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Concert Review: Eli Young Band, Ryan Follese, Jackie Lee and Brennin “Turn it On” in San Jose, California

November 6, 2016

Two hours sleep. Yes, I’m writing my latest concert review on only two hours sleep.

However, it was definitely worth it.

For the second night in a row, I was treated to an amazing show at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, California, featuring some great up-and-coming talent, as well as one of my all time favorites: The Eli Young Band. Joining the headliners were Ryan Follese, Jackie Lee and Brennin, and as with other KRTY-hosted shows, this one certainly did not disappoint.

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As the clock struck 9 o’clock, Brennin Hunt (Brennin) was the first artist to take the stage. Brennin is a singer, songwriter, producer and actor who hails from Harrah, Oklahoma. To chase his lifelong dreams, he moved to Nashville back in 2007 and soon after landed his first publishing deal. He began writing and performing songs for numerous television shows while touring and opening for artists across the United States and Canada.

If you like artists such as Thomas Rhett and Sam Hunt, with their blend of country and pop, then Brennin is right up your alley. Brennin gained notoriety in 2011 as a contestant on the first season of Simon Cowell’s “The X Factor” and again in 2015 when he made a guest appearance on ABC’s “Nashville”.

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Currently signed with William Morris Endeavor and Deluge Music Publishing, his latest song, “I Can’t Do This” appears on Vince Gill’s 2016 album Down To My Last Bad Habit. His self-titled, 6 song EP, is available now.

When Brennin first took the stage, I could hear all the girls around me talking about one thing: his looks. But what I noticed about Brennin was how he immediately engaged the crowd with his guitar and voice, while at the same time, showcasing great songwriting skills. Once he had finished his first song, the same girls who merely mentioned his looks just a few minutes earlier, were now saying that they were surprised that he wasn’t just another cute guy with a guitar. The guy is talented, that’s for sure!

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If you haven’t heard his music before, I recommend listening to songs such as his latest single “Lose My Cool”, “Slow Rise” and a favorite of the audience, “Strut”. Here’s his “Promo Performance” of “Lose My Cool”:

Make sure you check out his music on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Amazon. Also, keep up with him via his website or follow him on Twitter at @BrenninMusic and Facebook for his latest news and concert schedule.

After just a few minute respite, KRTY General Manager Nate Deaton took the stage to introduce the second act of the evening, Jackie Lee. Funny story here. Lee wasn’t even on the bill originally, but Deaton found himself sitting next to him on his flight back from the CMA Awards and invited him to play a few songs ahead of Eli Young Band and Ryan Follese. Naturally, he accepted.

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As background, Lee was only six years old when he stepped into a professional recording studio to cut songs with famed country songwriter, musician and producer Carson Chamberlain (Keith Whitley/ Easton Corbin). Lee’s father was a devoted fan of traditional country music, while his mother enjoyed pop hits from the 1980s. As a youngster, he  found himself influenced by everyone from Bob Seger to Justin Timberlake.

After high school, Lee headed to Nashville, and at the age of 19, he signed a recording contract with Republic Nashville. However the deal with Republic ended without the artist releasing anything for the label, and Lee was looking for another chance. He heard a demo of a song called “She Does,” and was curious about the tune until he was told Kenny Chesney had plans to record it. Chesney eventually passed on the tune, which worked out in Lee’s favor when he landed a new record deal with the independent Nashville label Broken Bow. Lee and his team decided “She Does” was the perfect song for his recording debut, and when his version was released in the fall of 2014, it soon landed on the Billboard Country Airplay charts.

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While the crowd was only treated to two songs on this evening, Lee certainly earned new fans. I would say that I was one of them, but that would be a lie. I actually became a fan of Lee’s at an earlier Rodeo Club performance. The guy can sing and he definitely knows how to make an impression on a crowd. I could hear folks all around me talking about how impressed they were with this young, up-and-comer.

His new single, “Getting Over You”, is just hitting country radio and made quite an impression on the audience. Make sure to keep an eye out for it and start requesting it right away. This song has what it takes to quickly climb the charts.

Take a listen:

Make sure you check out his music on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Amazon. Also, keep up with him via his website or follow him on Twitter at @JackieLeeMusic and Facebook for his latest news and concert schedule.

