Tuesday, September 18, 2012

John Fogerty
SONY Center
Toronto ON

John Fogerty is going the route of a handful of other artists that our touring complete album recreations. In Toronto we get Cosmos Factory. Who could ask for anything more?

Opening tonight is Willie Nelson's boy, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real. I first saw Lukas when he was 15 or 16 on tour with his dad's band. They were opening for Bob Dylan on the 2004 Ballpark Summer Tour. Lukas played with Willie's band and got one song for himself, Texas Flood. He was well loved by the Bob-mothers following the tour. He even got to come back onstage with Dylan's band, lending some support on I Shall Be Released.

None of that slow ballad stuff for the kid. It's blues, it's rock, it's music not for old people. Pretty impressive sounding set, if a little short. Nice trick following Sympathy for the Devil with and instrumental Amazing Grace. Really enjoyed the opening song, bit of a twist on a Dylan title, Forever Is A Four Letter Word. He channels him a little later with a 'farm' reference reminiscent of the hold Maggies Farm had on Bob. Rockin' guitar, lots of head bobbing, some playing with his teeth and a somersault to end the show. I've added him to my list of "tours to keep an eye on in case they come to your town or somewhere you want to go".

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real
SONY Center
Toronto ON
(opening for John Fogerty)

t01 Forever Is a Four Letter Word
t02    Ain't No Answer
t03    Wasted
t04 Sympathy For the Devil
t05 Amazing Grace
t06    Start to Go

Fogerty is a treat. The show is 2 hours of  pure joy. The set opens fast and furious with a runaway Travelin' Band. From there we get the complete, if not in order, Cosmos Factory. Just an amazing trip back in time when albums meant something from start to end.

Not really much to add when you look at the songs. For me, the show is always about the songs. Seldom do I notice, let alone comment on, the other elements of a live rock show...lighting and special effects. Fogerty put some effort into this tour. We have seven screens on the stage, used to add context to the songs or just show the band. Best put to use on Long As I Can See the Light as Fogerty was surrounded by hundreds of projected candles as he stood on the risers. And smoke cannons, dry ice and pyro-technics. The flame throwers could be felt 8 rows back of center stage.

Some memorable moments throughout the show. A salute to Buck Owens on the name check in Lookin' Out My Backdoor. Woodstock talk before Who'll Stop the Rain. Paying tribute to his musical influences and heroes before the triple shot of cover songs, Before You Accuse Me, My Baby Left Me and I Heard It Through the Grapevine. The sublime version of Long As I Can See the Light. The baseball bat guitar on Centerfield.  A couple of swamp songs back to back in Green River and Born on the Bayou.

And that was only the first half of the show.

But look at the songs.

Here's the set list with the complete Cosmos Factory in mp3's.

John Fogerty
SONY Center
Toronto ON

Disc 1

t01 Travelin' Band
t02 Lookin' Out My Backdoor (Cosmos Factory, 1970)
t03 Ooby Dooby (Cosmos Factory, 1970)
t04 Who'll Stop the Rain (Cosmos Factory, 1970)
t05 Run Through the Jungle (Cosmos Factory, 1970)
t06 Ramble Tamble (Cosmos Factory, 1970)
t07 Before You Accuse Me (Cosmos Factory, 1970)
t08 My Baby Left Me (Cosmos Factory, 1970)
t09 I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Cosmos Factory, 1970)
t10 Up Around the Bend (Cosmos Factory, 1970)
t11 Long As I Can See the Light (Cosmos Factory, 1970)
t12    Centerfield (Centerfield, 1985)
t13    Green River (Green River, 1969)
t14    Born On the Bayou (Bayou Country, 1969)
t15    Don't You Wish It Was True (Revival, 2007)
t16    Gunslinger (Revival, 2007)

