Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Weekend Concert Review

It was a VERY busy weekend for music ... and, for the most part, the weather cooperated beautifully.

Here are some of the reader reviews we received ... along with a couple of our own.

BRIAN WILSON - Pitchfork Festival  (Saturday, September 16th)
Brian Wilson may not seem to be the most likely candidate to be performing at Pitchfork Festival, a concert series that seemed to be more geared to the Indie Music crowd in their 20's ... but as Billy Hinsche explained to me after the show, Brian represented the iconic act the festival was looking for ... and it certainly upped their street cred by having an artist of this stature perform at their concert series.
That being said, this young crowd seemed to know every word of every song ... all the more surprising when you consider that Brian first performed the entire "Pet Sounds" album start to finish before knocking out a few more Beach Boys Greatest Hits to round out his 75 minute set.  The whole crowd spent the concert on its feet, dancing and singing along every step of the way.
Truth be told, Brian seemed to be struggling a little bit vocally Saturday Night ... but his incredible back-up band (including Hinsche, Al Jardine, Matt Jardine, Blondie Chaplin, Gary Griffin and others) filled in all the gaps and put on a show they can all be proud of.
It was after "Pet Sounds" ended that the show really came alive ... the band exploded with great Beach Boys classics like "Good Vibrations", "Help Me Rhonda", "Wild Honey", "Sail On Sailor", "Surfin' USA", "Barbara Ann" and "Fun Fun Fun".  (A nice bonus treat occurred during the "Pet Sounds" performance of "Sloop John B" when John and Joan Cusack joined the band on stage to sing along.  John, of course, portrayed the older version of Brian Wilson in the recent biopic "Love And Mercy" so this had to be a real kick for all of them.)
We got to visit with Billy and Gary backstage after the show and Billy tells us he's on the tour through October, which will take them thru parts of The United States, England and (in Billy's own words) "Iceland if you can imagine!"
This is some pretty sophisticated, intricate stuff (and Billy says he's worked his ass off to learn it all!) but the end result is something that brings a tremendous amount of joy to all who experience it ... from BOTH sides of the stage!  (kk)   

FELIX CAVALIERE'S RASCALS - Hoover Auditorium / Lakeside, Ohio  (September 16th)  
The crowd at Hoover Auditorium at Lakeside, Ohio, was not disappointed with Felix Cavaliere's Rascals on Saturday night.  The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Inductee had the audience singing, laughing and dancing the whole show. Starting the evening with Mustang Sally, Felix went thru all the hits and sounded great.  I saw him a month ago in Akron as part of an Oldies show, so this evening was much nicer, experiencing his entire show. 
Felix sang lead on all the songs - Groovin', It's A Beautiful Morning, Good Lovin', Been Lonely Too Long, A Girl Like You, People Got To Be Free - with the exception of the drummer singing on Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore and Orleans bass player Lance Hoppen on How Can I Be Sure. 
And after the show, Felix was very accommodating to meet with fans for photos and autographs. 
A great evening 
Tm Apathy 
Here are some photos of the show, including one of Lance Hoppen from Orleans playing bass and doing How Can I Be Sure.

All photos courtesy of Tom Apathy

RITA COOLIDGE - The Arcada Theatre  (July 17th) 
We had several concert options this weekend and, based on a sketchy weather forecast that indicated thunder storms may be headed our way ...plus the fact that we LOVE her music and had never seen her before ... we opted for the sultry voice of Rita Coolidge at The Arcada rather than the rockin' sounds of Foreigner Sunday Night.  (Besides, Lou Gramm, the guy who sang all those great Foreigner hits, is coming to The Arcada in a couple of months anyway, so we figured we'll just wait a little while and then hear the same stuff there!!!) 
Rita's show was very laid back and she looked stunning fronting her four piece band that I can probably best and most accurately and descriptively describe as a jazz combo of highly accomplished musicians.  (At least that's what it felt like to me ... and they filled every gap perfectly throughout Rita's set, offering a wide assortment of material and styles not necessarily keeping with what one might expect to hear at a Rita Coolidge show.) 
That being said, it was an unusual mix of material to be sure ... in fact, we were 50 minutes into the show before she performed her first hit record, the Boz Scaggs song "We're All Alone", which, after the lengthy wait, seemed almost anti-climatic when she altered the phrasing of the lyrics, singing a note or two behind her musical accompaniment.  (Why do artists feel a need to do this?  It adds absolutely NOTHING to the overall sound and, instead of conveying any type of dramatic effect, actually just serves to annoy your faithful fans who came out specifically to hear you sing their favorites.)  Taking nothing away from Rita's voice ... she sounded great ... it just made what should have been a stand-out concert highlight a ho-hum moment instead. 
She talked at great length about her "favorite ex-husband" Kris Kristofferson and then proceeded to give us health updates and perform three of his songs. 
Rita's long career has allowed her to cross paths with some pretty legendary performers along the way ... as a background singer and part Delaney and Bonnie's band, she once shared the stage with Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Dave Mason, all on the same night! 
She next hooked up with Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs And Englishmen tour ... had romantic liaisons with both Stephen Stills and Graham Nash ... and then finally hit pay dirt as a solo artist in 1977 with a remake of the Jackie Wilson classic "Higher And Higher".  (She closed her show with that one Sunday Night and really emphasized the Booker T sound of that record.)  The only other hit she performed during her regular set was her remake of "The Way You Do The Things You Do", which was worked into a medley with "How Sweet It Is" ... everything else was either less familiar material or reworkings of other tracks best known by other artists.  (That's not to say it wasn't enjoyable ... she brought the house to its feet when she sang The Cherokee National Anthem in Cherokee ... lyrics put together to the tune of "Amazing Grace".  And her versions of the Leon Russell / Carpenters hit "Superstar", the Ry Cooder song "Tattler (Do The Best That You Can)", the show opener "Hallelujah I Love You So", "Born Under A Bad Sign" and "Fever" were all stand outs.)  
For her encore, she came out and sang my all-time Rita Coolidge favorite "I'd Rather Leave While I'm In Love", followed by "Lover Please", the old Clyde McPhatter song.
Coolidge has a new CD out (basically the live show we saw Sunday night) as well as a new book where she looks back on her lengthy career and the tragedy of her sister's recent murder. 
Once again we caught her on the final stop of her current tour so it sounds like she'll be off the road for awhile.  Still, if you get the chance to see her (I honestly don't know that she performs all that often), do yourself a favor and check her out.  It was disappointing to see such a small crowd on hand at The Arcada Sunday Night ... she deserved a bigger turn-out and had more people attended, I feel confident they would have really enjoyed this show.  (kk) 

 All photos courtesy of Luciano Bilotti - thanks, Lou!

FOREIGNER - Lion's Park - Elk Grove Village, IL
We had been looking forward to this show ... I saw Foreigner perform on a PBS Concert a couple of years ago and they put on an outstanding show.  
And just last week they were one of the featured guests on that new ABC Music Show "Greatest Hits", performing "I Want To Know What Love Is" with Nate Ruess of Ffun.
I wore the grooves off the first four Foreigner albums.  I remember that the first Foreigner LP came out right around the same time as the first Boston album, both INCREDIBLE debut releases from two brand new bands who quickly dominated the airwaves ... and have been doing so ever since.
So yes, it was a bit of a disappointment to miss their outdoor show Sunday night.  (Turns out it didn't rain till afterwards)
I had hoped we might receive a review or two from some of our readers ... but the little bit that we got didn't offer up much more than the acknowledgement that the band put on a great show to an absolutely packed house.  (One video that was sent to me for posting was "unavailable" when I went to do so this morning ... but it looks like a live stream of the complete concert is also available.)

Hey Kent - 
I was there - really crowded but they sounded awesome. I was never into them and didn't realize how many hits they had, and they did them all! Apparently not the original members, but a great show either way!

Meanwhile, here's Foreigner performing with Nate Ruess on ABC's "Greatest Hits".