If I had to describe Friday night at The Commonwealth Room in three words, I’d have to say, Passionate, Energetic, and Emotional. The Alarm pulled no punches in their return to Salt Lake City. I was exhausted after the show, and I didn’t even perform! I don’t know how Mike Peters and the gang perform at that high a level night in and night out.
The Alarm opened their set with one of their many hit songs, “Rain in the Summertime”. It may as well have been the encore the way the crowd was roaring. They didn’t miss a beat with “Beautiful”, a song off of their latest album Equals, followed by “Strength”. I was impressed at just how well their new song fit with a couple of their classic favorites.
By: Justin Hicken w/ contributions by Hannah SpencerPhoto By: Kevin Rolfe
While they easily could have played to a much larger sold-out venue, The Goo Goo Dolls chose to keep things intimate Thursday night November 1st at The Depot in Salt Lake City. The 1,200 person-capacity room was the choice for The Goo Goo Dolls and it was extremely cozy. The Depot was jam packed! Chillier temperatures have hit Utah, and while it was tricky to stay warm in line outside The Depot, things really warmed up once you got inside the venue, and especially when the band took the stage.
The last time Noah Kahan was in Utah he opened for George Ezra. Just five months later, Noah played his own headlining, sold out show at The State Room. Things are really starting to happen for Noah and you could feel it in the crowd, and in his performance on Tuesday night.
The room went dark, and above the stage “Noah Kahan” appeared in neon lights. The audience roared and got louder still when Noah appeared from backstage. It seemed difficult for Noah to hide how much he enjoyed the applause. He might not have been trying. Can’t say I blame him. I would be smiling ear to ear if a sold out venue was cheering for me like that.
What would you say is the best way to stay warm as the temperatures here in Utah begin to drop? Bundle up? Throw a log into the fireplace? Hot cocoa? Those are all great ideas. I submit that the best way to get warm on a cool fall night is to see Jimmy Buffett in concert.
Buffett made his much-anticipated return to Salt Lake City and he made Vivint Smart Home Arena feel like a tropical paradise. ( Was going to say he turned Vivint Arena into Margaritaville, but seriously, how many times has that line been used when discussing his concerts?) Jimmy Buffett had been away from Utah for 27 years. The guy knows when to make his stops in Utah. He came to what was then the Delta Center when it was brand new and then returns to what is now Vivint Smart Home Arena after it’s completely renovated.
Is there anything better in live music than being blown away by a performance? I would venture to say, No. We all attend concerts because we’re going to see a band or musical artist that we like. But even when we’re expecting a good show, and to love the songs, there are those amazing times where things just go way beyond our expectations. That was my experience on Monday night with Jessie J. I’ve always loved her voice, and the few times I’ve seen her interviewed I’ve enjoyed her personality, but I never thought her concert would be this entertaining. On every level, I was entertained! I laughed, I was moved, I was excited, and overall I was impressed with the show.
Kiana Ledé was one of the support acts for Jessie J at The Depot on Monday night. In fact, she was first on the bill. When I heard this I was a little nervous for her because one, it’s never easy opening a show, and two, I was concerned that no one would be there yet. I then learned that her set would only be 15 minutes. I thought to myself ‘How can anyone make impact a show or make an impression in only 15 minutes?’ Well, as it turned out, I had nothing to worry about.
There was a small hiccup in getting me my press and photo passes. Because of this I was delayed and wasn’t in the performance area of The Depot when Kiana started her show. So I had no idea how many people were there. But I could hear them. If you’ve been to The Depot then you know that actual concert hall is up two flights of stairs. I was on the ground level, and I could hear the crowd. Fortunately, there was a monitor, so I could see Ms. Ledé on stage. She appeared from out of the dark in blue jeans, and what appeared to be a sheer robe. Her hair was long curly, and those locks were flowing!
I was introduced to Gregory Alan Isakov by my friend Justin. He used to talk to me about Gregory in a matter of way as if to assume that I knew who he was. He mentioned him in this way so often I started to think ‘This Isakov guy must be pretty good if Justin is just figuring that I know who this is.’. So I checked him out and I felt foolish for having not been familiar with him sooner.
I was really excited to be seeing Gregory for the first time at the beautiful Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City. I absolutely love the Eccles Theater. Having just celebrated its second anniversary in operation, the Eccles Theater has brought some great acts, both theatrical and in concert to our capital city. The sound is incredible in there. It’s perfect. There is something about a seated venue built for theatrical and orchestral performance that helps make the sounds of the strings come to life while the band is playing. There isn’t a bad seat in the venue, and I’ve been everywhere from the tippy top row to the front of the house, to the box seats on the side. I have yet to see a poor performance there.
When Sebastian Bach stepped out on to The Commonwealth Room stage, all of a sudden everyone in attendance time-warped back to the late 1980’s. I was standing at the front of the house waiting for the show to start, and I was talking to a man who had loved Sebastian Bach and his former band Skid Row since their inception. This was going to be his first time seeing him perform and he couldn’t have been more excited. If I was to guess, the man was in his late 50’s. Once the show started, I looked back at him and he looked as if he was in his twenties again. Of course, it was the way his eyes were looking at the stage, but it was crazy how youthful he all of a sudden looked.
Back in January when it was announced that Journey and Def Leppard would be playing together at Vivint Smart Home arena in September, I knew the wait would be long, that the anticipation would be high, but the show, when it finally got here, would meet all expectations. And did it ever. With two mega power hit machines like this, it was almost impossible not to know a song, or enjoy all three hours of music. It was an incredible night of music. I have seen both bands before, but never together. Seeing these two bands on the same lineup is an experience unto itself.
If you’ve ever seen Luke Bryan in concert you know a few things: 1. Women (and some men) will never tire of Luke shaking his booty, 2. There is no better place to people watch in the state of Utah (and I’ll explain why) and 3. It doesn’t matter if you know one Luke Bryan song or all of them, you know that Luke likes to sing about. Loving people, and drinking.
Luke Bryan draws from a number of areas to bring an outstanding performance for his fans. He may not be the strongest singer in country music, but people love his songs and performance so much that it just doesn’t matter. He may not be the next Glen Campbell when it comes to playing guitar. But who is? But he plays well enough to do an entire acoustic set in his shows, and no one is complaining. He may not be the world’s greatest dancer or booty shaker.. oh wait, he might be. His fans love the booty shake! I may not be the one to make that call. He really might be the best booty shaker. To his fans, he clearly is. Anyway, my point is, his combination of talents and his fan-friendly songs are why he once again played to a packed USANA Amphitheater.
As I mentioned, the people watching is amazing at a Luke Bryan concert. It has already been well reported that Luke’s booty and hip shaking are a major reason why his fans are there to see him. Because of this, the fan reaction to this is something to behold. The way these fans react to Luke’s moves is