Michael Bolton at Mohegan Sun

We were invited as friends of Mohegan Sun to see Connecticut’s own, Michael Bolton for free last night. This is one of several private (not advertised) shows we have been privileged to attend the past couple of years. Not owning a single recording by Michael Bolton, I felt this would be a perfect opportunity to experience his music. Bolton’s achievements include selling more than 75 million records, recording eight top 10 albums and two number one singles on the Billboard charts, as well as winning multiple American Music Awards and Grammy Awards.[3][4]

I feel it is vital to experiment with other forms of music outside of one’s comfort zone. It is what grows and further defines us. As I learned last night this was what changed Michael Bolton’s life as a vocalist.

Michael Bolton and his brilliant band took us on a journey through various genres of music, soul, adult contemporary, blues, and opera.I was especially taken with several songs in his set list.

I was knocked out by the power of Michael Bolton’s soulful voice. When he sings he reaches way inside you body and soul. It’s a fantastic connection. Something worth experiencing if you ever get the chance to see him live.

Highlights

I didn’t realize Michael Bolton played guitar so well. He strapped on a blue lacquered Paul Reed Smith guitar and rocked out to Robert Johnson’s, “Sweet Home Chicago“.

Duets

Michael Bolton did a series of duets with Amanda Brown a vocalist on his tour. He mentioned that Amanda Brown had competed on The Voice. She is a rising star you will be hearing more from in the future.

The highpoint of the evening was when he spoke lovingly about the late Luciano Pavarotti. His sentiment shifted to the time he sang with Pavarotti.

An invitation by Luciano Pavarotti to sing Nessun Dorma with him was “life-altering” according to the 62-year-old.

“It profoundly impacted the way I sing, train and preserve my voice,” he said. “The opportunity was thrilling and equally daunting. The classical discipline changed the way I was using my voice.

“Now, no matter where in the world I’m performing, I try to always include Nessun Dorma in my set and give homage to the greatest tenor ever.”

Michael Bolton then rendered a magnificent version of the operatic classic, “Nessun Dorma” in Pavarotti’s honor.

Michael Bolton’s musical journey took us through many fascinating genres last night.  We enjoyed his concert very much, thank you Mohegan Sun and Michael Bolton from the music of our heart.

Kokomo, That’s Where We Want To Go

Tonight at Mohegan Sun we pay witness to The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour. Last time we saw them was Central Park in 1971, without Brian Wilson and David Marks… 😉

The Beach Boys on their 50th Anniversary tour. (L-R) Brian Wilson, David Marks, Mike Love and Al Jardine.
Larry Marano/Getty Images

This is the song I am most eager to hear of the 40+ songs they will perform tonight. I believe it is set listed as an encore song.

Van Halen Tour and New Album – The Excitement Buzz Continues

Last night Van Halen played at Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village for 250 people. I applaud them for igniting such a major excitement buzz for their 2o12 tour and their forthcoming album A Different Kind of Truth.  The NY Times article, “Van Halen Delivers Big Nostalgia on a Small Stage” by James McKinley Jr. proved to be an insightful read for those of us who were curious about last night’s event.

Photograph by Charles Sykes/Associated Press

I’m setting my sights on trying to get tickets for the Mohegan Sun March 3rd concert. Live Nation is handling the tour so I will need to use my account  with them to purchase seats. I like that Kool & The Gang will be the opening act.

Grand Funk Railroad – An American Supergroup

English: Grand Funk Railroad in their heyday!!
Image via Wikipedia

Looking back to the year 1969 there was a lot of great music happening. Grand Funk Railroad began their career on vinyl that year with the recording, On Time released the same month as Woodstock. It didn’t get a lot of first attention on the radio, I know I never heard it. The first single they released was, “Time Machine” in July of 1969. It barely broke through the Billboard Top 50 singles chart. But a bigger future was brewing for Grand Funk Railroad.

