Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – College Street Music Hall – New Haven, CT – July 25, 2018

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band

College Street Music Hall – New Haven, CT – July 25, 2018

The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band rocked the College Street music hall as the second half of a night of great music that was shared with Beth Hart who performed first and also had a fanastic set. The two bands paired up in one night was outstanding.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Noah Hunt, who have written and recorded together for over 20 years, were completely in sync and gave the crowd a blazing set of blues twinged rock. With Shepherd on guitar and the occasional vocal he shared the stage with Hunt who sang the majority of the songs. Being together for so long they have their stage presence down to a science. Hunt sings and then steps back and Shepherd takes over with sizzling guitar solos and then Hunt steps in with the rest of the vocal. It’s a mix that completely works.
Shepherd who got his desire for the guitar from listening to greats like Stevie Ray Vaughn at a young age is now one of the best blues guitarists out there. He shreds his guitar and takes the audience on the trip with him. His hands move so adeptly and quickly note to note some of the time it’s hard to take it in how fast he moves, but it sounds fantastic. One of his guitars was so well used there is hardly any finish left on the front.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd holds the record for the longest-running album on the Billboard Blues Charts. Shepherd captivated the audience with his fast and mesmerizing blues/rock licks.
Known for his 1995 is release of his Platinum winning “Ledbetter Heights” which he recorded at the young age of 18. He and the band performed songs from that album that went back to his roots.
The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, consisting of Kenny Waye Shepherd – lead guitar and vocals, Noah Hunt – vocals, Kevin McCormick – bass, Chris Layton – drums and Joe Krown – keyboards.
If your a fan of blues guitar or just plain great guitar playing The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band is definitely one band to see. They sounded great and had the house on their feet more than once. If you haven’t seen them yet they are on the must see list.
https://www.kennywayneshepherd.net
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Setlist:
Never Lookin’ Back
Ride of Your Life
True Lies
The House Is Rockin’ (Stevie Ray Vaughan cover)
Hard Lesson Learned
Baby Got Gone
Down for Love
Heat of the Sun
Talk to Me Baby (Elmore James cover)
Deja Voodoo
Born With a Broken Heart
Diamonds & Gold
You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now (B.B. King cover)
Encore:
Blue on Black
Voodoo Child

ROGER DALTREY PERFORMS THE WHO’S ‘TOMMY’ WITH THE BOSTON POPS

ROGER DALTREY PERFORMS THE WHO’S ‘TOMMY’

WITH MEMBERS OF THE WHO AND THE BOSTON POPS
Koussevitzky Music Shed at Tanglewood, Lenox, MA
June 15, 2018

