Northern California

Carrie Underwood Upstages Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley making it real – click for more images

As I jumped into my old rusty and dilapidated truck and headed over to Wheatland’s Sleep Train Amphitheater to watch country music superstar Brad Paisley, I was reminded of the time my wife thought I was cheating. She got country ugly and decided to cowboy up, taking it out on my pretty little souped-up 4 wheel drive, carved her name into my leather seat, took a Louisville slugger to both head lights, and slashed a hole in all 4 tires.

After I crawled out from under the bed and realized what she had done to poor old Ethel (my truck), I thought to myself, there must be a country song in there somewhere. It kinda reminded me of an old Carrie Underwood song. Not exactly sure what made me think of the good times with my wife, but country music has a way of doing that to you.

As I was saying, the award winning Brad Paisley brought his Virtual Reality Tour to Sleep Train Amphitheater Thursday night. Opening for him was Easton Corbin and The Band Perry.

As droves of country fans filed into the amphitheater Easton Corbin kicked off the evening. Corbin is no stranger to touring with his pal Paisley. In 2010 Corbin tagged along in Paisley’s H2O tour.

Easton Corbin

Easton Corbin – Click for more images

Opening with “This Feels a Lot Like Love” and “A Little Bit More Country Than That,” Corbin seemed a little stiff and didn’t move around much. It took the crowd a song or two, but they finally started getting into his set. He ended with his #1 hit “Roll With It,” leaving the crowd energized.

The Band Perry came, they sang, they conquered ““ period.

The 2012 Grammy nominated trio consisting of Kimberley Perry, and her two Brothers Neil and Reid, started their set off with “Sugar Sugar” and “Hip to My Heart,” with fans standing throughout their set.

The interaction between the siblings was highly energetic, with the crowd feeding off of their energy. Even on their slower songs, such as their cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallen,” the crowd stayed on their feet and swayed to the music.

I thought The Band Perry was going to steal the show, but Paisley came out to see just how much energy the crowd still had left. As the behemoth monitors started to warm up, lasers started firing, and lights flashing, pandemonium broke out in anticipation of Paisley’s appearance.

Kimberly Perry

Kimberly Perry – Click for more images

 

As Paisley made his way onto the stage singing “Camouflage,” the crowd showed him that they had plenty of energy left, and beer too, as fans raised their glasses to the country star.

The Band Perry

Neil Perry

There were several touching moments during the show. One fan, Theresa Manzinali, said her favorite part of the show was when Paisley gave a guitar to a young boy, but more importantly was being able to see what a real human being Paisley is. When he brought a number of military personnel up onstage, it brought tears to her eyes.

Manzinali summed up the show best, “He puts on a fantastic show!”

The highlight of the evening was when Carrie Underwood arrived on stage to sing “Remind Me,” bringing cheers from the audience, but wait! It wasn’t really Underwood. As the scene played out the audience soon realized that it was a hologram, much like what Snoop Dogg did with Tupac at Coachella.

Reid Perry

Reid Perry

 

I heard a number of people at the end of the show arguing that it was really her, others saying it was someone who looked like her, when in fact, it was a projected image on a fine black mesh screen, or scrim. Very realistic affect and very cool!

The crowd definitely got their money’s worth with the combination of The Band Perry and Paisley. It was a great evening. It was for my wife too . . . I didn’t cheat, so please don’t hurt my Ethel.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Dim the lights please!

American Idol Live Tour

Erika, Hollie, Skyler, and Elise – Click for more images

 

 

The lights were anything but dim Saturday night as the American Idol Live Tour 2012 made it’s way through Sacramento’s Power Balance Pavilion.

With an arena full of fans, both young and old, the top 10 Idols of last season came out to show everyone that they have what it takes to be in the biz.

If you don’t recall the finalist for last season they were:

American Idol Tour

Phil Phillips – Click for more images

 

 

Phillip Phillips (Winner)
Jessica Sanchez (Runner-up)
Joshua Ledet (3rd place)
Hollie Cavanagh (4th place)
Skylar Laine (5th place)
Elise Testone (6th place)
Colton Dixon (7th place)
DeAndre Brackensick (8th place)
Heejun Han (9th place)
Erika Van Pelt (10th place)

American Idol Live Tour 2012

Heejun, Elise, and Colton – Click for more images

 

It was quite obvious that 16 year old Jessica and 17 year old DeAndre are an item, with the two of them showing up backstage arm in arm with DeAndre’s younger sister in tow. You could tell sis was having a good time, much different from the last time I saw her on American Idol crying because her brother was voted out.

The top 10 (less Phillips) kicked off the show with Chemical Romance’s “Sing.” The entire first set went for a little over 50 minutes.

Deandre soloed with Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster,” followed by Hollie and Skylar singing Carrie Underwood’s “Undo It.”

You can see the entire set list below for both the first and second acts. The second act was closer to 60 minutes.

The standout in the first act was Colton singing his original song “Never Gone.” It appeared many of the fans in attendance had heard the song before since they were singing parts of the song.

