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

 

 

 

Beth Hart

Beth Hart

Fire on the Floor Tour

Feb. 25, 2017

Fox Theater, Mashantucket, CT

The Fox Theater darkened and the band begins to play. The crowd looks at the stage anticipating Beth Hart’s arrival. An electric guitar continued to moan in the dark. Beth Hart began singing the first lines of a song, her voice echoing throughout the theater. Suddenly she surprised and thrilled the audience when a lone spotlight lit up the singer dressed in a sparkling mini smoothly entering the theater from behind the crowd. The spotlight followed her as she passed by patrons, touching a few shoulders and hands along the way, as she sung “Don’t Explain” a Billie Holiday cover. Hart paused in the isle turned and faced the enthusiastic crowd to croon out the blues. She swung around and glided up onto the stage, not missing a beat. This woman has big stage presence and a voice to match it. Everyone was already fixated and cheering Hart on and the second song had not even begun.
The second number was “As Good as it Gets,” which was a number one single of Hart’s in Denmark. She has had many releases in Europe of various songs that have topped the charts. She is well recognized for her blues and soul songs worldwide and has released the albums “Seesaw” and “Live in Amsterdam” with fellow blues artist Joe Bonamassa.
Beth Hart and her band consisting of guitarist Jon Nichols, bassist Bob Marinelli and drummer Bill Ransom meshed so well, they knew their show and played perfectly. Jon Nichols made his multiple guitars used during the performance wail, moan and he also sang backup vocals.
Hart has such incredible range and rich tone. She brings the audience right down into the depths of her low down blues. She sings with such conviction coming from a life of knowledge of pain and suffering that she transfers into such beautiful music you feel every note. Hart’s “Lift Me Up,” a song she wrote for a sister who passed away was soulful and beautiful. The raw emotion in the song had people feeling it in the audience.
Hart’s husband Scott asked her to include the song “Leave the Light On,” off her platinum album of the same name. Before the song he made an impromptu appearance on the stage running over to her at the piano and giving her a little hug.
The evening was well rounded with heart aching blues off Hart’s newest album “Fire on the Floor,” including the title song from that release that told of the heartbreak of desire and love. These soulful ballads were alternated with lighter songs from the same DVD. The rock song “Fat Man” was popular as well with a catchy with toe tapping, driving beat.
The band played a mix of songs from some of Hart’s large catalog of releases since 1999. She also sang a cover of Tom Wait’s “Chocolate Jesus.” Hart alternated between shimmying across the stage, sitting, kneeling and playing on the piano. Her energy was passionate and boundless.
The band came back onstage for an encore of “No Place Like Home” followed by Hart’s 1999 single “LA Song (Out of This Town)” from her second album “Screamin’ for My Supper.”
I was totally blown away by this concert. I have heard her music and loved her voice, but seeing Hart perform in person was a treat I will not forget. Hart was humble, thankful for her success and honest about her struggles in life. Her sharing that made the show even more memorable. To realize what she has gone through in her life and for her to come out so positive and happy on the other side makes you want her success to continue for a long time. If you get the chance to see this woman and her band perform do it. Do not hesitate for a moment. If you are a blues lover or just a lover of great music this is a night not to miss.

Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Beth Hart 
Set List
Don’t Explain (Billie Holiday cover)
Good as It Gets
I’ll Take Care of You (Bobby “Blue” Bland cover)
Delicious Surprise
Baddest Blues
Lifts You Up
Baby Shot Me Down
Sister Heroine
Close to My Fire (Slackwax cover)
My California
Chocolate Jesus (Tom Waits cover)
Woman You’ve Been Dreaming Of
St. Teresa
Leave the Light On
Fat Man
Love Is a Lie
Encore:
No Place Like Home
L.A. Song (Out of This Town)

 

Lita Ford

Lita Ford

Lita Ford

Mohegan Sun Wolf Den – Nov. 27, 2015
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

Set List
Larger Than Life
Relentless
The Bitch Is Back
Hungry
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
Cherry Bomb
Kiss Me Deadly

Ian Anderson

From the rock opera "Jethro Tull"
Ian Anderson

Ian Anderson

Fox Theater, Mashantucket, CT
November 8, 2015
Ian Anderson’s Jethro Tull: The Rock Opera is not just another concert. It’s the story of Jethro Tull, an 18th Century agriculturist, as seen through Ian Anderson’s eyes and imagination. The whole concept of a rock opera is not often done, but when pulled off right it’s a night not to be missed. Ian Anderson has spent decades fluting his way around the stage as one of the most recognizable front men in rock. Who else is instantly associated with standing on one leg, like the Pied Piper of rock, with flute in hand? His opera consists of many songs we are familiar with mixed with 5 new songs and narration from the projected video of virtual guests on the back screen to tell the story of Jethro Tull. It was an entertaining mix of the English countryside, fields of grain, and other interesting imagery along with wailing guitar and Anderson owning the stage.
Most of the band members were considerably younger than Anderson’s age of 68, but you didn’t notice the gap as he cavorts about the stage shifting from flute to mandolin and on to harmonica. They played 2 sets with a short intermission and it was pure energy the entire time. After many years of singing Anderson’s voice is a bit raspier, but he hasn’t lost his bounce or swagger.
The stage band consisted of John O’Hara on keyboard, Florian Opahle, who played particularly well on lead guitar, Grieg Robinson on bass and Scott Hammond on drums. The virtual guests were Unmur Birna Björnsdóttir playing Tull’s wife. She added clean and frankly beautiful note to production as her voice pierced the theater and took it that next level. The virtual young Tull was played by Ryan O’Donnell, who also used to tour with Anderson a couple of years ago.
They started off with “Heavy Horses”, followed by “Wind-up”. Then came “Aqualung” with cheers from the crowd for Florian’s guitar playing on that oh so familiar song. “With You There to Help Me” and “Back to the Family” were next. “Farm on the Freeway” was backed by scenes of farmland being pushed out by loaded freeways clogged with streams of cars. Anderson new song “Prosperous Pasture” was followed by the heavy beats of “Fruits of Frankenfield”. He then ended set one with the well know and more folkish “Songs From the Wood ”
The band resumed the opera with set two and “And the World Feeds Me” and ” Living in the Past” always well received. Next came “Jack-in-the-Green” and “The Witch’s Promise”. The set continued with new songs “Weathercock” and “Stick, Twist, Bust”, which was a new song . Anderson and the band followed with “Cheap Day Return”, “A New Day Yesterday” and “The Turnstile Gate” another of his new tunes.
It only took the first few notes of the closing set and opera song on the keyboard by John O’Hara for the audience to know “Locomotive Breath” was coming down the track and many rose from their seats singing along to the steady pounding beat and “No way to slow down”.
The final song and encore of the evening was “Requiem and Fugue”.
Well done and very entertaining night. If you get a chance to take it in don’t hesitate, even if you have seen Anderson perform many times. This rock opera rounds out a long career wonderfully.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris

Set list :
Heavy Horses
Wind-Up
Aqualung
With You There to Help Me
Back to the Family
Farm on the Freeway
Prosperous Pasture Anderson
Fruits of Frankenfield Anderson
Songs From the Wood
Set2
And the World Feeds Me
Living in the Past
Jack-in-the-Green
The Witch’s Promise
Weathercock
Stick, Twist, Bust
Cheap Day Return
A New Day Yesterday
The Turnstile Gate
Locomotive Breath
Encore:
Requiem and Fugue
(with Bourée snippet)

 

Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh

Mohegan Sun Arena
Oct.16,2015
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

Set List
Walk Away
A Life of Illusion
Over and Over
Analog Man
In the City
Pretty Maids All in a Row
Mother Says
Turn to Stone
The Bomber: Closet Queen/Bolero/Cast Your Fate to the Wind
Funk #49
Life’s Been Good
Encore:
I.L.B.T.s (for breast cancer awareness month)
Rocky Mountain Way

Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana Corazon Tour

Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
August 19, 2015
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

Set List:
WOODSTOCK INTRO
1. SOUL SACRIFICE
2. SAIDEIRA
3. LOVE MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND
4. FREEDOM IN YOUR MIND
5. MARIA MARIA
6. FOO FOO
7. EUROPA
8. *SUMMERS DAY
9. *RISE UP
10. *FANTASY REALITY
11. CORAZON ESPINADO
12. JINGO
13. EVIL WAYS/ A LOVE SUPREME
14. BLUE TRANE/ A PLACE W/ NO NAME
15. TEQUILA
16. SMOOTH
17. BLACK MAGIC WOMAN / GYPSY QUEEN
18. OYE COMO VA
19. TOUSSAINT L’OUVERTURE
20. OMINOUS

George Thorogood and The Destroyers

George Thorogood and The Destroyers

George Thorogood and The Destroyers

Garde Arts Center
New London,CT
Mar.7,2015
March 7, 2015
For some George Thorogood at the Garde Arts Center was their first concert, for some it was one of many of seeing the band. After 40 years of “Bad to the Bone” George Thorogood and his band of Destroyers still rocked the house with a good solid show of pure raw energy last night in New London, Connecticut. The Danielle Nicole Band warmed up the crowd with her bass guitar and some cuts from her new upcoming EP, including “Starvin’ for Love.” The audience was eager to be bad as well. There was an eclectic mix of long hair 20 somethings and gray hair sixty somethings, some still sporting their long hair. The outcome of that mix was a pumped up crowd full of energy. Everyone ready to rock, stomp, clap and shout out the words to the well known tunes set in stone for the ages from the 80’s radio play. Most of his songs are still played daily on stations across the country so his following has done nothing but grow over the years. His ageless sound still as relevant now as it was back in the day. After all this time Thorogood still retains the bad boy vibe he has carried all these years and didn’t come up short in this performance. The band had a good time and fed off the energy of the crowd. The Garde Theater is a relatively small house and intimate enough for a lot of interaction with the audience. Thorogood played to them all from the front row to the back of balcony.
Thorogood played all of his tried and true hits in the set to satisfy an audience primed up for “badness”and some good down home boogie-blues. They made sure to play Rock Party, Who Do You Love and The Fixer. The crowd helped make sure he was not drinking alone and all by himself as cups were raised to spur him on to belt out tune after tune. I Drink Alone, Move It on Over , One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer, followed by Get a Haircut and of course Bad to the Bone.
The Destroyers were excellent and Jeff Simon (drums, percussion), Bill Blough (bass guitar), Jim Suhler (rhythm guitar) and Buddy Leach (saxophone) and the ever great performer George Thorogood proved that they are indeed Badder Than Ever. George Thorogood and the Destroyers and the Garde Arts Center were a perfect fit. I will go back anytime I get the chance too when he brings the bbbbbaaad band back to town.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris

Danielle Nicole Band

Danielle Nicole Band

Garde Arts Center
New London,CT
Mar.7,2015
Danielle Nicole BandPhotos by George Bekris

Jeff Bridges

Jeff Bridges

Mohegan Sun Wolf Den
Sept. 5, 2014
Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges
Photos by George Bekris