Rock legend Roger Daltrey accompanied by members of The Who and the Boston Pops Orchestra put on the complete performance of The Who’s 1969 rock opera “Tommy” at the Tanglewood Koussevitzky Music Shed in Lenox, MA.
Pete Townshend is taking a year off but Daltrey said he just did not want to do that. He said performing kept his voice from suffering and that too much time off and his voice would not be the same. But holding onto the familiar sound of Townshend during the vocals was Simon Townshend, Pete Townshend’s brother. Besides sounding amazingly like Pete he plays with the group and this night he sang some of the lyrics Pete would normally deliver, but Daltrey took on most of the wide array of characters in the opera.
The rest of the band consisted of Frank Simes on guitar, Scott Devour on drums and Jon Button on bass.
This performance kicked off the 2018 summer season at Tanglewood and also the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. It’s also the 50th anniversary of the launching of the rock opera “Tommy.”
Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra will be celebrating Bernstein starting with this edition of “Tommy.”  Surprisingly Bernstein was a great supporter of this rock opera. I found this out at the performance during a conversation with David Knowle Edwards a writer for the Berkshire Edge.
Here is some background courtesy of Edwards. “Following a performance of “Tommy” at the Fillmore East in 1969, the Who’s lead guitarist and songwriter, Pete Townshend, received Leonard Bernstein’s effusive praise in person, straight from the maestro’s mouth:”
“Leonard Bernstein came with his daughter,” recalls Townshend (in various published interviews). “And he was incredibly excited. He grabbed me by the shoulder, shook me and said, ‘Pete! Do you realize what you’ve done?’ He was so passionate! … Of course, what he was talking about was that I was going the next step in what he had done with ‘West Side Story,’ which was creating a popular song cycle, a musical that was really rooted in street culture.”
The Boston Pops with conductor Keith Levenson joined Roger Daltrey to give the audience a fantastic night of music and even some of his famous microphone twirling. Daltrey’s voice was strong and he gave the audience an energetic and enthusiastic performance. The crowd was on their feet throughout the final few numbers showing their appreciation for the band and the Boston Pops with a long standing ovation.
The audience never took their seats as “Tommy” concluded. The encore songs were “Who Are You” and “Baba O’Riley.” During “Baba O’Riley” Katie Jacoby, a violin soloist, took center stage and gave a rousing ending to the song that had the entire crowd cheering.
Daltrey then ended the night with “Always Heading Home” off his newest album release “As Long As I Have You.” This release is Daltrey’s first solo album in 25 years and he is completely happy with the finished product.
Proceeds from the night’s sales of Daltrey’s new CD “As Long As I Have You” went to benefit the Teenage Cancer Trust. Also, one dollar from every ticket sold on The Who’s current North American Tour is being donated to Teen Cancer America. A project Daltrey is very much involved in and raises money for the charity whenever possible.
This was a historic concert that won’t be forgotten. Daltrey’s voice was strong and the band excellent. The addition of the magnificent playing from the Boston Pops made for a magical night. If you get the chance to catch this show don’t hesitate. It’s not a combination that will happen often if ever again. Different venues will have other orchestras backing Daltrey but if they perform anywhere near as well as the Boston Pops it is well worth seeing. This was a perfect pairing of talents on a beautiful summer night.
https://www.thewho.com/
https://www.bso.org/
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Setlist:
Overture
It’s a Boy
1921
Amazing Journey
Sparks
The Hawker (Eyesight to the Blind)
Christmas
Cousin Kevin
The Acid Queen
Do You Think It’s Alright?
Fiddle About
Pinball Wizard
There’s a Doctor I’ve Found
Go to the Mirror!
Tommy Can You Hear Me?
Smash the Mirror
I’m Free
Miracle Cure
Sensation
Sally Simpson
I’m Free
Welcome
Tommy’s Holiday Camp
We’re Not Gonna Take It
See Me, Feel Me/Listening To You
Encore:
Who Are You
Baba O’Riley
Always Heading Home

 

Cars of Briggs Cunningham to headline 23rd annual Greenwich Concours d’Elegance in June

 

 

Original Cunningham race and street cars, cars of John Fitch, Jaguar SS Cars and Competition Motorcycles to be featured

GREENWICH, Conn.    Recognized as one of the most prestigious classic car shows in the United States, the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance will celebrate its 23rd year of showcasing significant cars, motorcycles and one-off automotive creations on June 1-3, 2018. Production and race cars created in the 1950s by the iconic Briggs Cunningham will headline the entire weekend.

The Concours continues its tradition of holding two unique Concours back-to-back, with American cars and motorcycles on Saturday, and foreign marques on Sunday. The event takes place at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park overlooking the Greenwich, Conn., harbor on Long Island Sound.

Miles Collier, one of America’s premier car collectors, and founder of The Revs Institute, has been named the Grand Marshal for this year’s event. The Revs Institute in Naples, Fla., includes the Collier Collection, with 115 automobiles of special historic and technological importance. Many were acquired from the collection of the late Briggs Cunningham, a family friend. The Institute, which fosters deeper understanding of the transformative role of the automobile, also includes the Revs Digital Library of about 500,000 automotive photographs, with emphasis on racing scenes, and a research library with over 20,000 book titles and complete runs of automotive periodicals in English, French, Italian and German. https://revsinstitute.org

The display of Cunningham cars from around the country is being organized by “Barn Find Hunter” Tom Cotter of Charlotte, N.C., and Cunningham collector and historian Charles Schoendorf, of Rowayton, Conn. Lined up along the waterfront both days will be the 1952 C-4R Le Mans roadster from the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, and most of the 25 Vignale-bodied C-3 coupes and cabriolets.

“This will be the most comprehensive collection of Cunningham race cars, touring cars and team cars assembled at one time and place, ever, including at the factory,” says Schoendorf. “A turnout of cars like this will not happen any time soon again, if ever.”

Cunningham, who died in 2003 at the age of 96, is best known as an America’s Cup skipper, race-car builder, driver and team owner. He made the Greens Farms section of Westport, Conn., his home from the ’20s through the ’60s. He fielded his early race cars for Sam and Cowles “Miles” Collier out of his carriage house, and later kept his car collection there before moving it out of state. The Cunningham family remained at the Greens Farms compound until the death of his daughter Lucie Cunningham McKinney in 2014.

