make one solo album “Waitin’ for the Sun” but that was recently. The bulk of his half century in the band was only recording with Poco.
The audience sang along to one of the best known favorites “Crazy Love.” Everyone knew the words with no prompting. It was nice to hear an entire hall of voices singing with the band.
Michael Webb got in a guitar solo as he sang lead on “That’s What Rock and Roll Will Do” from the All Fired Up album. A tune that’s about the rock and roll life on the road. It was a little more hard edged than the normal Poco songs and showed a different side to the band.
Jack Sundrud took the lead on the heartbreaking tune “Hard Country.” He did a wonderful job with the song that describes the loss of farms on a grand scale and the emotions of those left behind.
It’s still fantastic to see Poco out there and performing a setlist that most people are pleased to hear. There are certain songs that most bands know the public associate with their name, their anthems so to speak. Rusty and the band are keen to make sure that even though they can’t do all the hits and songs the audience calls out for they give a great mix. Each band member is allowed to shine and take the lead on different songs.
It was a wonderful evening of great toe tapping music that brings you back to a simpler time. One of my favorite bands of all time, I’m glad they’re still hanging together after all this time and making such enjoyable music.
http://pocoband.com/
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris

 

Setlist
All Fired Up
Good Feelin to Know
Rose of Cimarron
Pickin Up the Pieces
My Friend
Call It Love
Heart of the Night
Keep on Tryin’
Crazy Love
Rock and Roll
Hard Country

Joe Satriani’s G3 Tour

Joe Satriani’s G3 Tour

Oakdale Theatre – Wallingford,CT
Feb. 8, 2018

Joe Satriani – John Petrucci – Phil Collen

 

Guitarist Joe Satriani began the G3 tours over twenty years ago and since its inception the legendary guitar player has invited two other highly regarded rock guitarists to play each tour with him. The artists each have their own set to showcase their solo talents before coming together at the end of the concert to jam for a few songs. This entire style of show works really well. To keep the tours fresh and the audiences wondering the lineup of artists changes each tour. This year’s lineup includes G3 veteran John Petrucci of Dream Theater and first-timer Phil Collen of Def Leppard.
First up was Phil Collen’s band Delta Deep. They played a great set of blues-rock songs. Debbi Blackwell-Cook, Collen’s bandmate and blues singer gave a wonderful range pushing performance belting out the blues. At one point her and Collen battled voice and guitar pitting her multi range voice against his guitar from the deepest baritone to high soprano. Collen’s guitar and her voice add such a soulful sound to the music.
Joining Collen and Blackwell-Cook was Grammy Award winner Forrest Robinson on drums and Robert DeLeo on bass. Their set included Delta Deep’s “Mistreated” and “Down in the Delta.” These cuts off the newly released “East Coast Live” album were rolled out with a great reception by the audience. Delta Deep and their blues sound was a hit with the crowd.
Setlist:
Quadrant 4 (Billy Cobham cover)
Yo 2
Joe
Bless These Blues
Burnt Sally
Mistreated
Down in the Delta
John Petrucci’s set began with the lights dimmed to a deep dark blue and the bass notes started a somber reverberation through the theater. The founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater performed “Wrath of the Amazons” and “Jaws of Life.” Both songs were in the heavy metal genre he is best known for. He laughed after those songs and said “Someone has to bring the heavy metal.”
Following those songs Petrucci who was backed by Dave LaRue on bass and Mike Mangini on drums lightened the mood by launching into “The Happy Song.” That was followed by “Glasgow Kiss” also a lighter tune from his Suspended Animation album Then it was back on to his heavier music metal riffs that he is best known for. His playing was spot on and during “Damage Control” he showed his expert alternate picking technique that is difficult to master but Petrucci makes look effortless.
Set List:
Wrath of the Amazons
Jaws of Life
The Happy Song
Damage Control
Glassy-Eyed Zombies
Glasgow Kiss

Joe Satriani finished out the trio taking the stage with his chrome guitar. Starting off the set with energy he played with passion and excitement moving from side to side of the stage. He even crouched down at one point and played with his teeth. His popular songs “Satch Boogie,” “Always With Me, Always With You,” were done perfectly and the master at solos made his guitar scream and moan.
While “Surfing With the Alien,” was played a screen projected behind the band animations of the Silver Surfer. Satriani’s excitement, animation and endless energy were infectious throughout his performance. He had the crowd on their feet clapping and shouting.
I particularly liked “Cherry Blossoms,” off his newly released 16th album “What Happens Next.” This was followed by “Thunder High on the Mountain.” He then rolled right into “Super Funky Badass” also from “What Happens Next.” If Satraini is growing older he is hiding it well because he looked like a 20 something rocker with his full range of facial expressions as he coaxed every whine and scream out of his guitar. It’s like his guitar is just an extension of his arms and part of his being.
Satriani is an amazing guitarist and his set flew by in a flurry of wailing guitars and drums leaving the audience wanting more. His band with Mike Keneally on keyboards/guitar, Bryan Beller on bass and Joe Travers on drums was a fantastic accompaniment to Satraini. At one point the drummer Joe Travers did an awesome solo that had the crowd cheering and stomping for more. A grand performance by the legend Satriani and his band.
Setlist
Energy
Catbot
Satch Boogie
Cherry Blossoms
Thunder High on the Mountain
Super Funky Badass
Cataclysmic
Headrush
Circles
Always With Me, Always With You
Drum Solo
Summer Song

G3 Jam
After Satriani’s band concluded their set Petrucci, Collen and Blackwell-Cook joined him on the stage and jammed together. The three played “Highway Star” by Deep Purple, “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder and “Going Down” by The Alabama State Troupers.
Highway Star (Deep Purple song)
Superstition (Stevie Wonder cover)
Going Down (The Alabama State Troupers cover)
The evening was great and the crowd enthusiastic and rose for ovations numerous times during the show in appreciation. I haven’t seen a G3 tour before and the unique presentation was refreshing. I would definitely see a G3 show again. Joe Satriani and his G3 tours is something any guitar enthusiasts or fan of great music should see. The G3 2018 tour will continue this year in both the USA and Europe though June. If you get the chance don’t miss it.
More information on the G3 Tour and each individual artist:
http://www.satriani.com/G3
http://www.satriani.com
http://www.philcollenpc1.com
http://www.deltadeep.net
http://johnpetrucci.com
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

“Ghosts of Christmas”

Mohegan Sun Arena
November 26, 2017

The Christmas season has arrived with the performance from the progressive rock band the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This has become an almost every year tradition for many. So it doesn’t seem like the season starts without an evening watching TSO. The performance was split into two parts. The first portion of the show was the “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve”, a story from the 1999 soundtrack, was narrated by Bryan Hicks as portions of the rock opera were shown on screens.
Prior to beginning the show a presentation was made of over $10,000 for local Connecticut charities from some of the proceeds from shows at Mohegan Sun this year. Trans-Siberian Orchestra has always made sure with each of their Christmas performances that they contribute something back directly to the community where they are performing that night.
As always the string section is made up of local talented performers brought in for the event. On its first tour since the death of founder Paul O’Neill seven months ago. The band continues on with his vision of the show started in 1993. They still keep the concept of two troupes performing at the same time in different areas and bringing in the local talent as well as their own performers.
With each new season TSO changes the layout of the lasers and platforms that move. This year there were numerous risers for guitarists Chris Caffery and Joel Hoekstrar to strap onto as they performed. Roddy Chong on the violin was also hooked on to risers and floated above the stage in both the front and back of the arena. The arena was filled with smoke and flames. But, this year the entire backdrop was turned into many different sections of video screens all playing at the same time to expand the storyline well beyond the back of the stage. This year included the entire percussion section and keyboards on a stage that ascended up in the air about 30 feet during different numbers.
TSO played selections from their numerous rock operas Christmas Eve and Other Stories, The Christmas Attic, Beethoven’s Last Night, The Lost Christmas Eve, their two-disc Night Castle and Letters From the Labyrinth. They played a few from each of these as well as “Wizards in Winter” from The Lost Christmas Eve album released in 2004.
The second half of the concert was predominantly music from their non-Christmas albums including “Carmina Burana” a deep and dark number with flames shooting as the background videos projected flames shooting out of castle windows.
Trans Siberian Orchestra is one of the top ticket selling bands of the first decade of the new millennium. They are known for never having had an opening band and have never been an opening band for any other performers. They went straight to performing in auditoriums without being a bar or club band. Their performances from the start have been extravaganzas full of light shows and special effects. This is one part of the show that never disappoints the audience. O’Neill always wanted his shows to be intentionally over the top.
The concert was a bit too long and could possible be shortened by a couple of songs without losing it’s effect. Perhaps not playing “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” twice. Once clearly does suffice without the reprise. But, all and all it was a good performance and rang in the season in a now traditional form.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
http://www.trans-siberian.com
SET LIST:
Time and Distance (The Dash)
Winter Palace
The Lost Christmas Eve
O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night
Good King Joy
Christmas Dreams
Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)
(Savatage cover)
Christmas Canon Rock
What Child Is This?
Music Box Blues
First Snow
Promises to Keep
This Christmas Day
Siberian Sleigh Ride
Christmas Nights in Blue
A Mad Russian’s Christmas
For the Sake of Our Brother
Wizards in Winter
Madness of Men
Beethoven
Carmina Burana
The Safest Way Into Tomorrow
The Night Conceives
The Mountain
Find Our Way Home
Requiem (The Fifth)
Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) (Reprise)
(Savatage cover)

