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Archive for the ‘PNC Bank Center’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 4, 2021] King Crimson

This show was originally scheduled at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, which would have been an amazing place to see King Crimson.  The sound would have been incredible, and it’s only 30 minutes from my house.  When this was first rescheduled, it appeared that they’d be playing at the Count Basie in Red Bank, which would have been fine–great sound, but a further drive.  Then it wound up at PNC Bank Center, which has less great sound, but is a nice venue and is very easy to get to.

A few days before the show I heard an ad on the radio that said this was King Crimson’s final tour. I hadn’t heard that before.  And maybe if they had originally played in 2020, they might have done another stretch into 2021…who knows.  Anyhow, an article recently said that yes, this was probably the final tour, but they didn’t want to make a big deal about it.  So it’s possible that this will be my final King Crimson show (five times in eight years is pretty good–especially for King Crimson).

The last few times King Crimson has played two 90 minute sets.  But this time they had the Zappa Band opening for them.  Which meant that they’d do only one set.  Sadly, for the same amount of money.  But oh well.  What this meant was that they did a 90 minute set that almost felt like a greatest hits (of the last few tours) package.

I decided to splurge somewhat for this show–not paying for a VIP, sorry Robert–but I was reasonably close and more or less in the middle.

The back row has remained consistent throughout these tours: Tony Levin (bass, Stick, keyboards this time, too); Mel Collins (saxes, flutes); Jakko Jakszyk (guitar, vocals), and of course, Robert Fripp (guitar and more).  From this vantage point I could see everyone very clearly, which was ideal.  A very obnoxious couple sat down next to me but there were, thankfully, two empty seats on the other side of me so I slid over and was able to sit between the heads of the two people in front of me for an unobstructed view.  The obnoxious couple left mid set…huh. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 4, 2021] The Zappa Band

When this tour was announced, I was pretty pleased to see that The Zappa Band was opening for King Crimson.  I’ve been a fan of Frank Zappa’s music for years, but I never saw him while he was a live and I’ve never seen any of the various posthumuous offerings that have come around.

I’ve often thought about going to see Dweezil play his dad’s music but I haven’t (looking at the setlist, there’s quite a lot of good stuff there).

But this was an “official” Zappa project, and better yet they were going to be playing where I was planning to be.  Although this lineup isn’t exactly chock full of great Zappa names, everyone in the group has a connection of some merit.

The Zappa Band’s lineup features Zappa alumni Ray White (lead vocals, guitar), Mike Keneally (guitar, keys, vocals), Scott Thunes (bassist) and Robert Martin (keyboards, sax, vocals), and ZPZ alums Jamie Kime (guitar) and ZAPPA archivist Joe “Vaultmeister” Travers (drums, vocals).

I recognized Ray White’s voice immediately (he’s been on 20 plus records).  The other voices were actually quite close approximations to the original.  But really the most amazing thing was hearing  these really complicated and fast pieces done live (and perfectly).

I was pretty delighted to hear “Zomby Woof” a nonsensical song that I’ve always liked.  And I would have been thoroughly disappointed if they hadn’t played “Peaches en Regalia.”  It was somewhere during this song t hat I realized that none of the people on stage was Dweezil Zappa.  I was fairly certain this was his band, but it clearly was not.

I have listened to most of Zappa’s albums many times, (but he has about 1,000 releases).  So I was surprised when I didn’t recognize some songs.  I was even more surprised to find that “I Ain’t Got No Heart” was on Freak Out, and album I particularly like. (more…)

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[CANCELLED: September 1, 2021] Alanis Morissette / Garbage / Liz Phair Cat Power [rescheduled from July 1, 2020]

UPDATE: This show was actually cancelled because of the outrageous storm that was the remnants of Hurricane Ida.  Fortunately, they cancelled it long before anyone would have been heading there (I assume), because this rain storm was one of the worst I can remember–insane flooding and even tornados.

