Steve Winwood: 5/9/2017

Steve Winwood was high on my short list of bands/musicians that I had not seen but wanted to see live. So when I saw that he was coming to Greenville, which is about an hour’s drive, I got tickets for my wife and I to go. It was a good thing that I bought them early because the show sold out quickly.

I had never been to the Peace Center, but I heard it was a very nice venue with excellent acoustics. We got there a little before showtime (it was a Tuesday so work prevented us from heading down there early). The first thing was had to deal with was parking. All the public lots were full, which forced us to go for one of the private lots. The woman there collecting money said “$20.” I responded: “$20!?!” She said “Yes, concert is sold out.” Talk about price gouging. I grudgingly paid the exorbitant fee and parked the car. We then walked over to the Peace Center.

The first thing I noticed was the crowd. I felt like the youngest person there, and my thinning grey hair is a clear indicator that I am no spring chicken, but these folks made me feel like I was at a concert with all my aunts and uncles. And they were all dressed up like they were going to the symphony. I looked at my tee shirt and felt oddly out of place; but I didn’t care all that much. I was there for the music, not for a fashion show.

Lilly Winwood. Steve’s daughter, opened the show. She was very good, not just someone riding her famous dad’s coattails. Her songs were interesting and her voice was powerful. I was impressed.

Then Steve came out, and as I expected, he was amazing. His vocals and his musicianship were stellar, and his backing band was solid. He played a nice selection of songs spanning his entire career, from Spenser Davis through his solo works. In fact, the only song I wanted to hear that he didn’t play was “John Barleycorn,” but it was an extremely minor disappointment in light of all the other great music he played that evening.

Toward the end of the show, his daughter came on stage and provided some backing vocals, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was nice to see father and daughter together, and her voice really added to the songs on which she sang.

Here is the full setlist.

 

Setlist:

  • Back in the High Life Again
  • Pearly Queen
  • I’m a Man
  • Fly
  • Them Changes
  • Can’t Find My Way Home
  • Had to Cry Today
  • The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
  • Empty Pages
  • Light Up or Leave Me Alone
  • Higher Love (with Lilly Winwood)

Encore:

  • Dear Mr. Fantasy
  • Gimme Some Lovin’ (with Lilly Winwood)

Martin Barre: 3/24/2017

Martin Barre is the guitarist from Jethro Tull, and since Tull is on an extended hiatus, he is performing solo with a backing band.

I had planned to go to this concert with my youngest daughter, who really likes Jethro Tull (proof I’ve raised my kids right), but she was unfortunately sick and could not muster the strength to go, so my friend Dan acquired my extra, and he and his significant other Angie joined me for the show.

First, I want to say that at 70 years old, Martin is as great of a guitarist as he was when I saw Jethro Tull for the first time in the late 70’s. His technical performance, tone, and energy were those of someone half his age. There was also a maturity in his playing, and I mean that in only the best sense of the word.

There was no opening act, and the band played two sets and an encore. Early in the first set, they played “Minstrel in the Gallery,” probably my favorite Tull song. I have seen Tull three times and the only time they played “Minstrel” was as an encore the first time I saw them, so hearing Martin and his band play it was amazing for me. After the song, I told Dan I could leave now and be happy. But I’m glad I stayed. The rest of the night was packed with incredible music, including an abundance of Tull songs and some really nice cover tunes (see setlist below).

After the show, I went out to my car and grabbed my record cover of “Minstrel in the Gallery,” which I brought with me in the hopes of getting autographed. I waited around with the other old rockers (a reference to a Tull song here) and after a short while, Martin came out to sign autographs. When it was my turn to meet him, I told him that I had attended a guitar clinic that he hosted at Ace Music in Miami many years ago. He clearly remembered the clinic and shared his memories of staying at the Fontainebleau Hotel. He was really pleasant and friendly, and I left feeling grateful to have met someone whose music was so inspiring to me throughout my life.

Here is the setlist, and remember, you’re never too old to rock and roll if you’re too young to die.

