I didn't see any reviews in other stuff so I thought I'd start one here.
I had a perfect seat dead center in row C of the loge yet I was disappointed in the sound. I don't think they needed such a big back-up band. The quiet numbers really worked, sounded great, especially two by John Mellencamp and especially "Longest Days", what a great song. Kinda depressing, but one of his better songs. I'm pretty luke warm on the guy but I probably enjoyed him the most of anybody.
Anyway, huge back up band lead by Marc Ribot (who did a nice solo piece right after set break) and featuring Jim Keltner on drums, revolving musicians most playing just two or three song sets. A benefit of music in schools. A little unclear about the specific organization, but cool. Music in schools. Yes. Almost every song was off a T-Bone Burnett produced record. Some of the musicians sat in with other acts. Mostly the Secret Sisters and The Punch Brothers. T-Bone hardly played at all. Elvis was the emcee. The show was fast paced, kept moving.
I guess my biggest complaint was the lack of hits or older material. Besides Midnight Rider, it was all stuff from T-Bone Burnett produced music (maybe Midnight Rider is on Greg's new album?). I know it was T-Bone's show and I wasn't expecting or didn't want a greatest hits revue but ya know, couldn't they just let Elton belt our Rocket Man or something...
On to the individual acts...
Karen Elson -- Lovely woman, plays a good guitar. Good, dense songs. Voice nothing special.
Secret Sisters -- Despite a huge build up by Elvis...eh. I think they suffered from too much back-up.
Punch Brothers -- Was not a big fan of Chris Thile mostly becasue I couldn't stand Nickel Creek but he was pretty darn good and his band is solid. You know, bluegrass and shit.
John Mellencamp -- Great. He embodied the spirit of the Revue with a workmanlike performance, good energy. He did two sets. Both were good. Two of his new songs are stellar. I'm not a big fan but he did a great job.
Elvis Costello -- He opened the show with Brilliant Mistake and later did a set of his new material which sounded really strong, especially the first two numbers. He's a can't miss performer. He's clearly used to having all kinds of different back-up people coming in and out because his sound was the best among those using full back-up. He's a pro.
Jeff Bridges -- T-Bone and Elvis joined him on back up vocals and guitar which was fun, but there was really no reason for his performance. He's a really good actor.
Jim James -- I thought he was great but he just came out, played two songs including "Look At You", and left. Elvis tried to get him to come out and take a bow but he didn't. It was weird. Like he didn't belong or didn't want to be there.
Dr. Ralph Stanley -- An American treasure for sure. Still sounds pretty good but he is 87!! James Shelton his guitar player is amazing. Again, the quiet numbers sounded the best. Girl From The Greenbriar Shore was most excellent.
Greg Allman -- Poor guy. He was struggling with the new songs. He appears to be dipping his toe dangerously into Brian Wilson/Johnny Winter territory. He looked fit but sounded weak, medicated, souless. God bless the guy for trying but he's just not well. He said he'd be back in March...we'll see.
Elton John & Leon Russell -- Okay. Fun to see but way over blown with multipile back-up singers, horns, all kinds of musicians making a muddy soup out of their set. They should have each done one or two greatest hits or at least more solo piano. Too much sound.
Fun night, glad I went. I'd recommend going if the show comes to your town, especially if you can get a cheap ticket which were plentiful at The Beacon.
Interesting review. I saw a T-Bone Burnett at the NOLA Jazz Fest, and was expecting to be blown away. It was kinda underwhelming. Thanks for posting.
Sad to read that about Greg.
To me, he's been that way for a number of years. He was giving it the old college try and he wasn't completely out of it. It's just to me, in my opinion, some rocks stars should just know when to call it a day. Again, my opinion only, Greg might want to start thinking about that day. Or at least rest up and see how he's doing in a year. He's not the only one I feel that way about.
At least he's doing this new album and who knows maybe the transplant will give him energy like Phil. But I'd like to see the Allman Bros put to bed, as much as I'd miss Derek Trucks on Whipping Post. It's not my place to say what the guy should do with his career but it was in some ways painful to watch like the times I've seen Brian Wilson and Johnny Winter recently.
although he definitely seemed weak, I thought he did just fine with the songs, which were three from his forthcoming album of older blues and traditional songs, and a new arrangement of midnight rider...a full show with the allmans right now would most likely not come off as well, but things could change...
>>Punch Brothers -- Was not a big fan of Chris Thile mostly becasue I couldn't stand Nickel Creek but he was pretty darn good and his band is solid.<<
Definitely agree, I discounted Chris Thile because of the Nickle Creek connection, I was delighted to find out he's more substance than that! So glad he left that band for bigger and better things!
Chris Thile has been one of the most celebrated & awarded mandolin players, especially internationally, for years, starting at a young age. He has garnered plenty of recognition of hardcore bluegrass musicians and fans despite and even during Nickel Creek. Check out the "How to Grow A Woman From the Ground Up" album and any shows with his How To Grow a Band. Kinda surprised people here have taken so long to look past Nickel Creek, besides he left/broke up that group like 3-4 years ago. I thought you guys listened to more bluegrass than that.
Nothing like making assumptions!
I listen to a ton of bluegrass just not very much "wussgrass".
Oh man, that first Nickel Creek disc is a godsend for insomnia. I was suffering a real bad bout a few years back and I happened across that album in my iTunes...I was snoring in no time. Not a big fan of their music, but damn, that thing is over the air valium perfected
not at all a fan of nickel creek either. only assumptions made here are that attending the number and type of shows reviewed here would at least provide an awareness of a musician of Thile's caliber, whether you like his music or not.