By: Derek Jung
Summers are busy! And for me, that's included both moving upstate and too many family activities to list. Fortunately, that doesn't mean I haven't been attending shows in the meantime. In fact, quite the opposite. But instead of having individual posts of shows from the last month, I thought it would be easier if I condensed things a bit and share smaller blurbs about each show. Hope you enjoy.
Dead & Company @ Blossom Music Center - June 20th
My opinion on John Mayer has always been the following: One of the best guitarists of our generation that makes some of the most boring music of our generation. Hey John, you told me to "say what I need to say" (about 100x). You didn't see this coming?
Well, this is the third year that John's chosen to focus his summer touring with Dead & Company instead of on his own material and thankfully the presence of Bob Weir and gang brings out the best in him. John noodled his way through solo after solo during the 2+ hour, 2 set experience. This particular show was the hundredth of Dead & Company's existence, and their set, in true Grateful Dead form, featured less hits and a wide variety of deep cuts, covers, and extended jams. While I was a little disappointed they didn't play my favorite Dead jam, Terrapin Station, which they had played on a few nights during this run of dates, the whole experience was an eye opener that Deadhead culture is still alive and well (albeit a little older) and that they can still party with the best of them. Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann provided the rhythmic backbone and Bob Weir's still got the chops to breathe new life into the decades old songs. Word to the wise though, when Hart starts his Drums/Space jam towards the middle of the set, take a pee break.
Feel Life a Stranger
They Love Each Other
It's All Over Now
West L.A. Fadeaway
Ship of Fools
Saint of Circumstance
Fire on the Mountain
I Need a Miracle
Knockin' on Heaven's Door
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit @ PNC Pavilion - July 18th
The difficulty of being a musical power couple is having to balance each other's careers as well as family life. Jason Isbell has seen his career skyrocket during his last 2-3 album cycles, becoming one of the biggest names in Americana music. Meanwhile, his wife Amanda Shires' new album came out last week and she is poised to be a rising star in the industry herself. Normally, when Amanda isn't touring her own music, she joins the band on stage playing a mean fiddle, but she was off doing her own thing on these dates. To fill the void, keyboardist Derry deBorja picked up the slack, playing solos that would have otherwise gone to Shires. Despite the lack of Shires, you could tell the band was having a blast on these run of dates, and the 2/3 capacity crowd at PNC Pavilion was given a treat of a set featuring 7 songs from The Nashville Sound, and many of my favorites, including the first time I've heard the tearjerker "Elephant" live.
I will say this. Songs like "Cover Me Up" and "If We Were Vampires" just don't have the same feeling when Jason isn't singing to Amanda on stage, but that in no shape or form should dissuade you from seeing him on this tour. He's incredible.
Hope the High Road
Go It Alone
Something More Than Free
White Man's World
Last of My Kind
The Life You Chose
Flying Over Water
Cover Me Up
Never Gonna Change
If We Were Vampires
Foo Fighters @ Blossom Music Center - July 25th
Who would've thought that after waiting more than a decade and a half to see Foo Fighters live that I'd get to see them 3 times within the span of a year? I'm certainly not complaining. This latest adventure with Dave Grohl and company came in the friendly confines of Blossom Music Center outside Cleveland and within an hour of where Grohl was born in Warren, OH. For the most part, the set was pretty similar to the one I saw previously at US Bank Arena, which isn't a bad thing, but a lot of the banter, band intros, and general goofing off lasted a lot longer this time around. And, look, I don't mean to be a downer or anything; I love a band with good humor, but there's only so much I can take before it starts feeling like a time filler. The band introductions for example took forever, as each band member did at least a full verse and chorus of their chosen cover song. In two cases, they played the full song (Chris Shiflett sang lead on a cover of Alice Cooper's "Under My Wheels" and Pat Smear tore through a cover of Blitzkrieg Bop). Side note: Beginning to think Blitzkrieg Bop is literally the only non-Foo Fighters riff Pat remembers, as he's done it every time I've seen him. Play a little Germs, Pat! The highlight of the intros was definitely when they played John Lennon's "Imagine" with the lyrics from Van Halen's "Jump". Quite the mash up.
Grohl pulled up a a teenager from the crowd to play Monkey Wrench and he did pretty well, but he was no KISS guy. He also has his daughter singing backup on this tour, presumably because she's on summer break and able to tour with her old man. Speaking of old men, the whole band once again proved that they are NOT the old men from their "Run" music video. Although that would be pretty bad ass too. All in all, another solid go round with the gang.
All My Life
Learn To Fly
The Sky Is a Neighborhood
Under My Wheels
Another One Bites the Dust (snippet)
La Dee Da
Imagine/Jump (Imagine music w/ Jump lyrics)
You Oughta Know (snippet)
Under Pressure (w/ Luke from The Struts on co-vocals)
Monkey Wrench (w/ kid from crowd)
Best of You
Times Like These
This Is a Call
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary (debatable) guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here: