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
Can You Stand the Heat
Object of Obsession
Love You Tonight
She Was a Doorman
Long Road Down
New Coat of Paint
Woman To Love
Can’t You See What You’re Doing to Me
If Tomorrow Was Today
Can You See Me
Show How Strong You Are
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
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)
Rhythm of My Heart (Marc Jordan cover)
Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (Hambone Willie Newbern cover)
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)
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.
Time and Distance (The Dash)
The Lost Christmas Eve
O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night
Good King Joy
Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)
Christmas Canon Rock
What Child Is This?
Music Box Blues
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
The Safest Way Into Tomorrow
The Night Conceives
Find Our Way Home
Requiem (The Fifth)
Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) (Reprise)
Barrett-Jackson kicked of their Northeast 2017 festivities early this year by sponsoring the New England Concours d’Elegance and adding it to their summer docket. This extends the high end automotive extravaganza to a two weekend affair. They hosted the competition on Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18 outdoors on the Mohegan Sun grounds in Uncasville, Connecticut where thousands drew later in the week for the Barrett-Jackson auction in the arena.
The auction in it’s 2nd year at Mohegan Sun attracted thousands of patrons to take in the wide array of automobiles, trucks, motorcycles and automobilia. Many register to bid on the items up for auction, most of which were for sale with “no reserve.” Thousands more come for the day, two or three days of watching the fast paced bidding and enjoying the exhibits in the event and filling the upper seats in the arena to take in the spectacle.
Barrett-Jackson auctions have been holding events for 46 years. It’s become such a popular yearly auto event that it has branched out across the United States from it’s home in Scottsdale to include events in Palm Beach, Las Vegas and now Mohegan Sun. This year’s The Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction sold 630 vehicles and 685 pieces of automobilia for a total of all sales of approximately $24.3 million.
For the thrill seekers there were the Ride ’N Drives and Thrill Rides. The Big Three automakers—Ford, General Motors and Chrysler were offering rides. There were Dodge Charger Hellcats, Challengers and Vipers and GT350R’s with pro drivers on a rubber burning course for those craving a bit of extra excitement. Throughout the event while outdoors you could hear the revving of engines, burnouts and squealing tires as cars drifted through corners on the closed off special purpose track. The lines formed from early morning to closing at the popular attractions.
One of the sale highlights was the 1966 Shelby GT350-H Fastback that sold for $220,000
A 1947 Indian Chief Motorcycle with Sidecar sold for $110,000 dollars. It was painted a custom teal color and adorned with a brown seat and bags. It’s been converted to electric start for simplicity and completely restored. During the restoration, a Goulding sidecar was purchased and shipped from Poland.
There were plenty of deals to be had for those with a slightly lower budget. Lot after lot of cars, trucks and automobilia that including rare, one of a kind items on the block for all tastes like the 1933 Diamond T Truck with a period-correct display flat-track bike included.
Barrett-Jackson also this year joined forces with Prestone as they unveiled the “Project Prestone” restoration build project. The car, a 1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Aero Coupe, was rolled out during a press conference on Thursday. The plan is to complete the restoration documenting each step of the process along the way before putting it up for auction at the Barrett-Jackson 2018 Scottsdale Auction. The public can keep up with the progress on Barrett-Jackson.com and on social media using #ProjectPrestone.
With this auction Barrett-Jackson has surpassed $94 million dollars in total raised for various charities over the years. At each event there are “car for a cause” vehicles donated for the auction and sold with the proceeds given to various charities.
In addition the event was covered by both Velocity TV and The Discovery Channel bringing in viewers from around the globe to both watch and bid on TV and digital media. These are worldwide events with millions tuning in to buy or watch.
The Barrett-Jackson’s auctions also reach out in other ways. This year volunteers from the Vermont based Teen Challenge donned grey shirts and white gloves and assisted the Barrett-Jackson staff maneuvering the items on and off the block unscathed. Teen Challenge is a faith based group that works with at risk men in an environment conducive overcoming life controlling issues. Their motto is Confronted by Hope – Walking in Freedom – Living with Purpose!
It’s a wrap until next year when the trucks pull in, the tents are raised and the smell of oil, rubber, exhaust, barbeque and seafood mix on a hot summer afternoon. It’s almost like the automotive circus comes to town. Just another year to wait.
Lita Ford played the Mohegan Sun’s Wolf Den wearing a stunning red leather suit with her long blonde hair flying as she strutted the stage with her band to bring her brand of 80’s rock music back with a vengeance. One of the guitar queens of the eighties Lita and her band played to a full house plus the extra crowd that spilled out to the casino floor outside on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. Many fans waited for hours to gain entrance to the concert. Those that didn’t get a seat circled the outside of the Den to take it in standing.
Ford started as a sixteen year old lead guitarist for the all-female rock band The Runaways in the late 70’s. After a short stint and rough breakup with the band she embarked on a long solo career. At 57 Ford is still out on tour rocking crowds 40 years into her career. LIta Ford still has staying power and proved she can still fill the seats.
