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Music Notes

                                       Steve Winwood
                                                 with
                                         Bobby Long

                               The Borgata, Music Box
                                         
                                          May 25, 2012

A few years ago I had caught a Steve Winwood concert at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. He appeared there with Eric Clapton. It was a super show. In interviews with Clapton during the tour, he let it be known he liked touring with Steve Winwood because he felt it took pressure off him to be the “front man”. Being a front man comes naturally to Steve Winwood. This show was a surprise because it included an unannounced opening act, Bobby Long.

                                                                Bobby Long

At 9 PM sharp, the lights went down and the stage lights went up. Bobby Long took the stage. He walked out on stage, picked up a large body Gibson Acoustic Guitar that had been pre-positioned there. He introduced himself and started to play his first number. His entire act is solo.

The first song he played was “Help You Mend”. The sound he got out of the guitar was incredible, mostly achieved by innovative right handed strumming. As he concluded the song he joked about his losses at the slots in the casino, which got the audience laughing.

He immediately proceeded to perform his next song, “Where You Lay”. He kind of reminded me of a young Bob Dylan, blessed with musical talent and a strong voice, but he has a style and a sound that is uniquely his own. Between his songs he told jokes about casino gambling in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, joking about he went to Vegas, and after a night of drinking and gambling he wound up with a tattoo of the number “7” the he just didn’t remember. 

His next number was “These Boats” which upon completion he let it be known that he would be available to sell and sign Vinyl and CD’s to help feed his gambling habit. The crowd ate up both his music and his comedy. His next selection was a song entitled “Dead and Gone” which he donned a harmonica in addition to his guitar, wearing it in around his neck. He finally announced he would do his last number which was “Penance Fire Blues”.

How good was his guitar playing? Eric Clapton once
observed in an interview that when he first heard recordings of Robert Johnson playing the guitar he thought it sounded like two people playing at the same time. If you closed your eyes and listened, Bobby Long achieved the same effect. His strumming style enabled him to carry the bass line and melody flawlessly bar for bar. And he punctuated his act with his strong voice.

He finished to a standing ovation, bowed and left the stage. His music was excellent and he was funny as a comedian. This guy is a mega talent and I believe he is going places. After the show I sort of approached him and asked if I could interview him. He was very agreeable, posed for a picture and wrote down his set list. I bought a CD and a vinyl record album and he signed both. The information he provided afforded me the opportunity to write this review. I would go see him again.

To recap, his set list was:
Help You Mend
Where You Lay
These Boats
Dead and Done
Penance Fire Blues

                                                                Steve Winwood


How much of a master showman is Steve Winwood? While the stage crew set up between acts, one of the stage hands produced a tape measure and measure the distance of the microphone’s height. I had never seen this done before until this show. They fussed with it until they got the exact measurement.

About fifteen minutes after Bobby Long left the stage, Steve Winwood and his band took to it. They walked out in the dark and took their positions on the stage. The first thing I noticed was there was no bass guitar player. It started out with SW on the organ, a guitar player, a percussionist, a wood wind player and a drummer. This band was full of surprises.

Steve Winwood started off with a song from his days with the Spencer Davis Group, “I’m A Man”, a true rock classic. The first surprise (and it would carry throughout the performance) was that each song featured solo performances by each of the musicians.


The trend continued with the next selection, a song from the album “Nine Lives” entitled “Fly”, once again showcasing the talents of each of the musicians performing the song. At this point I noticed, with two exceptions, all of the bass for the performance was being provided by Mr. Winwood using the pedals on the organ.

His next song was also from the Nine Lives Album, entitled “At Times We Forget”. Once again the performance showcased the talents of each of the musicians performing.

The next song was one of his big hits from his time in Blind Faith, “Can’t Find My Way Back Home”. For this song Steve got up from the organ, where he had been from the show’s beginning and a stage hand brought out a Fender hollow bodied Telecaster guitar. The next surprise was woodwind player, Paul Booth, moving from his place on stage to the organ to provide both the organ and bass lines while Steve Winwood performed the guitar music and sang center stage. But that would not be the only surprise that Mr. Booth would perform for the audience.

The next song was another one featured on the Winwood album Nine Lives entitled “Dirty City”. Once again each of the performers got to showcase their talent with solo performances.

Upon the conclusion of this number they immediately moved into performing the Traffic song, “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.” Once again, each performer show cased their talent in a solo performance. At this point I started to notice the guitar player. He used several unique custom made guitars the likes of which I had never seen before. And he had a unique way of playing them, strumming with the backs of his fingers and some picking with his
thumb and forefinger.

The next selection was “Light Up or leave Me Alone” another selection from his days in Traffic. And as in each preceding song, each band member performed a solo.

The next song was “Higher Love” from the “Back in the High Life” album. The performance of this huge Winwood hit got many in the crowd up and dancing. The performance was rousing. Upon its conclusion, Steve Winwood and the band left the stage to a thunderous ovation. In less than two minutes Mr. Winwood and company returned to the stage for an encore.

The first selection performed for the encore was another mega Traffic hit, “Dear Mr. Fantasy”. Once again Steve shouldered a Fender Stratocaster and Paul Booth moved to the organ. As with all of the other songs each band member performed a solo, with Winwood performing a lengthy guitar solo. 

The final selection was the Spencer Davis Group hit, ”Gimme Some Lovin” which, as the performance developed, really brought the crowd to its feet. Earlier in the review I alluded to another surprise by Paul Booth. While the song was being played, the multi talented Booth played a soprano and a tenor saxophone at the same time. I had never seen a player accomplish this before during a live performance. As they finished playing they all interlocked arms and bowed to the audience before leaving the stage to a thunderous standing ovation.

The Set List:

I’m a Man

Fly

At Times We Forget

Can’t Find My Way Back Home

Dirty City

Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

Light Up or Leave Me Alone

Higher Love

Encore

Dear Mr. Fantasy

Gimme Some Lovin

The Players:

Steve Winwood – organ, guitars, vocals

Jose Neto – guitar

“Café” – percussion

Paul Booth – tenor sax, soprano sax, flute, organ, background vocals
Richard Bailey - drums

After the concert I had an opportunity to interview sax player Paul Booth. He provided me with a set list and some information I used to write this interview. I would like to thank him for his input.

 

This was a super show. If you like Steve Winwood I strongly suggest you catch this show on this tour. The talent is awesome, the music is classic rock and the live sound is incredibly clear.

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                                                            Glenn Frey

The Sands Hotel & Casino Event Center
Bethlehem, PA

May 18, 2012

                 To date I have seen Don Henley and Joe Walsh in solo performances. When I heard Glenn Frey was appearing at the Sands it was a no brainer. Despite the word of the concert coming late to the Philadelphia market, I was able to pick up a couple of pretty decent tickets. 

                 The venue itself is a little unusual. It is a renovated steel mill that has been turned into a casino and hotel.  The theater lacks the acoustic properties of a theater like the Borgata’s Event Center, Atlantic City. It has a bare concrete floor and masonry walls, and plastic folding chairs that are banded together. Yet it had the appeal of uniqueness due to its origins as a steel mill.

                The show was scheduled to begin at 8 PM. However Mr. Frey decided to be “fashionably late”.At about 8:20, the crowd began to become a little restless and there were some chants in unison directed at the stage. Finally at 8:23 the lights went down and the band members, all dressed in suits and ties,  took the stage to an approving round of applause from the audience. About a minute later Glenn walked on stage and the applause grew in intensity and duration. 

