Posts Tagged ‘country’

Jerry Lee Lewis 80th Birthday concert Clyde Auditorium Glasgow 10th September 2015

Jerry Lee Lewis 80th Birthday concert Clyde Auditorium Glasgow 10th September 2015jerryleeprog
Last night rock ‘n’ roll Legend Jerry Lee Lewis played his final UK concert, as part of his 80th birthday Farewell UK tour. The short tour included two dates, one earlier in the week at the London Palladium, and last night’s concert, which I attended, and which was at the Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow.
To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect from this concert. The last time I saw Jerry Lee Lewis was at Newcastle City Hall 11 years ago. That night he played a very short set, probably around 30 minutes, and although he was on good form, he looked tired. I wondered how the great man would be, now that he is 80 (well he is actually 79, and 80 in a couple of weeks time). I had to go and see the legend that is Jerry Lee one last time. He is one of the reasons rock exists, and the last man standing from the originals.
The Palladium show sold out and reviews were good, with Robert Plant and Ringo attending. The Glasgow show had tickets left, to the extent that I received an email informing me that my seat had been reallocated “for production reasons” and that I would be given an upgraded seat on the night. What I suspect that meant was that the gallery, where I had bought my cheap seat, was being closed and that we were all being moved downstairs to make sure that the stalls and the circle were full.
I set off early to drive up to Glasgow, leaving around 2.30pm to be sure to get there on time. The traffic was fine, and I was at the venue around 6pm, giving me time to park the car and get my bearings. I had a short wait before the doors opened. I then joined a queue of fans who were also having their seats reallocated. I was given a seat half way back in the stalls. Result!
The promoter had assembled a strong supporting bill for the two concerts. There were so many acts I wondered whether it would work, which it did; in fact it all ran incredibly smoothly. The concert started at 8pm prompt. Compère and radio presenter Ally Bally was our host for the evening and he did a great job introducing the acts, hitting just the right balance of patter. DJ Mike Read had been compere at the Palladium and Ally Bally told us that he had been speaking to Mike about how well that concert went. Ally reminded us that this was a historic evening, encouraging us to “party” and to give Jerry Lee a great Glasgow welcome.
The first act was young Swiss pianist Ladyva, who warmed the audience up with two excellent boogie woogie numbers. Next on stage was Peter Asher of Peter and Gordon fame an the excellent Albert Lee on guitar, backed by the Elio Pace band. Peter and Albert did two songs. First was “Bye Bye Love” taking us back to the duo who started rock harmonies, the Everly Brothers, and then the Peter and Gordon massive hit “World without Love”. Both classic songs, played and sung perfectly, setting the tone for the evening. jerryleetixPeter left and Albert and the band were joined by legendary guitarist James Burton. Burton’s pedigree is impeccable; the man has played alongside Ricky Nelson, Frank Sinatra and, of course, Elvis, and is responsible for so many signature twang riffs. Their short set was around 6 or 7 songs and included “That’s Alright Mama”, “Hello Mary Lou” and “Tear It Up”. Wonderful classic rock’n’roll / country guitar. James Burton led on a slow instrumental; truly mesmerising stuff. Then everyone left and Jerry Lee’s band The Memphis Beats came on stage, along with Jerry’s sister Lynda Gail Lewis and her daughter Annie Marie Lewis. Lynda Gail is a rock’n’roll star in her own right and plays some pretty mean piano. She performed “Lets Talk About Us”, “Shake Rattle n Roll”, “Rip It Up” and “Good Golly Miss Molly”. She finished her set at approx. 9.15pm.
The concert continued at fast pace; no time for any intermission. A video was shown containing interviews with stars paying homage to Jerry Lee, his legend and his immense contribution to rock and roll: Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Kris Kristofferson, John Fogerty, Ronnie Wood, Chuck Berry, Sam Philipps of Sun, Willie Nelson; all with their own Killer stories to tell.
The moment the video finished Jerry Lee walked on stage, slowly and with a little help from an aide. We took to our feet, and as one stood cheering, applauding and shouting, making sure the Killer knew just how delighted we were to see him, and how honoured we were to be in the presence of the great man. What followed was a highly emotional, and at times almost unbelievable and surreal, experience. Jerry Lee’s performance was much much better than I witnessed ten years ago in Newcastle. His voice was strong; he sang in a low key, slowly, carefully. His piano playing was as fast and dexterous as ever. A video screen focused close-up on his face. I could see that he was concentrating; focussing on the words, his singing and his performance. But I could also see that he was smiling; genuinely touched by the warmth of the reception he was receiving from the Scottish crowd. Fans were dancing in the aisles; jiving, twirling and singing along. Fans of all ages; kids in their twenties and couples in their seventies. Old guys in full drape teddy boy gear.
The set was a mix of slow country ballads and classic rockers, some of Jerry’s own hits and several Chuck Berry songs. Of the ballads, I found Hank Williams “You Win Again” and Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” particularly moving. Of the rockers, well they don’t come much better than “Great Balls of Fire”. After just short of an hour Jerry Lee closed with “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On”, which developed into a medley of “Mean Woman Blues” and “What’d I Say”. Then he suddenly rose to his feet, kicked back the piano stool with his heel; the Killer attitude is still there. The crowd cheered loudly, sensing that we were witnessing a special moment. Then he was gone, leaving the band to close the show. We stood applauding, each of us knowing that we had just witnessed a unique performance. It was 10.10pm.
I headed to the car park, then it was down the M74 to Carlisle and across to the north east. I was back home around 1.15am, thoughts of Jerry Lee still running through my head.
Setlist: Down the line; You win again; Drinking wine; She even woke me up; Sweet little 16; Memphis Tennessee; Over the rainbow; Before the night is over; Roll over Beethoven; Great balls Of Fire; Why You Been Gone so long; Whole Lotta Shakin/Mean woman blues/What’d I say (Medley)

