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Posts tagged ‘concert’

Mary J. Blige: Still Queen of Hip-Hop Soul

Mary J. Blige in Concert
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Greek Theatre

Special guest: LaToya Luckett

Strength of a Woman Tour 2017

Merchandise purchased; T-shirt

Songs performed: (No, No, No (Part 1)/Bill, Bills, Bills/Say My Name (LaToya Luckett);
Love Yourself, The One, Enough Cryin’, I Can Love You, You Bring Me Joy, Reminisce, Real Love, You Remind Me, Be Happy, Love No Limit, Don’t Mind, Share My World, Everything, My Life, I’m Goin’ Down, Set Me Free, Love Don’t Live Here Anymore, U + Me (Love Lesson), Thick Of It, Not Gon’ Cry, No More Drama, Glow Up, Just Fine, Family Affair (Mary J. Blige)

mary-j-blige-soaw-tourComments: The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul returned to the music scene this year with her 13th album — Strength of a Woman. The tour of the same name touched down in the Southland with a stop at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. The album is considered a return to form and is her most personal project in years.

I’ve always wanted to see Mary live, but I wasn’t able to until this year. It was worth the wait! She has quite the song catalog between hits and album cuts. She’s one of those artists that has too many good songs to choose from. I liked “Real Love” when if first came out; but I didn’t really follow her career until “No More Drama.” That was the one that really made me a fan.

So I may not have known every song that night, but I knew probably 80% of the songs she performed. She is very relatable. She joked about how hot it was that night, and how she thought about coming out naked. She thanked her fans for being with her from the beginning, through the ups and downs with her career and personal dramas too (like her recent divorce).

The audience was definitely into the show and was on their feet more most of the evening. They also seemed to know the words to all of her songs too.

During the middle part of the show, Mary played songs that have been an integral part of her musical journey: “My Life,” “Share My World” and “Be Happy.” While I wasn’t familiar with “Share My World” — The other 2 are definitely Mary classics.

The new songs went over well with the audience. She commented on the fact that she has been unlucky in love — again something a lot of people can relate to. I was wondering how she can sing so many heart-wrenching songs like “Not Gonna Cry” and “Set Me Free” night after night. But it is probably a bit of a catharsis for her.

I do wish she had sang some of the songs from her 2 previous albums: “My Life II” and “The London Sessions.” But that’s OK — I did get the hits and then some. She was definitely worth the wait.

LaToya Luckett had an entertaining opening segment. She is one of the original members of Destiny’s Child before she was fired during the group turmoil. And she’s had some success on the charts on her own, mostly on the R&B charts. She sounded good and was thankful for her time in Destiny’s Child and wished the members well.

Thanks to Mary and her band for a fun concert.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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Kool & the Gang — Heat Up the Night

Kool & the Gang in Concert
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Hollywood Bowl

Special guests: Morris Day & The Time, Village People

Songs performed: Macho Man, San Francisco (You Got Me)/In Hollywood (Everybody is a Star), In the Navy, Y.M.C.A. (Village People); 1999, Get It Up, Cool, Gigolos Get Lonely Too, The Walk, D.M.S.R., The Bird, Jungle Love (Morris Day & The Time); Fresh, Too Hot, Open Sesame, Jungle Boogie, Hollywood Swingin’, Cherish, Sexy (Where’d You Get Yours), Ladies’ Night, Get Down on It, Celebration (Kool & the Gang)

Comments: Three veteran acts took the stage for an incredible trip down memory lane at the world-famous Hollywood Bowl: Village People, Morris Day & The Time and Kool & the Gang. They had the crowd dancing and singing-along all night long.

First up for the night was Village People. The group came out of the gay discos in the 1970’s and became stars of the era with their catchy singles and distinctive stage costumes. So you have a cowboy, an Indian, a military guy, a leather man, a construction worker and a cop (who is the lead singer). The people behind the characters may have changed (there are only 3 of the original members left in the group), but the songs still hold up. The crowd were on their feet from the beginning. There were even some people dressed in Village People costumes in the audience. I have seen them a few times over the years, and wish I could hear more from them. It would have been cool to hear “Go West” and “Liberation.”

