And now Melanie was 8 months old, her brother and sister were 10, and there we were at Eddie's. Unfortunately, we hadn't booked a table, so we were sitting in the back of the room on bleacher-type seats. But it was a wonderful show, and when it was over, I stood up and raised Mel over my head. Sara caught that and shot a big smile our way!
MARCH 16, 2000: CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG (CSNY2K) – CHARLOTTE COLISEUM, CHARLOTTE, NC
The first time I ever saw the four of them together. I was originally going to see them in Atlanta, but the Super Tuesday primary was the same night as the Atlanta show, so instead I decided to make the 3 hour drive to Charlotte two days later. It was well worth it, as I saw a blistering show from start to finish. It was great to see them getting along with each other, and they just blew me away.
JUNE 4, 2000: RINGO STARR & HIS ALL STARR BAND - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE, ATLANTA
This was the tour that included Jack Bruce, and the crowd went wild when he played songs from his days with Cream.
JULY 9, 2000: THE MOODY BLUES - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
Another orchestral show, and as always, a good one.
MARCH 6, 2001: THE MONKEES - CENTER STAGE, ATLANTA
Without Mike this time. But Micky, Peter and Davy did an acoustic set during the show, and they were all Nesmith-penned tunes!
APRIL 14, 2001: THE MOODY BLUES - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
Another year, another great show.
MAY 29, 2001: THE CORRS - GEORGIA WORLD CONGRESS CENTER, ATLANTA
We'd first become aware of The Corrs when we were living in London and saw one of the videos on VH1 Europe. Beautiful voices, great sound. This show was a corporate appearance for employees only; I worked for CNN, part of the Time Warner conglomerate, and they recorded for Atlantic, also part of the corporation. Unfortunately, because the band wasn't very well known in the States, there was not a huge turnout for the show, which disappointed me. But as a result, my daughter Kayleigh and I were able to get up to the foot of the stage and watch the show from there. I do believe they took note of the blonde girl and her dad grooving to their music!
APRIL 17, 2002: CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG TOUR OF AMERICA - PHILIPS ARENA, ATLANTA
In the wake of 9/11, given the history of this band always speaking out on political issues, this was a helluva show.
MAY 12, 2002: PAUL MCCARTNEY - PHILIPS ARENA
His first concert tour of the U.S. in 9 years, and it was well worth the wait. From the opening song "Hello Goodbye" to "The End," an amazing night of memories, goose bumps and singalongs. The goose bumps were most noticeable when Paul introduced his beautiful song for John, "Here Today," and when he talked about going to George's house and playing ukeleles after dinner, and how he once told George he played a song of his on the ukelele, and then played a lovely version of "Something." A very memorable night, and on that top five list for sure.
OCTOBER 19, 2002: THE MOODY BLUES - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
Although we didn't know it at the time, this was the last U.S. tour for founding member/flutist Ray Thomas, who decided to retire because of health issues.
NOVEMBER 29, 2002: CONCERT FOR GEORGE - THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, LONDON
The single greatest concert I've been to. The final entry (for now) in that top five list, although I think it's now at six, but who's counting? I am forever indebted to my friend Todd who lives in London, who e-mailed me one day to say that if I could swing the airfare, he had a ticket for this show with my name on it. The concert was on a Friday night, which meant I had to fly out of Atlanta on Thanksgiving night. Fortunately, my wife knew how important this show was to me, and said go for it. I found a relatively cheap flight on BA, and after Thanksgiving lunch with the family, I headed to the airport for the overnight flight to London. I crashed at Todd's place during the day, and that night me, Todd and his wife Anna made our way to the Albert Hall. If I thought our tickets for the Moody Blues were excellent in 1997, they paled in comparison to these. We were on the floor, house left, Row 19. We could see EVERYONE. The Eastern music portion of the show was quite good, and Anoushka Shankar was as mesmerizing on sitar as her father was. The Pythons - without John Cleese, but including the almost-undetected cameo by Tom Hanks - were wonderfully hysterical and appropriately irreverent. And then the main part of the show. Where to begin? Who to single out? It's just about impossible. However, this was the night I was introduced to the amazing talent of Sam Brown, who blazed through George's "Horse to the Water" and brought the house down! Unfortunately, her performance is not on the Concert for George CD, although it is on the concert DVD. Of course, the cheers, love and affection for Ringo and Paul were palpable, as were their love and affection for George. A truly beautiful and historic night of music.