                The concert started off with three of the Eagle’s standards, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, “Tequila Sunrise” and “Lying’ Eyes”.  Being the master show man that he is, Glenn really knew how to appeal to this audience. He informed the crowd that his father was originally from Nazareth, PA, the next town north of Bethlehem. He informed the assembled multitude that his aunt and some other relatives were in attendance at tonight’s show, which elicited an excited round of applause.  As he sang the first three songs he related the songs were written by Jack Tempchin and Don Henley. At the mention of Henley’s name the crowd broke into applause to which Mr. Frey observed, “It pays to surround yourself with talent.”Upon conclusion of ‘Eyes”, Glenn stepped up to the mic and talked about his new album.  He said it was his first solo album in 19 years and for him it was a departure from his country rock roots.He described it as a collection of love songs and standards.  He then began to perform “Route 66”, one of the songs on the new album, putting aside his guitar and stepping up to the microphone in the style of a “swinging” singer.

                His next two offerings were also from the new album and included “For Sentimental Reasons”, and as Glenn described the 1967 song “The Shadow of Your Smile”, the theme song from the movie “The Sandpiper” written by Johnny Mandel and Paul Francis Webster. He further went on to note the song won a Grammy and an Academy Award.

                As the applause from the performance died down, he introduced his next selection as a song written by Randy Newman about a hooker and her pimp called “Same Girl.”

                As the applause subsided from this number, Glenn announced his next song as a Brian Wilson song entitled “Caroline, No”.  This offering complete, he announced his next song would be another 1967 hit, “The Look of Love.”  He described how the song was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal Davidfor the James Bond Movie, “Casino Royale”.

                He proceeded to perform the Ray Charles song, “Worried Mind”. At the conclusion of this song he joked that he should have entitled the next song “Prelude to Obscurity”. He seemed stunned when the crowd did not respond to the joke. He explained the joke and confessed his surprise at its bombing to which the crowd responded with a round of faux applause. The matter of the bombed joke being settled, he performed “The One You Love”.

                As the applause subsided Glenn started to tell the story of what he was trying to accomplish with his new album. He told of how he wanted to make an album filled with “standards and love songs.” He related how he discussed his dilemma with song writing partner, Jack Tempchin. He was surprised at Tempchin’s answer, “Why not use one we already wrote?”  That was when he decided to use the song “After Hours “, which went on to become the album’s title.

                As surprising as Glenn’s departure from his country rock roots was, the surprises were just beginning.  He related a conversation he had had with piano player Michael Thompson about the need to freshen some things up to which Mr. Thompson asked, “Why not change the arrangement?” they then went on to perform “The Heat is On”, but it was a very jazzy version. I think it is safe to say it kicked ass! It was so good I am surprised they did not include it on the new album.

                The surprises continued with an even jazzier version of “Smuggler’s Blues”. Like the previous song, this one also kicked ass and the new arrangement would have been great to include on the new album. I am going to guess that Glenn wanted to stay with the nostalgic theme as the graphic on the CD makes it look like a vinyl record, so he avoided including the reworked Frey classics.

                At the conclusion of “Smuggler’s Blues”, Glenn began to tell the story about how he once tried to get out of his contract with MCA records which he referred to as “Music Cemetery of America”. He told of how the company was so bad, “They would have blown the Beatles.”

                Next up was the song “Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed”, another Frey classic, this one written by Jack Tempchin and Bobby Whitlock, whom Glenn noted was a former member of Derek and the Dominos.

                As the applause subsided from “Sleeping” Mr. Frey and his band moved into a performance of “You Belong to the City”, one of my personal favorites. By this time ever one was on their feet. As the song concluded, the band left the stage at 9:42 Pm to a thunderous ovation, only to return again at 9:45.

                For the encore Glenn first performed “Take it to the Limit” which had a large part of the crowd singing along.  Then came the surprise of the night. Glenn performed “Desperado”, a song that for all these years I thought was written exclusively for Don Henley. His performance was every bit as good as any the Henley had ever done, and what is probably the biggest tribute any audience can pay to a performer, they were loudly singing along. It was something to both see and hear.

                Upon its conclusion once again Mr. Frey and his band left the stage to a thunderous ovation. The crowd was really excited and stoked. Apparently Glenn heard it off stage and returned for a second encore.  He performed the Eagles classics “Already Gone “and “Take it Easy”, making their final exit from the stage at 11:02 PM.

The Set List:

Peaceful Easy Feeling
Tequila Sunrise
Lyin’ Eyes
Route 66 (from the new album)
For Sentimental Reasons (from the new album)
The Shadow of Your Smile (from the new album)
Same Girl (from the new album)
Caroline, No (from the new album)
The Look of Love (from the new album)
Worried Mind (from the new album)
The One You Love
After Hours (from the new album)
The Heat is On
Smuggler’s Blues
Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed
You Belong to the City

1ST Encore

Take it to the Limit
Desperado

2nd Encore

Already Gone
Take it Easy

The Glenn Frey Solo Band

                The band was set up on the stage in a crescent made of two rows. In the back row were the piano, woodwinds and trumpet, Percussion, Drummer, Keyboards, and electric piano and pedal steel guitar. The front row was guitar, Glenn Frey and the bass.

The Players 

Glenn Frey – guitar, percussion, lead vocals, star of show

Michael Thompson – piano

Tom Evans – woodwinds (sax, flute clarinet) and trumpet

Roberto Chiavada – percussion

Scott Crago – drums

Will Hollis – keyboards

Richard Davis – keyboards

Doug Livingston – steel guitar

Donnie Grenier – Guitar

Wade Beary – Bass guitar, electric up right bass                                                                   

                                                            Joe Walsh & BB King 
                                                       The Borgata Event Center
                                                               October 22, 2011

B.B. King
 
I first discovered Riley B.B. King when he collaborated with Eric Clapton on the CD “Riding with the King” in the year 2000.  It would be an understatement to say I was pumpedwhen I found out I was going to this show. It helped overcome the disappointment when Don Henley appeared at Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City and the tickets were gone in less than 2 minutes…missed that one.  
 
As the stage was being set up, various mic stands were placed and different stage hands came out and tuned different instruments. A stage hand abruptly appeared and placed “Lucille” on a guitar stand. This caused a minor stir among the gathering crowd as a small army of camera phone photographers moved forward to photograph the iconic guitar. 

               
 
At 8:07 PM the house lights went down and the B.B. King Blues Band took their places on the Event Center Stage. The show opened with the Blues Band performing two instrumental numbers, the first one sounding more “jazzy” than “bluesy”, but the second one was definitely “bluesy”. Each piece featured solo performance by all eight of the band members.  
 
At the conclusion of the second number B.B. King was assisted to the stage as he was introduced by the PA announcer. He was helped into his chair center stage, and upon sitting, he immediately began to throw guitar picks into the audience. He strapped on Lucille and played a blues guitar riff and then continued to throw guitar picks to the crowd.

He then introduced the band:
Van Fryes – keyboards
Reggie Richard – bass
Tony Coleman – drums
Charlie Dennis – guitar
Walter King – baritone sax
Melvin Jackson – tenor sax
Stanley Abernathy – trumpet
James Boldin – flugelhorn and band leader 
 
Upon introducing the band, he asked, “Did I forget the drummer?” He suddenly realized they were all introduced so he remarked, “That’s what happens when you’re 86! My name is B.B. King, and I’m 86!” 

               
 

His first song was “I Need You So” and before the applause was over he immediately went into “Rock Me Baby”. The performance of “Rock Me Baby” featured B.B. and Blues Band Guitarist Charlie Dennis keying off one another for some fantastic solo guitar work at the conclusion of which B.B. remarked, “He (Dennis) can really play!” 
 