Next up was Morris Day & The Time. They worked with Prince back in the day, and are considered to be some of his protégés. The group and Prince starred in “Purple Rain” as well as “Graffiti Bridge.” The opening video segment was a tribute to Prince, with stills from the movie and pics of Prince and Morris together. The band started playing an instrumental version of “1999” with the crowd singing along. Morris came out of the 2nd number. He brought out his son, Darren Day to sing with him on one song. He did very well, and he was good-looking too. The middle of the set had the band playing “D.M.S.R. (Dance, Music, Sex, Romance) from Prince’s “1999” album. The 2 biggest songs of their set were “The Bird” and “Jungle Love” — both featured in the movie “Purple Rain.” Morris still has some moves. He played the same cocky character as in the movie, with Jerome helping him out with a mirror so he could comb his hair. The band was good, but compared to the other 2 groups in the night, they are lacking in their song catalog.

The final act of the night was Kool & the Gang. The group was founded back in the 1960’s and named after the bassist of the group, Robert “Kool” Bell. We had seen them a few years back as the opening act for Gladys Knight. The group has only 4 of the original members left in the group, but like a lot of older acts, they have added new younger members to the mix. And those guys took the lead on all of the songs except a few of the ones from the 70’s like “Hollywood Swingin”. They stuck to the hits and the crowd loved every minute of it. From the old school funk of “Open Sesame” and “Jungle Boogie” to their more mainstream pop, R&B and disco hits of the 1980’s like “Too Hot” and “Get Down on It.” They were the only group of the night to play a new song — a tune called “Sexy” (which was just OK to me). They were aided by 3 female backup dancers, who added to the fun on a few numbers. “Cherish” was the one that had the people waving their cell phones in the air. And we can’t forget the band’s fantastic horn section, which is up there with those in Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire.

The crowd was definitely grooving on a warm summer night at the Bowl. Thanks to all for a great evening. I haven’t danced that much in a long time!

Sam Hunt: Country Hip-Hop

Sam Hunt in Concert
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Greek Theatre

“15 in a 30” Tour

Special guests: Ryan Follese, Chris Janson and Maren Morris

Songs performed: Wilder, Float Your Boat, Put a Label on It, Lose a Little Sleep, Tonight Tonight (Ryan Follese); Redneck Life, Who’s Your Farmer?, Everybody, I Love This Life, Name on It, Fix a Drink, Holdin’ Her, Truck Yeah, Buy Me a Boat, Ring of Fire (Chris Janson); Sugar, Just Another Thing, How It’s Done, I Could Use a Love Song, Once, 80’s Mercedes, Rich, My Church, Second Wind/Halo (Maren Morris); Leave the Night On, House Party, Raised on It, Saturday Night, Cop Car, I Met a Girl, We Are Tonight, It’s a Great Day to Be Alive, Don’t Rock the Jukebox/Ignition/Come Over, Speakers, Body Like a Back Road, Take Your Time, Ex to See, Make You Miss Me, Break Up in a Small Town/Drinkin’ Too Much

Merchandise purchased: T-shirt

Comments: Sam Hunt headlined the Greek Theater for two nights on his “15 in a 30” Tour. It was the first headlining tour since his broke through with his debut album “Montevallo” — a critical and commercial hit in 2014-15. The crowd was definitely pumped for him, and they proved it by singing along to all of the songs that night (and not just the choruses, but the verses too).

He came on stage around 9:30 PM and played an enthusiastic and engaging 1.5 hour set. He was dressed in a loose-fitting camo shirt, cargo pants, combat boots and baseball cap. Plus he has a neatly trimmed beard too.

When I describe his music to those not familiar with him, I describe it as country hip-hop. Yes, he sings, but at other times, he is more just sing-talking, or even rapping on some numbers. Plus there are some hip-hop flourishes and scratching in the music too.

He is currently riding high with his #1 country hit “Body Like a Back Road.” There is no new album to promote at this point, as he is taking his time with an official follow-up. He did though play some songs from his acoustic mixtape “Between the Pines.” And the crowd ate them up, and gave them just as good of a reaction as the songs off of “Montevallo.”

He started the evening with “Leave the Night On” from that album. He had a very nimble and capable band behind him that was able to recreate the sound of the records. The stage had 3 large horizontal video screens on top, that played background imagery to help accentuate the songs; as well as lots of lights and smoke effects too used throughout the night.

During the middle of the concert, he took time to do an acoustic segment and talk about his influences. He grew up in Georgia. He sites country music, especially Alan Jackson (Don’t Rock the Jukebox); as well as R&B influences like (Juvenile, Usher and R. Kelly). He even sang Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)”. He talked about the power of music, and how the internet has changed everything for the music fan. He did not address the recent incidents in Virginia, but did say that he believes you choose your friends not by the color of your skin, but by the fact that you enjoy spending time with them. And that the younger generation is going to continue to break down more barriers in our society.

Sam also played a few of the songs he wrote for other artists, like Keith Urban (Cop Car), Billy Currington (We Are Tonight) and Kenny Chesney (Come on Over). He told the story of how broke he was and then he sold the song to Billy Currington. And he also said that he married the girl from the song “Cop Car” earlier this year.

He was humbled to be playing such a large venue and recalled when he played the Troubador in Hollywood just a few years ago. Sam is definitely an engaging entertainer. He roamed the stage like a hip hop artist and was bouncing around the it during the uptempo numbers. He did hit a few bum notes, but I credit that with lack of touring and not lack of talent.

The opening acts were all entertaining and got better as the night when on. First up was Ryan Follese. It turns out he is a former pop guy trying his hand at country. He was the lead singer for the pop-punk band Hot Chell Rae. And he even sang their hit “Tonight Tonight” as his final song.

Next up was Chris Janson. He put on a high-energy set that had the crowd on their feet. He is definitely of the “Bro-country” pack… as his songs about tractors, trucks and drinking proved. He is also a good harmonica player. I haven’t seen one around since the days of Blues Traveler. He also had a nice song for his wife and 4 kids. His voice was very strong — I would like to hear more from him. He included the hit he wrote for Tim McGraw — “Truck Yeah.”

And lastly was Grammy-winner — Maren Morris. I first saw her on tour with Keith Urban last fall. And she has only gotten better since then. She was wearing a sexy outfit, with a bare midriff and crop top. She performed hit songs and album cuts from her debut “Hero” (which is very good by the way). That album contains country, blues, rock and pop textures on it. She ended her set with “Second Wind” which she mixed with Beyonce’s “Halo.” She is definitely on her way to great heights.

Thanks to Sam and all of the performers for a fantastic evening at the Greek Theatre.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Pentatonix Celebrates the 4th

Pentatonix in Concert
Monday, July 3, 2017
Hollywood Bowl

Pentatonix-Bowl

July 4th Fireworks Spectacular with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Thomas Wilkins conductor

Special guest: US Air Force Band of the Golden West

Songs performed: Sing, Can’t Help Fallin’ in Love, Imagine, Take on Me, Hallelujah, Coldest Winter, Daft Punk, Michael Jackson medley, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Bohemian Rhapsody

Comments: Pentatonix, the a capella phenomenon, headlined 3 concerts at the Hollywood Bowl for their July 4th Fireworks Spectacular. I first became familiar with the group on the show “The Sing-Off” back in 2011. This was a reality competition for a capella singing groups. They won that season and have gone on to win 3 Grammys and sell out shows around the world.

I first saw the group in concert when they opened for Kelly Clarkson on her “Piece by Piece” tour in 2015. They also performed with her during the show also. They won the crowd over then, I knew they were on their way to being headliners.

