Thursday, December 20, 2018

Top Ten Concerts of 2018 (Part One)

Every year around this time we take a look back at all the concerts and events we saw during the past year and salute the “Best In Show.”  

Looking over the list, we definitely scaled things back this year … in fact, the list of shows we were SUPPOSED to see (or had planned to see) is longer than the list of shows we actually made it to.  (Sometimes it just works out that way!)  

Still, we were witness to plenty of outstanding performances this past year … so here is our list of Best Concerts, 2018 … (also scaled back to just a Top Ten this year since our total number of concert experiences were down!)  

#10 – A Tie:  Freddy Cannon, Jay Siegel and The Tokens and Larry Chance and The Earls, alll part of the Doo-Wop Show held at The Arcada Theatre on July 15th … and Chuck Negron and The Box Tops, also at The Arcada Theatre, on May 4th   

These were both shows we played a hand in bringing to The Arcada Theatre … and they did not disappoint.  

We had never been to a Doo-Wop Concert before (and, quite honestly, I’m not sure that headliner Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon even qualifies for this distinction!) 'cause The Arcada was definitely rockin’ this night.  (Freddy has been a Forgotten Hits Reader for YEARS and we’ve talked and emailed hundreds of times … but this was the first time the two of us got to meet in person.)  He even called me up on stage for the encore!!!  Plus I got to meet his lovely wife Jeanette (and Svengholie, too!!!)

Larry Chance and The Earls put on a very entertaining show ... Jay Siegel had the crowd in the palm of his hand as his trademark falsetto never wavered … and Freddy was in great voice … and fine form … as he rocked the house.  (And let me tell you, the audience response was fantastic … here’s hoping he’ll be invited back real soon!) 

You can read our original concert reviews here:  

Tying for #10 was the pairing of Chuck Negron and The Box Tops.  (We have been pushing to bring The Box Tops to The Arcada ever since they reformed the band.  They were one of the highlights of the Happy Together a couple of years ago … and band leader Rick Levy has been a friend of Forgottten Hits for several years.)
Chuck Negron has spent the better part of his last dozen summers touring as part of The Happy Together Tour, too … so it was nice to see him expand his own set to include several more of his hits with Three Dog Night. 

Chuck was extremely complementary to his former bandmates Cory Wells and Danny Hutton … and thanked them for the success they brought him over the past fifty years.

#9 – AL JARDINE – The City Winery – April 2nd   

What a pleasant surprise this show was!

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I heard that Al was doing some solo shows between dates with The Brian Wilson Band … but what we got was a somewhat chronological look back at the history of The Beach Boys, complete with some great photos and stories.  

I have maintained for years now that Al has the best voice amongst the remaining originals from the band that took the country by storm back in the early ‘60’s … and how they were able to manage to create such a complete sound with just three musicians on stage playing acoustic instruments is still a complete mystery to me … but they sure were good!

Al's a great storyteller with a great sense of humor ... and this was a really fun show to see.

Original concert reviews:

#8 – JIM PETERIK’S “THROUGH THE EYE OF THE TIGER” SHOWCASE – September 15th at The Jam Lab  

Jim has been a Forgotten Hits Reader and contributor for years now.  This one man show / career retrospective was outstanding.  Jim is a great story-teller and has a very endearing way of making you feel as though it's just the two of you having a private conversation as he looks back over his entire career.  (Pick up a copy of his book, also titled “Through The Eye Of The Tiger” and see for yourself!)  

As if Peterik doesn’t already have enough to do between solo shows featuring re-imagining renditions of his best-known songs, shows he still does with The Ides Of March, acting as the back-up band to all of the acts featured on the Cornerstones Of Rock shows, and putting on his annual World Stage Concerts, he’s now booking dates for 2019 doing his one-man solo show.  Jim Peterik is the only artist to make this year’s Top Ten Concerts List TWICE … his January World Stage Show ranks at #6 … and The Ides Of March show presented at The City Winery in May was a close runner-up!  (He sang himself hoarse that night ... and the crowd loved it!)

Original concert review:

#7 – BURTON CUMMINGS – March 24th – The Arcada Theatre  

Burton Cummings NEVER disappoints in concert … and this show at The Arcada was no exception.  

Performing his up close and personal set, he took us through a wide range of hits that could be performed by just one man sitting at the piano.  (So no … no “American Woman” tonight!!!)  

Rumors of a Randy Bachman / Burton Cummings tour for 2019 continue … and we DO know that they’ll be filming a brand new Soundstage episode together for PBS.  (We have just GOT to be there for this one!!!)  

Cummings has made our list of concert favorites every year he’s performed here.  If you still haven’t seen him, do yourself a favor and check it out … either up close and alone … or with his rockin’ band.  

Original concert review: 

#6 – Jim Peterik’s World Stage – January 20th - Wentz Concert Hall – Naperville, IL  

We had never been to a World Stage before … and this was Jim’s 19th year of putting on this incredible show.  

Highlighting all different kinds of music, his son Colin is also involved … and you can always rely on The Ides Of March to make an appearance … along with a couple of very special (and often surprise) guests.  

This year’s featured attraction was Mark Farner, formerly of Grand Funk Railroad … and this guy has still got it.  Mark performed a very entertaining, high energy set.  

Also joining Jim Peterik on stage were Dave Bickler, original lead singer of Survivor, as well as quick guest spots by Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick … and original Chicago Drummer Danny Seraphine (who brought his own guitarist with him from CTA, who proceeded to absolutely rock the house!)

Next year’s World Stage concert takes place in just a few weeks … and it’s already sold out.  Joining Jim on stage for the 20th Anniversary Show will be David Pack, former lead singer of Ambrosia, and Gary Wright.  It takes place January 12th at Wentz Hall.  (Here’s hoping he’ll do a second show again this year ... 'cause we'd REALLY love to see this one!)  

Original concert review:

The countdown continues tomorrow in Forgotten Hits ...

Don't miss our Top Five Favorites of 2018!!!