It was quite the compelling year for live performances in 2010. The concert scene produced inflated ticket prices in anticipation of a revitalized market. Certainly we did our share towards that objective with our concert attendance, which was the highest ever. Concert attendance in 2010 had a major falling off and many tickets went unsold due to artists, management and promoters not reducing ticket prices in recognition of this factor. 2011 will see concert ticket price adjustments downward to help rekindle concert attendance.
Rosemary and I attended 37 concerts together during the year. We witnessed some amazing acts, saw some pleasant live surprises along the way, stayed current with our favorite groups, and got around to seeing several musical artists on our must see list.
These are our Top 10 live concerts of 2010. We hope we don’t sleight any artists by not including them in our Top 10 concerts list. Everyone we saw live is a part of our music experience and we want you to know we love the music and energy you shared with us this past year.
Top 10 Concerts of 2010
We have seen Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck separately over the decades, but never together on one card. The opportunity to see them both, perform separate than together was an exciting proposition and the Garden was the perfect venue for their musicianship.
Jeff Beck brought with him a full orchestra from England which was a major investment in the music direction he wished to share with us. Jeff Beck opened our minds and ears to new textures and sounds that night. He previewed several songs from the recording, Emotion and Commotion which has been nominated for 5 Grammy awards. It was very stimulating to hear the new selections Jeff has been composing and arranging. I was very struck by Nessun Dorma which is an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot. Jeff Beck’s treatise of Nessun Dorma is majestic, commanding your attention with intelligent subtlety. Once I heard this aria I became convinced his new album would be grandiose in scale and substance.
What truly knocked me out was we had just seen Jeff Beck perform with his band at the 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert at the Garden in November, 2009 and here was this whole new tour de force of sound and energy. Jeff Beck had with him as his main band, Narada Michael Walden on drums, Rhonda Smith on bass and Jason Rebello on keyboards. The band was powerful and dramatically different from Tal Wilkenfeld and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums (Trust me I love this rhythm team a lot, but they were touring with Herbie Hancock and we would catch them later in the year at Carnegie Hall for Herbie’s 70th Birthday celebration). Jeff Beck continues to impress me with his versatility, range, depth and guitar mastery. He did an amazing tribute with Imelda May for Les Paul at the Iridium and the 2009 Grammys.
Eric Clapton’s set was aesthetically pleasing. He started off with some acoustic blues and then featured his more popular songs, much to the delight of the large contingent of Clapton fans in attendance. His voiced sounded strong and he looked none the worse for the wear after having gall bladder surgery late last year.
The excitement of the evening heated up when Jeff Beck joined Eric Clapton and his band for their collaboration. They complemented each other smartly. They played off each other’s strengths, knew when to allow the other to solo. The mutual respect was so evident as they played, I flashed on the Yardbirds as they riffed. It wasn’t a situation where either guitarist felt in competition with the other and they never cut one another when they played. It was a guitar moment to witness and cherish let me tell you.
Jeff Beck’s Set
Corpus Christi Carol
Bass solo by Rhonda Smith
Mna Na Heireann
A Day in the Life
Eric Clapton’s Set
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
Running on Faith
I’ve Got a Rock ‘N’ Roll Heart
Tell the Truth
Key to the Highway
I Shot the Sheriff
Little Queen of Spades
Eric Clapton & Jeff Beck Set
Shake Your Money Maker
You Need Love
Outside Woman Blues
Little Brown Bird
Wee Wee Baby
(I Want To Take You) Higher
We love the Grateful Dead. We have been fans of their music live since 1970 and the Capitol Theatre days in Portchester, NY. There is nothing like their music and the journey you ride. It makes you dance, twirl and takes you to cosmic reaches within your soul.
The Furthur concert was a very eclectic mix of the Dead’s music with strong highlights from Bobby on vocals and guitar and Phil Lesh on bass and vocals. They were complimented strongly by a great nucleus of musicians Jeff Chimenti, on keyboards, Joe Russo on drums, Jay Lane percussion and Sunshine Garcia on vocals.
I was especially impressed with John Kadlecik from the Dark Star Orchestra on lead guitar. I have seen Warren Haynes and Jimmy Herring fill in on the Jerry Garcia role and loved their interpretations of Jerry and what each them has added to the mix. But I have to say John Kadlecik really channels Jerry Garcia’s technique marvelously. John had my jaw dropping several times during the concert. He’s a great addition to Furthur.
The highlight of their three and a half hour set for me was King Solomon’s Marbles from Blues for Allah. I first heard this song live in 2009 when I saw the Dead at the Hartford Civic Center. It is a trippy, psychedelic excursion that pushes me into fervent dance and pleases my soul like nobody’s business 😉
The Wheel >
The Other One >
Memphis Blues >
Pride of Cucamonga
Foolish Heart >
Women are Smarter
King Solomon’s Marbles
Standing on the Moon >
The Other One >
The Eleven >
3. Experience Hendrix Tour, March 25, 2010, Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, NJ
We took an excursion to the wilds of New Jersey, Red Bank in particular to see the 2010 Tribute Tour Experience Hendrix. It turned out to be an incredible, intimate evening, very dedicated to the music and memory of Jimi Hendrix.
