The Struts: 10/10/2018

When I first heard The Struts, I was on the fence, leaning toward “meh.” But friends of mine who are big music fans insisted that they are great in concert and that I should definitely see them. So when I heard they were coming to town, and the ticket prices were reasonable ($20, cheaper than parking at some shows), I figured I would go and check them out. So I grabbed tickets for my wife and I.

The concert was mid-week, so we had to go over there after work and dinner, which meant we would be a little late getting there. But thankfully, my friend Bill, who is a music writer and has a great blog, had interviewed the band before the show and secured seats for us.

There were two opening acts, and we got there in time to catch the second one, White Reaper. They were OK as far as openers go. After a short break, The Struts took the stage.

They were over-the-top glam. My wife commented that the singer was like a cross between Freddie Mercury and Lady Gaga. I can see that. He was definitely flamboyant. Musically, the band was tight, and they had the crowd rockin’ from beginning to end. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. And while I still feel that their songwriting could be honed a little, their energy on stage makes up for it with juice to spare.

Here’s a couple pictures I took from the show, as well as the setlist.

Setlist:

  • Primadonna Like Me
  • Body Talks
  • Kiss This
  • Fire (Part 1)
  • Dirty Sexy Money
  • People
  • One Night Only
  • Dancing in the Dark
  • Mary Go Round
  • Put Your Money on Me
  • Bulletproof Baby
  • Where Did She Go

Encore:

  • Somebody New
  • Ashes (Part 2)
  • Could Have Been Me

Elton John: 10/14/1984

This was my first time seeing Elton John, and I was pretty psyched. Elton was one of those artists I grew up listening to as a kid and was definitely an influence on me musically. He was touring in support of his “Breaking Hearts” album, which did quite well if my memory serves me correctly. Elton had Davey Johnstone, Dee Murray, and Nigel Olsson supporting him, which was great seeing them all on stage together.

I went with my brother Mike, and our seats were behind the stage. But since the Sportatorium was essentially a free-for-all, we went and found some seats on the side about halfway back.

Elton opened with “Tiny Dancer,” which was beautiful. He came on stage wearing a long purple coat, which was elegantly glam-boyant. He then started ramping things up and eventually had the crowd totally rockin’, kicking the piano stool backwards and standing at the keys, pounding away like a madman. But the frenzy peaked about halfway through the show, when Elton took off his sleek purple jacket and flung it into the crowd.

Now from my vantage point, I could see the melee that ensued. Crazed rock fanatics clawed and punched each other, while they tore and shredded the jacket. I can’t recall just how long the tug-of-war lasted, but I feel like I heard a couple songs as my eyes shifted from the stage to the crowd and back to the stage again.

While there were a few songs I would have liked to have heard that he didn’t play, the show was pretty solid and he played most of his big hits. He certainly had a formidable body of work to choose from. Anyway, here’s the full setlist.

Setlist:

  • Tiny Dancer
  • Levon
  • Li’l ‘Frigerator
  • Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)
  • Daniel
  • Restless
  • Candle in the Wind
  • The Bitch Is Back
  • Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me
  • Who Wears These Shoes?
  • Sad Songs (Say So Much)
  • Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
  • Bennie and the Jets
  • Philadelphia Freedom
  • I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
  • Kiss the Bride
  • I’m Still Standing
  • Your Song
  • Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  • Crocodile Rock

KISS: 4/8/2000

Kiss_4-8-00

This ticket stub is from KISS’s “Farewell Tour.” Umm, farewell to your money, maybe. They have certainly continued playing since then.

Anyway, I went with my friend Jim and I was pretty psyched to see KISS. I had never seen them and I had always heard they put on a killer stage show. Plus, it was a big outdoor thing with other bands I had not seen.

The first act to perform was Skid Row. My expectations were not high for this act, let me tell you. Although I love glam rock, the 80’s hair bands just never did anything for me. But I saw them, so check that one off the list.

Next act was Ted Nugent. Yes, I know, he is a most abrasive and unsavory person and not someone I would ever spend a penny on to see by himself, but I figured if it is thrown in for free, what the hell. And the truth is, he was really good live. If he would just play guitar and not talk, the world would be a better place. Wasn’t it Frank Zappa who said “Shut up and play your guitar”? Bottom line, for an opening act, he was good. At least you knew the songs and the energy was there.

Then it was time for KISS. Total spectacle! They were lowered onto the stage on this huge platform and kicked the show off with “Detroit Rock City.” Smokin! The concert was really heavy on the older, classic stuff. They even played some choice nuggets like “Strutter” and “Firehouse.”

The stage show was everything you’d expect. The pseudo-Ace’s guitar smoking and catching fire before floating into the air and exploding. Gene Simmons spit blood and breathed fire. Paul Stanley got the crowd roused and swaggered in his platform heels. It was over-the-top, glam rock pageantry at its finest. When it was over, I could not think of a single song I wanted to hear that they hadn’t played. A most satisfying concert.

I have had other opportunities to see KISS, but the tickets were high-dollar and I couldn’t image them being any better than when I saw them.

So don’t forget kiddies: “Rock and roll all nite, and party every day!”