 

The Grand Slambovian Halloween Ball: A Mid-Autumn Night’s Dream

The Slambovian Circus of Dreams

Oct. 29, 2017

Infinity Music Hall and Bistro, Hartford, CT

Halloween started early when the Slambovian Circus of Dreams came to Hartford. The special performance Halloween Ball featured the band and audience in costume. Puck introduced the band with a poem. The band’s costumes were were a bit like an act out of  “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” though a slightly twisted version. Joziah wore a trademark top hat, although this night it was more festively adorned with leaves and horns and the leader of the Faeries. The rest of the band costumed as faeries, elves and wizards.
The hall was set up with ample room on the main floor for dancing and the band encouraged the crowd to come close to the stage and dance so the band members could see the assortment of costumes for the judging of the contest that would happen during intermission. Many in the audience were longtime fans and some travel many miles to take in the Slambovians when they perform, especially the costume ball.
The band performed “Look Around,” a never recorded song off the British Album that they have written but yet to record.
They followed this with a cover of the Church song “Under the Milky Way Tonight.” They then did a song as a tribute to the late Tom Petty “It’s Good To Be King.”

The first set ended with a sing along on “I Know Where the Bees Have Gone” with Tink leading the audience in singing the chorus. A hive of bees in costume were the perfect accompaniment to the sing along. A couple of crystal bowls were used in the song by a local Connecticut performers dressed as a faerie and wizard.
Formed in Sleepy Hollow, New York about two decades ago, The Slambovian Circus of Dreams is a rock/folk band with an international following. The band’s performance is a colorful, quirky and delightful mix of music, dancing and conjuring up of the “Season of the Witch.” They enjoy the audience participation and Longo and Lloyd interact throughout the night with patrons.
The second set began with “Bravely, Bravely Dumb”, another sing along. Followed by “The Ridge.” The audience was dancing and enjoying themselves when the band continued into “Very Unusual Head.” This was a carnival type catchy tune.
Being Halloween the appropriate “Season of the Witch” was next. The set ended with “The Bipolar Express.” As the song played a troupe of psychedelic umbrella Jellyfish wove themselves in the crowd with a winding conga line as the band played. Skeletons, scarecrows, vikings, gypsies, and a varied assortment of costumed revelers joined in the dancing.

It was a colorful, unique and fun experience seeing the Slambovian Circus of Dreams especially for the Halloween celebration. Between their original songs and the covers of others they put out a excellent fun lighthearted show. The costumed band and audience was a bonus.

