Tag Archives: Return to Forever

One last look back at 2011

Here’s my 2011 list of concerts.  A little shorter than some years, but I had a lot of work distractions in the past year, so it’s actually a pretty good tally all things considered.  There’s a lot of quality there and a few once in lifetime shows.  I’ll make a few individual notes where appropriate  (But, of course there’s a review of each if you’re so inclined to read more.

Phil Vassar – A nice little private show at the PCMA conference for people with a CMP designation.  Fun and loose show.

Robert Randolph & the Family Band

Chromeo – A bit of a letdown, but I’m still hoping to see them again and see how they evolve.

Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine

Delgado Brothers

Jeff Beck & Imelda May – Once in a lifetime and one of the best shows I saw all year.

Prince – Another show that for all the hype was a bit of letdown.

Doheny Blues Fest – Tedeschi/Trucks, John Fogerty, Experience Hendrix, Mavis Staples, The Blasters, Funky Meters, Big Head Blues Club, (Plus others) – Two great days on the beach.  A couple misses, but mostly hits. Tedeschi/Trucks being the very best of day 1 and the Blasters the best of Day 2

KSBR Birthday Bash – Brenda Russell, Kieko Matsui, Brian Bromberg, Dan Siegel, (Plus others) – A really cool gift from my friend Eliott.

Eels – Confounding and complex.  It was great in some very unexplainable ways.

U2 & Lenny Kravitz (2x) – Night 2 was the better of the two nights, both were strong but night 2 has the edge (pun intended).

Weird Al

Kansas & Blue Oyster Cult – Not very good, one of the most disappointing shows of the year for me.

Rock Candy Funk Party – Going back in January, a top five evening and surprisingly it’s not once in a lifetime, looking forward to it very much.

Barenaked Ladies – Good, but not great.  More and more I miss Stephen Page.

Return to Forever & Zappa Plays Zappa – I’d say that along with Jeff Beck this were the most amazingly talented musicians I saw all year…or in many years.

Frank Turner – My best find of 2011.  Seeing him in February once again!

Fountains Of Wayne – I wanted this to be better, bit it wasn’t up to the pervious levels I’d seen them perform at.

Airborne Toxic Event – Another cool find of 2011 and this was the Filmore show in SF that was really cool.

Big Head Todd w/Ruthie Foster and Charlie Musselwhite – Again, a sort of letdown show and slightly disappointing overall.

Airborne Toxic Event, Tokyo Police Club, Built to Spill – Good headliner, the rest of the bill was hit and miss.

Bob Segar – Just reviewed, the man still has it!  Great show.

So there you have it.  My 2011 in a nutshell.

Looking ahead to 2011 I already have four shows slated.  Joe Bonamassa, Frank Turner, Social Distortion and Roger Waters.  Plus, I know Springsteen is touring.  So, lots to be excited about in the coming year.  Thanks as always for reading!  Happy New Year!


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100th Post and a late review…

Interesting timing I suppose…my 100th post was going to be about the Return to Forever show at the Greek Theatre last month.

And, in I suppose that I’ll get to that in due course here in this post.  But, first I guess I should explain how my “Big Week” of concerts changed right after the BNL show reviewed in post 99.  The day between BNL and RTF I received a call that my sister in Texas was gravely ill and not likely to survive the night.

Unable to get there (I thought) in time, I booked the first flight I could with some miles to leave Wednesday morning, and I still attended the show at the Greek.  Then, I spent all of the next day flying and driving.  Getting to Cushing, Texas sometime after midnight the next day.  To make a long story short, my sister made an amazing recovery that the doctors couldn’t really explain.  I stayed a week and by the time I left she was pretty much back to where she had been prior to her hospitalization.  I, on the other hand was somewhat worse for the wear and off my game for a few days.  Now, I”m finally getting back to catch up on things like missing blog posts.

Why do I mention this?  Well, I feel a certain responsibility to uphold my promises and I promised (anyone reading and myself) to review each show I attended.  So, now that things are finally somewhat back to normal…I figured I’d get back to it and catch up on the RTF show.

RTF IV and Zappa Plays Zappa – September 20, 2011 – Greek Theatre

I had a long standing plan to go to this show with one of my best friends since we were about seven years old, Dave.  He’s a huge fan of RTF and we’ve both listened to them since we were teenagers.  We set out early (for reasons I’ll explain in a bit) and stopped at Olivera Street for a great lunch before arriving at the Greek around 4pm.  The reason we were so early is that a friend of mine was the LD (Lighting Director) for the tour and he’d invited us up to see the soundcheck!  Sure enough, he met up outside and hung an “all access” pass around our necks and in we walked to the strains to RTF warming up.

But, it wasn’t that we got to hear them…we followed my friend up to his console where he was programming….on stage…about 10′ from Chick Corea….

Yep…I was on stage while a group of some of the best jazz musicians who ever played did their soundcheck.  They finished checking and my friend called Chick Corea over and introduced us.  So, now I’m talking to Chick Corea….and posing for a photo….

Me with Chick Corea

Well, I pretty much could have gone home happy at this point….

We listened to Zappa plays Zappa soundcheck and hung out with my friend and caught up while he gave us a tour of the backstage areas in the dark time before the house opened and the first band played.

Let me say, Zappa plays Zappa was a huge surprise to me.  They were amazingly good young musicians.  I’m not a huge Zappa expert, but I knew a few of the pieces they played…”Dancin Fool”, “St Alfonso’s Pancake Breakfast” and “King Kong” which featured Chick Corea out as a guest of the band.  I have to say that their engineer Glynn did one of the best mixes I have ever heard in that venue.  It was spot on perfect, as was the band.  A huge surprise I would go back and see them again in a heartbeat.

Return to Forever was up next and they didn’t disappoint.  I can’t say I’m a jazz expert or that I even listen to a huge amount on a regular basis.  But, their album “Romantic Warrior” has been a favorite of mine since the 70’s.  The history of the players alone is just staggering.  Stanley Clarke, Lenny White and Chick Corea would likely each be in a top five (ten?) list of greatest players ever on their respective instruments.

Here’s their setlist:

Medieval Overture
Senor Mouse
Sorceress / Shadow of Lo
After the Cosmic Rain
Romantic Warrior
School Days

The last two pieces being amazing jams, as you can see in this clip of Spain: (It also give you a taste of my friend’s work on the lighting for the show)

I can’t get totally specific on the technical merits of each player or composition….all I can say is it was a honor to see such a talent group of musicians all on one stage at one time.  And excellent musical evening was helped along by the phone call that I received mid show that my sister was improving.

So, a darn good night all around….good music, good friend and good news all at the same time.

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Big Week Ahead!

So, things have been a little quiet for a month or so on the concert front, but next week will bring a huge spike in activity.  Three shows.  Barenaked Ladies on Sunday, Return to Forever on Tuesday and Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs on Saturday.

In the intervening time I did go to one show that I didn’t do a full write up about.  A band called “Working Hour” at the Viper Room in Hollywood.  The drummer is the son of one of my best friend’s friend.  They are a nice group of kids from the midwest who came out here (like so many before) to seek their fortune in the music business.

Pretty talented and and they put on a nice show that night.  Here’s a link to their music video so you can check them out.

It was quite a time shift for me just to be up hanging out down the street from the Whiskey and the Roxy.  My friend, his wife and I even walked down to the old Tower Records to pay our respects to what used to be the mecca of our music shopping.  Quite a trip down memory lane.  See you all over the next few days with a lot more to say!


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