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

 

Beth Hart Announces First Live Release In 13 Years, ‘Live From New York – Front and Center’


CD/DVD set will be released on April 13th, 2018 via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group 

Watch Hart Perform

On March 7th, 2017, the GRAMMY nominated “powerhouse vocalist” (Rolling Stone) Beth Hart performed a very special, intimate concert at NYC’s Iridium Jazz Club, which featured songs from her latest album ‘Fire on the Floor’ and from throughout her career. Now, 13 years after the release of her incredibly successful live release, ‘Live at Paradiso,’ Hart is treating fans to a DVD/CD release of this standout performance with ‘Live From New York – Front & Center’, out April 13th via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group. The performance is also featured on the Season 8 premiere episode of Public Television’s critically acclaimed concert series, Front and Center (airing now, check local listings).
Known for her visceral, soul-baring vocals and dynamic range, Hart is riding a creative tidal wave following the release of her critically acclaimed 2016 studio album, ‘Fire On The Floor’, as well as her just-released studio collaboration with guitarist Joe Bonamassa, ‘Black Coffee.’ Leveling audiences with her incredible power and celebrated burnt-honey vocals for 20 years, Hart has just launched a 16-date coast-to-coast US tour, which will be followed by a European tour in April-May 2018.
Hart has had an incredible career, beginning with the release of a fistful of hit albums through the ’90s, then reigniting in the post-millennium as both a solo artist and the head-turning vocalist for guitar heroes like Joe Bonamassa, Slash and long-time collaborator Jeff Beck. But it’s in recent times that Beth has truly blossomed, selling out ever-larger venues in cities around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen. She is recognized as one of the great live vocalists of our time, with a voice “reminiscent of Etta James and Janis Joplin” (Music Connection), topping Billboard’s Blues Album Chart and receiving numerous GRAMMY and Blues Music Awards nominations. Dubbed “the ultimate female rock star” by The Blues Magazine, the Guardian has praised her “daring, brooding performances” and The Times has called her “Extraordinary.”
‘Live From New York – Front And Center’ will be released as a 2-disc DVD/CD set, mixed in 5.1 stereo, featuring never before seen bonus material, including an exclusive interview with Hart. The audio from the performance will also be sold separately as a digital release.
Track Listing
CD
01 – Let’s Get Together
02 – Baddest Blues
03 – Jazz Man
04 – Delicious Surprise
05 – Broken And Ugly
06 – St. Teresa
07 – Isolation
08 – Tell Her You Belong To Me
09 – Fat Man
10 – Love Gangster
11 – Leave The Light On
12 – As Long As I Have A Song
DVD
01 – Let’s Get Together
02 – Baddest Blues
03 – Jazz Man
04 – Delicious Surprise
05 – St. Teresa
06 – Tell Her You Belong To Me
07 – Fat Man
08 – Leave The Light On
09 – Can’t Let Go
10 – As Long As I Have A Song
Bonus DVD features:
* Full Band Bonus Content (Love Gangster – Broken And Ugly – For My Friends)
* Acoustic Bonus Content (Isolation – My California – No Place Like Home)
* Beth Hart Interview

Tour dates – www.bethhart.com/tour/

Beth Hart Online: 
www.facebook.com/officialbethhart
www.twitter.com/BethHart
www.instagram.com/officialbethhart
www.bethhart.com

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

 

 

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

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

Joanne World Tour

Mohegan Sun Arena

Nov. 9, 2017

Getty Images for Live Nation
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.

Getty Images for Live Nation
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
www.ladygaga.com
mohegansun.com
Set List
Diamond Heart
A-Yo
Poker Face
Perfect Illusion
John Wayne
Scheiße
Alejandro
Just Dance
Love Game
Telephone
Applause
Come to Mama
The Edge of Glory (Piano Acoustic)
Born This Way
Bloody Mary
Dancin’ In Circles
Paparazzi
Ambulance
(Contains elements of “Paparazzi”.)
Angel Down
Joanne (guitar acoustic)
Bad Romance
The Cure
Encore:
Million Reasons

 

 

 

Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot

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.
Set 1
Now and Then
Waiting for You
The Watchmans Out
14 Karat Gold
Minstrel of the Dawn
Never Too Close
Rainy Day People
Shadows
Beautiful
Carefree Highway
Did She Mention My Name
Ribbon of Darkness
Sundown
Set 2:
Drink Yer Glasses Empty
Sweet Guinevere
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Christian Island
Don Quixote
I’d Rather Press On
A Painter Passing Through
If You Could Read My Mind
Restless
Early Morning Rain
Baby Step Back
Encore:
Cold on the Shoulder
Waiting for You
http://www.lightfoot.ca/ 
Band:
Mike Herrernan – Keyboards
Barry Keane – Drums, Percussion
Carther Lancaster – Lead Guitar
Rick Haynes – Bass
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris

Stephen Stills and Judy Collins

Stephen Stills and Judy Collins

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.
Set List
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)
Encore:
Houses (Judy Collins cover)
Someday Soon (Ian Tyson cover)
Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (Crosby, Stills & Nash cover)
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris

 

Joe Bonamassa

Joe Bonamassa

Oakdale Theater, Wallingford, CT

August 8, 2017

This hot August night was extra steamy with the arrival of smokin’ Joe Bonamassa and his blues-rock performance at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT. He was classily dressed in his now signature suit, cool shades and slicked back hair.
Bonamassa noted that he had played at the Oakdale theater in the round 27 years ago when he opened for B.B. King as a young upcoming and obviously talented blues guitarist. He was at the time only 13 years old. Though he admitted the when and where he was eluded him until reminded by a stagehand just exactly why he remember the place, there was a déjà vu moment when he arrived at the venue.
The night started out with gritty sound of “This Train” to warm the audience up for “Mountain Climbing”.
Bonamassa crooned out “Blues of Desperation” off the album of the same name which debuted a #8 of Billboards top 200. He played cuts off this fantastic album including the searing, slashing jam on “No Good Place For the Lonely” that left the audience cheering.
A master at changing up the pace he slid into the heartbreaking and soulful “Breaking Up Someone’s Home
” On “Boogie with Stu”, a Led Zeppelin cover, Reese Wynans got a chance to shine on the keyboard.
The instrumental “Black Winter/Django” was seven and a half minutes of pure showman with riffs and hand movements that were so intricate they memorized the crowd. He finished the song motioning the audience to raise out of their seats. Those who weren’t already standing rose up and continued to stand right though a stirring rendition of Zeppelin’s “How Many More Times” and into the stomping cries for an encore.
They finished up the night with a tribute to B.B King and a rendition of his “Hummingbird”
At the age of 40 he has a longstanding career and has accompanied some the guitar greats of our age. He played with Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and too many others to name. Mentored by Danny Gatton in his youth and introduced to the stage since his early years, he is now touring worldwide to sold out houses. Bonamassa’s name has become one of the most recognizable names in the blues scene and he has earned his place among the greats by paying his dues over time.
Bonamassa has topped the all artists by having 15 #1 Billboard Blues Albums. Funny thing about the blues. It seems if you don’t suffer the blues you’re not taken as seriously. Bonamassa did not have to suffer much of the low down, down and out life of the early blues masters like the 3 Kings (BB King, Albert King and Freddie King) he admired and even did a tribute tour in honor of, but he has all the feeling and style that makes a truly memorable blues guitarist stand out.
This year’s touring show includes a horn section consisting of Lee Thornburg playing trumpet and Paulie Cerra on saxaphone. Anton Figs was on drums and bassist Michael Rhodes. The three women vocalists all hail from Australia. Juanita Tippins, Mahalia Barnes and Jade Macrae gave a soulful, deep performance. Each woman is a standout singer but together they were wonderful and rounded out the band perfectly, especially on “Slow Train” which showcased each in a solo.
Bonamassa’s baritone resounded throughout the hall as he seared through a mix of his own music and a intermingling of covers from other great artists that he gave his own distinct flavor. He has already made his mark in the blues world and I hope he will continue to entertain for many decades to come. It was a great performance by the entire band and I hope he does not wait 27 more years before he revisits the Oakdale Theater again.
If you get a chance don’t miss his show. This is a guitarist everyone should see at least once. But, if you do see Bonamassa once will not be enough.

 

Bonamassa’s band members:
Anton Fig – Drums
Reese Wynans – Keyboards
Lee Thornburg – Trumpet
Paulie Seron – Saxophone
Michael Rhodes – Bass
Whinita Tipons – Singer
Jade Mcgregor – Singer
Mahalia Barnes – Singer
SET LIST:
This Train
Mountain Climbing
Blues of Desperation
No Good Place for the Lonely
How Deep This River Runs
Breaking Up Someone’s Home
Angel of Mercy (Albert King cover)
Slow Train
Driving Towards the Daylight
Boogie with Stu (Led Zeppelin cover)
Last Kiss
Black Winter
How Many More Times (Led Zeppelin cover)
Encore:
Hummingbird (B.B. King cover)
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris

David Crosby and Friends

David Crosby and Friends

Garde Arts Center

May 29, 2017

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.
Set List
In My Dreams
Morrison
Tracks
She’s Got To Be
At The Edge
Laughing
1000 Roads
Long Time Gone
Map To Buried Treasure
Homeward
What Are Their Names
Home Free
Angel Dream
Low Down Payment
Delta
Deja Vu
Encore
My Country Tis
http://www.davidcrosby.com/
http://jamesraymond.com
http://pevar.com
http://www.michellewillis.ca
http://maiagan.com
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris