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  • Billy Gibbons

    Posted November, 2016

    Photo by Levi PervinPhoto by Levi PervinRock and blues fans get their music from all over the world. One favored and revered band started almost fifty years ago in Houston, Texas. That band is ZZ Top who became known as the “little ol’ band from Texas.” They have been making huge, monster hits ever since their landmark album, “Tres Hombres,” and never looked back.

    I’ve never had the privilege of seeing the band perform. The only time I’ve ever seen them in person, in fact, was at Stevie Ray Vaughan’s funeral in 1990. Because the band is performing at Knoxville’s beautiful Tennessee Theatre, the opportunity presented itself to ask the band’s iconic Billy Gibbons a few questions.

    To say that I was thrilled would be an obvious understatement.

    Our brief exchange took place while Gibbons was in France. Flattered that he took the time to answer my questions, I made sure that they were short and sweet, starting with asking how many tours their current tour made for the band.

    “In total? The word “incalculable” springs to mind because the truth is it's a definite uncertainty when one tour ends and the next one begins. The best guess places it somewhere in four digits yet, again, that’s just a guess.”

    And how has touring changed for ZZ Top since the first tours?

    “We’ve graduated from a rented station-wagon, stuffed full of gear and band members to streamlined touring coaches which makes for a rolling home when we’re not at home. The streamlining is now way better keeping in touch with the outside world. During the outings in ZZ's early years, we were last to know our albums were playing on radio and were starting to hit hard. Now, it's all about onboard Wi-Fi, re-runs of black-and-white Perry Mason, and full-service kitchen preparations on wheels. Way back then, complaints were few as we were getting to groove with the folks getting into what we were puttin’ down. That groove continues to rock on and fortunately the pathways these days are straight ahead.”

    When asked what can fans expect from shows on this tour – especially during the Knoxville stop?

    “We’re coming to Knoxville fresh from a run of European tour dates so being back home always puts the band in a good frame of mind. We’re the last to know what we’re gonna do until we do it making each night something of a mystery what goes on up on deck, however it’s with a great deal of certainty that it’s gonna be loud and it’s gonna rock.”

    Shifting gears, I asked Billy what his take was on the music industry today.

    “It’s a fluid field everywhere. One could obsess about the vast changes that we’ve all witnessed, yet it's still the focus, first and foremost, to play it. Did I mention ‘loud’?”

    Since Gibbons has been in the rock and roll business for almost fifty years, I asked him what would he do to fix the music business if he were made Music Czar.

    zz top by ross halfinPhoto by Ross Halfin

    “It starts with good writing behind a good song. Delivering that certain something that satisfies. And, as a band of renegade misfits, we conspire to place importance to press on with the notion that motivates getting to do just that…creating that certain something that takes it a step 

    further.”

    With an over-abundance of music flooding the market in many different ways, I was curious who is commanding Mr. Gibbons’ attention, musically, these days.

    “We’ve remained close to Josh Homme and Queens of the Stone Age, of course, and are digging some up and coming bands including a punk outfit out of LA called Surprise Vacation and Lecherous Gaze from Oakland. Isaac Rother & The Phantoms are cool as is Leon Bridges, the hip young soul guy from Ft. Worth. We’re partial to Buddy Guy’s young protégé Quinn Sullivan.”

    Boomerocity has a lot of readers who are musicians so, for the gear heads out there, I asked Billy what is the “holy grail” of guitars is and did he own it.

    “You bet I do. It’s the infamous ’59 Les Paul Standard named Pearly Gates that’s been the cornerstone since ZZ Top’s existence. Nothing plays or sounds like 'er. She’s so singular that the Gibson company borrowed her back and did a proper reissue tribute. Talk about ‘fine . . .'”

    zz top billygibbons by levi pervin 16Photo by Levi PervinAs for what’s on the band’s radar in the foreseeable future, Billy responded:

    “Actually, ZZ Top's first full length live release set for release at the end of August is up and coming. It’s got all your favorites and, as a bonus, a version of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “16 Tons” with our good buddy, Jeff Beck, joining in. Fifteen tracks, recorded in a variety of outposts around the globe as far reaching as Las Vegas to Paris, Chicago to São Paolo, LA to London, back to Berlin, down to Dallas, over to Houston, Memphis and Mississippi and, probably, some places I’ve left out.”

    We all hope that Billy and the band have many, many more years of playing and recording left in them. However, I ask this of many of the people I’ve had the privilege of interviewing: When you step off the tour bus of life and go to that great gig in the sky (to cop a line from Pink Floyd), how do you want to be remembered and what do you hope your legacy will be? I ran that question by Gibbons.

    “No plan to ‘step off’ for a long while however, it would be nice to think of ZZ Top as the band that rocked it with “tone, taste and tenacity.” Any and all association with the ongoing interpretation of the blues would be a bonus.”

  • Blackberry Smoke - Knoxville 2014

    BLACKBERRY SMOKE
    November 29, 2014
    Tennessee Theater
    Knoxville, TN

    By James Patterson

    Photo by James Patterson

         

    Knoxville gave a cheering and warm welcome to one of the most prominent and distinguished southern rock bands, Blackberry Smoke.  The crowd, eager to hear all the hits of the iconic band stood for the entire show.  Without delay and under a cloud of smoke the band started with "Like I Am". It was without a doubt the crowd knew every song and they were there to help the band sing most of their hits.

    Charlie Starr was certainly appreciative of the passionate crowd, and after each song he was saying "Thank You, Knoxville". Another interesting note, and almost after every song, the lights would go down and from the left side of the stage came a little red light, it would always swoop across the stage and stop where you knew Charlie stood, then the light would turn around and depart to where it came. A stage hand was carrying a little light as he was delivering yet another guitar to Charlie. As the stage lights came up Charlie was saying his "Thank You" while also strapping on a different guitar.  He was using a distinct guitar for nearly every song! We are talking a lot of guitars!

    Soon the band started into another favorite song, "Sleeping Dogs", then as a crowd pleaser the Band transitioned into an Allman Brothers special, "Midnight Rider", then back into "Sleeping Dogs". 

    Under a continuous haze of smoke and the noise of an enthusiastic audience  Blackberry Smoke played favorites like, "Six Ways To Sunday", "Whippoorwill"," Share the Devil", "One Horse Town" and "Lesson In A Bottle".

    A couple of events noted by the band; Knoxville was their last show for the year, and their fans could expect a new CD next month.

  • Blue Man Group - Knoxville, TN - March 2016

         

    Blue Man Group

    Tennessee Theatre – Knoxville, Tennessee

    March 09, 2016

     

    Wednesday night’s Blue Man Group’s show at the lovely and historic Tennessee Theatre was the first time I have ever seen them. I left wondering why it took so long for me to see them. 

    What an amazingly entertaining show!

    From the LED marque scrolling above the stage, through the trippy light show, musicianship, live art creation, and interaction with the first of two sell-out crowds, everyone seemed to be mesmerized from beginning to splashing, glittery, streamer filled end.

    Scanning the crowd, I couldn’t help but notice that every generation was well represented. The elderly and the youngest of kids were thrilled by the audio/visual theatric spectacle. Some actually got to leave with art work that they had help creating by the blue dudes. Yours truly was actually selected for a funny little bit. 

    What happened?

    Well, let’s just say that, a) I can’t hit the broad side of the barn; and, b) I wound up with some mysterious blob in my hand that came for the mouth of one of the blue dudes. 

    Yeah, seriously (but funny).

    To try to describe the show would not do it any justice to this great show. All I can say is that it’s be experienced than described. Also, it’s a great show that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

    Who knows? You may even get to go home with a piece of original art.

  • Cheap Trick Knoxville 2014

    Cheap Trick
    October 08, 2014
    Tennessee Theater
    Knoxville, Tennessee

    Photo by James Patterson

         

    In my late teens, I clearly remember rocking out to Cheap Trick on the radio, with tunes like “Surrender,” “I Want You To Want Me,” and “Ain’t That A Shame” dominating the airwaves.

    It was all those memories from my youth that I was thrilled to catch this legendary band at the legendary and incredibly beautiful Tennessee Theater. I love catching shows there because of the acoustics and ambience. To see Cheap Trick perform on its historic stage made it all the more memorable.

    Blasting right out of the chute with, “Hello There,” the crowd was on their feet until the last note of the “Gonna Raise Hell” (the last song of their encore).  Hard. Steady. Relentless. Cheap Trick gave the crowd everything they wanted and more.

    Fan favorites like “Come On,” “Hot Love,” and “I Can’t Take It” followed the opener.  When Rick Nielsen introduced “Go To Heaven Tonight,” he informed the crowd that it was THE favorite of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, which sent everyone into one of the most enthusiastic applauses of the entire evening.

    There was a slightly inebriated gentleman a few seats down from me who, after every song, said in varying tones of his voice, “I Want You To

         

    Photo by James Patterson

    Want Me,” in a sad attempt to replicate Robin Zander’s immortalized phrase from the band’s live album. I was praying under my breath, “For

    the love of Budokan, would you guys play it so the guy will shut up?”  They did during the last eighth of the show.

    Throughout the show, Nielsen changed guitars, showing off pieces of his unique, historic collection. Equally as unique and intriguing was Tom Petersson’s twelve string bass. As the band was about to slide into “Surrender,” Nielsen throughout a signed, vinyl copy of the bands legendary “Cheap Trick At Budokan”.  Between all four members of the band, the show was an incredible night to remember.

    If you were a teen in the seventies and have never seen Cheap Trick perform live, you really do need to catch these guys. You’ll never forget it!

  • Doobie Brothers - Knoxville 2015

    Doobie Brothers

    Tennessee Theater

    Knoxville, Tennessee

    May 6, 2015

     

    Photo Courtesy of JamesPattersonsGallery.com

         

    I don’t know about all baby boomer aged males, but I can honestly say that I played more air guitar to Doobie Brothers tunes than almost any other band or artist of the era.

    That said, I restrained from showing off my mastery of the Fender Telecast-aire when I caught the Doobie’s Wednesday night’s show at the Tennessee Theater. It was very hard but I did. Besides, I was mesmerized by the high energy exhibited by Pat Simmons, Tom Johnston, Jeff McFee (all three on guitar), John Cowan (bass), Ed Toth and Tony Pia on drums, Guy Allison on keys and Marc Russo on white hot saxophone. 

    From the opening strains of “Jesus Is Just Alright” through the encore numbers (“China Grove” and “Listen To The Music”), the band brought the audience for the long sold out show to their feet and down a very enjoyable trip down memory lane. Our generation had the best music and the Doobie's showed us that they made up a large part of the soundtrack of our youth.

    The band was tight. Their vocals strong. Their enthusiasm in delivering songs that they must have sung millions of times came across fresh and new.  

    The opening act was Pat Simmons, Jr., the son of Doobie Bro, Pat Simmons. His songs reflected his love of nature, sustainability and, as a cancer survivor, life. Armed with an acoustic guitar and ukulele, he song with warmth and sincerity. I look forward to hearing more from this young man.

    The Doobies will be touring until October. Their schedule and other Doobie news can be found on DoobieBros.com.

  • Foreigner - Knoxville March, 2016

    Photo by Randy Patterson

         

    Foreigner

    Tennessee Theatre – Knoxville, Tennessee

    March 2, 2016

     

    Foreigner once again commandeered the stage of the beautiful Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee. And, just as they did during their last visit to our city a year and a half ago, they blew away the enthusiastic, sell-out crowd. Knoxville loves Foreigner and Foreigner, obviously, loves Knoxville.

    Again, just like last time, the crowd was on its feet from the git-go. Songs like Head Games, Double Vision, Cold As Ice, Say You Will, Urgent, and

         

    Photo by Randy Patterson

    many other songs were performed in ways that insured that our minds would be flooded with nostalgia.  I mean, c’mon! Who doesn’t love at least one of Foreigner’s songs?

    What has become a key point of their show is when the band launches into Waiting For A Girl Like You as well as I Want To Know What Love Is. Each and every time I’ve seen the band, the audience is singing and swaying to these two songs and loving every second of it. 

    Who can blame them?

    While many of the more in-tune fans in the audience may have noticed that Mick Jones and Lou Gramm weren’t part of the band line-up, the absence didn’t dampen their enthusiasm during the show. I’ve seen the band three times and under various configurations and each and every time, they were fantastic and I will gladly see them again in the future.

  • Foreigner In Knoxville - 2014

    foreignerknoxville2Foreigner
    September 20, 2014
    Tennessee Theater
    Knoxville, Tennessee

    Saturday night, the historic stage of The Tennessee Theater was stormed and rocked by the group, Foreigner, and it’s unlikely that it will ever be the same again . . . and in a good way. The always perfect acoustics of that majestic theater made Foreigner’s kind of rock classic in every sense of the word.

    Greeted by an enthusiastic, capacity crowd, the band nimbly and energetically blitzrieged through their thirty-plus years of hits. When the band hit the stage blasting through “Double Vision,” the crowd rose to its feet, never to be seated again. Second on the set list was “Head Games,” followed by “Cold As Ice” during which lead singer, Kelly Hansen, hopped off the stage and wondered through the crowd as they sang along with him.

    The women in the crowded melted during, “Girl Like You,” and swooned as Hansen shook his bee-hiney that had white pants spray-painted on it (yeah, those words are written out of envy) while the band rocked out to “Dirty White Boy.” The band then stormed through “Say You Will,” “Feels Like The First Time,” and “Urgent” (Tom Gimbel’s sax work was absolutely killer!) before closing the pre-encore set with “Juke Box Hero.”

    The band encored with “Long, Long Way From Home,” “I Want To Know What Love Is” (joined on stage with a local high school choir) and “Hot Blooded.”

    Hansen worked the crowd like a polished tent revival preacher, with them eating out of his hands with every word he spoke. They laughed and cheered at everything he said. The band (Hansen, Gimbel, Jeff Pilson, Michael Bluestein, Bruce Watson and Chris Frazier) were brought together in 2005 to form the current configuration by the band’s remaining founding member, Mick Jones.

    Hansen didn’t say why Jones wasn’t on stage with them but it is, no doubt, due to his other projects he’s working on, including one with fellow band founder, Lou Gramm. That said, the crowd didn’t seem to notice or to allow it to curb their enthusiasm towards the band. All were very happy campers throughout the show.

    You can keep up with all things Foreigner at www.foreigneronline.com.

  • Kacey Musgraves - Knoxville 2015

    Opening Act: John and Jacob

    February 27, 2015

    Tennessee Theater

    Knoxville, Tennessee

     

    Photo by Randy Patterson

         

    Boomerocity loves country music. In fact, for three years in a row, we’ve been asked to participate in Nashville Scene’s annual country music critic’s survey. Boomerocity asked you, the reader, to give us YOUR feedback. 

    During the last survey, Boomerocity readers served up Kacey Musgraves as a top, strong favorite. So, it was a distinct thrill to be able to attend and cover for you, the Boomerocity reader, Kacey’s first appearance in Knoxville since her appearance with Little Big Town two years ago. 

    The edgy opening act, John and Jacob, got the sold out crowd amped up for the main attraction. And what an attraction she was!

    As strains of the theme from “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” played, the band came out on a stage full of neon cacti, in jackets lit up with tiny lights as the crowd rose to their feet and began to scream.  Once in position, Kacey launched in with the soft and subtle, “Silver Lining,” with the crowd on their feet and hanging on every word – and often signing right along.

    Musgraves gave up her guitar to please the audience with “Blowin’ Smoke,” “I Miss You,” and “High Time,” before performing covers of Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again,” and, eventually, Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart,” TLC’s “No Scrubs,” and Britney Spears’ “Toxic.”  Of course, Kacey served up the rest of her tunes from her hit album, “Same Trailer, Different Park,” much to everybody’s delight.

    At one point during the show, she called a couple of women out of the audience who also had lights on their shirts (cacti). Musgraves mentioned that she had to spend a fortune on her band’s jackets and asked the women how much it cost to make their shirts, When they indicated that it was a mere five bucks, Kacey exclaimed, “Holy s***!”

    Musgraves and the band left Knoxville pleasantly and exuberantly exhausted by the end of the show. Clearly, this is a talent that Knoxville and the rest of the country hope to hear more from for many more years to come.

  • Mannheim Steamroller - Knoxville, 2014

    Mannheim Steamroller
    December 22, 2014
    Tennessee Theater
    Knoxville, TN

    Over the past thirty years, among the sounds that have become synonymous with Christmas have been the musical treatment of classics by Chip Davis’s Mannheim Steamroller.

