Errols Weekly Music Update.

June 11, 2008

Concert Review – Plant & Krauss at WAMU Theater – 06/10/08

Concert review: Alison Krauss & Robert Plant at the WAMU Theater within Madison Square Garden on Tuesday June 10, 2008.

Upon entering the WAMU theater my wife and I had no idea that soon we would feel that we were somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, like in the movie “Cold Mountain.” Now this may sound strange but then I realized- this made perfect sense because the producer of the soundtrack to that movie was Mr. T. Bone Burnett. And there was T. Bone, up on the stage-playing guitar, enjoying the fruits of his labor- he was responsible for bringing Plant & Krauss together and produced their album “Raising Sand.”

The stage set up was very basic with everything being mostly black and the backdrop had long gold curtains. The band members were wearing old classic three-piece suits. The guitarist Buddy Miller wore a hat that made him look like Paulie from the “Rocky” series. There was a fiddle player and Krauss played the violin on many songs. The only thing missing was a campfire.

The show started with the bass lines to “Rich Woman” and the band continued a soft jam for a few minutes and then both Alison and Robert came from the back of the stage, down the sides of the stage; then faced each other and walked towards as if they were going to have a gun battle. Once they were in front of their respective microphones, they turned toward the audience and started to sing as the audience pelted them with a loud ovation. There he was, the living legend Mr. Robert Plant, still looking like a front man for a rock band. He still has the long hair with the goatee and is still in good shape. Next to him is the striking beauty- Alison Krauss. She in her own right has secured her place in folk and country music history. Together they looked like brother & sister as their full head of hair hovered over their microphones ringing out pleasing harmonies.

The second song did have some kick as Plant paid homage to Ray Charles and did an upbeat version of “Leave My Woman Alone.” Then for the third song, if you listened carefully you would recognize the lyrics and say to yourself “I know this song” but…Then it hits you it’s the Zeppelin classic “Black Dog” but its done with a folk and gospel feel to it. The audience filled in the “Aah Aah’s” every chance they could almost trying to egg the band on to play it like the original.After the song ends, there is a rousing ovation and Plant introduces his “buddy” Alison and she takes the audience through a mesmerizing set of three songs. “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us,” “Through the Morning, Through the Night” and “Goodbye and So Long to You.” My wife said her voice reminded her of a cross between Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton. At this point I really felt like I was back in time again, round a campfire, singing American classics and that is what the show was about. If you are expecting Led Zeppelin, you will be severely disappointed and if you don’t want your image of Plant shattered as the such- stay home.

Plant came back out and took the lead on vocals for the next three songs. “Fortune Teller” from Raising Sand and then did a song from his solo career- “In the Mood.” Again it was not like the original but it worked for me. Then one of my “dream” songs from Led Zeppelin was performed- “Black Country Woman.” As I mentioned a few weeks back in my review of the classic album -Physical Graffiti- this song, along with “Boogie with Stu” are my two all time favorite Zep songs. I had to pinch myself because I never thought I would ever hear this performed live, I seriously doubt that if a Zeppelin reunion does come to fruition, that this song will be on the set list. I loved the version of the song as Alison helped out on vocals. I stood up and applauded after the song ended.

After this song is where I think the band lost some of the audience as it really slowed down from this point onward. T. Bone did a few songs and then Krauss came back out and did some beautiful songs such as “Trampled Rose” and “Green Pastures.” The lights went low and there was nothing but Alison’s voice as she sang a cappella -“Down to the River to Pray.” From the audience you could see Robert running from the back of the stage to join Miller and Duncan off to the right of Alison. The three men were singing background vocals into a microphone that was hanging down from the ceiling, very old school style. At that moment, I felt like I was in church that was portrayed in the TV series “Little House on the Prairie.” This was one of the highlights of the show that probably had most talking after its end.

