Rock concert

Wheezing with Wiz

Wiz Khalifa – Click for more images

Sleep Train Arena turned into a haven for pot smokers as Wiz Khalifa and his band of recording artists, under the record label Taylor Gang, brought throngs of fans to the arena formerly known as Power Balance Pavilion Sunday night.

Wiz Khalifa and Taylor Gang 2050 World Tour is in support of Khalifa’s latest album O.N.I.F.C.

Car alarms could be heard going off on a regular basis, as a large number of “pre-drinkers” and pot smokers were hanging out in the parking lot prior to the show.

While fans were filing into the arena, a thick cloud of smoke could be seen rising above the sold-out crowd. Wheezing was the watch word because as the crowd grew, so did the cloud.

Tuki Carter – Click for more images

As Fans pushed and shoved their way to the front,  security was having to extract people who had bitten off a bit more than they could chew. There were a couple of instances where people were being pulled out of the crowd after they had lost consciousness. In fact, one fan had to have only been 10 or 11 years old.

Berner – Click for more images

These concerts are not for the faint of heart, and not the type of event parents should be dropping off their kids so they can have a nice quiet dinner alone. I was shocked to see so many young kids.

Taylor Gang is a recording label established by Wiz Khalifa. The “gang” on Sunday night consisted of Tuki Carter, Berner, Lola Monroe, Chevy Woods, Juicy J and of course Khalifa.

Lola Monroe – Click for more images

 

The audience was into the show from the start as Tuki Carter took the stage followed by Berner and Lola Monroe, each playing about 10 or 15 minutes. The short sets didn’t hamper their efforts to get the crowd excited as each came out and gave it their all.

Chevy Woods and Juicy J both performed for about 30 minutes each, followed by Khalifa who performed for over an hour.

Chevy Woods – click for more images

It was quite a night with almost the entire audience smoking freely while girls were being invited up onstage to “party.”  At times it was hard to tell where the smoke was coming from, smoke machines or the hundreds of joints being lit up throughout the arena.

Juicy J – Click for more images

Just prior to Khalifa coming out onstage, it was obvious a few fans saved the best for last, as they were holding on to finger sized joints with lighters at the ready.

It was a smoking good concert!

Thunder Valley Styx it!

Styx – Click for more images

As Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s Summer Concert Series heads into its final stretch, it’s only fitting to have one of the most popular traveling bands of the 80’s lead off the last month of the series.

Styx, like most of their fans, has gone through a number of changes throughout their existence. Most notably was the death of founding member John Panozzo in 1996, followed by the departure of founding member Dennis DeYoung in 1999.

Much like their fans, Styx consists of young and old including founding members Chuck Panozzo (bass) and James “J.Y.” Young (vocals, lead/rhythm guitar). Longtime member Tommy Shaw (vocals, lead/rhythm guitar), and the latest members Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), Todd Sucherman (drums), Ricky Phillips (bass).

Due to health issues Chuck Panozzo only occasionally plays with the band. We were lucky enough to have him come out and play a few songs towards the end of the night.

Lawrence Gowan on his spinning music machine

While not quite a sellout crowd it was still pretty packed, especially for a Thursday night. Let’s face it, anyone who’s a fan of Styx from the 80’s is getting along in years, and may find it difficult to get out on a Thursday night, and then turnaround to schlep off to work the next day. The worst part is, at some point we became responsible, gone are the days of calling in sick the next day. What’s up with that?

As Styx kicked off the show with “Blue Collar Man” and Grand Illusion,” the mostly older crowd was on their feet and cheering.

Styx was firing on all cylinders as they continued with “Too Much Time” and “Lady” as most of the crowd started to settle down in their seats. The front rows remained on their feet the entire show. Not sure how the old geezers did it, must have been a miracle drug from the 70’s or 80’s – I’m just saying.