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Neil Young & Eagles Newcastle City Hall 9th November 1973

Neil Young & Eagles Newcastle City Hall 9th November 1973
neilyoungtix73I went along to this concert on spec, hoping to score a ticket outside. The City Hall sometimes used to let fans pay to sit on the choir seats which surround the stage. These seats are on the stage itself, facing the back of the performers. On this occasion, there was quite a queue of ticketless people hoping to see Neil Young, so they decided to let us into the choir seats. Support came from the Eagles, who were simply on fire, and in many ways upstaged Neil Young. This was the original Eagles line-up of Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner, at the time of their second album “Desparado”, and their set featured songs from their first two lps. So that included classics like “Take it Easy”, “Tequila Sunrise”, “Witchy Woman” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling”. Stunning. I became an Eagles fan that night and remain one to this day.
Neil Young was touring with backing band the Santa Monica Flyers, who were Billy Talbot (bass), Ralph Molina (drums), Ben Keith (pedal steel) and Nils Lofgren (guitar, piano). Now Neil is a pretty uncompromising performer and for this tour he decided he would play his forthcoming album “Tonight’s the Night” in its entirety.  A brave and crazy move, but then Neil Young plays what Neil wants to play; even today. imageThe stage was set out as a beach, complete with sand and a palm tree, and Neil was drinking from a bottle of Tequila throughout the show. We were all expecting tracks from “After the Goldrush” and “Harvest” but instead we were treated to a set of unfamiliar tunes, much to the annoyance of most of the audience. After he had finished playing the new songs, Young did play “Cinnamon Girl” with a crazy, meandering guitar solo, which got a great reception from the crowd; who were pleased to hear something familiar. Published setlists suggest that he also may have played “Southern Man”, although I don’t remember him doing so, and I think I would have remembered if he did, as it was one of my favourite songs at the time. A great gig, with Neil Young on great form, even if the set wasn’t what we had expected or hoped for.
Setlist: Tonight’s the Night; Mellow My Mind; World on a String; Speakin’ Out; Albuquerque; New Mama; Roll Another Number (For the Road); Tired Eyes; Tonight’s the Night; Flying on the Ground Is Wrong; Human Highway; Helpless; Cinnamon Girl; Southern Man??; The Losing End; Don’t Be Denied

