Lawrence Gowan, keyboardist and lead singer of Styx, was able to sneak away from the band recently to perform a benefit concert for McDermott House of Canada, a charity dedicated to serving those who serve by providing Hospice care for Canadian veterans. Gowan is currently offering a limited time only digital release of the concert in exchange for a donation to McDermott House of Canada. Gowan: In Kilt Tonight showcases the singer’s solo works including “A Criminal Mind,” “You’re a Strange Animal” and “Moonlight Desires.” The download also includes a video, photos of the concert and a few other special treats. Visit the McDermott House of Canada website for more info.
Tags: In Kilt Tonight, Lawrence Gowan, McDermott House of Canada, Styx
Tags: Bruce Springsteen, High Hopes
High Hopes, Bruce Springsteen’s 18th studio album, will be released on January 14th but the title track is already out and…it’s a rocker! Fans may remember “High Hopes” from Springsteen’s 1995 Blood Brothers CD EP. The song has been re-recorded with guitar wizard Tom Morello casting his wicked spells alongside the mighty brass section of the E Street Band. Take a listen and tell us what you think!
Tags: Colin Boyd, Concert Review, Dallas, Poor David's Pub, Steve Forbert
Americana Icon Delivers Comfort Tunes on a Chilly Dallas Night
“Trying to get together, it’s an uphill climb. | Inclement weather makes it hard sometimes. | Write me a rain check, baby. I’ll be back around. | Write me a rain check, I’ll be back in town.”
Whether by chance or choice, Steve Forbert’s decision to sing “Write Me a Rain Check” Friday night at Poor David’s Pub in Dallas was definitely apropos. As drizzle dripped from the sky and temperatures danced towards freezing, some folks may have flirted with the idea of staying home and writing Forbert a rain check for next time. But instead, the Forbert faithful braved the elements and were rewarded with yet another incomparable performance by the Americana icon.
With his trusty acoustic guitar strapped over his shoulder and a table full of harmonicas at his side, Forbert kicked things off with a quick tribute to John F. Kennedy (Friday was the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination in Dallas) singing a verse from “Abraham, Martin and John” (“Has anybody here seen my old friend John. | Can you tell me where’s he gone? | He freed a lot of people, but it seems the good die young.”) before launching into “Thinkin’.”
Forbert then took the audience on what he called, “A journey of time.” A trio of songs tied together by seasonal themes. It began with a foot stomping, hand clapping version of “Labor Day ’08″ followed by “Autumn This Year” and ending with the powerful and emotional winter tune, “Tonight I Feel So Far Away From Home,” a song from Forbert’s 1978 debut album that has made a well-deserved return to the set list — you can hear the new version on Forbert’s new digital release, Live in Lexington.
The warm and cozy atmosphere of Poor David’s Pub seemed to suit Forbert to a T. At first, Forbert laughed at how quiet the room was, but he couldn’t blame the crowd—on Poor David’s website it specifically states, “We realize there is a time to hoot and holler and a time to be listening. We ask you to use your own good judgement.” It didn’t take long though for the audience to realize that it was perfectly okay to get up and dance (as one couple did during “It’s Been a Long Time”), sing, and clap along…well, the clapping part didn’t go too well (off beat) and had to be replaced later on with snapping. Between songs Forbert would engage in conversations with the audience, even striking up a friendly discussion with a couple that had arrived midway through the show.
With the invitation to cut loose, you could really sense the energy in the room shoot up especially during “The Oil Song” and an amazing rendition of Jimmy Rodger’s “My Blue Eyed Jane.” As Forbert swapped out harmonicas and sorted through his extensive catalog of songs, it was impressive to see how easily he turned the audience’s attentiveness to engagement and then all-out enthusiasm. Not even a second after putting down his guitar following the set closing “Romeo’s Tune,” Forbert was greeted by loud cheers and demands for an encore which resulted in “My Seaside Brown-eyed Girl” and “You Cannot Win (If You Do Not Play).”
So even though the weather outside was frightful Friday night, the music inside was indeed delightful. A sampling of Americana music at it’s best— by a musician who always seems to be at his best.
A special tip of the hat goes out to Dallas musician Colin Boyd who put on an impressive opening set with his catchy Texacana blend of folk-pop tunes including “Flutter” from his new album called Shine.
Classic Rock Blog Rewind:
Read the Classic Rock Blog’s review of Steve Forbert’s 2012 Dallas Performance.
Read the Classic Rock Blog’s review of Steve Forbert’s Live CD “Get Your Motor Running.”
Tags: Boom Gaspar, Concert Review, Dallas, Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Pearl Jam
Worth the Wait, Pearl Jam Treats Dallas to Electrifying Performance 10 Years in the Making
Not counting last year’s solo performance by Eddie Vedder at Music Hall at Fair Park (read the Classic Rock Blog review of the show), it had been 10 long years since Pearl Jam played a show in Dallas. Friday night the band made up for lost time and then some, putting on an electrifying show at the American Airlines Center that fans will surely remember 10 years from now (and longer).
At one point in the show, Vedder peered out into the audience and declared, “It doesn’t look like you’ve aged a bit.” The same can be said for Pearl Jam’s music. Unlike most band’s from the ’80s and ’90s who play only one or two tracks off their latest album in concert, Pearl Jam worked in six new songs from their Lightning Bolt album including the show opener “Pendulum,” the power ballad “Sirens” and a beautiful acoustic version of “Future Days,” dedicated to Vedder’s nephew and sister who were in the audience. The new material blended in nicely with Pearl Jam’s classic tracks and it seemed like the crowd sang just as loud and raised their pumped fists into the air with as much gusto as when the band played older songs such as “Nothingman” and “Jeremy.”
As the band pounded through their main set, one couldn’t help but be amazed by the energy and scorching guitar work of Mike McCready. When he wasn’t nailing a solo, McCready would frantically pace circles around his side of the stage like a Border Collie about to unleash his blinding speed to catch a frisbee. It was McCready’s fierce fingerwork that caught the attention of many and provided for some exhilarating moments especially during a rousing version of “Better Man” to finish off the main set.
For the start of the first encore, the band decided to pull up some seats and ease into a couple of slower paced songs (“Yellow Moon” and “Future Days”) from Lightning Bolt. Then came a treat for any long time fan…the performance of “Chloe/Crown of Thorns”…a song originally performed by Mother Love Bone (a band that was essentially Pearl Jam before Eddie Vedder joined the group following lead singer Andy Wood’s death). The band then followed up with “Why Go” and a raucous version of “Porch” that had band members swinging giant green globe lights into the audience and then dodging the lights as they came back towards the stage (not sure for certain, but it looked like piano player Boom Gaspar didn’t duck in time to avoid one of the returning lights, no harm done though). After treating fans to a sip of his wine, Vedder climbed onto one of the dangling lights and swung out into the audience.
In their second encore, Pearl Jam played their now almost customary version of “Rockin’ in the Free World” but then threw fans a twist (and sweet surprise) by closing the show with “Indifference” instead of “Yellow Ledbetter.”
It’s not surprising that Pearl Jam’s latest album is called Lightning Bolt. That’s what the band continues to be…an energizing force on the music scene.. combining deep songwriting, amazing musicianship and electrifying performances that keep fans coming back for more. Even if it does take Pearl Jam another 10 years to return to Dallas, at least we know they have the staying power to still be around.
Your turn! What did you think of the show? Share your thoughts with the Classic Rock Blog!
Tags: Michael McDermott, The Westies
Free tunes! Who doesn’t like the sound of that?
A couple of weeks ago I could barely contain myself when raving about the debut EP from Michael McDermott’s new band, The Westies (read the review). “Nothing short of a gem,” I said. But don’t just take my word for it…see what all the fuss is about…for free!
NoiseTrade is currently offering 5 tracks from The Westies at no cost to you! Just go to http://noisetrade.com/thewesties/for-you to download the songs and tell me what you think.
Tags: Lita Ford, The Bitch is Back...Live
It was just last year that Lita Ford (The Runaways) released her comeback album Living Like a Runaway. Now she’s back…or as her new disc says, The Bitch is Back, with a rockin’ live album that proves the Queen of Hard Rock and Metal is here to stay.
Kickin’ the disc off is Ford’s bitchin’ cover of Elton John’s classic tune “The Bitch is Back” followed by explosive, head-banging performances of several tracks from Living Like a Runaway including the title track and “Hate.” The album also includes live performances of Ford’s classic hits “Close My Eyes Forever” and “Kiss Me Deadly.” So don’t say we didn’t warn you…The Bitch is Back…and she’s rockin’ harder than ever!
That’s what the Classic Rock Blog is listening to this week. How about you?
Tags: Jake Bugg, Rick Rubin, Shangri La, Slumville Sunrise, What Doesn't Kill You
Jake Bugg’s debut album had critics and fans likening him to a young Bob Dylan…but will his sophomore release, Shangri La, draw comparisons instead to the Sex Pistols?
