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Event Reviews

Collective Soul

Collective Soul

Capitol Theatre, Clearwater, Florida • April 19, 2019

Collective Soul is one of the most underrated bands to emerge from the 1990s. The fact that they are STILL doing it, and doing it smashingly, is a testament to just how formidable they truly are. Fresh off the Jon Bon Jovi “Runaway to Paradise” rock cruise on the Norwegian Jade out of Miami, the band kicked off this leg of their tour in Clearwater at the fabulous Capitol Theatre. There wasn’t a seat to be had at the sold-out event and the crowd stood for the entire show, proving that these guys STILL seriously know how to rock. When I say that there wasn’t a seat to be had, I mean it. Our seats were high-back chairs smack up against the soundboard. We loved every minute of it.

Michelle Wilson


Michelle Wilson

At 8:10pm, the lights dimmed and Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ “Pump It Up” got everyone on their feet dancing, followed by the entrance of founding member and lead singer, Ed Roland (opting now to be known as E Roland), who headed straight for the far side of the stage to play keyboards. Along with Roland’s brother, guitarist Dean Roland as well as bassist Will Turpin, the three original members were joined by guitarist Jesse Triplett and drummer Johnny Rabb.

Michelle Wilson

Opening with “Observation of Thoughts” (also referred to as “Observation of Thought”), a new track off the band’s forthcoming release, Blood (June 21), the band immediately kicked it into high gear and set the tone for the evening. Several cuts from the unreleased record have been in the set rotation for many months now (six of them on this show’s set list), meshing seamlessly with the group’s established catalog. They are still delivering the riff-heavy intros and catchy hooks that established them as one of the premier post-grunge bands, and they continue to thrive.

Michelle Wilson

Frontman Roland had a wonderfully easy rapport with the crowd and was full of hilarious one-liners, such as “As you can tell I grew up on Elvis and Pepé Le Pew.” and “The life of a rock star. Where do you go? SeaWorld.” But he was serious about thanking the crowd. He thanked us for our patience in listening to the new music. “We gotta do this. We’re gonna play a couple of new tunes. By the way, you’re gonna fucking love ’em!” One of those new tunes was “A Good Place To Start,” which has major echoes of Cat Stevens. Also on tap from the new effort were “Now’s The Time,” “Over Me,” “Crushed” and the first single, “Right As Rain.”

Michelle Wilson

But new material wasn’t the only choice on the menu. Throwing it back to Dosage (1999), the boys dug deep and pulled out “Tremble For My Beloved.” “This is one we put back in the set list for this run. Hopefully I remember it,” Roland teased. They also did a killer version of “Heavy” and a very special performance of “Needs” off the same record during the main set. Roland brought up two fans who are also cancer survivors. He spoke at length about the women, pointing out that one had attended 55 Collective Soul shows. Following a false start, Roland and company restarted and pulled off a heart-wrenching execution of “Needs” as both ladies held the lyric sheets for Roland and even sang a bit. “My wife and brother said we need to play it. I’m like, fuck, man,” admitted Roland. As he played acoustic guitar and sang, standing between these two brave fighters at the mic, he joked “How cool am I right now?” There were lots of hugs, kisses, tears, and cheers, and it was just the thrill of a lifetime for these two diehards and a very tender moment indeed. “Thank you guys for letting me do this and once again, FUCK CANCER!” It’s defining moments such as this that endear this band to its long-standing fan base.

Michelle Wilson

Covering a wide range of their discography, the crowd also was treated to “Why Pt. 2,” “Better Now,” “Precious Declaration” and “AYTA (Are You The Answer?).” Of course, no Collective Soul show would be complete without the heavy hitters: “Shine,” “December,” “The World I Know” and “Gel.”

“I want to thank you for allowing us to live a dream for 25 years and releasing our tenth record. Thanks for allowing us to feel like family and friends this evening. We love this venue!” shared Roland sincerely.

Michelle Wilson

Closing it out with “Where The River Flows” and “Run,” the band members all moved to the front of the stage, kidding around with each other, waving, fist-bumping with fans and smiling the genuine smiles of a group of men who truly love what they do and who also love each other, but who also appreciate their fans. As Roland continued to play acoustic guitar and the adoring crowd belted out the chorus to “Run,” the band took their leave with another spectacular show in the books.

Michelle Wilson

Collective Soul continues to tour and I highly recommend that you catch their show if it comes nearby and grab their new record, Blood, which drops on June 21. It will be some of the best money you ever spend.

Check out the full gallery of photos from Rock Legends Photographers.

rocklegendsphotographers.smugmug.com/ROCK-CONCERT-PHOTOS/COLLECTIVE-SOUL-Capitol-Theatre-Clearwater-FL-4-19-19

www.collectivesoul.com

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Event Reviews

A Bowie Celebration – The David Bowie Alumni Tour

A Bowie Celebration – The David Bowie Alumni Tour

with Earl Slick, Charlie Sexton, Bernard Fowler, Cory Glover, Carmine Rojas and guests

Capitol Theatre; Clearwater, Florida • March 17, 2019

The David Bowie Alumni Tour rolled into Clearwater, Florida and stopped at the beautiful Capitol Theatre, an intimate venue not far from the ocean. The seasoned Bowie band members performed their show for a packed house on this particular evening. What these musicians offer is SO much more than a “tribute” show – several of them were members of various incarnations of Bowie’s backing bands at one time or another. Who better to pay homage to Bowie’s intellect, innovation and vision than members of his collective bands?

Mike Garson and Bernard Fowler

Michelle Wilson
Mike Garson and Bernard Fowler

On this leg of the tour, musicians included pianist Mike Garson, Bowie’s longest-standing band member, guitarists Earl Slick and Charlie Sexton, bassist Carmine Rojas, and vocalists Bernard Fowler (The Rolling Stones) and Cory Glover (Living Colour, Galactic). Also joining the lineup and keeping it a real family affair were drummer Lee John, percussionist/backup vocalist Imani Elijah, and backup vocalist Naia Kete. John is Slick’s son, while Kete is engaged to John and Elijah is Kete’s brother.

Taking the dimly lit stage at 7:40pm, Garson briefly chatted with the audience followed by the appearance of Fowler, and the two offered a stirring rendition of “Bring Me The Disco King,” a jazz-infused deep cut from the vast Bowie catalog off Reality (2003). Fowler’s vocal range is absolutely amazing and it was a joy to hear him sing Bowie’s material with Garson’s piano accompaniment. After the rest of the band settled in, Fowler continued on lead vocals with “Rebel Rebel,” “Moonage Daydream” and “Fame.”

Earl Slick

Michelle Wilson
Earl Slick

Bernard Fowler, Lee John, Cory Glover, Earl Slick and Carmine Rojas

Michelle Wilson
Bernard Fowler, Lee John, Cory Glover, Earl Slick and Carmine Rojas

Fowler, Glover and Sexton shared lead vocals throughout the evening, including double lead vocals. The diversity of the three singers’ styles and sounds created a wonderful vehicle for Bowie’s vision. Glover nailed “Young Americans,” “Changes” and “Ashes To Ashes,” while Sexton, whose voice is so eerily similar to Bowie’s that you could close your eyes and “almost” think it WAS Bowie, conquered “Space Oddity” and “Lazarus,” a cut off Bowie’s final record, Blackstar (2016). Sexton and Slick spent the entire show trading licks and having a ball.

Charlie Sexton and Corey Glover

Michelle Wilson
Charlie Sexton and Corey Glover

Charlie Sexton and Earl Slick

Michelle Wilson
Charlie Sexton and Earl Slick

Fowler returned with brilliant versions of “Cracked Actor,” “Diamond Dogs” and “Sweet Thing” followed by a blistering take on “I’m Afraid Of Americans” with Glover on dual lead vocals. The two also paired up to absolutely slay “Under Pressure,” with Glover positively nailing the Freddie Mercury falsettos.

Cory Glover, Earl Slick and Lee John on drums

Michelle Wilson
Cory Glover, Earl Slick and Lee John on drums

Earl Slick, Charlie Sexton and Lee John on drums

Michelle Wilson
Earl Slick, Charlie Sexton and Lee John on drums

At one point Garson kidded that he had played on thousands of records but that he gets emails every day about “this one f-cking song” – that song, of course, is “Aladdin Sane.” Garson’s famous solo on the title track of the 1973 Bowie record is still a fan favorite, and he told the crowd that he would be doing a different interpretation of it on this night. After he finished and received a standing ovation, he thanked the crowd for listening to all of those notes and joked once again that he gets a dollar a note. He was charming and personable, and the fans loved it. Glover’s vocals were equally enticing on “Aladdin Sane.”