    One of two touring troupes graced the stage of Knoxville’s historic Tennessee Theater to present a sold out crowd their “30/40 Christmas 2014.”  The title represents the thirty year anniversary of the release Mannheim Steamroller’s first Christmas album and the fortieth anniversary of their first release in their “Fresh Aire” series.

    Under the direction of Chuck Pennington (who also played keyboards), fellow musical cast members included Christy Crowl (also on keys); violin and recorders virtuoso, Jeff Yang; Glen Smith on guitars; Joey Gulizia on percussion and recorders; and the absolutely amazing Tom Sharpe on drums (who, in my opinion, was worth the price of admission to watch).

    Against a backdrop of vintage video, the group served up a treasure chest full of Christmas classics during the first half of the show. Those classics included “Deck The Halls,” “We Three Kings,” “Catching Snowflakes On Your Tongue,” and closing out the set with very moving performances of “O Tannenbaum” and “O Holy Night.”

    After the intermission, Mannheim Steamroller a few more Christmas songs, (“Above The Northern Lights,” “Good King Wenceslas,” “Carol of the Bells,” and “Aud Lange Syne”) as well as several songs for the group’s Fresh Aire series, including “Greensleeves” (featuring on Chip Davis’ daughter, Elyse, singing on video) that is on their new CD, “Mannheim Steamroller 30/40” offering.

    If you’ve never had a chance to catch a Mannheim Steamroller performance, you must. It will thrill your ears and give you musical memories that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

  • Melissa Etheridge

    Posted July, 2016

     

    melissa ethridge photojohntsiavis08 crop02Photo by John TsiavisMelissa Etheridge represents many things to many people.

    First and foremost, she’s primarily known as prolific and masterful songwriter and performer. Her lyrics reach to the depths of the listener’s soul and causes them to think deeper than they ever have before on whatever Etheridge is singing about. All of that has resulted in close to 14 million domestic album sales, earning her several platinum and gold records.

    She’s an iconic gay rights activist and has been very bold in her support of the gay community and, likewise, they’ve been unabashedly loyal to her.

    Others see Melissa as a courageous and victorious cancer survivor, and rightly so.

    Etheridge is also a committed environmentalist. Her celebrity has given her the platform to promote smart energy.

    It is because of the first point – and her performance this month at Knoxville’s historic and beautiful Tennessee Theatre (as well as Atlanta’s Chastain Park Amphitheater and Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium, if you’re inclined to make the day trips for those shows), that I was able to chat with Ms. Etheridge.

    The first thing that I would like to say about our conversation is the total demonstration of class melissa ethridge photojohntsiavis07 reducedPhoto by John Tsiavisshe and her people showed. The interview was done as a favor and a few minutes were culled out of her jam-packed schedule just so she could speak with me about the tour and show. My phone number was transposed, making it impossible to get in touch with me at the appointed time. Yet, they persevered until they were able to get through to me.

    This elevated Melissa and her team to a far taller pedestal than I already had them on. An artist of her status would have been well within their rights to blow off the call due to their busy schedule. The fact that Melissa didn’t speaks volumes of the kind of human being she is.

    Once we connected and got through our introductions, I started the interview by asking how preparations for the tour were going. I was given a surprising glimpse into her personal life.

    “It’s great. Right now, I’m in my quiet time. Get the kids finished up at school. I’m at home. That’s me prepping to go on the road, making sure that my teenagers are all set for the summer and that everybody is good.”

    When I gasped that her kids are already teenagers (not realizing that THAT much time has elapsed since they entered her life), she gasped back by saying, “One of them is in college! She just finished her first year at Columbia University! Just amazing!”

    For the Knoxville and other stops on this tour, I asked what we could expect from those shows.

    “I’m kind of doing a couple of things this summer. I’m touring with Pat Benatar. That’s ninety minutes of the hits and we’re hitting it like that. The Knoxville stop will be my own show. What’s new about this is it’s a new configuration of musicians for me. I have played with three other pieces. I’ve played with full five piece bands. I’ve played with symphonies. But this show is going to be a trio. It’s me, and drums and bass.

    melissa ethridge photojohntsiavis02 cropPhoto by John Tsiavis“Because I’ve been doing my solo shows, I’ve gotten really strong in my guitar playing. So, I said, ‘Look, I want to see what it’s like to move into this trio feel,’ which I was always relying on another guitar player or something else to fill it up. So, I go, ‘Let me see if I can go more into the Jimi Hendrix/Nirvana kind of space.

    “I’m using a Nashville guy – David Santos is going to play bass and he’s just an amazing bass player. I’ve got Brian Delaney on drums so it’s going to be another new way of hearing ‘Come To My Window’ and ‘Bring Me Some Water’ and some of the hits you love. It allows me to really explore my own musicianship and re-imagining some of these songs. I’m really excited about it – a little scared, but that’s good!”

    As a fan of both her solo and band performances, I was curious which environment she preferred to perform in.

    “You know, it depends on the mood because, with a band, I get that dynamics. I totally get dynamics. Solo, I get to do everything myself but I don’t get dynamics because I have to do everything kind of on this one level. But I think I’ll always love playing with other musicians the best. I just like that experience.”

    If you go to Melissa’s website, MelissaEtheridge.com, the first thing you see is a big splash about the cruise she’s hosting this fall. I asked her about it.

    “Ah! It’s going to be so much fun! We’re going from Tampa, Florida, to Key West, Florida, then across the Gulf to Cozumel, Mexico, and, then, back. It’s all about music. There’s a lot about health; taking care of ourselves. It’s going to be a blast! It’s my very first cruise I’ve hosted so I’m really looking forward to it!”

    As for what is on her radar for the near term besides the tour, Melissa shared:

    “Next year! Speaking of Tennessee, I went down to Memphis at the beginning of the year. I went to Willie Mitchell’s old studio – Royal Studios – and I recorded with the High Rhythm Section. I’m re-imagining some Stax songs. I’m actually recording on Stax Records. They’ve been defunct and Concord bought the catalog. They’ve opened up and allowed me to use the Stax label. I made a Stax record. We’re actually mixing it right now. Vance Powell is actually mixing it down in Nashville. A lot of Tennessee influence on this next record!”

    When I suggested that she’s got to do a blues album sometime, Etheridge replied:

    “You’re gonna get some blues on this record. You’re gonna hear it! You’re finally going to hear me say, ‘That’s right!’ It all came from the blues. It’s where it all came from!”

    As our chat was drawing to a close, I asked Ms. Etheridge what I ask many artists who have had a long, distinguished career: Looking many years ahead, when you’ve stepped off the tour bus at the great gig in the sky, how do you want to be remembered and what do you hope your legacy will be?

    “Ah! I want people to say, ‘God, she made a difference! Because she was here, life was a little sweeter. Life had a little bit more of a soundtrack.’ That I just lived well; gave more than I took in the end.”

  • Melissa Etheridge - Knoxville 2016

    Photo By James Robert PattersonPhoto By James Robert PattersonMelissa Etheridge

    July 19, 2016

    Tennessee Theatre

    Opening Act: Count This Penny

    Tuesday night’s concert by Melissa Etheridge at Knoxville’s historic Tennessee Theatre was definitely one for the record books. From the delightfully entertaining and funny opening act – folk duo, Count This Penny – to Etheridge’s high energy performance, the highly enthusiastic crowd left blissfully exhausted.

    Count This Penny is a husband and wife duo (Amanda and Allen Rigell) who are originally from Oak Ridge and now call Wisconsin home . . . but we won’t hold that against them. They are refreshingly folksy with an incredible sense of quirky humor. I’m definitely interested in seeing more of those two.

    After a brief intermission, Melissa entered the stage with her drummer and bass player, hitting the ground running and not letting go of the crowd until she was sufficiently pleased with her performance. She delivered all of the favorites – as well as her new single, “Pulse” – to an exuberant who lapped up all that she had to offer.

    The sound was great and made only better by the incredible acoustics of the Tennessee Theatre. Melissa also made it known that she and her wife enjoyed meandering around downtown Knoxville – especially Market Square – and told what restaurants and stores she visited. This only endeared herself even more to the adoring crowd.

    This was the first time I had the privilege of catching an Etheridge show. I can guarantee you that, if I can help it, it won’t be my last.

  • Saturday Night Fever The Musical

    Saturday Night Fever The Musical

    February 12, 2016

    Tennessee Theatre – Knoxville, TN

     

    Photo by Carol Rosegg

         

    When the movie, Saturday Night Fever, came out in 1977, I was a Freshman at a now-defunct Bible college in Fresno, California. The denomination behind the college forbade the attending of movies and those rules were passed down to our tiny college. 

    But I and my girlfriend at the time went to the movie anyway and it was worth every demerit I think I received when my grievous sin was found out.

    Those memories and more came flooding back to me during Friday night’s performance of the stage adaptation of that iconic movie.

    This all new production of Saturday Night Fever The Musical not only leverages the monster hits by the Bee Gees but also peppers the performance with other big hits from those bygone days of disco. 

    This contemporary retelling of the classic story captures the energy, passion and life-changing moments that have thrilled movie audiences since 1977.  Now, a new generation of dancers meets a new generation of playgoers to explore the soaring sounds and pulsating rhythms of this coming-of-age disco fantasy.

    The music, costumes and lines from the movie brought smiles and cheers to the capacity crowd at the beautiful Tennessee Theatre (which is a great place to see shows like this one). Some in the crowd even stood up and danced (or tried to).

    If you want to catch a stage production that is sure to bring back lots of memories and nostalgia, you’ll definitely want to Saturday Night Fever The Musical if comes anywhere near you.

  • Tommy Emmanuel - Knoxville, TN 2014

     

     

    Tommy Emmanuel
    With Loren and Mark
    September 21, 2014
    The Tennessee Theater
    Knoxville, Tennessee

    Photo by James Patterson

       

    I apologize for the lateness in posting this concert review. You see, what happened was that Tommy Emmanuel hit the stage and for over two frenetically entertaining hours, the “Certified Guitar Player” (an honor bestowed on Emmanuel and four other guitarists before his death) wore out his audience . . . and left us all with a contented smile on our faces.

    Before Tommy’s performance, the opening act, Loren and Mark took the stage at precisely 7:30pm and wowed the near capacity crowd with their acoustic guitar duet mastery.  Along with originals (written by friends) like “China Blue” (THE Boomerocity favorite by these two gentlemen), these acoustic guitar whiz kids played some amazing treatments of songs like Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” Elvis’s “Mystery Train” and Chet Atkin’s treatment of “Mr. Bojangles”.

    After a very brief intermission, Mr. Emmanuel took to the stage and went non-flippin-stop for over two hours (I think I told you that already, huh?). Among the long list of great songs and medleys was a bluesy instrumental version of “Amazing Grace,” the musical panoramic tune, “Lewis and Clark,” his amazing Beatles medley and (one of my personal favorites), his treatment of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”

    I was hoping that Tommy would play “Initiation” but he didn’t. He did better than that. He played a new composition of his entitled, “Blood Brother” and “The Trails” – a moving number about the plight of the Native American Indians (again, composed by Emmanuel).

    Emmanuel’s playing was often fast (clocking cruising speeds of 90 mph with gusts of up to 120 mph) but flawless. When the tempo slowed, it did so with raw, heartfelt emotion.

    For the last couple of pre-encore numbers, Tommy brought out Loren and Mark and included an amazing cover of “Good Time Charlie’s Got

         

    Photo by James Patterson

    The Blues”. For his solo encore, Emmanuel performed an incredible version of “It’s A Wonderful World” that, no doubt, had Louis Armstrong smiling down on him.

    During the show, Tommy mentioned how he had hoped that his work and the work of Loren & Mark would inspire kids around the world to take up guitar and take it to a whole new level. I’m sure that these three gentlemen accomplished exactly that during their show. I am also convinced that Craig’s List has a bunch of used guitars for sale, put up as such by many aspiring guitarists who watched these three maestros and decided to throw in their musical towels and take up needlepoint.

    If you ever get the chance to see Tommy Emmanuel perform, I guarantee you that you will NOT be disappointed.

    Read the latest Boomerocity interview with Tommy Emmanuel here and keep up with him here and with Loren and Mark here.

Featured Photo

alessandroampsreduced

Our Featured Photo by Boomerocity friend and famed rock photographer, Rob Shanahan (robshanahan.com), is is a bit different from past featured photos.  This Featured Photo is one used in a new Alessandro Amps – a line of high-end amps that musicians love and covet.

 

 

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