Review: Adam Ant live at the Best Buy Theater

Posted by The G on October 7, 2012 under G Reviews | 5 Comments to Read

Photos by G.

Adam Ant

Adam Ant

Adam Ant!  One of the musical gods of the 1980s played his first show in New York in over 15 years on October 6, 2012 at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square.  This was a show that almost didn’t happen as it was originally scheduled for February of this year and got canceled only to be rescheduled 8 months later.  The show was sold out, so obviously New York more than forgave Adam Ant for the cancellation.  Looking a lot like Johnny Depp, Adam Ant took the stage around 9 pm and played a 28 song set that lasted about 2 hours.

Adam Ant

Adam Ant

He wasted no time digging deep into his back catalog with songs such as “Dog Eat Dog” and “Beat My Guest,” and played songs spanning his entire career including his last charting hit “Wonderful” and we even got to hear a cover of T. Rex’ “Bang A Gong.”  He was very animated, dancing all over the stage and playing guitar.  Though his band does not have any original members, they were great, with two drummers and the songs had much more of a rock feel than new wave as on his albums.

Adam Ant

Adam Ant

The place went crazy when Adam performed some of his biggest loved hits like “Prince Charming,” “Desperate But Not Serious,” “Strip,” “Room at the Top,” “Vive Le Rock” and “Goody Two Shoes.”  Adam mentioned that he’s done recording his new album and he expects it to be released in January of 2013.  Hopefully that means Adam will not be so scarce in concert because it was really great seeing Adam back in action. Judging from the fact that most shows on this tour have sold out, his fans feel the same way.

Adam Ant

Adam Ant

See the setlist after the jump.

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Review: Jamie Woon at Glasslands in Brooklyn

Posted by The G on December 5, 2011 under Encounters with G, G Reviews | Be the First to Comment

Photos by G.

Jamie Woon

Jamie Woon

On December 4, 2011, British singer Jamie Woon played a sold out show at Glasslands in Brooklyn, New York.  The singer’s music is R&B, dub-step and post-dub-step!  Taking the stage around 11 pm, the one hour set featured moody lighting, Jamie Woon’s smooth voice, some trippy beats and an audience that was absolutely mesmerized.  Woon played 10 songs from his debut album “Mirrorwriting” and often played different arrangements of the songs like an acoustic version of “Lady Luck.”  The crowd loved the show as evidenced by thunderous applause after each song.  Jamie Woon is playing on December 5, 2011 at Mercury Lounge, so check him out now while you still can see him in a relatively small venue!

Jamie Woon

See the set list and a photo of my encounter with Jamie Woon after the jump.

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Prince live at the LA Forum (May 27, 2011) – The G Review

Posted by The G on May 28, 2011 under G Reviews | 16 Comments to Read

Photos by G.

Prince - Forum May 27, 2011

Prince

In case you didn’t know, I am a die-hard Prince fan.  I’ve seen him in concert in excess of 50 times in multiple cities across the United States.  In recent years, I have started to fall out of love with him primarily because of his religious beliefs.  In the late 1990s, he became a Jehovah’s Witness.  His music which had formerly been so open-minded became preachy and intolerant of any belief system that varied from his own, which is contrary to some of the core reasons I became a fan.  In my personal opinion, he also stopped taking artistic chances.  Whereas you would never know what to expect when you saw him in concert, he seemed to have settled and has become a “greatest hits” artist appeasing not the people who stuck by him through embarrassing name changes (from Prince to an unpronounceable symbol and back again) to record label disputes and instead plays for casual fans who don’t realize that Prince has continued to make albums consistently since “Diamonds and Pearls” in 1991.  Of course I was sad to see songs with “dirty” words get dropped permanently from his setlists (because let me tell you that it was an amazing experience for 20,000 people to shout out “you sexy motherfucker” in unison), but I respected his need to do things his way. 

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen Prince in concert and the last time I saw him, I was at a very exclusive one-off gig where I stood less than arm’s length from him for over 3 hours while he played guitar like it was everybody’s last night on earth. For the reasons above I decided I should probably stop seeing him live so as not to ruin all the life-changing moments we’ve shared together.  It just so happened that as I booked my vacation to Los Angeles, Prince was in the middle of playing 21 concerts in LA.   Getting the opportunity to see Prince live with my brother and my best friend, who are as big of fans as I am, was such a rare thing, I decided to go see Prince on May 27, 2011 at the Los Angeles Forum.

One thing that can be said about Prince – he has some very cool fans.  At a Prince concert, you should definitely expect to see every ethnic and socio-economic background represented and everybody there is ready to party! You’ll see people decked out in their finest threads, colorful suits and a lot of women in lingerie.  My good fortune would have it that Nikka Costa opened the show with a brief set that included “Like A Feather,” “Keep Pushin,” “Everybody Got Their Something,” “Can’t Please Everybody” as well as a new song from Nikka’s upcoming EP (which will be released in the summer of 2011).  As always, they don’t call her the “funky white bitch” for nothing!  She had the Forum up out of their seats and dancing.  When Prince hit the stage around 9:30, he started off the show with a medley of snippets of songs which included “When Doves Cry,” “Nasty Girl” (by Vanity 6 – which Prince penned), “Forever in My Life,” “Hot Thing” and a lyric free tease of “Darling Nikki,” one of Prince’s “nastier” songs.  I felt this was progress as years ago, he publicly announced he’d no longer play that song live.  At one point early on in the concert, Prince even opened his shirt, suggesting that “dirty Prince” is slowly coming back to us (you can see a picture, after the jump).  I was getting pretty excited. 