Next up was Big Machine Label Group recording artist Ryan Follese (pronounced “fall-uh-ZAY”). As I have mentioned in a couple of previous posts, I first came across Follese a little over a month ago when I heard KRTY promoting that he would be in San Jose opening up for both Cassadee Pope and Eli Young Band. I’m certainly glad that I didn’t miss either show because Follese is something special. When I talk about artists that you need to drop what you are doing immediately and take a listen to, Follese is one of them.

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For a little background, Follese  co-wrote each of the six tracks on his self-titled debut solo EP, the Ryan Follese EP, including “Put A Label On It,” which hit country radio in October as his first official single and, naturally, was the closing song of the evening. We were also treated to his summer vacation anthem “Float Your Boat.” While the aforementioned songs might have received the notoriety to date, we also had the opportunity to hear a few more, great tracks from the EP such as “Wilder“, “One Thing Right” and “Lose a Little Sleep“.

This might surprise you, but Follese originally hit it big on the pop scene. During his successful run fronting the band Hot Chelle Rae, Follese co-wrote their #1 hit “Tonight, Tonight” and toured around the globe, featuring arena dates with none other than Taylor Swift. What really stands out for me is how Follese has seamlessly transitioned from pop-rock to country music. I’ve seen a number of artists go the other direction, and a few that have tried to join the country ranks, but I have a feeling that we’ll look back in a few years and realize that Follese made the right decision.

It also doesn’t hurt that Follese grew up surrounded by the music of his country music songwriting parents, Keith and Adrienne. Their songwriting catalogue includes songs that he covered on this evening including Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That”, Faith Hill’s “The Way You Love Me” and Martina McBride’s “I Love You”.

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Watching Follese command the stage, it was clear that he is a polished artist who knows how to play the crowd. From the very first note, he had the crowd singing along to every note. That’s one thing that many country artists lack when they first launch their careers.

Make sure you check out his music on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. Also, keep up with him via his website or follow him on Twitter at @RyanFollese and Facebook for his latest news and concert schedule.

Finally, around 10:15 p.m., it was time for the main event of the evening: Eli Young Band. To give you a little background on the guys, Eli Young Band is composed of members who met while students at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. They include:

  • Mike Eli (vocals and guitar)
  • James Young (guitar)
  • Jon Jones (bass guitar)
  • Chris Thompson (drums)

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Mike Eli and James Young met at the University of North Texas and became dorm roommates their freshman year. They played guitar and eventually began writing and singing songs together. They originally formed the acoustic duo, Eli & Young, while attending school. Thompson and Jones joined them later on and the rest is history!

With the 2011 release of their Republic Nashville debut, Life at Best, the Eli Young Band scored their first No. 1 hit with the aforementioned “Crazy Girl.” The double platinum single became the most played country song of the year on Billboard’s 2011 year end chart. The band’s follow up single (and one of my all-time favorite songs), “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” became their second #1 and was certified platinum. It earned the band Grammy nods for Best Duo/Group Performance and for Best Country Song as well as Single of the Year and Song of the Year nominations from both the CMA and ACM.

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In recording 10,000 Towns, the Eli Young Band gathered songs from Nashville’s top songwriters, including Craig Wiseman, David Lee Murphy, Jon Randall and Will Hoge, and the band wrote half of the songs on the new album themselves. Their careful and detailed approach to writing and finding the very best songs for the new album paid off quickly as their first single off the album, “Drunk Last Night,” became the band’s third #1 hit. The second single, “Dust,” was the #1 most added song on the chart the first week with more than stations on board across the country. The song, my favorite on the latest album, is a rock-tinged number about a girl leaving small town life behind and taking charge of her future.

Their latest single, “Saltwater Gospel”, ranks up there (in my opinion) as one of their best songs to date. The song isn’t one of those Kenny Chesney toes-in-the-sand, beer-in-your-hand kind of summer anthem. It’s more like spending a Sunday morning at the “Church of the Beach”. And it works! Here’s the video, which by the way, was shot just down the road from me at one of my favorite places, Cannon Beach, Oregon:

Ok. So I’ve talked a lot about the band, their background, and their music. But this bears repeating: if you are looking for a legitimate, hard rocking, country band, then the Eli Young Band is it. There are not a lot of bands touring today who I can put in the same bucket as them. Their live show is a real treat. These guys give it their all from the very first note and don’t quite until their set is complete.