Tommy Shaw and Ricky Phillips

Everyone’s vocals were crystal as they went from one hit to another. In particular were Shaw and Gowan. Gowan really stole the show with his vocals and his antics on his famous spinning keyboard, as he twirled in circles jumping onto, and off of, his keyboard throughout the night’s performance.

It was a very high energy, and highly entertaining, show as the veterans weaved their way through their numerous hits from the 70’s and 80’s.

The highlight for me was when Gowan came out performing solo on his spinning keyboard. He played a melody of songs including Elton John’s “Pinball Wizard,” the Eurhythmics “Sweet Dreams,” and then Gowan would shout a part of a song, point to the audience for them to finish the verse, and they did, on command. As he started to sing “Come Sail Away,” the audience sang their part and then he started playing the song on the keyboard with the band jumping in at the middle of the song. That’s about the time Panozzo joined the band onstage playing bass.

For their encore they blew the crowd away with “Rockin the Paradise” and “Renegade.”

These guys are pure entertainers and a great bunch of guys as some of them stayed behind to sign album covers that fans had brought to the show.

For all of those that haven’t gotten off of their sorry old ass to see Styx, I would highly suggest you do it before you get any friggin older. The last thing you want to do is make your way to your seat – in a walker!

Ransom E. Olds performs at Thunder Valley

REO Speedwagon

(LR) Dave Amato, Neal Doughty, Kevin Cronin, Bryan Hitt, and Bruce Hall

Who?

Everyone knows them as REO Speedwagon.

Playing to an almost full house at Thunder Valley Casino Resort Saturday, 66 year old founding member Neal Doughty was the first to make it onstage. Leaving their walkers behind the rest of the crew slowly made their way onstage – I know they didn’t have walkers, quite the contrary these guys were in great shape.

As for the name REO Speedwagon, Doughty named the band after a flatbed truck he studied in college called Ransom E. Olds Speed Wagon, commonly referred to as Reo Speed Wagon. Doughty decided to call the band R.E.O. rather than Reo.

REO Speedwagon

Neal Doughty

Joining Doughty onstage were Kevin Cronin (lead vocals, guitar), Bruce Hall (bass), Dave Amato (lead guitar), Bryan Hitt (drums). They warmed up the audience with “Don’t Let Him Go” and “Music Man,” then kicking it up a notch with “Take It on the Run,” as the audience provided supporting vocals.

At some point during the show the 58 year old Hitt decided to take his shirt off. Most of the audience cheered, but come on!! He’s 58 ““ dude give us a break! At least Steven Tyler stopped the practice some time ago (at least for the most part).

REO SPeedwagon

Kevin Cronin – Click for more images

Continuing on with “Keep Pushin’,” “Golden Country,” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” the audience became somewhat subdued, but remained engaged throughout the concert, just not on their feet cheering on the band.

As the band left and came back for their encore, they lost quite a few fans as they headed for the exits. Their encore included “Keep on Lovin’ You,” “Ridin’ the Storm Out,” and ended with “157 Riverside Avenue.” Even more fans started filing out after “Keep on Lovin’ You.”

REO Speedwagon

REO Speedwagon

During their encore the audience was completely engaged with “Keep on Lovin’ You,” but once they started “157 Riverside Avenue,” most of the fans were back in their seats, or headed for the doors. They really should have ended the night with “Keep on Lovin’ You.”

Cronin did an excellent job with vocals and sounds much like he did all those years ago. While his voice is a bit more gravelly, I believe it’s enhanced his sound.

All in all it was a good concert. There were some rough spots in the middle and they could have ended on a better note, but Cronin and crew did a great job keeping the audiences attention with plenty of picks flying through the air.

 

Papa Roach pulls out of UPROAR Festival

 

Jacoby Shaddix – Click for more images

Papa Roach pulls out of UPROAR Festival after only playing five of the scheduled 30 dates.

This after the 36 year old lead singer, Jacoby Shaddix, announced that he had to undergo vocal cord surgery in order to remove a nodule that has been causing him problems.

“It’s no secret that I’ve been having issues with my voice lately,” Shaddix said, “I was hoping to be able to go out there and kill it on this tour by resting and doing vocal exercises, but my voice has just gone out on me. I hate to let our fans down, but unfortunately surgery is the only way to fix it.”

The Rockstar Energy Drink sponsored tour also includes Shinedown, Godsmack, Staind and Adelitas Way. The tour continues through September 30th, when it wraps up in Albuquerque, NM

The Vacaville-based band is responsible for hits “Last Resort”, “Between Angels And Insects”, “She Loves Me Not”, “…To Be Loved”, “Scars”, “Forever”, and “Hollywood Whore”.

Papa Roach will be releasing a new album The Connection  in early October.

 

Getting Some ZZ’s at Thunder Valley Casino

ZZ Top

Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons – Click for more images

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s ZZ Top brought their legendary beards and rockin blues attitude to Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Friday.

Frank Beard

Sweet drum set!

ZZ Top, consisting of Billy Gibson, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard on drums, kicked of their show with “I Thank You” and “Waiting for the Bus,” as avid ZZ Top fans filled the outdoor amphitheater to capacity – some diehard fans were sporting their own long beards.

A number of fans were getting their ganja on as a brief video came on introducing band members Billy Gibson, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard on drums. You could see Beard (yes, the only one not sporting a beard) climbing into his nest of drums. Once the crowd spotted him they all began cheering.

Billy Gibbons

Billy Gibbons – Click for more images

Friday night was a special day for Beard as his brand new drum set, complete with pistons, gas tanks, and whole lotta skeletons, arrived at Thunder Valley for the drums inaugural performance. In between songs Beard could be seen admiring his sparkly new set.

As the band continued to play “Jesus Just Left Chicago,” “Pincushion,” and “Heard It on The X,” the crowd remained standing, with some fans dancing in the aisles.

ZZ Top played their latest single “I Gotsta Get Paid,” off their new album La Futura, due out in September. The song was recently in an advertising campaign for Jeremiah Weed, and appears on the soundtrack for the film Battleship. It’s a catchy tune!

This is the band’s first album in 9 years and includes “Flyin’ High,” which actually debuted in outer space. It wasn’t quite completed yet, but NASA astronaut Mike Fossum asked to hear it while en route to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spaceship ““ kinda cool.

Dusty Hill

Dusty Hill – Click for more images

They played “Sharped Dressed Man” followed by “Legs,” as they pulled out their white furry guitars, causing the crowd to cheer even louder. After “Legs” the band exited the stage, only to come back and play “Tube Snake Boogie,” “LaGrange,” and “Tush.”

While I think this was a great concert, due to the fact it was ZZ Top, I believe they missed the mark musically. At times it was difficult to make out what they were playing, which could have been attributed to the sound system. However, other concerts at this venue have sounded superb, so that would be doubtful. I may have been in the minority, as most fans were singing along to quite a few songs.

Frank Beard

Frank Beard – Click for more images

 

A critical error was ending the show with “Tush,” as it left the crowd, not wanting more, but expecting more, with a number of boos coming from the audience as they made their way to the exits. In fact, most of the audience remained until the house lights were brought up and Brancombe Richmond came out to thank everyone for being there and announcing the upcoming lineup for Thunder Valley’s Summer Concert Series.

Set-list:

I Thank You
Waiting for The Bus
Jesus Just Left Chicago
Pincushion
Heard It on The X
I Gotsta Get Paid
Gimme All Your Lovin
Vincent Price Blues
My Heads in Mississippi
Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers
Stages
Sharped Dressed Man
Legs

ENCORE
Tube Snake Boogie
LaGrange
Tush

Earth+Wind+Fire = Wow!

Earth Wind and Fire

Earth Wind and Fire – Click for more images

Six-time Grammy winner Earth Wind and Fire (aka EWF) took over Thunder Valley Casino Resort‘s outdoor amphitheater Saturday, transforming it into one big funkalicious delight of disco, R&B, soul, and a whole lotta lights!

