David Archuleta December 10, 2018 UCCU Center Orem, Utah

By: Kevin Rolfe 

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

In case you hadn’t heard, Utah loves David Archuleta.  So much so that he scheduled five stops throughout Utah on his Winter in the Air Tour.  Last night I saw thousands of adoring fan scream their hearts out at the UCCU Center in Orem. If you can believe it,  David was the runner-up on American Idol ten years ago. But I don’t think his popularity here in Utah will ever fade no matter how far we get from Archuleta’s epic showdown with David Cook.

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Jim Gaffigan December 7, 2018 Vivint Arena

By: Kevin Rolfe

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

Stand up comedy is an art form that fascinates me.  The ability to stand in front of a group of strangers and cause them to naturally react to something you’re saying with laughter totally blows my mind.  I truly marvel at the nerve these people have. I don’t know how they do it. I think it must be the scariest, riskiest in terms of failure potential, and therefore the most rewarding art form out there.  When a comic bombs, it’s just them out there. There aren’t other bandmates that they can share in their tanking with. It’s just them. But when done right, what can be better than having an entire comedy club crying laughing because of something you said.  Then imagine having an entire theater cracking up at something you said. Then imagine having an entire arena, filling a venue with thunderous laughter because of something you said. That’s how it was on Friday, December 7, at Vivint Smart Home Arena with Jim Gaffigan.  

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The Lower Lights 9th Annual Christmas Show December 3, 2018 Kingsbury Hall

By: Kevin Rolfe

The first time I heard about The Lower Lights was right after one of their run of Christmas shows here in Salt Lake City.  By the reaction of the people I was talking to, I could tell I had totally missed out on something special.

So three years ago I made sure to check out their show, which happened to be their first time at Kingsbury Hall.  If you’ve seen The Lower Lights, you’ll understand that it immediately became a Christmas tradition for me. I enjoy their concerts so much that I see two of their shows during their week-long run. If you’ve never seen them, then there is still time to see them this year.  I’m confident it will become a tradition for you as well.

I don’t know how these do it.  With band members coming from Nashville, Austin, St. George, and somewhere in Wyoming, let alone the ones that actually live locally involved with jobs, families and solo projects, there is no way they have as much time to rehearse as much as they’d like.  But they always sound great. I suppose the fact that this is their ninth year doing their Christmas show has helped them know how to relearn these songs quickly.

Like in past reviews, because I’m reviewing the opening night, and they have more shows to go, I’m not going to mention any of the songs they’re performing.  I think one of the best parts of a concert is the element of surprise. So I don’t want to spoil any of the show for those still planning on attending.  Which should be all of you.  

While voices were strong, and instruments were played brilliantly, I’m sure the member’s of the band would agree that this wasn’t the smoothest show they’ve ever done.  But in my opinion, it added to the charm of the show. There is such a casual air and a fun loving nature within this band that no misstart, feedback, or flubbed lyric hurt the performance at all.  They seemed to take any mistake in stride and make a joke, or just self-correct and move on.

The Lower Lights are a band with twenty members that at one point or another recorded at June Audio Recording Studios in Provo, Utah.  June Audio owner Scott Wiley brought them together for a recording project and The Lower Lights began. Some members come and go, but it appears as if the core group remains.  The Lower Lights have redefined what it means to be a “local artist”. If by local artist, you mean a band filled with amazing talent that wouldn’t surprise you if they were a professional band touring America, then yes, they’re a local artist.  I prefer to refer to them as a mega-talented Americana Orchestra that we are lucky to have to ourselves here in Utah.  

Monday night crowds are known for not always being the best.  But this crowd felt more like a weekend audience. The first upbeat song The Lower Lights played and the crowd rose to their feet.  They were up on their feet for many of the songs throughout the night. This is the type of show that you want to stomp your feet and clap along to.  When I looked around the theater I didn’t see people clapping their hands. They were throwing their hands together with vigor. I wouldn’t be surprised if people went home with bruises on their palms. They were hitting their hands together that hard! But I get it, it’s virtually impossible to not clap along to this infectious music.

