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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.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Milwaukee Irish Fest 2015

Another great Irish Fest in Milwaukee. One of my favorite weekends of the year. Some of my favorites were there including Eileen Ivers, Lunasa, Liz Carroll, and the Elders. I also got to see Goitse for the first time (and hopefully not last). One of the highlights was Americana - Irish Style with We Banjo 3, Scythian and Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul.

Liz Carroll Lunasa
the Elders Eileen Ivers

Monday, August 3, 2015

April Verch

April Verch made another visit to Long Grove, Illinois for a beautiful day of music. Here is hoping she comes back soon.

April Verch

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Travis Tritt in Elk Grove Village, Illinois

Had an enjoyable evening with Travis Tritt in Elk Grove on Tuesday. Here are a few pictures.

Travis Tritt

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest 2015

We made a quick trip on Memorial Day to see Doug Leahy and the Next Generation of Leahy and Chicago based fiddle player Kathleen Keane. It sure was worth the trip. Jim was able to get some great shots of both shows.

Next Generation of Leahy

Monday, August 18, 2014

Milwaukee Irish Fest 2014

Arguably the best festival in the country, Milwaukee Irish Fest, did not disappoint this past weekend. To see favorites Liz Carroll, Sharon Shannon, Searson and John Doyle's new band the Alt in one day was spectacular. Add on top of that exciting new bands like the StepCrew, the Moxie Strings, Beoga and Gria that were all fantastic. Then you add some local bands like Tallymoore and you know why it is a great festival.

Liz Carroll Sharon Shannon
the Moxie Strings Tallymoore

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Milwaukee Irish Fest

Another great Irish Fest in Milwaukee. We saw a lot of great bands and have included galleries from Mànran, Myserk, and Cassie and Maggie MacDonald.

Cassie and Maggie MacDonald Myserk

Milwaukee Irish Fest -
Myserk -
Cassie and Maggie macDonald -
Kevin Burke -
Mànran -
Sprag Session -
The Elders -

Monday, July 22, 2013

April Verch Band in Long Grove, IL

The April Verch Band played a concert in historic Long Grove, Illinois. April is a fiddler, step dancer and singer-songwriter from Canada. What started out as a beautiful day soon turned into a rain storm. Despite the rain April and her band put on a great concert.

April Verch Band April Verch Band


April Verch Band

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bruce Springsteen hits a home run at Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field MarqueeThere was some good things happening at Wrigley Field on September 8th and 9th. Unfortunately, for Cubs fans it was not baseball. For music lovers it was Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. I was lucky enough to attend both shows despite the ridiculous ticketing obstacle course you now have to go through to see popular acts. It is funny how you pay almost a third of the overall cost to a ticketing monopoly that does not even pretend to play a tambourine.

Bruce and the band were joined both nights by Tom Morello and Eddie Vedder. Saturday nights special guest was rain. I have to admit rain has been making a lot of special appearances at concerts lately.

Highlights for me ranged from Out In The Street on Friday to seeing the one two punch of E Street Shuffle and Pay Me My Money Down on Saturday. It was a weekend of great music by a great band.

The pictures are from my seat on Saturday evening that was three rows from the back in the upper deck along the third baseline. These seats were actually closer than my seats on Friday. Should I call this gallery "A View From Way Back"?

Friday Set List:

  1. Prove It All Night
  2. My Love Will Not Let You Down
  3. Out in the Street
  4. Hungry Heart
  5. We Take Care of Our Own
  6. Wrecking Ball
  7. Death to My Hometown
  8. My City of Ruins
  9. Spirit in the Night
  10. Trapped
  11. Jack of All Trades
  12. Atlantic City
  13. Lonesome Day
  14. I'm Goin' Down
  15. Darlington County
  16. Shackled and Drawn
  17. Waitin' on a Sunny Day
  18. None But the Brave
  19. The Ghost of Tom Joad
  20. Badlands
  21. Land of Hope and Dreams
  22. We Are Alive
  23. Thunder Road
  24. Born to Run
  25. Dancing in the Dark
  26. Jungleland
  27. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
  28. Twist And Shout

Saturday Set List

  1. The Promised Land
  2. The Ties That Bind
  3. No Surrender
  4. Hungry Heart
  5. We Take Care of Our Own
  6. Wrecking Ball
  7. Death to My Hometown
  8. My City of Ruins
  9. The E Street Shuffle
  10. Pay Me My Money Down
  11. This Depression
  12. My Hometown
  13. Darkness on the Edge of Town
  14. Because the Night
  15. Working on the Highway
  16. Shackled and Drawn
  17. Waitin' on a Sunny Day
  18. Who'll Stop The Rain
  19. The Ghost of Tom Joad
  20. Badlands
  21. Thunder Road
  22. Rocky Ground
  23. Born to Run
  24. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
  25. Dancing in the Dark
  26. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
  27. American Land

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dennis DeYoung in a Library Parking Lot?

Dennis DeYoungI think I can now start associating Elk Grove Village with odd concert experiences. First I saw REO Speedwagon do an acoustic set in an aisle at the local Walmart and now Dennis DeYoung performing in the library parking lot of my hometown. Just like REO, Dennis and his band pulled it off. Dennis DeYoung sounded great performing the music of Styx with a bunch of guys who actually looked a lot like and sounded like the guys from Styx.

This was probably the nicest weather we had all of July as a parking lot was transformed into the Paradise Theater. For just over two hours Dennis performed the music that blasted out of camaros and Tran Ams in this suburban Chicago community during the seventies and eighties.


Dennis DeYoung

Saturday, July 20, 2012

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Milwaukee Festa Italiana

Big Bad Voodoo DaddyYesterday evening in Milwaukee nothing said Italian like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. You read that correctly. I am not sure the tie in - but the Italian community had a real treat as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy rocked the Summerfest grounds. Milwaukee Irish Fest will have a lot to live up to this year after this rollicking evening along the lake front.


Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Monday, September 5, 2011

Milwaukee Irish Fest 2011

Milwaukee Irish Fest Logo Another Milwaukee Irish Fest has come and gone and all I can say is the people of Milwaukee really know how to throw a party. I was able to make my way north of the border twice this year to see some fantastic performers and eat way too much good food. On Friday, August 19th I was able to catch a bit of Brendan Hendry Band before heading over to see a new favorite form last year Kintra. Kintra did not disapoint this year with their diversity in music styles while maintaining a reverence to the traditons of the music. After Kintra I took in some traditional Donegal music played by three fiddle players named Fidil. Gaelic Storm's stage was crowded and roudy as it usually is during Irish Fest. The Friday highlight for me was the Kansas City based Celtic rock band The Elders. This band never fails to deliver.

On Sunday I was able to attend the concert with my friend, and awesome photographer, Jim Fidler. Jim has graciously allowed me to post his pictures again of this years festval. For the first part of the day we check out some local Milwaukee bands on the Celtic Rock Stage - The Sandcarvers and Whiskey of the Damned.

Every year I look for a new band that I am not familiar with that blows me away. This year the band was Skerryvore from Scottland. They call their style a "Trad-rock Fusion" that incorporates fiddle, bagpipes and accordians with traditional rock band instuments.

We managed to check out Kintra again before checking out the traditional band Altan for the first time. The day ended with another great set my the Elders.

Kintra at Milwaukee Irish Fest The Sandcarvers at Milwaukee Irish Fest
Whiskey of the Damned at Milwaukee Irish Fest Skerryvore at Milwaukee Irish Fest
Altan at Milwaukee Irish Fest The Elders at Milwaukee Irish Fest

Milwaukee Irish Fest -
Brendan Hendry Band -
Kintra -
Fidil -
Gaelic Storm -
The Elders -
The Sandcarvers -
Whiskey of the Damned -
Skerryvore -
Altan -

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Taste of Chicago 2011

What do you get when two of my favorite fiddle players are playing a free concert on a beautiful summer day? An excuse for a vacation day from work.

On Wednesday I took the late afternoon train into Chicago to attend a free show by Natalie MacMaster (Gallery) and her band and an all star set by Liz Carroll, John Doyle and John Williams (Gallery) as part of Taste of Chicago.

Liz Carroll and John Doyle make the fiddle and guitar speak to each other like no one else in traditional Irish music today. An added bonus was John Williams, John Doyles old Solas bandmate and Chicagoan, making this fantastic duo into a grest trio. Their hour long show is already a highlight of my live music summer.

