Category Archives: concert

Shamans Harvest, Daughtry and Nickelback at Starlight

Nickelback is one of those bands that people always bag on but they continue to make and sell records. It’s weird. Angie and I went to see Shaman’s Harvest, Daughtry and Nickelback at Starlight for $25 Groupon, yes score!

First up was Shaman’s Harvest a local bunch (from Jefferson City, MO) that had a fair amount of fans in the audience.

They sounded solid, in time, and strong. It was interesting to listen to Nathan Hunt (lead singer) talk as he is clearly back woods – nothing wrong with that but I didn’t expect that from a hard rock genre band. They played about 30 minutes, and the stage was set for Daughtry:

They hit the stage running and thank goodness Chris’ voice is still as spot on as it was (during my memory anyway) as American Idol. I would vote a couple of the tunes they played were borderline prog-rock, note the keyboardist over on the left side:

In case you didn’t notice it was very bright still out and there were a ton of open seats:

Daughtry was on for about an hour. Playing one of their new songs from an upcoming album I was taken back from the sound. Not like their other stuff almost a reggae drum groove. It was good just different I thought. Onto the Nickelback set:

Finally started getting dark and about 2100 Nickelback hit the stage. They for some reason kept their stage gear wrapped up till about 1 minute before they started the show, I guess to keep suspense up on the color/look. The production level was high, the sound was dead on, I was impressed by the first couple of numbers.

The video screen in the back was really impressive quality, it showed videos during songs and every so often would show live feed from the side screens:

Again the production quality was great, here is a really crappy video showing some of the light show:

Towards the end of the show Kroeger asked Daughtry to come out and sing a couple of songs. I couldn’t tell if Kroeger was just tired of singing these on tour or if he really wanted to show everyone that Daughtry sings better than him. At any rate it was interesting to watch:

Towards the end of the set Kroeger invited a couple of folks up on the stage and asked them to sing, it wasn’t as bad as you would think.

Overall it was a concert I enjoyed especially for the price point.

All that being said what was my one negative take away. Chad Kroeger comes across as a huge prick. He was rude to his crew, really REALLY snotty to others on stage, and kept insulting people in the crowd. I just kept thinking “geez what an ass” through their whole set.

Me and Angie sitting in the sun (she is wearing her Wolfmother shirt from Granada):

Ghost and Iron Maiden at Sprint Center

“Scream for me Kansas City!”

There are few bands for me that are on the same level as Iron Maiden. The songs, the lore, the musicians, the routine onstage shooting fire columns, the longevity, the theatrical performances, and Bruce Dickinson.

Angie, Sam and I picked up these tickets within minutes of them going on sale with neither of them having any idea who this opening act “Ghost” was. I, of course, knew who Ghost was and knew it was going to be an interesting evening watching those guys do what they do.

No-one however mentioned to us that one of these bands seemingly have a problem with Air Conditioning. They requested the Sprint Center be no cooler than 83°. Sure doesn’t sound horrible, but this is inside with no air movement. It got sticky quickly.

Anyhow Ghost was setup first and had some expected Satanic imagery on their graphics:

As I expected they opened with some Gregorian chant style music I presume to give a feeling Church is in session. With all this and what I knew about their style of music my interest was peaked “I have never seen any sort of hard core Satanic group perform, will there be blood and chicken guts?” I kept thinking. Chicken guts! Probably smells horrible in this heated up arena.

So Ghost started playing their stuff with the “Papa Emeritus III” talking mostly about sex. Having sex, the pleasure of sex, how he wanted everyone to go home that night and have sex. It was clear this guy has some strange obsession not being “Satanic” but “Sexual”.

It was very, VERY odd. So here is this Swedish band known for Satanic lyrics and Satanic themes sounding like someone in the pop-rock type genre with clearly Satanic lyrics continually mumbling something about Sex. Sure the music wasn’t horrible the musicians were good but damn it was really weird. Like watching Pee-wee Herman + Jack Sparrow sing Satanic music level of weird.