B.B. keyed off of Dennis and poked some barbs about his being a ladies man and whenever he was around he felt the need to hold Lucille a little closer because “I’m 86!”

B.B. went on again about his age, but I’m not complaining…I hope I can do half of what he does if I make 86. 
 

The Set List:

I Need You So; Rock Me Baby; Key to the Highway; Nobody Loves Me (Like My Mother);
Every Day I Have the Blues; The Thrill is Gone; You Are My Sunshine.


As the show was nearing the end, a lady moved from the audience and presented King with a bouquet of flowers. He then noticed there were several youngsters in the audience and invited them forward to shake his hand. The show concluded with the band playing and King handing medallions and guitar picks to the audience members until he ran out. He thanked everyone and left the stage at 9:15 PM.


B.B King may be feeling his age, but it was special for me to have the opportunity to see this show business legend perform. His set list was short, but he and Lucille can still work magic on those six strings.


                                                                     Joe Walsh


" They say I'm crazy but I have a good time, life's been good to me so far."

The house lights went back down at 9:42 PM. The band members took their places and out walked Joe Walsh, moving right up to Center stage and Starting off with the trademark , “How ya Doin’?” And…I could tell from the “talk tube” wrapped around his microphone stand that at some point we were going to be treated to another unique rendition of “Rocky Mountain Way”. He was dressed all in black, in what appeared to be black denim. He was wearing black and red shoes which made me wonder about something I had previously read about Joe Walsh and shoes.

In the Hard Rock Café publication, “Treasures of the Hard Rock Café” by Paul Grushkin and Joel Selvin, there is an article about a piece of Joe Walsh memorabilia on display in the Dallas, Texas café. It is a Fender Stratocaster guitar that Joe supposedly played when “Hotel California” was recorded. There is a picture of Joe on page 24. He is sitting on a bar, holding a guitar. The picture was taken in 1986 at the Dallas Hard Rock. In the caption, the authors observe that Joe is wearing pair of loafers he had traded with the elevator operator at the Dallas Hard Rock. Seeing Joe wearing those shoes at the AC show, well, one just has to wonder if Joe had not just struck a similar deal a few minutes before he took the stage. But I digress.

He started off with “Welcome”. His guitar playing from beginning to end was simply incredible. He has been playing these songs for so long I have no doubt he could play them in his sleep. He moved to “Life of Illusion”. He changed guitars before he would begin each song. For anyone that has ever seen Walsh perform before he was at his vintage best.

He would banter with the audience about his days in Montclair, New Jersey, observing, “Well I guess that makes me an official something.” which was greeted with a thunderous round of applause.

As the applause died down some very loud spectator voiced his desire to hear Joe play “ILBT’s”. (If you have to ask, you are not a Joe Walsh fan and I can’t risk “mikemorrone.com” losing its “PG” rating).

Joe responded, “Shhhh! It’s supposed to be a surprise!” which left everyone laughing. And as I previously observed He performed another unique, talk tube version of “Rocky Mountain Way”, including some incredible slide guitar work.

Right before he began “Life’s Been Good” he lamented that, “This song is probably the root cause of all of our problems. If I’d a known that I’d be known for this song, I probably would have written something else.” As he played the song, many scenes from Joe’s younger days were projected on the back of the stage that included him in a tank, breaking down hotel walls, riding in a limo and if you know the song, you know the show.


             

Before he played “Rosewood Bitters”, he observed that the song was written by fellow guitarist Michael Stanley, but he wished he had written it. The song is about a tired, long time performing guitar player who has the “Rosewood Bitters” (the wood most guitar fret boards are made of).

He introduced his back ground singers, Gia Tambora, Mini Martin and Ricky “Bubba” Washington, who each sang a verse of “Released”.

Unfortunately for me, he introduced the musicians so fast, the only names I got were drummer Drew Hester and Frank Allen, although I’m not sure what Allen was playing. For this show Joe used 2 drummers and a percussionist. Chicago fans will recognize Drew Hester as their alternate drummer. He also had another guitar player on stage (the guy was really good) , a bassist, and a keyboard player. If anyone knows the names of Joe’s band, shoot me a personal message or an email on the Border and I will be glad to edit this review to include them. I can’t find it anywhere on the Internet.

Right before he left the stage he began the very familiar guitar riff that starts “Life in the Fast Lane” . This was the fourth time I had seen him perform this song in person and, if possible, he just keeps getting better at it. He left the stage @ 10:55 PM to an ear splitting standing ovation.

It didn’t take long for him and the band to return for an encore which started off with ILBT’s. Upon concluding the song He put his hand on his hip, walked up to the microphone and made sure everyone heard him ask, “Are you happy now?” He then finished with "All Night Long".

As he struck the last note he had the amplifier set to do a repeating echo something that went on until a stage hand stopped it.

The Set List:
Welcome; Life of Illusion; Walk Away; Over and Over; Rocky Mountain Way; Released; Rosewood Bitters; Turn to Stone; In the City; Funk 49; Life’s Been Good; Life in the Fast Lane;

Encore – ILBT’s; All Night Long

There were two disappointments I found with the show. The first, Joe did not perform any songs from the new album, even though he hinted at it earlier in a Philadelphia radio interview, and the second, he did not team up with B.B. King and play at least one number with even though he opened the show by observing that, “B.B. King is one of the great ones we all studied.”

That being said I will not remember this as anything except an exceptional performance that I will long remember.

***********************************************************************

                                                       Eric Clapton and Band
                                                  May 25, 2008

                         The Borgata, Event Center, Atlantic City, NJ
 

I know the time line is off a little here, but I am more concerned with sharing a couple of pictures. During a recent family get together a cousin told me how much he liked Eric Clapton. Being a long time fan of Clapton I shared this concert event with him. He couldn't believe the pictures I was able to take...with the ubiquitous camera nazis at just about every show I attend you have to be quick...I use a real camera, not a phone. On this occasion I was sitting right at stage side...These tickets were a very special birthday present.

I wrote a review for the show that was published on another web site but it has since been taken down. I checked the internet wayback machine, but missed the archiving bot by 1 week. However, I did save my notes from the concert and they follow this introduction. Joe and Linda, this is for you.


             

Eric Clapton in Concert:
May 25, 2008
The Borgata, Atlantic City, New Jersey

 1. Motherless Children                        461 Ocean Blvd.

 2. Key to the Highway                         One More Car One More Rider

                                                               (EC switched guitars ½ way…unusual)

 3. Hoochie Coochie Man                     One More Car One More Rider

 4. Little Wing                                        461 Ocean Boulevard

 5. Outside Woman Blues                     Cream Reunion 2005 (great song!)

 6. Double Trouble                                 E.C. Blues

 7. Don’t Knock My Love                      Old Blues Cover, Muddy Waters???

 8. Drifting                                              E.C Was Here

 9. Rocking Chair                                  Clapton…cover of a Hoagie Carmichael song

10. Motherless Child                             Complete Clapton

11. Travelin’ Riverside Blues              Sessions for Robert J

12. Running on Faith                            Unplugged/Journeyman

13. Tell the Truth                                   461 Ocean Boulevard

14. Little Queen of Spades                   Sessions for Robert J

15. Before You Accuse Me                   Journeyman

16. Wonderful Tonight                          One More Car One More Rider & others

17. Layla                                                One More Car One More Rider & many others

18. Cocaine                                           One More Car One More Rider & many others

Encore:

      I Got MY Mojo Working with Robert Randolph and “The Family Band”

The Players:

Eric Clapton – guitar and vocals

Doyle Bramhall – guitar

Pino Pallidino – bass (replaced John Entwistle, The Who)

Chris Stainton – keyboards

Ian Thomas –drums

Michelle John – background vocals

Sharon White – background vocals

             


**************************************************************************************************************************

                             John Fogerty, The Centerfield Tour
                                            September 11, 2010
                                     
                      The Borgata, Music Box,  Atlantic City, NJ


I have to begin this review by extending thanks to Hunter Perrin, One of John Fogerty's guitar players. He thoroughly enjoyed the show at the place he calls "The Boardwalk Empire". He provided some input that was so invaluable, that this review is probably the only place on the internet you will find the names of the band members who toured with Fogerty on his recent Centerfield Tour. A big Thank you! goes out to Hunter Perrin.