Natalie MacMaster performed with a scaled down version of her regular band and her 16 year old niece providing guest vocals and dance abilities beyond her years. Not many people can go from playing traditional Cape Breton style one minute to an all out blast of tunes the next minute like Natalie. On a selfish note - I really do miss the added power of the electric guitar that Brad Davidge provided on songs like the Olympic Reel in the past. Natalie MacMaster is a must see performer in the Celtic genre.

Natalie MacMaster at Taste of Chicago 2011 Liz Carroll, John Doyle and John Williams at Taste of Chicago 2011

Taste of Chicago -
Natalie MacMaster -
Liz Carroll -
John Doyle -
John Williams -

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top Ten Concerts of 2010

The main difference in the 2010 concert going season from the 2009 season was that there was not a Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band concert to dominate. No fret, New Jersey's other favorite son is represented. It was diverse year in shows ranging from seeing some classic rock greats, new Celtic bands, and a blues icon. The list is not in any order since it would be difficult to pinpoint which great musicians should be ranked where on the list.

Kintra at Milwaukee Irish Fest - August 21, 2010 10. Kintra at Milwaukee Irish Fest: Northern Ireland based Kintra's first appearance at Milwaukee Irish Fest was an act not to be missed at the annual celebration of all things Irish. The performance was more of a variety show that featured vocals, pipes, dancing and stunning fiddle playing. I am glad to say that it looks like Kintra is headed back to Milwaukee for the 2011 festival.

9. Gretchen Wilson at Chicago Country Music Festival: My first country music concert in years was kicked off by one rollicking young lady from Southern Illinois who likes to have a party on stage. The Chicago crowd was rocking from first note to the last guitar lick of the evening.

8. The Moody Blues at Milwaukee Summerfest: One of my favorite British bands that should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They played an effortless show covering all their hits from their vast musical library.

Liz Carroll, John Doyle and Friends at Milwaukee Irish Fest - August 21, 2010 7. Liz Carroll, John Doyle and friends at Milwaukee Irish Fest: Liz Carroll is one of the greatest fiddle players today and John Doyle is unequalled on an acoustic guitar. Throw in a couple talented friends and you have a craic at the world's biggest Irish kitchen party.

6. The Elders at the Irish American Heritage Center: This is the band I saw the most this year for good reason - they simply rock. This show at the IAHC was typical of the Elders - great musicianship, vocals and songs. I will definitely see the Elders anytime they play in the Chicago area.

5. The Leahy Christmas Show: The kids stole the show. My favorite Celtic band brought out their children to play and dance and they were fantastic. This was just another great evening with Leahy.

4. Bon Jovi at Soldier Field: What an incredible use of video screens that made the cavernous Soldier Field seem intimate. Throw in two and a half hours of great American rock and roll and you can not go wrong.

Buddy Guy at the Naperville Last Fling - September 3, 2010 3. Buddy Guy at the Naperville Last Fling: Simply put - a living legend proving why he is a living legend.

2. Santana at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre: Going to a concert at a large open air amphitheatre can go real bad real quick. I am glad to report that this did not happen to Santana as he owned every inch of the venue. There is only one Carlos Santana.

1. Eileen Ivers at the Chicago Irish Fest: I had the opportunity to discuss with Eileen Ivers what music she listens to and she replied "everything". You can hear her answer in the music she plays, from traditional Irish reels to music influenced by African and Latin beats to Cape Bretton inspired aires. Eileen also has an ace up her sleeve in one of the strongest touring bands in music today - Immigrant Soul. This celebration of music capped off the Sunday evening of the annual Chicago Irish Fest with an exclamation point!

A special thanks to Jim Fidler for his photographic contributions again this year. Another great concert going year. Here we come 2011!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chicago Country Music Festival 2010

Gretchen WIlson at the Chicago Country Music Festival - October 8, 2010 When it is near 80 degrees in Chicago on the eighth of October you try to do something outside since you might not have an oppportunity to enjoy nice weather until the next spring. When Indian Summer is on the weekend and there is a music festival in Chicago you hop on the late afternoon train and head to Millennium Park for the Chicago Country Music Festival. I picked a good day to go since Gretchen Wilson and Clint Black were the headline acts on the first night of the festival. Clint Black is a throw back singer who played traditinal country with his versitile band for the appreciateive audience. Gretchen Wilson's country music is more cumbustible as she paid homage to her country and rock and roll roots that she developed in her days growing up in Southern Illinois. This lady plain and simply rocks with a pull-no-punches attitude. What a way to end my 2010 outdoor concert season.