The Waterboys Newcastle Tiffany’s 30th April 1986

The Waterboys Newcastle Tiffany’s 30th April 1986
waterboystixMike Scott and his Waterboys were on a rock’n’roll journey from “The Big Music” to the raggle taggle gypsy Celtic folk band that they became in the late 80s. This was Mike and the band at the top of their game, not long after the success of “Whole of the Moon”, yet choosing not to play that song and instead sweeping a ram-packed Tiffany’s along with joyous big swirling sounds, and a few carefully chosen covers. “The Big Music” filled the ballroom; I was standing on the balcony looking down onto the stage and the packed sweaty dance floor below, and it felt like any minute the roof would come off. Mike was one minute the rock star, the next a folk troubadour, and then he became a seer taking us all on a spiritual journey through the kaleidoscope of his music. He was Dylan when he sang “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” for us, and then Tex Ritter leading a country band into “The Wayward Wind”. And then we were transported to the Streets of Dublin, dancing to a Celtic fiddle band. This was one of those gigs where we all walked out into the cold night knowing we had experienced something pretty special.
Setlist: Medicine Bow; Be My Enemy; Medicine Jack; Fisherman’s Blues; The Thrill Is Gone / And The Healing Has Begun; Meet Me At The Station; A Girl Called Johnny; The Pan Within; I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight; We Will Not Be Lovers; Spirit / The 4 Ages Of Man; Savage Earth Heart; This Is The Sea
Encore: The Wayward Wind; A Pagan Place; Can’t Help Falling In Love; Red Army Blues
Encore 2: Death Is Not the End

Simon and Garfunkel Manchester Arena 14th July 2004

Simon and Garfunkel Manchester Arena 14th July 2004
sandgtix2004I really didn’t expect to get the chance to see Simon and Garfunkel together again. But, 20 years after touring the world, including a show at Wembley Stadium, the duo reformed again, and were back out on the road on their “Old Friends” tour. Support this time came from their childhood heroes and influences the Everly Brothers. The show was in three parts. Simon and Garfunkel started with “Old Friends / Bookends” and then were straight into one of my favourites, “Hazy Shade of Winter”. The first half featured other classics including “America” and “Kathy’s Song”. For the last song of the first set the pair took us right back to their first hit, “Hey Schoolgirl”, from the days when they were known as Tom and Jerry. That song gave them a chance to pay tribute to the guys whose songs and harmonies influenced them, as they welcomed Don and Phil Everly to take the stage. The Everlys then played a short set of four songs: “Wake Up Little Susie”; “All I Have to Do Is Dream”; “Let It Be Me” and “Bye Bye Love”. sandgprog2004Simon and Grafunkel returned for a second set including all the other great tunes: “Scarborough Fair”; “Homeward Bound”; my all-time favourite “The Sound of Silence”; “Mrs. Robinson” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Paul Simon also sang a number of his solo hits. The screens behind them showed videos of them as kids, and during the ’60s, bringing back lots of memories for all of us. The audience called them back for a few encores, including the haunting “Leaves That Are Green”. Wonderful stuff. Now whats the chances of them coming back again in another 10 years? Well you never know, do you.
Set 1: Old Friends/Bookends; A Hazy Shade of Winter; I Am a Rock; America; At the Zoo; Baby Driver; Kathy’s Song; Hey, Schoolgirl.
The Everly Brothers set: Wake Up Little Susie; All I Have to Do Is Dream; Let It Be Me; Bye Bye Love
Set 2: Scarborough Fair/Canticle; Homeward Bound; The Sound of Silence; Mrs. Robinson; Slip Slidin’ Away; El Condor Pasa (If I Could); Keep the Customer Satisfied; The Only Living Boy in New York; American Tune; My Little Town; Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Encore: Cecilia; The Boxer
Encore 2: Leaves That Are Green; The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)