This concert was fresh on the heels of the Jimi Hendrix remastered release Valleys of the Neptune.
When we arrived the video for the new CD was playing on the screen. As soon as we sat down the house began to rock with Billy Cox, the only standing Gypsy remaining came out and played for us. He did a great rendition of Red House.
The stage gave us lots of great guitarists that night playing strong versions of Jimi Hendrix’s catalogue. Lots of highlights, some great personal interpretations. Living Colour jammed to Voodoo Child. Glad I finally got to see this powerhouse group.
Ernie Isley told us about growing up with Jimi Hendrix at his house, when Jimi played with his brothers. Made the evening very personal since Ernie was raised in New Jersey.
Joe Satriani was on fire that night. Kenny Wayne Sheperd did a memorable set of Hendrix songs that invoked Jimi admirably.
The show was over three hours long and the collection of musicians paid Jimi Hendrix much homage.
Really enjoyed meeting Billy Cox after the show. He signed his CD and a picture of him and Jimi Hendrix for me. Very genuine person to speak to and really thrilled to meet him
We stayed overnight in Asbury Park and saw the famous Stone Poney nightclub which was a kick.
Wilco is one of those bands I have been reading and hearing raves about for the past few years. So when I saw they booked a concert at The Bushnell in Hartford I vowed to catch them. Wilco put on a non-stop concert for over three hours that left us wanting more and thankful we’d experienced them.
Jeff Tweedy is as magnetic a personality as everyone says he is. He is electrifying, giving much depth and poignancy with his musicianship. He was great to watch as he pushed us along with an enthusiasm I have rarely felt from an act who music I did not own or knew very little about.
Nels Cline was truly impressive as a guitarist of renown. His playing was stylish, riveting and commanding all at the same time.
We look forward to seeing them again, as they are a captivating, energetic alternative Midwest rock band.
The band that accompanied them was top notch. As a matter of fact its all the original musicians from the Sweet Baby James and Tapestry sessions, Russ Kunkel on drums, Leland Sklar on bass and Danny Kootchmar on guitar.
They played in the theater in the round and held us in the palm of their hands all night.
Please refer to my previous link in the title above for the set list of that special evening.
I urge you to get the Carole King and James Taylor Live At The Troubadour CD/DVD, you’ll be enchanted with the nostalgic reunion of two close and dear friends.
6. Herbie Hancock, 7 Decades Birthday Celebration, June 24, 2010, Carnegie Hall, New York City
We chose to be a part of Herbie Hancock’s 70th birthday celebration at the prestigious Carnegie Hall. It was our first time at this historic venue and we lucked out getting opera box seats on the first level to the right of the stage. This afforded us a fantastic view. Just below us sat Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi who proved to be equally excited to be in attendance. They would later join Herbie Hancock with a rousing rendition of Space Captain, which was the song I privately wanted to see performed.
This concert was one of the major highlights of the CareFusion Jazz Festival New York.
Herbie Hancock was in great spirits that evening. He was so spry, looked great and was smiling ear to ear. He was introduced by Bill Cosby, Master of Ceremonies. The first set featured a collection of jazz friends, most notably Wayne Shorter (another concert must see!), Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Ron Carter and Lionel Loueke on guitar to name just a few…They played some exquisite Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis pieces. The set ended with “Maiden Voyage” and “Canteloupe Island”.
These cats could swing, led by Herbie. The mutual affinity they had for each other’s playing and their commitment to jazz really came across. It was the school of Miles Davis unfolding under Herbie’s tutelage.
The second half of the evening featured The Imagine Project as its centerpiece. India.Arie sang so majestically the title track Imagine. She filled Carnegie Hall with her melodious voice, she has a wonderful, commanding yet humble presence.
We were especially taken with Greg Phillinganes on vocals and keyboards, he bowled us over on Sam Cooke’s, “A Change is Going to Come”.
I really like the nucleus of Herbie Hancock with Greg on keyboards, Lionel Loueke on guitar, Tal Wilkenfeld on bass and
I have held a long time admiration and respect for singer/songwriter Jimmy Webb. When I noticed that Infinity Music Hall had booked him to perform at their venue, I placed an order for our favorite balcony seats. We were not disappointed and as Rosemary pointed out Jimmy Webb was a pleasant surprise, charming, personable as he told many stories about his close friends, Richard Harris, Frank Sinatra, Harry Nilsson and Linda Rondstadt.
