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Posts tagged ‘hollywood bowl’

Dixie Chicks: We Missed Them

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

Special guest: Elle King


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


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.

Smooth Summer Jazz: George Benson

Smooth Summer Jazz
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Hollywood Bowl

Starring: George Benson, Average White Band, To Grover with Love featuring Jason Miles, Jeff Lorber Fusion

Songs performed: Just the Two of Us (To Grover with Love); Cut the Cake, Pick Up the Pieces (Average White Band); Give Me the Night, The Ghetto, Lady Love Me, Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You, This Masquerade, Turn Your Love Around, On Broadway (George Benson)

georgebenson-950Comments: Hollywood Bowl presented their annual Smooth Summer Jazz event this past August. We have gone to see this night of music before starring headliners: Dave Koz as well as Men of Soul (Jeffrey Osborne, Peabo Bryson, and Freddie Jackson). The night is usually comprised of 4 acts over the course of 4-4.5 hours. It is always a nice event to share with our friends.

First up for the night was Jeff Lorber Fusion — a jazz group led by keyboardist and producer, Jeff Lorber. Their music was nice, if forgettable, smooth jazz.

Next up was To Grover with Love. This group was lead by Jason Miles, and is named after the legendary artist Grover Washington Jr. who died in 1999. They performed some instrumentals, and then brought out Maya Azucena to sing for a few numbers. She definitely brightened the night. She was a strong vocalist, and even sang the Bill Withers part on “Just the Two of Us.”

The stage rotated once more and the next act was… George Benson? Huh? I thought he was the headliner? Anyways, I last saw George in 2008 at the same venue. His set list hadn’t changed much since I last saw him. The exception being — “The Ghetto” — a song from Donny Hathaway that Benson had recorded before. He is a consummate performer and definitely had the crowd singing and dancing along to his hits. I think his voice was not as strong as when I saw him before, but he still sounded good. He is also an excellent guitar player and showed that off to good effect. His female backup singer also did a very good job backing him up.

The final act of the night turned out to be Average White Band. This band from Scotland had a few hits in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Their sound is very horn-heavy soul funk. Their best known songs to me were “Pick Up the Pieces” and “Cut the Cake.” But the crowd seemed to know their other songs too, and were singing along to them. The lead singer was good, but lacked the star power of George Benson.

Overall, I had a great time hearing some good music with a bunch of our friends. Thanks to all involved for a fun 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.

Diana Ross: Still Supreme

Diana Ross in Concert
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Hollywood Bowl

Special guest: Naturally 7

In the Name of Love Tour

Songs performed: Summer Breeze, While My Guitar Gently Sleeps, Fix You (Naturally 7); I’m Coming Out, More Today Than Yesterday, My World Is Empty Without You, Baby Love, Stop! In the Name of Love, You Can’t Hurry Love, Touch Me in the Morning, Love Child, The Boss, Upside Down, Love Hangover/Take Me Higher/Ease on Down the Road, Don’t Explain, Good Morning Heartache, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To), Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, I Will Survive, Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand), I Will Survive (Reprise)mr0zbp-b781149345z.120130804141403000gh81f8bkb.1

Comments: Diana Ross returned to the Hollywood Bowl for 2 triumphant shows this past weekend. In a show that celebrated her entire career from the Supremes to the movies to her solo anthems, Diana wowed the crowd with enough energy and star power for someone half her age. And she is 72! I was amazed by her.

Naturally 7, a 7-member a capella group, opened the show for her. They performed Seals and Croft’s 1972 hit “Summer Breeze” as well as covers of songs by Michael Jackson, George Harrison, Coldplay and more.

Tracee Ellis Ross, Diana’s daughter who stars on “Black-ish”, introduced her before the curtain parted. She said she was the 2nd child of Diana’s 5 children. She was thrilled and honored to be introducing her mother.

The opening song for Diana was “I’m Coming Out.” And Diana made a dramatic entrance from the back of the Bowl on an elevated swing that had her flying in above her band. She was dressed in a sparkling red dress with accompanying wrap.