Prince and Nikka Costa

Prince and Nikka Costa

 Things started to go downhill from there as he went straight into a very “safe” set list.  Now, let me also say that Prince sounds great, he looks amazing and his band is tight.  You certainly get your moneys’ worth when you go see him and he still remains one of the best live performers out there.  It looks like Prince.  It sounds like Prince.  But it’s not the Prince that used to pull random songs out of thin air and reward all the people that have stuck by his side through thick and thin.  It’s the equivalent of seeing new works by Salvador Dali, only to find they are stick figures instead of the amazing paintings the world knows he is capable of making.  Aside from a rant about Facebook and Twitter and telling the audience to “be present at the concert instead of texting,” gone were the overly preachy Jehovah’s Witness propaganda that Prince has been trying to shove down people’s throats for years.  To my disgust, however, he is still singing “Open up your Bibles and let God guide you to the Purple Rain,” but for die-hards like myself, “Purple Rain” has become one of the songs where you take a bathroom break because he’s played the song nearly at every show since its release in 1984.   

The fact that he obviously had hip surgery (as he dances all over the stage – though does not do the splits anymore) and is using “the Prince symbol” as his stage design (when JWs are against symbolism) suggests that Prince has either been disfellowed or is on his way out of the religious cult.  He recently publicly stated that it should be illegal to perform cover songs and a show staple is a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” which morphs into “Cool,” a cover version of a track he wrote for The Time.  It’s hard to say what’s going on in his Gemini mind, because he is one of the most contradictory artists I’ve ever encountered. One thing is certain (from my 50+ concert experiences of seeing Prince), you can clearly see the dollar signs in his eyes.  I refuse to believe that a person who allegedly has written a new song a day since 1978 enjoys playing “Kiss” and “Purple Rain” night after night at the expense of his artist integrity.  Security guards were extremely strict about the taking of photographs which makes no sense in an age where picture taking has become part of the concert experience (for better or for worse).  It was actually very intrusive to the show and as someone who goes to as many shows as I do, I certainly think I have a lot of experiences to compare and contrast this to.  I still have hopes that one day Prince will stop being such a douche bag about his image (especially since he can still pull off his unique look and sound like nobody else can) and focus on setting trends instead of following them.  I know that somewhere deep down, that this Prince I speak of  is still alive, and on behalf of all the die-hards – we want that Prince back!  I don’t think that’s too much to ask!

See the set list and a photo of Prince with his shirt open after the jump.

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Sufjan Stevens Live at the Beacon Theater

Posted by The G on November 15, 2010 under G Reviews | 4 Comments to Read

Photos by G.

Sufjan Stevens

In some ways, I am disappointed that I met singer Sufjan Stevens before seeing him in concert.  I merely thanked him for being cool and told him I would be seeing him in concert later that night.  If I would have met him after knowing what one of his shows are like, I would have definitely told him that for someone that has seen over 200 bands this year, his show rates with the best concerts of the year!  When Sufjan Stevens took the stage at the Beacon Theater in New York (at 8:45 pm) for his first of 2 sold out shows, he hit the ground running by performing behind a see through backdrop that had trippy visuals projected onto it.  Each song had really cool visuals and before the end of the show, we heard great songs, Sufjan told hysterical anecdotes, there was choreography, neon lights, beach balls and confetti came down from the ceiling.  Not what you’d really expect from your typical singer-songwriter type show!

Opening act (and Sufjan’s piano player) DM Stith opened the show at 8 pm with a brief 4 song set and told the audience how Sufjan describes the parts of songs that have sounds but not proper lyrics as “the sex scene” of a song.  Of course, you’ll never be able to think of music again without that image in your head, and extra thanks to Sufjan for putting it there!  When Sufjan Stevens sang, you could hear a pin drop in the 3,000 seat venue.  He had a trio of strategically placed beach balls taped across the stage that spelled out “S-U-F.”  Stevens said they could not afford to spell out his full name.  Later on, he removed helped the crew remove the beach balls which took a few moments and then he told the crowd “that one was called removing the tape and beach balls.”

He explained the meanings and inspirations behind some of the songs he played as well as telling us the range of topics he’d cover lyrically throughout the evening.  The list included (but was not limited to): birth, death, being young, being old, love, and hippie love.  Sufjan Stevens did his job as a rock star by turning me into a fan.  Thanks again Sufjan!  More pictures as well as the setlist after the jump.

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Phil Collins live at Roseland Ballroom in New York (2nd Night)

Posted by The G on June 24, 2010 under G Reviews | 4 Comments to Read

Photos by G.

Phil Collins!

Since it doesn’t look like Genesis will ever reform, I decided to see the singers of one of my favorite bands one at a time, starting in May with Peter Gabriel. On June 24, 2010, I finished up my “singers of Genesis collection” by seeing Phil Collins at Roseland Ballroom.  Aside from not wanting to reform the band, Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel have another thing in common – their latest albums are cover songs.  Peter Gabriel’s “Scratch My Back” was released earlier this year and in September 2010, Phil Collins will release “Going Back,” a collection of Motown and Soul covers.

Scratch my back?

Phil Collins played the second of three intimate gigs at New York’s Roseland Ballroom on June 24, 2010 and the shows are being recorded for a DVD release later this year.  Aside from playing his version of The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love,” absent from the set were Collins’ solo or Genesis material.  Instead, Phil Collins and his band (which included The Funk Brothers) focused on playing Motown songs and soul covers and the crowd loved it!  The Funk Brothers played on a lot of the original versions of Motown songs that have become part of the venacular and the brothers sounded just as good in 2010 as they did 50 years ago!  You might also know the Funk Brothers from the great documentary about their lives, “Standing in the Shadows of Motown.”

The Funk Brothers

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