Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bob Walkenhorst and others at Viking Varieties 2006 Cheryl DeSharzer Arnoff Scholarship Fund Concert (Northeast High School, Kansas City, Missouri)

Last night I attended Viking Varieties, 2006 Cheryl DeSharzer Arnoff Scholarship Fund Concert at Northeast High School, Kansas City, Missouri. It's put on by alumni to raise money for college scholarships for current students.

Wow oh wow. Anyone reading this, I suggest next year, if Bob Walkenhorst plays this event again, go. It was a short set compared to his regular shows. 45 minutes or so. But it was majestic. Magical. Reminds me of one of Bob's songs, actually (not one he performed yesterday). The first verse of "The Greatest Night of My Life" tells about a gig. "There were a thousand chairs there were 25 there". At last nights show while Bob was playing, I counted 27 people there. (Plus the people in the hallway at the ticket table and merchandize tables and the guy up in the balcony doing the spotlight). I didn't count the seats, but it very well may have been in the neighborhood of 1000. The song says later in the verse "and when we walked off the stage, I swore I'd just jammed with God". Okay, I can't say jamming with God or any other divine images came to mind. But it was grand. Both wonderful in the moment, and memorable.

Bob played this event last year as well, and it was equally grand last year. Just Bob, playing guitar (and sometimes harmonica) and singing. Bob's an awesome singer with a powerful voice, and his singing fills the auditorium. The highlight last year was Bob singing "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry". Bob really brings out the beauty of that song. He did that song again this year, and it was equally wonderful. Perhaps it was the highlight again. Or maybe it was "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". Bob sings that distinctly differently than Judy Garland did, but equally beautifully.

Bob also did several of his originals, including some not yet recorded orginals. Bob's not just a awesome vocalist, he's a great singer songwriter. Actually, I'd say he's a singer-songwriter first. But it's great that he knows his vocal abilities well enough to choose to sing a song like "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" alone on stage, and shine with it. And he knows how to let the music be the focus. Putting his best into his singing, not to show off his vocals, but to give to the song what makes the song shine.

Ah, but there was more to the evening than Bob Walkenhorst. It was a musical variety show. When I arrived, after the show had already started, a Northeast student was playing piano. Very nicely too. Exit 47's Blues Brothers medley was a highlight. The rest of their set was pretty darn good too. There were many great performers at the show.

John Northern was the last performer before Bob Walkenhorst. John Northern performs mostly originals. I think last night's set was all originals. Though I can't promise there wasn't an obscure cover thrown in. John Northern is hard to describe. Quirky lyrics. Good quirky lyrics. A very enjoyable performer.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Retroactive at O'Dowd's

Last night, after watching a movie, I went to see Retroactive. 80s cover band. One of the members is a fellow Bob Walkenhorst fan, which is how I know of the band.

I quite enjoyed it. I like their variety of 80s music. Not stuff I listen to all the time, or would want to listen to all the time, but it's enjoyable live on a night out. I recommend them.

They have both a female singer and a male singer.

I think "Sweet Child Of Mine" was probably my favorite song of theirs. Sung by the female.

The only bad thing was the drunk guys bumping into me. Some on accident, some on purpose. The guy who stepped on my foot twice I can assume was accidental. Some of the others I'm sure were too, but some clearly were not. That got quite tiring after a while. And even if I were looking to hook up or to meet someone, when the main thing I notice about a guy is that he's drunk, I sure as heck ain't gonna be interested.

But the music was good, and despite the drunk men, I'm glad I went.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Elders at Truman High School, Independence, MO; and the Issues at Joe's Standard Bar, Blue Springs, MO, April 8, 2006

(The Elders portion of this blog post was posted at the Elders Message Board.)

I didn't take pictures at the Elders show. And I'll probably be less of a photo bug in the future than I have been in the past at Elders shows.

