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The Concert Stage Blog

Welcome to the Concert Stage News page. Please send me an email at with any reviews, concert suggestions or website comments.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Julie's Concert List

My friend Julie sent along her list of concerts. Any list with U2, Gaelic Storm and the Young Dubs on it is a good one in my book. I do not know how I have not been to a Bodeans concert yet.

Florence Henderson
Glen Campbell
Don Ho
Hall & Oates
Bon Jovi
Genesis -- 2 times
U2 -- 2 times
Culture Club
Howard Jones
Human League
Depeche Mode -- 5 times
Duran Duran
Harry Connic Jr.
Sara Bareilles
Pat Monahan
KC and the Sunshine Band
Hootie and the Blowfish
Gaelic Storm
Young Dubliners
REM -- 2 times
Erasure -- 3 times
INXS -- 3 times
Donna Summer
Three Dog Night
Nine Inch Nails

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Top Ten Concerts of 2009

A friend recently asked me what was the best show I saw this year. It is very hard to name one show that stood out above the rest of the 46 sets I watched in 2009. So here is an overview of my top ten of 2009 - in no particular order.

10. Scythian at Milwaukee Irish Fest (Sunday, August 16, 2009): Scythian was not even supposed to play at Irish Fest this year but made last minute plans to replace a band who could not get travel visas. This Washington DC based band put on a high energy show in a rare mid-afternoon show by the Irish Fest favorite. After their show was complete they came out and did a couple acoustic numbers for their fans as the stage crew was setting up for the next act. This show was a pinch hit home-run.

9. REO Speedwagon at the Waukesha County Fair (Sunday, July 19, 2009): Just a week after seeing REO outshine both Styx and .38 Special in Chicago this band rocked the main stage of a county fair between the FFA tent and the carnival rides. This band proved again that it does not matter where they play, from a Walmart autograph session to the All State Arena, they can still rock with the best of them.

8. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in Chicago (Tuesday, May 12, 2009): This was a phenomenal three hour marathon of the soundtrack of my life. After going 20 years without seeing this band I was as impressed by them as much this evening as I was as an 18 year old seeing them on the side of a hill in rural Wisconsin. I guaranteed myself it would not be 20 more years until I again see the earth quaking, air-conditioner shaking, legendary E Street Band.

7. Solas at Fermi Lab (Saturday, March 14, 2009): Solas was the band I was addicted to in 2008 and is still in high rotation on my iTunes play list. The first class instrumentalists are augmented by the chilling vocals of their newest member - Máiréad Phelan.

6. U2 at Soldier Field in Chicago (Saturday, September 12, 2009): My only stadium show was a combination light, audio, and video spectacular. U2 rocked Chicago on the largest stage I have ever seen shaped like a giant octopus.

5. The Elders at the Chicago Irish Heritage Center (Friday, April 24, 2009): A musical hoolie by one of the hardest working Celtic rock bands tourine today. What made the show even more special was attending it with some good friends.

4. Donnell Leahy and Natale MacMaster at Milwaukee Irish Fest (Saturday, August 15, 2009): The middle night of three nights at the greatest Irish Fest featured two of my three favorite fiddle players lighting it up backed up by some great piano playing. This was Donnell Leahy's weekend.

3. Julie Fowlis at the Chicago Cultural Center (Saturday, April 25, 2009): This was billed as a Julie Fowlis show but my friend Jim refers to it as a Jenna Reid show. Julie, Jenna and their band shined playing Scottish traditional music.

2. Eileen Ivers at Chicago Irish Fest (Saturday, July 11, 2009): Hands down the most energetic festival show of the year. Eileen and her band whipped the tent into a frenzy in what could be called a Celtic, bluesy, down-home revival led by one of my favorite fiddle players.

1. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in Milwaukee (Sunday, November 15, 2009): I could not wait another 20 years to see my all-time favorite rock and roll band again. This was a high energy rock and roll show that started out with Cadillac Ranch, Badlands and Bruce crowd surfing into a full version of my favorite album of all time - Born To Run. All that and the show still had two hours left. The set list was over 50% different material from the show in May and both shows were phenomenal. I hope to see this band again many times, but if not, this was one heck of a last show to see.

These were just some of the great shows I saw this year. I could have easily made this a top twenty or 46 list and might even change it on reflection. 2010 looks to be another great music year and I already have tickets for five shows and plan on seeing many more.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in Milwaukee

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Tour Poster for MilwaukeeGrowing up in my house there were three 8-Tracks always sitting next to the stereo waiting for my brothers and I to play every day. For you youngsters out there 8-tracks preceded CDs which preceded digital downloads. I would like to say we would diplomatically determine which 8-track to play. However, we were kids so it was usually the first one to the stereo or the strongest would determine which one was going to be played. Since I was the youngest I would have to usually wait my turn or hope that my sister would intervene on my behalf. My oldest brother John usually had his favorite Glen Campbell 8-track of the moment and my brother Pete always had the latest REO Speedwagon 8-track. As for me it was always Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Twenty five plus years later we still argue which of these musicians are better - at least now we do it in good fun.