Joziah Longo (guitar, harmonica), Tink Lloyd (accordion, cello, flute), Kolson Pickard (guitar, trumpet), Sharkey McEwen (guitar, mandolin), Paul Silverman (keyboards), Felipe Torres (drums, percussion), and bassist, Bob Torsello.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
The Slambovian Circus of Dreams
http://slambovia.com/
SetList:
Set 1:
The Grand Slambovians
Pushin Up Daisies
Look Around
Under the Milky Way Tonight (Church cover)
It’s Good to be King (Tom Petty Cover)
Pluto’s Plight
I Know Where the Bees Have Gone
Intermission and costume judging
Set 2:
Bravely, Bravely Dumb
The Ridge
Very Unusual Head
Season of the Witch (Donovan cover)
The Trans-Slambovian BiPolar Express
Encore
Golden Slumbers (Beatles cover)

Jesse Colin Young

Jesse Colin Young

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center

Feb. 18, 2017

The Jesse Colin Young Band performed at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center on Saturday, February 18, 2017. It was a two part show. The first set was all acoustic with Young solo on his guitar. The second set was Young accompanied by his band of young talented artists in their 20’s. It’s ironic that they are around the age he was when he was touring in the Youngbloods.

Jesse Colin Young’s career began on the east coast in 1964 but really took off when he became one of the founding members of the Youngbloods in 1967, during the summer of love in California. Their best known hit is the iconic and still well loved song “Get Together” which was a worldwide top ten hit.
“Get Together” has become one of the anthems of a generation that proclaimed peace, love and harmony and would see us all through the turmoil of the Vietnam war era. It is such a classic that no Jesse Colin Young article or concert would feel be complete without the song. It’s been included in numerous movies throughout the years.

After the Youngbloods, Young continued with his own successful career and solo albums. He recorded in his studio in Marin, California and started his own Ridgetop Record label until a fire ravaged his home and property in 1995. He then moved his family to Hawaii and began a new life that included writing and producing music in a new studio. He and his wife also started their own coffee plantation 2000 feet up the slope of the 8000 foot Hualalai Mountain Volcano.The organic coffee is called Morning Sun and is sold and shipped worldwide.

Young opened with his well known songs “Songbird” and “Sugar Babe.” Followed by “Four in the Morning,” “Sunlight” and “Desire.” Young told the audience how he had taken a hiatus from touring for 6 years and had not planned on returning to the road until he saw his son and fellow Berklee college students performing at a recital and was blown away by their talent. He then decided to start touring again and invited Aleif Hamdan (electric guitar), Jack Sheehan (saxophone), Donnie Hogue (drums), Jenn Hwan Wong (keyboard), Sally Rose (backup vocals), Virginia Garcia-Alves (backup vocals) and Young’s son Tristan Young (bass) to join him. Their youth and enthusiasm energized his desire to tour again and it’s evident he enjoys their energy onstage.

For the second set Young was joined by the band and they started the set with “Ridgetop.” This was followed by “Sweet Good Times” and “Walk the Talk About Love.” They then sang “Cast a Stone,” which Young wrote following the Boston bombing about the emotions felt during the anxious hours in the aftermath.
The band shows their versatility by changing it up with a mix of blues and soul songs. They played a cover of the Marvin Gaye songs “What’s Goin’ On” and “Mercy, Mercy Me.” The band moved smoothly between the blues, folk and jazz mix of songs. Sally Rose and Virginia Garcia-Alves added beautiful accompaniment to Young’s voice.

 

They performed another of Young’s acclaimed songs “Darkness, Darkness” off the album Elephant Mountain. The song was also an anthem of the 60’s but refers more to the soldiers feelings in Vietnam. Jesse then sang a song he wrote, “For Orlando” after the tragic Orlando, Florida nightclub shooting.

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center is gem of a venue in Old Saybrook, CT, an intimate theater holding 250 patrons. It was a sold out concert and all of the patrons were happy to spend an evening with the band judging by the applause for an encore as the performance ended. The band returned to the stage and played a rousing rendition of T-Bone Shuffle.
It was a feel good performance with a legend and his band that everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

Jesse Colin Young Band Members:
Aleif Hamdan – Electric Guitar
Jack Sheehan – Saxophone
Tristan Young – Bass
Donnie Hogue – Drums
Jenn Hwan Wong – Keyboard
Sally Rose – Backup Vocals
Virginia Garcia-Alves – Backup Vocals
Set List
Set 1 : Young Solo
Songbird
Sugar Babe
Four in the Morning
Sunlight
Desire
Set 2 with Jesse Colin Young Band
Ridgetop
Sweet Good Times
Walk the Talk about Love
Cast a Stone
What’s Goin’ On/Mercy, Mercy Me
Lightshine
Statesboro Blues
Right Here, Right Now
Darkness, Darkness
For Orlando
Get Together
Encore
T-Bone Shuffle
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris

 

 

Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders

Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders

 Mohegan Sun Arena

Nov. 25, 2016

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Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders opened the night for Stevie Nicks. At 65 you would think Hynde would be showing signs of slowing down, not so. She prowled the stage guitar in hand with just as much swagger as ever. Hynde and the Pretenders sang for an hour prior to Stevie Nicks taking the stage.