The first part of the evening was just the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under the conduction of Thomas Wilkins. They played a few numbers including “Yoda’s Theme” from “Star Wars” as well as the yearly salute to all the military branches. This the time when service members are encouraged to stand up and be acknowledged when their theme is played.

After a brief intermission, the Orchestra was joined by Pentatonix. Normally Pentatonix do all their shows with just them creating all the sounds. So it was a little different for them and for us — but in a good way. They did do the second song of the night, a capella — just to show the crowd what they can do. Their sound is so full, because they imitate the sounds of instruments with their vocals.

The show started with their original song “Sing” off their self-titled album. But the majority of the show was their interpretations of songs by other artists including those featured on their latest EP — “PTX, Vol. IV — Classics.”

That EP has their take on songs from Elvis, a-ha, the Andrew Sisters, John Lennon, Queen and more. They also performed their medleys of songs from Daft Punk and Michael Jackson as well. One of the more memorable numbers was a pop-operatic number sung entirely in Italian. We also got to hear Avi’s awesome bass vocals. Too bad he is leaving the group after this tour.

After “Take on Me,” the group exited the stage to make way for the fireworks. So the Orchestra was joined by the Air Force Band of the Golden West in a medley of patriotic tunes as fireworks exploded over the Bowl.

The group did come back after the fireworks for the finale of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It was a rousing finale to another fun summer concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Thanks to Scott, Mitch, Kirstin, Avi and Kevin for an awesome show. I look forward to hearing more from you.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Lady Antebellum: Brightens Up the Bowl

Lady Antebellum in Concert
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Hollywood Bowl

Special guests: Brett Young, Kelsea Ballerini

“You Look Good” World Tour

Merchandise purchased: T-shirt

Songs performed: Downtown , Our Kind of Love, This City, Dancin’ Away with my Heart, Heart Break, Compass, We Owned the Night, American Honey, I Run to You, Good Time to Be Alive, Thy Will, Hello World,You’re Still the One, Just a Kiss, You Look Good, Lookin’ for a Good Time, Something Like That,Crazy in Love,Love Don’t Live Here, Bartender, Need You Now, Allman Bros. cover songIMG_1239

Comments: Grammy-winning country trio Lady Antebellum brought their trademark sound to the Hollywood Bowl last weekend. The “You Look Good” World Tour is in support of their new album “Heart Break” that is due to be released on June 9. The group is composed of Hillary Scott (lead vocals), Charles Kelley (lead vocals) and Dave Haywood (backing vocals, guitar, piano, mandolin). The group was formed back in 2006 in Nashville.

In 2016, the group took on various solo projects including Charles’ solo album “The Driver” and Hillary’s solo album (with the Scott Family) “Love Remains.” The new album is the group’s first since 2014’s “747.”

I have been a big fan of this group since the beginning. I saw them back in 2009 as an opening act for Keith Urban. They were a last-minute replacement for Sugarland, who had to cancel due to illness. I was happy with the change.

After the 2 opening acts, popular dance songs from Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, Salt N Pepa and Justin Timberlake among others were played. People were shown on the big screens dancing in the audience. It all served as a warm-up to the headliners. In their Hollywood Bowl debut, the group delivered and then some. You got the big hits and album tracks, plus a few surprises too.

The show started with “Downtown” from their “Golden” album. For this tour, the band has added a horn section including a trumpet and a trombone. The horn players were the first band members seen and heard before the group made their entrance at the back of the stage in separate lighted rectangular boxes.

The stage set-up had a large video screen and panels of lights that moved around during the show. They have definitely upped their production values for this tour, which includes stops in Europe and South Africa too. The band utilized the ring around the front seats several times in the night. Charles also made his way out into the audience too for one number. (No where close to me, oh well!)

The 2 trademarks of the group were on full display: the harmonies/vocals plus their hit-making songwriting. This group has 2 excellent vocalists in Hillary and Charles. What is interesting is how often they are flirting with each other in song, and they are both married to other people.

The group did a little unplugged segment in the middle of the show including one of the songs from Hillary’s faith-based solo album, a track called “Thy Will.” No songs from Charles’ album. They also sang Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” during the unplugged segment.

For “You Look Good,” they brought out a full horn section to back them up. Is it country? Not sure, it is a very funky horn-filled number. So there were trumpets, trombones, sax, tuba, French horn and more. The show was a good mix of songs from their six studio albums. They are in the enviable position of having too many good songs to fit in one show. I would have liked to have heard more from the “747” album, but that was featured on the last tour.

There were some inspired cover songs during the last few numbers: “Something Like That” had Charles and Brett Young singing on a song originally performed by Tim McGraw. Then for “Crazy in Love,” you had Kelsea Ballerini and Hillary singing on the Beyoncé classic. It was one of the highlights of the night and there were many that night.

Southern California native Brett Young opened the show. He was wearing a gold Laker’s jersey that showed off his tanned and tattooed arms. The crowd responded well to his short set which included the current #1 country song “In Case You Didn’t Know.” For me, he is another good-looking, but forgettable, country boy in a crowded market.

The second opening act was Kelsea Ballerini. She has broken through in the last year or so on the strength of her debut album “The First Time.” She was also nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy in 2017. She is filling the role of the country-pop female that was left by Taylor Swift. She debuted some new songs from her 2nd album that she is currently working on. She has a nice voice and a good personality. I can see her going further.

Thanks to Hillary, Charles and Dave for a great evening of music and artistry. I look forward to many more years of Lady Antebellum. I waited 8 years to see them in concert — and it was definitely worth the wait.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

 

Sixties Icons Still Relevant

Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey in Concert
Friday, February 17, 2017
Fred Kavli Theatre — Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza

Songs performed: Blowing in the Wind, Puff the Magic Dragon, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Leavin’ on a Jet Plane, Don’t Laugh at Me, Impeachable, If I Had a Hammer, This Land is Your Land, Goodnight Irene (and more)

peterandpaul-websiteComments: Two-thirds of the legendary folk-rock trio Peter, Paul and Mary (Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey) performed for a near capacity crowd in Thousand Oaks. Mary Travers was the third member and she died in 2009. The group came out of the New York folk rock scene of the 1960s. They went on to have major chart hits, and sell out concert tours for years to come.

Growing up I heard a lot of PPM’s music. My Mom was a huge fan of theirs. She used to play their music on albums, cassettes and then CDs. Plus she would sing and play the songs on guitar also. So when I saw that the two remaining members of the group where going on tour, I knew I had to be there to honor my mother’s memory (My Mom died on October 25, 2016).

The show was just the 2 guys and their guitars. Plus they added some tambourine to some songs also. They sang songs from their long career: Puff the Magic Dragon, Leavin’ on a Jet Plane, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, If I Had a Hammer, Blowin’ in the Wind and This Land is Your Land. It was a group sing-along for the big hits. As those were songs that everyone there seemed to know and love.

I love the fact that the group is still socially conscious. After all, this is the group that was at the March on Washington in 1963 w/ Martin Luther King. They protested the Vietnam War and for immigrant rights. They sang a song called “Don’t’ Laugh at Me” which Peter Yarrow has successfully placed in 20,000 schools. It is a song about tolerance, acceptance, and an end to bullying in schools. It includes references to different races, religions, disabilities and LGBT people too.

The two guys (Peter and Noel) each took turns performing solo material in the 2nd half of the concert. Noel (aka Paul) sang a song slamming President Trump called “Impeachable” to the tune of Nat King Cole’s ‘Unforgettable.” It went over very well with the crowd. Peter also sang against the current administration in his solo segment. His crusade was against what he sees as a bully in chief.

Noel’s voice is holding up better than Peter’s voice. But I appreciate the passion that they put into their performance. They had some witty repartee between them as they have had over the years during their concerts. I saw them as a trio a number of times with my parents. I did get teary eyed a few times during the night. But I was happy that I could be there and to share it with my husband. I know my Mom was there in spirit.

Thanks to Peter and Paul for sharing their artistry and their message of social justice with the crowd. I loved the fact that when we were leaving the parking garage a group of young people (in their 20’s) got out of their car and were dancing to “If I Had a Hammer.” It gives me hope about the future.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

Keith Urban: Rockin the Country

Keith Urban in Concert
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Staples Center

Ripcord Tour 2016

Special guests: Maren Morris and Brett Eldredge

Songs performed: Gone Tomorrow (Here Today), Long Hot Summer, Break on Me, Where the Blacktop Ends, Making Memories of Us, Gimme Shelter, Somewhere in My Car, Blue Ain’t Your Color, Gettin’ in the Way, You Gonna Fly, Days Go By, We Were Us (with Maren Morris), Cop Car, Sun Don’t Let Me Down (With Nile Rodgers), The Fighter, You Look Good in My Shirt, Somebody Like You (with Brett Eldredge), John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 (Jack & Diane, No Woman, No Cry), Wasted Time, But for the Grace of God, Stupid Boy, Raise ‘Em Up

keith-urban-ripcord-2016-tour-dates-tickets-infoComments: Keith Urban brought his Ripcord World Tour to the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The tour is named after his 9th studio album of the same name. He performed 7 songs from that album, plus a lot of his hits from throughout his career.

What’s cool about Keith is what a showman he is. He’s got the rock star good looks and tattoos. He is an excellent guitar player and banjo player too.

The stage had large video screens on the back of the stage. Plus there was a small stage on the other side of the arena that they used for a few numbers also.

He pulled one girl from the audience to duet with him. She had a sign that read “I need to sing with you to pass my final.” Keith asked her what song she wanted to sing and she said the Rolling Stone’s song “Gimme Shelter” (which Keith recorded with Alicia Keys). She was really going for it, even though her voice was just OK.

Both opening acts showed up in the show too. Maren Morris dueted with him on “We Were Us”; and Brett Eldredge came out with Keith on the small stage and sang “Somebody Like You.” Keith and his band actually made their way across the floor to the small stage, shaking hands and hi-fives when they could.

Keith’s music has gotten much more pop leaning in recent years. Not that there is anything wrong with that, cause that’s what’s popular on country radio. One of the highlights of the night was the encore, when Keith came out and did 2 songs with just him and his guitar: But for the Grace of God and Stupid Boy. He should do a whole concert unplugged!

The first opening act of the evening was Maren Morris. She broke through big time this year with her hit “My Church.” She definitely has a good voice. But she hasn’t developed her stage presence yet. I am sure she will develop it with more touring.

The second opening act was Brett Eldredge. I was impressed with him. He is touring behind his 2nd album “Illinois”. The crowd seemed to dig him as much as I do. This is probably the last time he’s an opener. He’s got a nice voice and a bunch of catchy songs — so don’t be surprised to be hearing more from him.

Thanks to Keith and his band for a great evening.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

The Triumphant Return of Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani in Concert
Saturday, October 15, 2016
The Forum

This is What the Truth Feels Like Tour 2016

Special guest: Eve

Songs performed: Red Flag, Wind It Up, Baby Don’t Lie, Obsessed, Where Would I Be?, Cool, Make Me Like You, Underneath It All, Misery, Luxurious, Harajuku Girls, Let Me Blow Ya Mind, Rich Girl, Hella Good, What You Waiting For?, Rare, Go Ahead and Break My Heart, It’s My Life, Asking 4 It, Don’t Speak, Naughty, Used to Love You, Hollaback Girl, Truth, Just a Girl, The Sweet Escape

rs_600x600-160418075720-600-gwen-stefani-this-is-what-the-truth-feels-like-tour-41816Comments: Gwen Stefani made a triumphant return to the music scene with her latest album and tour — This is What the Truth Feels Like. She is celebrating her 30th year in music this year. She came out of Orange Country in the late 1980’s with the band No Doubt. With their mix of rock, reggae, ska and punk, they were a breath of fresh air on the music scene. Years of touring and recording have earned them a dedicated following.

Gwen released her first solo album in 2004 — “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.” It was followed by “The Sweet Escape” in 2006. So it has been a long 10 years since her last solo album. There was one No Doubt album in between there, but it failed to set the world on fire. Gwen’s marriage to Gavin Rossdale fell apart. And she started a romance with her fellow coach Blake Shelton from “The Voice.”

Both the dissolution of her marriage and her new romance feature prominently on the new album. And it is one of the year’s best if you ask me. The album features the hits “Used to Love You” and “Make Me Like You.”

Gwen put on a high-energy, non-stop party of a concert that featured hits from No Doubt and her 3 solo albums. She had a big production with backup dancers and costume changes. I especially loved the punk-rock inspired tartan ensemble she wore at the start of the show.

She thanked the fans several times during the night for getting her through the rough times in her life. She looked and sounded fantastic. And yes, Blake Shelton did show up for his lady to sign their duet “Go Ahead and Break My Heart.”

All night I kept asking myself, why haven’t I seen her before? She puts on a fantastic show. I would definitely see her again. One of the highlights for me was when she sang “Hella Good.” The whole venue was jumping literally! It was awesome to see.

And it was cool that she brought out Eve for the 2 songs: “Let Me Blow Your Mind” and “Rich Girl.”

Eve was the opening act. I was not familiar with her songs at all other than the Gwen duet. I am more familiar with her acting from the “Barbershop” movies. She had a few backup dancers, a DJ and a drummer. Lots of songs with attitude, you can tell she probably inspired Nicki Minaj.

Thanks to Gwen and her band for a awesome show! I loved it.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Dixie Chicks: We Missed Them

Dixie Chicks in Concert
Monday, October 10, 2016
Hollywood Bowl

Special guest: Elle King

MMXVI Tour

Songs performed: The Long Way, Lubbock or Leave It, Truth #2, Easy Silence, Some Days You Gotta Dance, Long Time Gone, Video Games, Top of the World, Goodbye Earl, Travelin’ Soldier,
Don’t Let Me Die in Florida, Daddy Lessons, White Trash Wedding, Bluegrass Instrumental, Ready to Run, Mississippi Landslide, Cowboy Take Me Away, Wide Open Spaces, Sin Wagon, Not Ready to Make Nice, Better Way

DixieChicks_1200L

Dixie Chicks

Comments: They’re back! And I couldn’t be happier that they are. The Dixie Chicks made a triumphant return to the concert stage this year. The show, the final stop on the MMXVI world tour, marked the first time at the Bowl for the ladies. It was also their first tour in 10 years. A lot has changed since then!

The trio composed of Natalie Maines (vocals, guitar), Emily Robison (banjo, vocals) and Marti Maguire (fiddle, vocals) first burst onto the national scene in 1997. They went on to have 4 successful albums, sold out concert tours and win 13 Grammy Awards. Things changed in 2003 after Natalie Maines criticized then President George W. Bush. They experienced quite a backlash from the country community. And they found themselves on the defensive.

They laid low pretty much for the last 10 years: family time, solo projects. But there was always a hope they would get back together. So it was definitely good to have them back.

The ladies have transcended their bluegrass beginnings. They have tackled country, rock, folk, and alternative sounds on their records. They are a breath of fresh air in the era of bro-country. And it is easy to see their influence in singers like Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert.

The show was a celebration of sisterhood and songs. The ladies had a fun camaraderie like they were real sisters (in fact Marti and Emily are). And I was happy to see that time and distance have not slowed down their liberal values. They had advertisements for — Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign and for a charity helping wrongly convicted felons — playing before the show. They also took a few pot shots at Donald Trump too.

The Chicks performed songs from their 4 studio albums, as well as covers of Lana Del Rey and Beyoncé. Plus, they sang 2 new songs too, so hopefully there is a new album in the works. It was cool that they poked fun at the Presidential Election during “Ready to Run” — with funny images of all the candidates on both sides. I also enjoyed the unplugged segment in the middle of the set as well as the bluegrass instrumental. One of the highlights of the night was their cover of Beyoncé’s “Daddy Lessons.” Natalie commented that “Lemonade” was their favorite album to listen to on their tour. I was happy to see them (Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks) perform it together on the CMA Awards.

