Last night we saw Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys) and Chicago at Pine Knob. If you haven’t noticed a recurring theme of questioning how to age gracefully in the arts as an entertainer in my posts over the last several months, let me be more blunt.
Brian Wilson is not a young man, and his behavior when he was a young man has clearly impacted him as he is aging. The music he composed however is keeping us all younger and making a lot of people happy still today. His band was great, the singing arrangements were fantastic and very impressive. They are obviously all very good friends with Brian and care about him immensely. We’ve seen this show before and a smaller venue, the Royal Oak music Theatre back in 2019 before the pandemic. Worth seeing if you like California dreaming and surf music… highly recommend for nostalgia sake alone.
Chicago, not just a city in Jake and my roots as a couple, but a band we both love the music of. We’ve been to see them many times at Pine knob, formerly DTE, and I have to say I enjoyed the other performances more. They played more Peter Cetera songs and had someone on bass that really sounded like Peter. The man on bass tonight, was great and sang well… I just wanted a little more from the entire experience as a whole. I am glad we went though…
To the folks yelling their medical business behind us during the concert, I really didn’t need to know about your bloodwork, exams and doctor dialogue… I came to listen to music and forget about problems for a few hours… maybe you should have tried listening to Mr Wilson.
Last night a lot of folks I know went to Elton John’s farewell concert at Comerica Park. Surprisingly, we did not. But I have the most fabulous story about him… a few years back, like when I still had red & black hair, it was Jake’s birthday (April 24, 2005). We decided to spend it at the Palace of Auburn Hills listening to Elton. I’m huge into merch. We were studying the offerings and considering a possible shirt when a dude taps us on the shoulder. “You guys look like Elton Fans”… Us, “Well sorta”, him, “Not quite the answer I was looking for, so let’s try this question. You guys celebrating anything special?” Us, “Yeah, it’s his birthday today!” Guy, “Perfect! I’m Elton’s keyboard tech. He sends me out with front row tickets for fans cause he doesn’t want to see them scalped. So how’d you like to sit in the front row?!?” Us, “Obviously YES!”So, we moved from our nice-ish seats to sit right under Elton’s teleprompter. Good news I could sing along to most every word of every song. (Thanks to the Anderson’s down the road for having all his records when I babysat their kids.)Elton kept looking at us and we kept partying and singing along. It was like we were in the band. Jake kept saying encouraging words to him (like a dork). His choir was amazing and featured some local Detroiter’s. Every song was special, not one was a dud.At the end, he shook our hands smiled, said thank you for being so fun. I said thank you for Rocketman, I mean what the hell else do you say in 10 seconds? (I love sparkles because of you, I think every girl deserves a song like Candle in the Wind? Or I wanted a brother like Daniel too? How about Bernie, think you could share the secret to your chemistry?)… nope, just said “rocketman, burning out his fuse up here alone”. Just felt right. Thank you Elton for such an amazing experience. I hope everyone loved your show last night as much as I love this one memory.Now, go put on Rocketman and sing real loud, I know you wanna…
Sunday funday off with Jake Tobias Meadow Brook Amphitheatre Chris Isaak and Lyle Lovett. Saw some friends there and they asked who I was there for (both). Someone else said I’m surprised to see you here. Guess I’m full of surprises these days, but I like great music and great performances. These guys did not disappoint.
Lyle brought some heavy hitters, Muscle Shoals horns, legend, Leland Sklar on bass and nods to Spinal Tap with Russ Kunkel on drums. Chris brought his California style rock that might make you confused with Texas style honky tonk country, but really sounds a lot like Roy Orbison. Best line of the night, “An entertainer who wears this suit is bringing you the highest quality of State Fair style entertainment.” And he was right, I could have happily been at the fair when he busted into his most famous hit, “Wicked Game”.
Last night, after a whirl wind drive home to Royal Oak from “Up North”, we attended the Blue October and Goo Goo Dolls concert at Freedom Hill Amphitheater. It’s a bit smaller than Pine Knob where we se most shows. This time, our seats were H 512 and 513. Back and up from the stage, but with a nice full view. The sound in there was great for both bands.
Selfishly, I think the mix for Blue October was a bit better. It’d been several years since I last saw Justin & the guys from BO. In fact, many, last time was in Stubb’s Austin backyard in Texas and Jake’s Mom was alive. When Jake and I were first friends, he called me from Austin and said what do you know about South by Southwest. So I sent him a few bands to listen to… and he returned the favor by finding Blue October. I really think they are spectacular. Very emotional music, strong messaging and a clearly troubled leader. Justin Furstenfeld represtents strength and passion for the lead singing loving crowd with great melodies that are reachable for any vocal experience. He also clearly has mental health issues with some pretty intense emotional baggage that he’s publicly dealt with. I’m grateful to him for sharing his experience so that others can learn from him. Favorite songs, “Hate Me” and “Into the Ocean” from Foiled, “I Hope You’re Happy” from the same titled album had the crowd going and got me excited. Their songs are worth checking out… but my favorite is Inner Glow, they didn’t play that.
The headlining act, the Goo Goo Dolls, features John Reznik on lead vocals and most songs are also written by him. They were talking about playing Detroit in 1987, I think I started to get into those guys in 1988. The record store in the Alpena Mall was called Camelot Music. They sold tapes, cd’s, albums and some videos too. I remember hanging out there for hours looking at every album cover trying to figure out what to spend my limited budget on and also what they actually sounded like behind that picture on the cover. I’m not sure when, but there he was in my ears his sort of scratchy long way down vocal that permeates every song by the Goo. Since then, I’ve been hooked. When Reznick had writers block, my heart bleed for him. Then we got Iris and Name because of that… and everyone in the crowd new the words and sang along. I really like the song that starts out “Broadway is Dark Tonight”, it reminds me of staying up too late. It also doesn’t sound quite so typically Reznik so that’s also kinda cool. They played that.
It was super hot, all night long I thought we would melt. The night before we played for 2 hours and 15 minutes straight at the Atlanta Arts & Crafts fair. One would have thought we were in Georgia and not Michigan. Two nights in a row in that kind of weather and I really could barely make it to the end of either concert. We walked to the parking lot while the Goo wrapped up…
I bought a nice yellow Goo Goo Dolls shirt with the tour dates on the back and also one from Blue October with the tour dates. I’m trying to support the arts the best way I can. Spreading the word, spreading the wealth, spreading the love. Hope you are doing the same.
This weeks starts a month of crazy outdoor August shows for me. Thursday 11th Wize Guys, Double header: Thurs 18 Royal Oak Summer Concert Series and Oak City Grille, Friday August 19 Village of Rochester Hills, Sat August 20 Wize Guys in Flat Rock and closing out the summer Sunday 21st Oak City Grille in Royal Oak.
Lastly, thank you to our friend Craig L. Smith for supporting and encouraging arts and music with the 2nd Annual Arts and Crafts Fair in Atlanta. It was wonderful to play in the Bob Ross painting known as Briley Park again this year. Happy summer indeed.