American Idol Live

Phillips and Jessica – Click for more images

After a brief intermission, act 2 started with Jessica singing three songs with supporting vocals from Deandre and Joshua.

A surprise for me in the second act was Hollie’s rendition of Adel’s “Rolling in the Deep.” She did a superb job and proved to me she’s got much more talent than I saw on the show. From the audiences reaction, most would agree.

Phillips was absent most of the show, when he took the stage he started off with Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” As excited as the audience was when Phillips finally took the stage, it would have been a much better experience from a fans perspective, if he would have performed at least the opener with everyone else.

Some things never change as Phillips continued his gum chewing ways. In between versus you could see Phillips chewing on a big wad of gum. As much as people like Phillips sticking to being himself, I would suggest losing the gum onstage, it just doesn’t work.

American Idol Live 2012

Jessica Sanchez

Phillips performed his original song “Home,” with Colton and Deandre providing backing vocals.

For the finale all 10 idols came out singing “Glad You Came.”

There were a few glitches with choreography, some individuals could have done better with vocals, but all in all it was a great show. Considering this was  their 10th show I would have expected some of the “glitches” to have been worked out, but I’m sure they are being run into the ground with interviews and public appearances.

ACT 1 Setlist:
Top 10 (minus Phillips) – “Sing” (My Chemical Romance)
DeAndre Brackensick – “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” (Stevie Wonder)
Hollie Cavanagh and Skylar Laine – “Undo It” (Carrie Underwood)
Erika Van Pelt – “Glitter in the Air” (Pink)
Erika Van Pelt, Hollie Cavanagh, Joshua Ledet, and Colton Dixon – “Moves Like Jagger” (Maroon 5)
Heejun Han – “Green Light” (John Legend)
Heejun Han, DeAndre Brackensick, and Jessica Sanchez – “Party Rock Anthem” (LMFAO)
Joshua Ledet, Colton Dixon, DeAndre Brackensick, and Heejun Han – “Everybody Talks” (Neon Trees)
Elise Testone – “Whole Lotta Love” (Led Zeppelin)
Elise Testone (Deandre Brackensick and Erika Van Pelt on backing vocals) – “Rumour Has It” (Adele)
Colton Dixon – “Meant To Live” (Switchfoot)
Colton Dixon – “Never Gone” (Colton Dixon)
Colton Dixon – “Piano Man” (Billy Joel)
Top 10 (minus Phillip) – “Just the Way You Are”/”What Makes You Beautiful” (Bruno Mars/One Direction)
 
ACT 2 Setlist:

HeeJun Han

HeeJun Han – Click for more images

Jessica Sanchez – “Best Thing I Never Had” (Beyoncé)
Jessica Sanchez (Joshua Ledet and DeAndre Brackensick on backing vocals) – “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?” (Prince)
Jessica Sanchez (Joshua Ledet and DeAndre Brackensick on backing vocals) – “Proud Mary” (Ike and Tina Turner)
Skylar Laine – “Gunpowder and Lead” (Miranda Lambert)
Skylar Laine – “Stay With Me” (Faces)
Hollie Cavanagh (Elise Testone and Erika Van Pelt on backing vocals) – “Rolling in the Deep” (Adele)
Hollie Cavanagh – “Give Your Heart a Break” (Demi Lovato)
Joshua Ledet (Elise Testone, DeAndre Brakensick, and Erika Van Pelt on backing vocals) – “Runaway Baby” (Bruno Mars)
Joshua Ledet – “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” (James Brown)
Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez – “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (George Michael and Aretha Franklin)
Phillip Phillips – “Superstition” (Stevie Wonder)
Phillip Phillips – “Nice and Slow” (Usher)
Phillip Phillips and Elise Testone – “Somebody That I Used to Know” (Goyte feat. Kimbra)
Phillip Phillips (Jessica Sanchez on backing vocal) – “Volcano” (Damien Rice)
Phillip Phillips (Colton Dixon and Deandre Brackensick on backing vocals) – “Home” (Phillip Phillips)
Jessica Sanchez, Hollie Cavanagh, Skylar Laine, Elise Testone, and Erika Van Pelt – “Raise Your Glass” (P!nk)
All Top 10 – “Glad You Came” (The Wanted)

 

R.E.M. Calls it Quits!

Holy rapid eye movement batman! Is this a dream gone bad?

Yes. The band that brought the alternative rock genre to the forefront of music with hits such as “Shiny Happy People” and “Losing My Religion,” has said they are calling it a day. I gotta say that’s a helluva long day since R.E.M. has been together for 31 years.

R.E.M. recently released their latest album Collapse Into Now, which some critics are saying is their best album in years. It was just a little over 30 years ago they released their debut album Murmur.

Posted on their website is this brief note:

“To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.” R.E.M.

Each band member chimed in with their thoughts about “calling it a day”

MIKE
“During our last tour, and while making Collapse Into Now and putting together this greatest hits retrospective, we started asking ourselves, ‘what next’? Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey. We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together.