This was the latest stop on Diana’s “In the Name of Love” tour, which she has been on intermittently for the past 3 years. It was nice to see her with a full production. She had a full band with backup singers. And we got the requisite glamorous costume changes throughout the evening too. She definitely knows what the fans want to see.

Diana performed a bunch of her Supremes hits, in full versions this time, unlike other times where she did them in medleys. So we got the big hits like “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “Love Child” but did not get “You Keep Me Hanging On” or “Reflections.” The group had an amazing 33 Top Forty singles in their career, with 23 making the Top Ten.

What was cool was how well known so many of her songs are. The crowd was on their feet singing and dancing along all evening. When she performed “Upside Down” she had her son, Evan, join her on stage as well as his dancer buddy who had danced with Diana before. Usher was also in attendance and he danced and sang a little during that segment too. The crowd was going crazy. Usher bowed down to Diana — deserving of a Diva like she is.

Her voice may not be as strong as it was when I saw her in the 80’s and 90’s, but she still sounded good.

The 2 biggest surprises of the night for me were “Ease on Down the Road” and “I Will Survive.” Sure, she was in the movie “The Wiz” with Michael Jackson, but he was the one that sang that song, not her, in the movie. She recorded “I Will Survive” in 1995, and it is definitely a song that everyone knows and loves.

This concert served as a reminder of the superstar that she is. Thanks to Diana and her band for a fantastic 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 Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Chicago: Still Rockin’

Chicago in Concert
Sunday, July 3, 2016
Hollywood Bowl

July 4th Fireworks Spectacular
With the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Thomas Wilkins, Conductor

Special guest: U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West

Songs performed: Introduction, Questions 67 & 68, Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon, Make Me Smile, So Much to Say So Much to Give, Anxiety’s Moment, West Virginia Fantasies, Colour My World, To Be Free, Call on Me, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?, Hard Habit to Break, You’re the Inspiration, Beginnings, Just You n’ Me, Hard to Say I’m Sorry/ Get Away, Saturday in the Park, Feeling Stronger Every Day, 25 or 6 to 4

chicago-950Comments: Chicago, the rock and roll band with horns, played to 3 sold-out shows for the July 4th weekend at the world famous Hollywood Bowl. They were backed by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under the conduction of Thomas Wilkins.

Chicago is coming off a great year for them. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, along with a performance at the Grammy Awards.

This was the 6th time that I had seen the band live, the last time being 2007. And their last album was in 2014.

So what kind of show do you get from a legacy group like Chicago? You get great musicians and singers giving it their all, and having a good time up on stage.

The evening started with the Orchestra running through some patriotic standards, along with special guest the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West. They did the traditional salute to the different branches of the military, in which audience members who served are encouraged to stand up.

After a short break, Chicago came on with the Orchestra. They ran through some early album cuts that spotlighted what fantastic musicians they are. Then the hits started coming.

So you got “Colour My World,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” You’re the Inspiration,” “Hard Habit to Break” and of course “Saturday in the Park.” Robert Lamm has turned into the star of the group from my perspective. I was disappointed that Jason Scheff is not touring with them this time around. His vocals were covered by Jeff Coffey who did a respectable job.

After “Feeling Stronger Every Day,” the band exited the stage for the Orchestra to play more patriotic music as the fireworks were launched. They bought out the conductor for the military band who was very dramatic with his conducting style and plus he took a moment to salute during the performance too.

Chicago came back for the encore of “25 or 6 to 4.” This band still impresses me after all this time. They have been smart about bringing in some younger members to help them fill out their sound. And unlike Heart, another legacy act I saw last year at the Bowl, they are not known for indulgent cover songs. They stick to their impressive song catalog, and there is a lot to choose from. I am sure I will be seeing them again in the future.

Thanks to the band for another fun show at one of my favorite venues. Long live Chicago!

