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.
Watching the River Run
House on Pooh Corner
Thinking of You
You Better Think Twice
Listen to a Country Song – Holiday Hotel
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.
Quadrant 4 (Billy Cobham cover)
Bless These Blues
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.
Wrath of the Amazons
Jaws of Life
The Happy Song
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.
Thunder High on the Mountain
Super Funky Badass
Always With Me, Always With You
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:
It was a fantastic performance by Lady Gaga for the sold out crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena. A perfect venue for a top act like this. The center of the arena was all open festival standing. Although midway through the first couple of songs most in the upper sections were on their feet as well. Because as Lady Gaga said “It’s a party and what do you do at party? Stand up and dance.”
Lady Gaga performed with her band and dancers a combination of songs from her newest release “Joanne” and many of her older hits. She’s a pop queen but there is so much more there than just a pop star. Her voice is strong and beautiful and she plays variety of instruments from guitar to piano. She is absolutely nonstop energy from start to finish.
As Gaga and her dancers changed into their many different costumes a video panel in front of her band was raised and lowered with changing video images. There was never really a pause in the night even when she was not singing. It was exciting and vibrant.
The song “Angel Down” was dedicated to the victims of the San Antonio shooting. It was touching, timely and sadly relevant in this year of tragedies.
One of the tour bus drivers we spoke with said the entourage includes 29 semi’s and 12 buses. That’s a major movement of talent, machinery and lighting. It is obvious though when you see the elaborate stage and props come to life during the show. There were lifting riser stages, trap doors and lighting stretching from the front of the area to the second stage half way back and on to the final stage at the back of the arena. Giant mushroom shaped blobs on the roof turned into walkways between stages and projected close ups of her singing. Gaga does her part to keep americans employed.
Lady Gaga dedicated “Edge of Glory” to her good friend Sonja Durham, who died in May from Breast Cancer, and to a member of her troupe whose first anniversary of her father’s passing is approaching.
Gaga clearly has a love for all people and is a fiercely outspoken woman and champion of the LGBT community as well as a strong promoter for women’s rights. She speaks of her love for all people and seeks to bring all genders, races, beliefs under one roof for a night of pure entertainment. Forget the differences and stand up and have a party.
Lady Gaga’s real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Her middle name was given her in honor of an aunt she never knew. The song “Joanne” is a tribute to that aunt as well as the tour. She performed the song on acoustic guitar flanked by two of her band members also on guitars. A touching song tribute that was personal to her and showcased her voice and the fact that she needs no dancers and band to back her.
For some of her fans, or “Little Monsters” as she calls them, it’s a life changing experience to attend her concerts and a pilgrimage to be done over and over again. As the show draws to a close letters and cards are hurled on the stage by those close enough to get theirs to land at her feet. The dancers collect the items and Gaga reaches down for one to open and read out to all. It’s a long eloquent letter but she reads the entire thing. It speaks of how this one person’s life was changed by years of attending her shows and friends made in the process. She asks an eager face in the audience if that was his letter, he nods. Gaga goes down in the audience and gives him a kiss and a hug before returning to the stage. She’s a class act.
Gaga strolled the length of the bridges to go from stage to stage out to her grand piano for encore song “Million Reasons.”
This was the most elaborate concert I’ve seen. When she is 45 and touring sure maybe it will be a toned down version of this, but make no mistake she has the voice and star quality to carry her for many decades. But, for now I am glad she puts on the show all will remember. This afterall is what Lady Gaga is known for, her over the top shows and dancers bouncing across the stage with her in perfectly choreographed unison.
A show everyone should see at least once.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos courtesy of Getty Images for Live Nation/Kevin Mazur
Come to Mama
The Edge of Glory (Piano Acoustic)
Born This Way
Dancin’ In Circles
(Contains elements of “Paparazzi”.)
Joanne (guitar acoustic)
Garde Arts Center – New London, CT
September 23, 2017
The Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot took the stage at the Garde Arts Center in New London, Connecticut to entertain a full house of fans.
After decades of touring the 78 year old Gordon Lightfoot has honed his skills on which direction to take the audience. He begins the concert with the self depreciating humor acknowledging the rumor years ago that he had died. No, he is alive and ready to entertain. Gaunt and lanky he seems frail to be on the stage. But, once he begins to sing and get his musical footing he goes full on and does not stop until the end of set one and an intermission.
