|The historic Fox Theatre in Midtown Atlanta|
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Can a redo outdo an original?
Especially if the redo involves The Last Waltz, the legendary final concert of The Band in 1976.
Well, music fans in Atlanta got a chance to decide that last night when an all-star band featuring Warren Haynes on guitar and Michael McDonald on piano performed 24 songs that were originally played at the historic concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco.
Now I have been attending live rock concerts since 1965 (Herman's Hermits at Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey) and I have seen some great shows. I would place this concert, the last I will see in Atlanta before moving back to Washington DC next month, in the top 10 of shows I have witnessed.
So what made this event so special?
Well, of course there was the historic nature of the original production, which was captured in a film that many critics believe is the best rock documentary ever made.
But most of all it was the musicianship and vocal work. Haynes and McDonald were joined by Hammond organ virtuoso Jon Medeski, country guitarist and vocalist Jamey Johnson, bass player and producer Don Was, and New Orleans drummer Terrence Higgins. The 6-man nucleus was augmented on many numbers by a 4-piece New Orleans-style horn section. The group was joined on some numbers by Dave Malone, the guitarist for The Radiators. Bob Margolin, a member of blues great Muddy Waters' band, also sat in for few songs.
Obviously, the sold-out crowd of Band fans spent most of the night on their feet. In Atlanta, judging from the reaction, 2 of the most well-received songs were Alabama native Johnson's stirring rendition of "Georgia on My Mind" and the Band's southern story classic "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," with Haynes, McDonald, and Johnson sharing the singing.
But almost all the songs were gems.
For me, the highlights were:
- a mesmerizing extended version of Bo Diddley's classic "Who Do You Love?"
- a back-to-back wallop of "Down South in New Orleans" followed by "This Wheel's on Fire"
- Jon Medeski incredible organ intro to "Chest Fever"
- a 3-pack of Van Morrison's "Caravan," Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young's "Helpless," and Little Junior's Blue Flames version of "Mystery Train"
- The trio of 2nd set closers before the 2-song encore: "Forever Young" and "I Shall Be Released", both written by Bob Dylan, and the Band's best known song - "The Weight"
- Every time Haynes, who is currently my favorite guitarist to hear live, touched the strings on his guitar.
Originally, the Last Waltz 40 Concert was to be a one-and-done special performance at last year's Jazz Festival in New Orleans. But the concert was so well received - with some critics going so far to claim it was the best thing at the famous festival - that a short tour was scheduled.
Last night's show was the 3rd in the 11-show tour. The special outing concludes on Feb. 4 with a final show at the just opened MGM Theater at the new casino at National Harbor just outside DC.
Encore - The Set List
Monday, January 23, 2017
Now I was never a big fan of the Eagles when they emerged on the music scene in the 70s. At the time, their county-tinged harmonies were too light for me.
Finally in 2009 I saw the Eagles live for the first time and I was impressed. Their sound was as clean as any band I had ever heard, even though the concert was staged in a sports area in Philadelphia.
Last night, my new, more positive attitude to the songs of the Eagles and at least one of their members was solidified as I took my wife to see Don Henley in concert at the historic Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
Backed by 6 instrumentalists, 3 female singers, and, on some songs, a 5-piece horn sections, Henley, the former drummer and vocalist for the Eagles, presented a perfectly-paced show, 2-plus-hour show, mixing Eagles hits, solo offerings, and a few well-chosen covers.
Included in the 20-song set were my favorite Eagles' song "One of These Nights" and my favorite Henley solo hit "Dirty Laundry." Of course the Eagles songs "Witchy Woman," "Life in the Fast Lane," "Hotel California," "Wasted Time" and "Desperado" proved to be crowd-pleasing, singalong classics.
But I thought the real inspiration that made the show special came from its surprises which included:
- all 10 members of the band opening the night with a stirring A cappella cover of Steve Young's "Seven Bridge Road"
- a soulful, funky version of the rarely played "Shangri-La" featuring the 5-piece horn section
- The Tears for Fears 1990s hit "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"
If I had to single out the highlight of the show it would be the inclusion of the great "Rainy Night in Georgia" by Brook Benton cover, which Henley said the band had never performed before and learned at the soundcheck earlier in the afternoon.
So, as a long time classic rocker, I want to thank the Eagles, and especially Don Henley, for proving it's never too late to revisit the music you passed over when it was first released. You might just like it.
The Complete Show Set List
Saturday, January 21, 2017
For six decades, Bobby Troup's (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66 has been a musical guidebook, transcending styles and fashion, recognizing no boundaries.
You could just as easily hear it in a dusty honky-tonk or a swank cabaret, slashed out by a three-chord guitar band or swung by a three-piece combo.
It has zipped along without aa break through all the years, from genre to genre, constantly in motion, speaking to the national impulse to get behind the wheel and start moving.
It's our quintessential American tune, a mythic travelogue.
To keep reading, click here.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Everything about Paul Revere and the Raiders was contrived and corny, except for their music.
There's no rational excuse for why they shouldn't be routinely counted among the most accomplished consistent rock groups of the mid-60s.
But they aren't.
Why is that?
To keep reading this article, click here.
Monday, January 16, 2017
The rock and roll prowess comes honestly for Dana Fuchs.
She was raised in a rock appreciative family, surrounded by cooler older siblings who guided her toward influential greats like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.
Now she’s an influence herself, a notable rock vocalist with an unmistakable vocal talent.
We recently asked Dana about her background and how music helps her cope.
To keep reading this article, click here.
Here is a link to personal article after seeing Dana Fuchs on the Rock Legends IV cruise.
Sexy Devil, Serene Angel or Both?