What I love is that they mix their new songs with the hits. They don’t shove a show full of new music down your throat, like many do these days. The band understands the needs and wants of their audience. They want to hear songs like “Even if it Breaks Your Heart”, “Dust”, “Crazy Girl”, “Drunk Last Night” and “Always the Love Songs”. They get it. Before they were country music superstars, they were country music fans. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t introduce you to new music. And that’s not a bad thing. They’ll even throw in a cover song or two. A little “Dust on the Bottle”. Some “Learning to Fly” from Tom Petty. I even heard some Fleetwood Mac guitar riffs. Nothing wrong with that at all.

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To summarize, the Eli Young Band tore down the house and the Rodeo Club will never be the same. I can honestly say that I got my money’s worth and more. There are not many acts currently on tour who put on a show like these guys. When they come to your town, make sure you check them out!

Also, you can find their entire catalog of music on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. You should definitely keep up with them via their website or follow them on Twitter at @EliYoungBand and Facebook for their latest news and concert schedule.

Finally, as always I have to give thanks to the staff at KRTY. Thank you to Nate Deaton, Julie Stevens, Tina Ferguson, Gary Scott Thomas, Randy Jones, Tony Michaels, Indiana Al, etc…for once again bringing the biggest and best talent to the South Bay. No one does it quite like you guys, and it is appreciated more than you could ever know!

Were you at the show? Have you seen Eli Young Band, Ryan Follese, Jackie Lee or Brennin live? Let me know your thoughts on these talented musicians in the comments section below.

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Cassadee Pope and Ryan Follese Bring the “Good Times” to San Jose, California

November 5, 2016

It’s always a treat for me to catch a show at the Rodeo Club when I’m in San Jose, California. Tonight was no different. The folks at KRTY always know talent when they see it and they only bring the best of the best when it comes to up-and-coming country artists.

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The night started off with Big Machine Label Group recording artist Ryan Follese (pronounced “fall-uh-ZAY”). I first came across Follese a little over a month ago when I heard the folks at KRTY promoting that he would be opening for both Cassadee Pope and the Eli Young Band in San Jose. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Follese is something special. When I talk about artists that you need to drop what you are doing immediately and take a listen to, Follese is one. I’ll tell you this: this live show made me an even bigger fan.

As a bit of background, Follese  co-wrote each of the six tracks on his self-titled debut solo EP, the Ryan Follese EP, including “Put A Label On It,” which hit country radio in October as his first official single and, naturally, was the closing song of the evening. We were also treated to his summer vacation anthem “Float Your Boat.” While the aforementioned songs might have received the notoriety to date, we also had the opportunity to hear a few more, great tracks from the EP such as “Wilder“, “One Thing Right” and “Lose a Little Sleep“.

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Here’s a tidbit on Follese that you may, or may not be aware of: he originally hit it big on the pop scene. During his successful run fronting the band Hot Chelle Rae, Follese co-wrote their #1 hit “Tonight, Tonight” and toured around the globe, featuring arena dates with none other than Taylor Swift. What really stands out for me is how Follese has seamlessly transitioned from pop-rock to country music. I’ve seen a number of artists go the other direction, and a few that have tried to join the country ranks, but I have a feeling that we’ll look back in a few years and realize that Follese made the right decision.

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It doesn’t hurt that Follese grew up surrounded by the music of his songwriter parents, Keith and Adrienne. Not a bad household to grow up in! Their songwriting catalogue includes songs that he covered on this evening including Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That”, Faith Hill’s “The Way You Love Me” and Martina McBride’s “I Love You”.

On this evening, Follese brought his “A” game and it was hard to believe that this show was his very first with his full band. By watching Follese command the stage, you could tell that he’s a polished artist who knows how to play the crowd. From the very first note, he had the crowd dancing, singing and clapping along to every note. That’s one thing that many country artists lack when they first launch their careers.

If you see Follese on the bill in your area anytime soon, don’t miss out. This is a guy destined for stardom in country music and you’ll want to catch him now before he starts selling out arenas. I’m telling you, the guy is good…very good!

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Also, if you haven’t checked out Follese before, make sure you check out his music on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. Also, keep up with him via his website or follow him on Twitter at @RyanFollese and Facebook for his latest news and concert schedule.

Whew. I need to take a breath after that. In fact, I had to do the same after his set because I had to prepare myself for the evening’s headliner, Big Machine Label Group recording artist Cassadee Pope.

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As background, Pope was previously the lead vocalist of the rock band Hey Monday, with whom she released one studio album and three EPs. Pope embarked on a solo career in early 2012, and released her self-titled Cassadee Pope EP in May 2012.

