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 it was first announced that Glen Hansard was going to be playing the Eccles Theater my initial thought was, “I’m definitely going to that show!”. But as the summer concerts were announced I had a real dilemma on my hands. Two other shows that I wanted to see were announced for the same date. This was a problem. (I know, “Poor Kevin, he has to choose between three concerts to go to!”) I’m not saying it’s a bad problem to have but one I didn’t anticipate. One was a band that I’ve always wanted to see, and another that was playing their farewell tour. What to do? As I weighed my options the thing that came to mind was “Which of these shows will you regret missing the most?” Glen Hansard was the answer every time. I was not disappointed with my decision. Glen played a two hour, ten minute set befitting of the beautiful downtown theater hosting his concert.
If you were to ask a group of people, “What band/singer do you wish you could have seen live in concert?” who would they say? I’d imagine Elvis is one most people would mention. I would also think that Freddie Mercury with Queen would be another. For me, I would have loved to have seen Buddy Holly or perhaps Whitney Houston. Speaking of Buddy, I’m excited for the chance to “see him” and Roy Orbison in lifelike hologram form at the “Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream Tour” this October at Eccles Theater. But of all the bands and singers and musicians around I would have to think if you asked someone who they wish they could see in concert it would be The Beatles. Even when they were together and all the band members were alive they didn’t play live nearly as much as people would have liked. Unfortunately, John Lennon and George Harrison have passed. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr still tour on their own, but what would it be like to have seen The Beatles in concert? Well, that’s where RAIN comes in. They put on a show that gives you as close a look as you’re ever going to get.
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.
I’ve been a David Gray fan for a long time. I’ve seen him in Los Angeles, in London and many times here in Salt Lake City. I do whatever I can to be sure to see him whenever he tours. There was even one time when David Gray was coming to Kingsbury Hall and I wasn’t going to be able to attend. I was forced to summon the assistance of the concert gods and David ended up needing to reschedule that concert for a date that I could attend. And that concert was so good! When I saw that DG was bringing his Gold in a Brass Age Tour to Salt Lake I was thrilled. But when I noticed that the concert would be taking place at the Eccles Theater I couldn’t think of a better combination. And I was not wrong.
The first time I ever heard NEEDTOBREATHE was from a YouTube video of them performing one of my favorite Christmas songs “Go Tell it On the Mountain”. I absolutely loved that version and I watched that video dozens of times over the Holiday Season. So when I saw a few months back that they would be playing Utah I knew I wanted to cover their concert. I just had a good feeling that I’d be entertained by their live show. I had never even heard any of their original music. When I googled the band to get a little background I saw a lot coming up about NEEDTOBREATHE being a “Christian Rock” band or articles written about “Are they or aren’t they Christian Rock”. Nothing against Christian Rock but it comes with the stigma that “It’s not really rock”, or it is watered down because of its subject matter. Whether that’s true or not is a debate for another day. I only wondered what type of concert I would be going to. Would it be a more traditional concert like the ones I’m used to going to? Or would it be a concert with a lot of preachin’ both in the music and the spoken word? I did see an article in Rolling Stone where NEEDTOBREATHE stated that they don’t put labels on their music and because it can be limiting. They feared that they had been passed over by people who may have enjoyed their music because of being labeled a Christian Rock band. So I told myself before going that I would be open-minded to whatever I was going to see and make my decision after the concert was over.