It wasn’t really a concert, at least not in the traditional sense. September 19th at the Sandy Amphitheater was more of a musical celebration devoted to Brian Wilson while he primarily sat and soaked in the experience. It certainly wasn’t for everybody. Those who went expecting to experience the Mike Love incarnation of the Beach Boys sporting Bahama shirts while playing their pop classics like, “Be True to Your School” may have left disappointed. Yet from the moment Brian Wilson scuffled onto the stage with the support of his walker and took his seat at the piano where he played a few notes and struggled to sing along to his amazing band, those who went to celebrate the harmonies and instrumental creativity Brian has given the world through his extraordinary gifts were given a special treat, a moment never to be forgotten.
True, the show opened up with a few classics such as, “California Girls,” “I Get Around,” and “Help Me, Rhonda,” but a bulk of the concert was devoted to some of the lesser known songs from the Beach Boys late 60’s material that at the time of their original release failed to gain widespread appreciation by an American audience. The band performed “Darlin’” from the 1967 album Wild Honey before turning to four straight songs from the 1968 album Friends.
Despite Brian’s physical difficulties, performing these live renditions truly showcased his incredible brilliance. Hearing the music live leaves little doubt as to why Wilson is rightfully considered one of the greatest musical geniuses of the modern era.
This was the Brian Wilson “Something Great From 68 Tour,” yet the band treated Sandy to a rare performance of “Salt Lake City,” which was obviously, given the setting, a fun experience. Unfortunately, some of those expecting a Mike Love type Beach Boys concert left early while the band explored the lesser known music primarily from the 1971 album Surf’s Up, including, “Feel Flows,” “Long Promised Road,” “Till I Die,” “Lookin’ at Tomorrow,” and of course, the album’s title track. These songs were clearly not the Beach Boys’ material some came to experience, but for devoted fans, the setlist truly showcased some of Brian’s finest material.
Toto brought their 40 Trips Around the Sun Tour to the Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City on September 24, 2019. I felt like I was running late so I ran into the theater. However, when I got inside the Delta Performance Hall I could see the crew still working on the instruments so I knew I had more time. As I made my way down the aisle to the front of the stage I could see and feel the excitement among the people.
When I sat down after the show to write this review, I honestly didn’t know where to start or how to put into words the way that this performance made me feel. How do you begin to describe an experience so uniquely itself that there’s nothing to compare it to? How do you help someone who wasn’t there understand just how much this experience moved you or inspired you? I’ll try my best, but if nothing else, what I will say is that if you ever get the chance to see Tash Sultana live – take it. I promise it will be an experience you’ll never forget.
The Ogden Twilight Concert Series on Thursday night brought Alvvays and The National to the Ogden Amphitheater. The sold-out show was packed from the beginning, with a full crowd by the time Alvvays (pronounced always) took the stage. As they kicked off the night, the crowd rose to their feet and remained that way for the entirety of the evening. I had never heard of Alvvays, a Toronto based indie-pop band. As they began to play, I was immediately impressed with Molly Rankin’s voice. There was a sweetness to it, yet it was strong and powerful as she sang out to the crowd. Keyboardist, Kerri MacLellan’s voice complimented Molly’s nicely and the two of them commanded the front of the stage. Their 45-minute set had fans singing along with a relaxed yet exciting presence to the crowd. As they wrapped up their set, anticipation filled the air for the National.
When it was announced that Collective Soul would be celebrating their 25th anniversary tour at the Sandy Amphitheater with Gin Blossoms, I knew this was a show I had to go to. Two of my favorite bands from the 90s and early 2000s in one show at a great venue, sign me up! As I walked into the amphitheater there was a noticeable buzz in the air. If the show wasn’t sold out I’d be surprised. The Sandy Amp was packed! I was on the lawn behind the seats and was happy to get there early enough to be at the front of the lawn. By the time the show started people were placed on the lawn all the way to the fence that overlooks 90th South.
On Wednesday night, a unique combination of Americana, folk, and country music filled the air in the foothills of Salt Lake City. I walked into Red Butte Garden Amphitheater at quarter to 7:00 pm and already the place was full. People had claimed their space with chairs and blankets and were enjoying the surprisingly cool weather. One thing that I love about this outdoor venue is the atmosphere. There’s always been such a positive vibe – people sitting around enjoying each other’s company over a beer and some laughs. Thursday night was no different. Everyone was there to have a good time.
Enter a dystopian timeline à la Rod Serling, and at the exact geographic midpoint between the Chihuahuan Desert and the Pacific Northwest, there is sure to be a dimly-lit bar where Roselit Bone is always the main act. This according to the Portland-based group’s first two albums, which transmit surf-rock rhythms accented by brassy conjunto that seem to transcend notions of time and geography.
While the Pacific Northwest does not seem a likely region to produce sonic epics that could reverberate across red-rock canyons and bounce off mesas, Roselit Bone proved the contrary at Rye Diner & Drinks, where the seven-piece band (normally eight, missing their pedal steel accompaniment) played the second-to-last-stop on their tour during an early evening show. As the sun set, frontwoman Charlotte McCaslin guaranteed that after the attendees finished their meals and it got a little darker, the band would “get weirder.”
Norah Jones gave us the smoky torch songs of the new millennium. Though often understated, her work has the polished precision of a trained musician. It’s no surprise that she has a degree in jazz piano; hers is not a sloppy talent. Her music wafts through Soul, Folk, and even dips into Blues and Country, but it always returns to her roots in Jazz. Three songs in, I could feel the audience’s collective blood pressure lowering. Dreamy lyrics about missed rendezvous and wandering off into the moonlight coupled with seamless vamping melted, then evaporated, my spine. So long as Norah and her crew were playing, there were no cares in the world.
Last time I went to the Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City, I was dressed for a gala. That is the kind of event you might expect at the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater. That’s why I was surprised to find out Jim James and the Claypool Lennon Delirium were kicking off their summer tour there.
When I arrived at the venue on June 21st, the setting summer sun was beating down on the polished six-story grand lobby through the glass window front.
It’s always good to see a jam-packed USANA Amphitheater. It means that summer has arrived and good times concerts have moved to our great outdoor venues. I don’t know if I’ve seen USANA this packed since Def Leppard played here last. There was a buzz in the air as Goo Goo Dolls and Train fans made their way through the turnstiles.