Archive for the ‘Classic Rock’ Category

Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck
Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw this show listed as it seems a rather incongruous pairing. It was surprisingly good especially for the few songs where the bands played together.

Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck at the Oakland Paramount Theatre

Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck at the Oakland Paramount Theatre. Click for more photos.

Brian Wilson went first and I had low expectations because the last couple times I saw him he was downright awful. He was much better this time but it was still sad. His voice still has recognizable hints at his former Beach Boys’ sound; he showed glimmers of engagement at the keyboard but he often sat near catatonic for long sections. He had a huge band with him eleven other musicians including Al Jardine and David Marks. Blondie Chaplin even came out for a couple of songs including “Sail On, Sailor”. The size of the band was key as they easily covered for any of Brian Wilson’s shortcomings and let the audience focus on the mastery of the song-writing.

All-in-all, I got the feeling that he was simply sitting in at a Beach Boys tribute set.

Between sets there was a huge audience transition as a lot of people left.

Jeff Beck was perfect counterpoint. OMG he and his band were fabulous. Outside of the Yardbirds and his early work with Rod Stewart, I don’t know him at all. I expected a rock/blues band it was much more on the fusion side of the house. What surprised me most was that it was a true ensemble with him only stepping out in front and playing the guitar god role a few times.

He played for about 45 minutes or so then brought Brian Wilson and some of his band back and they performed a few songs off of Smile. After that, Jeff Beck played a few more songs on his own and closed his set with “Day in the Life” which was the highlight of the show for me.


They brought both bands together for the encores. Hearing Jeff Beck playing slide during “Surfin’ USA” was a treat.

Set List:

Brian Wilson

Their Hearts Were Full of Spring
California Girls
Do It Again
Don’t Worry Baby
Little Bird
Old Man River ->
Sail On, Sailor
Wild Honey
Heroes and Villains
Pet Sounds
God Only Knows
Sloop John B
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
I Get Around
Good Vibrations
Fun, Fun, Fun

Jeff Beck

[Several that I don’t know including]

Little Wing
Over the Rainbow
Our Prayer *
Child Is Father of the Man *
Surf’s Up *
Rollin’ and Tumbin’
Day in the Life

Barbara Ann *
Surfin’ U.S.A. *
Danny Boy *

* w/ Brian Wilson et al

Brian Wilson – Vocals, keyboards
Al Jardine – Vocals, guitar
David Marks – Vocals, guitar
Blondie Chaplin – Vocals, guitar
And too many more to remember

Jeff Beck – Guitar
Lizzie Ball – Violin
Rhonda Smith – Bass
Jonathan Joseph – Drums
Nicholas Meier – Guitar

Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA

First off, I come clean: I’ve never been a huge Yes fan. Because I’d never seen them before I decided to take the opportunity when I heard they were scheduled to play The Warfield. I got online right at 10:00 when tickets went on sale and picked up a seat in the front row.

Yes at Warfield Theatre. Click for more photos.

I’ve always associated Yes as a keyboard-dominated band but after seeing them I realized they are much more guitar heavy than I realized. OTOH, I was sitting directly in front of Steve Howe’s mic stand and that may have influenced my perception.

The show consistent of them performing The Yes Album, Close To The Edge, and Going For The One. I’ve always thought “come listen to us play a classic album straight through” was a gimmick and tend to skip those shows. In this case, while I’m familiar with their music I’ve never listened to a Yes album end-to-end so I enjoyed the experience.

The show started off a bit ragged as they had sound problems both in the monitor mix and in the hall for the first few songs. Everything finally came together for a very extended version of “Starship Trooper” which was one of the highlights of the show for me. Throughout their performance of the first album and especially on “I’ve All Good People” Steve Howe kept playing little Chuck Berryeque riffs as fill. I’d never noticed it in their studio work but that may not mean much given my opening sentence.

Close to the Edge was a bit too far on the prog rock side for me. It struck me as an acquired taste that becomes enjoyable once you become familiar with the music. I enjoyed the “I Get Up, I Get Down” portion and “You and I” both other than that, I was looking forward to the set break.

After the set break the came back for Going for the One which I found much more accessible. The band also seem to be having the most fun of the night. At point Steve Howe steel guitar was rolling a good foot or two from side-to-side as he bouncing around so much while playing it.

Set I:
The Yes Album
Close To The Edge

Set II:
Going For The One


Chris Squire – Bass
Steve Howe – Guitar
Alan White – Drums
Geoff Downes – keyboards
Jon Davison – Vocals

Dick Dale
Crystal Bay Casino, Crystal Bay, NV

He lived up to his reputation and played really, really LOUD and at 75 he still puts on a very energetic show bouncing all over the stage. The 90-minute show had no defined set list and at times seemed like an impromptu jam session that just happened to have an audience. He regularly riffed on common songs ranging from rock to jazz standards to classical to country all played with in his staccato surf style. At times he seemed to get an idea that he wanted to play next and he’d abruptly start noodling on a new tune. I was impressed that his band (his son on drums and a very punky bass player whose name I didn’t catch) was able to keep up as he jumped from one piece to the next without warning. Occasionally they guessed wrong and you’d have brief periods where they went in two or three wildly different directions.

Dick Dale at Crystal Bay Casino

Dick Dale at Crystal Bay Casino. Click for more photos.

It was mostly instrumental but he did play a few songs (mostly) in their entirety. There were about three or four that I didn’t recognize and given that the audience was singing along my guess is they were his originals because I’m not familiar with his music.

It was a seated show and the show was packed; they even brought out extra stools in the bar. Except for kids coming with their parents, I was one of the youngest people there.

Set List (what I recognized):
Summertime Blues
Ring of Fire
House of the Rising Sun
Amazing Grace


Dick Dale – guitar
Jimmy Dale – Drums
?? – bass

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
HP Pavilion, San Jose, CA

I’ve always enjoyed Bruce Springsteen but never been a huge fan so I’ve never managed to go see him. Having always heard what a great show he puts on I decided it was time to check him out especially because he doesn’t tour with the E Street Band that often.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at HP Pavilion

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at HP Pavilion

I had great seats right above the ADA seating looking straight down the audience-right side of the stage. As expected, he does put on a fabulous show and I was impressed how he is able to engage and audience in a venue as large as the Pavilion.

The floor was broken up into two sections: a (presumably much more expensive) pit right up front that went back for about 100 feet and then the rest of the floor section. Near the end of the show Bruce went out into the audience and walked down the aisle and stood on a small platform right in front of the rail that separated the pit from back floor to finish up the song. At the end of the lyrics of the song he let himself fall backwards and crowd-surfed back to the main stage as the band jammed. No bad for someone old enough to be collecting Social Security.

The last time I was at HP Pavilion was to see Roger Waters perform The Wall on the first leg of the tour. Sadly, Bruce wasn’t as concerned about sound quality as Roger was and the sound was back to normal…IOW, total crap. I hate that venue.