Shania Twain• Queen Of Me Tour• w/ Hailey Whitters• May 24, 2023• USANA Amphitheatre
Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe
It’s hard to believe, but after a historically long Winter, Spring, and Summer are finally here. That means concerts are moving outdoors. On Wednesday, May 24, USANA Amphitheatre opened its doors for the first time this year. Opening night was about as big as it will get all summer with Country Music/ Crossover Mega-Star, Shania Twain taking the stage. Twain brought her Queen of Me Tour to town and with her 20,000 fans squeezed into the large venue.
There was so much excitement in the air. Even with doors being held due to weather, people seemed to be in great spirits. Merch lines were long, drink lines were long, and in both I could see people talking to each other, asking if they’d seen Shania before, where their seats were, and what she might perform. I enjoyed seeing familiar faces, from fellow photographers to security, to the local promoters. It felt like the fun part of the first day of school.
Chicago & Brian Wilson w/ Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin• June 14, 2022• USANA Amphitheatre
Reviewed by Josilyn Wakkuri Lybbert
Chicago, with Brian Wilson, played a packed USANA Amphitheater on June 14, 2022! Fans of all ages gathered to see and hear some iconic hits primarily from the 60s, 70s, and 80s! Anticipation was apparent as people waited in line to go through security. While I was in line, I heard various conversations taking place ranging from how many times some of the concertgoers had seen Chicago live before, to those like myself who were so excited to hear some of the classic Beach Boys songs performed by Brian Wilson!
311 w/ Teenage Wrist• June 2, 2022• Sandy Amphitheater
Reviewed by Brittany DeMott Photographed by Kevin Rolfe
It’s the summer and this is the summer of love and unity. 311 is on the last leg of their Spring 2022 tour and made a stop in Sandy Utah at Sandy Amphitheater. Now, this is a new location for 311 from what we are used to. They usually perform at USANA Amphitheater. I’ve been to many 311 concerts in the past and know they have an amazing turnout at each show. I couldn’t imagine seeing a smaller venue holding all these people. However, this venue being smaller made for a more intimate night. You could tell that the attendees at this show were definitely at the level of “An Excitable One”. The name 311 gave the fan base that’s been there since the beginning. The excitable ones helped get their music outside of Omaha, Nebraska – a grassroots movement- and even named their next albumGrassroots.
As I got into the venue I looked to the left and saw the merch table with a line that was probably about 311 miles long, not really, but it was long. 311 has tour shirts that look like sports jerseys and say the name of your city and state and the date that they performed. It was cool to see the multiple years worn by all different types of people.
Teenage Wrist, a band that brought me back to my youth. Their name is inspired by the song “Teenage Wristband” by The Twilight Singers – formed by Greg Dulli. When I heard them perform, it reminded me of the music I would load onto my pink iPod mini in high school and blast at full volume (not realizing the hearing loss I’d start experiencing as I got older). Teenage Wrist came out to perform and the crowd was there for it. They seemed to have taken kindly to this band, as did I, and really got into it. I’d imagine if they weren’t fans before, they are now. I immediately looked them up on Spotify and pulled the lyrics up and it is Brittany approved. Check them out!
Without delay, 311 came out on stage and started off with “Come Original”. I think there is no better song to open with this song as it gets you hyped up immediately. When this song started you had people rushing back in to not miss the show. Fans were dancing and singing as they come into the crowd. Strangers technically, but family here. What really stood out the most in the crowd was the amount of smiles that I could see. I don’t know what it is about younger fans but they always make me want to cry because they are so unbelievably stoked to be at this concert. Shout out to all the cool parents who take their children to shows. Because there’s nothing better than going to school the next day and showing off your new shirt and bragging that you got to go to a concert.
I was sitting about 6 rows back from the stage but it felt like I was in the front because of the size of the venue. The stage is only about three and a half feet tall so it really feels like they’re on the same level as you and there aren’t huge gaps between the seats on the stage. “3. 11. 3 3 11.” chants would come from the crowd, a common occurrence at a 311 show. During their songs, I noticed the lighting design on stage. Lighting is such an important part of how we feel and so it is necessary that the lights fit the vibe of the song. It’s incredible what a few lights can do to a show. My favorite lights were the purple ones as they were incredibly vibrant and fit perfectly with the feeling of the evening.
The sound at Sandy Amphitheater is probably one of the best in the valley. The sound techs that work with the tour did a fantastic job making sure the sound was clear and loud enough to feel. I always rate the sound based on how much bass I can feel throughout my body. I give this one a solid 10/10. Not overpowering so it wouldn’t ruin the music, but not weak, either. I could understand the words and had my earplugs in. Sidebar: please wear your earplugs! I never did and now my television has to be up full blast. My parents call me “grandpa” and I use subtitles for everything. Anyway, I digress.
