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.
It’s a Boy
The Hawker (Eyesight to the Blind)
The Acid Queen
Do You Think It’s Alright?
There’s a Doctor I’ve Found
Go to the Mirror!
Tommy Can You Hear Me?
Smash the Mirror
Tommy’s Holiday Camp
We’re Not Gonna Take It
See Me, Feel Me/Listening To You
Who Are You
Always Heading Home
To those who are Jimmy Buffett fans or Parrotheads, and even to those who are not, a Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band concert is a once in a lifetime thing not to be missed. They are not just concerts. It is an event.
Most concerts begin at about 8 pm. Not a Buffett event. It starts as soon as the officials open the gates, usually about 11am on the day of the concert. The Parrotheads flood in with their cars sporting fins on the roofs and “Buffett or Bust” and “Follow us to Margaritaville” signs smeared on windows. You can spot them coming with their Hawaiian shirts, leis, coconuts and every array of parrot hued outfits and hats that could be imagined in a tropical bird and cheeseburger filled caribbean dream. The pop-up tents, grills, blenders, and inflatable palm trees and other inflatable items decorate each tailgate space with individual ideas of island paradise in a parking lot. Buffett music wafts through the lots and a sea of Parrotheads and Pirates float around the crowd, or island to island, enjoying the company and cheeseburgers of neighbors washed down with an assortment of inventive and tropical drinks.
When the venue opened at about 7 in the evening the party was in full swing. This no small party by any means. The Xfinity center holds about 19,900 people so you get the idea of how many grass skirt wearing wahines were mingling with the land sharks, some who were also wearing coconuts, throughout the day. If you are going to take in a Jimmy Buffett concert make sure to arrive early and enjoy the pre show in the parking lot. It’s a friendly crowd just wanting to unwind and live for an afternoon on island time.
The Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA or as it is still fondly know as “Great Woods” is a New England Parrothead staple festival. It draws fans who have come there for so long they have brought their children and now their children’s children, called “Parakeets” for their introductions to the Parrothead life.
Now on to the concert itself. The Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band part of it. Buffett and eleven top notch musicians and singers who make up the Coral Reefer Band took the stage and the crowd went wild. The conch shell horn sounded the beginning. Buffet led in with “SummerZcool”. The audience was on their feet singing along as he went right into “We Are The People Our Parents Warned Us About”. Beach balls flew across the crowd with a few landing on the stage and kicked about by the barefooted Buffett. I don’t think many ever sat down for the rest of the concert.
Buffett played “Grapefruit – Juicy Fruit” followed by “Son of a Sailor” with beautifully sung solo by Nadirah Shakoor. These songs are played so often the whole band could probably do them in their sleep and still pull it off perfectly. Buffett then changed the tone to a more bluegrass style and they brought out the mandolin and accordion for “Gypsies in the Palace” which then led into the “Take It Easy” cover in tribute to the late Glenn Frey of the Eagles.
Mac McAnally took over Alan Jackson’s part in the duet of the cover of Jackson’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”. They then slowed things down a bit for “Come Monday” and “Meet Me in Memphis”. Bass player Jim Mayer took the lead on “I Don’t Know and I Don’t Care” with the chorus of “Spicoli’s Theme” added in from the song Buffett wrote for the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
At the opening note of “Fins” played by Michael Utley on the keyboard the audience immediately threw their arms over their heads to create fins. Buffett led the audience pointing their fins to the left and fins to the right. He laughed with the crowd and did his own land shark bites from the stage. You would never tell he is turning 70 years old this year. He seemed to draw from some fountain of youth he has found as he bounced barefoot across the stage.
They did an a acoustic version of the song “Delaney Talks to Statues”, the Margaritaville Door Number Three pick of the week. The Door Number Three pick is an opportunity for the fans on the Margaritaville website to choose a song they would like performed live from list of songs that aren’t performed on a regular basis. He does it to change things up because with 27 albums there are always songs many want to see performed. This gives Buffet a chance to showcase the most popular requests.
Of course no Buffett concert is not complete without the standards “Margaritaville”, “Changes in Latitudes” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, all on the must play list or the evening would not feel complete.
