Monday, February 25, 2008

Dokken and Queensryche in Anaheim

Last night I saw Don Dokken and Queensryche perform at the House Of Blues in Anaheim. I had planned to see their show at the HOB in LA Friday night but I ended up working late and would have missed the Dokken set. On Sunday I decided that since the weather wasn't too bad I would be willing to make the drive. After some ticketmaster hassles I was able to reserve a ticket in will call.

I arrived at the venue a little early thinking the show started at 8pm. I didn't realize that it was doors at 8pm. After a couple of hours of standing in the cold they opened the doors about 8:40. Once inside I was on the 2nd level and ended up asking security about how do I get downstairs. This was my first time at this HOB. Compared to the HOB in Hollywood the venue is much smaller. Maybe 1/2 to 2/3rds the size. And this venue allowed cameras, unlike the Hollywood HOB which are known for being Nazi like in not allowing cameras. Once inside I finally made my way downstairs.

At this point they were holding the sing with Queensryche contest and had 3 contestants sing up on stage. After each singer the band voted by applause. All three singers sang Neon Nights and were all named Tony or Anthony. The winner was the clear choice and ended up holding his own with Geoff Tate on the 'Ryche encore.

Minutes after the contest Don Dokken and Kelly Kelling came out and played a short hits set of Dokken on acoustic guitar. I found myself singing nearly every word of their set. It was nice to see Don playing guitar and even taking a couple of the solos during the set.

After the show I picked up Don's newest cd Solitary and was able to get an autograph and a picture with Don. I told him how impressed I was with Dokken's Rocklahoma set this past summer and he said that was a great show for them. Everything came together and he said backstage all the bands were saying how they blew away many of the headliners. He said it was a great night and great event. He said they weren't invited back for this year but mentioned that he thought Alice In Chains might be on the bill this year. Considering Jerry Cantrell jammed with Queensryche in LA this rumor might be rooted in some truth. I must say Don took as much time with each fan, was talkative and genuinely seemed pleased to meet everyone. Its nice to see how night after night he is still out there meeting fans and having a great time doing so.

Don Dokken / Kelly Kelling
February 24, 2008
House Of Blues
Anaheim California

Into The Fire
Breaking The Chains (Don Dokken took guitar solo)
Just Got Lucky
It's Not Love
(Unskinny Bop tease)
Dream Warriors
Alone Again (Don Dokken took guitar solo)
In My Dreams

Now back to the 'Ryche. After a short intermission Queensryche came out hitting hard with Burning Man and running through a very creative set list. Seeing the band enjoying themselves and rocking out was much improved after the disappointment of the Mindcrime 2 tour. Acting out a concert like a play/musical is not my idea of a good time.

Geoff's voice was in top shape and he was nailing the high notes on the material. This HOB had a great sound system and you could hear every instrument clearly. The drums sounded crystal clear in the mix and I found myself watching Scott a good portion of the night. It was as if he had a perfectly tuned drum set, and with my recent purchase of splashes and a china I was loving what Scott was playing.

About 5-6 songs into the set I came to the realization that this might be the best Queensryche performance I've seen them give. And to think I picked up my ticket the day of the show. Highlights of their set were the opening of Burning Man, NM 156, and Screaming In Digital. Screaming had this great effect on Geoff's voice giving it a deep, and cleanly distorted yet digital sound. Much better than on the album. Other highlights were Gonna Get Close To You and Last Time In Paris.

I would say if you have a chance to see this tour then by all means do so, however I think they only have 3 or 4 shows left. Next time they play 3 nights in the LA area I won't wait until the last minute.

February 24, 2008
House Of Blues
Anaheim, California

Burning Man
NM 156
Screaming In Digital
Welcome To The Machine (Pink Floyd w/ Geoff on Sax)
I'm American
The Hands
Killing Words
Another Rainy Night
Gonna Get Close To You
Best I Can
(Geoff talks about how he took his kids to Disneyland that day. He has them wave from the balcony)
Last Time In Paris
Breaking The Silence
Anybody Listening?
Jet City Woman
Eyes Of A Stranger

Neon Nights w/ contest winner
Someone Else (Mike Stone on electric piano)
The Lady Wore Black

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Umphrey's McGee at the Mansion

This past week I had a couple of firsts. I finally saw Umphrey's McGee, and I checked out one of LA's newest venues called Crash Mansion. The venue was nice. An upstairs area with a balcony and couches and plush chairs, bars throughout, they served food and they even had a back room where a second stage was set up with a band playing in between the main stage sets.

Lots of hard wood and laid out with a large dance floor. My first impression was this would be a great place for a Rave even though I've never been to one. Sure enough the music in between the sets was electronic and you had kids out on the floor dancing and I even saw a few glow sticks in the crowd.

That is when I realized this was not my usual crowd. I was probably one of the older people in the audience and was surrounded by what looked to be college aged kids. Umphrey's McGee is a jam band with a variety of influences covering everything from metal to bluegrass, and I even saw the connection with electronic music especially in the jam transitions.

I enjoyed their set although a college crowd with a GA dance floor might be something I pass on next time around. The jams were long, with some songs over 20 and even 30 minutes in length. They played about 2 1/2 hours with a small intermission. The highlight of the show for me was the encore where they did a mash up of Come Together by The Beatles and Closer by Nine Inch Nails. A very unique take on two classic songs.

Dub Trio opened and Big Organ Trio was playing the stage in the back room.

Umphrey's McGee
Crash Mansion LA
February 13, 2008
Los Angeles, CA

Set One All In Time, The Crooked One$ > Kula, Smell the Mitten, Push the Pig^
Set Two Wizard Burial Ground, Bright Lights > White Man's Moccasins, JaJunk > jam^^ > JaJunk
Encore Come Closer*
Notes Dub Trio opened
$ unfinished
^ with Willie Waldman on trumpet and Stephen Perkins on percussion
^^ with full band switch with Dub Trio
* first time played; mash up between Come Together (The Beatles) and Closer (Nine Inch Nails), possibly similar to DJ Zebra

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