Embrace Your Funkiness

Morris Day – Click for more images

That’s what fans did at Thunder Valley Casino Resort Friday evening, when it turned into one funkalicious night as old school favorites Morris Day and the Time, S.O.S., Kurtis Blow, and Midnight Star tore it up for over three hours playing to an overflowing and extremely energetic crowd.

As Midnight Star took the stage and started playing “Electricity,” the crowd jumped to their feet and started dancing. There were very few occasions during the three hour show when the audience wasn’t standing.

Last time I saw Midnight Star I felt they were a little flat, but not tonight. They definitely brought their A-game as they continued with “Wet My Whistle” and “Midas Touch.”

Midnight Star – Click for more images

Band members consisted of Belinda Lipscomb (vocals), Melvin Gentry (guitar/vocals), Bo Watson (keyboard/vocals) and Bill Simmons (keyboards), Kenneth Gant (bass), and Bobby Lovelace (drums).

As they infuse pure energy into the crowd after ending their set with “No Parking (On the Dance Floor),” many in the crowd headed to the amphitheater bars, or remained standing and dancing to the music in between sets.

Kurtis Blow, The first rapper to ever be signed by a major label, came out blasting “If I Ruled the World” as he fully engaged the audience by saying ‘Say Yo!’ and then pointing the mic to the audience as they all screamed in unison ‘Yo’.

Kurtis Blow – Click for more images

Blow (ha! I said blow.) just wouldn’t shut up as he kept shouting out to the audience as only a true rapper can. In between songs he would continue rapping about being in Sacramento and giving a shout out to the audience. Some of the audience members started mingling more than paying attention to Blow, as a number of people headed to the bar, or bathroom, probably both.

Sounds Of Success (better known as S.O.S.) got everyone’s attention as they started up “Just the Way You Like It” and continued with “The Finest,” as fans were back on their feet dancing and singing. The crowd was on their feet bouncing to the music for the remainder of their set.

Founding member and lead singer Mary Davis was on fire as she blasted through their hits and finished with a flourish with the song that catapulted SOS to stardom back in 1980, “Take Your Time (Do It Right).” Fellow members included original member Abdul Ra’oof (vocals/trumpet), with Celia Georgie  (background vocals), Sultan Muhammad (saxophone), Reginald Ward (guitar), Ben Smith (keyboards), Allen Smith (keyboards), and Crystal Martin (drums).

Mary Davis with SOS – Click for more images

After a brief set change, Prince Classmate and protégé, Morris Day made his way on stage with his personal assistant in tow. As only Day can do, he was continually checking himself in the mirror as he strutted around the stage.

Starting off with “Get It Up” Day had the crowd singing through most of his songs as he worked the crowd with his signature moves, classic sound and his stylish attire.

Decked out in a yellow paisley patterned suit the 53 year old Day continued with “Cool” as his assistant followed him around mimicking his moves as he spelled out the chorus C.O.O.L.

For the fans that still had their butts glued to their seats, band members would shout out for everyone to get on their feet and wave their hands in the air. The band member names I did catch were Ricky “Freeze” Smith (bass), Torrell “Tori” Ruffin (lead guitar), and Jellybean Johnson (drums).

Morris Day and The Time

Part way through his set Day explained that he was still cool regardless of sweating. He said it was condensation which cooled him down, meaning that he was still cool. It was at this point he headed off stage to cool down. When Day came back out he flawlessly sang “Gigalos Get Lonely Too,” which had many in the crowd dancing with their significant other.

Towards the end of his performance Day had a large number of fans up onstage to strut their stuff. You could see the excitement in many of their faces as they attempted to groove with the likes of Day.

While a few people left the show early, the amphitheater was still packed as Day completed the night with “Jungle Love,” leaving people dancing in the aisles and wanting more.

This was one of the more high-energy shows at Thunder Valley Casino Resorts Summer Concert Series. Protection Status

The End for Power Balance Pavilion

(LR) Jason, Gavin, and Katie from The End’s morning show

For all you Sacramentans out there ““ Made you look!

107.9 The End held their annual EndFest at Power Balance Pavilion Friday night with Headliner and Disney alum Demi Lovato, American Idol runner up Adam Lambert, Owl City, and singing duo Karmin.

Karmin with Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan were slightly delayed due to an interview on the east coast for ABC’s Good Morning America. Flying from New York to San Francisco, then driving to Sacramento on a Friday afternoon wasn’t the best of ideas, but luckily, for everyone involved, it all worked out.