I wrote a blog post about that evening, which serves as the review with pictures of the meet and greet with Jimmy Webb after the show. Click here to read and see this special evening of music and merriment. http://goo.gl/BaOY
8. Squeeze, ((( artists den ))), July 15, 2010, Bryant Park (Southwest Porch), New York City, NY
I read an article in the Sunday NY Times Music section about the achievements that ((( artists den ))) was accomplishing with its unique format of surprise, secret location concerts that were being videotaped and recorded for PBS. I thought to myself gee, wouldn’t it be great to win free tickets to one of these shows. then I thought about the NY Metro area demographics and felt oh well, nice try Ed
Little did I realize how quickly my luck would change. The very next week I received an email that I had won two tickets to attend Squeeze’s concert in Bryant Park in New York City.
I replied back excitedly we’d love to attend and before you knew it July 15th was at hand and we took the train into NYC to catch Squeeze.
It had been close to 20 years since we last saw Squeeze live at Fairfield University. The cool summer night, standing 20 feet from Chris Difford was too good to be true. It was exciting as the camera boom swung over our head and we were part of a 300+ person audience rocking to Squeeze.
Squeeze was on, starting the show with Black Coffee In Bed was a stroke of genius. We had forgotten how much we love this band until all the songs and memories unfurled before us.
We look forward to the ((( artists den ))) broadcast of this concert in 2011. Until then take in the breadth of this monumental evening here, lovingly done by photographer . http://www.theartistsden.com/photography/squeeze/
((( artists den ))) also has an 8+ minute video world premiere here to whet your appetite until the broadcast is shown, check it out: http://vimeo.com/14801753
You can see my iPhone pictures on Flickr here. http://goo.gl/ivBw
Its Cool for Cats
Set list (more or less complete):
Black Coffee In Bed
Take Me I’m Your’s
Annie Get Your Gun
When The Hangover Strikes
Loving You Tonight
If I Didn’t Love You
Cool For Cats
Is That Love?
Spot the Difference
Slap and Tickle
Someone Else’s Heart
If It’s Love
Up The Junction
Last Time Forever
Another Nail In My Heart
Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)
This picture says it all. Pat Metheny in his muse conducting and activating Orchestrion. A show you had to see to believe. Can’t wait until the DVD captures it all for us. So much to study and gawk at during this show. If you love music, technology and mechanical wonders this is your gig, trust me.
This was the last tour stop of Pat Metheny’s Orchestrion World Tour. He was so congenial and patient with his narrative explanation. What a fun house.
Can’t wait to see what Pat Metheny does next. He is constantly reinventing himself, which benefits his fans on so many levels. Glad we had third row seats to this performance, so we could see Pat’s facial expressions and view Orchestrion on such a detailed basis. It was our fifth time seeing Pat Metheny live and he really outdid himself this time.
Thom Wolke put together a fantastic tribute to celebrate the 70th Birthday of John Lennon in New York City. The concert was held at the New York Society for Ethical Culture several blocks down from the Dakota and Strawberry Fields on Central Park West.
It was very thrilling to watch as the weeks that led up to the concert kept indicating more and more special guests for the show. It was a star studded evening.
Thom is a very consummate music promoter and I have been fortunate to work in the past with Thom on an evening with Ian Anderson, during his Rubbing Elbows Tour at The Tarrytown Theater. I was one of the guests Ian rubbed elbows with that night, I got to sit in the front row with Rosemary, then sat on the stage, asked my question of Ian. Then I got a kazoo from Ian playing the last notes of the night on Jethro Tull’s “Locomotive Breath” with Ian and the band. Being a long time Jethro Tull fan (since 1968 This Was LP) this was a huge treat.
Thom handled the world tour of The Quarrymen and they served as a foundation for the concert honoring John Lennon’s 70th birthday. We purchased the deluxe ticket package which entitled us to attend the after concert party at Gibson Studios at 421 West 54th Street. We got to mingle with many of the performers who graciously signed the concert poster for our private memorabilia collection.
It was very special to honor John Lennon that evening. We were treated to a cavalcade of musical artists who shared their love and affection for John Lennon by playing his songs and sharing their personal memories with us. It was 4+ hours of music, an excellent value for the money
Our host for the evening was humorist and Beatles scholar Martin Lewis (co-creator/producer with John Cleese of Amnesty’s “Secret Policeman’s Ball” series of benefit shows in the 1970s and 1980s) , from Amnesty International. A self-admitted John-aholic he was more than up to the task of introducing the artists and entertaining us between acts.
The evening took on a wonderful life of its own as we sat in this universal church in pews in the house of Lennon so to speak. I know I won’t do all the artists justice as the two part show had many unique moments. My highlights included Garland Jeffrey’s singing Help so poetically, Mark Hudson’s raucous way of having fun, Pete Seeger leading the children’s choir, finally seeing Tom Paxton live, etc.
Pictures are courtesy of Thom Wolke, the entire photo album for the event can be found here on Facebook, enjoy.