Bruce Springsteen Dublin The Point The Seeger Sessions tour 19th Nov 2006

Bruce Springsteen Dublin The Point The Seeger Sessions tour 19th Nov 2006
brucepointtixIn 2006 I was travelling to Dublin on a regular basis and often tried to arrange my trips around concerts. This didn’t usually work out, but this was one of the few occasions when it did. At the time, I’d lost touch with Bruce Springsteen, but my interest in his music was reignited when I heard the Seeger sessions CD. I read the very positive reviews of the album, and I liked the concept: Bruce returning to the roots music which inspired him, and those who influenced him. I missed the tour when it first visited the UK, and kicked myself when I read the rave reviews of the concerts. When Bruce added further dates including a three night stint at the Point, Dublin, I decided to try and get tickets and arrange my next trip to the city around the concert. My plan worked, and I flew over to Dublin on the Sunday morning, attended the concert on the Sunday evening, and went to meetings on Monday, returning home Monday evening.
The Point was a concert venue on the site of an old train depot along the dockland, off O’Connell Street. It operated during the period 1988 to 2007, and played host to the world’s top acts. In 2007 it was redeveloped as an O2 arena with a capacity of 14,000 (the old Point held 8,000). Several bands recorded live albums at the Point, including two which I attended: this series of concerts by Springsteen, and a two night stay by David Bowie.
This was a truly amazing and joyous concert. How could it be anything else? Springsteen singing those simple class gems of Americana with his Seeger sessions band in a lovely, relatively small, venue in Dublin; a city whose people are renowned for song and singing and for taking acts to their hearts. I just knew that this was going to be a special evening. From the minute I entered the Point, I could feel the atmosphere, and the cameras and mikes all over the auditorium made doubly sure that the Dublin crowd was going to give Bruce a reception like no other. From the minute that Springsteen came on stage, held his acoustic guitar high while strumming away at it, standing in line with his massed group of players, the whole hall was singing along as one, and the power and atmosphere continued at full pelt for a couple of hours. There were smiles on all of the band members’ faces, you could see that they were all enjoying the experience and the reaction from the Dublin crowd.Bruceseegersessionsprog There was a sense of a mass party, a celebration, and a religious, gospel gathering, all rolled into one. It was unlike any other performance I have been to, and easily matched the previous Springsteen shows I had been to. At the end of the show, the band brought all of their families, kids and the crew on to the stage, and the whole crowd gave the performer, all their people, and themselves, an ovation that seemed to go on for ever. As we all wandered out into the cold Dublin air, and made our way back along the road to O’Connell Street, we knew we had all been part of something special. I have the DVD, which was drawn from selections across the three nights at the Point, and it captures the excitement and joyous mood of the evening. I was a Springsteen fan again, and have seen him four time since, at concerts in Hampden Park Glasgow, The O2 London, Stadium of Light Sunderland and Leeds Arena.
Setlist: Atlantic City; John Henry; Old Dan Tucker; The Ghost of Tom Joad; Mary Don’t You Weep; Jesse James; Further On (Up the Road); Erie Canal; For You; My Oklahoma Home; If I Should Fall Behind; Mrs. McGrath; How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?; Jacob’s Ladder; Long Time Comin’; Jesus Was an Only Son; Open All Night; Pay Me My Money Down; We Shall Overcome; Blinded by the Light; When the Saints Go Marching In; This Little Light of Mine; American Land
Band (this was a bog band!): Bruce Springsteen (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Sam Bardfeld (violin, vocals); Art Baron (sousaphone, trombone, mandolin, penny whistle, euphonium); Frank Bruno (acoustic guitar, vocals, field drum); Jeremy Chatzky (bass guitar, double bass; Larry Eagle (drums, percussion); Clark Gayton (trombone, vocals, percussion); Charles Giordano (accordion, piano, Hammond organ, vocals); Curtis King Jr. (vocals, percussion); Greg Leisz (banjo, vocals); Lisa Lowell (vocals, percussion); Ed Manion (tenor and baritone saxophones, vocals, percussion); Cindy Mizelle (vocals, percussion); Curt Ramm (trumpet, vocals, percussion); Marty Rifkin (steel guitar, dobro, mandolin); Patti Scialfa (acoustic guitar, vocals); Marc Anthony Thompson (acoustic guitar, vocals); Soozie Tyrell (violin, vocals).