Where many country fans first remember her from is when she took part in the third season of The Voice where Pope found herself under the wing of coach Blake Shelton and became the first female winner of the competition. Her debut solo country album, Frame by Frame, was released in late-2013 and landed in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 charts and also debuted at #1 on the Top Country Albums, selling more than 40,000 copies in its first week.

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Pope toured extensively in support of the album, and spent much of 2014 on the road opening shows for headliners such as Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley. In 2015, Pope began work on her next recording project, and an advance single, “I Am Invincible,” appeared in July 2015. While the single failed to make the country singles charts, let me tell you, it was fantastic! Upon its release, it received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised Pope’s vocal range as well as the song’s blending of country elements and the rock styling of her time with Hey Monday.

In 2015, Chris Young chose Pope to collaborate with him on the track “Think of You” after hearing her perform. Before he released the song, Young stated that Pope’s voice was “amazing” — and apparently, the admiration between the two stars is mutual. The song has taken over country radio and hit #1 on the charts back in May. Seriously. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing it.

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Speaking of new music, Pope recently released her EP “Summer”. In talking with The Boot about the EP, Pope said:

“I would describe it as a collage of my personality. There’s so many different aspects of me and my colorful imagination, and all different aspects in one body of work. I’m excited for people to see different sides of me that they’ve never seen before.”

On this night, the crowd was treated to each of the songs on the new EP, including “Summer“, “Piano“, “Kisses at Airports” and “Alien“. Also on the setlist were “Good Times“, “Stupid Boy“, and crowd favorites “I Wish I Could Break Your Heart” and “Cinematic“. It’s funny, i don’t think Pope expected the audience reaction she received from “Cinematic”, but the rocking tune got a standing ovation from the San Jose crowd.

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Finally, the evening ended with my personal favorite, “Wasting All These Tears” which was the song that originally introduced me to Pope. While the song received mixed to favorable reviews from a number of music critics, I’ve always felt that this is a fantastic song that demonstrates the passion that she brings to her music. Every time I hear the song on the radio, I feel as if I can directly relate to those being depicted in the song.

That’s what a great song is supposed to do, right?

It’s hard to come up with a way that I can describe Pope’s performance. She is an amazing, amazing singer who has one of the greatest voices I’ve ever heard on the Rodeo Club stage. I truly believe that in Cassadee Pope, you have the next Carrie Underwood, ready to take the country music scene by storm. And I, for one, cannot wait to hear what is next from this talented young woman.

Make sure you check out her music on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. Also, keep up with him via her website or follow her on Twitter at @CassadeePope and Facebook for her latest news and concert schedule.

As I sit here in my hotel room, reminiscing on another great night of country music, I have to give thanks to KRTY. As always, thank you to Nate Deaton, Julie Stevens, Tina Ferguson, Gary Scott Thomas, Randy Jones, Indiana Al, etc…for once again bringing the best in up-and-coming talent to the South Bay.

Were you at the show? Have you seen Cassadee Pope or Ryan Follese live? Let me know your thoughts on these talented musicians in the comments section below.

Man Buys Billboard…Announces Ex-Girlfriend’s Abortion

June 7, 2011

A New Mexico man purchased a billboard to denounce his ex-girlfriend for having an abortion against his wishes. According to the Alamogordo Daily News, county domestic violence court officials have ordered that the sign be taken down.

From the New York Daily News:

Greg Fultz, 35, put up a billboard in mid-May that shows him cradling the black silhouette of a baby with the message, “This Would Have Been a Picture of My 2-Month Old Baby If the Mother Had Decided To Not KILL Our Child!”

The towering sign is next to the main road through Alamogordo, N.M., where Fultz lives.

Fultz’s ex-girlfriend, Nani Lawrence, took him to court for harassment and violation of privacy.

LFO Singer Dies of Leukemia

September 9, 2010

Rich Cronin, lead singer of the 1990s boy band LFO, has died at the age of just 36 after battling Leukemia.

Most will remember the band for songs such as “Girls on TV” and “Summer Girls”.

From CNN:

Cronin was diagnosed with leukemia in 2005 and underwent chemotherapy, said band mate Brad Fischetti.

The leukemia returned in 2007 and 2008, and doctors treated it with a stem cell transplant, Fischetti said.

Cronin suffered a stroke, an adverse reaction to the treatment, and was left with severe pain in his leg, according to Fischetti.