Back in the 1960's I was a huge Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) fan, having attended 2 of the three concerts that they performed at the Spectrum. It wasn't hard to see then or now that John Fogerty was the backbone of CCR. It is a sad reality of the music business that egos can get so big that they destroy the group that is the fabric of the individual member's success. John Fogerty was able to rise above it and carry his unique talent and showmanship forward. After the breakup of CCR, Fogerty disappeared for about 10 years until he cut the Centerfield Album in 1985. The tour was billed as the 25th anniversary tour of the album, highlighted by the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction ceremony on July 25, 2010.

When I got the tickets to this concert I did not know what to expect. At the time I didn't remember having previously read about how the song, "Centerfield", was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (HOF) earlier in the summer during the HOF's yearly induction ceremony. But after the show started, it all came back to me.

At about 8:10 PM, John Fogerty and the band took to the stage. The show began with "Centerfield", showcasing Fogerty playing his now famous, baseball bat guitar. This song, like the game of baseball has become an American institution. Fogerty has said in the past the title "Centerfield" was a tribute to The great centerfielders of his day, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. For a time earlier in teh year, Fogerty's basdeball bat guitar was displayed at teh Baseball Hall of Fame.

After finishing the song he stepped up to the mic and told the audience about how honored and thrilled he was that the song was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame...the song, but not him. After the laughter died down, he talked about how he joined Andre Dawson, Whitey Herzog, retired umpire Doug Harvey, and sports writers Jon Miller and Bill Madden at this year's induction ceremonies. He held up a baseball that had his "Centerfield" logo emblazoned upon it. He expalined to the crowd how he decided upon them as souveniers of this year's tour. He then signed it on stage, and  presented it to a young girl seated in the front row named "Gabrielle".  This brought a round of applause from the audience. 

The show continued on in earnest with the standard CCR and Fogerty hits, with a track from the Centerfield album worked in about every second song. Long time Fogerty guitarist, Billy Burnette was absent from the perfromers on stage, as was keyboardist Matt Nolen, both artists appearing with John Fogerty on the "Concert at Royal Albert Hall" DVD. 

Fogerty interacted with each of his band members at various times during the show. On several occasions he walked up to guitarist James Intveld and they keyed off one another. Inveld has a very unique style and appearance. This night he wore his hair slicked back with a "DA" and western shirt. His "Johnny Cash"- like looks give the appearance he would be right at home in a 50's band. But appearances can be decieving...his stage presence and guitar playing were rock solid. He plays guitar like he is a programmed machine...flawless! He teamed up with Fogerty and fellow guitarist, Hunter Perrin on several hard driving guitar numbers like "Ramble Tamble" and "Keep on Chooglin" to provide a couple of very entertaining performances.  One couldn't help but observe that Fogerty and all of his band members were having fun.

Hunter Perrin is a littler more flamboyant than Intveld. Perrin is a showman in every sense of the word and an accomplished guitarist to boot. He added riffs and licks to key spots in the various hit songs. His playing was flawless whether he was playing rhythm or feeding off JC Fogerty. Sometime it seems as though he may be having a little too much fun. You can check him out on "The Concert at Royal Hall" DVD.

Longtime Fogerty Drummer, Kenny Aronoff was at his best. He played several different solos on several of the songs, his performances on the hard driving "Ramble Tamble" and "Keep on Choogling" were incredible. I have seen him perform on "Live From Daryl's House" as well as the Fogerty DVD's.  Were does he get all of his energy?. 

Jason Mowery nicely accented several of the songs like "Lookin' Out My Back Door"  with his fiddle. Michael Webb on keyboards provided another dimension of excellence to the performance so that only hard core Fogerty fans like myself would notice the absence of long time Fogerty keyboard player, Matt Nolen. 

David Santos, bass player, was as steady as it gets. I actually had the opportunity to converse with him briefly after the show. He was very gracious and humble as I congratulated him for a job well done. He appears with JCF on he Royal Albert Hall concert DVD.

And there were a couple of surprises. As the show progressed JC Fogerty performed cover of songs that were so well done that if one didn't know better, one would think the performers on stage were the original artists. These songs include "Pretty Woman","Summertime Blues" and "Good Golly Miss Molly".  

John C. Fogerty is an accomplished musician who has become some what of an American institution. The genius of his songs is found in their simplicity. Fogerty is the master of putting together a few chordas and riffs, adds the words to a story or a life event and the result is sheer fun and joy. If you have never seen a John Fogerty show before, I highly recommend it. Almost certainly you will hear a song that you have heard before and more likely than not will know the words to. Summary of this night's performance:

The Players:

John C. Fogerty - guitar, harmonica and vocals
Hunter Perrin - guitar and background vocals
James Intveld - guitar and background vocals
Kenny Aronoff - drums
Jason Mowery - fiddle
Michael Webb - keyboards and background vocals

The setlist:

Centerfield, Lookin Out My Back Door, Green River, I Can't Help Myself, Born on the Bayou, Ramble Tamble, Wrote a Song for Everyone, ZanzKant Danz, Midnight Special, I Saw It on TV, Big Train From Memphis, Have You Ever Seen the Rain, Pretty Woman, Rambunctious Boy, Summertime Blues, Keep on Chooglin', Night Time is the Right Time, Rock and Roll Girl, Down on the Corner, Old Man Down the Road, Bad Moon Rising, Fortunate Son, and (Encore) Good Golly Miss Molly and Proud Mary.

Fogety is rumored to be working on a new CD...probably means another tour and another review.

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                                           Hall and Oates                                                            
                                             May 8, 2010   
                               
                    The Borgata Event Center
 ,  Atlantic City , NJ

"Everybody's high on consolation..." (from the Hall and Oates song, "She's Gone")

The show was due to start at 8 PM. Right at 8 PM the stage crew began stoking the crowd by turning down the house lights, then turning them back up again. Finally, at 8:07 PM Daryl Hall, John Oates and band took the stage. The above lyric described the mood of the band as Daryl said it himself. Daryl was wearing his trademark black leather motorcycle jacket, but this night there was a new wrinkle. He was also wearing a "T-Bone" tee shirt, in honor of the late Tom "T-Bone" Wolk, the duo's guitarist and music director, who passed away suddenly on February 28, 2010. Eliot Lewis, Keyboard player was also wearing the same shirt under his jacket.  

It was at this point I noticed the first changes that T-Bone's passing had inflicted upon the group.  Unlike past concerts where Daryl came on stage with an accoustic "Taylor" Guitar, this night he came on stage with a Gibson ES 175 electric semi hollow body guitar, which he did not put down until he finally moved over to the keyboard. John Oates also opted to hoist a Fender strat instead of an accoustic guitar like he had done on so many previous occasions. John alternated between the Fender strat, a Telecaster and what appeared to be a Taylor solid body electric guitar with one notable exception I'll address later in this review.

The group kicked off the show with maneater and I immediately became aware the classic Hall and Oates sound had taken on a harder edge. I am not saying better or worse, but definitely different. During the performance of  "Maneater", Charlie DeChant delivered the first in a series of solos that could entitle tonight'sperformance as "Charlie steals the show." At the song's conclusion, Daryl introduced the "new" guitar palyer accompanying the band, Paul Pesco. People sitting next to me asked if I knew anything about the native American, referring to Pesco. In preparing this review, I looked him up and found he is not a native American, but he is of Korean and Sicilian ancestry.  Paul Pesco is an excellent guitar player, but his style is much different than the long familiar T-Bone Wolk. Daryl remarked that Mr. Pesco is also a former Hall and Oates band member. It became apparent that he was extremely familiar with the songs as he transitioned through them effortlessly. He played a white ESP (Fender Stratocaster type) solid body guitar with a pearl pick guard. At one point in the show, he actuall turned the guitar up to his mouth and played it with his teeth, an old Jimi Hendrix trick.

The performance moved to "Family Man", "Out of Touch", and one of my personal favorites, "Say it Isn't So".  During the performance of "Say it Isn't So" Charlie DeChant continued to impress with another in a series of sax solos. This was the first of several times that Charlie would walk across the stage and face Paul Pesco and the two would key off  one another. Daryl then announced the band would
perform a couple of songs from "Abandoned Luncheonette" and the only time it would happen during the night, John Oates hoisted an accoustic Taylor guitar and the band performed "When the Morning Comes". It was at this point I observed that John had taken over the role of music director as he gave the band members their cues for their performances of all of the songs. Once agian, Charlie'Casual Charlie" DeChant showcased his talents, this time performing a solo on a soprano sax.

At  the song's conclusion Daryl remarked they would perform another "Abandoned Luncheonete" selection as the group performed "Las Vegas Turnaround", and  "She's Gone", once again showcasing the talents of Charlie DeChant. The band played "Sarah Smile", and upon its conclusion,Daryl, made some remarks about his "Live From Daryl's House Internet Show winning a "Webby" award, then moved back to his keyboard on the stage.

The next number performed was "Do What You Want" and  "I Can't Go for That", which is where Charlie really broke out, moving all over the stage, stoking the audience with hand gestures while he played on, and once again moving to Pesco where the two once again keyed off one another.  Everet Bradley, the Group's percussionist, got in on the act, singing "No, no, no,no, no" in reply to Daryl's "I can't go for that." It was very entertaining to watch. The band then said good-night and left the stage to a thunderous applause that lasted until they came back for their first encore.

The group returned to the stage with the roaring approval of the crowd and immediately broke into "Rich Girl" and "You Make My Dreams Come True". Once again they said good-night and left the stage once again to a thunderous ovation.

About two minutes later they returned to the stage for a second encore. Upon reappearing for the second encore they played "Kiss on My List" and Private Eyes". They all briefly gathered at the front of the stage, where they waved and bowed and Daryl remarked, "We'll see you all next time."  The show conclude at 9:40 PM. 

Zev Katz and Michael Braun gave their usual rock solid performances carrying the beat for the entire show. Michael and Eliot Lewis also provided background vocals on several of the selections the band performed. This show also differed from past Hall and Oates shows I have attended in that it lacked the banter and joking around that has become a big part of Daryl and John's stage presence. It was a night of the classic Hall and Oates sound, except, absent T-Bone Wolk, with a little harder edge to it. 

The Players
Daryl Hall - lead vocals, guitar and keyboards
John Oates - lead vocals, guitar
Paul Pesco - guitar, background vocals
Eliot Lewis - keyboards, background vocals
Zev Katz - bass
Michael Braun - drums
Everett Bradley - percussion, vocals and background vocals
Charlie DeChant - tenor sax, soprano sax, flute, percussion, background vocals

The Set List:  
Maneater, Family Man, Out of Touch, Say it Isn't So, When Morning Comes, Las Vegas Turnaround, She's Gone, Sarah Smile, Do What You Want, I Can't Go For That 1st Encore Rich Girl, You Make My Dreams Come True 2nd Encore Kiss on My List,Private Eyes

For the nice lady I had a pleasant conversation with after the show, North Jersey Rocks! UPDATE: The Live From Daryl's House T-Bone Tribute has posted...You can see it here http://www.livefromdarylshouse.com

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                           Boz Scaggs & Michael Mc Donald  
                                        September 18, 2009
                                             Atlantic City, NJ  
            
The Borgata Music Box, Atlantic City, NJ “One more shot ought to get it…”
(From the Boz Scaggs song “Lido Shuffle”)

As you walk through the casino inside the Borgata you are sure to see the dice tables there among the many other assorted table games. I immediately wondered if Boz Scaggs and company would perform that “song”, one of several hits from the “Silk Degrees” album. It just seems natural for an Atlantic City performance. Upon arrival at the venue I realized that there would be two great performances that night, the bill also including Michael McDonald. I bought the tickets a while ago (they were in the fifth row) and I got them thru the Boz Scaggs web site. So I kind of forgot about Michael McDonald. I thought he would open for Boz Scaggs but it was actually the other way around.

Boz and band took the stage at exactly 9:00 PM. I have been to so many shows where the performers insist on being fashionably late. So this was a pleasant surprise for this show, which I think had an unusually late start time. I asked some one in a Borgata uniform if they could tell me who would perform first. That is when I found out Boz would lead off. The lights came up as Boz and band took the stage.

They stayed true to their New Orleans jazz and R&B roots starting the show with “Jo-Jo” They moved immediately to “Hercules”, another New Orleans standard. Between songs Boz would interact between each number with band member Eric Crystal (keyboards and saxophone) and especially background singer, Monet Owens. Owens appeared with Boz on the 2003 DVD “Greatest Hits Live”, as did guitarist, Drew Zingg.

This is just a personal observation, but Richard Patterson, whom Boz would later introduce as his musical director, just seemed to be having too much fun. The band was tight and you could tell the members really enjoyed playing with one another. The sound inside the music box is spectacular as it is carpeted and has stadium style seating lending to a near perfect acoustic package.

Near the end of the show “Miss Monet” (how Boz referred to Monet throughout the night) was given the opportunity to showcase her vocal talent with a very moving rendition of the Aretha Franklin song “Until You Come Back to Me”. She demonstrated her 5 plus octave voice which the audience ate up with a two minute standing ovation.

The band moved to the famous – David Foster produced song, “Look What You’ve Done to Me”, from the movie “Urban Cowboy”, when Boz announced one word, “Lido” to the band and they immediately struck up “Lido Shuffle” from silk degrees, answering my earlier question about this song. This created a small problem for the security officers because people came out of their seats and began dancing in the aisles.

At the conclusion of Lido the band members waved and moved quickly from the stage, leaving an applauding whistling crowd wanting more. About 90 seconds later the band happily obliged,
returning to the stage and performing “Breakdown Dead-Ahead” from the 1980 album ‘Middle Man’. The band ended their performance at exactly 10:15 PM.