Set 1

  • Hammer
  • To Cry You a Song
  • Minstrel in the Gallery
  • Steal Your Heart Away
  • Back to Steel
  • Love Story
  • After You After Me
  • Eleanor Rigby
  • I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
  • Sweet Dream
  • Sealion
  • Thick as a Brick

Set 2

  • Blackest Eyes
  • Nothing to Say
  • Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day
  • Cross Road Blues
  • Bad Man
  • A Song for Jeffrey
  • Moment of Madness
  • Teacher
  • Fat Man
  • A New Day Yesterday

Encore:

  • Locomotive Breath

David Gilmour: 7/5/1984

Before I would have the opportunity to see Pink Floyd, I was fortunate enough to see David Gilmour solo. He played the Sunrise Musical Theater, which was a small venue in South Florida, and it was mind-blowing. Gilmour’s guitar work is totally cerebral, unlocking areas of the psyche with his rich tones. I left the concert feeling like my mind was expanded. While I wished he would have played a few more Floyd tunes, it was great seeing the legendary guitarist in an intimate setting.

Unfortunately, most of the details have faded. I can’t even recall with whom I went to this show. But, I managed to find the setlist online, so here it is.

  • Until We Sleep
  • All Lovers Are Deranged
  • Love on the Air
  • Mihalis
  • Cruise
  • Short and Sweet
  • Money
  • Out of the Blue
  • Let’s Get Metaphysical
  • You Know I’m Right
  • Run Like Hell
  • Blue Light
  • Murder

Encore:

  • Comfortably Numb

Aimee Mann: 2/4/2003

aimeemann_2-4-03

I went to this show with my wife, who is a big Aimee Mann fan. I had seen Aimee years back with Til Tuesday and I also really liked her music, so I was pretty psyched to go too. In fact, around this time, the soundtrack to “Magnolia,” which is comprised of mostly Aimee Mann tunes, was getting a lot of play on the CD player in the car.

We went to the Orange Peel and ran into people we knew there. It’s always cool to see friends at a concert. It just makes it more fun.

Aimee is the epitome of cool on stage. In fact, she seemed way cooler than I remember her back with Til Tuesday. She just had the total hip vibe, and she sounded amazing. The high points for me were definitely “Driving Sideways” and “Save Me.”

One big surprise was when they performed a cover version of Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” with the guitarist handling the lead vocals. Having spent many years in South Florida, my tolerance for Lynyrd Skynyrd is pretty low, but I have to confess, they did a rousing version and it was fun singing along with everyone in the crowd. Definitely one of the rare instances when I actually enjoyed a Skynyrd cover tune.

Anyway, that’s about all I have to share. If you get a chance to see Aimee in concert, I recommend doing so. She’s very, very good live.

Rock on!

Lindsay Buckingham: 3/19/2007

buckingham_3-19-07

When I heard that Lindsay Buckingham was coming to The Orange Peel, a small venue that holds about 1000 people, I thought it would be cool to go, but I did not bother getting a ticket. I liked Fleetwood Mac, and appreciated Lindsay’s guitar playing and vocals, but didn’t want to spend the money.

Anyway, the day of the concert, my next door neighbor texted me that he was sick as a dog and could not go, and asked if I wanted his ticket for free. I graciously accepted, walked over and got the ticket, and told him I hoped he felt better soon.

I went by myself to the show, but that was fine. The crowd was really into the music and Lindsay sounded amazing. He played a solid mix of solo material and Fleetwood Mac tunes. I danced and had a great time. I felt sorry that my friend had to miss the show, but I was glad the ticket came my way instead of going to waste.


Setlist:

  • Not Too Late
  • Trouble
  • Never Going Back Again
  • Second Hand News
  • Cast Away Dreams
  • Red Rover
  • It Was You
  • Big Love
  • Go Insane
  • Under the Skin
  • World Turning
  • I’m So Afraid
  • I Know I’m Not Wrong
  • Tusk
  • Go Your Own Way

Encore:

  • Holiday Road
  • Turn It On
  • Show You How
  • Shut Us Down

Greg Lake: 4/25/2012

greglake_4-25-12

“If you were stranded on a desert island with just one album to listen to, what would it be?” If you are my age, I’m sure you’ve answered this question many times. My response was pretty standard: Brain Salad Surgery by Emerson Lake and Palmer. Throughout the years, I have owned this on vinyl (twice), on cassette, on 8-track, and on CD. It is an album I never tire of listening to.

I dug out this stub because Greg Lake passed away a couple days ago. He died the same year that his bandmate Keith Emerson also died. 2016 has been a terrible year for musicians.

I went to this concert with my friend Bill, a former bandmate of mine and a writer for various music publications. He had acquired a pair of complimentary tickets, which included a pass to meet Greg after the performance. I have to say, I was pretty excited to meet someone who has inspired me musically for most of my life.

We drove to Raleigh, got some food, then went to the venue. The manager there was very accommodating and invited us in early, gave us more food and beverages, and made us feel like VIP’s. The venue was intimate and we had great seats. Finally, the lights went out and Greg Lake took the stage.

This was his “storyteller” tour, so it was just him on the stage, playing bass and guitar along with recorded tracks, and of course singing. He also spent a good deal of time between songs telling personal stories about bands, recordings, and life as a musician. I felt like I got to know him on a deeper level and gained a more rich understanding of him as an artist. He played a broad selection of music from his early days in King Crimson through ELP and solo material. For me, it was an amazing experience, but it got better.

After the performance, we went to the VIP guest room and waited for Greg to arrive. After a bit, he showed up and people queued up to meet him and ask him questions. I of course had to bring a copy of Brain Salad Surgery, which he graciously signed for me. I felt a little intimidated meeting him, but he was pretty relaxed. I asked him what new bands he listened to. He said none, really. I felt a twinge of sadness for him. There are some great musicians out there now, and I thought he might find enjoyment and inspiration from listening to them. To quote his song: “C’est la vie” (which he played).

Greg Lake will be sorely missed, but he has gone on to join the great gig in the sky. Godspeed.

greglake_bss

Fleetwood Mac: 11/6/1987

fleetwoodmac_11-6-87

Although I am not 100% sure, I believe this was the last concert that I attended at the infamous Hollywood Sportatorium in South Florida. I’ll see if I have any later stubs as I work through the collection, but if my memory serves me correctly, this was the last one. The Sporto was permanently closed in 1988 and then demolished to build McMansions.

Fleetwood Mac is one of those bands that I really like some of their stuff, and some things not so much. Also, growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I was subjected to more than enough of their music on the radio. Still, I figured it would be worth checking them out, and hey, concerts were still just $17.50 back then.

I was a little disappointed that Lindsay Buckingham was not with them on this tour. I know that the music purists will tell you that the band was never as good as when Peter Green was the guitarist, but Buckingham was no slouch, in my humble opinion. Anyway, they had two guitarists with them on that tour, Billy Burnette and Rick Vito.

I enjoyed the concert, even if the sound was terrible, but concertgoers in South Florida expected that at the Sporto. The high points for me were “Oh Well” and Mick Fleetwood’s amazing drum solo. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t play “Hypnotized,” but it was not that big of a deal. The rest of the show was cool.

I searched online and found the setlist, which I’ve included here. Technology is a wonderful thing. Cheers!


Setlist:

  • Say You Love Me
  • The Chain
  • Dreams
  • Isn’t It Midnight
  • Rhiannon
  • Oh Well
  • Seven Wonders
  • Rattlesnake Shake
  • Everywhere
  • Over My Head
  • Gold Dust Woman
  • Don’t Let Me Down Again
  • Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?
  • I Loved Another Woman
  • Brown Eyes
  • World Turning
  • Little Lies
  • Stand Back
  • You Make Loving Fun
  • Go Your Own Way

Encore:

  • Blue Letter
  • Don’t Stop
  • Songbird

Elton John and Leon Russell: 11/16/2010

EltonLeon_11-16-10

This was a real hard ticket to get. This show sold out at lightning speed and I almost was unable to get tickets (since our good friends at TicketMaster were not releasing all the tickets at once). Anyway, after getting a message that tickets were gone, my friend told me to try again, and like magic, tickets were available. I got tickets for my wife and two daughters.