He did not know whether Cronin was battling leukemia again when he died Wednesday in a Massachusetts hospital.

Chesney Rocks…Sugarland Walks!

July 19, 2009

Last night, Kenny Chesney once again demonstrated why he is the greatest entertainer in country music today. Unfortunately, he needed this performance to help appease a very upset crowd at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Chesney returned to the Bay Area last night with his Sun City Carnival Tour which included supporting acts Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert. I would say Sugarland, but, well…they ONCE AGAIN had to cancel a Bay Area show. To quote a gentleman sitting behind me last night, “maybe they should skip the Bay Area every time, and let the real talent shine.” I won’t go that far, as they are a great band, but why us again?

The crowd was greeted with signs saying that singer Jennifer Nettles has lost her voice in the recording studio. (Thank you to Are You Breathing for the photo…I forgot to take one!)

No Sugarland at AT&T Park

No Sugarland at AT&T Park

Huh? Weren’t they playing with Keith Urban just the night before? I don’t get it. For those of you going to the Staples Center tonight, I heard that Lady Antebellum will be replacing Sugarland as well. I was told by others in attendance that Sugarland did a sound check prior to the show and decided that they should not perform due to the strain on Nettles vocal chords. So, why did the signs state that she lost her voice in the recording studio? Just a question. I’m told she was great last night!

Back to the concert. I have to say one thing about AT&T Park: this is NOT a great place to see a concert. The venue is great for baseball and even for the Emerald Bowl in college football. The park has a great selection of food and good people working both the concessions and guest relations, but the acoustics for a concert are lousy. The entire night, it was difficult to hear what the performers were saying and there was a constant echo during the entire show.

Lady Antebellum took the stage first at about 5:50 p.m. (about 20 minutes late) with a fun set that included all of their hits including: I Run To You, Lookin’ For a Good Time and Love Don’t Live Here Anymore. I really enjoyed a new song they played. I think it’s called I Need You Now. It’s slow but I absolutely love the lyrics! Watch for it to be their next radio hit!

They also paired some classic rock songs which was an excellent addition to the set, especially a rendition of AC-DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long. The band currently has the number one song on the Billboard charts and after seeing them perform live for the first time, I see a bright future ahead for them. They have a great stage presence and don’t look like newcomers. They look more like polished professionals! I’ll tell you one thing, by next year, they’ll be headlining shows like this. They have the talent and passion to be HUGE in this business. I predict great things (and numerous CMA/Grammy awards this year). Mark my word. They may have stolen the show!

Next up was Miranda Lambert. A former Nashville Star contestant, Lambert did her best to entertain the crowd, who at times seem disinterested in her set because of a few fights in the crowd (two in our section, section 104) as well as the cold wind that whipped up throughout the event. Say what you will, I thought that her band was entertaining and people may not have enjoyed as much as they should have due to the acoustics at AT&T Park. Loved the band members mohawk by the way!

Her set included: Kerosene, Me and Charlie Talking, Famous in a Small Town and concluded with Gunpowder and Lead. Probably the highlight of her set was the intimate More Like Her which was soft, sincere and very emotionally driven. I feel that Lambert is a good performer and has a lot of talent, but just isn’t quite ready for the stadium shows just yet (just give her a little more time…there is a lot of talent in Lambert and her band!). I really wish Blake Shelton was accompanying her for this show. I think together, they could have rocked the park!

Following Lambert was ANOTHER long, break in between sets, courtesy of Sugarland. I’ll bring this up again, I, as well as many in attendance were VERY upset with another Sugarland cancellation. Like many others, I spent a lot of hard earned money during tough economic times to take my wife to this show. We both love Kenny Chesney, but she came for Sugarland. To not see them perform was a complete downer for the entire evening. I have the latest Sugarland CD, unopened, which I may return to the store today. Sugarland, you broke my wife’s heart last night, for the second time. Once at Shoreline and now once at AT&T Park.

Thank god for Kenny! Chesney’s 90 minute set nearly saved the entire evening for us. Chesney brings such passion to his music, and his concerts, which has brought the reputation as the best performer in country music today. Yes, Carrie Underwood may be the reigning Entertainer of the Year, but I have seen both, and unless I get a date with Carrie afterwards, Chesney is by far the better live performer.