U.S. fans were treated to a preview of some of the Shangri La tunes during Bugg’s recent tour (read the Classic Rock Blog’s review of Bugg’s sold-out Dallas concert) and can now download the songs “Slumville Sunrise” and “What Doesn’t Kill You” off iTunes ahead of the album’s November 19th release. Produced by Rick Rubin, the two songs are definitely heavier than the catchy folk melodies found on Bugg’s debut record. “Slumville Sunrise” has a rockabilly edge to it somewhat reminiscent of X and features an impressive guitar solo by Bugg. But the song that will probably garner more attention (at least initially) is “What Doesn’t Kill You,” a punk tune that will probably catch every Bugg fan off-guard. Don’t worry if you don’t take a liking to it and don’t get too excited if you do fall head over heels in love with the new sound, Bugg recently told Rolling Stone that the song is somewhat of a fake-out, far heavier than anything else on the album. “Music is about breaking rules,” Bugg told the magazine. Kids these days, they learn so fast!
Tags: Billy Bob's, Fred Bear, Ted Nugent, Ultralive Ballisticrock
He’s baaaack! Love him or hate him, Ted Nugent is back in the news…this time, deservedly so, for his music. Hitting stores and the internet today is Ultralive Ballisticrock, a brand new 2CD + DVD release that captures one of Nugent’s trademark electrifying extravaganzas.
Recorded at Penn’s Peak during 2011’s I Still Believe Tour, Ultralive Ballisticrock contains not only fan favorites such as “Stranglehold” and “Cat Scratch Fever” but also an incredible ten minute version of “Fred Bear,” a song that blew us away at Nugent’s recent concert at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth (read review).
That’s what the Classic Rock Blog is listening to this week, how about you?
Tags: American Airlines Center, Bon Jovi, Concert Review, Dallas
Lightning Strikes Twice for Bon Jovi at American Airlines Center
Six months ago Bon Jovi’s electrifying performance at the American Airlines Center in Dallas left fans with tired feet, lost voices and a burning desire to see the band again (read the Classic Rock Blog’s review of the show). Well, Bon Jovi was kind enough to oblige…treating North Texans to another barnstormer concert that definitely equaled if not surpassed the excitement level of April’s show.
Wednesday night Bon Jovi started right back from square one, opening once again with “That’s What the Water Made Me” off of the group’s latest album What About Now. The band then ripped into “You Give Love a Bad Name” and the energizing anthem “Raise Your Hands” before slowly easing the tempo down with “Lost Highway” and “Whole Lot of Leaving.”
Wearing what has become his trademark outfit for this tour, a U.S. flag denim jacket, Jon Bon Jovi confessed to fans that yes, he was in attendance at the Cowboys – Redskins game on Sunday night. After the Cowboys victory, Owner Jerry Jones told Bon Jovi that he was a good luck charm and would have to come back for the next game. Despite a thunderous cheer from fans, Bon Jovi quickly noted that if he did, his passport and driver’s license would be revoked in New Jersey. Just like picking winning teams, Jon Bon Jovi once again displayed a knack for picking winning song combinations, especially in the power ballad portion of the show.
Shaking the set list up from April, Bon Jovi traded in his denim jacket for a sparkly black one and ventured onto the outer ring of the stage to perform “Amen,” one of the true gems on What About Now. Bon Jovi then had David Bryan join him on accordion along with Tico Torres on tambourine/beat box and Bobby Bandiera on acoustic guitar for a nicely revamped version of “Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night” and the rarely played “Diamond Ring” from the 1995 album, These Days.
After wrapping up the ballad set with “(You Want To) Make a Memory,” Bon Jovi ramped up the energy with “Born to Be My Baby” and “We Weren’t Born to Follow.” Then, came the spectacular close to the set…a medley filled version of “Bad Medicine.” Bon Jovi and band stretched out the timeless hit with some additional classic tunes thrown in including “Start Me Up,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Taking Care of Business” and “Shout.” Watching Jon Bon Jovi playfully strut around the stage like Mick Jagger was much like watching a kid ham it up on stage during a school talent show—doing goofy moves to make the girls laugh and playing cool guitar licks to impress his friends. For a moment, we weren’t watching a rock star on stage, we were watching someone who was young at heart…someone whose music keeps fans young at heart as well…not with a nostalgic aura but with an energy and passion that literally revitalizes the heart and soul of the listener. How does Jon Bon Jovi do it? I’m sure a lot of bands from the ’80s would like to know, but this is something that is inherently unique to Jon Bon Jovi’s music and character. I guess it’s just what the water made him.
Were you at the show? What did you think? Share your thoughts with the Classic Rock Blog!
Visit the Classic Rock Blog Instagram site to see more photos and video clips from Bon Jovi’s concerts in Dallas!