As the concert progressed I noticed that up in the front of the theater there was a group of about six or eight children who were dancing and waving their arms in the air.  It was really cute, and they were a blast to watch. The band noticed them and towards the end of the show, they brought these children on stage. It was such a fun part of the night, and great on the spot thinking from the band.  I thought that they might have been some of the band members kids, but I was told following the show that they weren’t related to the band. I’m sure it was nice to know that there is a new generation of Lower Lights fans.

If you have never seen The Lower Lights in concert, I cannot recommend it more.  For me, it’s not until after seeing them that my holiday season actually begins. The show is a lot of fun. But it’s also heartfelt, spiritual, poignant at times, and hopeful.  Whatever your experience is this holiday season, there is a message for you at this concert.

For more information on obtaining tickets to this show go to…

www.thelowerlights.com

Metallica November 30, 2018 Vivint Arena Salt Lake City

By: Kevin Rolfe

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

November 30, 2018, was a historic night for Vivint Smart Home Arena.  Not only did Metallica make their return to the venue, and Utah, after a ten-year absence, but they also set the arena’s post-renovation attendance record with 17,574 fans showing up for the concert.  And I believe it! I don’t think I’ve seen that place so packed!

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Andrea Bocelli November 29, 2018 Vivint Arena Salt Lake City

By: Kevin Rolfe

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

We really classed things up over here at Utah Concert Review last night.  Vivint  Smart Home Arena was transformed into an opera house, and we attended Andrea Bocelli’s first ever concert in Utah.  He has such a strong fan base here in Utah that it was surprising that he had never played here before. Well, it was well worth the wait.  Bocelli’s fans were out in full force packing the arena for their favorite tenor’s debut in Utah.

Before I get into the concert itself, I have to mention some things about the audience and the venue.  While I enjoy attending concerts at Vivint Smart Home Arena the sound isn’t always the best. It’s just the way the venue was built.  Some tours come through and the sound techs can’t figure out how to mix this venue. Other times it’s passable and the show is so good no one cares. And other times the sound is good. I was concerned because of the type of show Andrea Bocelli puts on. It’s opera. It’s the type of music that is usually performed in halls created with the greatest acoustics you’ll find anywhere. But I have to hand it to whoever did the sound at this show. As far as shows go at Vivint Arena, this was one of the best I’ve heard.

Now, with opera being performed, this show is an upscale event.  A certain decorum and style are expected as such events. But it’s difficult because we’re all walking into a venue where basketball is played, and Metallica is performing the next night.  If you’re going to the Capitol Theater to see The Magic Flute, I think you know it’s the type of show where you throw on your best suit or dress. But I think this audience got the idea. People were dressed to the nines!  I saw slick suits and fancy gowns all throughout the arena. I saw furs (hopefully synthetic, or really really old!) and ascots. This audience was gussied up! And for whatever reason, that made me really happy.

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Lindsey Stirling Wanderland Tour November 26, 2018 Maverik Center

By: Kevin Rolfe

I have never seen Lindsey Stirling perform live before Monday night.  Well, now that I think about it, that’s not really true. I, like many of you, saw Lindsey for the first time at a halftime of a Utah Jazz game.  She was then known as the “Hip Hop Violinist”. I can’t remember if it was before or after her quarterfinal run on season five of “America’s Got Talent”.  But I would never have guessed the worldwide success she’s achieved since then. Not that I didn’t she had talent. I just can’t remember seeing someone perform at a halftime of a NBA game, then seeing them at a show they’re headlining.  I’ve been really happy for her success. It seems she’s worked hard for it, and the work has paid off. Lindsey brought her Wanderland Holiday Tour to the Maverik Center on Monday night. It was a show filled with heart, humor and holiday cheer.  

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Trans Siberian Orchestra November 20, 2018 Vivint Arena Salt Lake City

By Kevin Rolfe

Photo by: Kevin Rolfe

You know when you walk into a venue and there’s a sign taped to every door saying, warning of lasers, flashing lights, and pyrotechnics, that you’re in store for quite an experience. And what an experience it was! Trans-Siberian Orchestra brought are celebrating their twentieth anniversary, but from the looks of things, there are no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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The Alarm November 2, 2018 The Commonwealth Room Salt Lake City

By: Kevin Rolfe

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

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.  

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Goo Goo Dolls November 1, 2018 The Depot Salt Lake City

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.

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Noah Kahan October 23, 2018 The State Room Salt Lake City

By: Kevin Rolfe

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

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.

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