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Posts tagged ‘hollywood bowl’

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!

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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.

Jason Mraz: Celebrating His Birthday in Style at the Bowl

Jason Mraz in Concert
Friday, June 23, 2017
Hollywood Bowl

Birthday Celebration and Concert

jasonMrazSongs Performed: Let’s See What The Night Can Do, Make It Mine, The Remedy (I Won’t Worry), Common Pleasure, A Beautiful Mess, So You Think You Can Dance, Chocolate, Coming Undone, Try, Lucky, I Take the Music, I’m Yours/Three Little Birds, Details in the Fabric, You Do You, and I’ll Do Me, Browntown, Unfold, Might As Well Dance, Butterfly, You Matter To Me, Long Drive, 3 Things, Rise, Love Someone, Shine, 93 Million Miles/The Galaxy Song, I Won’t Give Up, Love Is Still the Answer

Comments: Jason Mraz celebrated his 40th birthday with a party and concert at the Hollywood Bowl. He first gained prominence with his debut album “Waiting for My Rocket to Come” back in 2002. Since then, he has released 5 studio albums, and a few live albums also. He has done world tours and played with top musicians. His most recent album was 2014’s “Yes!”.

I think it is pretty cool that an artist can celebrate their birthday at the Bowl. He had a party atmosphere going on with a carnival theme. There was a bounce house for the kids outside the venue; then inside there was a man on stilts and a juggler to greet you. As well as carnival games where you throw balls and swing the hammer. Jason came on stage and greeted the guests at 7:00 PM. He said how grateful he was for people coming out to celebrate with him. His friend took over and roamed the crowd (from the front to the back) getting people excited and interacting with them. Along the way, he made a few balloon animals too.

The show started at 7:30 PM, with Jason and his Superband taking the stage. His Superband included about 15 members including a horn section, a sitar player and a female trio called Raising Jane with whom he worked on “Yes!”. The show consisted of mainly tracks from his third and fifth albums. He did sing his breakthrough song “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)” early in the show in a new reggae-tinged arrangement. His second album was completely ignored.

What you did get from Jason was a 3.5 hour show that consists of hits, album tracks, new songs and covers too. He had a great band — half of which was female. He had some inspired guest stars too. He brought out Colbie Caillat to sing with him on her song “Try” as well as on Jason’s song “Lucky” (which she appeared on the recorded version of). He brought out Sara Bareilles to sing “Long Drive” from the Broadway show “Waitress.” Both ladies were well chosen as they are female equivalents of his.

Though his most recent album “Yes!” wasn’t my favorite, I still believe in his artistry. In this day of corporate song-writing and cookie cutter artists, he stands out. He is someone who believes in love and in helping the planet. I have to admit I liked the songs from “Yes!” better in their live versions than on the album especially “Shine.”

During the middle of the show, he and his band played songs through the intermission — with instrumental versions of a few songs. I was glad that I could finally get to see Jason live. I had him on my list of artists yet to see. I would have liked some more of the earlier songs for sure, but I still feel that he put on a great show. His voice is very strong, and he is a good songwriter. I look forward to what he does in the future.

For the encore, he sang “I Won’t Give Up” (one of his best in my opinion) backed by a youth choir from a local school. The song describes the positive attitude and can-do optimism that we need more of in the world today. Thanks to Jason and his Superband for a memorable and entertaining 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.

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.

 

 

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.

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.

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