True to form the kind folks from The End were selecting a number of lucky fans to come up and sit onstage during the performers set. In attendance from 107.9 The End were the Wake Up Call’s own Katie, Jason, and Gavin, along with Dan Mason, Ashley Nickels, and the very entertaining, very talented, and all around nice guy Chris K. (we’re Facebook friends so were like really close, right Chris? ““ Chris? He must not have time to read this, after all he is a very busy man).


Karmin – Click for more images

As Karmin kicked off their set with “Crash Your Party,” the audience erupted into screams as the mostly young female audience let loose some blood-curdling screams.

Karmin is a site to see as lead singer Heidemann came out with her pin-up girl looks, and pop-star attitude, sporting one hell of a hairdo. As she started belting out her Katy Perry sound, coupled with her blazing Nicki Manaj-like rapping, I could have sworn there were two people wrapped into this amazingly dynamic package.

Karmin went on to play “Hello,” from their new album of the same title. Of course their set wouldn’t be complete without the song that got them here, Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now.” They wrapped it up with their hit single “Broken Hearted.”

Up next was Owl City, best known for their hit song “Fireflies,” they came out singing “Cave In.” I say “their” hit song, but Owl City is a one-man-band who goes by the name of Adam Young (lead vocals, programming, keyboards, piano, synthesizers, guitars, bass guitar, drums, percussion, vibraphone) – I know quite the list.

Adam Young

Adam Young – click for more images

Young does bring along a few friends to help him out while touring. Among them are Breanne Düren (keyboards, backing vocals), Daniel Jorgensen (guitar, vibraphone), Jasper Nephew (guitar), and Steve Goold (drums).

Owl City played a number of their newer songs including “Dementia” and “Meteor Showers.” Of course they also threw in their old standby “Fireflies.”

Adam Lambert sashayed out on stage wearing what appeared to be a lighted pair of pants, but my eyes were deceiving me. Turns out they were a very reflective and very shiny pair of pants with a tiger pattern in black and silver. I say sashayed, but he really strutted more than sashayed, but out of respect for his gayness, I thought I would say sashayed.

What? Where are you going? It was just a joke ““ Wonderful, I just lost half my readers.

Lambert kicked some major butt during the very short time he was onstage as he flawlessly performed songs from his new album including “Trespassing,” “Kickin “‘In,” and “Naked Love.”

I was quite surprised when Lambert didn’t end his set with “Whataya Want From Me,” which is clearly his biggest hit to date.

Lambert could easily have headlined this show, which may be why “they” kept him to only and handful of songs, leaving the audience wanting more. Many of the fans waited in anticipation for him to come back out and perform an encore.

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert – Click for more images

After a brief set change, Demi Lovato arrived on stage as screaming fans greeted her. Many people around me had to plug their ears for fear of blowing out an ear drum or two. In fact, after a couple of songs into Lovato’s set you could see a number of audience members leaving the pavilion. Was it Lovato not being able to hold their attention, or simply the discomfort of all the screaming?

Lovato played several covers including Lil Waynes “How to Love” and Lady Antebellum’s “American Honey.” She also played her smash hit “Give Your Heart a Break.”

If you measured this concert purely on decibels, I would say the show belonged to Lovato as every girl under the roof screamed throughout her set, but I would have preferred to see more of Lamberts work, let’s face it those pants were hot!

While you’ll see a number of photos from the show, you will notice I’m lacking Lovato’s. It appears that Lovato has been so successful and in the media so much, that her management team didn’t think SacAndBeyond was worthy to shoot her portion of the show. I know ““ my therapists didn’t understand it either.

If you haven’t been to a concert put on by The End, it’s well worth it, and you never know, you could End up with some really great onstage seating!

Josh Groban

Sacramento Events

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Josh Groban and his team of very talented artists played to a capacity crowd at Power Balance Pavilion on Thursday night.

I was a little surprised when I arrived at around 7:30 and the opening act Eric Lewis, better known as ELEW, had already started. I double checked my ticket to find the opening act had started a tad early. The concert was scheduled to start at 8:00.

I was really looking forward to hearing his entire set. You see ELEW is a pianist and plays a melding of ragtime, rock and pop that he calls Rockjazz. (I just love saying pianist, it sounds so damn nasty). Well this dude was dressed more like a gladiator in his shiny silver arm band and black duds. He also played the friggin’ piano like a gladiator. Damn he was intense.