The David Bowie Alumni Tour

Michelle Wilson
The David Bowie Alumni Tour

Rounding out the main part of the set with “Let’s Dance” (Sexton) followed by “Suffragette City” and “All The Young Dudes” (Sexton and Glover) complete with an audience sing-along, the two hours were over in an instant. The two-song encore featured Fowler and Garson on the poignant “Life On Mars,” during which the full house made not a single sound and after which another standing ovation was deservedly given. The only possible song that could end such a stirring evening had to be “Heroes,” and so it was. Somewhere up there Bowie was no doubt smiling down, basking in the glory of his ongoing legacy.

Check out the full gallery of photos from Rock Legends Photographers.

rocklegendsphotographers.smugmug.com/ROCK-CONCERT-PHOTOS/BOWIE-CELEBRATION-Clearwater-FL-3-17-19

www.abowiecelebration.com

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Event Reviews

The Magpie Salute

The Magpie Salute

Capitol Theatre; Clearwater, Florida and The Plaza Live, Orlando, Florida • February 9 and 10, 2019

Let’s just get this out of the way – The Magpie Salute is one of my absolute favorite bands on today’s music scene. Sometimes, it seems bad things happen for good reasons, and the disbanding of The Black Crowes in early 2015 may just have been one of those things. Rich Robinson wasted no time and moved quickly forward to create a band on his own terms. That band became The Magpie Salute, and even though the band’s lineup has streamlined to six members from ten, there is no mistaking the ever-present huge sound that still exists. In addition to Robinson, band members include guitarist Marc Ford and bassist Sven Pipien, both original members of The Black Crowes, as well as drummer Joe Magistro, keyboardist Matt Slocum and lead singer John Hogg. After touring throughout the United States, Europe and even Japan in support of their outstanding freshman studio release, High Water I, the group rounded out this run with a series of Florida dates culminating in a gig on Rock Legends Cruise VII. I was lucky enough to attend two of these Florida shows, and my only regret is that I couldn’t attend all of them.

Sven Pipien and Rich Robinson

Michelle Wilson
Sven Pipien and Rich Robinson


Marc Ford and Sven Pipien

Michelle Wilson
Marc Ford and Sven Pipien

Both two-hour, non-encore shows featured several cuts off High Water I interspersed with material from The Black Crowes catalog, individual side projects and various covers. Fans are well aware that the set list differs each night, which creates eager anticipation throughout the crowd. Both evenings included a midway acoustic set that featured Robinson, Ford and Hogg on such gems as “Christine’s Tune (Devil In Disguise)” (Gram Parsons/Chris Hillman/The Flying Burrito Brothers), “Girl From The North Country” (Bob Dylan) and “Sunday Night Buttermilk Waltz” (featuring only Robinson and Ford) off The Black Crowes’ Amorica. The acoustic trio also performed a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “You Found Me” off the new release, and Hogg’s vocals have never sounded better. His easy rapport with the crowd kept everyone laughing.

John Hogg

Michelle Wilson
John Hogg


Joe Magistro

Michelle Wilson
Joe Magistro

Other standout full band covers included “Rollin’ Over” (Steve Marriott/Ronnie Lane/Small Faces), “All Shook Up” (Otis Blackwell/Elvis Presley/The Jeff Beck Group), “Every Picture Tells A Story” (Rod Stewart/Ronnie Wood) and “What Goes On” (Lou Reed/The Velvet Underground). These were all fabulous, but there were two that kicked it up just a notch more. War’s “War Drums,” with Slocum’s intense keyboards and Robinson’s killer solo, even elicited a rare grin from Robinson himself. But the real highlight of the covers for me personally was “Laila, Part II” from the German progressive rockers, Agitation Free. With its unmistakable homage to The Allman Brothers Band, The Magpie Salute’s fourteen-minute opus complete with incendiary guitar solos was a thing of sheer aural beauty indeed.

Matt Slocum

Michelle Wilson
Matt Slocum

Digging deep into The Black Crowes vault, the crowd was treated to “What Is Home,” “Lay It All On Me,” “Been A Long Time (Waiting On Love),” “Halfway To Everywhere,” and “Hotel Illness” in Clearwater, while the Orlando show offered “Miracle To Me,” “Tied Up And Swallowed,” “Paint An Eight,” “She Gave Good Sunflower,” and “My Morning Song” in addition to the aforementioned “Sunday Night Buttermilk Waltz.”

“Send Me An Omen,” “For The Wind” and “Mary The Gypsy” off the new record really rocked the crowd as did Hookah Brown’s “Omission” (Robinson/Hogg). Ford’s brilliant “Smoke Signals” and “Shalimar Dreams” were also thrown into the mix. The Orlando fans got a possible sample off the forthcoming release, Highwater II, with the soulful cut, “I’m Only Lonely.”

John Hogg

Michelle Wilson
John Hogg

As more people begin to realize exactly who this band is and how amazing the players are, the fan base surely will continue to grow. There is a very loyal following and it was great to meet so many of those friends at these shows. I feel blessed to see this band in intimate venues, but I know they are destined for larger ones. Give High Water I a listen if you haven’t already, and take advantage of attending a show if the band comes through your area.

Check out both sets of photos from Rock Legends Photographers.

rocklegendsphotographers.smugmug.com/ROCK-CONCERT-PHOTOS/Tms

rocklegendsphotographers.smugmug.com/ROCK-CONCERT-PHOTOS/TMS-The-Plaza-Live-2-10-19

themagpiesalute.com

Categories
Event Reviews

Pixies

Pixies

with Fidlar

Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY • 1/19/2014

You have only to see the 2002 documentary, Gouge, to get how influential the Pixies were at the advent of ’90s alternative music. So when the Pixies announced an all-out worldwide tour for 2014, the slew of fans quickly swarmed into Port Chester, NY like bees to honey for this sold-out show.

Pixies

May Terry
Pixies

L.A. garage punk band, Fidlar (acronym for Fuck It Dog, Life’s a Risk), gave a brazenly good opening set, even if their charged guitar riffs with substance-snorting and brew-guzzling lyrics in songs like “Cheap Beer,” “Blackout Stout,” and “Cocaine” seem more appro for a Ty Segall event.

Fidlar

May Terry
Fidlar

The night however clearly belonged to the Pixies, who went onstage at around 9:15pm. Amid the dramatic backlighting from walled panels and colored floor lights, Pixies packed a 90 minute set and a two song encore with all of the classics from Come On Pilgrim, Surfer Rosa, Trompe Le Monde and their brilliant masterpiece, Doolittle. Also weaved in were the newer songs like “Indie Cindy,” “Andro Queen,” and “Blue and Green” from their last two releases, EP1 and EP2. Granted, Francis delivers tamer shrieks and shouts and there is a touch less mania from the early concerts of years past. The Pixies however have kept the overall spirit of what made them so great. And some songs like “Isla de Encanta” (from Come On Pilgrim) and “Debaser” were still incredibly energetic.

Paz Lenchantin

May Terry
Paz Lenchantin

Replacing Kim Deal on backing vocals and bass was Paz Lenchantin (of A Perfect Circle). Lenchantin played a mean bass and harmonized well with Francis, particularly on “Caribou” and “Where is My Mind.” She appeared more polished and almost had to work harder to mimic the off-kilter and pitchy voice characteristic of Deal. This comparison may be rather unfair as Lenchantin added a different slant of fem-sophistication to the band.

Joey Santiago

May Terry
Joey Santiago

Moreover, there’s no question that the celestial bodies of Pixies simply orbit around Black Francis. Yes, Santiago’s token reverberatingly dissonant guitar, Lovering’s driving beats, and Deal’s high pitched and breathy harmonies were landmarks of the Pixies sound. But the gravitational pull of Francis’ personality and voice is what truly holds the band’s identity together.

With a new bassist and two EP releases that received mixed reviews, it may be tough to wrestle fans away from the urge to stick with their favorite sing-alongs.

Black Francis

May Terry
Black Francis

But I’m with you, Pixies – keep pushing forward and ignore any backlash criticism that may shackle you to Doolittle, lest you get killed by 10 million pounds of nostalgic slush from New York and New Jersey. This is a show well deserving of die-hard fans and fresh listeners, serving up a balance of legendary and new songs from a great iconic band that dares to evolve.

Pixies: www.pixiesmusic.com/ep2-us