Elle King opened the show for them. She has a nice bluesy voice and had a few good songs in her set including “Ex’s and Oh’s.” She also came out to sing “Landslide” with the Chicks. I did not appreciate that she forgot the words!

Thanks to Natalie, Marti and Emily for a fantastic evening! I really enjoyed myself. Don’t stay away so long!

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Hall and Oates: Soulful Pop

Daryl Hall and John Oates in Concert
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Hollywood Bowl

Special guests: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue; Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

Songs performed: Maneater, Out of Touch, Did It in a Minute, Say It Isn’t So, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, Las Vegas Turnaround, She’s Gone, Sara Smile; Do What You Want, Be What You Are; I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do), You Make My Dreams, Private Eyes, Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)

hall-and-oates-2016-tour-sharon-jones-trombone-shorty-600x476Comments: Daryl Hall and John Oates recently headlined the Hollywood Bowl for an evening of rock, pop and soul. They came out of Philadelphia in the 1970’s, and dominated the airwaves and the pop charts in the 1980’s. It was great to see them getting so much love from the audience on this tour.

First up for the night was Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Trombone Shorty (aka Troy Andrews) is the leader of this group. The group was an interesting fusion of jazz, funk, rock and soul. In addition to playing trombone, Troy also sang too. He had an incredibly long trombone solo — with his cheeks going in and out while he was playing. Some numbers were purely instrumental; while others contained vocals too. The band members are all good musicians.

Next up was Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. We had see Sharon before at the Bowl as part of Ricky Minor’s “Global Soul” concert a few years ago. This was the first time seeing her with her band. Sharon is a force to be reckoned with. She is currently battling cancer, but she came out and gave her all to the performance. Their style is very retro R&B/funk. She covered a song by Gladys Knight that I was not familiar with.

I was impressed with both opening acts, but liked the music more of Trombone Shorty. His sound was more contemporary, whereas Sharon’s music was retro all the way. I would have been fine with only 1 opening act honestly.

During the breaks between acts, videos from both Daryl Hall and John Oates solo work played on the video screens. There was a commercial for Oates’ biography coming next year; as well as clips from “Live from Daryl’s House” his web series of him performing with different stars (Aloe Blacc and Jason Mraz along with others).

Finally Daryl Hall and John Oates came on. They will never live down being “Hall & Oates.” And why should they? They can still headline a huge concert tour, and they are more than 4 decades into their careers. Both are close to 70 (68 and 69). There is no new album to promote, their latest being a live album — “Live in Dublin.”

First song of the night was “Maneater” their #1 smash from 1982. They covered a lot of the essentials songs of their career during their set. From early soul classics like “She’s Gone” and “Sara Smile” to their pop-rock 80’s hits like “I Can’t Go for That” and “Say It Isn’t So.” They also included some more obscure songs too like “Las Vegas Turnaround” and “Do What You Want, Be What You Are.” The biggest surprise of the night was “Did It in a Minute.” I don’t think they have performed that one since the 80’s.

So with 2 opening acts, the headliner only got to perform for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I enjoyed the show, and was singing and dancing along to their set. Their music was definitely part of my youth. I did miss hearing “Kiss on my List” and “Rich Girl.” I heard John Oates on the Billboard magazine podcast a few weeks back, and he mentioned about them doing a tour with all obscure songs and non-hits. I would definitely be interested in a show like that. They were one of the most consistent acts in the 80’s and their albums were much more than just their singles.

They chose to end the night with the Delfonics’ 1969 classic “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time).” I was familiar with the New Kids on the Block version of the song from the 80’s. Sharon Jones and another signer were brought on to fill out the sound. They wanted to pay tribute to one of the songs that inspired them.

Thanks to Daryl, John and their band for another great performance in a long career.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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