It will not be rescheduled because of previous commitments, so that stinks.

~~~

This show had been postponed once and since then, Liz Phair has been replaced by Cat Power, which seems like a VERY different dynamic to me.

I have two shows coming up this weekend, and it seemed like real folly to go out to a show on a Wednesday night as well.   But as I said, I did want to see Garbage again.  But now with the promise of serious rain and probably thunderstorms, it just seems silly to go out at all.

This was a show I wasn’t sure about.

I have seen Alanis Morissette a few times live way back in the 90s when she toured with Tori Amos.  I was there for Tori and I don’t really remember much about Alanis (which is sad, I know).

On this tour, I was more interested in seeing Garbage again (they put on a heck of a show) and for checking out Liz Phair who I once liked and now kinda don’t but who I’m curious about what she’s like live.

This was definitely a show I was going to get lawn seats and try to upgrade.

Concerts are now being postponed earlier.

On May 9, Alanis sent out this message

“Hi everyone.  My North American tour scheduled to begin in a few weeks is being rescheduled to Summer 2021 out of an abundance of caution. Please hold on to your tickets as they will be honored for the new dates which we hope to announce very soon.

So much going on inside and outside take care of yourselves and each other.  Thank you for understanding.  Can’t wait to see you when it is safe for us all to gather.  Hand on all hearts til then.”

Garbage wrote this message:

So the @Alanis tour that @garbage and @lizphairofficial were supposed to be tagging along on this summer got postponed yesterday. We are totally gutted and apologise for any heartache caused. We assure you that we have every intention of fulfilling our obligations to Alanis and to any garbage fans who bought tickets in support of us. We appreciate you so. Please head on over to the @Alanis socials in the days ahead for further info. Please note this is not our tour so we have no answers whatsoever about what happens next.
Looking forward to the days when we all get to hangout and play for you.

No official word from Liz Phair that I have seen.

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[POSTPONED: September 2, 2020] Korn / Faith No More / Helmet / Spotlights

index

This is a show I only would have gone to if I could get lawn seats upgraded to seats near the front (for about $35).

Korn is one of the few nu-metal bands that I liked back in the day.  I thought they did some pretty interesting stuff with the genre.  And while I haven’t listened to a new song of theirs in probably a decade, I’m sure they would have played some of the early songs too.

I’m only vaguely interested in seeing Korn, so this would have been the way to do it.

Faith No More on the other hand is a fascinatingly interesting band that I would love to see live.  Mike Patton is a wonder in and of himself and I told myself I would see anything that he did if it was close enough.  But then there’s FNM themselves–weird, eclectic, oddball and sometimes catchy.  I don’t know how many shows they will do in the future, but i would definitely like to see them.

Helmet is one of the great heavy bands of the 90s.  I loved their debut album–nothing really sounded like it at the time.  I probably haven’t listened to them in twenty years, and I think there have been some fifteen people in the band over the years, but I’ll bet they are still heavy as anything.

I saw Spotlights open for Deftones a few years ago.  They were great. Heavy and doomy, making a huge sound.  And there were only two of them.  There are now three members, which might mean they are even bigger.  I’ve been meaning to see them again.  They play a lot of smaller clubs, but I never seem to be able to catch them.

The good seats were way too expensive for this show, but if I could have done it on the cheap, I would have really enjoyed it

Since this show is officially cancelled, I doubt they will be touring together again. But I do hope that faith No More can keep it together for a tour next year.

 

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[POSTPONED: August 27, 2020] Hall & Oates / Squeeze / KT Tunstall [moved to August 13, 2021]

indexI was not planning on going to this show at all. I have a funny history about Hall & Oates.  I really liked them when I was little (Private Eyes era), then when I found out a cousin of mine looooved them, and I didn’t like her, well, that changed my mind about them for years.

In the last dew years I’ve found out that they are not only good, but quite respected (especially in the Philly area).  I still don’t want to see them, but when I looked at the setlists of recent shows, I realized I’d know nearly all of their songs and would probably have a fun time with all the other old folks.

I saw Squeeze a couple years ago and they were fantastic live.  Their old songs sounded amazing and their new ones fit in perfectly.  I would absolutely see them again.  But I’d rather they were headlining.

KT Tunstall is actually the impetus for me writing this post.  I noticed that she was playing a lot of shows in the area and I was surprised because I didn’t know she was still active.  It was kind of a joke that I wanted to post every show she was going to play around here, whether I planned to go or not.  But when I listened to a live show of hers I realized she;d be a lot of fun to see live.

Maybe this would be a fun show to see after all.  We’ll see what 2021 brings.

hall

 

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[POSTPONED: July 1, 2020] Alanis Morissette / Garbage / Liz Phair [moved to September 1, 2021]

indexThis was a show I wasn’t sure about.

I have seen Alanis Morissette a few times live way back in the 90s when she toured with Tori Amos.  I was there for Tori and I don’t really remember much about Alanis (which is sad, I know).

On this tour, I was more interested in seeing Garbage again (they put on a heck of a show) and for checking out Liz Phair who I once liked and now kinda don’t but who I’m curious about what she’s like live.

This was definitely a show I was going to get lawn seats and try to upgrade.

Concerts are now being postponed earlier.

On May 9, Alanis sent out this message

“Hi everyone.  My North American tour scheduled to begin in a few weeks is being rescheduled to Summer 2021 out of an abundance of caution. Please hold on to your tickets as they will be honored for the new dates which we hope to announce very soon.

So much going on inside and outside take care of yourselves and each other.  Thank you for understanding.  Can’t wait to see you when it is safe for us all to gather.  Hand on all hearts til then.”

Garbage wrote this message:

So the @Alanis tour that @garbage and @lizphairofficial were supposed to be tagging along on this summer got postponed yesterday. We are totally gutted and apologise for any heartache caused. We assure you that we have every intention of fulfilling our obligations to Alanis and to any garbage fans who bought tickets in support of us. We appreciate you so. Please head on over to the @Alanis socials in the days ahead for further info. Please note this is not our tour so we have no answers whatsoever about what happens next.
Looking forward to the days when we all get to hangout and play for you.

No official word from Liz Phair that I have seen.

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[ATTENDED: July 28, 2014] Beck

It was five years ago that S. and I saw Beck live.

For that show, I went in with lowered expectations.  I thought the show was going to be a lot of Morning Phase, a mellow album he had just released, but it turned out to be a ton of fun.  S. remembers it as one of her favorite concerts ever.  So when I saw that he was touring and coming to Holmdel, I was excited to get tickets.

Then I saw how much they were.  Tickets were over $100 for most normal seats and the front section was well over $100.  So there was no way I was getting tickets for that.  Then I remembered the awesome feature at PNC Bank Arts Center.  If there are seats available before the show you can upgrade a lawn seat for $20.  So we bought $30 lawn seats and then a few days before the show, we took advantage of the upgrade and for $20 more, we were moved to Row N!

And Row N is a great vantage point.

Needless to say, our expectations were pretty high for this.  And Beck did not disappoint.  Well, maybe a little. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 20, 2019] Cage the Elephant

I was rather surprised that Cage the Elephant were co-headlining this tour with Beck.  I assumed that Beck was the clear headliner–and yet the (younger) crowd seemed to be there more for Cage.  I also didn’t realize that they had collaborated recently on the song that this tour was named after).

But the biggest confusion for me was that I didn’t know who Cage the Elephant were.  They were part of that trend of bands that had three words with The in the middle. Like Pedro the Lion, Jukebox the Ghost, Minus the Bear and Young the Giant.  I assumed that I had no idea who Cage the Elephant were or what hey even sounded like.

But then I was surprised to discover that I really liked two of their songs but had no idea it was them: “Ready  to Let Go” and “Mess Around.”  After figuring that out, I was looking forward to them but really had no idea what to expect.

Well, they went on about ten minutes late (which was annoying, since they’d had 30 minutes to get ready).

Their stage set up was like bleachers–a guitar drum and keyboards on the top and a guitar vocals and bass on the floor.  Then the lights went down and the stage burst into flames! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 6, 2018] Spoon

I couldn’t believe that Spoon was the second band on this bill.  I had seen Spoon last year at the TLA in Philly and they played a huge set and the fanbase was rabid.  It was weird to see them in the setting sun (Britt Daniel came out and acted like he was a vampire when he saw the bright sun).

The crowd had filled in somewhat between Sunflower Bean and Spoon, but they were still going on at 6:45–not an ideal concert time, to be sure.

Regardless, the folks who were there were there for Spoon and they reacted appropriately. There was lots of dancing and singing along.  And Daniel either saw people he recognized or just acted like it because he was engaging and a lot of fun.

A few days before this tour started, it was announced that bassist Rob Pope was leaving the band [he’s going to spend more time with his other band The Get Up Kids].  It seemed liked terrible timing, but I gather they had his replacement Ben Trokan all lined up because they didn’t miss any dates on the tour and Trokan was great when I saw them.

Britt Daniel was dressed in a shirt and jacket (again, it was very hot, what’s up with these singers?).  He immediately started interacting with the crowd, climbing on his monitors and putting a foot on the fence that kept the crowd from the stage.  Like last time, they opened with “Do I Have to Talk You Into It” and everyone sounded fantastic.  Daniel’s voice was in great form and his guitar playing (when he played) was right on.

Since the previous show was nearly two hours and this one was barely 40 minutes, I assumed we’d get the truncated version of the previous set list.  But it seems that Spoon likes to mix things up a bit from night to night.  So up next was “The Way We Get By” which I didn’t hear last time (nice!).  They followed that with another favorite of mine, “My Mathematical Mind.”

They played the new song, “No Bullets Spent” which fit in perfectly with the rest of their set.  Then everyone went crazy when they started the rumbling guitar for “The Underdog”.  There were no horns like on the record, but the keys and piano were a great substitute.

I love watching drummer Jim Eno.  He seems to be having so much fun out there.  He definitely feeds off of Daniel’s energy–there were a couple of times when Daniel slashed his guitar through the air and Eno accented that with some drum hits.  During “The Underdog” he was playing the maracas and when he was done he hurled it across the stage to the roadie–who caught it!

The slow piano intro that started the next song sounded familiar, but I wasn’t sure if I knew it.  It turned out to be a cover of John Lennon’s “Isolation.”  It sure sounded like a Beatles song when they were playing it, but they put a nifty Spoon spin on it.

On the left side of the stage was Gerardo Larios and Alex Fischel both on keys and guitars.  Larios was standing in the back playing mostly keys but the occasional guitar.  I enjoyed watching Larios play the harp-like keyboard sounds during “Inside Out.

Alex Fischel is a rocking lunatic on his side of the stage.  Mostly he’s bouncing and pouncing on his own keyboards and effects arrays but every once in awhile he would strap on a guitar and come out to the center of the stage for a minute, playing some noisy angular guitars like in “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb” (a song I can’t believe they didn’t play last time and which I was super exited to hear tonight).

I knew that Trokan would fit in fine with Spoon once he played the throbbing bass of “I Turn My Camera On” which sounded perfect.

They ended the set with a rocking “Don’t You Evah” and  hen followed it with two songs from They Want My Soul, “Do You” and “Rent I Pay.”  Las time, they ended the TLA show with “Rent I Pay” as well.  So the first and last songs were the same, but much of everything else was different.

The sun started to set on them before their set ended, and that seemed to make their set a bit more fun.

Spoon were very loud though and I should have put in ear plugs.  But since they only played for 40 minutes, it wasn’t too much over-exposure for me.

All in all a great set and a good introduction to Spoon for S. who didn’t really know them.

 

2019 PNC 2018 TLA
Do I Have to Talk You Into It [Hot] Do I Have to Talk You Into It [Hot]
The Way We Get By [Moon] I Turn My Camera On [Gimme]
My Mathematical Mind [Gimme] Lowdown (Wire cover)
No Bullets Spent [Hits] The Fitted Shirt [Girls]
The Underdog [Ga] Don’t You Evah [Ga]
Isolation (John Lennon cover) Do You [Soul]
Inside Out [Soul] Via Kannela [interlude]
You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb [Ga] I Ain’t the One [Hot]
I Turn My Camera On [Gimme] Everything Hits at Once [Girls]
Don’t You Evah [Ga] Can I Sit Next to You [Hot]
Do You [Soul] My Mathematical Mind [Gimme]
Rent I Pay [Soul] Don’t Make Me a Target [Ga]
The Underdog [Ga]
Got Nuffin [Trans]
Black Like Me [Ga]
encore
Small Stakes [Moon]
Hot Thoughts [Hot]
Rent I Pay [Soul]

[Girls] Girls Can Tell (2001)
[Moon] Kill the Moonlight (2002)
[Gimme] Gimme Fiction (2005)
[Ga] Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007)
[Trans] Transference (2010)
[Soul] They Want My Soul (2014)
[Hot] Hot Thoughts (2017)
[Hits] Everything Hits at Once (2019)

Evidently Eno has different bass drum heads.  I wonder how often he changes them.

This time it was the one on the left.  Last time it was the one on the right.

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[ATTENDED: September 23, 2017] Sunflower Bean

Two years ago I saw Sunflower Bean open for Pixies. I thought they were great live and I wanted to see them again.  Since then, they have put out a second album and another EP.

When I saw that they were opening the Spoon/Cage the Elephant/Beck show, I knew I wanted to get there by 6 to see them again.  They were only given 25 minutes, and there were only about 25 people in the arena (not including the lawn), but they rocked the house.

In the two years since I’ve seen them, they have grown bigger (adding a keyboard player) and more confident.  Julia Cumming was a lot louder and more brash as the frontwoman–shouting to the people in the back (and the lawn) and encouraging us all to stand for the final song.  She also sounded great, employing a few different vocal styles on each song.  As always her bass (she plays a Rickenbacker, which is awesome) sounded great.  The biggest change was in her look.  Last time she was wearing a dress and had a fairly normal hairstyle.  For this show she was all glammed out, with a cool pink tigerprint dress and her hair and make up very new wave.  She looked an awful lot like Debbie Harry. (more…)

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