As I watched the show, I noticed how 311 interacts with the crew. You can tell this is more than a work relationship. You can see that this crew and 311 are actually an entire family. I have recognized a few of the crew members that have been with them for years and you just don’t see retention like that these days. An extremely special “Thank you” goes to the entire tour crew. Without you all, this show wouldn’t be half of what you have made it into. We appreciate the band but we also appreciate the crew who brings the band to us! Thank you on behalf of the fans!
The stage sits on a hill and is south-facing. This means the performers are not blinded by the sunset, yet we get to enjoy a sunset and a show. A 2 for 1! And what better song to play at sunset than their cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong”. Throughout the show we got to witness guitar solos by Nick Hexum and Tim Mahoney, P-Nut’s bass solo, and the incredible and notable drum solo by Chad Sexton. We know when we get the drum solo that this will lead to an all-band drum sesh, known as “Applied Science”. Each time I see this set I’ve noticed they incorporate more instruments and visuals to it.
I overheard someone saying “That means they have 3 songs left!” That someone was right on, they must come here often. They ended the show with “Creatures (For A While)” and said their goodbyes to the fans. If you’re new here, they aren’t done. They’ll be back in just a moment so don’t leave! The band returned to the stage and the screams intensifed. They play the last two songs, “Omaha Stylee” and the hit “Down”. “Down” was their first #1 single to hit the Billboard Alternative Song Chart and is dedicated specifically to those old-school fans, The Excitable Ones. Everyone gave it all that they had to rock out to this. There was headbanging, dancing, jumping, the whole enchilada. This ending was the perfect beginning to a “Never Ending Summer”. Thank you, 311!
Kilby Court Block Party 3• May 13 & 14, 2022• Library Square
Reviewed and Photographed by Jacob Moniz
Kilby Block Party!
Sartain & Saunders kicked off the summer with a bang! On the weekend of May 13th, they put on their third annual Kilby Block Party. They really stepped up the festival a ton from the previous years. They completely filled up the Salt Lake City public library grounds. Having artists like Mac Demarco, Phoebe Bridgers, Steve Lacy, Clairo, and countless other great artists playing all within 2 days. I was super excited that they provided local artists the opportunity to play the festival as well. The way the lineup schedule was laid out this year, allowed fans to be able to see any and every artist they wanted to. At maximum, there were 2 stages out of the 4 running at the same time. But each set was staggered so you could still attend both without stress.
This was not your usual night at Red Butte Amphitheater. I’m sure many of the subscription holders were there. But overall it felt like a much different crowd. A special audience turned out for “An Evening With Gov’t Mule”. The Southern Rock band celebrated a night of career-spanning music. And they brought their loyal fans with them. People were barefoot, tie-dyed and ready to jam.
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.
With the stars shining up against the mountains, and along the silhouetted trees the beautiful stage of the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater at the Deer Valley Resort played host to one of the most interesting bands I’ve ever seen. The Deer Valley Concert Series invited Thievery Corporation to be its guest for the second to last show of the summer. Nights like this just don’t happen very often, so I was glad I got to be there.
Almost three years to the day, Lord Huron made their triumphant return to Salt Lake City on August 14 at Red Butte Garden Amphitheater. I can’t think of a better pairing than one of my favorite Utah venues with this great American Indie band. When you’re set up in just the right spot, you can see the sun setting over the Salt Lake Valley. It’s a beautiful venue with gorgeous views. Having a soundtrack like Lord Huron mixed in makes for a perfect evening. This was Lord Huron’s first time playing Red Butte Garden and I think they made their mark on the summer concert series.
When I saw that Berlin, OMD, and the B-52’s were going to tour together to celebrate the B-52’s 40th anniversary I was really excited. I also thought this was such a random collection of great bands from the 80s. Being from the same decade is really where their similarities stop. But maybe that was enough because the show at Red Butte Garden Amphitheater totally worked! It was one of my favorite concerts of the whole summer.
O.A.R. is still killing it like it’s 1996. That’s when the rock band originally formed but you wouldn’t be able to tell, because the band is still so alive and filled with so much energy. You can see how happy they are to play, almost as if it’s their first big show, which is definitely not the case. Last Friday, Red Butte Garden was packed with fans of all ages, eager to enjoy a nice night and a good show. It definitely was a great show!