JULY 19, 2003: ART GARFUNKEL, with MAIA SHARP & BUDDY MONDLOCK - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
I had two reasons for going to this show. First, I had bought Art's new CD "Everything Waits To Be Noticed," which featured Maia and Buddy, and enjoyed it. Second, I was completely taken with Maia's voice, and bought her self-titled second CD. And that album just knocked me over. Maia is a multi-instrumentalist and a great writer, and I was hoping she'd get to do a couple of songs at this show. Fortunately, she got to play a mini-set, and she was simply fantastic. I was able to get a seat pretty close to the stage, so I was really able to watch her play. I have been a Maia fan ever since. Oh, and Art was pretty terrific too!
AUGUST 8, 2003: THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND - HIFI BUYS AMPHITHEATER (formerly Lakewood)
AUGUST 13, 2003: RINGO STARR & HIS ALL STARR BAND - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
SEPTEMBER 19, 2003: CROSBY, STILLS & NASH - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
Touring as a trio again. This tour came after the Iraq War, and the band had what to say about it this night. However, they made it clear that while they weren't in favor of going to war with Iraq, they love this country. To that end, they sang an a cappella version of "My Country, 'Tis Of Thee." It was a stirring moment. And a great show all around.
NOVEMBER 6, 2003: THE MOODY BLUES - THE TABERNACLE, ATLANTA
This was the first Moodies show we saw with new flutist Norda Mullen. She also played acoustic guitar and sang backup vocals, and has been a welcome addition to the band. The Tabernacle is a small theater venue; in fact, most shows are with younger bands and the tickets are general admission. This show had seats on the floor, and we were about five rows back from the stage, which gave us a great view of everyone. The band has gone to playing without an orchestra, so they're able to rock out a little more than they have in a while. The absolute highlight was when Graeme Edge came down from his drum kit to do "Higher and Higher," which kicks off the "To Our Children's Children's Children" album. Graeme was having a grand time being out in front, and his gyrations brought the house down! A great night.
NOVEMBER 15, 2003: THE DEREK TRUCKS BAND – TOWN HALL, MANHATTAN
My friends Errol, Steve and I all turned 50 in 2003 and we were looking for a way to celebrate that fact. I discovered that the Derek Trucks Band was playing in Manhattan between Steve's birthday and mine, so I proposed we catch the show. We hooked up on Long Island, took the LIRR into Manhattan, walked up to Times Square for a great dinner and then saw a terrific show. This was the first time any of us had seen Derek fronting his band, and not playing with The Allman Brothers Band.
DECEMBER 20, 2003: SIMON & GARFUNKEL - PHILIPS ARENA
Seats on the floor, 10th row. Kara had never seen them together. The words and music were as emotional and powerful as ever, and the vibes in the arena were fantastic. And to see them perform with their boyhood idols, The Everly Brothers...fantastic. A truly memorable evening. The "Old Friends - On Stage" DVD captures the evening quite well.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2004: THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND - FOX THEATRE
Something happened at this show. I realized that I was not as jazzed about seeing the Allmans as I used to be, and I'm pretty sure I know why. Although much of the music since the 1990s has been made with Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks on guitars, and as excellent as they are, there is simply something missing for me when the sole surviving original guitarist is not out in front. I understand there were issues with Dickey Betts, but for me the vibes just aren't the same now.
JUNE 21, 2005: THE MOODY BLUES - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
For some reason the Moodies skipped Atlanta in 2004, and have not been back since this concert. It was much the same show we saw at The Tabernacle in 2003. Come back, please!
JUNE 27, 2005: STEVE WINWOOD - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
A truly excellent show. Winwood did a lot of Traffic and Blind Faith material as well as solo stuff, and he played keyboards and guitar all night. And I think people tend to forget that Winwood is a fantastic guitar player in his own right!
JULY 20, 2005: CAROLE KING - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
One of the hazards of going to Chastain Park shows is that Atlanta is notorious for summer thunderstorms. Amazingly I got nailed with them twice in two weeks: first this show and then the next entry. That said, Carole's "Living Room Tour" show was incredible. She was really touched by how the audience hung in despite the rain, and she played her heart out all night. Given her musical history, Carole is truly a national treasure.
JULY 31, 2005: LOGGINS & MESSINA - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
Eleven days later, and yes, it poured all night on this show too. But like Carole King, Kenny and Jim held up their end of the bargain and played a great show. I hadn't seen them in over 30 years, but they played and sounded magnificent. The CD & DVD truly capture the spirit of the show.
SEPTEMBER 20, 2005: PAUL MCCARTNEY - PHILIPS ARENA
Kara wasn't able to come to the 2002 McCartney concert, but she was determined to go to this one. A great touch: as we're walking from the parking lot to the arena, we saw a guy dressed in full Sgt. Pepper regalia. These days it's hard not to have a good time at a McCartney concert, and this certainly lived up to that expectation.
AUGUST 10, 2006: CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG - PHILIPS ARENA
Well. If the 2002 concert wasn't incendiary enough, this one certainly brought that point home loud and clear. Neil had just put out his "Living With War" album, and they played a lot of songs from it all night. To say the guys sounded angry throughout the night would be a massive understatement. And really, it's what CSNY has always done best...write and play great music and make their views known loud and clear.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2006: MAIA SHARP, RANDY SHARP & GENE NELSON – THE SWALLOW AT THE HOLLOW, ROSWELL, GA
The Swallow is a small venue in the northern Atlanta suburbs, about 15 minutes from where we lived. They specialize in shows in the round, which is what this was. Randy is Maia's dad, and Gene is someone Randy and Maia have worked with over the years. They essentially took turns doing songs, with the others either providing backup vocals or second guitar. We were right at the foot of the stage.
NOVEMBER 18, 2006: JAMES TAYLOR/ONE MAN BAND - FOX THEATRE
A nice change of pace from James' summertime shows. Just James, his guitar, and a pianist. Well, not quite just that. James had a slide show going throughout the evening to talk a bit about his life and some of the influences on his writing. Oh, and his VERY unique drum machine. It was a cool evening, which you can see and hear on the "One Man Band" DVD and CD.
FEBRUARY 17, 2007: SARA HICKMAN, with TRUCKSTOP SOUVENIR and CORINNE WEST opening - EDDIE'S ATTIC
We'd not seen Sara perform in 7 years, not since Melanie was a baby. This time it was just Kara and I, sitting less than 10 feet from the stage. Both opening acts were quite good, but Sara was magnificent. Funny, serious, touching and heartfelt all night. The highlight was getting to talk to her after the show. BIG hugs and kisses for both of us. Kara took a couple of pix of me and Sara together. And she wrote a sweet message and signed one of the flyers which had an image from her new double-CD "Motherlode." Folks, Sara Hickman NEVER disappoints!
APRIL 28, 2007: STEPHEN STILLS - THE ROXY, ATLANTA
This was the first time I'd seen any member of the CSNY family in a solo show. Stephen seemed much looser on stage than when he's with the band, but maybe that was just me. In any case, he gave a fantastic show. His guitar playing - both acoustic and electric - was superb, and his voice was strong all night. A terrific evening.
The set-up was simple: three stools on the stage, three acoustic guitars and three amazing voices. From left to right it was Maia, Randy, then Pam. And the format was simple: Maia kicked off the night with one of her songs, then Randy took a song, then Pam. There'd usually be a good story setting up each song as well. And it kept going 'round like that for two solid hours. Each would play second guitar or take harmony vocals on the others' songs, so it was full participation all around.
In the end, they played 21 songs, and these are the seven from Maia:
Whole Flat World, Something Wild, Standing Out in a Crowd, You Can't Lose Them All (one of my favorites), Long Way Home, A Home and Red Dress.
FEBRUARY 4, 2008: SARA HICKMAN - JAMMIN' JAVA - VIENNA, VA
FEBRUARY 15, 2008: SARA HICKMAN - EDDIE'S ATTIC - DECATUR, GA
I guess you can all this a Sara Hickman double play. I think it's become pretty clear from these blogs that I'm a pretty big fan of Ms. Hickman. Well, I was in DC on business in January and February, and discovered on Sunday 2/3 (Super Bowl Sunday) that she was appearing at the Jammin' Java coffeehouse in Vienna, VA on Monday night. So I did a super-quick online ticket purchase and waited patiently (more or less) for Monday night.