“We have always been a band in the truest sense of the word. Brothers who truly love, and respect, each other. We feel kind of like pioneers in this–there’s no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring-off. We’ve made this decision together, amicably and with each other’s best interests at heart. The time just feels right.”

MICHAEL
“A wise man once said–’the skill in attending a party is knowing when it’s time to leave.’ We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we’re going to walk away from it.

“I hope our fans realize this wasn’t an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way.

“We have to thank all the people who helped us be R.E.M. for these 31 years; our deepest gratitude to those who allowed us to do this. It’s been amazing.”

PETER
“One of the things that was always so great about being in R.E.M. was the fact that the records and the songs we wrote meant as much to our fans as they did to us. It was, and still is, important to us to do right by you. Being a part of your lives has been an unbelievable gift. Thank you.

“Mike, Michael, Bill, Bertis, and I walk away as great friends. I know I will be seeing them in the future, just as I know I will be seeing everyone who has followed us and supported us through the years. Even if it’s only in the vinyl aisle of your local record store, or standing at the back of the club: watching a group of 19 year olds trying to change the world.”

Get their anniversary CD of Murmur
 

 

Hitting it Big & Rich at Thunder Valley Casino

Big & Rich brought their country music tour, Xtreme Music: The Tour, to Thunder Valley Casino and Resort Friday night. Playing to a full house, the crew was engaging and extremely entertaining. Playing with Big & Rich were, of course, Big Kenny and John Rich, with special guests Gretchen Wilson and Cowboy Troy.

This kicked off a weekend full of concerts out at Thunder Valley Casino with Ramon Ayala playing Saturday, and KC & The Sunshine Band on Sunday.

Click for more images

Opening the concert was local heroes, Road 88 ““ you just gotta love the name. The band was named Best Local Band in Sacramento by KCRA’s A-list. Having been together for only a couple of years they already have hit the charts in Europe with their original song “Not Gonna Happen.” Expect to see some big things from these guys and gals in the near future.

Lead singer Rachel Steele sounded awesome as did the rest of the crew consisting of Scott Prentice (Lead vocals and rhythm guitar), David Phelps (lead vocals and guitar), Sherry Eidhammer (Vocals), Joe Anderson (Drums), and Joe Irwin (Bass).

Talk about working a crowd. People were standing their entire set and people who were just milling around waiting for Big & Rich started filing in to watch and listen as they performed. When they left the stage it was obvious the audience wanted more, as did I.

Just make sure you get out and see them before they skyrocket to fame (if they haven’t already)!

Click for more images

As the stage lit up in a dazzling array of bright lights, color beams, and strobes, Big Kenny and John Rich came out with their latest hit single “Fake I.D.”

The Muzik Mafia, as they like to refer to themselves, share an eight-piece band on a custom stage that includes a fully functional bar as the centerpiece. The music never stopped as Big & Rich, Gretchen, and Cowboy Troy performed hit after hit ““ the convenience of having one band do it all.

I know they were going for that local bar feel, but this reminded me more of a circus with all the different colored lights going off and the rotation of artists throughout the night. John Rich started out in a red shirt and when Cowboy Troy showed up he also had a red shirt, adding to the circus feel. That’s not to say it was a bad thing, it was simply great.

It was a nice touch when, after thanking all the military personnel in the crowd, including past, present and future, they brought a couple of individuals who are currently serving in the military up onstage. Major Sargent Surita A. Rorie and Technical Sargent Eric Grant had Gretchen playing bartender and telling her guests to belly-up to the bar for a shot of their favorite drink as a toast to their dedication and commitment. Not sure, but I think they both went for the Jack Daniels.

Probably the funniest part of the show was when John Rich was telling the audience about his adventures in town. Turns out he took a ride in one of Thunder Valley’s limousines and ended up at our local Wal-Mart. He became fascinated with a jar of Cheese Balls. Funny thing is, I knew exactly what he was talking about since I was there earlier that day too. They are really large cheese balls in a very large clear plastic jar. Wal-Mart has them in stock for Halloween. I didn’t buy them, because god forbid, if I were to bring anything in our house with artificial anything in it. I guess Rich doesn’t have that problem at his house since he bought at least one and brought it with him onstage. He had all the band members sign the jar and then tossed it to one lucky fan.

It was a really fun night out at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort ““ as usual.

Next up for Thunder Valley this weekend is Ramon Ayala!

Big & Rich Set-list:Fake ID
Here For the Party
Comin to Your City
Wild West
I Got Your Country Right Here
Home Wrecker
Angel From Montgomery
Lost in This Moment
Banner
8th of November
Love Train
Work Hard, Play Harder
Hot Blooded
Chicken With a Train
All Jacked Up
Save a Horse, Ride a CowboyEncore
Redneck Woman
Ballad of Big and Rich
Road 88 Set List:Little White Church
Swingin’
Drive (Road 88)
Not Gonna Happen (Road 88)
Irreplaceable
The Fever

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