He entered the stadium in style, from a flying chair which floated above the crowd during his opening song Live Those Songs. His set list was, as always, top notch including: Summertime,  Beer in Mexico,  Keg in the Closet, Out Last Night,  Big Star, No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems , I Go Back / Anything But Mine,  Down the Road, Never Wanted Nothing More, Back Where I Come From, Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, When the Sun Goes Down, Don’t Happen Twice, She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy and Don’t Blink (encore). For the most part, the set was party anthem after party anthem, with just a sprinkling of a few ballads intertwined nicely.

What I love about Chesney is that he loves what he does, and it shows in his concerts. Chesney knows how to work a crowd and the crowd always knows how to respond. I was slightly disappointed that Chesney did not interact with the fans as much as he typically does. The songs were great but they were one after another with hardly any segue in between.

An especially loud cheer came up during “Back Where I Come From” when the video monitors flashed photos of the San Francisco Bay Area and of local San Francisco teams the San Francisco Giants and 49ers. He did this last year as well but it’s always a nice touch 🙂

The show was good, but not great. I can not compare this year to last year’s concert which included supporting acts Luke Bryan, Gary Allan, LeAnn Rhimes and Brooks and Dunn. Last year’s show also included special guests Steve Miller and Sammy Hagar. Last years show was one of the best concerts I have ever been to in all of my 31 years, so I knew going into this years that it would be hard to live up to.

I love Kenny Chesney, but I wish that something could have been done to compensate concert goers for the lack of Sugarland (again). Yes, the opening acts did longer sets, but (and I mean no disrespect in this statement) I didn’t pay my money to see extra Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert. I would have loved to have seen some of the band from the Beach Ball Free for All, including Trailer Choir and Love and Theft, make an appearance on stage. A short, 3-5 song set by Trailer Choir would have done it for me! The concert organizers had these bands at their disposal. Why wouldn’t you find a way to get them on stage to at least help fill the time caused by the loss of Sugarland?

Overall, a good show, but not worth the price of admission this year. Chesney is amazing, and I know that I’ll probably be back next year, but if the economy continues to remain as it is, I’ll be much more inclined to miss the stadium shows, and concentrate on my favorite intimate gatherings at the Rodeo Club. Looking forward to the next one, KRTY!

If you went to the show, I want to hear your thoughts as well. What did you think? Worth the price you paid? Were you disappointed by a lack of Sugarland?

Be sure to check out the San Jose Mercury News for their review of the show.

The Police Ride Off Into the Sunset

August 10, 2008

151 shows later and $358,825,665 richer, The Police have wrapped up their final tour, capping it off with a final performance at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Thursday night. The band played many of their all time greatest hits on their set list including: Message in a Bottle, Wrapped Around Your Finger, Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, Roxanne and Every Breath You Take. They also played covers of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” and Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love”. The tour was the third highest grossing tour of all time according to Billboard Magazine.

From the article:

The final gross puts it only behind the Rolling Stones’ 2005-2007 A Bigger Bang tour ($558 million), and U2’s 2005-2007 Vertigo tour ($389 million), and ahead of the Stones’ 1994-95 Voodoo Lounge tour ($320 million), according to Boxscore.

Bassist/vocalist Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland began the proceedings with a surprise cover of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.” Afterward, the New York Police Department band augmented normal set-opener “Message in a Bottle.”

There was only an intermittent amount of sentimentality to the show, with Sting at one point telling the crowd, “It’s been a huge honor to get back with my good friends. The real triumph of this tour is that we haven’t strangled each other — that doesn’t mean it hadn’t crossed my mind.”

The tour, the band’s first live performances since 1986, began May 28, 2007, in Vancouver and sold 3,300,912 tickets from 146 shows, plus five festivals, according to Live Nation.

Here is the set list from the MSG show:

“Sunshine of Your Love”
“Message in a Bottle”
“Walking on the Moon”
“Demolition Man”
“Voices Inside My Head” / “When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around”
“Don’t Stand So Close to Me”
“Driven To Tears”
“Hole in My Life”
“Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”
“Wrapped Around Your Finger”
“De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”
“Invisible Sun”
“Can’t Stand Losing You” / “Reggatta de Blanc”

Encore one:
“Purple Haze”
“Roxanne”
“King of Pain”
“So Lonely”
“Every Breath You Take”

Encore two”
“Next To You”

I never had the opportunity to see The Police live. A major part of that may have been the high ticket prices for this final tour. If only we could go back to the days when you could actually afford to go see your favorite bands play. Thoughts?