Backed by a veteran four-piece band, Mike Hefferman on Keyboards, Barry Keane on Drums and Percussion, Carter Lancaster on Lead Guitar and Rick Haynes on Bass. All but Lancaster having played with Lightfoot for decades as he acknowledged during the introductions. The youngster being Carter Lancaster has been with the band since 2011. The group all play well together and accompany Lightfoot’s lighter voice without overpowering his voice with their musical notes.
Lightfoot plays a medley of shorter versions of some of his sizeable catalog of songs during part of the first set. Enough of each song to get the feel of the song while being a shorter length. No one minded. A songwriter from a young age his collection of songs is so numerous he sticks mostly to the better known hits for most of the night.
The second set he performed many of his most recognizable hits. “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” “Sundown “, “If You Could Read My Mind” and “Carefree Highway.”
Lightfoot shared the story of being a young artist in the early 60’s and getting the chance to almost meet Elvis during a concert he attended in Buffalo. Elvis had recorded Lightfoot’s song “Early Morning Rain” and after talking with people at Elvis’s record company he was told that Elvis wanted to meet him. He went to the concert in Buffalo and was told by staff to go to the stage left door after the concert and Elvis would meet him there at the door. They told Lightfoot to get there as soon as the concert ended because the band left really fast when they get off stage and that they run right out of the building. But, that for him Elvis was going to wait for 5 minutes. So, the concert ended and he was halfway back in the theater and he trying to make his way to the stage left door. There were 14,000 people going out and he was pushing his way down to the stage against the flow. He finally got to the stage door and looked at his watch and it had be 4 minutes and 45 seconds. He was greeted by someone at the door who told him “I’m sorry Mr. Lightfoot, Elvis just left the building”.
In the lead up to “Baby Step Back” Lightfoot said with a smile “Meet Me By the Rockpile Honey, I’ll Get a Little Boulder There.” This got a laugh from the audience as did a few other witty comments while introducing or ending a song. He has a wry and dry sense of humor.
Years and decades of touring has Lightfoot’s skills honed on which direction to take the audience. One of the last songs of the night was “Early Morning Rain” a song that was covered by both Elvis and Bob Dylan.
There is something to be said for taking life’s hard knocks, facing it down and getting back out there. It takes heart and stamina to face a major illness and keep on touring. Though his schedule is not at intense as it was back in his earlier days he is still touring. Many would have given it up and retired. Lightfoot’s voice is lighter and more breathy at times and he’s not able to hold the notes as long as he once could. That said he still pleases the crowd and the band sounded very good.
I think everyone who has followed Gordon Lightfoot over the years now knows of his limits, but that doesn’t matter. This fact is not unnoticed by Lightfoot and he is genuinely appreciative of his audience who come out time and again. Every other song or so someone in the crowd shouted out their appreciation for him and he smiled and answered them back. Early on in the concert someone in the crowd yelled out “We love you Gordie!” He smiled and said if it weren’t for the fans he would not be out there. I guess the feeling is mutual. As long as he has the will to be out there and tour they will come.
Now and Then
Waiting for You
The Watchmans Out
14 Karat Gold
Minstrel of the Dawn
Never Too Close
Rainy Day People
Did She Mention My Name
Ribbon of Darkness
Drink Yer Glasses Empty
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
I’d Rather Press On
A Painter Passing Through
If You Could Read My Mind
Early Morning Rain
Baby Step Back
College Street Music Hall
New Haven, Connecticut
August 17, 2017
The College Street Music Hall in New Haven, Connecticut hosted Judy Collins and Stephen Stills for an intimate night of music and stories. It’s not the largest of venues, holding approximately two thousand patrons, but perfect for the blend of rock and folk that Collins and Stills performed.
The 72-year-old Stephen Stills plays many instruments but this night was strictly on guitar. He’s an instrumentalist and composer and has in the past been a part of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Buffalo Springfield. He followed that with a longstanding solo career.
The 78-year-old folk singer Judy Collins is an iconic and enduring figure in folk music with a career spanning many decades. Stills and Collins met in 1967, during a high point in the young Collins’ career. That was the start of a decades long friendship that has gone full circle culminating with the this tour and their upcoming album release.
They opened the set with “Handle With Care” followed by “So Begins The Task.”
Collins the took the stage solo for her original song “River of Gold.” Collins voice has not lost it’s lilting tone and beautiful quality. Her singing gives no indication of her age. She still has a lovely peacefulness to her music and had no problem with the clear high notes she is know for. That’s how the evening went, Collins would perform a song or two solo then Stills would join her for a couple songs together. He then would sing one or two of his songs solo.
The duo sang a cover of Leonard Cohen’s 1988 song “Everybody Knows.” The song will be featured on their soon to be released LP of the same name. This album combines 50 years of their separate and combined careers works. Some of their more popular songs are revisited. In addition the album features a few covers of songs from various other artists.
Stills and Collins have worked together before on a track for a Collins record in the past but they have not done an album together. “Everybody Knows,” which will be released Sept. 22, has covers of songs by Leonard Cohen.
“Who Knows Where the Time Goes” from Collins’ 1968 album (which Stills played on) and “So Begins the Task” from Stills’ 1972 album with Manassas.
Stills took the stage by himself to perform “Treetop Flyer,” a song he said is still a popular request at USO shows he does on occasion. He said it’s one of his most requested songs in general.
Collins voice still resonated through the theater as she perform the touching “Suzanne”, another Leonard Cohen cover. This was followed by “Judy” a song Stills wrote for Collins.
The evening was also rich with stories told by both Collins and Stills of their history together and with other performers. They gave insight into how it was to tour and perform in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Their stories were both funny and touching. Collins was actually quite funny with her impressions of Leonard Cohen and his wife. They told of their short love affair followed by a longstanding friendship. They now get together once in awhile for dinner though each has gone on with their individual lives, married and are happily living their own lives on separate coasts. Lives they will go back to after November when this tour is over.
They finished out the night with “For What It’s Worth” another of the most requested on Still’s concert list and “Bluebird.”
They came back onstage for an encore with “Houses”, “Someday Soon” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.”
Numa Edema was the opening act. He’s a Norwegian soul singer and started the evening performing cuts from his debut album “Hourglass” including his songs “Delta Man” and “Not Long Ago.” His soulful and slightly blues influenced music was well received by the crowd.
Time has passed and Stills will probably never have the range he once has as is the case with many who started their careers in the sixties. But even with that taken into acount the concert was good and an enjoyable evening.
Handle With Care (Traveling Wilburys cover)
So Begins the Task (Manassas cover)
River of Gold
Questions (Buffalo Springfield cover)
Girl From the North Country (Bob Dylan cover)
Everybody Knows (Leonard Cohen cover)
Seen Enough (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young cover)
Treetop Flyer (Stephen Stills cover)
Both Sides, Now (Joni Mitchell cover)
Suzanne (Leonard Cohen cover)
Judy (Stephen Stills cover)
Who Knows Where the Time Goes (Sandy Denny cover)
Chelsea Morning (Joni Mitchell cover)
For What It’s Worth (Buffalo Springfield cover)
Bluebird (Buffalo Springfield cover)
The Garde Arts Center outdid themselves with this concert. Although they have hosted many great shows, this show was spectacular.
Growing up as a child of the sixties one the voices in the soundtrack of my youth would have to be David Crosby. He and his counterparts were a representation of the era and the outspoken cry for justice and political change in America. To see him now as an adult completes a cycle of decades of changes. Changes in age, political climate, people. Crosby has accepted those changes and evolved into a still relevant voice in American music. Though the Vietnam war is long over we are still embroiled in ever present political strife as much now as ever.
Crosby, never one to shy away from his political stance still speaks for peace and love. He has an opinion on what is right and what is wrong in America and what we as American’s allow to happen in our society.
This was such a memorable concert on many levels. To hear Crosby play his older tunes was one but also to hear his musical evolution brought it to another level. He has for almost the last two decades enjoyed playing with one of his sons. James Raymond, Crosby’s son, is the keyboard player in the band and also co-author of many of Crosby’s newer works. They have worked together since forming the band CPR (Crosby, Pevar & Raymond) with Jeff Pevar on lead guitar in 1996.
Crosby gathered together some friends to tour with him, Truly talented friends they are. As Crosby stated during the concert each band player is an accomplished musician on their own and have had their own bands. The friends are James Raymond (keyboards/vocals), Jeff Pevar (guitar/vocals), Michelle Willis (keyboards/vocals), Mai Agan (bass) and Steve DiStanislao (drums/vocals).
Starting off his career with The Byrds, then on to Crosby, Stills, Nash. Continuing with the addition of Neil Young for a time. Crosby was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and inducted twice for his works with the Byrds and CSN, and he was a founding member of both bands.
Crosby released his first solo album, If Only I Could Remember My Name, in 1971 and his solo career is still going strong to this day. This past October he released Lighthouse. His newest release “Sky Trails” was available for the concert patrons to purchase only at the venues on concert nights.
There were the obligatory Crosby, Stills and Nash songs. Along with each song though there was a short explanation of where that song belonged in his life. The reasons for writing them and where his mind was at the time and who among the greats of 60’s rock he was associating with during the writing and performing of those songs.
Crosby said that all his life when he had an emotion he squashed but felt he needed to air he would air it by writing a song about it. “In My Dreams,” was the opening song of the evening. Followed by a song he wrote about Jim Morrison. The Crosby, Stills & Nash song “Long Time Coming” finished up the first set and the band took a short intermission.
After the intermission they returned to the stage and went right into a CPR song “Map To Buried Treasure” They played a Crosby & Nash song “Homeward Through The Haze” and then “Angel Dream.”
Jeff Benedict, prize winning author and native of New London, CT, who wrote the book “Little Pink House.” “Little Pink House” is a story of one woman’s fight to keep her house which was being taken by the law of eminent domain. It tells of how large corporations or governments can remove a person’s right to live in a home they purchased and call home simply because it is in the way of development. The Garde Arts Center concert was important because the fight the book and film were based upon is the case that took place in New London.
The book was made into a movie and while searching for inspired music for the movie Benedict thought of asking long time friend Crosby. Crosby an opponent of taking of homes for eminent domain of course agreed and wrote the song “Home Free” Jeff Benedict invited Crosby to play at the Garde Arts Center and the song was performed live for the first time ever at this concert.
They finished up with a rousing version of the CSNY hit “Déjà vu.” The encore to follow was full of patriotism and a great rendition of “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee”
At 75 years young David Crosby sounded fantastic as did his friends. Their voices filled the theater with such wonderful harmonies. Crosby’s vocals were so strong all we can hope for is that he continues to play for many years to come. Hopefully he will also do a encore performance at The Garde Arts Center in the near future. If he does I am sure the house will be full of eager patrons waiting to hear his beautiful music.
In My Dreams
She’s Got To Be
At The Edge
Long Time Gone
Map To Buried Treasure
What Are Their Names
Low Down Payment
Grand Theater at Foxwoods, Mashantucket, CT
April 28, 2017
Steve Winwood has a career that spans decades. He started as a member of The Spencer Davis Group at age 14 in England. He went on from there to Traffic, and then to Blind Faith one of the first super rock bands. Once leaving those bands and embarking on his successful solo career he has carried on through time with hits of his own. It is great to see such an iconic legend of an era still out there touring.
Winwood was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Traffic in 2004 and won two Grammy awards. He was nominated twice for the Brit Award for Best British Male Artist: 1988 and 1989.
The evening started out with Winwood on the mandolin as he and the band played his well know hit “Back in the High Life Again.” He was accompanied by Richard Bailey on Drums, José Neto on Guitar, Edwin Sanz on Percussion, and Paul Booth on Saxophone.
Then they rolled into “Pearly Queen” and then “I’m a Man” from his Spencer Davis Group days. They followed that with “Fly” off his Nine Lives Album.
“Higher Love” was one of his US Billboard Hot 100 number ones that they played. Though Windwood does not speak to the audience too much while performing he was clearly happy to have his daughter Lilly Winwood come on stage and accompany him in singing “Higher Love” as well as on “Gimme Some Lovin’ ” during the encore.
The first encore song was the ever popular “Mr. Fantasy.” Always one of the audience favorites and a must play at any Steve Winwood concert.
The song list was not lengthy, but there were some great solos by each of the band members. It had the feel of an earlier time at concerts when bands would jam on longer during live performances.
Winwood’s voice still sounds as good as ever. I last saw him 11 years ago and he has not lost a bit of his edge. I would recommend this concert to anyone wanting to hear great music spanning 4 decades. I only wish there was enough time in one concert to cover his many songs and styles of singing.
It was also refreshing to see Winwood’s daughter, Lilly Winwood open for him. She played an acoustic set of cuts from her newly released debut EP titled “Silver Stage.” Her voice was soulful, beautiful and wise beyond her years.
Back in the High Life Again
Pearly Queen (Traffic)
I’m a Man (The Spencer Davis Group)
Them Changes (Buddy Miles cover)
Can’t Find My Way Home (Blind Faith)
Had to Cry Today (Blind Faith)
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (Traffic)
Empty Pages (Traffic)
Light Up or Leave Me Alone (Traffic)
Higher Love (with Lilly Winwood on vocals)
Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic)
Gimme Some Lovin’ (The Spencer Davis Group)
(with Lilly Winwood on vocals)
The Fox Theater darkened and the band begins to play. The crowd looks at the stage anticipating Beth Hart’s arrival. An electric guitar continued to moan in the dark. Beth Hart began singing the first lines of a song, her voice echoing throughout the theater. Suddenly she surprised and thrilled the audience when a lone spotlight lit up the singer dressed in a sparkling mini smoothly entering the theater from behind the crowd. The spotlight followed her as she passed by patrons, touching a few shoulders and hands along the way, as she sung “Don’t Explain” a Billie Holiday cover. Hart paused in the isle turned and faced the enthusiastic crowd to croon out the blues. She swung around and glided up onto the stage, not missing a beat. This woman has big stage presence and a voice to match it. Everyone was already fixated and cheering Hart on and the second song had not even begun.
The second number was “As Good as it Gets,” which was a number one single of Hart’s in Denmark. She has had many releases in Europe of various songs that have topped the charts. She is well recognized for her blues and soul songs worldwide and has released the albums “Seesaw” and “Live in Amsterdam” with fellow blues artist Joe Bonamassa.
Beth Hart and her band consisting of guitarist Jon Nichols, bassist Bob Marinelli and drummer Bill Ransom meshed so well, they knew their show and played perfectly. Jon Nichols made his multiple guitars used during the performance wail, moan and he also sang backup vocals.
Hart has such incredible range and rich tone. She brings the audience right down into the depths of her low down blues. She sings with such conviction coming from a life of knowledge of pain and suffering that she transfers into such beautiful music you feel every note. Hart’s “Lift Me Up,” a song she wrote for a sister who passed away was soulful and beautiful. The raw emotion in the song had people feeling it in the audience.
Hart’s husband Scott asked her to include the song “Leave the Light On,” off her platinum album of the same name. Before the song he made an impromptu appearance on the stage running over to her at the piano and giving her a little hug.
The evening was well rounded with heart aching blues off Hart’s newest album “Fire on the Floor,” including the title song from that release that told of the heartbreak of desire and love. These soulful ballads were alternated with lighter songs from the same DVD. The rock song “Fat Man” was popular as well with a catchy with toe tapping, driving beat.
The band played a mix of songs from some of Hart’s large catalog of releases since 1999. She also sang a cover of Tom Wait’s “Chocolate Jesus.” Hart alternated between shimmying across the stage, sitting, kneeling and playing on the piano. Her energy was passionate and boundless.
The band came back onstage for an encore of “No Place Like Home” followed by Hart’s 1999 single “LA Song (Out of This Town)” from her second album “Screamin’ for My Supper.”
I was totally blown away by this concert. I have heard her music and loved her voice, but seeing Hart perform in person was a treat I will not forget. Hart was humble, thankful for her success and honest about her struggles in life. Her sharing that made the show even more memorable. To realize what she has gone through in her life and for her to come out so positive and happy on the other side makes you want her success to continue for a long time. If you get the chance to see this woman and her band perform do it. Do not hesitate for a moment. If you are a blues lover or just a lover of great music this is a night not to miss.
Don’t Explain (Billie Holiday cover)
Good as It Gets
I’ll Take Care of You (Bobby “Blue” Bland cover)
Lifts You Up
Baby Shot Me Down
Close to My Fire (Slackwax cover)
Chocolate Jesus (Tom Waits cover)
Woman You’ve Been Dreaming Of
Leave the Light On
Love Is a Lie
No Place Like Home
L.A. Song (Out of This Town)
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 1 : Young Solo
Four in the Morning
Set 2 with Jesse Colin Young Band
Sweet Good Times
Walk the Talk about Love
Cast a Stone
What’s Goin’ On/Mercy, Mercy Me
Right Here, Right Now
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