Back before Christmas of 2021, it was announced that Loverboy, REO Speedwagon and Styx were coming to Charlotte. Loverboy was one of my wife’s favorites bands back in the day and she wanted to go see the show, so tickets were bought and months were spent waiting until the day finally came on August 6, 2022 at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC. It was a rainy afternoon and evening and this was an outdoor show. I wasn’t worried about the show itself because we had seats undercover, but the walk there was a little wet…but we didn’t care as it kept it cool and was a little fun to get wet.
The show kicked off on time and first up was Loverboy promptly at 7pm. The first thing I noticed was that they were old…I had forgotten that time had passed. I looked around and I noticed the crowd…well, I won’t say they were old too, but Depends did have a booth giving away free samples and Jonathan from Colonial Penn Life Insurance was there selling their $9.95 Plan (let’s see who gets that one). After remembering that people age, I got my mind back in to the show.
Since they were the opening act, they only played 8 songs, but they were a great 8 songs. I will admit my wife was a little underwhelmed at first and so was I as the vocals didn’t sound that great and the playing was a little sloppy at times, but it got better, much better. Mike Reno didn’t move around a ton and neither did Paul Dean. However, Matt Frenette, the drummer, looked exactly the same in that red ball cap and he was still killing it on the drums. He hadn’t aged a bit. When they played “Kid Is Hot Tonite” and “Lovin’ Every Minute of It”, it took me right back to high school and it sounded incredible. I got chills. And when the final two songs came on “Turn Me Loose” and “Working for the Weekend”, the crowd was totally in to it and on their feet. It was a helluva a way to end the show with every one truly loving every minute of it…pun intended. If the whole show would’ve had the energy of those last two songs…they would have blown everyone off the stage that came after.
If you follow this site at all, you know I am a massive Jeff Scott Soto fan and I am in the early stages of a Jeff Scott Soto Series where I am reviewing all of his albums in my collection. We are looking at over 70 reviews when all is said and done. I would love the opportunity to interview him, but that hasn’t happened yet. However, I did get to meet him. Jeff Scott Soto was in town with Jason Bieler (you know him, he is from Saigon Kick and wrote their massive hit “Love is On the Way”) and I bought tickets, of course. I also splurged and the the VIP package which got me in to the sound check and a Q&A.
Soto/Bieler played at a venue in NODA called The Evening Muse. A really small place and it holds about 300 people and it was packed which was great to see. I got there a little early as the VIP event started at 6pm. While I was walking from my car to the venue, I was crossing the street and who was coming the other way, Jeff and Jason. I realized it while they were passing me and Jason saw me do a double take and he said hello! It was cool. Then, while waiting in line, they came back from walking around NODA and while Jeff went in to get ready, Jason Bieler hung out and shook every one’s hand in line and talked for a few minutes.
My first concert of 2022 was from an artist I have been following for over 20 years and for some reason have never taken time out of my day to catch him live. Well that is no longer happening. I am trying to see as many artist as I can that I haven’t seen before (of course time and money permitting). First up was the very talented, singer-songwriter rock & roll star Will Hoge. His latest album, Tiny Little Movies, came out in 2020 and as luck would have it, so did Covid and all touring. He is finally touring the album (which is amazing btw). And I am not missing it this time around.
The show was at the Neighborhood Theater in Charlotte, North Carolina and in my 8 years in Charlotte I have never seen a show at this place and is a crying shame as it is a great place. It holds just under 1,000 people and there is a balcony where you can actually sit as the rest is standing room only. Which really wasn’t an issue as for some strange reason Charlotte didn’t show up as there were less than 200 but Will still performed as if it was 20,000 as he is the consummate professional.
I bought front row tickets! Well, front row balcony because I wanted to sit down. A note on the ledge in front of us said “No Drinks”. I wonder why? So l looked over and okay…I see why now..
A week after the Alice Cooper and Ace Frehley shows at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheater, I’m back for another show. This time around we are seeing Switchfoot as they open for one of my favorite bands, Needtobreathe. I had never seen Switchfoot and like a lot of their songs so I was excited to see them as they are a great compliment to Needtobreathe. A great double bill.
