Monday, June 20, 2016

Concert Review: Dave Matthews Band - June 7, 2016

One indication of a great concert is the number of times a specific song is listened to after the performance has concluded. I’ve always felt that an excellent concert will create a desire to listen to a certain song (or songs) for several days after the event. Such was the case following the Dave Matthews Band performance in Holmdel, New Jersey on June 7th

Sadly, this was to be my only time seeing the band in 2016 (barring a late decision to just take an immediate road trip or travel to the Gorge). And perhaps for that reason my expectations and anticipation levels were heightened. It had been a long time since I was so excited to see a concert. DMB was early in their 2016 tour and their previous performances looked amazing. I was hopeful that this was going to be an exceptional show. 

Getting to the concert was an absolute fiasco! I left my office at 5pm for an 8pm show. I didn’t have any plans to tailgate and figured I would be inside the venue by 7pm. That would leave plenty of time to get a drink, perhaps some food, and get to my seat. The travel time from my office to the venue without traffic is just under an hour. Even with traffic, 2 hours was more than enough time to get there, or so I thought.
After leaving the office and getting on the highway, I hit nothing but traffic. The first highway was backed up with volume traffic. Then when I get to the Garden State Parkway (over an hour later) that was backed up from the time I got on, until I saw my exit. At 6:45, I pulled into the line of traffic leading to the venue --- still over a mile away from the entrance. That was backed up to a near standstill! I wasn’t able to pull into the venue until almost 7:30 and I still had to find parking. 

I had read previous concert reviews and posts on Ants Marching ( that the band was taking the stage promptly this tour and they were usually on by 8:20. Knowing that I still had to park the car, meet my Uncle and cousin, get into the venue, and then find my seats had me very nervous. At 7:30 I was still in my car and crawling to the first open parking lot. By the time I parked the car and got out it was 7:45. My uncle and cousin had yet to arrive. I planned to meet them at the gate and hope for the best. 

It was 8:15 before they arrived at the gate, and then we still had to get through security. I was panicked and reserved to the fact that I was going to miss the opening song. I only hoped that it wouldn’t be a great one at that point. Thankfully we got through security, grabbed a beer, and made it to our seats before DMB took the stage at 8:27. It was mere moments before, but I didn’t miss a note! 

The band came out with an amazing three pack of awesome tunes. “One Sweet World” led to “Minarets” and was followed by “Big Eyed Fish.” “Minarets” is one of my favorite DMB songs and I was over the moon to hear it live. It was a song that I was hoping would be performed and it was nice to get it so early in the set. 

New songs were performed on that cool June night and thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was well versed in them already. That still didn’t compare to hearing them live. “Bismarck” was the first new song performed and it sounded incredible. I have a feeling that I will be listening to this song more often after seeing it live. A few songs later “Samurai Cop” was played and I was absolutely blown away. “Samurai Cop” is a slow tempo beauty that could be one of the best songs the band has done in a long time. It is very reminiscent of “Break Free” with exceptional solos and incredible guitar work. Prior to the concert I listened to the song several times. After the show I probably played it 2 dozen more times. It’s just an amazing work of art and I am hopeful that it will find its way onto the next studio album. 

As with most concerts, song selection is a very important part in how well liked the show is going to be. On that night, Dave Matthews Band did not disappoint. “Crush,” “Crash Into Me,” “Seven,” “Dancing Nancies,” “Warehouse,” “Satellite,” “Break Free” and “The Song That Jane Likes” were all performed. It was like my own personal favorites playlist was chosen as the setlist. 

“Break Free” is a song I have a lot of love for, but had forgotten about in recent years. When it first came out, I listened to it often, and then it fell to the wayside as other songs rose in the ranks. Since the concert, I have been listening to “Break Free” a lot and I was so happy to rediscover the beauty of it. 

“Why I Am” was also performed and it is a song that I never really got into. It was one of my least favorites on Big Whiskey And The Groo Grux King and I always thought that it was okay at best. Yet for some reason when it was played live that night, I really enjoyed it. I even said to myself “I never realized how good this song is.” Since then, I have found myself listening to it more and more. As previously stated that is the sign of a good concert. I am listening to a couple of forgotten tracks days after the show has ended (and probably still will be weeks from now). 

