The legendary Tom Jones dropped by legendary New York venue Bowery Ballroom on May 18, 2013 to showcase his latest album “Spirit In The Room.” Here are 10 observations from the show.
1. I am over 30 years of age and I was the youngest person in the room. By far. Possibly by 30 years.
2. Tom Jones is an amazing performer who deserves the praise he gets as he had the 500 person venue eating out of his hand for the entire show….
3. …despite playing only one of his greatest hits (“Green Green Grass of Home”) in the nearly 2 hour show.
4. All the die hard Tom Jones fans (some who I spoke with admitted to seeing him close to 1000 times) were delighted that he didn’t play any “hits.” The casual fans that came to see the hits walked away from the show bitter.
5. This was the first time I’ve ever seen people in walkers in the front row at Bowery Ballroom and as you know, I’ve been there hundreds of times.
6. Nobody threw panties or bras onto the stage. And for that, I am truly grateful!
7. Despite not playing his own hits, we heard covers of songs originally by Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Odetta, Paul McCartney, Tom Waits, Richard Thompson, Elvis Presley, Joe Henry and Leonard Cohen.
8. Tom Jones went on stage around 9:15 PM. He entered the building for the first time that day at 9:02 PM.
9. During a slow song, so many people in the audience took the opportunity to yell out “Play ‘Delilah’,” nearly drowning out Tom, but because he is the consummate performer, he overcame the audience jeers and when the song was over, got some of the loudest applause of the night.
Johnny Fuckin’ Marr! The guitar god from The Smiths and Electronic has a solo album out called “The Messenger” and he performed a sold out show at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on May 3, 2013 to promote it. Johnny Marr didn’t sing when he was with The Smiths, so many people may not know that he is both great on guitar and vocals. The show was epic on so many levels. Of course, the final song featured former Smiths band mate Andy Rourke (more on that in a moment), but in addition Johnny Marr busted out some classic Smiths songs and also a pair of Electronic songs mixed in with tracks from his latest album.
Johnny Marr played two Electronic songs that I never thought I’d ever hear live before, and though he doesn’t sing lead vocals on the studio versions, he made them his own last night. He performed “Forbidden City” and “Getting Away With It” which were both great, and if you stay tuned, a video of the latter will be coming soon. He also dusted off some Smiths classics including “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” “Bigmouth Strikes Again,” “London” (and a video will be coming soon, so stay tuned) as well as the final song “How Soon Is Now?” where he brought former band mate Andy Rourke on stage for what will probably be the closest thing to a Smiths reunion that the world ever sees.
Johnny Marr doesn’t often tour, but a friendly word to the wise, the next time he comes to your city, do not miss him! I hope he comes back around because it was really epic hearing his new album mixed in with classic tracks from his past. Hearing 500 people sing the words in unison also was pretty cool and you could tell that Johnny was having as great a time as the audience. Respect!
Johnny Marr Merch
The setlist was:
The Right Thing Right / Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before (Smiths) / Upstarts / Sun & Moon / There is a Light That Never Goes Out (Smiths) / Forbidden City (Electronic) / London (Smiths) / The Messenger / Generate! Generate! / Say Demesne / Bigmouth Strikes Again (Smiths) / Word Starts Attack / New Town Velocity / I Want The Heartbeat.
Encore: I Fought The Law (Clash) / Getting Away With It (Electronic) / How Soon Is Now (Smiths) – Featuring Andy Rourke.
Several months ago, I saw British singer Tom Odell’s first US show. I was blown away watching the 21 year old singer who at times channels Thom Yorke, Chris Martin and Tom Waits. Needless to say, I was very excited to see Tom Odell on his second trip to New York where he performed at Bowery Ballroom on May 2, 2013. The show opened with folk/rock singer Jeremy Messersmith who got the crowd in good mood with his mellow love songs (and songs about Tatooine, graveyards and organ donors!)
Go to Jeremy Messersmith’s website where you can sample his music and if you like what you hear, you can download his 4 albums for a “pay as you wish” price for a limited time. Don’t be cheap, support emerging artists!
At 10 pm, Tom Odell hit the stage and kicked off the evening with a cover of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” before launching into his soon to be hit “Hold Me.” You can see a video of the pair of tracks below. Throughout the 12 song set, Odell played piano and guitar and had a nice mix of ballads and rockers. I spotted Tony Award winner James Corden in the audience who was singing along to every song by Tom Odell. Odell also performed an awesome cover of The Beatles’ “Oh Darling,” which will hopefully be officially released because it rocked! His EP “Songs from Another Love” is out now, and you should check out his music as Tom Odell is tremendously talented. Just click play below and you’ll see what I mean.
The Mac is back! On April 7, 2013, Fleetwood Mac tore the roof off the sold out Madison Square Garden in New York. I’ve been a Fleetwood Mac fan for as long as I can remember, and I have seen them in concert about 10 times since they reunited in 1997 plus numerous solo shows by both Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Separately, they are geniuses in their own right, but when they get together on stage, they are electric! For the FM fans that have seen it all when it comes to this band, you cannot honestly say it anymore without seeing this tour.
In addition to the hits (which I’ll get to in a minute), they played a new song entitled “Sad Angel” which is on par with classic era Fleetwood Mac material as well as the recently dusted off and previously unreleased Buckingham Nicks era track “Without You.” The fact that that song is seeing a fresh new life was worth the hefty concert price for me, but there were so many highlights. And as a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, it will be my absolute pleasure to premiere these live videos for you, so please stay tuned. You’ll love them both, I assure you!
Stevie Nicks! When you think of the abuse she put her body through with drugs, it’s amazing she’s still alive let alone performing night after night and looking and sounding great. During a 4 song mini-set in tribute to the album “Tusk,” Stevie sang “Sara” and “Sisters of the Moon,” which she said has not been performed since 1979 (but of course, being a die-hard, I will correct her because who could forget the Mirage Tour performance where she speaks in tongues at the end of the song?) She didn’t speak in tongues this time around, but she delivered great vocals and also sang “Gold Dust Woman,” “Gypsy,” as well as her solo hit “Stand Back.”
Lindsey Buckingham MSG 2013
While I love Stevie Nicks and I think she’s really fantastic, it’s no secret that Lindsey Buckingham is one of my gods. His guitar playing is otherworldly and whether he’s in the Mac or singing solo material, he takes me to another place. Every time I try and talk myself out of seeing Fleetwood Mac because of the fact I’ve seen them so many times and ticket prices are high, I remember that Lindsey Buckingham will play “I’m So Afraid,” which features my favorite guitar solo of all time (and it varies each time he plays it), and I make sure I am there. That is a song that has grown organically as he plays it live and over the years, and it just gets better and better. A video of “I’m So Afraid” will be coming soon so please stay tuned. If you aren’t a Lindsey Buckingham fan after you see that incredible performance, we can no longer be friends! Ha! But seriously, you will see what a genius he is if you weren’t already aware. Speaking of genius and organically grown songs, “Eyes of the World,” “Second Hand News,” “Never Going Back Again,” and “Big Love” all were performed and their live renditions have become as great (if not better) than their original studio versions.
John McVie and Stevie Nicks MSG 2013
Set list staples such as “The Chain,” “Landslide,” “Dreams,” “Rhiannon,” “Don’t Stop” (featuring Stevie singing Christine Mc Vie’s parts), and “Go Your Own Way” were played. Even if you are sick of those songs because they play them to death on the radio, hearing the whole of Madison Square Garden sing along with the band is an experience that should not be missed!
Mick Fleetwood MSG
Mick Fleetwood got his drum solo in during the ‘White Album’s “World Turning.” Mick also closed the show by wishing that we all treat each other with respect and love, which is a great thought to leave with. Go Mick! The final two songs were the “Rumours” b-side turned hit “Silver Springs” and “Say You Will’s” “Say Goodbye,” which was a beautiful song to end a perfect night. And for those wondering, they hit the stage around 8:25 pm and ended just around 11 pm.
The band had pretty cool visuals on the screens behind them and by the end of the show, they were playing in front of huge versions of themselves up on the screens which was a fun thing to look at as the songs of our generation were performed in front of us.
John McVie and Stevie Nicks MSG
Fleetwood Mac is on tour for much of 2013, so do not miss them when they come to your city. Thanks Fleetwood Mac for blowing my mind yet again!
One of my 1980s fanboy dreams came true on April 7, 2013 when I saw The Fixx perform at The Bell House in Brooklyn. The 80s new wave/rockers have a new album out called “Beautiful Friction,” and the classic lineup has reunited for this tour. Over the course of the hour and a half set, a majority of tracks from the new album were played and if you haven’t really followed The Fixx in a while, you should definitely check out their new record as it’s really good.
But the show was not all about the new record. Many of The Fixx’ most beloved tracks were played including two of my personal favorites “Less Cities, More Moving People” and “Secret Separation,” which was played as an unannounced second encore! Lead singer Cy Curnin threw in a bit of Tina Turner’s “Better Be Good To Me” at the end of the song (and if you’ll recall, Cy appears in the music video). Stay tuned as a video of “Secret Separation” will be coming soon!
The classics “One Thing Leads To Another,” “Red Skies” and “Saved by Zero” were also performed and both Cy and the band sounded as good as they did in the 80s. A few of my favorite tracks were not aired (such as “Sunshine in the Shade,” “A Letter to Both Sides” and “Are We Ourselves?”) but the prospect of hearing those classics live will keep me coming back to see The Fixx for as long as they keep touring.
The Fixx Merch
The Fixx Setlist – Bell House. Now property of the G archives.