"Right With the World" is my new favorite Elders song. Lovely song. Ian told us to listen to the words, but for part of the song I found myself instead listening to Norm's bass part. :) But it does have nice words. I remember quite liking the lyrics when they were posted at the Elders message board a while back.

They did "Fisherman's Blues". I haven't heard that one from the Elders for a while. That was a real treat. It's a great song and the Elders do it so well. Ah, I'd love to have a recording of the Elders playing that one. Ah well.

Let's see... other new ones, to answer Debbie's question. "Racing the Tide" and "Bad Little Irish Boy". Plus "Need A Miracle" (or whatever the proper title is) and "Send a Prayer", less new, but they'll be on the upcoming CD.

Two sets of about an hour each.

They did both "Fire in the Hole" and "Devil's Tongue", but they didn't do them back to back like they had been typically doing for a while. It was weird to have "Fire in the Hole" just end rather than going into "Devil's Tongue.

Speaking of "Devil's Tongue", the harmonies on it sounded different. Not sure how, but different. Good, though, quite good.

The encore was (do I really have to even tell you all?) "10 lb Earhole". (Ah, okay, they do mix it up some these days and sometimes do other songs for the encore.) The guys won.

Afterwards some friends and I went out to TGIFriday's for Late Night Happy Hour. They had some drink specials and cheap (and good tasting) appetizers. That was enjoyable. Well, not so much the food and drink, though that too, as hanging out with friends.

Then I headed out to Blue Springs to catch the last set by the Issues. The singer had mentioned to me before that the place they play in Blue Springs is a good place. But it's just way too much of a drive for me. But since I'd already driven out as far as Independence for the Elders, it wasn't too much farther of a drive to go out to Blue Springs.

Joe's Standard Bar was indeed a really nice place. Basically, a nice crowd, a crowd who was having a good time, into the music, and not behaving inappropriately. And I think the audience being into it is the biggest thing that makes a bar gig good. Yeah, I can enjoy band (if it's music I like) if there's just a few folks dancing or otherwise paying attention to the music and everyone else is doing their own thing with the music as background noise. But it's nicer when folks are into the music and there's a sense of connection together through the music.

Well, liking the band is important too. And I do quite like the Issues. Classic rock cover band, with something of a bluesy feel. A lot of the songs they play aren't amoung my favorite classic rock songs, but when the Issues play them, they sound great. I'm really glad I went out to see them.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Dennis DeYoung at the VooDoo lounge, March 31, 2006

Good show. Dennis is a great performer.

I'm definitely in the "Dennis shouldn't return to Styx; Dennis Doesn't need Styx" camp. Dennis is great on his own. His show. I only missed Styx on one song. "Suite Madame Blue". Styx play it much better than Dennis's band, in my opinion. (I'm a fan of both the current Styx and Dennis, and I did get to hear Styx do that live at one show.)

This was my first time seeing Dennis play without an orchestra, just his band. I enjoyed it. Different. Not better or worse than with an orchestra, just different.

In addition to looking forward to seeing Dennis, I was looking forward to hearing his guitar player, Tommy Dziallo. (For those who haven't seen Dennis live, think "Desert Moon") He's a good guitar player, plus, I like his style.

Dennis did all Styx songs, except for "Desert Moon", plus his band did an instrumental medly. I forget what all was in that, except there was an Aerosmith song in there somewhere, but I recognized at least a couple other rock classics. It led into a Styx song, so kinda served as an extended introduction for the song.

"I'm Okay" is a favorite Styx song, great to hear it.

The venue has a ceiling with some sort of screen, so they can put pictures up there, which they did a few times during the show. During "Light Up", Marijuana leaves. Seriously. That made me smile.

We (my sister and I) had a spot in the balcony on the side right by the front. And it was the side with Dennis's keyboard. So a great view of him playing when he was on keyboard. And he did look up at us in the balcony on the sides some.

Another good thing about the spot in the balcony on the side, is being able to stand when we felt like it without blocking people behind us. (basically, on the sides in the balcony it's a single row of tables and seats.)