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Steve Trager

Red Hot Chili Peppers Kick Off Getaway Tour

As the new year unfolds, we music fans eagerly anticipate filling our calendars with some great concerts. This includes The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who are out on tour supporting their new album, The Getaway, which features new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are currently selling out venues across the US which included two sold-out shows in Philadelphia, PA, at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Wells Fargo Center was already busy as I pulled into the parking lot, with queues wrapped around the building—the anticipation for a great first night was absolutely underway. Inside, fans were rushing in to scarf-up band merchandise alongside a few ice-cold drinks, ready for a great evening of music. Sitting through opening bands can either be a curse or a refreshing prelude to the main performance.

First up, we had Jack Irons; a well-known individual who worked with both Pearl Jam and was the original drummer for The Red Hot Chili Peppers in the 80s. Irons worked up fans with a great 30-minute instrumental set of dazzling drum percussions.
A quick set change brought us to a stellar performance from Trombone Shorty, from New Orleans Louisiana. I liked the jazz-influenced music that certainly gives that vibe of a jazz festival as the complimentary direct support to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I would absolutely recommend getting some of their music; it’s refreshing and nothing short of stellar.

The lights went down for the last time as The Red Hot Chili Peppers took center stage for night number one of a sold out Philly-crowd, packed to the rafters deep inside the Wells Fargo Center.

To open the show, Flea and Klinghoffer went head to head alongside drummer Chad Smith, with an opening instrumental jam before diving into their set. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have never been a band to bring with them dazzling stage production. They always keep it simple, yet unique. Many fan-favorite hits we often come to expect to hear during a show seemed to have been left out this time around—except for a few.
I was particularly impressed with Klinghoffer’s smooth guitar playing in The Zephyr Song and Dark Necessities, among other favorites. However, it was a bit disappointing without John Frusciante handling the solos during key songs like Suck My Kiss, Around The World, and Under the Bridge.

Despite the fact that the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ set was only under two hours, they made time to feature some great new tracks from new album The Getaway. These included Go Robot—another great song that never gets boring.
During the show, Flea addressed the fans recalling playing in a small club called the ‘Chestnut Cabaret’ in the 80s. The club is well-known for being a popular playing venue for bands just making a name for themselves back as far as I can remember. The venue has a legacy of supporting many of the well-known bands of today—much like the Red Hot Chili Peppers—who have rocked their way into generations of fans.

Whilst most of the set list moved back and forth between different albums, the show was still raw and well delivered. There was not much talking in between songs, yet the band still gave the audience a great show with high energy ‘in-your-face’ rock.
The last time I was able to see this band was in 2006 for their Stadium Arcadium tour; the last time I would watch John Frusciante play with the band. Even with many of the old classic favorites left out of the set list, such as Dani California, Californication and Roller Coaster, it still was nothing short of greatness.

It’s not often this band comes around on a touring cycle, if you missed the east coast shows, their tour is still going strong. You might pay a pretty penny for a ticket but it’s money well-spent to see a great live band like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Red Hot Chili Peppers Set List:

Intro Jam
Around The World
Snow
The Zephyr Song
Dark Necessities
Hard to Concentrate
Me and My Friends
Go Robot
Don’t Forget Me
Sick Love
Parallel Universe
The Longest Wave
Suck My Kiss
Under The Bridge
By The Way
It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye
Good Bye Angles
Give It Away

Classic Rock Band Foreigner Live and Acoustic

Classic rock band Foreigner are currently traveling America and Europe with an acoustic set of their best-known tracks and will be on the road well into 2017. Foreigner, currently a six-piece outfit, still manage to “raise the roof” worldwide with their hits, ballads and guitar-driven melodies. Since Kelly Hansen became Foreigner’s vocalist in 2005, their live shows have been nothing short of spectacular and the classic rock band’s acoustic set in Philadelphia this October was no exception. I was certainly surprised with this amazing acoustic touring schedule.

Foreigner tell a story

The classic rock band performed this acoustic show as if telling a story with a track-list of certain songs that played a key role in their success. Mick Jones also recalled some great songwriting moments. The show comprised of over a 100 minutes of acoustic heaven displaying the classic rock band’s history and back-catalogue. The set opened with “Double Vision” from their first recording in 1976; a true classic that is still heard on Rock Radio today and definitely never gets old. It was a great evening of music with classic rock band, Foreigner, performing music from the beginning of their formation right through to the late 90s. Many of the band’s songs are cemented in our minds with guitar-riffs and anthem-style lyrics. Foreigner recreated more than just a typical classic rock show—even though the venue was small—with this acoustic set.