On Saturday, cars from one of Cunningham’s most notable race-car drivers, the late John Fitch, of Lime Rock, Conn., will also be on display. A highly-respected driver of the ’50s and ’60s, Fitch was also a safety pioneer and a World War II fighter pilot. The 1966 Fitch Phoenix, owned by Charles Mallory, of Greenwich, Conn., will be part of the display, along with the 1952 Fitch-Whitmore Le Mans Special.

Sunday’s Concours will host a special display of Jaguars, with a focus on the rare pre-war SS Cars. The SS 100, SS 90, SS 1 Tourer and SS 1 Coupe are all scheduled to be shown.

The weekend will also feature the presentation of A Century of Competition Motorcycles by American Iron Magazine publisher Buzz Kanter, of New Canaan, Conn., which will showcase race bikes of various styles from the early 1900s to the present. “I’ve heard motorcycle racing started when the first motorcycle rider came across another on the road. And it’s been full throttle ever since,” Kanter says.

“This year’s Concours promises to be one of the best displays of cars and motorcycles ever,” says Concours Chairman Mary Wennerstrom. “We have collectors coming from all over North America, including Canada, nearly half of the 50 states and, of course, Connecticut. It is very exciting to have so many people in the collector car world gathering in Greenwich! And we are honored to have Miles Collier serve as our Grand Marshal.”

The beneficiary of the Greenwich Concours for the 23rd year is Americares, a health-focused relief and development organization that responds to people affected by poverty or disaster with life-changing health programs, medicine and medical supplies. The Stamford, Conn.-based organization is the world’s leading nonprofit provider of donated medicine and medical supplies.

VIP tickets are available on a limited basis. VIP Tickets include early entry at 8 a.m., breakfast and lunch with the car collectors and judges, entrance to the Bonhams cocktail party on Friday night, poster, lapel pin, program and VIP lanyard.

• Gates open at 10 a.m. for general admission, 8 a.m. for VIP ticket holders

• Advance tickets for both days are available at $30 per day or $50 for both days

  • Tickets purchased on the day of the event are $40 per day or $60 for both days• Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult• VIP Admission is $150 per day or $250 for both days• SaturdayNight Gala tickets are available for $175• Tickets can be purchased at http://www.greenwichconcours.com/visitors/tickets/

 

Jackson Browne – Providence Performing Arts Center – May 9, 2018

Jackson Browne invigorated the crowd at the Providence Performing Arts Center as he and his band delighted the audience with his large catalog of songs including some of his hits and a few lesser known selections.
Playing at the Providence Performing Arts Center is a treat in itself. The newly completed renovations of the 1928 theater are enough to take your breath away. The 3100 seat venue is the second largest theater of its kind in the country. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also ranked by Pollstar as one of the Top Venues in the world.
Providence-Performing-Arts-Center
The interior of the PPAC is filled with art deco lighting and gold leaf decorating the walls and ceiling. So much time and heart has gone into restoring the theater to it’s early 20th century glory and it clearly shows. You’re treated to a marvelous experience by attending any show at the venue. They even went so far as laying carpet that’s an exact reproduction of the original carpeting throughout. The original main chandelier in the theater was lost to time so the board went to a local trade school and had a new one designed that was a close replica but keeping a bit of the school’s individual style.
The staff is rightfully proud of the center and very helpful to all patrons. I really can’t say anything but kudos to the entire staff and management of the Providence Performing Arts Center for providing a world class experience and the acoustics are marvelous.
Browne, Chavonne Stewart and Althea Mills made the best of those acoustics. Stewart and Mills have been backing him for many years and they harmonize beautifully together. Accompanied by his band they began with “Before the Deluge” followed by “Some Bridges.”
A sign of the times and a reflection on society and his always political nature Browne sang “The Long Way Around” after discussing the sad effects of the Parkland shooting that is still so fresh in everyone’s mind.
They did perform “Doctor My Eyes” and “You Love the Thunder.” These timeless classics never get old and no one is ever tired of hearing them live. It’s actually not a Browne concert to some fans unless these songs are trotted out. The audience knew every word and made sure Browne and the band heard that.
“These Days,” a reflective song that seems even more so now that Browne is 69 and like many others of this generation ponders over the things he’s accomplished as well as those he never managed to attain. Even though the song was written years ago it seems more fitting now.
A couple of my personal favorites showing foot stomping fun side of Browne were “Somebody’s Baby” followed by “Redneck Friend.” He’s as versatile as they come and shows that with the different types and tempos he plays during the show.
Browne sang the hits “The Pretender,” followed by “Running on Empty” which had the audience on their feet and they never sat down right through the encore songs “Take it Easy” and “Our Lady of the Well.”
Vonda Shepard opened the show and put on a wonderful performance. She is clearly talented and very strong vocally. Shepard played beautifully on the piano and I can think of no one else to better lead into Jackson Browne than Shepard. I would go to see her as a main act.
Vonda Shepard