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 Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Weird and Wonderful: The B-52s

The B-52s in Concert
Friday, September 11, 2015
Hollywood Bowl

Featuring the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Thomas Wilkins conductor

Special guests: The Psychedelic Furs

Songs performed: Love My Way, Ghost in You, Pretty in Pink (The Psychedelic Furs); Pump, Mesopotamia, Lava, Dance This Mess Around, Party Out of Bounds, Strobe Light, Private Idaho, Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland, Love in the Year 3000, Roam, Planet Claire, Love Shack, Rock Lobster (The B-52s)

Comments: New-wave pioneers The B-52s headlined the Fireworks Finale at the world-famous Hollywood Bowl for 3 shows this past weekend. This the group that came from Athens, Georgia and conquered the world with their fun and funky songs.b52s-950

I first came to love them in high school. I remember getting their self-titled debut album on cassette (back in 1979-80) and playing it out! That album is a classic and set the stage for a career that is going well some 35+ years later.

The band appealed to me at the time; they were different and their songs were funny and catchy. The dressed in retro clothes and marched to beat for their own drummer. I was beginning to question myself and my sexuality at the time. When I finally went to the youth group at the Gay & Lesbian Center (because I realized I was gay), I found others that loved the band as much as I did.

The original lineup consisted of Fred Schneider (lead vocals), Kate Pierson (vocals), Cindy Wilson (vocals and percussion), Ricky Wilson (guitar) and Keith Strickland (guitar, drums). Ricky died of AIDS in 1985; and Keith is not touring with the band anymore — so we got the 3 vocalists with some new backing players.

This show gave us the hits (Roam, Rock Lobster) as well as classic album cuts (Strobe Light, Dance This Mess Around), plus a few songs from their most recent studio album “Fun Plex” which came out in 2008 (Time for a new album if you ask me). No songs were played from the Whammy or Good Stuff albums. With their music showing influences from punk, surf, doo-wop, rockabilly, and more — their sound is definitely one of a kind.

It says something when I hadn’t heard some of these songs in ages, yet I still remembered all the words to them! It was fun to be hearing them live again, and I could dance as crazy as I wanted to! Their voices all sound great, and the interplay between their vocals is one of their hallmarks.

I was surprised that Kate didn’t do anything from her solo album that was released earlier this year.

The Hollywood Bowl orchestra was there to fill out the sound on the final 3 numbers: Planet Claire, Love Shack and Rock Lobster. The fireworks went off during Love Shack and were timed well to the musical cues from the song.

The Psychedelic Furs opened the show. We had seen them before on the Totally 80’s bill a few years back with ABC and the Human League. They were decent. The orchestra also backed them up on some numbers.

Thanks to all for another fun show from one of my all-time favorite party bands.

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.

Smooth Summer Jazz 2015

Smooth Summer Jazz: Dave Koz & Friends
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Hollywood Bowl

Featuring: Rick Braun, Kenny Lattimore and Maysa

Special guests: Harvey Mason: Chameleon, Macy Gray, Larry Graham and Graham Central Station

Songs performed: Stoned, Brass in Pocket, Do Something, I Try (Macy Gray); One in a Million, I Want to Take You Higher, Dance to the Music, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), 1999, Square Biz (Larry Graham and Graham Central Station); Good Foot, (You’re Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher, Let It Go, When Will I Know for Sure, Think Big, Ooh Baby Baby (Dave Koz & Friends)

dk-rb-klComments: Dave Koz once again headlined the Hollywood Bowl’s annual Smooth Summer Jazz concert this summer. And he brought along some of his famous friends: Rick Braun (trumpet and vocals), Kenny Lattimore (vocals) and Maysa (vocals). He is celebrating 25 years in the biz, with the release of his latest collection: Collaborations (25th Anniversary Collection).

I first saw Dave 6 years ago on the same date, also at the Bowl. The thing about smooth jazz artists such as Dave, is that their albums are only a tip of the iceberg for their talent. A lot of jazz albums are on the mellow side, but the concerts I have been to — have been anything but. That was true of this show too.

Dave along with the featured performers (Rick, Kenny and Maysa) all came out at the beginning of the show in similar white outfits. The 2 horn players used the walkway near the front of the Bowl for some of their solos.

