Category Archives: Concert Reviews

Long Jams – Keller Williams at City Winery (November 8, 2018)

Keller Williams is a goofy kind of guy. His song titles are evidence of this. “Doobie In My Pocket”, “Fat B”, and “Freaker By the Speaker” are just a few of them.  During his show, he mostly plays acoustic guitar, but he also uses a sample pad and he sits down at the piano a few times this night. A major part of his set is the long jams with the bassist. This improvised music draws the audience in and they are transfixed until the show ends, and as they suddenly realize that three hours have passed!

Cost of a ticket: $45

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Check out City Winery’s calendar for what’s next!

Quinn Delaney

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A Living Legend: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons at the Auditorium Theatre (November 3, 2018)

At 84 years old, Frankie Valli is no spring chicken. But with his performance on Saturday, he sounds as great as ever. Especially impressive is his ability to still sing falsetto. However, the one thing he can’t do is rap. He demonstrated his rap skills while joking about what type of songs he should sing for his new album. Eventually, he decided to do covers of hits from the 60s, which was a good call. He sang “Spanish Harlem” by Ben E. King and “My Girl” by The Temptations.

As an intro to a song, he mentioned that he co-wrote the next song with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. The disco sound of the Bee Gees can definitely be heard in this song, “Grease”.

During “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, he lowered the microphone and let the audience take the lead. Everyone sang joyfully “I love you baby, and if it’s quite alright, I need you baby, to warm the lonely night.” Another highlight was “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)”. Truth be told, almost every song was a highlight. He has so many hit songs it’s hard to fathom. See one of his most recent setlists here.

The acoustics at the Auditorium continue to be outstanding. Even all the way up in the balcony, every word Valli sings is clearly audible. It’s also a beautiful view from up there.

The four backup singers were absolutely fantastic. Landon Beard, Todd Fournier, plus brothers Brandon and Brian Brigham provide solid harmonies all night along with exceptional solos. They are essential to the songs, which is why they are a favorite among acapella groups.

Cost of a ticket: $95

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It!

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

 

Catch Jersey Boys at the Auditorium Theatre in April 2019!

Quinn Delaney

Vaudeville! Porchlight Music Theatre Presents Gypsy at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts (Through November 25, 2018)

Rose is on a mission to make her daughters become famous performers. June seems to have a knack for it and shines as a young star. Louise, on the other hand, is more the comic relief. Together they strive for success in the 1920’s vaudeville circuit.

Just like their previous show, Memphis, the show size is very impressive. There are 55 people in the cast and 6 musicians in the band. It’s of a Broadway worthy scale in the very intimate space of The Ruth Page Center for the Arts which only seats 218! Each member of the cast gets their time in the spotlight in the series of vaudeville performances throughout the night.

The star of the show is E. Faye Butler, who is excellent as Rose. In the play, her character wishes she could have been the star and that her talents were underutilized. The same can be said for Butler in this show who has a few great songs and leaves the audience wanting more. Jillian-Giselle is excellent as Young Louise which leads perfectly into Daryn Whitney Harrell as older Louise. Early on she is hilarious as the fumbling sidekick, but then she blossoms into a star.

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Get tickets now for Gypsy through November 25th!

Cost of a ticket: $60

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

New Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Commentary Videos! The Joffrey Ballet Presents Swan Lake at The Auditorium Theatre (Through October 28, 2018)

In 1875, Pyotr Ilyich Tchiaikovsky was commissioned to write a full evening ballet. The first performance of Swan Lake took place in 1877. The Joffrey Premiere took place in 2014. And now, in 2018, it returns to the Auditorium Theatre.

Sometimes, a performance leaves you grasping for words. Graceful, athletic, and powerful come to mind. They make it look so easy, but it is very difficult. In the Stage Notes videos, they discuss the hours of rehearsal and the physical intensity of the performances. It’s a cool look behind the scenes.

It would be interesting to see this live performance with surtitles describing what is happening or with a running commentary, like in these videos.