 

https://www.jacksonbrowne.com
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Setlist:
Before the Deluge
Some Bridges
The Long Way Around (Talked about the Parkland shooting)
You Love the Thunder
The Dreamer
Lives in the Balance
Doctor My Eyes
These Days
In the Shape of A Heart
Looking East
Your Bright Baby Blues
Just Say Yeah
Somebody’s Baby
Redneck Friend
World in Motion
Something Fine
Never Stop
The Pretender
Running on Empty
Encore:
Take It Easy (Eagles cover)
Our Lady of the Well

Eric Burdon and the Animals – Lynn, MA – May 10, 2018

Eric Burdon
Eric Burdon and the Animals performed a great concert at the Lynn Memorial Auditorium. The sold out mostly baby boomer generation crowd were treated to a little slice of the past. Part of the British Invasion that hit the airwaves in 1964 Eric Burdon still brings his blues rooted soul filled music to an eager crowd who stood and applauded his arrival on the stage following the intro notes of “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick,” played by his band The Animals.
The Animals are a new younger version of the Animals with Rubén Salinas on Saxophone, Evan Mackey on Trombone, Johnzo West on Guitar, Justin Andres on Bass, Davey Allen on Keyboards and Dustin Koester on Drums. The entire band played a great set and were a good accompaniment to Burdon.
As Burdon took the stage the band immediately launched into the hit song “Spill the Wine.” Burdon crooned through it with his hand gestures honed over decades of performing the song live. It was a good choice as the crowd knew it well. “Spill the Wine” is one of those songs that is impossible not to know if you listened the radio in the 70’s when he was with the band War and still it’s on the air on Classic Rock stations worldwide to this day. For a man on the eve of his 77th birthday he hasn’t lost his stage presence and was a crowd pleaser.
On “In the Pines” Burdon gave the audience a soulful performance followed by a memorable rendition of “Bring it on Home to Me.”
The Animals hits “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and the classic “House of the Rising Sun” had the audience singing along. There was a standing ovation for the band as they completed these songs.
Burdon’s known over the years for his R&B style didn’t sway from that genre. He performed “Monterey” and “It’s My Life.” Both of those a classic and he performed them solidly.
The Encore for the evening was “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” one of the British Invasions greatest hits. It was also a song voted as one of the most memorable songs of the 60’s by veterans who served in Vietnam. This was followed by “It’s My Life” and ending the night was “Hold On, I’m Coming” a Sam & Dave cover.
Then it was time for Burdon and the Animals to pack it up and move on to New York to celebrate his 77th birthday with another concert and a full house of fans. All in all it was a fun night with one of the greats of the British Invasion. If you do get the chance to take in this show, don’t miss the opportunity.
https://www.ericburdon.com
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Set List:
Spill the Wine (Eric Burdon & War cover)
When I Was Young / Inside Looking Out
Bo Diddley Special (Eric Burdon song)
In the Pines (traditional cover)
Don’t Bring Me Down (The Animals cover)
Mama Told Me Not to Come (Randy Newman cover)
Bring It On Home to Me (Sam Cooke cover)
Monterey
Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (Nina Simone cover)
The House of the Rising Sun
Encore:
We Gotta Get Out of This Place (The Animals cover)
It’s My Life (The Animals cover)
Hold On, I’m Comin’ (Sam & Dave cover)

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?

 

 

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

“Ghosts of Christmas”

Mohegan Sun Arena
November 26, 2017

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

 

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

 

Steve Winwood

Steve Winwood

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.
Set List:
Back in the High Life Again
Pearly Queen (Traffic)
I’m a Man (The Spencer Davis Group)
Fly
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)
Encore:
Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic)
Gimme Some Lovin’ (The Spencer Davis Group)
(with Lilly Winwood on vocals)
By Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris