Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers / Steve Winwood - Hartford, CT September 13, 2014 Live Concert Review and Photos

Somehow, with all the concerts I've been to, I had never seen Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers before Saturday September 13, 2014 at the XL Center in Hartford, CT.

So what did I think?  Well you all know these songs:
I Need To Know
Listen To Her Heart
Here Comes My Girl
Even The Losers
Don't Do Me Like That
The Waiting
A Woman in Love (It's Not Me)
You Got Lucky
Change of Heart
Don't Come Around Here No More

Well sadly Tom and the boys don't remember these or much else from their first 10 or so years and 7 albums...

Yes, you read that correct...NONE of the above were played in the 18 song set last night.

The night started out good with opener Steve Winwood, so we had a double bill of Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductees(Winwood was inducted as part of Traffic).  The two acts would take on very different strategies in regards to their setlists.

Winwood opened with I'm a Man from his earliest days with The Spencer Davis Group and announced early on that his hour long set would be classics.  He was true to his word; His nine song set was almost all classics from his days with The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and Blind Faith.  His only 80's song was his number one hit "Higher Love" (He did not play his other number one hit "Roll with It" or "Valerie" and "Back in the High Live Again" which were also pretty big hits for him in the 80's.)  It was a strong opening set and  the crowd gave him thunderous applause and standing ovations numerous times through out (The first time three songs in after playing "Can't Find My Way Home") and at the end the whole audience stood up and applauded for almost a two full minutes as a beaming Winwood waved and thanked the crowd.

Here's the full set list:

I'm A Man (Spencer Davis Group)
Them Changes (Buddy Miles cover)
Can't Find My Way Home (Blind Faith)
Medicated Goo (Traffic)
Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (Traffic)
Empty Pages (Traffic)
Higher Love
Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic)
Gimme Some Lovin' (Spencer Davis Group)

Winwood's set ended at 8:30 and there was a half hour break until the lights went down on the packed house and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers came out playing their cover of The Byrds "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star".  A good start to the night!

Now before I get more into the set let me say a few things that I had assumed.  I thought Petty was known for basically doing a greatest hits set.  I understood they have a new album out ("Hypnotic Eye") and actually everyone who bought a ticket got a free copy.  It's okay and I knew of course they would be playing stuff from it, just hopefully not much.  In that respect, they did fine.  They played four songs from it during the night, so they didn't beat us over the head with new material and it gave the heavy drinking crowd (The beer lines at this show were EPIC...Petty fans like to party) plenty of opportunites to pour out into the halls for beer and/or pee runs.

But back to my "Greatest Hits" set assumption.  I know they sometimes do theatre tours such as playing a run of shows at say The Beacon Theatre in New York City or the Fillmore in San Francisco and it's known during those shows the band will forego alot of hits and I say that's awesome.  I dig it when my fave bands do that when they let the ticket buyers know that's the score, but on this Saturday night I was looking to hear the classics...

Well that old adage of you know what happens when you assume came true...

So after the opener they brought out "Mary Jane's Last Dance" which is not a fave at all - but I can't complain, it was a giant hit and I knew I'd be hearing it..this went into the first new song of the night "American Dream Plan B"...okay fine...a pretty weak opening salvo, but not unexpected tunes.

Next up another okay one..."Into the Great Wide Open" and probably around this time I realized this was one mid tempo concert...but some of those old classics gotta be coming soon...

The second new song of the night followed, "Forgotten Man"...Song number six was SURE to be a Heartbreakers classic...

Well, no.

Instead we got two Tom Petty solo hits and honestly ones I dig.  "I Won't Back Down" into "Free Fallin"  Fair enough.  I dig 'em.  Good singalongs...

Now I've since found at this part of the night (8 songs in if you're keeping count) the band, which has so far not played any Heartbreakers material from the 70's or the 80's, will play "A Woman in Love (It's Not Me)" which would have been awesome.  Instead they said something about hoping the crowd doesn't have anywhere to go because it's going to be a late night and they might play anything tonight and busted out The Traveling Wilburys' "Tweeter and the Monkey Man."  They not only played this, but did a 10 minute long ass jam version of it that lost the whole crowd.