The Players:
Boz Scaggs – vocals and guitars
Drew Zingg – guitars
Richard Patterson – music director, bass guitar
Deron Johnson – keyboards
Khari Parker – drums
Eric Crystal – saxophone and keyboards
Monet “Miss Monet” Owens – lead and background vocals

The Set List: JoJo, Hercules, Desire, Sick and Tired, ElPaso, Georgia, Lowdown, Miss Sun, Until You Come Back To Me (featuring Monet Owens), Look What You’ve Done to Me, Lido Shuffle, Breakdown Dead-Ahead (encore)
 
Now for the Surprise of the night, Michael McDonald. I guess I am what you would call a casual Michael McDonald fan being familiar with his work with the Doobie brothers and Steely Dan. I also really liked the song “Shine Sweet Freedom” from the 1986 movie “Running Scared”. But up until this show, his music was not prominently featured on my iPod.

After listening to his show he made me stop and realize how far reaching the body that is his work has been over the last 30 plus years. That iPod is about to become a little heavier. The first thing I noticed is how at ease McDonald is in front of an audience. Accompanied by his band he came on stage at exactly 10:40 PM. He comes across like he is performing with some of his friends on his patio on a Friday night. He joked about the age of the audience admitting that he is now a card carrying AARP member. He observed, “You know you start getting the mail for that thing in your late forties and read it and say ‘what the hell’? Then you hit our age and you say to yourself, ‘hey this thing is really a good deal!” which brought about a sustained round of applause from the sympathetic crowd.

The performance was an amalgam of songs from the Doobie Brothers, the Motown Album and an assortment of works sprinkled throughout his solo career. McDonald was generous as he acknowledged the contributions of each of his band members to both his music and his career. I was personally struck that he has a deep speaking voice that is nothing like his singing voice. His sax player, Vince Denham, Poked fun at McDonald when he appeared to get a little tongue tied while introducing the band. Denham picked up an “Easy” button and placed it on top of McDonald’s electric piano. Michael McDonald smiled and wistfully noted,” If only these things really worked.”

Denham was very entertaining as he moved all over the stage, walking right to the edge as he performed several solos which the audience ate up. He promoted the newly released CD by his back-up singer, Ms. Drea Rhenee which he complimented her on and acknowledged that some “other brilliant performers” were also featured on the album. I wonder who he could have been talking about? (Hint: Michael McDonald produced it, “Finally Free” and appears on it.) As Ms. Rhenee sang, she moved across the stage shaking hands with several audience members seated in the front row.

It is worthy to note that drummer Yvette “Baby Girl” Preyer stole the show on a couple of occasions as the show progressed. Not only is she a greatly talented drummer, but she has a great singing voice that she showcased throughout the show. And I could not help but notice what a great guitarist and
entertainer Bernie Chiaravalle is. He had a knack for bringing the audience to their feet working their clapping and singing in wherever appropriate. I will be looking for write ups on him in future issues of “Guitar Player” magazine.

The performers went on with an incredible show when Michael McDonald did something unusual. As the mid-night hour approached he observed “I don’t want to get into trouble with the curfew so we are going to go immediately to the encore…but I don’t want you all to take for granted that we would just give it, but here it is.

They performed the last two numbers of the set and left the stage to a thundering ovation. The show concluded at 11:57 PM so no problems with the curfew.

The Players:
Michael McDonald – vocals and keyboards
Bernie Chiaravalle – guitars and background vocals
Lance Morrison – bass and background vocals
Vince Denham – saxophones and flute
Pat Coil – keyboards and Hammond B3 organ  
Yvette “Baby Girl” Preyer – drums and background vocals
Drea Rhenee – background vocals, percussion

The Set List:
Keep Forgetting, Real Love, Sweet Freedom, Ya Mo Be There, You Don’t Know Me, StopLook Listen, You Belong to Me, Ain’t No Love, Grapevine, Minute by Minute, Ain’t No Mountain High, Real Thing, What a Fool Believes, It Keeps You Runnin – intended encore song Takin It To The Streets – intended encore song  That’s it for now, I’ve got to go put some Michael Mcdonald on that iPod. 
                                                                   

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                                               Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago                                                   
                                                                   
June 13, 2009                                     
                                                       
The Borgata, Atlantic City, N.J.

It was Saturday Night, the moon was bright, Shining down its harvest light Music all around to hear Set the stage and atmosphere…                                                   
(From the EWF song, “Saturday Night”)

Saturday, in the park, I think it was the fourth of July.                                        
(From the Chicago song, Saturday in the Park) 

On this Saturday night the moon was obscured by fog, but there was definitely music all around to hear, setting the stage and atmosphere. It was three weeks until the fourth of July. I’m talking about the Earth, Wind and Fire and Chicago show in Atlantic City New Jersey. This show is a high energy production from start to finish.

The lights went down at 8:15 PM. The stage was dimly lit as a recording of EWF and Chicago hits was (including EWF’s “Got to Get You Into My Life” and Chicago’s “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is”) played. Both band’s members took the stage and the lights came up which revealed the first two (of many) surprises of the night. Chicago’s drummer was not on stage. Substitute Drew Hester filled in for Tris Imboden. After the show I found a blurb online that mentioned that Hester would be substituting for Imboden as he had to undergo a medical procedure. No further information was offered. So all I can say on that is, “Get well soon, Tris.” The second surprise was the absence of EWF guitarist Vadim Zilberstein. One of the EWF web sites announced he would be touring with the band so I was surprised by his absence. Substituting for Zilberstein was Morris O’Connor, who has performed with Stevie Wonder, Otis Day and the Nights and Booker T & the MG’s (to mention a few).

The show opened with both bands on stage and appropriately started with Chicago hit “Beginnings”. The show initially followed the 2005 DVD “Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire, Live at the Greek Theater.” Predictably the next song was “In the Stone” and “Dialogue, Parts I and II”. Philip Bailey, Front man for EWF announced that hey weren’t going to do the coin flip because it wasn’t a real coin toss and that EWF would be going first. Chicago left the stage and the show got really busy.

How appropriate that I would be in Atlantic City for this show, in sight of the ocean, because like the ocean, EWF never lies still! I have been listening to Earth, Wind and Fire since 1969. One of the first 8 track tapes I bought for the player in my first car was an Earth Wind and Fire album so I was really excited to finally get the chance to see them perform live. There have been many personnel changes over the years but none has really had a lasting effect on the band’s great sound. The EWF portion of the show kicked off with “Boogie Wonderland” accompanied by a dazzling light display. The band went immediately into Jupiter which featured a thumping bass solo by EWF bass guitarist, Verdine White. Not only was the performance unique in its own right, but the superior acoustics of  The Borgata Event Center brought it out with an exceptionally clean sound. EWF paused for the applause and then smoothly transitioned to “Serpentine Fire”.

Then came the next surprise of the night, the band’s performance of the old Ramsey Lewis song “Sun Goddess”. This piece featured the vocal talents of Ralph Johnson, David Whitworth and Philip Bailey along with a very jazzy sax solo by Gary Bias. It is worthy here to note that EWF founder, Maurice White started out with Ramsey Lewis.

Next, Ralph Johnson and Philip Bailey
did a dueling drum performance as they accurately recreated the thunderous beginning of “Evil” which included an improvised trumpet solo from the song “Sunny” by Bobby Burns. Upon arrival at “After the Love IS Gone”, Verdine White was really stoking the crowd. He was making gestures at the audience, while David Whitworth, Ralph Johnson and Philip Bailey harmonized. Then he would stroke his hair and smile at several women sitting center stage working them into a frenzy. He then gestured to saxophonist Gary Bias, who again showcased his talent by belting out a very emotional solo to complete the song.