On Sunday evening I ventured over the Wisconsin state line to Milwaukee with my sister, who usually had to breakup the fights those many years ago, to see my favorite musician perform my favorite album of all time. The music and the band has stood the test of time and the songs ring even truer today than back when I listened to the songs for the first time.

The concert was phenomenal. While I saw the band six months ago in Chicago the set list was over 50% different and the building was rocking as much as Alpine Valley was the first time I saw the band in 1984. When in Wisconsin (Bruce made sure he knew he was not in Ohio) I can not imagine a better song to start with than Cadillac Ranch into one of my favorite songs Badlands. During Hungry Heart Bruce sang in the back part of the arena and then body surfed back to the stage - not bad for a 60 year old.

From the opening harmonica notes of Thunder Road until the last piano key was played on Jungleland I was able to witness my favorite album performed in its entirety and words can not describe it. After Born to Run was played my sister looked at me and said we could leave now and it would be a great concert. However, there was still over an hour and a half of great music left to be played. Highlights for me included the request of Growing Up, No Surrender and Kitty's Back. My sister really enjoyed Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

This again was another great Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band show. As I drove home from the concert I was struck with how music sticks with you through out your life. Bruce Springsteen's music, especially Born to Run, has been a staple of my music appreciation through the years the way REO Speedwagon and Glen Campbell have been for my brothers.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Tour Poster for Milwaukee

Set List:
  1. Cadillac Ranch
  2. Badlands
  3. Hungry Heart
  4. Working on a Dream
  5. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band set list for MilwaukeeThunder Road
  6. Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
  7. Night
  8. Backstreets
  9. Born to Run
  10. She's the One
  11. Meeting Across the River
  12. Jungleland
  13. Darlington County
  14. Waitin' on a Sunny Day
  15. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
  16. Loose Ends
  17. Jole Blon
  18. Growin' Up
  19. Into the Fire
  20. The Rising
  21. No Surrender
  22. Living Proof
  23. Kitty's Back
  24. American Land
  25. Dancing in the Dark
  26. Rosalita
  27. Higher and Higher
Bruce Springsteen -
Backstreets (Fan website) -

Monday, September 28, 2009

Kerry's Concert List

My friend Kerry and I were discussing concerts we have attended over the years and I asked her to email me a list so I could post it here. I am a bit jealous at some of the shows she has attended. That AC/DC, Aerosmith and Foreigner show would have been a great concert to attend. I have also yet to see Elton John and Jimmy Buffett.

Gordon Lightfoot
Roger Whitaker
Donna Summer
Tony Orlando
Smoky Robinson
Diana Ross
AC/DC ~ Aerosmith ~ Foreigner
Kool and the Gang ~ 5 times
Reo Speedwagon ~ 2 times
Bob Seger ~ 2 times
Elton John
Jimmy Buffett
Alan Jackson/Jake Owen
Brooks and Dunn ~ 2 times
ZZ Top/Rodney Atkins
Earth Wind and Fire
Whitney Houston/Jeffrey Osborne
Kenny Loggins
Cars ~ 2 times
Bodeans ~ 2 times
John Mellencamp
American Idol
Crosby, Stills, Nash
Tom Petty
Jonas Brothers
Don Ho
John Denver
Manheim Steamroller
Ray Goodman & Brown
The Pointer Sisters

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Celtic Fest and Last Fling Pictures

I have added a gallery of Lonnie Brooks from Naperville's Last Fling and galleries of Pogey, Slide and Gaelic Storm from Chicago Celtic Fest 2009.

Lonnie BrooksPogey
SlideGaelic Storm
Naperville's Last Fling -
Lonnie Brooks -
Chicago Celtic Fest -
Pogey -
Slide -
Gaelic Storm -

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Milwaukee Irish Fest Pictures

Pictures from Milwaukee Irish Fest 2009 are now online. Galleries include Donnell Leahy and Natalie MacMaster performing together for the first time at Irish Fest. Vishten, Samantha Robichaud and
Troy MacGillivray performing on the Nova Scotia and Friends Showcase stage. There are also galleries of great sets by Scythian, Cara, Pogey, and Green Tea.

CaraTroy MacGillivry
Samantha RobichaudGreen Tea
Milwaukee Irish Fest -
Donnell Leahy -
Natalie MacMaster -
Vishten -
Scythian -
Cara -
Pogey -
Troy MacGillivray -
Samantha Robichaud -
Green Tea -

Monday, August 03, 2009

You Know You Are Getting Old When...

...One of your Rock and Roll heroes is on the cover of AARP Magazine.

Bruce Springsteen on AARP cover

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Great Concerts and New Galleries

What a couple weeks I had in July. Two weeks in a row I got to see some great concerts by some of my favorite bands. On July 11th I saw Eileen Ivers, Searson and the Screaming Orphans at Chicago Irish Fest. Each band put on excellent sets with Searson sounding better than I have ever heard them live. Eileen Ivers proved once again why she is one of my favorite fiddle players. The Screaming Orphans had the crowd screaming. I have added galleries from Eileen and Searson's shows. Below are pictures of my friend Jim Fidler and I meeting Eileen.

