Top Concerts of 2016
It is that wonderful time of the year once again where our writers give their take on what they feel are the top shows of the year. With 2016 finally in the books Joe Suto and Dave Leary give you there picks.
10. Duran Duran– Avalon Theatre Inside Fallsview, Niagara Falls, Ontario (March 25)
Duran Duran has seldom played in the Buffalo/Niagara region. It was a no-brainer when this show was announced. The band did not let the fans down as they played not only the hits but also songs from their most recent effort Paper Gods. The show ended with “Rio”. Afterwards fans screamed out “Reflex” and after a quick group huddle the band obliged and delivered a powerful performance of the song.
This lineup of the band has been together since 2012. This version includes Gregg Rolie (Journey, Santana), guitarists Steve Lukather (Toto), Todd Rundgren (solo, Utopia, The New Cars), bassist Richard -Page (Mr. Mister), drummer Gregg Bissonette and multi –instrumentalist Warren Ham (Olivia Newton-John). The band played a great selection of songs from Ringo’s career, solo and Beatles as well as songs from the groups they are involved with.
8. Marillion– Hard Rocksino, Northfield, Ohio (October 29)
Marillion played their first US tour since 2012. The show featured opener John Wesley who single-handedly put on a great show of his own. Marillion featured a few tracks from their critically acclaimed recent release F.E.A.R. The set consisted of all H (Hogarth) era songs that was until the band returned with “Sugar Mice” for the encore. Among the highlights were “Afraid Of Sunlight” and “Easter”both of which received the loudest ovations of the night.
The recently inducted member to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is never at a loss for words. Miller tore the board from the Hall to shreds over the way the whole process was handled. It got so bad they cut off his press conference. Miller delivered a set that showed why he belongs in the Hall. Miller delivered the goods with “Jungle Love”, “Take The Money and Run” and “Abracadabra” and that was just for starters. Mixing in rare treats ending with “The Stake” and “Jet Airliner” were icing on the cake.
John Fogerty has been around a very long time. During the earlier years of his solo career, Fogerty refused to play CCR material. Luckily that all changed now he plays most of those beloved songs and sprinkles in a few solo songs. Seeing Fogerty perform at age 70, was a treat. It was quite surprising to see him perform with such zest this late into his career. It appears the years he spent inactive have served him well. Do not miss this guy if he comes to your area.
Olivia has yet to ever disappoint and this was no exception. She gives everyone a taste of all areas of her career from Grease to the 80’s and even the early 70’s. Seeing her perform such legendary songs as “Please Mr. Please” and “Have You Never Been Mellow” was worth the price of admission alone.
4. Styx– Artpark Outdoor Stage- Lewiston, NY (August 16)
Having seen Styx numerous times over recent years and never once seeing the same show twice is just one reason of what makes this band so special. The set list changes every tour, sometimes on a show to show basis. Finally seeing Gowan perform “A Criminal Mind” as well as a rare play of “Lights” from Cornerstone were the icing on the cake.
One of the most anticipated tours of the fall landed in town in early November to the delight of many progressive rock fans. One-time Yes members Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman put on a show that not only focused on the classic hits but also treated the fans with gems that haven’t been played in years such as “Changes” and “Hold On”. Overall, an extremely enjoyable evening for everyone in attendance.
The Fallsview Casino welcomed the voice of Starship Mickey Thomas. There really isn’t anyone out there today performing the music of Jefferson Starship and Starship with the authenticity that Thomas brings to the table. Hearing such classics from “Jane” to “Find Your Way Back” alongside the Starship number one smashes of “We Built This City” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” was nothing less than extraordinary.
Everything about this night was spot on in regards to the weather, atmosphere and ambiance. While singer David Coverdale may not be able to sing quite as he once did (he has had vocal chord issues in the past) that was irrelevant. This show was about a great lineup of musicians playing one of the best catalogs in the history of rock and roll. Having last played the Buffalo market in 1990 we can finally say the drought was over. “Sailing Ships” and “Judgement Day” were thrown in to reward the long time fans who have stood by the band through thick and thin. Overall it was a night filled with great songs and one that took many back to remember the glory days of their past.
Dave Leary’s Choices
Top 5 Concerts of 2016
I didn’t see as many shows this year as I did in 2015 so, just like the Chris Rock movie, here’s my top 5.
5. Spin Doctors, Seneca Niagara Bear’s Den, Sept. 23. 25 years after their debut, this underrated band has always been known for their live shows. It was my first time seeing them but they sounded excellent and really seem to still enjoy playing together. It would be fun to see them at an outdoor venue like Artpark or Canalside next summer.
4. CeeLo Green, Town Ballroom,Buffalo, June 11.
It was a blast seeing an artist like CeeLo in one of the best venues in Buffalo. A true showman and an amazing talent, CeeLo’s mix of hip hop and R&B had the crowd energized throughout.
3. Brothers Osborne, Anthology, Rochester. Oct.14
One of the rising new acts in country (a surprise winner this year for CMA Vocal Duo of the year), these brothers from Maryland (TJ and John) can do just about anything. In addition to their own songs, they covered Dixie Chicks, Willie Nelson and ZZ Top. Even if you’re not usually into country, these guys are the real deal in concert. John’s guitar playing alone make them a must-see act. This was my first time at Anthology and it was a good venue, similar to Town Ballroom.
2. Dixie Chicks, Key Bank Center, Buffalo, Sept. 17
After a 13 year absence, the Chicks returned to Buffalo and showed why they were so popular in the first place: Good songs, amazing harmonies and musicianship, and the incredible voice and take no crap attitude of Natalie Maines. It was also an awesome tribute to Prince as “Let’s Go Crazy” was played before they took the stage and Natalie sang an emotional cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U”. Hopefully, this successful tour leads to new music.
1. Bruce Hornsby, Hard Rock Rocksino, Northfield. OH May 26. As a massive fan, I’ve never been disappointed by a Hornsby show. The best part is not knowing what to expect. Sure, he always has to play “The Way it Is” but it’s always a little bit different. He also debuted some songs from his stellar album “Rehab Revival”. It’s just fun to watch him interact with his band and the way they play off each other. And the musical talent on display was tremendous.
While I didn’t get to as many shows as I would have liked, there were still some memorable ones. There have already been some major announcements for 2017, so hopefully it will be a big concert year.