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 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.
Don’t Explain (Billie Holiday cover)
Good as It Gets
I’ll Take Care of You (Bobby “Blue” Bland cover)
Lifts You Up
Baby Shot Me Down
Close to My Fire (Slackwax cover)
Chocolate Jesus (Tom Waits cover)
Woman You’ve Been Dreaming Of
Leave the Light On
Love Is a Lie
No Place Like Home
L.A. Song (Out of This Town)
To many, when you speak of “Grand Funk Railroad” the person who comes to mind will always be founding member Mark Farner. He was the heart and soul of the supergroup.
Mark Farner led “Grand Funk’ from their breakout concert in 1969 right into the mid 70’s. After “Grand Funk” split up in 1976, Farner rejoined the group a couple of times, which didn’t work out, He has continued making music and performing for decades and has not stopped just because he is no longer with “Grand Funk Railroad”.
During recent years there have been ups and downs. Farner successfully continued his career and in 2012 at the age of 64, cardiac problems finally caught up with him and he underwent pacemaker insertion. Since then he hasn’t missed a beat and is still going strong. Farner says his faith is what keeps him going. Even today you still hear fans say they wish the group would reunite. I doubt that will happen, but it does not matter. He is still the ball of energy he always was and his show is non-stop from begining to end..
They began with “Footstompin’ Music” and rolled right into “Rock & Roll Soul” and then “Aimless Lady”. Farner was energetic and animated. He cavorted about the stage playing up to the audience. His energy was boundless. They blasted away at “We’re We’re an American Band” much to the audiences delight.
Accompanying Mark Farner at the Wolf Den was his band N’rG consisting of Dennis Bellinger on Bass and background vocals, Hubert (The H-Bomb) Crawford on Drums and Karl Propst on Keyboards and vocals. Together they treated the Wolf Den audience to an evening jam full of Grand Funk hits and a few extras.
Farner spoke of the times when songs stood for something and joined a generation collectively toward causes. He then launched into “Ohio”, a well-known Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song. The band the lightened up the tempo and ended the set with “The Loco-Motion” and “Some Kind of Wonderful”.
They returned to the stage for an encore that started with a fantastic drum solo by Hubert Crawford . When Farner introduced the last song of the evening “I’m Your Captain” (Closer to Home). he asked the audience to sing along and as they did to remember and honor the American servicemen and servicewomen who are keeping the country safe far from their homes and families. He didn’t have to ask the audience to sing along though, they already were and had been all evening.
It was a memorable concert and a treat to see Mark Farner perform so many of the songs he is so well known for, After all these years,he still plays with such energy, enthusiasm and happiness. His voice and guitar playing are still impeccable and he gives his all in concert and his band is a perfect accompaniment to his sound. Would gladly see them again.
Footstompin’ Music Rock&Roll Soul Aimless Lady We’re an American Band Heartbreaker Shinin’ On Creepin’ Mean Mistreater Sin’s a Good Man’s Brother Ohio – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young cover Bad Time The Loco-Motion – Soul Brothers Six cover
Encore: Drum Solo I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)
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
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 :
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
And the World Feeds Me
Living in the Past
The Witch’s Promise
Stick, Twist, Bust
Cheap Day Return
A New Day Yesterday
The Turnstile Gate
Requiem and Fugue
(with Bourée snippet)
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
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.