On July 19th I saw REO Speedwagon again prove that they can rock today as hard as they did in the 70s and 80s. How can you not have a great time when they perform "Son of a Poor Man", "Golden Country" and "Back on the Road Again"

Be sure to check out the galleries of Eileen, Searson and REO Speedwagon. There are some great pictures by my brother Pete from the REO show and Jim Fidler at the Eileen Ivers and Searson shows.

Eileen Ivers and PatEileen Ivers and Jim

Chicago Irish Fest -
Eileen Ivers -
Searson -
Screaming Orphans -
REO Speedwagon -

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Bruce Springsteen tour poster for ChicagoI think I need to thank my brother John and my friend Jim for tonight's concert. Close to thirty years ago Jim and his girlfriend at the time(I think her name is Karen) gave John an 8-track. For you youngsters out there an 8-track preceded cassettes, CDs and digital downloads. John listened to the 8-track once and it was relegated to the back of his collection. One day John asked me if I would like the 8-track tape and I said yes since it would round my 8-track collection to a nice round number of one. I thank him for giving me this particular 8-track since I would listen to it all the time. The 8-track was Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Did you think I was going to say Yanni?

Ever since I got that 8-track, which would make the thumping noise when changing tracks as only 8-tracks did, I have been a fan of Bruce Springsteen. I have continued my listening to Bruce through the years and now have seen the 8-tracks replaced with cassettes followed by CDs and now digitized versions of all his music in my iTunes library. Anyone want a box of old 8-tracks and cassettes?

A couple years after receiving my 8-track I went to see Bruce Springsteen in concert. I was a recent high school graduate and bought tickets to sit on the lawn that day at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin. I remember sitting there listening to songs that had great meaning to me for the first time live in person. The meaning, themes and spirit of the music would change as I got older and in many ways spoke even truer.

Almost 25 years after seeing that first concert and 30 years after getting the 8-track tape I saw Bruce and the band for the fourth time last night. A little older, both the band and myself, the concert did not disappoint. With over 30 years of music to choose from the set list contained music from all his classic albums. There were a few audibles during the show as illustrated in the pre-show set list and the final set list.

One aspect that they did not have 25 years ago was multiple cameras to capture the event on big video screens. They had cameras everywhere from on the keyboards to Nils Lofgren's guitar neck during a wicked solo during "The Ghost of Tom Joad".

The band was as tight as they were 25 years ago on that hill in Wisconsin. The youth of Jay Weinberg on drums, Max's son, added extra spark to the band. I really enjoyed the Celtic fueled "American Land" and the audience request portion of the show with the classic cover of "Trapped". There were the classics like "Born to Run" and "Jungleland" played with all the energy as the originals and newer songs like "Outlaw Pete" whose live interpretation was better than that of the CD.

So I send out a thanks to both John and Jim. Oh yeah, and Bruce and the band for adding to the soundtrack of my generation.

Set List:
  1. Badlands
  2. Spirit in the Night
  3. Outlaw Pete
  4. She's the OneBruce Springsteen Chicago set list
  5. Working on a Dream
  6. Seeds
  7. Johnny 99
  8. The Ghost of Tom Joad
  9. Raise Your Hand
  10. Trapped
  11. Candy's Room
  12. Mony Mony
  13. Waitin' on a Sunny Day
  14. The Promised Land
  15. The Wrestler
  16. Kingdom of Days
  17. Radio Nowhere
  18. Lonesome Day
  19. The Rising
  20. Born to Run
  21. Hard Times
  22. Jungleland
  23. Land of Hope and Dreams
  24. American Land
  25. Dancing in the Dark
  26. Rosalita

Bruce Springsteen -
Backstreets (Fan website) -

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Julie Fowlis Band Featuring Jenna Reid

Julie FowlisOn Saturday evening I had the chance to see the Julie Fowlis Band for the first time. My friend Jim and I went down to see the show at the Chicago Cultural Center. Julie Fowlis sings in Gaelic Scottish the native language of her home in the Hebridean Islands of Scotland. Julie also plays multiple instruments including the bagpipes and whistles. Julie was joined by her band that includes Tony Byrne on guitar and her husband Eamon Doorley on bouzouki. Eamon is also a member of the band Danu.

A featured player in the band is world class fiddle player Jenna Reid. I previously had the opportunity to see Jenna play with her band at last years Irish Fest in Milwaukee. Jenna is one of the best traditional players I have had the opportunity to see in concert.

After the show the whole band took time to meet the audience and Jenna took a few minuted to take pictures with us. The band was as gracious as they are talented.

Jenna Reid and PatJenna Reid and Jim

Julie Fowlis -
Jenna Reid -
Chicago Cultural Center -

The Elders at the IAHC

Friday evening I went to see the Elders in concert at the Irish American Heritage Center of Chicago with some friends. The Elders were performing in support of their new CD Gael Day. This band is truly as they advertise - "Arse kickin' Celtic music from the heartland". They performed two of my favorite songs that illustrates their musical diversity - the four part harmony of "The Men of Erin" and the fiddle driven instrumental of "Turnpike".

The Elders

The Elders -
Irish American Heritage Center of Chicago -