As original members Philip Bailey, Verdine White, and Ralph Johnson, made their way on stage it was obvious the standing room only crowd was in for a treat, as lights started gearing up for an evening of dazzling displays, blazing colors, and an overpowering sense of deja vu.

Joining them onstage was an array of talent, as some members were jumping from one instrument to another. They were Myron McKinley (keyboards), Philip Bailey Jr. (background vocals), B. David Whitworth (vocals, percussion), Greg Moore (guitar, vocals), Morris O’Conner (guitar), John Paris (drums, vocals), Gary Bias (saxophone), Bobby Burns Jr. (trumpet), and Reggie Young (trombone).

Verdine White

Verdine White – Click for more images

Kicking off the show with “Boogie Wonderland,” EWF had 4,500 plus fans on their feet from the first beat to the last, as the crowd waved their hands in the air and grooved with the music.

As EWF danced their way through “Sing A Song” and “Shining Star,” the crowd remained on their feet, singing and dancing.

Towards the middle of the show, as EWF played a handful of love songs like “Love’s Holiday,” “Can’t Hide Love,” and “After the Love,” some audience members took a breather and sat down, while the majority of the crowd remained standing. Some made their way to the nearest aisle to slow dance, only to find the aisle already jammed with people swaying to the music.

As night began to take hold, the stage became a steady stream of eye-candy, as psychedelic patterns were displayed on three different backdrops, along with flashing lights and neon painted instruments.

Ralph Johnson and Phillip Baily

Ralph Johnson and Phillip Baily

EWF finished strong with “Let’s Groove,” “Mighty Mighty,” and “In the Stone.” As they finished their last song, fans reluctantly made their way to the exits. Some fans kept looking back at the stage hoping EWF would pop back up and give up one last song.

This was an awesome show, with great music, talent and lights!

Randy’s Rant (continued from last review): Now this is how an aging band puts on a performance. All their songs were hits from their heyday. While they have a few newer songs out, they stuck to the originals that made them popular back in the day, and they didn’t bother trying to introduce newer material. Every time I walked by the merchant booth, there was a line of people.

Next Friday Power Balance Pavilion and 107.9 The End brings you EndFest with Demi Lovato, Adam Lambert, and more. On Saturday, again at Power Balance, watch your favorite American Idol from last season’s show as they bring you some new and not-so-new material.

Don’t forget to check out the remaining shows out at Thunder Valley Casino Resorts Summer Concert Series, as they bring you the likes of Creed, Jeff Dunham, ZZ Top and more!

 

 

It’s Miller Time!

Steve Miller

Steve Miller Band – Click for more images

As in Steve Miller.

The 68 year old rocker had the sold out crowd at Thunder Valley Casino Resort‘s outdoor amphitheater rocking the night away as Miller took them on a magical ride down memory lane.

The concert was like taking a ride on a Jet Airplane to Swingtown, with a Space Cowboy and The Joker on board. Then all of a sudden – Abracadabra – and everyone was Dance Dance Dance dancing the night away ““ ok, I think the medical stuff was working its magic on me at that point, but that’s what it felt like!

Miller and his band comprised of Jacob Petersen (guitar), Joseph Wooten (keys), Kenny Lee Lewis (bass), Sonny Charles (vocals), and Gordy Knudtson (drums), came out performing “Jungle Love,” which immediately brought the crowd to their feet.

Miller continued with his hits “Take the Money and Run,” “The Stake,” and “Abracadabra,” as I’m sure some people in the crowd were reminiscing about the time they were in the backseat of their 65 Chevy, doing god knows what.

As they started playing “Abracadabra,” Miller introduced Carlos Reyes from Oakland,  as Reyes proceeded to rip into his violin. Reyes also brought out a harp during an acoustic set of “Nature Boy,” “Dance Dance Dance,” and “The Window.”

Kenny Lee Lewis and Steve Miller

Kenny Lee Lewis and Steve Miller

Prior to the acoustic set, Miller played a number of songs from his Bingo album like “Further On Up the Road,” “Tramp,” and “All Your Love (I Miss Loving).”

That’s about the time when things slowed way down. As the crowd started mingling with each other, it felt more like an intermission. As Miller started the acoustic set, most audience members were reengaged when they hit “Dance Dance Dance,” but that quickly faded, until Miller kicked it back into gear with “Jet Airliner.”

Heading into the encore Miller was in top form with “Rockin Me,” “Swingtown,” “Space Cowboy,” and finishing the night with “The Joker.”

Even with the lull of newer songs this was a great night of entertainment, providing everyone in attendance with a stroll down memory lane.

Don’t forget to check out Thunder Valley Casino’s upcoming Summer Concerts.

Steve Miller

Steve Miller at Thunder Valley Casino Resort

Randy’s Rant: Aging artists should stick to the hits that got them there. While I understand the need to sell their latest CD, they need to understand their audience. Many of their fans are in the older demographic, and might only go to one or two shows a year. When they do finally get out to a concert they want to be entertained by the rocker of yesteryear, not yesterday.

I truly believe that if they stuck to the older hits, this will in turn cause people to want to listen to their newer stuff. As fans are leaving, going to get a beer, or going to drain said beer, they would be more inclined to stop off at the merchant table and pick up the latest CD. If not, click the link below and buy the damn thing. 8-)

I could be completely off base, but since this is my blog I get to blather on about a whole lot of nothing.

 

Rock Allegiance Tour at Power Balance Pavilion

Josh Todd of Buckcherry - Click for more images

The Rock Allegiance Tour pulled out all the stops for the last night of their summer tour.

Sacramento’s Power Balance Pavilion hosted an unforgettable evening of loud riffs and primordial deafening screams. Seven bands were schedule to perform. Drive A, Crossfade, Red, P.O.D. and Puddle of Mud were scheduled to perform, as well as co-headliners Buckcherry and Papa Roach. Puddle of Mud was unable to attend due to an illness. Me be thinking hangover, but what do I know?

This concert was off the charts with people jumping over barriers to get to the bands and the bands jumping over barriers to get to fans. I didn’t know whether I should be watching the bands or the crowd. Both were entertaining, both were over the top and both were screaming at each other. It was a mess!

Out of all the bands, I think Buckcherry had the best performance of them all. While just as crazy as the other bands, they had a modicum of

Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D. - Click for more images

control to the point of sounding like a real band. Not to rip the other bands, but when these guys are screaming into their mics with their guttural growls and flying through the air like Mighty Mouse on crack, it’s hard to hear them because they’re out of breath – or headbanging with someone in the crowd. It was obvious that absolutely nobody agreed with me, since everyone was screaming and singing along with each and every band.

Once Buckcherry took the stage there were a number of people jumping the barriers, only to be rewarded with the ever so gracious security team greeting them and quietly and politely dragging their sorry arse to the curb. Once Buckcherry jumpstarted the crowd into a renewed frenzy, they passed the baton to Papa Roach to finish the night off in style.

Papa Roach hit the stage in full stride and had heads bopping, fans rocking and people jumping off the stage. It was quite an event and all caught on tape, since Papa Roach was filming their part of the show for a new music video. They even had a $100,000+ camera on a boom moving over the crowd to catch all the action.

This really was a night to remember ““ such a bestial display of pure testosterone all on one stage. As I was heading home listening to the Backstreet Boys I kept wondering what it would be like to fly around like Mighty Mouse on crack, maybe next time.

 

Bruno Mascolo with Drive A - Click for more images

Ed Sloan of Crossfade - Click for more images

Michael Barnes of Red - Click for more images

 

Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach - Click for more images

 

Free counters!