I was very fortunate this year to see many different musical genres live in concert. From country superstar Keith Urban to 80’s boy band New Kids On The Block and even Vegas showman Barry Manilow, but some of my favorites were by music legends giving it there all on what could be some of their final tours.
The remaining members of The Dead reunited for the first time in over 5 years for a spring tour that included a stop at the XL Center in Hartford. Even though Jerry Garcia, who passed away 14 years ago, was not there in person, his spirit watched over the band as they tore through many Grateful Dead classics throughout the tour. Also, another band that doesn’t seem to go away (thankfully) is the Allman Brothers Band. They came and rocked the Dodge Music Theater with fellow jammers Widespread Panic providing some great music for a nice summer evening.
While recent album releases by Alice Cooper and Kiss fail to make a mark on the music industry, it’s their live shows that are a spectacle to behold. Alice Cooper’s vaudeville theatrics never seem to get old, whether you’re seeing them for the first time or the one hundredth time. Kiss has also not strayed far from what made them musical superheroes in the 70’s. Flying through the air, breathing fire and explosions are what a Kiss show is all about. I was happy to be a part of their Alive 35 tour.
But, it was shows at the beginning of 2009 and the end of 2009 that were two of my favorites this year. Back in February, Singer/songwriter Ryan Adams and his band The Cardinals began what ended up being their farewell tour in New Haven. Ryan Adams was known to end shows early because of crowd heckling or bad sound systems, but this night he sounded great and was in good spirits, performing for over two hours. The other show I really enjoyed was Lionel Richie. He performed earlier this month at the MGM Grand Theatre at Foxwoods. With most of his set drawing from his time with The Commodores and his early 80’s hits, it was a fun show that everyone (young and old) could enjoy. He quickly broke down the barrier between the audience and performer by shaking hands and talking with fans during the show.
As I look forward to 2010, I’m hoping that artists don’t price themselves so out of range that true fans can’t afford to see some of their heroes. Do yourself a favor and catch a live concert next year; it might be the experience of a lifetime.