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Hynde played many of their most popular 1980s tunes including “Back On The Chain Gang,” “Brass In Pocket,” “Private Life” and “My City Was Gone”. They all sounded great and were still played with enthusiasm. Her vibrancy on stage has not deminished. The band played tracks from their recent album “Alone” produced by Dan Auerbach, including”Gotta Wait,” “Let’s Get Lost,” “Holy Commotion” and “I Hate Myself”.  Hynde knows when to stick with what works and this album had very much of the same feel as those ’80s rock tunes that made her a household name.

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Known as one of the classic women in rock Hynde still entertains and although she gave praise to Stevie Nicks and downplaying her own influence on rock,  Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders had no problem showing that they are still one of the best known rock bands fronted by a woman.

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www.thepretenders.com
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Pretenders Setlist
Alone
Gotta Wait
Message of Love
Private Life
Down the Wrong Way (Chrissie Hynde song)
Hymn to Her
Back on the Chain Gang
I’ll Stand by You
Holy Commotion
My City Was Gone
Stop Your Sobbing (The Kinks cover)
Don’t Get Me Wrong
Mystery Achievement
Middle of the Road
Brass in Pocket

Martin Barre Interview

Interview with Martin Barre

Sept. 28, 2016

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The Martin Barre Band will be playing the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Theater in Old Saybrook, Connecticut on October 13, 2016.
Martin Barre did a phone interview with New England Rock Review’s Donna Erichsen prior to his scheduled show.
Barre spent 43 years as a guitarist for the legendary English band Jethro Tull before launching into his new career when Jethro Tull called it quits and broke up in 2011. Martin has since formed his own band, The Martin Barre Band, made up a quartet of seasoned artists. It features Martin Barre, Dan Crisp, George Lindsay and Alan Thomson. The Martin Barre Band released the album titled “Back To Steel” in 2015 and they have a new DVD “Live at Daryls” due out for Christmas 2016.
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Question: You have played large arenas with Jethro Tull and the Kate is an intimate venue. Do you prefer larger or smaller venues?
Martin: “I’ve played arenas with Jethro Tull and in small theaters and now I’ve played festivals with the Martin Barre Band. We’ve played theaters, we’ve played clubs. A gig is a gig, and in many ways the smaller the gig the more control you have. The sound is going to be better for everybody with a smaller audience. When you start getting larger the sound varies so much contained within the bigger space. I always look at the audience, if they’re having a great time I know it’s a good place to play and inevitably we get a great reaction”
Question: Do you play this tour with a full band including the female backups on this tour or how many of the band will be with you?
Martin: “It’s a four piece band, but it’s the four guys that are on the Back to Steel album. Maybe next year or at some point we’ll add the girl singers and expand on it for the future. It’s a good question. At the moment the four of us sound pretty good and you get what you hear on the album. We work really well together and with the four people everyone plays with lots of dynamics and lots of power.”
Question: In the years that you’ve been away from Jethro Tull, I know that Ian Anderson has gone on with his own band. Do you miss the camaraderie of being with Ian Anderson and the rest of Jethro Tull. Or, have you taken it in your own direction and enjoy being with your own band?
Martin: “Oh yeah well that’s a difficult area now. In 1969 when we started it was good and you had that connection. I have that now with my band now. We get on really, really well and have that sort of unity. That unity that was with Jetho Tull in the early days diminished as the years went on and people changed in the band. When the lineup changes, although we’re always friends, that spirit disappears. You know that inner glow, that inner connection. I’m glad to have that back again.”
Question: Your wife is from America. Do you spend more of your time in the United States now?
Martin: “We live in England. My wife is from Mississippi. My son lives in Mississippi and we go and visit him a lot. We’re at the moment, last year, this year, next year and 2018 we will spend at least six months of the year touring. My heart is in America and musically my roots are here. It’s where I’ve always been really happy to play. It’s easy here, music is, America loves music and music loves America. It’s a simple formula. I know I live here in spirit. I don’t have a house, I live in hotels but I love things here.
Question: You have a very busy upcoming tour schedule. Is there a particular place or county that you prefer to play in?