Now there was an opening act called The New Respects. They are a family band out of Nashville and were pop, funk, rock and a whole lot of fun. The lead guitarists is a young lady by the name of Zandy Fitzgerald who was mad woman on the guitar. She also had a lot of style and you could tell she had some star potential. She was very likable. The interesting thing about The New Respects is they are the background singers for Needtobreathe during the show so very cool that Needtobreathe gave them the opening slot to shine on their own. I don’t have a decent photo of them, but when you get to the Needtobreathe Concert review, they will pop up there so go check that review out as well.
Back to Switchfoot, the band is a rock band out of San Diego, California and lead singer Jon Foreman has the surfing, hippie thing going that brings a certain charm to the band live that you don’t necessarily get in their studio albums. Seeing him perform is a different experience.
I am so glad to be back to live shows and one of the first shows back is Needtobreathe who are one of my favorite bands of all time. Yes, last week I saw Ace Frehley and Alice Cooper which were both spectacular, but this is Needtobreathe. And being my fourth or fifth time seeing them, they did not disappoint as usual. The played for over 2 hours and right up to curfew at the venue and were ready to finish even if they turned off the power because when Needtobreathe (NTB) come to play, they come to play. They are going to give you all of themselves until the a ready to drop and that is exactly what they did.
The band makes a grand entrance with portraits of themselves on the screen and as each member walks out Tyler Burkum on guitar, Randall Harris on drums, Josh Lovelace on keyboards, Seth Bolt on bass and Bear Rineheart on vocals the roar of the crowd grew louder and louder and then the band kicked in to “Alive” and the band was rocking the place down with so much and energy and power. And then when the went in to the song “Great Night”, you knew it was going to be just that.
For me, it was one classic song after another. You get the driving force of “Drive All Night” and then the rebellious “The Outsiders” which I did video the song for my wife as she was sidelined with a migraine and she wanted me to capture some of it for her so I did. At this point, Bear finally took a breathe between songs and then spoke to us for a brief moment before going in to the church revival feel of “Washed By The Water” which ended with parts of their song “Lay ‘Em Down”. It was like going to church.
At this point, the band showed a movie trailer. Yep, a movie trailer. On November 3rd, for one night only, movie theaters will show the documentary ‘Into the Mystery’ which is about the band and the making of their new album during covid. The band quarantined together in a house for three weeks and recorded the album. They said what would normally take them 3 years, they did in 3 weeks. And after the trailer, they played two great songs from their new album. The first was “Sunshine” and the second was “Into the Mystery” which actually included an opening of “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty first.
They played a few more songs before they took another break and showed a different video. This one was about the charity they work with called For Others which works with a lot of charities in your own city (Charlotte in this case for me) and NTB asked for anyone that could to please donate. So while they played “Multiplied” and “Difference Maker” you could text the number below that they shown on the screen. They were told that it would never work and people wouldn’t do it, but the band had raised over $500,000 on the tour from the fans for the charities and as I said the money stays in the community in the town they played. Something you wouldn’t expect at a show, but cool nonetheless.
After that, the band did some acoustical numbers with the song “Banks” which happened to have a couple in the front row get engaged during the show. Their names were Ashley and Jeremy as the band saw it happened and commented on it. Bear said that after getting engagements, there can be an awkardness but not for those two as they started making out immediately after. The next song “Carry Me” had a special guest. Jon Foreman from Switchfoot came out and sang with Bear and the Band. It was cool how a NTB Tour was like a family event and this wouldn’t be the last time someone came out and sang with them.
The show then kicked back in to gear with the heavier, more upbeat tracks such as “Hang On”, “Hard Love” and “Ridiing High” which got the energy going again and everyone having a good time. If that wasn’t enough on the next song, “Honky Tonk Women” the mic was turned over to the drummer, Randall Harris, who got the crowd in to a wild frenzy as everyone loved the Stone Cover. It was wild time where each band member got up and did a little something to be highlighted. Lots of fun.