Lita lead off with “Larger Than Live”, followed by “Relentless”. The warmed up crowded then rocked among to Ford’s rendition of Elton John’s “The Bitch Is Back”. They continued with many of her best known songs.
The song “Can’t Catch Me” included drummer Bobby Rocks in an exceptionally fun and interesting drum solo. He beat on the drums shirtless and focused finishing with a flair and with his forehead. I have never seen head banging taken to that extreme. Evidentially, many others had not either and he wowed the crowd.
Patrick Kennison on guitar did a great job filling in for Ozzy Osborne’s part on the hit “Close My Eyes Forever”. The song was probably Ford’s most critically acclaimed hit when she performed it as a duet with Osborne on the self titled “Lita” album.
They performed “Devil in My Head” which let Marty O’Brien on bass shine with its heavy bass and drum beats. Then crowd helped out by singing along on the well known song Ch..Ch..Ch…”Cherry Bomb”.
“Kiss me Deadly” was the final song and there was no encore, but much to the fans’ delight Lita graciously held a meet and greet and signed photos for almost an hour after the show.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Larger Than Life
The Bitch Is Back
Falling In and Out of Love
Gotta Let Go Back to the Cave
Devil in My Head
Can’t Catch Me
Out for Blood
Close My Eyes Forever
Kiss Me Deadly
Joe Walsh has a reputation of putting on a consistently enjoyable concert and this was no exception. On October 16th at the Mohegan Sun Arena he treated the audience to a great show. The 67 year old is not only former member of the James Gang and Eagles, Walsh also has a number of songs written and performed in his long running solo career. This concert was a sampling of his many great and enduring songs. The only drawback is that he has so many songs in his bag of tricks there is no way we could hear them all in one concert.
Walsh was joined by one of his Barnstorm keyboardists and drummer Joe Vitale. He was also accompained by Gannin Arnold on guitar, Larry Young on bass, Jason Freeze on keyboards and ssaxaphone, Clayton James on synthisizer keyboards and Drew Hester on drums. Melanie Taylor, Windy Wagner and Connie Jackson rounded out the band with their back-up vocals.
Walsh sang “Walk Away”, “The Bomber” and a whimsical take on “Funk #49” with a midsong inclusion of lines from “Funk #50” off his solo album “Analog Man”, all sounded great. Along with “Turn To Stone” from his first solo album “Barnstorm” in 1974 he had the audience entranced in the moment. He used various guitars through out the show, so the sounds were consistently changing .
The encore started with I.L.B.T’s “I Like Big Tits”, a Breast Cancer awareness song, which was a hit with the crowd. Joe brought up the importance of this topic with the fact that his wife is a Breast Cancer survivor. He brought the message home in a positive way. Walsh then finished with ” Rocky Mountain Way”, always a favorite.
All in all a great concert and Joe Walsh never fails to put on a fun show. We’ll be seeing him next time as well.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
A Life of Illusion
Over and Over
In the City
Pretty Maids All in a Row
Turn to Stone
The Bomber: Closet Queen/Bolero/Cast Your Fate to the Wind
Life’s Been Good
I.L.B.T.s (for breast cancer awareness month)
Rocky Mountain Way
Carlos Santana, a man who’s career spans decades is still so relevant. The opening songs at the Mohegan Sun Arena were an omage to Woodstock and the tron above the stage showed scenes of his performance with his signature sound and style that is instantly recognizable. With the Corazon tour Carlos is still spreading the message of “Love and Light” through his music and his wish for a world living in harmony. This tour is a melding and mixing of Carlos. With his legendary guitar playing, and his staying power of almost 50 years. Strong and fresh vocals by Andy Vargas and Tony Lindsay as they sang “Soul Sacrifice”, “Freedom in Your Mind”, and “Maria Maria”.
Midway through the show, Carlos’ son Salvador Santana, who is an accomplished keyboardist, vocalist, and songwriter, took the stage and performed “Summers Day”, “Rise Up” and “Fantasy Reality” from his newly released CD “Fantasy Reality”. His upbeat rap style and ease on stage is a testament to someone who truly has performing in his blood. Savador was accompanied by Alex Nestor’s with her strong and soulful voice.
Oh, and how many times have you heard a trombone solo? Jeff Cressman marched around the stage and provided a top notch solo followed by David K. Mathews on the keyboard.
The evening was an enjoyably spicy and rhythmic time with Carlos Santana and his band that included brass and percussion sections as they played “Corazon Espanado”, “Smooth” and “Tequila” and others from his large collection of songs.
Time flew by and too soon they wrapped it up with an encore that included “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va”. Great night, and as anyone would expect, a great concert.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
1. SOUL SACRIFICE
3. LOVE MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND
4. FREEDOM IN YOUR MIND
5. MARIA MARIA
6. FOO FOO
8. *SUMMERS DAY
9. *RISE UP
10. *FANTASY REALITY
11. CORAZON ESPINADO
13. EVIL WAYS/ A LOVE SUPREME
14. BLUE TRANE/ A PLACE W/ NO NAME
17. BLACK MAGIC WOMAN / GYPSY QUEEN
18. OYE COMO VA
19. TOUSSAINT L’OUVERTURE