Chicago Country Music Festival -
Gretchen Wilson -
Clint Black -

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Milwaukee Irish Fest 2010

Milwaukee Irish Fest logo To me the greatest Irish Fest of them all occurs every August along the shores of Lake Michigan in the city of Milwaukee. This year marked the 30th anniversary of Milwaukee Irish Fest and if the crowds were any indication the most successful of them all. This was a year to see some new bands and check out some old favorites. My must-see act was Liz Carroll and John Doyle.

On Friday the special guest of the festival was rain (not the band) who last appeared during the 2007 festival. Entering the festival grounds it was a nice summer day and then it decided to storm with the wind blowing the rain sideways to make sure every inch of the fairgrounds was nice and wet. Despite the rain I decided to stay and enjoy the music.

I started off seeing Wisconsin based band Atlantic Wave followed by Green Fields of America. Green Fields of America is a traditional band made up of some of the best traditional players in Irish music. I started watching this set in sunshine and finished watching it under the music store canopy as the rain came down. I finished the day watching two bands perform that are really popular with the younger festival goers - Scythian from Washington DC and Gaelic Storm from California.

On Saturday, as I ventured back up north to Milwaukee with my friend Jim, it was cloudy and looked like it truly could be a repeat of the Irish Fest of 2007. I am glad to report that the rain held off and it turned into a beautiful day.

The first band we saw was Rising Gael who had a nice combination of vocals and fiddle. Rising Gael was followed by another Wisconsin band named Green Tea who I also saw last summer at the festival. Green Tea had a nice combination of flute and fiddle. As per usual, there was a heavy fiddle influence in the bands I chose to see at Irish Fest.

We had the opportunity to see one of our favorite fiddle and guitar duos - Liz Carroll and John Doyle. They did not disappoint. Immediately after the Carroll and Doyle set we saw the Irish traditional band McPeake from Northern Ireland who I hope come back to the festival in the future. McPeake carries on a 100 year heritage and tradition of Irish Music. We followed up McPeake by seeing traditional band Girsa, which means "young girls" in Gaelic, made up of young ladies who started playing together as kids in New York.

The evening set was made up of seeing returning Irish band Slide and a powerhouse show by Kintra.

Rising Gael at Milwaukee Irish Fest Green Tea at Milwaukee Irish Fest
Liz Carroll, John Doyle and Friends at Milwaukee Irish Fest McPeake at Milwaukee Irish Fest
Slide at Milwaukee Irish Fest Kintra at Milwaukee Irish Fest

Milwaukee Irish Fest -
Atlantic Wave
Green Fields of America -
Scythian -
Gaelic Storm -
Rising Gael -
Green Tea -
Liz Carroll -
John Doyle -
Girsa -
McPeake -
Slide -
Kintra -

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Melissa Etheridge Live at SPACE

On a Monday afternoon in May I had the opportunity to see Melissa Etheridge perform a mini-concert and interview at SPACE in Evanston for WXRT radio. It is not that often you get to see an artist as popular as Melissa Etheridge perform in a 200 seat venue on a Monday afternoon. Melissa did not disappoint the crowd. WXRT has posted the video for the show at -

Melissa Etherdge -
SPACE on Evanston -

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Moody Blues at Milwaukee Summerfest

I ventured up to Milwaukee Summerfest to see the Moody Blues on Tuesday Afternoon - make that Wednesday evening. The Moody Blues managed to make the festival setting feel like a theater with their musicianship and musical harmonies. They performed many of their hits during this 90 minute show including Singer In A Rock and Roll Band, Wildest Dreams, and Ride My See Saw. I managed to take a few pictures during their first few songs that I have included in a gallery.