Get tickets now for Swan Lake through October 28th!

 

Quinn Delaney

Also, see our review of Midsummer Night’s Dream here.

Something to Prove! Lindsey Buckingham at Athenaeum Theatre (October 17, 2018)

When you go to see musicians who first gained fame back in the 70s, there is always a chance they are just doing a victory lap and they aren’t really excited about the music anymore. This is definitely not the case with Lindsey Buckingham. His live show is full of energy and excitement. Also, he has something to prove since he was kicked out of Fleetwood Mac, according to the lawsuit he filed against the band.

“Been down one time / Been down two times” he sings on “Never Going Back Again”. “I’m never going back again!” and he nods to the audience in a clear comment on his current situation with Fleetwood Mac. The issue is a clear undercurrent of the night. It comes up again when he says that Warner Brothers wants to make a greatest hits compilation of his solo work. He notes that he doesn’t like to look back and prefers to look forward with a wink.

Along with his solo songs, he mixes in some great Fleetwood Mac songs including “Go Your Own Way”. Buckingham’s enthusiasm was strong for the entire show. He goes into a really great groove on “I’m So Afraid” as he shreds the solo. Afterwards, he pumps his fists in triumph. He’s one of the greatest performers of our time and it’s an absolute pleasure to watch him in action, especially in the intimate space of the Athenaeum Theatre.

See the full setlist here.

Quinn Delaney

Excellent! Hudson Taylor opening for Hozier at the Riviera Theatre (September 21, 2018)

Despite waiting in a line that was two blocks long, the crowd is in good spirits as Hudson Taylor takes the stage. The band is full of energy and enthusiasm as they launch into their set.  It’s contagious and the crowd quickly gets into their music. Harry and Alfie Hudson-Taylor, the lead singers, are brothers from Dublin, Ireland. Alfie is especially energetic while playing the tambourine and singing his heart out.

 

They have put together a great band for this tour that really shines. Each time a new member gets a solo, the crowd cheers. The band consists of Tadhg Walsh Peel on violin and mandolin, Oisin Walsh Peelo on piano and whistle, Holly Hudson Taylor on vocals, Jonny Colgan on percussion, and Ronan Sherlock on bass. After this great performance, it’s clear they will be back to headline their own show!

Hozier also rocked the house. See our previous review of them here.

Cost of a ticket: $50

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It!

New Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

 

Quinn Delaney

Storytelling and Singing: John Popper of Blues Traveler at City Winery (September 18, 2018)

15 minutes after 8, John Popper comes up on stage. He is joined by Ben Wilson on piano. To start off the night, they play “Cara Let The Moon”. It’s a beautiful song that is perfect for the setup of a duet. Popper’s vocal skills are on full display and everyone has a good view at the City Winery, a very intimate venue.

Later on, he tells a story about the first time they heard their song on the radio. The band was touring in a van and they heard the song start to play. Only, it wasn’t their recording! It was a Coors commercial that had stolen their song. “And I can’t tell you what happened next,” smirks Popper as the audience laughs. He goes on to play the song they stole, “But Anyway”.

In between songs, an audience member yells out, “What is your favorite Bobby Sheehan memory?” Sheehan was the founding Blues Traveler bassist who died from an overdose in 1999. After thinking out loud for a bit, Popper shares it was Bobby’s ability to be so observant that he seemed to be psychic in his ability to notice the smallest things.

Toward,the end of the night, Popper says “I forgot to prostitute myself!” He goes on to mention his book, Suck and Blow: And Other Stories I’m Not Supposed to Tell. It’s very appropriate that he is promoting a book rather than an album as he talks just about as much as he sings tonight.

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To close out the set, John sings “It doesn’t matter what I say, as long as I sing with inflection.”  It’s the start of “Hook”, and everyone shows a smile on their face. The harmonica solo on this track is legendary. Also, the fast-paced singing is quite the feat.

Quinn Delaney