Dave brought out one of his jazz mentors, Jeff Lorber, who gave him his first big break. Jeff played keyboards, while Dave played sax on the new song “Good Foot.” During the Smokey Robinson & the Miracles cover song “Ooh Baby Baby” — Dave, Kenny and Rick acted like they were in a doo wop group together. Each guy took a lead on vocals. Jonathon Butler was in the audience and Dave got him to sing a few bars too.

The opening acts were well-picked and added to the overall enjoyment of the evening. First up was Harvey Mason: Chameleon. He is a reknown jazz drummer who has had a long and varied career. He led a band of international musicians who played songs from his new album and other songs from his career. During one portion of the set, the keyboardist pushed some buttons on a keypad and made some strange noises as the drummer complemented the sounds.

Next up was Macy Gray. I had seen her before as an opening act for Earth, Wind & Fire. She is definitely an original — with her unique vocals and loud stage wardrobe. I especially liked the song “Do Something” as well as her cover of the Pretenders’ “Brass in Pocket.” She brought out Bobby Brown for one of her new songs, and he did a respectable job. Her set ended abruptly as it seemed like she had gone over her allotted amount of time.

The stage rotated once again, this time for Larry Graham and Graham Central Station. I had seen them before opening for Prince at the Bowl. He and his band put on a high-energy performance that had the crowd dancing in the aisles. He performed his big solo ballad “One in a Million” as well as songs from Sly & the Family Stone (in which he was a member of). During one part of his set, he asked all of his band members who inspired them. They would say a name: James Brown, Prince, Carlos Santana, Teena Marie and more. The band would then play one of the biggest hits from that artist. Larry definitely got the crowd warmed up for the main attraction.

Thanks to Dave and his friends for another fun night at the magical Hollywood Bowl.

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.

Heart: Rockin’ On for 40+ Years

Heart in Concert
Friday, August 21, 2015
Hollywood Bowl

Special guest: Liv Warfield

Music=Love Together Tour

Songs performed: Kashmir, Heaven, What About Love, Dreamboat Annie, Dog & Butterfly, Kick it Out, Straight On, Even It Up, Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, These Dreams, Alone, Stairway to Heaven, Crazy on You, Barracuda

Comments: Roll and Roll Hall of Famers — Heart — made their Hollywood Bowl debut this past weekend. The band led by the Wilson sisters, Ann (lead vocals)and Nancy(guitar and vocals), have been rocking on since the early 70’s. The Hollywood Bowl orchestra led by conductor Thomas Wilkins, supplied backing instrumentation throughout the evening for both Heart and the opening act, Liv Warfield.

From right, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart perform at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles Friday night.  ///ADDITIONAL INFO: heart_review.0822.dak 08/21/15 - Photo by DREW A. KELLEY, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

From right, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart perform at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles Friday night.
///ADDITIONAL INFO: heart_review.0822.dak 08/21/15 – Photo by DREW A. KELLEY, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

I had last seen Heart 11 years ago at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. They were touring behind their album “Jupiter’s Darling” which is not very good. This year, there is no new album, just a summer tour. So, yes, this was a bit of an oldies show.

The show opened with “Kashmir,” by the band Led Zeppelin. It has one of the most famous guitar riffs in history, and sounded great with the orchestra’s string section. Ann’s soaring vocals fit the bombastic rock tune. Next up was the only song I didn’t know — “Heaven.”

I was happy to hear that they brought back “What About Love” — which they hadn’t sang in years. It was one of 3 songs from their 80’s comeback period (the other 2 being “These Dreams” and “Alone”). “What About Love” was given a more stripped down treatment than the album version. The crowd gave Ann a standing ovation for haunting “Alone.” I actually heard the song differently than before… I am thinking it is about a pregnant woman wanting to tell her husband that she is expecting.

Nancy took the lead vocals on “Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters” and “These Dreams.” She joked about how the song could be heard everywhere… grocery stores, doctor‘s offices, and more).