Dolly Parton Newcastle Arena 21st March 2007

Dolly Parton Newcastle Arena 21st March 2007
DollyprogI’m writing about another guilty pleasure today.
Laura mentioned that she quite fancied seeing Dolly Parton in concert (she particularly liked the song “Jolene”) and I had always secretly wanted to see her too. So when we saw that she was coming over to the UK for a tour and visiting Newcastle Arena we decided to go along. The show was, as you would expect, a big lavish affair with our heroine centre stage singing all of those great country and pop songs. Great fun.
Dolly is touring the UK again this year, and strongly rumoured to be playing the Sunday afternoon legends slot at Glastonbury, which we are looking forward to.
dollytixSetlist from 2007 tour: Act One. Baby, I’m Burnin’; Two Doors Down; Jolene; The Grass Is Blue; Shine; Thank God I’m a Country Girl; God’s Coloring Book; Little Sparrow; My Tennessee Mountain Home; These Old Bones; Coat Of Many Colours; Smoky Mountain Memories; Train, Train; Imagine. Interval. Act two. Marry Me; Those Were The Days; Me and Bobby McGee; I Dreamed About Elvis; Islands In the Stream; Here You Come Again; 9 to 5; I Will Always Love You; He’s Alive.
Another guilty secret is that “Coat of Many Colours” is one of my favourite songs 🙂

Crosby, Stills & Nash Gateshead Sage October 15th 2013

Crosby, Stills & Nash Gateshead Sage October 15th 2013
csntix The past 10 years has seen several visits to the UK by Crosby and Nash, and CS&N, after many years of not visiting this country. This is the fourth time that I’ve seen C&N or CS&N in the last ten years, as well as solo shows by Stephen Stills and Neil Young. This year’s tour features Crosby, Stills and Nash who played to a packed Sage concert hall in Gateshead last night. Laura decided to join me this time. She’s not a fan, but is familiar with some of their songs, largely as a result of hearing me play them. The show was almost three hours, with an interval and featured all of the classic CS&N tracks, with some solo material and some new songs. The harmonies were, as always, still beautiful.
csnprog From the programme: “Welcome to our world of music. All our lives we’ve been focussed on touching your hearts and hopefully having you think abut the crazy world we still live in….whether it’s a love song or a subject of vital importance, it’s essential for us to communicate with you and make you a part of our lives. Hopefully our music will help you feel less lonely, less crazy and perhaps, inspire you to do something positive about your life and the lives of others. Time, family and friends are our only true currency and we have to recognise that all of us together, can make a difference and help make the world a better place for ourselves and our children. Rock on!” Still old hippies at heart, and still out there playing for us, and doing a pretty damn good job of it too.
The set list included (from memory; I have definitely missed some): Carry On/Questions; Marrakesh Express; Long Time Gone; Southern Cross; Lay Me Down; Bluebird; Love the One You’re With. Interval. Helplessly Hoping; Golden Days; Treetop Flyer; What Are Their Names; Guinnevere; Just a Song Before I Go; Burning for the Buddha; Our House; Teach Your Children; Almost Cut My Hair; Wooden Ships. Encore: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.