A clear advantage Ghost had was being able to use the light bar setup for Iron Maiden, which was of course spectacular (worth noting Ghost did not utilize the side video screens):

Ghost was on about 30 minutes, followed by a quick set change (took the stage hands like 15 minutes to switch out, I was impressed at the organization of the seemed like about 30 stage hands):

Pic of mixing board setup a more than average amount of equipment for two band. No sound mixing equipment changed between sets:

Right at 2000 Iron Maiden comes on the set, friggin’ Iron Maiden – yes I was pumped:

There is an old saying “A bad day of fishing is better than a great day at work”. Well Iron Maiden was awesome, but again a “bad” Iron Maiden is better than damn near anyone else. So what did you expect me to say. I did think that Dickinson’s microphone dropped in an out frequently, which was annoying, but all of the guys just nailed it. Again, it’s Iron friggin’ Maiden.

Check out the light bars, such a spectacle to behold:

Throughout the show the back banner would change with the various incantations of Eddie, this mixed with the on stage presence of a Eddie and a about 20 foot tall blowup (I presume it was a blowup might have been a paper mache type setup) of Eddie – Eddie was all over. Picture roll ahead:

Following the 20 foot Eddie was a probably same size Minotaur, again who else puts on concerts at this level?

One more in case you thought the light bars weren’t totally impressive:

Several times throughout the show Dickinson would wear various suits, masks. At one point a monkey mask and tossing bananas into the audience – a memento banana? Kinda weird but the crowd seemed to love it.

Wrapping up all this was some fireworks and the drop down from the ceiling of another Eddie picture:

A genuinely badass concert. Seriously if you have questions if this was a concert of epic proportions I suggest you scroll back up and look at my fuzzy out of focus pictures again. Put on “Genghis Khan” and imagine Dickinson running around like a over-caffeinated crazy person.

Oh and this; Angie, Sam and Me in our Iron Maiden shirts being way cooler than your family 😉

Natasha Bedingfield and Train at Starlight

Starlight is a really awesome outdoor venue. Most of the artists I have seen there take a moment and comment on how cool it is to perform outdoors and how good the acoustics of the venue are. However being outside is, well, outside. The policy of Starlight is if rains that’s ok, the show goes on. However if it lightnings well that’s a showstopper. On July 3rd we thought for sure at this show we were going to get canceled we could hear the thunder and see the ominous storm clouds very near us. Here are the crews putting waterproofing on the mixing boards:

Natasha Bedingfield took the stage right at 1900 a sparse setup I thought:

She played for about 40 minutes and overall was entertaining. That being said there is something weird about watching someone do an iconic song way out of their genre by an iconic artist. This came true watching Bedingfield do “Purple Rain” by Prince and the Revolution. I looked around and I didn’t get the impression it was only me in a cringe induced state. Really if you’re going to do something like this you gotta nail it; add your own flavor sure but just nail it. Don’t get me wrong she was really good and energetic overall.

Anyhow onto Train they took the stage right about 2000. The tour was the “Play that song tour” and with that they had a jukebox theme going on. Really terrible picture but you can somewhat see the jukebox in the background:

The production value was surprisingly good for Starlight great sound, great lighting and a complex set.

Train was high energy and fun to watch. They actually at one point threw branded beach balls into the crowd to increase crowd energy and participation, it worked:


Their encore included a tribute to Greg Allman and the Allman Brothers Band:

As they started I was worried but they nailed it. Earlier they also played “Under Pressure” (you know the one with the iconic bass line anyone can identify) by Queen and David Bowie and when they started again I was worried they were going to Bedingfield it but they again nailed.

They ended the show with their “Drops of Jupiter” and the crowd loved it:

Overall it was a great concert. It’s always a good concert when you get to watch an artist having fun, the audience participating, and no rain on your head.