Set List:
  1. The Voice
  2. Day We Meet Again
  3. Slide Zone The Moody Blues at Milwaukee Summerfest
  4. Gypsy
  5. Tuesday Afternoon
  6. Lean On Me
  7. Never Comes The Day
  8. Peak Hour
  9. I Know You're Out There Somewhere
  10. Story In Your Eyes
  11. Widest Dreams
  12. Isn't Life Strange
  13. The Other Side Of Life
  14. Driftwood
  15. Higher and Higher
  16. Are You Sitting Comfortably
  17. Singer In A Rock & Roll Band
  18. Late Lament
  19. Nights In White Satin
  20. Question
  21. Ride My See Saw
The Moody Blues -
The Moody Blues Fan Community -
Milwaukee Summerfest -

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 is now on Twitter and Facebook

We originally jumped into the Web 2.0 world with the addition of RSS feeds and Google Gadgets with the introduction of the Techy Stuff page. We now have created a Facebook Fan/like page and a Twitter page that we would like to encourage you to follow if you are on either of these social networks. We will update our Twitter and Facebook pages when we have new galleries and news to share. As always, thanks for visiting
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Chicago Celtic Fest 2010

The City of Chicago has moved Celtic Fest from Grant Park to Millennium Park and from September to May. The move was done to save money for the city - which I can understand in these economic times. Millennium Park offers better facilities in a smaller venue. The main stage sound system is state of the art with good lighting. Some of the smaller stages have disappeared and the smallest stage sits right on Michigan Avenue where the fiddles and mandolins try to play between traffic noise.

The first act I saw on Saturday was a celebration of the music of Nova Scotia. Coastal Rhythms: The Music and Spirit of Nova Scotia consisted of samples of traditional music from different areas of Nova Scotia. Some of these talented artists have performed at the fest previously with different bands including Pogey.

I had the opportunity to once again see Vishten perform traditional Acadian music. This band is made up of four multi-instrumentalists performing and singing individually and in four part harmony.

After seeing Vishten I was able to sample some of the music on the side stages while also catching a second performance of Coastal Rhythms in the Gathering Tent. Prior to watching the Saw Doctors on the main stage I caught a few songs of Bodega on the Next Generation Stage.

On Sunday I had the opportunity to see Bodega on the main stage. Bodega is a traditional Celtic made up of young Scottish players who formed while attending school in Scotland.

For the second time in less than a month I had the opportunity to see the Elders. The Elders had the crowd up and dancing with their high energy Celtic rock set. The Elders have a loyal following and by the looks of things they have added even more fans following this show.

After the Elders whipped the crowd into a frenzy the French Canadian band La Bottine Souriante performed. This Quebec based band combines fiddle and piano with a horn section. They even had a high energy step dancer to round things off. They were dancing in the aisles by the end of this show.

Coastal Rhythms at Celtic Fest Vishten at Celtic Fest
The Elders at Celtic Fest Bodega at Celtic Fest

Celtic Fest Chicago -
Vishten -
Bodega -
Saw Doctors -
The Elders -
La Bottine Souriante -

Thursday, May 5, 2010

The Elders at the Chicago Irish American Heritage Center

The Elders at the IAHCMy friend Jim and I had the opportunity to see the Elders perform on April 23rd at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago. The concert was part of a new series of shows that the IAHC is offering in their new Erin Room. Since this is a new series of concerts in a new venue the show was not as crowded as a typical Elders show. This afforded Jim the opportunity to take some fantastic pictures from varying vantage points of the Kansas City based band. Jim has graciously allowed me to post these pictures in our newest gallery.

This band grasps the Celtic music traditions while pushing them into the future. The Elders are all great musicians performing original music that can be one moment poignant in the reflections of the Irish struggles while the next celebrating the Irish sense of adventure and fun. On a dime this band can go from the harmonizing vocals of the Men of Erin into the Scottish fueled instrumental Turnpike.

After seeing the Elders quite a few times this was the first time we had the opportunity to meet with the band and some other fans of the Elders. It is always great when you meet musicians whose music you appreciate and they are friendly and seem to enjoy their fans as much as their fans enjoy their music. Below are pictures of Jim and I meeting with Brent, Ian, and Steve of the Elders.

Pat and Brent from the EldersJim and Brent from the Elders
Pat and Brent from the EldersJim and Brent from the Elders
Pat and Brent from the EldersJim and Brent from the Elders

The Elders -
Irish American Heritage Center -