Plant took over on vocals and as he sang his second song after returning, “Nothing”- I look over at my wife and she is out cold. Sleeping. I said, “What happened?”- She said that it was too soft and boring. She wasn’t even that enthralled with “The Battle of Evermore” as Krauss made Sandy Denny proud with her female vocal input to this Zeppelin classic. “Please Read the Letter” did seem to drag on and at this point my wife was done. I heard the opening chords to “Gone, Gone, Gone” and told her that this song was fast so she could wake up. She looks at Plant and says he look like a robot, trying to contain himself to this type of music. She is convinced he just wants to break out and let loose with the classic howls of Zeppelin. Go figure, I thought this show would be good for her and she is actually asking for loud guitars and screeching vocals.

The show ends with three encores- “You Don’t Knock,” “One Woman Man” and “Your Long Journey.” My opinion is that this was a very solid show and that is because I knew what to expect. I went in with the mindset that this was a very different Robert Plant. My wife did not know what to expect and after a while the show became boring for her. I will say that their harmonizing vocals are perfect together and T. Bone knew what he was doing when he introduced the both of them.

February 22, 2008

Weekly Update – 02/22/08

Kayne West and friends at the Garden on Tues. May 13. Pre-sale on now until 10:00 p.m. tonight. Password is HEGLOW. General public on sale tomorrow at noon. $49.50 -$129.50.

Robert Plant & Allison Krauss at the WAMU Theater inside MSG on Tues. June 10. Pre-sale begins this Monday at 10:00 am until Sun. Mar. 2 with American Express cardholders. No price info.

Santana & Derek Trucks at MSG on Tues. April 8. Pre-sale begins this Monday at 10:00 am to Sunday Mar. 2. General public on sale Mon. Mar. 3 at 10:00 am $39.50 – $89.50.

Sara Bareilles at New York Fillmore on Wed. Apr. 23. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $20.

Katt Williams at Radio City on Thurs. April 10. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $54- $84.

Alicia Keys and Jordin Sparks at the Rock & the Garden on Tues. & Wed. June 17 & 18. Ticket info to follow.

Other items:

Concert review: Foo Fighters at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday Feb. 19, 2008: Growing up, we are all required to go to school for 12 years and then maybe on to college. You put in your dues to get to that “higher” place. The Foo Fighters have been putting in their dues for the past 12 or so years. I started out seeing these guys in a college gymnasium in N.J. a long time ago. They worked their way up to the local clubs and then onto smaller theaters. This past Tuesday, they “graduated” and had their first ever visit to the “Mecca” of which all bands strive for- Madison Square Garden. So how did they do you ask? They passed their audition and the buzz as we left the show was that it was a “kick butt” performance. My opinion is that they were solid and there were great moments during the show. The Foos will now be able to continue to have their shows at “Garden” type arenas. In one way this stinks because it will be that much harder to get tickets to their smaller venue appearances and you lose the intimacy. But when you graduate, this comes with the territory.

First off, the second opener, Serj Tankian, was absolutely horrible, enough said. And the music piped in before the Foo’s came out was also horrible. So I knew before the Foos took the stage that they were going to be solid. (good planning on the part of their management team)? The Garden was completely sold out and the Foos started off with the first two songs from their latest CD but in reverse order- “Let it Die” and “The Pretender”- (my all-time favorite Foo song). Good way to start off the evening as Mr. Grohl was trying to get the kinks out of his voice (it has to be grinding on his vocal cords as he tends to scream a lot). Playing the part like they had been there before, the stage was set up with a long ramp to another small stage set up in the middle of the Garden. Just picture a really long walk way that fashion models utilize. (or a from a birds eye view I’m thinking a huge Gene Simmons bass guitar). So they had the setup for crowd interaction.

They blasted their way through their hits (and these are legitimate hits) such as “Times Like These” and “Learn to Fly.” At times it was hard to see the band on stage-as there were headlights facing the stage-that blared light similar to the ones you squint to when someone has their high beams on when you’re driving. The highlights for the first part of the show for me were “The One” and “Stacked Actors,” (song he wrote about Courtney Love). Then the band members walked down this ramp to a “new” stage that fell from the sky and all of a sudden we had great seats. The band was in the middle of the Garden on a stage setting similar to the old Flip Wilson shows where he and his guests would perform their skits. (for those of you who are younger and do not know who Flip Wilson is- tune into TV Land). They went into an acoustic set and the “intimacy factor” was actually felt by the whole place.

