Seems like it’s been forever since I’ve posted a review. I’ve been busy working out of town and haven’t been able to see as much in the last 2 months.
I had never seen Billy Joel before but have loved him since I was a kid, especially The Stranger album. Great one from front to back. I was surprised whe I read up on his current band lineup that he has both Chuck Burgi and David Rosenthal playing drums and keyboards, respectively. They were both on my favorite Rainbow album, Bent Out of Shape. I sent a message to Chuck a week before the show to see if maybe we could meet and have him sign my Rainbow stuff, but never heard back. Worth a shot, eh?
We had seats behind the stage and while we had a great view of Billy, I could only see Chuck’s cymbals, which was a bummer. He sounded great though. The entire band was great and especially Billy’s vocals. I didn’t expect him to hit some of the notes he hit and to still sing so clearly.
He was pretty jovial with the crowd and in three spots, the crowd would get to decide on which song would be played next. He’d offer up 2 songs and the one with the loudest applause got played. He also played a bunch of snippets of Texas artists like ZZ Top, Buddy Holly and Janis Joplin. They also did Highway to Hell with one of the roadies on vocals and Billy played rhythm guitar. He played it in a couple of songs.
Overall the show was great and highlights were all 5 songs from The Stranger (unfortunately he didn’t play the title track), Sometimes a Fantasy which I hadn’t though about in 20 years, Vienna, Miami 2017, and The Ballad of Billy the Kid.
I’ve been a big YES fan since childhood mainly because of my brother’s influence. Fragile and Close to the Edge stayed in steady rotation with him. As the 80s rolled around, YES got super big with 90125. You couldn’t get away from it. Not necessarily a bad thing but Owner of a Lonely Heart got a little old.
I bought two tickets some months back on the presale and one of them ended up going unused. The show crept up on me and I didn’t get proper time to find a date for the show. Oh well.
Prior to the show I grabbed a quick dinner then met up with my friend, Armando, for a couple of beers. Good drummer and good dude. Show was slated to start at 8PM so we went to the venue, I bought a shirt and we parted ways to our seats. It was actually a bit nice to have some space next to me.
The band came on stage and opened with Cinema and Perpetual Change. Rick Wakeman was wearing a huge cape, of course. The overall show was fantastic and I was really surprised that this older crowd stood for most of it. They played a good cross section of YES material while definitely touching on the Rabin era often. They even played an ABWH song, The Meeting. Jon’s voice sounded absolutely amazing and it was great to finally see/hear Wakeman live.
During The Fish (I think), Wakeman and Rabin came out into the crowd and walked around the venue. That was pretty cool. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the show but as in the 80s, I can’t stand Rabin’s hyper-sonic guitar tone. He’s a great player though and his voice still sounds great. The lefty bassist primarily played Rickenbackers the whole night and a Fender for 1 song. Both he and the drummer were spot on.
Too bad that these guys, Howe and White can’t settle differences and do one more reunion tour.
Black Sabbath played what they say is their final show in the USA last night. The setlist wasn’t much different than the show we got 3 years ago in Austin except they only played classic material.
I had purchased floor seats right next to the soundboard and my friend Pablo came with. They opened with Black Sabbath and the crowd was pretty animated and most everyone on the floor had their phones over their head through much of that song. Luckily that subsided as the night wore on. Fairies Wear Boots came next then three of my faves, After Forever, Into the Void and Snowblind. Hand of Doom had been played at all other shows except this one and I’m not sure why, but whatever.
Geezer and Tony were perfect as expected and Tommy Clufetos was as solid as anyone could be. And then our old friend, Ozzy. Other than some timing issues (couldn’t follow the bouncing ball on the teleprompter?), I thought Ozzy sounded really good. Way better than 3 years ago. As expected, he stayed strapped to his mic stand and teleprompter. He spoke a little between songs and I think he may have been reading those cues as well. It’s a little sad to see. But again, I was surprised as to how he sounded. The only song he seemed to struggle on to my ears was Dirty Women. He just couldn’t keep up and get his pitch right, no issues in the rest of the set.
We rolled out right as the encore, Paranoid, had started to beat the rush and traffic. We times it perfectly.