Then Philip Bailey brought the house down with his demonstration of his 12 octave voice during the group’s performance of “Reasons”. He was a big part of the show and let me say here that no performance by Earth Wind and Fire would be complete without his vocal talent. It should be noted that EWF guitarist Gregory “G-Mo” Moore and key boardist/ musical director Myron McKinley delivered rock solid performances throughout the show. EWF drummer, John Paris picked up where Ralph Johnson left off with his flamboyant playing and his singing of background vocals for many of the EWF songs.
 
And the brassy sound of EWF is one facet of their music that drew me to them in the first place. This night the EWF Horn Section was the already mentioned Gary Bias, Bobby Burns and Reggie Brown on Trombone. The surprises continued as Philip Bailey announced EWF’s efforts on behalf of WHY (World Hunger Year, founded by Harry Chapin) and introduced and performed the EWF jazzed up performance of the Chicago hit, “Wishing You Were Here”.   EWF performed a few more numbers including “Got to get you into my Life” where Bailey, Johnson and Whitworth shook as many of the audience member hands as they could.

Then abruptly, the stage went dark. Three large bass drums were wheeled center stage. A black light was turned on and the drums glowed with a phosphorescent green and orange glow. Then the band members came out, having undergone yet another change of attire, as Philip, Ralph Johnson and David Whitworth banged the drums, then while wearing reflective glowing black jackets formed up at the front of the stage forming a ‘dancing spider’. They played the drums a little more and then moved into their last number, “Let’s Groove” which was punctuated by a rousing musical finale.

There was about a fifteen minute intermission and then Chicago took the stage. I remember when Chicago transit authority came out in 1969. Between 1972 and 1974 I attended several Chicago concerts in Philadelphia, featuring the original members, including the one where Bruce Springsteen was booed off the stage. I attended one with my then girlfriend, Anne. Anne, and about half of my hair are distant memories but the classic Chicago sound lives on.

Like EWF, Chicago has undergone several personnel changes which sort of led to an evolution of their sound. I
turned from Chicago briefly when Donnie Dacus was their guitar player because I just didn’t think he fit with the band. Fortunately they were able to rectify the condition and return to their status as a hit machine.

They started with “Saturday in the Park” and moved to “Make Me Smile” Then Robert Lamm announced the release of new music, a Chicago song previously performed by EWF (Wishing You Were Here) and an EWF song which they proceeded to perform, “I Can’t Let It Go”. Lamm then announced the release of the collaborative effort between the two bands entitled “You”. He went on in furtherance of Philip Bailey’s previous presentation on "WHY" and told the audience that cards with a computer code would be available during and after the show for a $3.00 donation to the WHY cause. The cards would entitle the holder to download the three songs performed by the 2 bands, the EWF song performed by Chicago, the Chicago song performed by EWF and the collaboration “You” between the two groups.

Then Chicago delivered a few surprises. The stage was reset and Jimmy Pankow and Lee Loughnane took the stage to perform “Colour my World” which was written by Pankow. Loughnane sang the song which was a new approach. Up until that point the song was vocalized by Robert Lamm.                          

        

         Jim Pankow & Lee Loughnane perform "Colour My World"

The surprises kept coming. After a smoking performance of I’m Feeling Alive, Bill Champlin took center stage and hoisted a Fender Stratocaster to perform the Grammy winning “Look Away”. Usually ,I’m quick to criticize Champlin for excessively embellishing his musical performances. I thought he “hammed it up” on several songs he performed on the “Live at the Greek Theater” DVD, and on some other performances of his I had caught on TV. But on this night it was not to be the case. He nailed everything he performed, with his keyboard performances, his guitar playing and his vocalizations. It was the best I have ever heard him sing and play. He was accompanied by Lee Loughnane on the keyboards.
 
They continued with the classic Chicago sound when Walter Parazaider got in on Verdine White’s ‘thing’ of stoking the audience. He put his foot up on the monitor to show off his white and pink (yes pink) striped socks while he performed the flute solo featured in “Just You and Me”, which featured the vocal talents of Jason Scheff.

The band played several more numbers, and with the conclusion of “Felling Stronger Everyday”, walked off the stage. The guitar talents of Keith Howland, as he switched from a green to a purple to a green “strat” like guitars had been previously showcased earlier in the event with the performance of “Dialogue” were demonstrated again during the performance of “Jump”. Howland’s vocal talents were showcased with his singing of “Old Days”. Jason Scheff repeatedly showed why he is such a fitting replacement for Peter Cetera with both his vocal talents (showcased with his performance of “Hard Habit to Break”, and 25 or 6 to 4) and his bass playing.

The stage crew abruptly lowered a large opaque curtain that obscured the stage. Both bands reassembled on stage and kicked off the final act playing as a shadow behind the curtain. Both bands cranked off a combination of EWF and Chicago tunes in Medley format. Each band’s members keyed off one another never missing a cue. They
started with “September” and moved to “I Wanna Be Free”. As the music developed a large American Flag was unfurled at the rear of the stage which brought the audience to its feet…you could feel the building rocking!

They moved into the EWF hits “Sing a Song” and when EWF guitarist Gregory “G Mo” Moore plucked the first few notes of “Shining Star” you got the feeling the end was near. The bands finally moved to “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is”, and a really full version of 25 or 6 to 4, considering it was performed by 2 saxes, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 3 guitars, 2 bass guitars, 3 keyboards, 2 percussionists and 2 drummers, the vocal talent of Jason Scheff, accompanied by vocalizations from the singers in both bands.. It was definitely an incredible audio feast for someone like me that has been listening to the music of these two hit machines for many years.   

                   

       
         EWF & Chicago performing together

Although not performed, the new collaboration between the bands, entitled “You” was announced, along with each band covering a song originally performed by the other. If you would like to download the three songs, use your browser and maneuver over to: 

                                                     www.ewfandchicago.com.

It will cost you $3, but if you would like to hear something new from EWF and Chicago here is your chance. It’s a worthy cause and believe me well worth it. Other than that, it was a high energy presentation of some of the classic music of the last 40 years combined with first class showmanship, sprinkled with a plethora of surprises. Both bands were very connected to the audience repeatedly leaning over to shake hands with their fans. The show wrapped up at 11:40 PM with a huge ovation and I am sure everyone left wanting more. There was no encore.

The Set List(s):    Chicago and Earth Wind and Fire:

Beginning/ In the Stone/ Dialogue, Parts I and II Earth,

Wind and Fire:

Boogie Wonderland/ Jupiter/Serpentine Fire/ Sun Goddess/ Evil/ That’s the Way of the World/ After the Love is Gone/ Reasons/ Wishing You Were Here/ Got to Get You Into My Life/ Fantasy/ Let’s Groove

Chicago:

Saturday in the park/ Make Me Smile/ Can’t Let Go/ Colour My World/ Call on Me/ I’m Felling Alive Again/ Look Away/ Hard habit to Break/ You’re the Inspiration/ Old Days/ Just You and Me/ After All That we’ve Been Through/ Jump/ Felling Stronger Everyday.