This is where they shined bright. You could actually hear very clearly Dave’s voice (he can sing) as they jammed to “Marigold” and “My Hero”- which was a crowd sing along song. Then Taylor Hawkins took the vocal spotlight with the song he wrote from In Your Honor- “Cold Day in the Sun.” The acoustic set ended with “Everlong”-which arguably could be their best know song (actually made famous by their Howard Stern appearance a number of years ago). Then the show ended with the “great” moments previously mentioned with “Monkey Wrench” (a boot camp classic) and “All My Life”- which was the best song performed by far. As I was watching the crowd and when Mr. Grohl announced to the audience “Everybody Dance!!”- just then the spot light hit the crowd and what a sight-thousands of fans jumping and head banging at the same time. I decided then and there that is one of the best sights for me to see (and not just at their show, anyone’s show) and that sight is for so many people to be enjoying themselves at the same time. You don’t get that too often and at that moment I just felt a rush of the “wow factor.” I felt good for Dave and the boys.

They came back for 3 encores which included my new favorite song of the week “Long Road to Ruin” and ended with a fantastic version of “Best of You.” Overall a very good show and I love the fact that they are getting more popular-another sign that I’m getting old. When I was younger as soon as a band that I followed from the beginning became popular I dropped them like a hot potato. The Foos are at the top of their game right now and deservedly so.

Again I came across a song on my I-POD shuffle which made me go back and listen to the entire album and this time it was from The Cars. For those of you who know me a long time, you know quite well that one of my all time favorite bands is The Cars. They were one of the first bands that sucked me into this whole music thing going on here. For me, Ric, Ben, Elliot, Greg and David were synonymous with John, Paul… well you get the picture. Now I know you’ll be scratching your head on this one but I have to tell you I love their 3rd album “Panorama” released in 1980. Now I know their debut album and Candy-O are more popular and I’ll admit those two are better than Panorama but again this album is no slouch. (now keep in mind The Cars can do no wrong in my eyes). This disc gets panned by critics all the time but hey even Zep had their “III”- which we all know is not as bad as all the critics state. The Cars had two main singers, Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr. Mr. Orr passed away many years ago unfortunately. (now if you don’t know their voices,their classic pop hit “Who’s going to drive you home” is Ben Orr and “My Best Friend’s Girl” is Ocasek). Check out Mr. Orr’s vocals on the “Down Boys”- side 2, track 2 of Panorama. Awesome song. The one and only hit from this album is “Touch and Go” but after listening to this again I absolutely love “Getting Through,” “Gimme Some Slack” and “Don’t Tell Me Know.” My favorite track is “Misfit Kid”- just a totally cool song. One of the great things about the Cars were their harmonizing background vocals and you hear them throughout. The album ends with “Running to You” and “Up and Down” which are two solid solid tracks. I wanted to be in the Cars when I was a kid, I use to pretend I could air guitar lefty, as Elliot Easton is a lefty guitarist. These guys don’t get the respect they rightfully deserve. Buy any one of their first three albums- you won’t be disappointed. With Panorama you’ll have to buy the CD as I-Tunes only carries “Touch and Go” from this album. Sometimes I-Tunes screws up and in this case they have, its just not right.

AC DC back in the studio after an 8 year absence. New CD to follow and most likely a tour. \m/ \m/

Gene Simmons is in hot water with his live in girlfriend Shannon Tweed, apparently Gene has been caught on tape with another woman and its now on the internet.

Back on this day Florence Ballard of The Supremes died in 1976 of heart attack, at the age of 32. She had left The Supremes nine years earlier after her constant fights with Diana Ross. Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong, and by the time of her death, Ballard had separated from her husband and was on welfare, having lost a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Motown Records. Ross attended the funeral, surrounded by several bodyguards.

Back on this day in 1989, the 31st Grammy awards for the first time featured a heavy metal category and remember when Jethro Tull beat out the boys from Metallica for best metal group? Still pissed about that. This fact was actually one of the million dollar question on Who Wants to a Millionaire back when Regis was the host.

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