Disc 2

t01    The Midnight Special (Willie and the Poorboys, 1969)
t02    Hot Rod Heart (Blue Moon Swamp, 1997)
t03    Rock and Roll Girls (Centerfield, 1985)
t04    Keep On Chooglin' (Bayou Country, 1969)
t05    Lodi (Green River, 1969)
t06    Have You Ever Seen the Rain (Pendulum, 1970)
t07    Pretty Woman
t08    Down On the Corner (Willie and the Poorboys, 1969)
t09    The Old Man Down the Road (Centerfield, 1985)
t10    Fortunate Son (Willie and the Poorboys, 1969)
t11    Hey Tonight (Pendulum, 1970)
t12    Bad Moon Rising (Green River, 1969)
t13    Proud Mary (Bayou Country, 1969)


Monday, September 03, 2012

The Offspring
Echo Beach, Toronto ON
w/ Dead Sara and The Dirty Nil

Today is the 40th anniversary of the first concert I ever attended. In 1972 I saw Alice Cooper at Varsity Stadium, a cozy mid-sized outdoor venue. It was the break-out tour for the #1 hit School's Out but the bulk of the show was still centered around Love It to Death and Killer. There was a lot going on that night, between the excitement of busting my live music cherry, the theatrics of the show, a light drizzle to add to the atmosphere, the 'niceties and accoutrements of live' we imbibed in. Probably been chasing that moment for the past 40 years.

Happy to be still at it. The Offspring were one of the first bands I took my kids to see as they were nearing their teens back in the '90's. We had a spot on the rail for a show at the KOOL HAUS. Tonight my son, just a couple years away from his 30th, is joining me. The circle is unbroken.

Echo Beach is a new venue adjacent to the Molson Amphitheatre in what is now the "Closed for Renovation or Repurposing"  shell of Ontario Place. All GA, exposed to the elements, close to the lake. And it's a real beach, complete with sand. At least it's not raining.

The Dirty Nil, out of the Hammer, open the night at 6:45 pm, staring into the sun. I'm sitting at the bar with Michael, putting away 16 oz of mediocre beer at a cost of $15.00. The sound is great, even from a distance. These guys are filling in for Neon Trees on the Canadian dates. Not everyone can get into this country. Good job. Pop-punk. You'd be happy if you came across them in a bar.

Dead Sara, from L.A., turn it up a notch. Impressivie, aggressive lead female vocal. Bit of a screamo.

The Offspring probably wouldn't rank amongst my choice of the 10 Best Bands but they hold a spot on the 10 Best LIVE Bands list. Guaranteed to bring a smile. Nothing much changes, year after year but I say that in a good way, there's comfort in the familiar. Not that it's totally static.  For the first time since 1997 a show without Intermission. No songs from the first two albums. And a ton from the new record, but not the hit single.

Here's the track list and some sound samples:

The Offspring
"Release the Hostages"
Echo Beach
Toronto ON

t01    Hurting as One  (Days Go By, 2012)
t02    All I Want (Ixnay on the Hombre, 1997)
t03 Come Out and Play (Smash, 1994)
t04 Days Go By (Days Go By, 2012)
t05    Have You Ever  (Americana, 1998)
t06    Staring at the Sun  (Americana, 1998)
t07 Gone Away (Ixnay on the Hombre, 1997)
t08    Turning Into You  (Days Go By, 2012)
t09    Bad Habit  (Smash, 1994)
t10    Gotta Get Away  (Smash, 1994)
t11    OC Guns  (Days Go By, 2012)
t12    Kristy, Are You Doing Okay? (Rise & Fall, Rage & Grace, 2008)
t13 Why Don't You Get A Job? (Americana, 1998)
t14    Dividing by Zero  (Days Go By, 2012)
t15    Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell  (Days Go By, 2012)
t16    You're Gonna Go Far, Kid  (Rise & Fall, Rage & Grace, 2008)
t17    talk
t18 Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)  (Americana, 1998)
t19    The Kids Aren't Alright  (Americana, 1998)
t20    Encore:
t21    Americana  (Americana, 1998)
t22    (Can't Get My) Head Around You (Splinter, 2003)
t23 Self Esteem  (Smash, 1994)

t24 Weatherman (Dead Sara opening band)