Grand Funk (album)
Image via Wikipedia

Grand Funk Railroad started to percolate with their second album, Grand Funk, released at the end of 1969. They were perfectly situated to ride the tsunami wave of the Age of Aquarius 1970 which was a paramount year for music. The red album caught on like wildfire. Everybody I knew was raving about Grand Funk. I wasn’t sold on Grand Funk at all. I thought they were crap to be quite honest with you. I would get into some heated debates with my friends about their sound.

It turned out I was wrong about Grand Funk Railroad (although many music critics agreed with me…). They continued to accelerate on the charts, the radio and with fans. Their third album, Closer to Home broke the band into super group level (it is double platinum). “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)” proved to be a major classic hit on progressive FM radio where they would play the entire 10 minute track (it was a 5:31 length single).

Closer to Home
Image via Wikipedia

The three members Don Brewer, Mel Schacher, and Mark Farner featured prominently on the cover of Closer to Home. I bought this album in 1970 as my opinion began to change about Grand Funk Railroad. I regret not ever seeing them live as an original power trio. They hold the record in 1971 of breaking The Beatles’ Shea Stadium attendance record by selling out in just 72 hours.

I did get to see Grand Funk Railroad later in my life. I first caught Mark Farner in 2001 at the Milford Oyster Festival for free. That was a cool outside show on Fowler Field.

Then we saw Grand Funk Railroad with Don and Mel at Mohegan Sun‘s Wolf Den. Don took his drum stick and threw it in the air and it landed right at my feet. I have it in my memorabilia collection now. It’s the only drum stick I have ever gotten at a live concert (close to 500 concerts in 42+ years).

I have seen Don Brewer playing drums for Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band twice as well.

Stephen Stills at Mohegan Sun Wolf Den,October 21, 2011

There is something reassuring about taking a favorite book down from the shelf and getting reacquainted with the pages between the covers.

How well this adage held true when we saw Stephen Stills live at the Wolf Den last night.

I was surprised to learn from a friend of mine that Stephen Stills was playing for free only an hour away from our home. As I told my friend Dave, “You outslutted the concert slut ; with this event”

Stephen Stills appearance was part of the 15th Anniversary celebration events at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville Ct.

Stephen Stills

I had my doubts we would get into the Wolf Den to see an artist of the stature and reputation of Stephen Stills. I felt this because you have to get online early for their shows. It’s a first come, first get basis venue. I expected a long line in place by the time we got to the Wolf Den at 12:45 p.m. (6 hours before they allow an audience in…). Surprisinly there were only 10 people on-line, which we knew could mushroom to 40 as people place hold in line there (a maximum of 4 people as a party per person…) They handed out cards with numbers on them last night as there were lots of dignitaries, “A” listers and high rollers in attendance. This made less “free” seats available. Stephen Stills is the first artist I have ever waited 8 hours to see without a ticket in hopes of getting in…(He did not appear onstage until 8:45 p.m.)

Thankfully we got inside and were given a table about 20 feet from the stage. I have seen Stephen Stills twice before, once in the rafters of Mohegan Sun Casino Arena for the CSNY Freedom of Speech tour (2006) and then with CSN at the Meadowlands in 2010 from the lawn.

Stephen Stills and his band were top-notch. I find Steven Stills to be one of my favorite guitarists to watch. His guitar playing amazed me all night long. He kept his guitar tech busy let me tell you. Stephen Stills played both an acoustic and electric set. My iPhone lost power last night so I was unable to document a set list.

Some of the songs I recall from last night were a wonderful rendition of “Johnny’s Garden” from the first Manassas album. I was entranced with an intriguing interlude of The Beatles, “Within You, Without You“, that fused effortlessly with the Crosby, Stills and Nash classic, “Suite Judy Blue Eyes“. He also played “4+20” from Deja Vue and “Helplessly Hoping” during the acoustic set.

I loved the rendition of “Bluebird” he opened the show with as it rocked so tight. It was really cool to see him on electric piano which is rare.

He ended the evening with a rousing version of “Woodstock” . The encore consisted of “Love the One You’re With” from the Stephen Stills album and then he finished with the Buffalo Springfield gem, “For What It’s Worth”.

File:Stephenstills.jpg

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