And while I was disappointed by the encore (a pretty rough version of “The Space Between” followed by “Grey Street” a song that I find average at best), overall it was a great night. I survived the traffic, witnessed one of my favorite bands live in concert, and experienced it all under great weather with family. What more could you ask for? 

One Sweet World
Big Eyed Fish
Crash Into Me
Death On The High Seas
Samurai Cop
Dancing Nancies
Break Free
Kill The Preacher
Why I Am
The Song That Jane Likes
You Might Die Trying
The Space Between
Grey Street

Sunday, June 19, 2016

KISS To Honor Hometown Military Heroes During 2016 “Freedom to Rock” Tour

America’s # 1 Gold Record Award Winning Group of all time in all categories KISS have partnered with Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) and Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix) to salute members of the National Guard and military Reserve forces in over 30 U.S. cities during their 2016 ‘KISS: Freedom to Rock’ tour.

KISS will hire a currently serving member of the National Guard or Reserve force to be a “Roadie for the Day” for each of the 32 U.S. concerts. In addition, KISS will donate a limited number of tickets to veterans in each community and distribute those tickets through Veterans and their family members will also have the chance to purchase discounted tickets through Vet Tix. Military discounts will also be available at venue box offices with proof of a valid military ID in select markets around the country. Please note this offer is not available in all cities – please consult for exact details.

The U.S “KISS: Freedom to Rock” tour stops are all home to a large number of Army and Air National Guard or Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Reserve members. Since September 2001, hundreds of thousands of Guards and Reserve members have been recalled to active duty, and many have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly 900 of these brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice.

KISS’ founder Paul Stanley said “KISS is celebrating our “Freedom To Rock” tour this summer; the same freedom that’s been upheld by our veterans and active duty service members”

KISS’ other mastermind Gene Simmons stated, “We are proud to partner with HOH and Vet Tix to highlight the incredible commitment and sacrifices of hometown heroes serving in the National Guard and Reserve forces. Many of these heroes have given a lot—and some have given all—and we will honor them in every town we tour.”

From the President of Hiring Our Heroes and a Vice President at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Our members of the National Guard and Reserve are called upon at a moment’s notice and they drop everything to respond. It is fitting that we honor these often invisible heroes in their communities and hometowns as part of the ‘Freedom to Rock’ tour,” said Eric Eversole.

“Getting the opportunity to partner with Hall of Fame rockers is an amazing opportunity,” said Mike Focareto, CEO of Vet Tix. “KISS fans get much more than live music and a pyrotechnics show; they get a chance to create unforgettable memories with their family and friends. We’re excited to make this experience possible to our Vet Tix family.”