After that another new song "U Get Me High" and then Tom says he's switching to acoustic for a few songs which was so odd because if you look at this set list, so far basically NOTHING rocked.  It was so mid tempo adult contemporary so I'm not sure why they felt they needed to lower the volume more, but alas it was one of the highlights of the night when they played "Rebels" from 1985's "Southern Accents".  A great song and a great rendition (let me make it clear that Petty SOUNDS great and so does the band) and gave me hope that I might actually hear some of those songs I expected would be played on this night.

This was followed by another Petty solo track with "Yer So Bad", another decent song.

"Learning To Fly" followed and I dig this song too...three good songs in a row...we're starting to build something here...but instead we get another new tune with "Shadow People" followed by "I Should Have Known It" from The Heartbreaker's 2010 album "Mojo"

Then...finally...a true classic with "Refugee" which went into "Runnin Down A Dream" (granted another solo Petty song, but a great rockin one)...NICE...FINALLY I saw what I thought I would have found out about 80 minutes earlier...that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is a ROCK BAND

Then the encore break...because why keep the excitement level going?

The crowd cheered and the band came back out with another Petty solo song in "You Wreck Me" (which I will say I love and was hoping they would play...I didn't think it would be a given they would play every solo Petty single instead of their own) and then the night ended with "American Girl" one of only three songs they played tonight from The Heartbreakers first seven albums (which is their entire 70's and 80's catalog).

Baffled and bummed was how I left this show.  I would love to hear from others that saw this tour.  Maybe if you're a super diehard fan you loved this setlist? The only thing I know is either I picked the wrong tour to see my first Petty show or maybe this is a standard tour setlist at this point and I missed the golden days by a few years.  I wouldn't go see him again unless I saw the setlist in advance and here's hoping that maybe in a year or two that greatest hits tour I was hoping for will come back around because I'll be there if it is.

Here's the setlist:
So You Want to be a Rock 'n' Roll Star (Byrds cover)
Mary Jane's Last Dance
American Dream Plan B 
Into the Great Wide Open
Forgotten Man 
I Won't Back Down 
Free Fallin' 
Tweeter and the Monkey Man (Traveling Wilburys cover)
U Get Me High 
Yer So Bad 
Learning To Fly
Shadow People 
I Should Have Known It
Runnin' Down a Dream 
You Wreck Me 
American Girl

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Quireboys - Elmhurst, NY Blackthorn 51 - August 28, 2014 concert review and photos

Six songs into their late night set at Blackthorn 51 in Queens, The Quireboys - back in the NYC area for the first time in over two decades - played the title track to their 2001 album "This is Rock 'N' Roll" and it was fitting indeed.  This current six piece lineup (featuring Spike on vocals, Guy Griffin and Paul Guerin on guitars, Keith Weir on keyboards, Gary Ivin on bass and Dave McCluskey on drums) is a tight hard rockin unit which brought the goods for all those in attendance on this night.

The whole band was hanging out during the two opening acts and chatting with the fans who have been waiting a long time for their return or (such as in my case) to see them for the first time.  

They hit the stage a few minutes after midnight and played a great 90 minute set with a solid mix of songs from their debut "A Bit Of What You Fancy" through their just released "Black Eyed Sons".

Here's the setlist and photos from the show:

Black Mariah

Too Much of a Good Thing


There She Goes Again

Roses & Rings

This Is Rock 'N' Roll

Mona Lisa Smiled

Whippin' Boy

27 Years

I Don't Love You Anymore

Beautiful Curse

Tramps and Thieves

Hey You

Mother Mary

Sweet Mary Ann

7 O'Clock

Encore:  Sex Party

In the last day or two, Gene Simmons of Kiss announced that he felt rock is finally dead...well Gene isn't out in the clubs seeing bands like The Quireboys (and the next night Tom Keifer - review coming soon) just killing it with old classics and great new material.

I'm happy to report rock is surely still alive and well and if you're reading this, I bet you know that already, but next time tell your friend and bring them along - I can't imagine anyone going home from The Quireboys show not looking forward to the next one.  Let's hope an annual tour of the US is in the cards (and hey M3 Festival!  nudge nudge hint hint...would love to see the boys there the first weekend of May along with Tom Keifer who already let the cat out of the bag that he'll be attending.  I'd love to relive this 24 hours of hard rock goodness to end the summer!)

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sammy Hagar - Foxwoods Grand Theater - August 2, 2014 Concert Review and Photos

"Oh what a feeling...when we're dancing on the ceiling!"

No I haven't mixed up my concert reviews...I expected to be singing the above song on the lawn at Bethel Woods on Saturday, August 2...but sometimes plans change...

So the plan was for the crew to go check out Lionel Richie's greatest hits tour (c' don't wanna hear "Brick House" live or air-sculpt a bust during "Hello"?!) but around Wednesday the weather was looking like complete crapola and I wasn't interested in getting soaked for the former Commodores front man.

Then I got a tweet from Foxwoods telling me to text "HAGAR" to try and win front row tix to the Red Rocker on Saturday.  Well I enter and didn't win, but Foxwoods offered half price tix to those that entered.  I've never seen Sammy and the Grand Theater at Foxwoods is perhaps the most comfortable theater there is to see a sorry Lionel...the crew splintered...some went to went to Lionel (where the weather ended up being beautiful) and some went to check out the Winery Dogs.

I SO made the right choice.

Got to Foxwoods with a couple of hours to spare before the show.  Hit up some Fuddruckers for some burgers and headed over to the MGM part of the casino where the Grand Theater is located.  

I stopped at the players club kiosk to get a new copy of my rewards card to scan it and try and win a prize.  I was sporting my Iron Maiden "Killers" shirt and the nice older lady asked me if "that was my new girlfriend?" pointing to Eddie on the shirt.  Heheh...I gave her a brief history of Iron Maiden and their mascot Eddie and she said she would look for that shirt because her grandson liked heavy metal and his name was Eddie.  Rock on Grandma!

So on with the show...headed in and went up to our seats.  Aisle center balcony.  About 6 rows from the top, but this is a small theater (I think holds about 3,000 and it appeared to be sold out) and every seat is great (and did I mention comfortable?!  Extra leg room in front and seats a little wider than standard.  Also great sound in this room).  

The lights went down a little after 8 for a quick video montage through Sammy's career (There was no opening band tonight for Sammy's stop in Mashantucket, CT on his "A Journey Through The History of Rock" tour) and then he and his stellar backing band came out to open with "There's Only One Way To Rock".

Stellar is not being overused in this case.  On bass there's Michael Anthony of Van Halen, Vic Johnson on lead guitar and Jason Bonham on drums.

The show would be a history of Sammy's career mixed with a Led Zeppelin was...yeah, I'm gonna say it...the best of both worlds!

I'll give the setlist below mixed with photos from the show (and a video of "Heavy Metal), but have to say this was a great show you should see if it comes to your town.  I've never seen Sammy before and the thing that stands out more than anything is the fun this band has on stage.  You can't fake the smiles and appreciation for the fans that was apparent through out.  

Sammy, I'll be looking forward to your next pass through the area...Lionel, you too..."Hellooooo....Is it meeeee you're looking for......"

As stated they opened with There's Only One Way To Rock and followed it up with Rock Candy from Sammy's days with Montrose

Good Times Bad Times was the first of the Led Zeppelin tunes of the night

Poundcake, from Sammy's Van Halen days was next

I Can't Drive 55

Michael Anthony's bass solo

When It's Love (VH)

Whole Lotta Love (LZ)

Little White Lie

When The Levee Breaks (LZ)

Moby Dick (LZ)

I haven't seen any of Jason Bonham's various Led Zeppelin tribute tours, so maybe he's done this before, but he basically played the beginning of Moby Dick, then the triple screens above him lit up with his Father playing it live and he played along totally in sync.  It was very cool and both father (on the video screen) and son got a standing ovation at the end.

Why Can't This Be Love (VH)

Finish What Ya Started (VH)

Heavy Metal.  I shot video of this one.  Love this tune.  Click here to view it.

Vic Johnson's Guitar Solo

Best Of Both Worlds (VH)

The band left the stage for a very short encore break and came back with Right Now from Van Halen and ended with Led Zeppelin's Rock and Roll

The band left and the lights stayed down for a couple of minutes while the crowd yelled for more (at other shows on the tour the band played all of the above along with Van Halen's Dreams and Sammy's All We Need Is An Island) but then they went up and that was it.

A damn good show, but I was surprised at the number of hits Sammy didn't play like Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy and Three Lock Box (and I would have loved to have heard Fast Times at Ridgemont High), but I guess that is just more reason to catch Sammy on his next tour.

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