You might also enjoy: Kansas: An Evening of Stellar Classics

 

Kelly Hansen’s vocals sounded great as always, never missing a note and bringing a fresh voice to the classic rock band that continues to impress loyal fans. Foreigner maintain a genuine interaction with fans and the sentiment shined during this acoustic set as thousands sung along to such classics as “Cold as Ice”, “Urgent”, “Waiting For a Girl Like You”, and “Feels Like The First Time”. The band harmonized beautifully during their acoustic set. Sitting in the front row, I could hear the clean and crisp sound of the vocals and guitars filling the entire room. For many of who aren’t able to watch Foreigner (or any other band) play an acoustic show, I highly recommend picking up their CD “Live and Acoustic”. Music is a lifestyle for a lot of us and we thrive on the melodies and great lyrics in music. Foreigner are one of those bands who have long entertained us with great rock ballads and haven’t failed to impress with this acoustic show.

Foreigner Acoustic Show Set-list

• Double Vision
• Long, Long Way from Home
• Say You Will
• Waiting for a Girl Like You
• When It Comes to Love
• Fool for You Anyway
• Dirty White Boy
• That’s All Right
• The Flame Still Burns
• Cold as Ice
• Girl On the Moon
• Feels Like the First Time
• Juke Box Hero
• Hot Blooded
• I want to Know What Love Is

Further reading: College News Talks Music with Upcoming Artist SEE

Megadeth Close Dystopia Tour

Megadeth closed the second leg of their Dystopia 2016 tour on the east coast at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey.

While Megadeth have already toured earlier this year, they have circled back to give fans an additional opportunity to be part of a great evening of metal that only they can deliver. The band’s current album, Dystopia, is superior, demonstrating both brilliant lyrics and monumental melodies—a  staple feat shown throughout the decades.

It’s hard to keep track of the musicians who have come and gone with this band. However, Megadeth seem to have found new energy with guitarist Kiko Loureiro from Brazilian thrash metal titans, Angra.

The actual turnout of the last show of this tour constituted of a mere 3000 fans. Despite the fact that Megadeth tours often and plays the same handful of songs, it was quite nice to watch the support artists who seem to tour less.

The support band for this tour included Butcher Babies, Metal Church, Suicidal Tendencies and Amon Amarth.  Sitting through opening bands can only ever be positive; they are a great form of entertainment.

Having never watched Butcher Babies before, I thought they were good considering they had about as much room as a small square room to move around on. While the performance could’ve sounded better, their 25 minute set was great.

Read: Brad Davis of Fu Manchu talks his latest project, DUNSMUIR

 

As the show went on, it felt like music in the late 80s to mid 90s with the following bands Metal Church and Suicidal Tendencies. Both of these bands were at the top of their game back when thrash metal was on the rise and making its way into the ears of many young metal-heads.

The show was very timely up to this point with sets built and taken down from the stage quickly, as if with a blink of an eye. Eventually, direct support band and Viking metal titans, Amon Amarth who hail from Stockholm, Sweden, graced the stage.

Watching 40 minutes of brutal European metal definitely makes you want to wreck your neck a few times. While I am fond of many different European bands, these guys proved to their fans that they came to rage. They delivered a power-packed set compiled of multiple records, spanning their musical career as a band well-known across the world.

Megadeth hit the stage

After four bands and about three plus hours, the stage was set for Megadeth’s final night of the Dystopia tour. Their set-list was no surprise with a lineup of familiar songs heard in past shows. They do, however, entertain fans well while their new guitarist, Kiko, fits right in like a glove.

I don’t think I’ve seen a tighter band than this line up in years, even after seeing Megadeth countless times with different lineups.

Megadeth’s set was really simple yet effective; all of the well-known favorites we all have come to expect as well as a few new songs from their new album, Dystopia. While for the most part the show was great, it would’ve benefited from five or six new songs to avoid any boredom. Kiko’s guitar work was seamlessly amazing, especially on solos in the songs In My Darkest Hour, Hangar 18 and Sweating Bullets.

If the music wasn’t enough, visually, the show was another spectacle of a production complete with lights and superb sound. We can all hope that Megadeth’s current lineup holds out for a few more years and we all get a chance to watch them at their best.

The show was well worth every penny to watch on their last night, rounding out a great tour package.

Further reading: TEDxDetroit: CN with Lungiswa Moore about #MyGirlSquad

Kansas: An Evening of Stellar Classics

Kansas Review

Out of the limelight for a while, classic rock icons, Kansas, recently returned to the touring cycle promoting a brand new CD entitled The Prelude Implicit—a first for this great band in more than 16 years. Kansas has catalog relics that span generations. With a great new record under their belt to promote on this tour, the band is also celebrating a milestone with the 40th Anniversary of their 4th studio album, Leftoverture (1976). This album captivated music fans with songs such as Carry on Wayward Son and Dust In The Wind, shredding an array of melodies and epic lyrics.