I had seen Elton before, but this was my first time seeing Leon Russell, so I was pretty psyched.

Our seats were behind the stage, but that actually turned out to be a good thing. Both musicians had their pianos facing toward the center of the stage, so we had a great profile view of Elton and Leon was almost looking right at us. And we were close, which was nice.

Leon opened the show and played several songs of his own. Then Elton came out and kicked his set off with “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” which was the perfect opener, in my humble opinion.

Elton played a long set, during which Leon came out and the two performed together, playing songs from their collaborative album, “The Union.”

I really enjoyed taking my kids to this show. They both loved it and were thrilled to be seeing two rock and roll legends. There’s nothing like passing down a love of music to your children.

Here are the setlists from the show.

Leon’s Set

  1. Tight Rope
  2. Prince of Peace / Out in the Woods
  3. A Song for You
  4. Delta Lady
  5. Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms / Stranger in a Strange Land

Elton’s Set

  1. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting
  2. Philadelphia Freedom
  3. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  4. Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)
  5. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me
  6. Bennie and the Jets
  7. I’m Still Standing
  8. If It Wasn’t for Bad
  9. Hey Ahab
  10. Gone to Shiloh
  11. Jimmie Rodgers’ Dream
  12. Monkey Suit
  13. The Best Part of the Day
  14. A Dream Come True
  15. When Love is Dying
  16. Hearts Have Turned to Stone
  17. Never Too Old (To Hold Somebody)
  18. In The Hands of Angels
  19. Burn Down the Mission
  20. Levon
  21. Tiny Dancer
  22. I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
  23. Daniel
  24. Candle in the Wind
  25. Take Me to the Pilot
  26. Sad Songs (Say So Much)
  27. The Bitch Is Back
  28. (encore) Your Song

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss: 6/14/2008

PlantKrauss_6-14-08

The Rolling Stones may be the greatest rock and roll band, but Led Zeppelin embodies the mythos of rock and Robert Plant is the archetype of the rock god. So when Robert Plant booked a show in lil ol’ Asheville with Alison Krauss, I had to grab a ticket, even though I had seen Plant multiple times before. The two had recently collaborated on an album, “Raising Sand.” Then I discovered that T Bone Burnett was also part of their band, and I was really psyched. I knew this was going to be a special show.

I went with my wife and we had decent seats about halfway back on the side. The Civic Center is far from acoustically perfect, but it really didn’t matter, they still sounded incredible.

Plant and Krauss each sang some songs separately and many together. I was really impressed by how well they harmonized. Many rock singers suffer from voice damage in later years, but Plant still sounded great. He performed three Zeppelin tunes: Black Dog, Black Country Woman, and Battle of Evermore. I can honestly say that the performance of “The Battle of Evermore” was one of my most memorable moments of live music performances ever. I managed to find a YouTube recording of the performance. The quality of the video is not the greatest, but it at least gives a sense of how magical the performance was.

The Battle of Evermore – Asheville Civic Center

Overall, it was a wonderful date night with my wife. I’m fortunate to be married to someone who loves live music as much as I do.

For those of you who are interested, here is the complete setlist from the concert.


Setlist:

  • Rich Woman
  • Leave My Woman Alone
  • Black Dog
  • Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us
  • Through the Morning, Through the Night
  • It’s Goodbye and So Long to You
  • Fortune Teller
  • Black Country Woman
  • In the Mood
  • Bon Temps Rouler
  • Shut it Tight
  • Trampled Rose
  • Green Pastures
  • Down to the River to Pray
  • Killing the Blues
  • Nothin’
  • The Battle of Evermore
  • Please Read the Letter
  • Gone Gone Gone

Encore

  • Don’t Knock
  • (I’m a) One Woman Man
  • Your Long Journey