The crowd roared as Buffett and the Coral Reefers returned to the stage for the encore with Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” and then “One Particular Harbor” The evening ended with a solo acoustic version of “Last Mango In Paris”.
The entire day was fantastic. They put on a great show with contagious enthusiasm. It was a perfect evening for a summertime island getaway. I would definitely go again.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About
Son of a Son of a Sailor
It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (Alan Jackson cover)
Meet Me in Memphis
Love and Luck
I Don’t Know and I Don’t Care
I Don’t Know (Spicoli’s Theme)
(Only the chorus lyrics are sung)
Quietly Making Noise
Delaney Talks to Statues
Gypsies in the Palace
Take It Easy (Eagles cover)
Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
Jolly Mon Sing
Cheeseburger in Paradise
A Pirate Looks at Forty
Southern Cross (Crosby, Stills & Nash cover)
Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison cover)
One Particular Harbour
Last Mango in Paris
Our friend Patrick Markham, a lifelong musician from northern Virginia, enthusiastically messaged me about seeing the best concert he has ever seen at the Filene Center at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Va. It was one of our favorite artists “Jackson Browne”. So we made arrangements to see his show at a similar venue in the northwest hills of Massachusetts.
It was the first day of summer 2016 and there is arguably no better way to spend the evening than enjoying a cool breeze watching Jackson Browne sing as the sun sets over the Berkshire Mountains. The Shed at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts is a great venue set in the rolling mountains. It offers the choice of seeing the performers up close under the shed in seating or bringing their own seat or blanket and enjoying the music under the stars as the sun sets.
Browne began the night with “Rock me on the Water”. He recalled memories of his early years struggling to make it in the music industry. His easy banter with the audience made for a comfortable evening and his exceptional band consisting of Val McCallum (guitar), Mauricio Lewak (Drums), Jeff Young (keyboards), Bob Glaub (bass), Alethea Mills (Vocals) and Greg Leisz (guitar, lap steel, pedal steel) all meshed seamlessly giving the audience a night full of magical music.
Browne spoke of friends in his life. He sang the song “For a Dancer”, which he wrote after a friend died a few years back. This night it was also sung in memory of those who died in the tragic shooting in Orlando this month, as well as their families and friends. They ended set one with “Doctor My Eyes” and left the crown anticipating more to come after the break.
After a 15 minute intermission the band returned for the second set. This set consisted of mostly the hits from his early career with lyrics the crowd sang along with. Browne upped the tempo, sending the crowd to their feet. Many ran up to the stage and at one point Browne said it was ok to go back and sit down and return to their seats. That lasted for about one song and the crowd returned to the stage.
Never one to shy from political statements Browne sang “Which Side”, a song off his album “Standing In The Breach ” released in 2014. A song relevant in the current political and social climate in America.
Browne did two encores. Encore one was an ever popular cover of the Eagles “Take it Easy” done with a Jackson Browne twist. Followed by “Our Lady of the Well”. He ended the night with “I Am a Patriot”, a Litte Steven cover. This sent the crowd home on a positive note.
The performance was just around 3 hours of great music with an exceptional band. Everyone we saw seemed to thoroughly enjoy the night. If you have haven’t seen Jackson Browne and you get the chance, DO IT!!
He sounds just as wonderful as he did early in his career. Some performers’ voices change and it gets harder as the years pass to keep the sound their fans recognize when performing live. This is not true with Jackson Browne, after many years and multiple albums his voice is as true and spot on as it ever was. Browne’s last song sounded as good as the first. His songs, old and new, still play daily on the radio and his sound is as relevant as ever. Pat Markham was right, this was a concert well worth taking in and ranks as the best concert we have seen this year.
Rock Me on the Water
Just Say Yeah
Looking Into You
Fountain of Sorrow
The Long Way Around
Call It a Loan
For a Dancer
Doctor My Eyes
The Birds of St. Marks
Your Bright Baby Blues
The Barricades of Heaven
Late for the Sky
In the Shape of a Heart
Running on Empty
Take It Easy (Eagles cover)
Our Lady of the Well