While Jeanne and I were driving to Milwaukee the weekend before last, she started searching on her phone for concerts she thought I might be interested in. So for an hour-plus, we were scrolling through my Live Music Bucket List.
It’s not the first time we’ve done this, and as previously, the first name to come up is the Belfast Cowboy. Van Morrison has been at or near the top of my Concert Bucket List for a long time, and there have been previous opportunities under consideration.
One of those coincided with a trip to Cape Cod several years ago, during which Morrison was playing at a small venue in the Boston area. But the logistics of the trip, and the cost of the tickets, scrubbed it. Then there was the time he was appearing in Florida during the winter months; between the concert tickets, the flight and lodging, it would have made it effectively a $1,000-plus ticket. OK, the weather would have been warmer, but …
The problem is that Van seldom tours in America away from the Coasts. His itinerary this year includes a couple shows in California, and a closer approach … in Vegas.
The Doobie Brothers was another name that came up during Jeanne’s Internet search. I’ve always liked their music, but their hits are such staples of Classic Rock that I’ve almost heard them too much. They’re in Madison July 21, which is convenient, but the venue is what used to be, in my Mad City days, a ballpark on the mid-East Side. So it’s an outdoor show, apparently, with all the possible downsides those involve.
Steely Dan came up in the search and conversation. Fagen et al were near the top of my bucket list for many years, but came out of the bucket in July 2016, when we attended a show on tickets that Jeanne got for my birthday. When I blogged about my favorite concerts several years ago, that Summerfest grounds show ranked near the top, and was so good that I’d be tempted to see them again.
But Walter Becker, Donald Fagen’s long-time partner in the Dan project, passed away a few months after that 2016 concert. And as Jeanne read about their tour, it emerged that there are problems. Steve Winwood — who opened for them in 2016, and was excellent in his own right (then, and when we saw him open for Carlos Santana in 2010) — bailed as one of the opening acts because the other opening act he felt conflicted with his musical style. Searching now, it appears the tour has been cancelled completely.
If I wanted to revisit bands that I’ve already seen, I could have done Yes — whose 1974 concert also ranked high on my list. But their sole North American date this year was supposed to be Reading, Penn., in two weeks — and there is an announcement on their website that they’ve cancelled their U.K. and European tour, which the U.S. show, counter-intuitively, was supposed to be the opener for. Something about insurance coverage and Act of War, which I assume means the war in Ukraine?
My No, 1 concert in that blog was Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon tour show in 1973 — blogged about that a few weeks ago — and I could revisit that this year. But one option is a tour by Roger Waters, which reportedly is a part of his recurring attempts to claim that he created all that is good that Floyd ever did — his interpretation of DSotM. Or something called the Pink Floyd Experience, which might be preferable to the perpetually grievous Mr. Waters, but is only playing in U.K. and N.Z.
The Eagles I think came up in Jeanne’s searching, but as I write this (April 4) there appear to only two concerts left on their tour, the last one on April 8. Don’t think I’m going to be able to get to Baltimore this weekend.
Not sure it came up during the drive to MKE, but Elton John’s Forever Farewell Tour carries on, and on, but all the dates are in Europe. So I’m not tempted to be a part of this My Last Tour Again scam.
Billy Joel will be in Minneapolis in November; he seems like a dynamic live performer, and has done a lot of music that I like. His tour, though, is billed as “with Stevie Nicks,” and it does not indicate whether she will Mumble Her Greatest Hits as an opening act — or just do backing vocals, like she did with the late Tom Petty.
Speaking of odd couples, if I wanted to, and could afford to, go to New Zealand four days from tonight, I could see Rod Stewart AND Cyndi Lauper. (Perhaps they’re performing together because Old Boys, and Oldish Girls, just want to have fun?) The Rooster later will be coming to the Northern Hemisphere’s western part, but mostly the Great White North of that. Those shows, and the ones in California, Vegas, etc., include Cheap Trick, which could be kind of fun. Except that drummer Bun E. Carlos no longer plays with the band, reducing its fun quotient somewhat.
ZZ Top is touring extensively, and I expect would be an entertaining show. But their two closest main-act shows are weeknights in Davenport, Iowa, and Peoria, Ill. And many of their other 2023 gigs are opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd (or what’s left of them), and WiIlie Nelson. Now, Willie and Billy would be a fun bill, but of course those concerts are in Texas.
I was a big Bruce Springsteen fan earlier in his career, and he and the E. Street Band have dozens of dates scheduled this year. Most of them, though, are in Europe and Canada (and, of course, New Jersey), and the closest he gets to Wisconsin is Cleveland — tomorrow night.
Chicago is a band that I liked in their very early days — as Chicago Transit Authority, and just as Chicago, after the actual public transportation outfit threatened to sue — but less so when they went soft pop later on. Their online set list includes some of the harder-driving early stuff, but also the “Color My World” schlock.
They will be playing in La Crosse, less than an hour’s drive from here, next month, and the band includes most of the original members. Except for Peter Cetera, who departed the band for pop stardom, and Terry Kath (Jimi Hendrix’s favorite rock guitarist), who left the planet whilst playing Russian Roulette. The venue is not the best acoustically, but LaX is a place where you can get a great meal before a concert and a great cocktail afterwards.
The show that caught my bride’s eye was Lionel Richie at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Aug. 4. That’s more her kind of thing, but the opening act intrigues me: Earth, Wind & Fire. Good chance we’ll do that one.
The one that I’m most likely to hang my hat on, though, is Eric Clapton. He has five dates in North America in September, including the 14th of the month in St. Paul. Tickets are not insanely pricey, the opening act is Jimmy Vaughn — older brother of the late guitar legend Stevie Ray, and a pretty good picker in his own right.
Also, Slowhand’s backing band includes some solid, well-known professionals like vocalist Paul Carrack (Ace, Mike & the Mechanics, Roxy Music), Steve Gadd (Return to Forever, Steely Dan, Weather Report) and Chris Stainton (Clapton, Joe Cocker and lots of others).