You might also enjoy: Don Felder at Sugaar House Review

 

Kansas at the Merriam Theater

Besides their current lineup, Kansas now feature a new vocalist. Ronnie Platt certainly captures that old, unique sound that we fans have grown accustomed to after decades of hearing this band unfold. Still holding their true “classic rock” sound intact, Kansas recently performed at The Merriam Theater, an intimate venue in the heart of Philadelphia, PA.

In celebration of Leftoverture, Kansas recreated their familiar clean and iconic sound, performing this masterpiece in its entirety alongside several new tracks rounding out this amazing, intimate tour.
Kansas strips down their production from the “arena rock” standard, delivering a show that gave the true rock fan their own epic, up close and personal experience.

Perhaps when any band takes to the stage right on time and delivers a great show, it’s a great moment. But when Kansas opened their set with a handful of new acoustic songs performed by their new vocalist, my senses were definitely stimulated.

While being entertained with the band’s new material, I thought to myself for a brief moment “how will the new vocalist shine with Leftoverture in its entirety, live, for the first time?”

 

Then the opening intro medley began to sound, and Ronnie sang Carry on Wayward Son, never missing a beat with his clean and crisp vocals. From then on, every song performed from this record sounded spectacular including the grand encore song, Portrait (He Knew).

While Kansas have gone through lineup changes to continue being a band that tours for years to come, we certainly appreciate all these great songs pulled out in concert time after time. It’s great to see Kansas still holding their true sound yet simultaneously captivating fans with exciting new material.

If you indulge in classic rock, like many of us do (which sometimes shows our age but age is timeless, as they say), but couldn’t make this great tour, you definitely missed a classic show.

Read: The Baha Men are Back!

Don Felder at Sugar House review

Don Felder entertains Music Fans to an evening of Eagles classics at SugarHouse

We often forget just how great classic rock truly is and how it has shaped music and it’s on-going timeless gift that never slips away from the back of our minds.

The 70’s era of rock contributed some of the most memorable rock anthems from some of the best known artists today.

While we often enjoy a great arena rock show filled with gleaming lights and pyrotechnics that add that certain brand of “wow” effect in any typical visual that fills the naked eye, it’s definitely refreshing to see many well known bands and solo artists take a different approach to the concert experience.

To see some great iconic artists in a small intimate setting is not only amazing but is becoming more common than you think.

Many arena rock artists and solo individuals these days are now scaling down their massive tour productions down to fit smaller more intimate venues, giving you the fan that personal feeling as if they are performing for just you when you close your eyes is priceless.

The music of the Eagles can be long remembered for numerous contributions of stellar hits and power ballads that have come full circle beyond being labeled classics.

Music fans can truly appreciate all the amazing song writing and unforgiving melodies created by The Eagles as a whole band in the genre of classic rock over the years.

Among the four individuals who have branded many of these great ballads and hard driving rock anthems, we acknowledge Don Felder for his unparalleled diversity and compelling song writing ability to create timeless works of brilliant melodies.

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There was no better way to see Don Felder in his prime than as a solo artist re-create memorable melodies with a long list of his contributions from the Eagles and the great music they have created throughout the years with a sold out show at the Event Center inside the SugarHouse Casino.

Definitely a great place to see any up and coming artist or even a well -known artist like Felder who is the second popular artist to perform at the event center this year.

With no opening band to sit through and get bored with, Don Felder stepped into the limelight and strapped on his trademark Les Paul and began to memorize the sold- out Philly crowd.

Don hit the stage just past 8 pm to an eagerly excited packed house as he opened the show with an all time great Eagles relic “Already Gone”, an absolutely great classic to get the rock show underway.

Like most of us who grew up with all these great songs that he performed throughout the evening, he also tipped his guitar to the late great Stevie Ray Vaughn and double trouble with “Pride & Joy”.

Nothing screams the blues rock and soul of Stevie Ray Vaughn with that trademark song early on in the set.

Much of the Don’s history and contributions as an artist were showcased throughout the entire ninety-minute sizzler of ballads and rockers like “Tequila Sunrise”, “Heartache Tonight”, “Seven Bridges Roads”, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, and “Victim of Love”.

During the show he would banter certain songs and certain years of his rich history as a musician especially during his tenor with the Eagles, however I liked when he would heckle his former band and call them Beatles and or Seagulls right before he would go into another hit melody maker at the show.

Every song kept the fans inspired and definitely entertained in this ultra small but cozy setting.

No matter if you were in the balcony or in the front row, you felt like you were on stage with Don Felder while you playing guitar.

There were a bunch of songs he did perform that were done by the late great Glenn Fry and or Don Henley or even Joe Walsh as everyone knows they have written many of the cult classics spanning their musical careers.

 Sitting within the first ten rows watching Felder playing guitar, seemed to be a rockers dream whipping through  “Take It To The Limit”, “Witchy Woman”, and “Life In The Fast Lane”, three of my all time greatest Eagles songs ever in the earliest days of them as band.

With a set list built to truly quench any rocker’s appetite, he never leaves the stage without the Eagles trademark which he respectively brings out the Gibson Double neck and says to the fans

“You know what time it is don’t you? obviously not time to leave the show without hearing Hotel California, one of the most respected songs captivating fans young and even old that can relate to a great well written song much of a timeless classic beyond verbal words to express a great ballad”.

For an artist to pack a small place like SugarHouse was nothing short of a great show, packed with adoring fans of Eagles music at hand and a fun filled evening with an amazing musician that contributed to a history of rock and roll fame along the way.

Felder Set List:

Already Gone

One of These Nights

Pride & Joy

You Don’t Have Me

Victim of Love

Peaceful Easy Feeling

Take  It To The Limit

Tequila Sunrise

Seven Bridges Road

Those Shoes

Girls In Black

Heavy Metal

Witchy Woman

The Long Run

Heartache Tonight

Life In The Fast Lane

Take It Easy

Hotel California

You should also read: Music fans enjoy decibels of guitar shredding bliss at generation axe 

Music fans enjoy decibels of guitar shredding bliss at generation axe

Generation Axe is the new G 3 touring cycle

It’s been twenty years since the initial concept known to guitar fanatics around the world as the G 3 Touring cycle that featured Joe Satriani as the headliner alongside some amazing additional guitarists performing in front of countless music fans.

We are truly fascinated and intrigued by numerous guitarists for their unique blend of musical talent that has quickly become a true inspiration to musicians across a spectrum of talent.

While many guitarists still captivate our senses for a great guitar riff or ear shattering decibel solo, that often exceeds a standing ovation for an endless performance, we admire each individual for style and graceful melodies spanning a great power ballad.

Recently unveiled to the touring cycle for the first time in 2016 is Generation Axe, certainly a label that describes an evening of great talent from amazing virtuosos sharing the stage for one incredible evening of rock meltdown instrumental style.

Generation Axe which is the first of its kind to feature a blend of guitarists that have shaped music and defined a generation surrounding talent second to none, certainly can be the new touring circuit for years to come with a roster of talent lending more than just a few guitar licks and effect peddles to intrigue music fans.

Joining this amazing tour, eighties icon Yngwie J. Malmsteen alongside guitar mates Nuno Bettencourt, Steve Vai,  Zakk Wylde, and Tosin Abasi rounding out a diverse blend of musical talent that has wowed fans in every market on this tour leading up to its stop at the ever popular Tower Theater.

Opening the show with all five musicians paying homage to Boston’s Four Play definitely was an eye opener, with each guitarist lending endless talent in the mix of it all in center stage not mentioning all the guitar solos one can digest in a quick moment.

It’s not who opened for who or who closes the show, generation axe was more along the lines of a revolving door with each musician performing several songs spanning a limelight of musical interlude of ecstasy for the mind that goes beyond a visual spectacle.

Music fans were treated to some unique guitar work from Tosin Abasi who hails from Animals As Leaders. With much of his music under the rock radar, it was a great additional to the lineup of artists sharing the stage during this monumental tour package.

The show featured some great moments with Zakk Wylde performing his blistering renditions of Sabbaths’  N.I.B, Hendrix’s Little Wing and closing with an Allman Brothers’ tribute with Whipping Post. Three long songs having fans on their feet throughout each song leading up to Zakk roaming down the aisles while maintaining seeming less solos obviously wasn’t the highlight of the show.

For any fan who still loves the eighties Sweden’s export to the music world Yngwie Malmsteen defiantly redefines metal with the visual look and feel of the greatest moments in his set spanning several instrumentals from Rising Force and Trilogy CD’s. Malmsteen still is a true innovator of the word classic showman with guitar tricks while maintaining speed and spot on rock riffs.

Other stellar highlights from this incredible evening of guitar work, Nuno Bettencourt entertained the crowd with his medley of extreme classics including some brilliant acoustic guitar segments certainly winning over fans in an instant without a doubt.

And ofcouse Steve Vai is best known for his work with David Lee Roth as a solo artist and lending guitar licks to Whitesnake in 1988. His twenty-minute set included Edgar Winters Frankenstein amongst some fantastic solo material spanning his last few CDs.

Closing out what fans would defiantly say was the Highlight of the show when all five guitarist joined forces with Yngwie Malmsteen belting out Deep Purples Highway Star.

This was the type of show that was like the G3 meets the 21st Century limelight of Shredders dominating diversity and their own blend of musical talents separately

Putting them all together makes up for a one of a kind world class act hands down with numerous standing ovations at the Tower Theater.

Sure we have our favorites and our bands we can listen on repeat for days and hours at a time, but a show like this really staples a true description of Guitar Greatness.