Then came the man of the hour and all the Grobanites, as his fans are referred to, rejoiced. The stage setup was high tech, yet intimate with Groban appearing on a small stage toward the middle of the crowd. By the end of the third song he made his way to the main stage.

The main stage was fabulously designed. Giving you an intimate feeling yet creating a larger than life set. The background was very high tech and appeared to be an ornate building. The color would change and during some songs it would change completely only to flash back into a solid wall.

Groban has a great stage presence and was pretty laid back in his delivery. With his velvety voice, sensitive demeanor and his boy next door good looks, it was obvious that the women in the audience were paying particularly close attention to everything he had to say. Giggling at things that weren’t even funny! Jeeez.

Groban went on to tell the audience how, at this very location, he was discovered in 1999 during Governor Gray Davis’ inauguration. At the time he was just 16 years old, and world-renowned multi-Grammy-winning producer/writer/arranger David Foster was in the audience when he performed. The rest as they say is history.

Throughout the concert Groban took questions that were texted to him from audience members. He gave their name, row, and seat number so the spot light could be shined on them while he answered their questions. He was asked – How do you like your eggs in the morning? Groban – Over easy with salsa. Another question was – What’s your next movie or TV role? Groban ““ The Office as Andy’s younger brother.

One audience member in particular, Beth Guido, had texted Groban letting him know how he’s been such an inspiration to her since she started singing. Groban immediately asked her on stage and even went out into the audience to bring her up. Trying to figure out what she would sing, Groban asked if it was anyone’s birthday. So Guido sang happy birthday, along with Groban, to audience member Lisa. Guido was awesome and the audience love it.

It was quite a moment when he ended the evening with his signature song “You Raise Me Up”. The audience was in awe and during the chorus everyone was singing along. It was one of those goose bump kinda moments.

Groban’s music isn’t for everyone and is more, what I would refer to as; gospel/crooner, but some would say pop music. Putting that aside, he is quite the entertainer mixing just the right amount of music with audience participation and good humor, and let’s face it ““ it was great just seeing the fabulously put together stage.

The Set-list for the evening was:Straight to You
Changing Colors
February Song
You are Loved
Bells of NYC
Higher Window
Alla Luce Del Sole
War at Home
Live and Let Die
Voce Overture
Broken Vow
Per TeEncore
Play me
You Raise Me Up


Eric Clapton Arrives . . .

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Finally! Eric Clapton performed (a little late) to a full house Thursday night at the newly renamed Power Balance Pavilion. But it was worth the wait!

Los Lobos began their set just after 7:30 p.m. and played for over an hour due to Clapton’s late arrival. The crowd was mostly calm during the set of Los Lobos, but one could sense the tension building the longer they played. Once Clapton finally arrived on stage with his trademark Stratocaster, the crowd broke into a frenzy.

It was classic Clapton from the moment he stepped onto the stage, starting with “Key to the Highway” and “Going Down Slow.” He performed several acoustic songs, including “Layla,” but the biggest disappointment of the night was that he didn’t perform “Tears In Heaven,” my personal favorite.


Clapton’s set-list:
“Key to the Highway”
“Going Down Slow”
“Hoochie Coochie Man”
“Old Love”
“I Shot the Sheriff”
“Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”
“River Runs Deep”
“Same Old Blues”
“When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful”
“Layla” ““ seated Gibson ES 335
“Wonderful Tonight”
“Before You Accuse Me”
“Little Queen of Spades”
“Further on up the Road”

Clapton was accompanied by Willie Weeks on bass, Chris Stainton and Tim Carmon on keyboards, Steve Gadd on drums, and Sharon White and Michelle John on vocals.

A strange thing happened to me on the way to the concert. As I was driving to the Power Balance Pavilion, formerly known as Arco Arena, I heard Sacramento Press Editor in Chief David Watts Barton talking about some guy named Clapton on KFBK. OMG! I was on my way to see the very same guy for the Sac Press! How strange is that? Barton was talking about how Clapton was the first act at the Sacramento Sports Arena (sometimes referred to as the Original Arco Arena), the Arco Arena, and now the Power Balance Pavilion. At least that’s what I thought I heard since I only caught the tail end of the conversation. By the way, David, you give good radio.

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