Me and my Angie (I am wearing my newly acquired John Legend 2017 tour shirt):

James Arthur, Fitz and the Tantrums and One Republic at Sprint Center

I saw these tickets come up on Groupon and thought for $18 a piece why not, plus I think Molly will like seeing James Arthur. So I picked up three hoping the seats weren’t going to set new heights of nose bleed inducing heights.

We get to Sprint Center (with Groupon tickets there you go pick up tickets at the box office) and the lady goes into the back vault of goodness and returns with Section 117, Row 12. Score! That’s 12 rows from the floor about three sections to the right of the stage:

I didn’t realize at the time but this was part of the same Honda promoted tour series Demi Lovato did in 2016. This meant it had the same strange promotion of a band designed car out on the venue floor and with it the clearly expensive set design, graphics and lighting.

I did notice right off the amount of equipment in the mixing area seemed to be more than usual, this usually indicates that the bands are not normally touring together and that they have their own equipment and for this venue they just mushed it all together:

The initial stage setup had (what I thought anyway was the three bands equipment setup):

James Arthur started it off. His comment “this is my first tour in America” was kinda evident when he started as man he must have been nervous or just not used to having his drummer parallel to him. That being said; he delivered with singing, and guitar playing save the initial awkward timing starts. I could tell right away the production quality was once again (like Lovato’s) above normal:

Then came the burst of energy and funkiness known as Fitz and The Tantrums. Quick set change, here are some sound checks going on note the Honda commercial on the big screen:

Michael Fitzpatrick is fun to watch. A strong stage presence, full of energy, dancing, jumping, and generally being attention grabbing. This is my first time to see these guys and other than “HandClap” song I didn’t know much about them. Consider me now a fan:

Here is a really crappy video (my camera phone was having fits staying focused) of “Spark” from “More Than Just a Dream” – it gives an idea of what these guys were like:

A genuine good time. I love watching crowds really get into artists and see people dance like no-one is watching. That’s worth the $18 right there alone.

However another set change, this time a big one for OneRepublic:

Out of all the concerts I have been seen I have only been to two that put people up in the rafters from the concert floor, again the other was Lavoto’s. Here are 3 of the 6 people they loaded up into the air to do side spots:

Kinda neat, kinda nuts. How do they handle the “Ah geez, I gotta pee” 70 minutes into the show? Maybe it’s just me who thinks of these things.

OneRepublics opening was dramatic and immediately showed off some of that Honda marketing investment with the impressive light show, lasers and graphics:

Here is a snippet of “Good Life” from “Waking Up” showing the lighting at work:

Talk about an impressive show. I was genuinely surprised by the musicality of the band. Steel guitar, Spanish Guitar (and some damn fine Spanish Guitar playing at that), Cello, Piano, Mandolin, all used on several songs. Combine this with the fantastic song writing and the spot-on delivery it makes for an epic experience. I am confident in saying OneRepublic put on the best shows I have seen this year. Yes that’s what I said. Really that damn good.

Towards the end they constructed a small stage right out in the middle of the crowd when the lights came back up Ryan Tedder (who delivered a fantastic energetic performance all night) was on that stage to the utter delight of the crowd:

I am not sure what to think of watching a version of the Tedder authored Beyoncé single “Halo” in the middle of a OneRepublic show, but probably not as strange as the later encore “Rumour Has It“. Tedder called back in James Arthur and Fitz and The Tantrums to participate:

Correct the Adele “Rumour Has It”, ah here I have video as proof:

And and those glitter cannons you see up in the mix area, were all over the venue and made one hell of a mess in the end (really messing with my phones auto-focus in the process):

The mix of these three artists together lead to an epic concert that for me ranks in the top 10 of recent memory. I friggin’ loved it. That that and mix in I got to see it with my daughter and her cohort in crime – best $18 I have ever spent… ever.

