Another year is winding down. It's that time where we evaluate everything that occurred over the last 365. Why not start with music?
Here's a peek at the good and the bad in live music for 2018.
Let's start with the ones I like:
a. Foo Fighters- Night two at Wrigley Field
b. Jeff Lynne's ELO at Allstate Arena
The winner for the best concert of 2018 goes to.....
PAUL SIMON at the United Center
Like so many musicians of his age, Simon stated that this was his final tour. Unlike a lot of the others, he's closing it down at the top of his game. His two hour set featured songs from all stages of his career. The vocals weren't strained. His band was brilliant. His banter with the audience didn't seem forced. If you had seen this same show thirty years ago, you would have walked away thinking it was great. For someone who is now seventy-seven years old to put on a performance this great is beyond belief...and yet it happened. It left you wanting more....and sadly, we won't be getting it.
Now on to the bad....the very, very bad. They're so bad that Santa won't be visiting their homes this Christmas.
a. Yes-50th anniversary tour at Ravinia
b. No one else. Yes was bad enough to take both spots.
The winner of the worst concert of 2018 goes to....
THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS/THE BEACH BOYS at Ravinia
This was a two for one show. Both acts members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Both acts dated.
The Righteous Brothers opened. Back in the day it was Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield. Bobby died in 2003. In 2016, Bill put the band back together with vocalist Bucky Heard. Nothing personal against Bucky but in this case the memories are better than the live act. Medley tried to keep the show lively with stories from the olden days and jokes about being olden himself. You were laughing but not with him.
Have you ever been walking in a Vegas casino, you see a lounge act, listened for a couple of songs and then knew it's time to leave? That's what The Righteous Brother show was like except you couldn't leave. It lasted an hour instead of two songs.
After a needed intermission, it was time for The Beach Boys. This was the Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and a bunch of guys no one knew version of the band. Oh yeah, there was one guy everyone did know....special guest, John Stamos....yanno, Uncle Jessie.
Yeah, they did all the songs that we remember and love. Yeah, it looked like they and the audience were having fun, fun, fun up there....but looks can be deceiving.
The Beach Boys were formed in 1961. Some of the songs they were singing are close to sixty years old. They've been playing them for six decades. It shows! Have you ever been a concert where the musicians look and sound so old that by the end you feel old, too? That's what happened on this August night in Highland Park. I needed a nap...bad!!
But it's not going to stop Mike, Bruce and the others. They'll be back on the road in 2019. They'l even be at Ravinia again in August, opening for Ringo Starr. Prepare for more sleeping.
Almost twenty-five years ago, I saw the Beach Boys at a free concert in a park in Southern California. John Stamos was with them that night, too. One of my daughters asked "Who are those guys with Uncle Jessie?" After the show last summer, I was thinking the same thing.
Hmmmm....I have an idea. Maybe Love, Medley and those guys can retire and Paul can continue to entertain us for another decade? A guy can dream.
Related Post: Homeward Bound-Paul Simon's final tour
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