Continuing their love for Led Zeppelin, those chose to cover the iconic “Stairway to Heaven.” They perform these songs well, but I am not a Led Zeppelin fan at all. In my world, they would add a few more 80’s songs like “Never,” “All I Want to Do Is Make Love to You,” and “If Looks Could Kill.” I would love to ask them why it seems like they are embarrassed about their 80’s stuff.

The one-two punch of some of their biggest and most hard rockin’ songs (“Crazy on You” and ‘Barracuda”) closed out the night. I was disappointed that they didn’t do “Magic Man.” Even if they didn’t do more 80’s stuff, the could have chosen a few different songs maybe even “Tell It Like It Is,” “Will You Be There (in the Morning)” or “Almost Paradise.” It would have been interesting to hear Ann’s take on Evanescense’s “Bring Me to Life” or Lady GaGa’s “You and I” for example. I am sure she would kill it.

Soulful rocker Liv Warfield opened the show. We had first seen her last year at the Beatles 50th Celebration where she sang “Come Together.” She reminds me of a female Lenny Kravitz with a bit of Tina Turner thrown in. She was once a member of Prince’s New Power Generation. She is definitely a star in the making and kept the crowd entertained during her short set.

Thanks to all the performers for another fun evening at the Bowl.

Spamalot: Fun at the Bowl

Monty Python’s Spamalot
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Hollywood Bowl

Kevin Chamberlin, Sir Bedevere / Dennis Galahad’s Mother / Concorde
Merle Dandridge, The Lady of the Lake
Warwick Davis, Patsy / Mayor / Guard 2
Tom Deckman, Not Dead Fred / Prince Herbert / Minstrel / French Guard
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sir Robin / Guard 1
Rick Holmes, Sir Lancelot / French Taunter / Knight of Ni / Tim the Enchanter
Eric Idle, the Historian
Craig Robinson, King Arthur
Christian Slater, Sir Galahad / Prince Herbert’s Father / The Black Knight

BT McNicholl, director
Todd Ellison, conductor
Casey Nicholaw, original choreography

Scott Taylor and Billy Sprague Jr., choreography adaptation and re-staging

Book & Lyrics by Eric Idle
Music by John Du Prez & Eric Idle

Songs performed:

Act I

Tuning, Overture, “Historian’s Introduction to Act I” – Historian; “Finland” / “Fisch Schlapping Dance” – Mayor and Company; “Monk’s Chant” – Company; “King Arthur’s Song” – King Arthur, Patsy; “I Am Not Dead Yet” – Not Dead Fred, Lance, Robin, and Bodies; “Come with Me” – King Arthur, Lady of the Lake, and Laker girls;

“Laker Girls Cheer” – Laker Girls; “The Song That Goes Like This” – Sir Galahad and Lady of the Lake; “All for One” – King Arthur, Patsy, Sir Robin, Sir Lancelot, Sir Galahad and Sir Bedevere; “Knights of the Round Table” – Company; “The Song That Goes Like This” (Reprise) – Lady of the Lake; “Find Your Grail” – Lady Of The Lake and Company; “Run Away!” – Company; The Intermission

Act II

“Historian’s Introduction to Act II” – Historian; “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” – Patsy, King Arthur, Knights, and Knights of Ni; “Brave Sir Robin” – Sir Robin and Minstrels; “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway” – Sir Robin and Ensemble; “Whatever Happened to My Part?” – Lady Of The Lake; “Where Are You?” – Prince Herbert; “Here Are You” – Prince Herbert; “His Name is Lancelot” – Sir Lancelot, Prince Herbert, and Ensemble; “I’m All Alone” – King Arthur, Patsy, and Knights

“Twice in Every Show” – Lady Of The Lake and King Arthur; “Act II Finale: I Am Not Dead Yet (Reprise) / Find Your Grail (Reprise) / The Song That Goes Like This (Reprise II)” – Company; “Bows: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Reprise)” – Company and Audience

The Tony Award-winning best musical “Monty Python’s Spamalot” was the Hollywood Bowl’s summer musical this year. It played for 3 nights, and featured a all-star cast featuring stars of stage, film and TV. It was based on the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and tells the story of King Arthur and the knights of the round table. This was my 2nd time seeing the show — I had previously seen a small production of the show 2 years before.