Martin: “You know it’s universal. Music is universal as well. Particularly with Jethro Tull there were no boundaries, there were no frontiers. There was really nowhere that was really different. Nowadays it’s a universal love of music and I like being in certain countries because of the culture, the food or the scenery. I have to say that we have been driving through the Adirondacks, through the Catskills and through the Blue (Ridge) Mountains and you know America has the most spectacular scenery in the world. It’s right here in America. It’s a beautiful place. Not many people I think are aware of it. I think many people think of Europe as being beautiful with the mansions and the scenery, but you have it here as well. You can make travel amazing and the highway is kind of what you make it. I try to make it as comfortable and as interesting as possible.”
Question: With the younger generation and the new influences and different types of music that are out there now. Do do you find yourself making changes in your music writing and composing as your going along now?
Martin: “No, I don’t. I don’t because Jethro Tull followed fashion to a degree. We went through an electronics stage in the mid eighties and it was a big mistake. Fashions come and go in music. If you don’t follow it you’ll be in exactly the same place after it’s been and gone. No, I like music and I respect it and I love all styles. I like country, bluegrass, blues, classical music in particular and folk music. I enjoy listening to it and I draw inspiration from it. I don’t copy it, but I know I draw inspiration from it. I certainly won’t change the way I am. I’m not saying that I’m perfect by a huge amount but I have a self belief. I just that I know what I like and I have to stand by that. I stand by the fact that the music I write is the music I love. If people don’t like it I’d be very, very disappointed and if people do like it I’m extremely happy. It’s one hundred percent of my own making, my own volition.
Question: You have been at this for so many years. Do you plan to keep on and see where it takes you or do you plan to slow down and relax a while?
No, no we’re at the beginning of a new career for the Martin Barre Band. We’ve just started and I’m not going to slacken up on it for quite a few years. We are already planning 2018. It’s a big, big year for us and we have some special things in mind for that year. As as long as my health permits we’re in it for the long term.
Question: You have been using more of your own music and compositions and less of Jethro Tull in your performances. On your next album will there be more of your own music?
Martin: “I think there will be that comfortable balance. I don’t want to be known as a band that is famous for playing Jethro Tull music. I want to have our own identity and I want the people in the audience to appreciate the band as individuals. I want to write music and if people to enjoy the music that I write it is a real accomplishment. There will always be that mix, I’ll always understand the historic side of what I’ve done is important for the fans and I would never ignore that. It’s a nice mixture, sometimes we’ll play “Trashing Government Mule” or “Porcupine Tree” or a blues standard. We’re in a position that we can do anything that we want because we’re passionate about doing it. We don’t have any constrictions in our catalogue. We can experiment and I want to do that, I want to keep the audience guessing. I want to keep their interest and I want to keep their enthusiasm as much as I want to keep the band’s enthusiasm.”
Question: Do you plan to bringing in any other artists with you in the future or work in collaboration with other artists?
Martin: “Yes, we’ve got some plans or 2018, a very special tour. With some very, very special guests. It’s a bit early to give details but we have some interest in that from some amazing people.”
Question: In the past Jethro Tull included flute as an instrument. In your latest album that is absent. Do you plan leave that out in the future as well?
Martin: “No, no I don’t, I played flute before I met Ian and I will be playing flute again. But only when musically the situation arises. If I write a piece of music and it would be sound nice with flute then that’s what I’ll do. But, the flute fortunately or unfortunately is very replaceable. We’ve gone to electric guitars more. The flute isn’t a comfortable instrument in a rock environment, although Ian made it famous and did make it work. But I think the proof in the pudding is that there aren’t many bands that feature a flute.”
Question: Does your wife travel with you?
Martin: “Yes she does. We’re expecting our second grandchild in a week so she’s going to fly back in a few days to England for that. But, she runs the business of Martin Barre, whatever that is, with me. Without her I couldn’t do it. She does the administration and it’s a lot of work.”
We will have more from the Martin Barre Band following the show at 7:30pm on Oct 13, 2016 at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Theater in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.