Me, my daughter and her friend official selfie (the one I am suppose to use):

HOWEVER, here is the one I like, sorry Molly I could not resist:

Tesla, Poison and Def Leppard at Sprint center

Just about a year ago we saw Tesla, Reo Speedwagon and Def Leppard at Sprint center. We saw these tickets go on sale and I personally have never seen Poison so we decided to add a couple of artists to our elusive “two time” club (Tesla and Def Leppard).

One of the first things that I noticed was the unusual amount of sound board equipment setup, I get it there are three bands but not often you see three complete sets of sound equipment and what seems like then some:

Although my picture is hard to see the Poison equipment had the Poison logo on them, not just the name like you see most times. I found this interesting and it emphasized the amount of branding/marketing you see all over with Poison at their show. Here is another shot in the dark you can kinda see the Poison logo:

Tesla opened up and, unfortunately, very much like last year I was disappointed in the sound. I think it’s not the band that seems off it’s Keith, he just seems well kinda out of it. Like he didn’t really realize he was in a concert or in front of people or something. Very odd behavior and his singing is no where near the rest of the band on “sounding like the album”:

Once again my point to this is if you’re going to tour with the powerhouse that is Def Leppard you should really bring your “A game” – else it highlights the shortcomings.

Shot of the crowd size for Tesla, lots of empty seats:

Frank Hannon is a top level player and “Love Song” is something to behold with him picking that acoustic:

Tesla played about 6 songs for about a 40 minute set. Then came Poison with Brett Michaels jumping about in his what I guess is “Modern Cowboy Glam” look?

Shot of the crowd for Poison, considerable difference (note this highlights the excellent light bars setup for Poison/Def Leppard (not used for Tesla)):

Poison was high energy and I think they are a seriously underrated bunch of musicians. Sure they didn’t do themselves any favors with the entire Glam Metal genre, dressing up like girls, and picking ridiculous name (“Ricki Rocket”, “CC Deville”).

The spotlight solo for CC Deville was borderline spectacular. He went into Van Halen “Eruption” (nailing it I might add), added some Steve Vai “The Audience is Listening” (again spot on). You don’t see that often and I was seriously impressed by his fret fingering, clarity, and speed. Well done indeed.

They also gave Ricki Rockett some spotlight time and he proved his chops banging out some drum work that was impressive (don’t get me wrong no where near Rocket’s showcase, but impressive nonetheless.)

I did get a kick of of the way that Michaels held and strummed his guitar at a near 45° strumming nearly straight and up down. Unusual but worked and gave a real “Rock ‘n Roll” type appearance (strumming without care or looking down to ensure he had the correct placement).

Poison played a short set as well about 45 minutes, it was very well done the music and singing was spot on. Angie and I were impressed at the energy, humor, and production value of the set.

Here is the crowd and pre-set image for Def Leppard:

Here is a close up of the banner used:

In case your wondering, yes it was the same banner they used last year with just different light colors, this shot from last year by yours truly:

Their production set has both times been top notch really impressive lighting, graphics, sound quality. A nearly two-hour tour de fource rarely matched in concerts we have seen:

Here are some shots of the graphics from the show:

When you have enough cameras setup you can do awesome things like this:

So last year I went to Def Leppard not really being that big of a fan, however after seeing their show twice I am getting there. Really if Def Leppard comes anywhere near you, get there.

Me and My Angie:

John Legend at Starlight

Never have I ever seen anything in a merchandise booth at a concert for $1, until John Legend with Gallant at Starlight. They had Gallant sad-face hats for $1, I guess just not wanting to carry them to the next venue. They sold out before the show began, but of course they did for $1, hell I never heard of Gallant until this and I bought three.

Anyhow the stage setup for Gallant was pretty bare for the quartet:

I got an old school R&B vibe from Gallant, and his dancing (perhaps “shockwaves” is a better way to describe it) from the snare drum shots reminded me of watching James Brown throw himself around. His band was good and his set was well done.