It was a great evening. We had Sara declaring her new-found love for Eli Manning while declaring herself a Giants fan -- which warmed the heart of this long-time fan.
We had great stories, sing-a-longs, whistle-a-longs, hugs and kisses during the break and after the show. Oh yeah, the show -- it was incredible. Between the two sets, Sara played about an hour and 40 minutes and she was in such a great mood (no surprise, right?) that she couldn't help but take us along on the ride. Even after apologizing for her sinus infection, there was no real hint that that was affecting her.
I was sitting literally at the foot of the stage, and from my vantage point I took advantage of watching her guitar playing. Sara is a great lyricist and a great singer, but she is an AMAZING guitarist, and she just blew everyone away.
I wish could tell you all the songs she played, but I will tell you that I could hear people singing along on Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again...hmmmmmmm.
Also (but not a complete list and not in order): My Mama's Hands, Simply, The Train Song, Too Fast, In The Fields, Time Will Tell, I Wear the Crown, Two Kinds of Laughter, Last Man In The Water, Everything's Red.
After the show, as she always does, Sara came out to the audience to chat with folks. As always, I introduced myself as Steve from the Yahoo group, and she immediately said: "Steve...dbronx!" I can't tell you how that made me feel, that she remembers my screen name! So we chatted for a while, and I told her that Kara and I would be seeing her in 11 days' time in Georgia at Eddie's Attic...her usual stop in the Atlanta area. As it would be the day after Valentine's Day, I asked if she would play "Claim On My Heart," which is one of my five all-time favorite Sara songs. She said she would.
Fast forward to Friday, February 15. Kara and I are sitting right at the stage. And "Claim On My Heart" was the second song of the night. I was so touched...one, that Sara played it, and two, that I was seeing Sara singing it while I was holding my wonderful wife's hand. The rest of the evening was great fun, full of great music as always. For this show Sara was joined by Tisha Simeral on upright bass/vocals and Brian Ashley Jones on guitar/vocals. Brian, Tisha and Mark Van Allen (dobro) played a set before Sara, and they were terrific, so it was a treat to have Brian and Tisha join Sara on stage. Brian's an excellent guitarist, and it was great to see him and Sara trading licks with each other.
After the show, it was hugs and hellos with Sara as always, and as always, another great night. Ms. Hickman just never disappoints!
APRIL 18, 2008 - THE MOODY BLUES - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE, ATLANTA
I'll start straight up with this: Kara and I have seen the Moodies 10 times in the last 13 years; the only reason we missed them was that there have been three years when they didn't come through Atlanta on tour. In any case, it's safe to say that we've heard "Nights In White Satin" performed live many times, and it always gets the loudest and longest applause of the night. But without a doubt, this night the band got a nearly 5-minute standing ovation from the Chastain crowd at the end of the song. To the point that Justin Hayward looked almost embarrassed by it all. It was a truly sublime moment.
They've added a song to the set this year: "One More Time To Live," which kicks off side 2 of the album "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour." It's an interesting song, and works well on the album, but we thought it fell a bit flat in live performance. Other than that, a great show, nearly 2 hours, and definitely high up there in our list of great Moody Blues shows.
MAY 13, 2008 - THE SWELL SEASON - COBB ENERGY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER - ATLANTAI fell in love with the movie "Once" from the moment I first saw it. My then-18-year-old daughter Kayleigh loves it too, so when we saw that Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (aka The Swell Season) were going to be playing in Atlanta, we just had to go. I spent a few extra dollars, and we wound up with third row seats, dead center. It was money well spent, because the show was simply fantastic. Glen came out solo to start things off...he stepped to the foot of the stage with his battered acoustic guitar...without an amplifier or a microphone, he did a killer version of "Say It To Me Now." From there the show just kept building to one crescendo after another. "When Your Mind's Made Up" was as passionate as it was in the film, and their performance of "Falling Slowly" just about brought tears to my eyes. The band supporting them was fantastic as well. Oh, and Glen is an absolute chatterbox between songs. He said that he and Marketa made a bet that he couldn't go between songs without yapping away. He lost. The set lasted more than 2 hours, and I wouldn't have minded if they'd played all night. This was one of the best concerts I've been to in recent years.