Friday, December 21, 2018

The Top Ten Concerts of 2018 (Part 2)

The countdown continues today of our 2018 Concert Favorites ...  

#5 – Sergio Mendes – February 25th – The City Winery – Chicago, IL  

After seeing Herb Alpert and Lani Hall in 2017, we just HAD to see Sergio Mendes when he performed at The City Winery this year.  

Mendes painted a beautiful blend of sounds, hits and rhythms … and generated one of the most enthusiastic crowds I’ve ever seen at the typically a bit more reserved City Winery.  

Herb’s coming back to this venue in 2019 … and we’re hoping to see him again.  We’re ALSO hoping that Sergio will make a return engagement … as this is a GREAT show featuring some incredible music.

Original concert review:  

#4 – Dave Mason and Steve Cropper – July 11th – The Arcada Theatre – St. Charles, IL  

As soon as I heard about this pairing, I thought it would make for an interesting show … yet I didn’t snap the tickets up right away.  I had already seen Dave Mason a few times and figured he’d be doing much of the same material I’d already witnessed before … so the appeal of seeing legendary guitarist extraordinaire Steve Cropper was the real drawing card for me.  

When Ron Onesti asked me to come out and review the show, I jumped … all in … and am SO glad I did.  It was, without question, one of the best shows I saw all year.  

The two played extremely well off one another … and Cropper’s a great storyteller.  (Man, the list of songs this guy played on will blow you away!)  

Great show … so thank you again, Ron, for inviting me out.  I’d be kicking myself for sure had I missed this one.  (How good was it???  It was good enough to make #4 on our Top Ten Concerts List for 2018!!!)

Original Concert Review:

#3 – The Fab Four – February 9th – The Arcada Theatre – St. Charles, IL  

It is EXTREMELY rare for us to list a “cover band” as one of our best shows … in fact, I think the only time we’ve ever done it before was for The Orchestra, who actually topped our annual concert list a short while back.  

But these guys are incredible.

We first saw them as part of the 50 Summers Of Love Tour, featuring Micky Dolenz and Mark Lindsay, the year before, and they blew us away … so we just HAD to witness the full, complete show experience.  And they did not disappoint.  

Playing letter-perfect versions of songs The Beatles themselves couldn’t reproduce on stage, this show is a complete delight from start to finish.  (And the fact that it took place on the 54th Anniversary of The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show just made the whole experience that much cooler!)  

Check them out the next time they hit your area.  (We liked them so much we ran a YouTube clip of their entire concert!!!)

Original Concert Review:

#2 – The Orchestra – November 11th – The Arcada Theatre – St. Charles, IL  

And, speaking of The Orchestra, here they are again!  

These guys are incredible.   

Yes, Jeff Lynne is out touring again … (guess where he placed on this year’s Top Ten List!!!)  I don’t know what connection, if any, he may still have with these former members of various incarnations of ELO, but he can be proud that his music is being presented in the most professional and respectful way.  They do it justice in every regard and pay full tribute to the genius of Jeff Lynne.  

Once again, one of the best live shows we’ve ever seen … unless, of course, you count the original … who sits at #1 this year!

Original review:

#1 – Jeff Lynne’s ELO – August 15th – The Allstate Arena – Rosemont, IL  

Seriously ...

Was there ever really any doubt?  

I mean, how could this NOT be the top show of 2018???  

ELO music performed to perfection with a HUGE band of top-notch musicians, featuring the guy who created it all.  It just doesn't get any better than this.  

Lynne hadn’t toured The States for 35 years (incredibly, he’s already coming back again in 2019 ... and yes, we've got our tickets!) so this was a VERY hot ticket to be had … and Frannie scored us some GREAT seats.  

The show is an absolute spectacle, brilliantly performed, orchestrated and executed.  Great laser light effects … and impeccable sound … this was the one to see in 2018 … and we are SO glad we did.  

We love ya, Jeff … and can’t wait to see you again next year!

Original review:  

(No ... we couldn't get our picture taken with the master ... but here was the look of utter joy and enchantment on our faces just before the concert began) ...

So there you have it … our Concert Year In Review for 2018 …  

Other shows we saw this year included Peter and Jeremy (twice, actually … once on their own at The City Winery and again at The Fest For Beatles Fans, where they appeared with our good FH Buddy Billy J. Kramer), Tony Orlando and Dawn, Vince Gill and Amy Grant’s Christmas Show, Lou Christie and Felix Cavaliere, The Happy Together Show, Ann Wilson of Heart (which we be shown as a PBS Soundstage Special) and a few others … but these were the cream of the crop.  

And we’ll be back out there again next year … LOTS of great acts we’re looking forward to seeing.  

Thanks to all of these artists and venues for keeping this music alive.  It’s our lifeblood.
Kent Kotal
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