“Freedom To Rock” Tour Dates include:
Mon, Jul 4
Tucson, AZ
Anselmo Valencia Amphitheatre
Thu 7 – Jul                  
Boise, ID
Taco Bell Arena
Sat 9 – Jul
Eugene, OR                                            
Matthew Knight Arena
Sun 10 – Jul
Kennewick, WA
Toyota Center
Tue, Jul 12
Edmonton, AB
Wed, Jul 13
Calgary, AB
Stampede Roundup
Fri 15 – Jul
Spokane, WA                                           
Spokane Arena
Sat 16 – Jul
Bozeman, MT                     
Breeden Fieldhouse
Mon 18 – Jul
Colorado Springs, CO                                     
World Arena
Wed 20 – Jul
Independence, MS                                  
Silverstein Eye Centers Arena
Fri 22 – Jul
Lincoln, NE                                           
Pinnacle Bank Arena
Sat 23 – Jul
Springfield, MO   
JQH Arena
Mon 25 – Jul
Wichita, KS
Intrust Bank Arena
Wed 27 – Jul
Sioux City, IA                         
Tyson Events Center
Fri 29 – Jul
Cheyenne, WY
Cheyenne Frontier Days
Sat 30 – Jul
Minot, ND
North Dakota State Fair
Mon 1 – Aug
Mankato, MN
Verizon Wireless Center   
Wed 3 – Aug 
Duluth, MN
Amsoil Arena
Fri 5 – Aug
Moline, IL
iWireless Arena
Sat 6 – Aug
La Crosse, WI 
La Crosse Center
Mon 8 – Aug
Milwaukee, WI 
BMO Harris Bradley Center
Wed 10 – Aug
Green Bay, WI                       
Resch Center
Fri 12 – Aug
Fort Wayne, IN
Allen County Memorial Coliseum
Sat 13 – Aug
Grand Rapids, MI
Van Andel Arena
Mon 15 – Aug
Saginaw, MI
Dow Event Center
Wed, Aug 17
Springfield, IL
Illinois State Fair
Fri, Aug 19
Des Moines, IA
Iowa State Fair
Sat 20 – Aug
Rockford, IL
BMO Harris Bank Center
Mon 22 – Aug
Dayton, OH
Nutter Center
Wed 24 – Aug
Toledo, OH
Huntington Center
Fri 26 – Aug
Youngstown, OH
Covelli Centre
Sat 27 – Aug
Erie, PA
Erie Insurance Arena
Mon 29 – Aug
Rochester, NY                      
Blue Cross Arena
Tues 30 – Aug
State College, PA        
Bryce Jordan Center
Thu 1 – Sep 
Allentown, PA
Great Allentown Fair
Sat 3 – Sep
Worcester, MA                                   
DCU Center
Sun 4 – Sep
Portland, ME
Cross Insurance Arena
Wed 7 – Sep
Bridgeport, CT
Webster Bank Arena
Fri 9 – Sep
Richmond, VA
Richmond Coliseum
Sat 10 – Sep
Huntington, WV
Big Sandy Arena

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers Greatest Hits Available On Vinyl July 29th

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits collection will be available on vinyl for the first time in North America on July 29 as a double LP on 180-Gram Black Vinyl. The album is the biggest selling in the band’s illustrious catalog, with sales surpassing twelve million copies since its 1993 release.

The album contains eighteen classics including “American Girl,” “Refugee,” “Learning To Fly,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and many others. The collection also features the singles from Tom Petty’s solo album Full Moon Fever including “Free Fallin,” “I Won’t Back Down” and “Runnin’ Down A Dream.” Rounding out the track listing are “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and a cover of Thunderclap Newman’s “Something In The Air” which were first made available on this hits collection.

 Track list for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits double LP:

 Side A:
American Girl
Listen To Her Heart
I Need To Know

Side B:
Don’t Do Me Like That
Even The Losers
Here Comes My Girl
The Waiting
You Got Lucky

Side C:
Don’t Come Around Here No More
I Won’t Back Down
Runnin’ Down A Dream
Free Fallin’

Side D:
Learning To Fly
Into The Great Wide Open
Mary Jane’s Last Dance
Something In The Air

TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS released their debut album in 1976 and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in in 2002, their first year of eligibility. They have sold more than 80 million records including over 12 million US sales of their Greatest Hits album.  They have achieved the rare distinction of at least one Top 5 album on Billboard Magazine’s album charts in 5 consecutive decades. The band’s latest release in 2014, Hypnotic Eye, debuted at Number 1 in the Billboard charts. They have been a top selling concert attraction for nearly 40 years and are recognized universally as one of America's most celebrated and enduring rock "n” roll bands.

Between the Heartbreakers’ recordings and his solo work, Tom Petty has won two GRAMMY awards and has been honored with many lifetime achievement awards including, Billboard Magazine’s Century Award, the MTV Video Vanguard Award and the ASCAP Founders Award. This June Tom will be inducted into The Songwriters Hall of Fame. 

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 1976
You¹re Gonna Get It! 1978
Damn the Torpedoes 1979
Hard Promises 1981
Long After Dark 1982
Southern Accents 1985
Pack Up The Plantation: Live! 1985
Let Me Up (I¹ve Had Enough) 1987
*Full Moon Fever 1989
Into The Great Wide Open 1991
Greatest Hits 1993
*Wildflowers 1994
Playback 1995
Songs and Music from “She’s The One”1996
Echo 1999
Anthology: Through The Years 2000
The Last DJ 2002
*Highway Companion 2006
The Live Anthology 2009
Mojo 2010
Hypnotic Eye 2014
* Denotes Tom Petty solo album