After that wild time, the band played one of my all time favorite tracks, “Who Am I” and followed it up with “I Am Yours” which I found rather funny as the titles work well together. Then we get to the final song before the encores and this time the whole family was there. Switchfoot and The New Respects all came out for a wild jam session on the song “When the Levee Breaks”. It was a hell of a good time with so much to look at and let me just show you…
Then we get to the Encore as the crowd were banging the backs of the plastic chairs to make as much noise as they could. The band came out and played “Midnight Special” mixed with “Mercy’s Shore”. They then played a song for the first time on this current tour. Well, we are in North “Carolina” so they player their song “Oh Caroline” and the crowd went nuts. It is a fun song to be played live as it really gets the crowd singing along. As we are now coming up on 11pm and the event curfew, the band was worried they wouldn’t finish and said they will keep singing and playing even if they turn off the sound. They played one of their biggest songs, “Brother” with full crowd participation. What a feeling that must be to have the crowd sing back your song. Luckily the sound was never turned off and the band finished the song with a quick goodnight and over 2 hours of playing and 23 songs. It was another magical night with Needtobreathe.
Here is the setlist…
Drive All Night
Washed by the Water / Lay ‘Em Down
Into the Mystery (Free Fallin’ opening)
Forever On Your Side
Keep Your Eyes Open / Testify
Multiplied / Difference Maker
Carry Me (w/ Jon Foreman)
Honky Tonk Woman (The Rolling Stones Cover w/ the drummer singing)
Who Am I
I Am Yours
When the Levee Breaks (Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoy Cover with Switchfoot and The New Respects)
Midnight Special / Mercy’s Shore – Encore
Oh, Caroline (first time played on tour) – Encore
Brother – Encore
And did I get some Merch? Yep, I finally bought my first NTB Concert Shirt. I don’t know why I hadn’t before…probably too cheap.
And I took a bunch of pictures so here are a few more to take you out. Thanks for hanging around…
Okay, I’ll leave at that…thanks again for stopping by.
Welcome to Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle!! That is how the show opened and what a nightmare it was, but in a good way. This was my second time seeing Alice as I saw him 3 years earlier, almost to the day and I am glad to be back to be terrified, freaked out and entertained by the legend himself. This time around, my daughter joined me as she figured if her mom liked the last show, maybe she will and I think she did, but more on that later.
As we were standing in line to get through the vaccine check (negative covid test check) and the metal detector, we noticed people wearing Nita Strauss T-Shirts. It was cool seeing people that were coming to the show to see her. If you don’t know her, she is “Hurricane” Nita Strauss and she is Alice Cooper’s lead guitar player (one of three), but she is the featured one that gets all the press because she is pretty freaking awesome!!
After watching Ace Frehley Open the show, the crowd was pumped and ready. We only had to wait just under 30 minutes to get the stage transferred over and turned in to this giant 2-Story castle and full of horrifying things. But what wasn’t horrifying, but electrifying was the setlist…take a look at what he has to offer this time around…
I have been a huge Ace Frehley fan since I was probably 8 years old. He was my very first guitar hero. I had only seen him play with Kiss and I have never seen him love as just Ace Frehley. When I saw he was opening for Alice Cooper, I couldn’t click the purchase ticket button fast enough. This was also the first concert I had attended since Covid began around 19 months ago so it was even more exciting.
The concert began at 7:30pm on October 7, 2021. We arrived in plenty of time because I was damn well sure going to make it to see the opening act, because, well, as was the opening act. We stand in line to get stamped with proof of vaccination (or proof of negative covid test) and then go in line again to go through the metal detector and all good so far. I don’t know why I said “so far”, because we ran in to ZERO issues all night. It was supposed to rain…None! The weather was a little chilly, but felt great. We hit the restrooms (TMI) and then went and bought some bottled water…except…they don’t sell bottled water anymore…WHAT!!! Nope. It is now in a can…huh???
Yes, they sell water in a can now so I guess non-drinkers don’t get harassed for not drinking as it looks like a beer can. I have to admit, it looks pretty damn cool for water. We then hit the merch table and there were a ton of Alice stuff and only a little Ace, but I saw Alice 3 years ago almost to the day, so I went with the Ace Shirt. They were already out of XL size, so I went 2XL and I hope it shrinks…
In my crate digging, I keep running in to Tour Books and of course, I keep buying them because I think they are cool time capsules of a band. This time around, I found 2 Alice Cooper Tour Books. And these are vintage as they were both from the 70’s and they look it. The first one we have here is from Alice’s biggest and best album, ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’, from 1975. The next one up is the Tour Book for the Guilty Tour also known as King of the Silver Screen Tour which began on June 19, 1977 at Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, California and ended on August 30, 1977 at McNichols Sports Arena, Denver, Colorado
The Band had a cast of characters and included the following host of people:
Steve Hunter – Guitar
Dick Wagner – Guitar
Prakash John – Bass
Fred Mandel – Keyboards
Whitey Glan – Drums
The tour was in support of the Lace and Whisky album and featured a stage set designed as a giant TV. The TV had slits in the screen where Cooper and his dancers jumped in and out along to filmed choreographed sequences during the songs. They even went so far as to have hilarious mock commercials screened in between some songs. When you go see Alice Cooper you definitely get a show!
The average set list on the tour was as follows:
Under My Wheels
Billion Dollar Babies
Is It My Body
The Black Widow
You and Me
Only Women Bleed
I Love the Dead
Go to Hell
Wish You Were Here
I Never Cry
It’s Hot Tonight
Lace and Whiskey
King of the Silver Screen
School’s Out (Encore)
Are you ready to see the pictures? Well of course you are…And remember this is Alice Cooper and that is what you get in these pictures…a lot of Alice…
In my crate digging, I keep running in to Tour Books and of course, I keep buying them because I think they are cool time capsules of a band. This time around, I found 2 Alice Cooper Tour Books. And these are vintage as they were both from the 70’s and they look it. The first one we have here is from Alice’s biggest and best album, ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’, from 1975. The Tour began on March 21, 1975, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, making its way across the States and even in to Europe where it ended on September 17 in Antwerp, Belgium.
The Band had a cast of characters and included the following host of people:
Steve Hunter – Guitar
Dick Wagner – Guitar
Prakash John – Bass
Jozef Chirowski – Keyboards
Whitey Glan – Drums
Vincent Price – Spider Voice
Sheryl Goddard – Ethyl
Robyn Blythe – Bat Woman
Gene Montoya – Voodoo Man
Uchi Sugiyama – Frog Man
Yes, it is a cast as Alice doesn’t just put on a concert, nope! He puts on a show. A creep show and this one is all about his nightmares. But the concert is always important and the set list, on average, looked something like this…
Despite not having any new albums in years, Kiss was touring. In 2000-2001, the band was touring the so called “Farewell Tour” which was supposed to be the end of Touring. Well, in 2003, the band announced The World Domination Tour where the band would be co-headlining with Aerosmith. Ace Frehley believing the Farewell Tour was the final tour, did not want to do this tour if they were the opening act for Aerosmith. Well, Ace was now gone. Because apparently the Farewell Tour was really the Farewell Tour for Kiss playing with Ace. Peter Criss came back in to the fold and did the World Domination Tour.
When that tour ended, Kiss decided to do another tour in 2004 called the Rock The Nation Tour. This time around, Kiss was the main headliner and the opening acts were Poison and Z02. Before the tour started, Peter Criss’ contract with the band had expired. According to Peter, no one contacted him about signing back up with the band for the next tour. Now, Peter was gone, yet again. Kiss was back down to just Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley with the hired guns of Eric Singer on drums and Tommy Thayer on guitar. This is the line-up that would stay in existence for the remainder of the Kisstory. The Rock The Nation Tour, was the start of a new era of Kiss. One where people either still loved the band and didn’t care who was in it or a group that hated Tommy for being in the band and wearing Ace’s make-up. Sorry folks, but so what. Tommy was hired to do a job and Tommy does that job very well. No one seemed to care too much that Eric was in the band and wearing Peter’s make-up and maybe that was because Eric had already been a big part of Kisstory before and he had earned his cat whiskers.