Hollywood Bowl - Spamalot  Photo by Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging

Hollywood Bowl – Spamalot
Photo by Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging

Knowing how fun this show was and how catchy the songs are, I knew I had to see this production. So you got to see Craig Robinson (Hot Tub Time Machine, This the the End), Christian Slater (Interview with the Vampire) and Jesse Tyler Furgeson (Modern Family) among others — singing and dancing for our enjoyment.

Every production I have seen before at the Bowl has been very memorable — I saw Rent and Hairspray previously at this venue. From this production, I got a better idea of what the Broadway version must have been like, because of the high production values. There were a lot more sets, costumes and dancers than the production I had seen previously. It was almost like it was another show. And add in the fact that the show lends itself to plenty of pop culture references… so those were updated from when I saw it too.

There was a big dance number with the King and his knights… with fake tap dancing sounds added to the mix. Then there was a gag added during the time in the forest that included the lyrics to “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson. Plus with the gay wedding in Act 2, they added that it would still be controversial 1000 years later too. They even joked about the California drought during the part of the show where the knights had to find a shrubbery.

The outer rim of the Bowl was used as a backdrop for some great visuals that were projected onto it… to create a forest, a church, a Las-Vegas inspired Camelot and much more. The walkway near the pool section of the box seats was used several times during the night… with the knights walking across it, and the Lady of the Lake doing her big solo number in the 2nd act too.

It was cool to have one of the original Monty Python troupe in this production (Eric Idle) — since he is one of the writer’s of the show. Broadway veteran Merle Dandridge played the diva role of the Lady in the Lake like she was born into royalty.

I also loved the part where the knights went to the French castle and the guard taunted them… with his head bopping around the edges of the ups and downs of the castle top — that was pretty inspired.

Song and performance highlights for me were: “The Song That Goes Like This”, “Find Your Grail”, “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway” and the rousing finale “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

Thanks to the cast and crew for another fun show at the Bowl.

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.

Blake Shelton: Country Rock Star

Blake Shelton in Concert
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Hollywood Bowl

Ten Times Crazier Tour 2014

Special guests: Dan+Shay, Neal McCoy, the Band Perry

Songs performed: 19 You+ Me (Dan + Shay); The Shake, Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles on (Neal McCoy); Done, Night Gone Wasted, You Lie, All Your Life, I’m a Keeper, Timber (Pitbull feat. Ke$ha cover), Chainsaw, Fat Bottomed Girls (Queen cover), Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, If I Die Young, Better Dig Two (The Band Perry); All About Tonight, The More I Drink, She Wouldn’t Be Gone, Over, Doin’ What She Likes, Kiss My Country Ass, Mine Would Be You, Nobody But Me, Some Beach, Ol’ Red, Who Are You When I’m Not Looking, Hillbilly Bone, Sure Be Cool If You Did, Neon Light, My Eyes, Over You, Austin, Drink on It, Home, Honey Bee, Boys ‘Round Here, Footloose, God Gave Me You (Blake Shelton)Blake Shelton

Comments: Blake Shelton brought his Ten Times Crazier Tour to a sold-out crowd at the Hollywood Bowl this past weekend. He’s been riding high the past couple of years after various wins as Entertainer of the Year from fans and peers, #1 singles and albums, plus a mentoring role for the #1 singing competition ‘The Voice”. He showed the city that he can party like the country rock star that he is and still be a sensitive romantic too (his wife is fellow singer Miranda Lambert).

The evening was MC’d by Neal McCoy, the Filipino country star from the 90’s. I was not familiar with this guy at all. But he kept things moving along between the acts. First up was country duo, Dan + Shay. They share the same record label as Blake Shelton, Warner Bros.. They started with “Paradise City” by Guns ‘N Roses. I know it from the movie/play “Rock of Ages.” They proceeded to sing songs from their debut album. Their vocals were very nice — stronger than Florida Georgia Line, who are very popular at the moment. Their big hit from last year “19 You + I” closed out the set. They also did Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” in the middle of their set, so they definitely love their 80’s rock music.

Next up was Neal McCoy. He joked about how he was going to take things back to the 90’s…. and he played a few of his hits that I had never heard of. Two of them sounded like novelty songs to me, with one OK ballad. He also introduced his band members, who all took turns singing solo…. Everything from Justin Timberlake and One Republic to Adele.

The next act up was the family group, the Band Perry. Consisting of brothers Neil and Reid, and sister Kimberly on lead vocals, they are definitely on their way up thanks to their 2nd album “Pioneer” and it’s hit single “Done”.

This group has really won me over with their appearances on TV awards shows. It is apparent that the group has out-grown their opening act gig, and is ready to be a headliner. I remember seeing Blake as an opening act back in 2005 as an opening act for Rascal Flatts. I knew he was going on to bigger things soon and I was right! The Band Perry for me has taken over the hole left by the Dixie Chicks. They have catchy songs, with a lot of attitude. The crowd really was into it, and ate it all up including the inspired covers of Pitbull & Kesha (Timber) and Queen (Fat Bottomed Girls). “Done,” “You Lie” and “Better Dig Two” were the highlights of their set. They employed 3 large video screens, plus 4 towers of lights on the stage to add to the production value.

Neal was back between acts… covering CeeLo and Lionel Richie. Plus, he also chose a couple of winners from the people that tweeted him for better seats to the show.

Blake Shelton finally took the stage around 9 PM for his 2 hour+ show. Named after a song on his “Based on a True Story” album, I found it curious that he didn’t even sing the song the tour was named after (Ten Times Crazier). But we did get one new song —“Neon Light” from his brand new “Bringing Back the Sunshine” album that was released the same week of this show.

Blake is one of those men who genuinely seems like a nice guy. He’s the guy you want to hang out with and have a drink with at a backyard BBQ. He talked about how he was going to 2 things in his show: play country music and drink. And he definitely did. Plus he displayed his sensitive side too, with his romantic ballads. He played guitar on most of the songs, switching instruments often.

He played 5 songs from the “Based on a True Story” album, the 8th of his career. He even went back and made fun of the fact that he used to have a mullet and wear a cowboy hat. He put on the hat when he sang “Nobody Like Me” from his “Barn & Grill” album. That was the album that won me over back in 2005, long before “The Voice”. I loved the stories he told with his songs, and his sense of humor. Gwen Sebastian, one of the finalists from “The Voice” that was on Team Blake, sang with him on the #1 song “My Eyes”. He mentioned how him and Miranda take turns taking her out of tour with them.

His staging seemed more sparse compared to the Band Perry. There was a tower of lights near the back of the stage. Plus a large screen, that had different backdrops projected on it during the night.

He performed 2 songs acoustically, 2 of the most important songs of his career according to him. The first was “Over You,” a song he wrote with Miranda about his brother who died in a car crash. He never recorded it, but she did and had a hit with it. The second was his first #1 hit “Austin.”

The pacing of his set was not as strong as the Band Perry’s was. But then again, they had half the time that he did. A sea of cell phones accompanied his cover of Michael Buble’s “Home”. He was saying how he wished they were filming that night, cause no one would believe all the country fans in Hollywood.

The first encore was his cover of Kenny Loggin’s “Footloose.” Still a fun song to dance to, no matter who is singing in. He chose to end the night with his ballad “God Gave Me You” from his “Red River Blue” CD. This is a song that would be perfect for a wedding. And for anyone in love… that’s why he chose it to end the show. The lyrics could also apply to a singer and his fans.

It was nice to see a gay couple embracing and singing the lyrics to each other to the last song. The crowd was about 60% female that night. Unfortunately, there was an issue with some drunk people arguing, and security had to be called in. I do feel that the venue has placed too much emphasis on drinking lately. This was the 2nd time this summer that an incident has occurred near where I was sitting.

It would have been cool if Miranda had shown up, but it was not to be. Thanks to Blake, his band and crew for a great evening of music at the world famous Hollywood Bowl.

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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