ANA Popovic – Mohegan Sun – April 12, 2018

Once again ANA Popovic heated up the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den sporting a red hot leather outfit and her Fender Stratocaster. She wailed and crooned the blues with the ease of a seasoned professional. Having cut her teeth with some of the best of the blues world ANA is now considered one of the best blues guitarist on the world touring circuit.
Serbian born and transplanted to Los Angeles by way of Memphis. The six time Blues Music Awards nominee brings her blues rooted and sometimes jazz and funk influenced music to venues throughout the United States and the world.
Over the years Popovic has added to her touring band with each progression of her music. This tour her band included a brass section to back her gritty sultry vocals and accompany the keyboards and drums.
Popovic and the band played for an hour and a half covering music from her “Trilogy” album, which had guests appearances by guitar greats Joe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph, Bernard Purdie. She also played cuts from “Can You Stand the Heat?” and other releases.
Popovic in the past was the only female guitarist among the star-studded Experience Hendrix Tour proving she can hold her own against any male counterparts.
The night ended with a medley including a fantastic version of the Jimmy Hendrix classic “Crosstown Traffic” and a standing ovation from the audience.
ANA Popovic is an extremely talented and accomplished artist. If you haven’t had the chance to see her you should make the time when she comes to a venue near you.
ANA Popovic Band Members:
– Ana Popovic: lead guitar & vocals
– Eric Robert: keys
– Brad Walker: saxophone
– Jon Ramm-Gramenz: trombone
– Buthel Burns: bass + b-vocals
– Cedric Goodman: drums + b-vocals
http://anapopovic.com/home
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Set List:
ANA Shuffle
Can You Stand the Heat
Object of Obsession
Love You Tonight
Train
She Was a Doorman
Long Road Down
New Coat of Paint
Woman To Love
Can’t You See What You’re Doing to Me
Fencewalk
If Tomorrow Was Today
Can You See Me
Medley:
Show How Strong You Are
Going Down
Crosstown Traffic

 

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?

 

 

Jim Messina – Infinity Music Hall Hartford, CT – February 24, 2018

It was a fantastic evening at the Infinity Music Hall with a spot on performance by the legendary Jim Messina and his band. Messina was joined by Gary Oleyar – fiddle and guitar, Craig Thomas – saxophone, woodwinds and percussion, Dave Beyer – drums and Michael Brady on bass. Together they gave the audience a truly memorable performance.
I think Jim Messina has never received the recognition from the public nor his peers that he deserves for his contributions to the music many of us heard in the 1960’s and 70’s and continue to hear now well into the 21st century. Messina was a member of Buffalo Springfield. A founding member of Poco and Loggins and Messina. All three of these bands are now legendary in the music industry.
Prior to becoming a member of Buffalo Springfield Messina was already an accomplished guitarist and producer. He began engineering while still in high school under the tutelage of guitar greats like Foy Willing of the Riders of the Purple Sage and other western music greats. He was already building a career in record engineering before he was approached to join Buffalo Springfield at the request of the group and  Atlantic Records founder and president Ahmet Ertegun. Messina became a bass player for the band replacing Bruce Palmer who was leaving. He played and toured with the Buffalo Springfield up until the completion and release of their album Last Time Around.
Messina and Richie Furay joined together in 1968 as founding members of Poco, which was a turning point band in music of the era joining country and rock together is what was forever after called country-rock. Messina left Poco and went his own way after tiring of the touring schedule and his desire to go back into producing.
In 1970 Loggins and Messina was formed. With Messina’s background even Kenny Loggins said right from the beginning, Jimmy was the producer. Loggins was a songwriter and had never made a record, put a band together or many of the things that bring a successful band to fruition. So Jim was the leader. Their first album was released in 1971 and together the duo made a total of 12 albums including live and compilation albums.
After parting ways with Kenny Loggins, Messina recorded four solo albums: 1979’s album Oasis; 1981’s eponymous Messina featuring guest performances by Jeff Pocaro, Joe Pocaro and Victor Feldman; 1983’s One More Mile; and 1996’s re-imagined retrospective of concert favorites Watching The River Run Revisited.
The concert at the Infinity was a mix of songs from each band Messina has been in and included a walk on by Rusty Young from Poco to play slide guitar on “Listen to a Country Song.”
There was a medley of Loggins and Messina songs “Traveling Blues,” which he said held special meaning now that he has children, “House on Pooh Corner” and “Thinking of You.”
They performed “Be Free.” Messina on mandolin with Oleyar on fiddle, and Thomas on flute had the audience stomping and clapping. A song that cries to free your soul. Always one of my favorite Loggins and Messina songs it was a pleasure to hear it done so well. Messina’s voice is still strong and he hits every note perfectly. His playing is just as precise and snappy as ever.
The encore was two well known favorites “You Need a Man” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance.”
Messina’s most recent album release, Jim Messina “In The Groove” with special guest Rusty Young, was recorded live in concert at The Clark Center and The Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara. It has been released both on a 12” Vinyl LP, as well as on an 8 gig “Flash Drive” the size of a credit card and is entitled Jim Messina “Access All’ Music/Video/Data, and can be used for future downloads and discounts. Because the vinyl LP can only hold 71 minutes of recorded music, it only contains the concert set and not the encore. However, since the “Flash Drive” is 8 gigs, it holds the entire 101-minute concert and encore. In addition, the Flash Drive contains a 27-minute video Encore (You Need a Man and Your Mama Don’t Dance”), the album’s artwork, the original set list (that was edited down) and the song lyrics.
I sat and had a talk with him after the concert. He is a kind, gentle and soft spoken man. You could easily pass hours just listening to the stories of his life. Many of his fellow musicians through the years had gotten caught up in their careers, drugs or alcohol and never got to fully enjoy the fame they worked so hard for.
Married with a family Messina has a firm belief that there is more to life than just his music. That life is to be lived fully and happily. He spends his off time on his ranch with his donkeys, ducks, dogs and a cat. He surrounds himself with friends from all walks of life. Not isolating himself to just the world of musicians. He tours but does it at his own pace. A set of 4 shows over a week or two in a certain geographical location and then back home to his family.
For those of you sailors who wonder if he still sails. He used to have larger boats but these days he would prefer to teach his daughter to sail on a lake or somewhere more forgiving than the ocean. He wants her to have the experiences of sailing just on a smaller scale. He said cruising the San Juan islands in Washington state would be nice because the water is still clean, the air is clear and the scenery is beautiful.
At the age of 70, although you would not think he was that age, there are no plans of slowing down. Being raised in Texas he is thinking he would like to go back to his roots. The next adventure they are considering is moving the family and animals to Texas for a new life there. The plan includes doing 4 performance tours at upscale roadhouses in various Texas locations.
I have no doubt this is what will happen if he wants it. He knew at a very early age he wanted a career in music. He stated he’s had guardians and maybe some guardian angels from the start that helped him launch his career in the music industry. From the short time I spent with Messina it appears he has no problem fulfilling any dream he sets his mind to.
Don’t miss the chance to see this music legend perform. Jim Messina and the band are masters at their craft. Each and every band member exceeded my expectations.
http://www.jimmessina.com
Setlist:
Mojito Moon
Traveling Blues
Medley:
Watching the River Run
House on Pooh Corner
Thinking of You
Danny’s Son
Whispering Waters
Kind Woman
You Better Think Twice
Listen to a Country Song – Holiday Hotel
Be Free
Angry Eyes
Encore
You Need a Man
Your Mama Don’t Dance
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris