Paul Simon – Key Arena – Seattle : May 18th 2018

Paul Simon always puts on a great show. His voice and sound is still as amazing as it was when I first heard him on that all all time awesome album, Simon & Garfunkel Concert in Central Park.

The crowd at Key Arena was very energetic but yet subdued, which was ideal for just sitting back and listening to some great old classics. He opened up at just after 8:00pm with America followed by 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. He played his main set and then two encores with his 14 member band and then a third encore with just him and his guitar. My favorites for the night were Kodachrome, The Boxer and of course The Sound of Silence. All in all, he played for just about two and a half hours and played songs spanning his whole career and definitely all the greats.

It is sad to know that this is his last tour and we won’t have the chance to hear him perform all of these songs live again, but he did mention that he wasn’t sure what he was planning in his retirement, and that he loves performing, so who knows…he may put on some live shows sometime in the future, and we can always hope that he and Art Garfunkel decide at one point to have a reunion show or two…we can always hope.

Elton John – Caesar’s Palace – Las Vegas : May 12th 2018

An awesome show last night at Caesars Palace. Elton never disappoints and last night was no exception. He is so energetic and always engaged with the audience. You can definitely tell that he absolutely loves performing for his fans.

Toni and I have seen the “Million Dollar Piano” show before (about 2 years ago) when he was doing the residency back then and wanted to see the show one last time before he hangs it up. This was the end of his current residency and his last Saturday night show, so it was very special. Even his long time writing partner Bernie Taupin was in the audience last night.

The set-list was the standard set opening up with The Bitch is Back (an audience favorite), followed by Bennie and the Jets and then Rocket Man (one of my all time favorites). A great set of awesome classics which I never tire of hearing.

Oh.. I have to apologize for the low quality of the photos… I opted to use my new iPhone X and the camera sucks…sorry.

We were fortunate enough to have seats in row four and were able to get on stage while he was performing Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting! This was an incredible experience. Although we could not get right up close, we were able to get close enough for me to take a little video which I posted to YouTube (see below).

Three Dog Night – Emerald Queen Casino – Tacoma WA : November 11th 2017

One of my first favorite bands. Their album Joy to the World – Three Dog Night – Their Greatest Hits was the first album I ever bought. I remember taking it to school when I was in 5th grade and my teach was somewhat of a hippie who had a record player in the classroom and played music during class. His favorite artists at the time to play were Jim Croce and The Carpenters,  but he let us listen to my Three Dog Night album which was awesome.

They put on one hell of a show. Much better than I had anticipated as many times the older the band, the more challenging it is for them to sound “like they used to”, but these guys hit it spot on, song for song they played all of their hits and it brought me back to the playground of my 5th grade youth. I realize that their line-up has changed a bit, but between Danny Hutton (Vocals) and Michael Allsup (on guitar), they brought back all that vibe from so many years ago.

My favorite songs of the night were (my all time favorite) Never Been to Spain and of course One, Mama Told Me Not to Come, Play Something Sweet and of course Joy to the World which was their final encore song of the night.

Eric Clapton – The Forum – Los Angeles : September 18th 2017

The Eric Clapton show at the Forum in Los Angeles last night was absolutely epic!

The forum is a cool venue because they open up and let you come into the venue (not actually to your seats) and enjoy a few hours of food and drinks and first shot at merchandise shopping and not have to wait in any huge long line like at so many other shows/ venues. The door were scheduled to open at 6:30 and I was able to get in at 5:00, get all the Merch my wallet would bear and a couple humongous $13 beers before heading to my seat…also had a chance to meet and talk with other fans, telling stories and comparing concert memories…very nice arrangement.

The show opener was Jimmie Vaughan who was incredible and even did a rendition of his brothers hit Texas Flood. He and his band played for about 45 minutes before Gary Clarke Jr and his band came on and absolutely tore it up. I have never seen or heard of Gary Clark Jr before and wonder what rock I have been living under. Definitely one of the best Texas blues rock guitarists and performers I have seen or heard in a long time. He and his band played about an hour set ending just before 9:00pm.

Eric Clapton hit the stage a little after 9:00 and tore it up for a strong two hour set ending just before 11:00. His set covered the 50+ years of writing and performing from hits like White Room from the days of Cream to Layla from Derek and the Dominos to some classic blues songs like I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man (Willie Dixon), Cross Road Blues and Little Queen of Spades (Robert Johnson) and his opening song Somebody’s Knocking (J.J. Cale) and many more. A few of my favorites of the night were Tear in Heaven which has always been one of my favorites, but in the version he played last night, he gave it a little up-beat Jamaica sound making it unique without losing the feeling it has. I really enjoyed I Shot the Sherrif and Lay Down Sally and for some reason, the crowd just goes bonkers whenever he plays Cocaine. The show last night definitely had more electric and more vintage rock guitar and visuals to it than when I saw him a few years ago. This really came through with White Room and Cocaine which were just as much or maybe a little harder than the original versions heard so many years ago. The single encore was Before You Accuse Me with Jimmie Voughan and Gary Clark Jr. joining Eric and the band on stage for an incredible blues guitar extravaganza. A perfect song to end the night with.

I had about 3 hours of sleep after the show before I had to get up for a 6:00am flight back to Seattle, but the experience of seeing this legend again, for which many people are saying it might be his last tour, was very well worth the burn and drag I am feeling tonight.

Below is a little 5 minute compilation video I put together with segments of some of the songs from the show last night.

Pete Townshend (Classic Quadrophenia) : The Greek LA – September 16th 2017

An incredible show at an incredible venue. I have never been to the Greek Theater before and it is an amazing little venue. It is a small, 5,900 seat outdoor theater situated in the hills in Griffen Park. The weather was perfect last night with the early evening temps around 72 degrees and then cooling down to about 65 degrees or so. The sound was amazing even from the pit seats up close to the stage…I would imagine the sound would be better a little further back to get the full benefit of the speakers, but I don;t think there is a bad seat in the house. Definitely would come back to this venue again.

I was fortunate enough to buy the VIP package tickets which included a pre-show sound check, full open bar and very delicious heavy horse devours. The sound check was good, but as the sun was beaming right on the stage they could only open the curtains for the final song, the rest of the sound check was behind the big heavy red curtain, which was fine as it was just the orchestra, choir and a little bit of Alfie Boe singing. Pete did come out and apologize for having to keep the curtains closed due to the band not being able to read their sheet music with the bright sun. It was worth it though, as Pete Townshend and Billy Idol came out and performed The Real Me…that was a real treat!

The show started promptly at 8:00 and played the full Quadrophenia album from side to side with a short intermission between “sides”. This production was very powerful and unique. I have seen the Who perform Quadophenia before and that was more just a rock show (all be it an incredible rock show), but hearing the music of a full orchestra and choir along with the very powerful voice of Alfie Boe (a Tony award winning Broadway tenor) and the surprisingly good vocals and stage theatrics of Billy Idol. This was definitely a show to remember.

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