Earth Wind and Fire and Chicago:

September/ I Wanna’ Be Free/ Sing a Song/ Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is/ Shining Star/ 25 or 6 to 4

The Players:


Chicago:
Robert Lamm- keyboards, acoustic guitar, vocals (member of original band)
James Pankow – trombone, keyboards (member of original band)
Lee Loughnane – trumpet, fluegel horn, keyboard, vocals (member of original band)
Walter Parazaider – woodwinds (member of original band)
Bill Champlin – keyboards, guitar, vocals
Drew Hester – drums (substituting for Tris Imboden)
Jason Scheff – bass guitar, vocals
Keith Howland – guitar, vocals

Earth Wind and Fire:

Philip Bailey – vocals, percussion (member of original band)
Ralph Johnson- vocals, percussion (member of original band) ( EWF’s first drummer)
Verdine White – bass guitar (member of original band)
David Whitworth – vocals, percussion
Gregory Moore – guitar Morris O’Connor – guitar (substituting for Vadim Zilberstein)
Myron McKinley – keyboards, (musical director for EWF)
John Paris – drums, background vocals Bobby Burns – trumpet, fluegal horn
Gary Bias – saxophone
Reggie Brown - trombone 

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                                      Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood

                                   Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA,
                                                  June 12, 2009 
                                  A Study in History and Virtuosity


I am the first to admit it. Being a fifty something probably means my tastes in music come from the Jurassic period. You tell me “Third Eye Blind” and I will ask you, “Can they see ok with the other two?” If you tell me Crowded House, I’ll tell you, “Somebody has to go.” And I have a question: what is Foo and why are we fighting it? But if you mention Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, I know exactly where you are coming from.

I first got interested in Eric Clapton in 1967. He was in Cream and was acquiring the reputation of being one of the world’s greatest guitar players. Even though Cream’s run was relatively short, Clapton always managed to keep his talents and creativity in the public eye. In the 1990’s many of his songs turned up in major motion pictures (Lethal Weapon, Casino, Heat, and Patch Adams just to name a few).

Subsequent to his tenure with Cream, he teamed up with Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker and Rick Gretch where they broke up after only one album, “Blind Faith”. In the interview featured on the Eric Clapton Steve Winwood DVD, Winwood observed that in the 60’s the artists of the time cherished their freedom to explore other identities. But I don’t think anything happening between Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton had anything to do with the break-up of Blind Faith.

In the liner notes in the Steve Winwood boxed set, which was released in 1988, The following history was offered by the notes’ author:

“Despite the problems which hamstrung their growth as a unit, “Blind Faith”, the group’s sole output, was nonetheless, a masterwork. Clapton and Winwood enjoyed a special chemistry as evidence by such songs as “Can’t Find My Way Home,” “Sea of Joy” and “Presence of the Lord”, each song quite different from their prior work with Cream and Traffic. With their inaugural album not yet completed, Blind faith made their UK debut in London’s Hyde Park. The massive crowd, reportedly in excess of 100,000, enjoyed a set bolstered by a soulful rendition of the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” and a rollicking remake of Sam Myers’ “Sleeping In The Ground.”

Despite the albums overwhelming commercial success, Blind Faith’s conflicting ambitions and general lack of direction stunted the group’s progress, as following a single massive U.S. Tour, they immediately disbanded. Where Traffic had afforded themselves time to write and understand each other, Blind Faith, as a direst result of the popularity enjoyed both by Cream and Traffic, found themselves headlining Madison Square Garden supporting one six song album. Still today, more than twenty years after their untimely demise, Winwood remains wistful about what might have been. “Eric and I were searching to a degree and Blind Faith had been a vehicle in which we could create something that had its own identity…” 
                                                      (Liner Notes, Steve Winwood’s “The Finer Things”,
1988)

I think that just maybe back in 1988, Steve Winwood knew something. His serendipitous wistfulness turned to reality in 2007 when he appeared on stage with Eric Clapton at the second “Crossroads” Guitar Festival. The reunion was long over due. This event led to the twelve city tour in support of their DVD/CD collaboration in 2008, “Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, Live From Madison Square Garden”

         
              Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton & Band @ The Wachovia

I was lucky enough to get seats on the floor for the Philadelphia concert. Clapton and Winwood took the stage at 8:17 PM. Clapton was dressed in his usual concert attire, a button down black shirt and blue jeans. Winwood was wearing a long sleeved gray shirt and blue jeans. They both hoisted their guitars, Clapton with his signature black Fender Stratocaster and Winwood with his light green version of the same instrument. They began with the Blind Faith song, “Had to Cry Today”. Clapton, who is never very talkative except to say “Thank you” at each round of applause began with saying, “It’s really good to be here.” This was met by a round of applause. They basically performed the songs from the newly released DVD and CD moving from song to song with methodical precision.

Then a funny thing happened. Clapton, always the perfectionist, messed up! They began to perform “Forever Man”, the twelfth song in the set. They performed the first verse flawlessly. Then, Clapton started singing the second verse, which was to be sung by Winwood. He immediately realized his error and cracked up laughing, as did Steve Winwood. They immediately set it right and the show went on. The audience loved it and cheered loudly. As a matter of fact, even though I paid
a lot of money for the seat, I hardly got to sit in it, as I, along with the rest of the audience were on our feet for most of the show.

At the conclusion of “Forever Man”, everyone left the stage except for Steve Winwood who took up his position at the Hammond B3 and soulfully sang “Georgia on My Mind”. His performance was so dead on that if I didn’t know better, I’d swear the song was written for him.

At the song’s conclusion, Eric came back on stage with his acoustic Martin guitar for the “sit down” set. He began the set with “Driftin”, moved to “Down and Out” and then delivered the surprise of the night; both he and Winwood performed an acoustic version of “Layla”. I thought the roof was going to come off the Wachovia Center.

At the conclusion of the Sit down, they resumed their previous positions, Clapton hoisting the trademark Fender “strat” and Winwood returning to the Hammond organ. They performed “Split Decision”, “Little Wing” and possibly the best rendition of “Voodoo Chile” I have ever heard.

The band also featured solo performance by keyboardist, Chris Stainton, during the performances of “Low Down”, “Well Alright”, and “Cocaine”, which was the closing number. It is worthy to note that bassists Willie Weeks and drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. (long time drummer for Paul McCartney) were rock solid in their performances, providing Eric and Steve with a steady platform to explore the space of the Wachovia.

                        
                                  Chris Stainton Performs solo, "Cocaine"

Another pleasant surprise was the appearance of Michelle John and Sharon White on percussion, and background vocals. They did not appear on the Madison Square Garden DVD so I was surprised to see them. They were fantastic adding another dimension to the show that I would bet, both Clapton and Winwood in hindsight, wished they would have included them in the Madison Square garden performance.

The band left the stage, and after about five minutes of the crowd rocking the place, they returned to the stage for an encore, featuring “Dear Mr. Fantasy.” The performance included a blistering closing solo by Steve Winwood on guitar showcasing his talents with “the ax”.

At the show’s conclusion, the performers interlocked their arms, bowed to the audience, waved and slowly left the stage. My only disappointment was the disappearance of the Buddy Miles song “Them Changes” from the set list, but the acoustic” Layla” was a nice surprise. Nothing new was covered except the historic display of virtuoso talent and a historic reunion that totally delighted the 20,000 + people gathered for the event. The show concluded at 10:40 PM and in my humble opinion was too short.

The set list:

Had to Cry Today/ Low Down/ After Midnight/ Sleeping in the Ground/ Presence of the Lord/ Glad/ Well All Right/ Tough Luck Blues/ Pearly Queen/ Tell the Truth/ No Face, No Name, No Number/ Forever Man/ Georgia on My Mind/ Driftin’/ Down and Out/ Layla/ Can’t Find My Way Home/ Split Decision/ Little Wing/ Voodoo Chile/ Cocaine/ (encore) Dear Mr. Fantasy.

The Players:

Eric Clapton – guitars, vocals
Steve Winwood – guitars, piano, Hammond B3 organ, vocals
Chris Stainton - key boards
Willie Weeks – bass guitar
Abe Laboriel Jr. – drums
Michelle John – percussion, background vocals
Sharon White – percussion, background vocals

For information on the Eric Clapton tour go to:

www.whereseric.com

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