Gallant used the same screens as John Legend but in very simple layout:

It is kinda weird to watch a concert at 1930 and it be total daylight, but that’s the summer’ish months in Kansas for you. Kinda ruins the lighting effects but with a nice breeze Starlight even in total daylight is an awesome venue.

John Legend started off by using the, different is good word, hole created by the screen panels and then having him setting at his grand piano in the middle with some crazy visuals on the panels, an interesting effect:

John displayed his pianist skills by playing along to his powerful voice on several of his hits and also showing his dancing skills on others. His video panels were really sharp and with their ability to spin in different angles provided some a cool looking backdrops to the set:

He did bring a full band including a horn section and three backup singers (who were not only talented singers but nice to watch dance around):

Towards the end he hand some personal remarks about his family and throughout he seemed to emphasize that loving others is his thing. He made some remarks about telling the one you were with you love them and if you were on a date it would make for an interesting date. He closed with his piano coming towards the front of the stage and himself being projected onto this set panels:

John’s set was great, his voice was not what I would say as strong as it is on his albums (not saying bad just saying not as powerful and clear as his recordings) but his piano work was excellent and overall he was very entertaining.

Me and my Angie sitting in the sun waiting for the set:


Starset at Granada

I saw the tickets go up for sale for Starset at  Granada in Lawrence and the first thing that came to my mind is “How the hell do they make any money off that ticket price?”; seriously $16 a piece and the venue is 1700 capacity:I guess they plan on making money off their merchandise. Anyhow so Angie and I head off to check out Starset and some group I have never heard of “Razorwire Halo“.

Well I was wrong about the idea of these bands making money off their merchandise. What is with these bands going on tour and not having merchandise that shows the date of the show? I want to buy a shirt to wear to gain the envy of others that I was there and they were not. Sigh.

Here is the initial setup in the, ah, dive seems to be a good word for Grenada:

The screen in front of the stage threw me. Initially I thought it was a throw screen like I have seen at some punk shows but once Razorwire Halo took the stage it proved to be something that added distortion to the video they played throughout their entire 40 minute set:

You know when you have friends and they think they have a band that others want to hear so you go over and endure, ah, I mean listen to their collaborative noise? That’s pretty much what I thought about Razorwire Halo. Their efforts to feel “Rock ‘n Roll” seemed too forced to me, not natural. Perhaps they are like wine and will get better with time (read; more practice).

At any rate off with them and onto the set setup for Starset:

The middle box (I assumed, correctly, where the drum kit was setup) was interesting looking. I didn’t expect they would play videos against it from the inside of the box (videos projected from the inside against the walls of the box synchronized with the screens on each side of the box). Super cool effect:

Oh did I mention that most of the Starset band wears spacesuit type outfits? Sure it’s a bit odd the lead singer wore a bowtie the entire time and the others are in spacesuits but points for being different. Kinda a gimmick sure but its neat to watch them light up in sequence and to difference parts of the music:

Every so often the drummer box would turn off the lighting and the effect of the drummer be lite up would be seen through the box, making a neat effect:

Starset was great. Dustin Bates, the lead singer, was energetic and he did a good job keeping his vocals and (is shouting the right word?) “yells” in check. Not often you see a hard rock band keep a violinist and cellist on stage for the entire set but several times they added some excellent ambiance to the music. They mostly did stuff from their “Vessels” release, which is great by the way. Overall a definite repeat for me if Starset passes near by again.

Me and my Angie using the fancy selfie camera lighting to try to take a snapshot in the dark:

Soundgarden at Starlight

We picked up some cheap seats and headed out to Starlight to catch Soundgarden with opening act “The Dillinger Escape Plan“.

We got there right at gates opening and noticed not many in the seats, we thought “Humm, that’s odd to not see many arrive for the opening act”. Oh what things we would learn very soon.

The opening act streamed out; the tantrum fit throwing scream festival that was “The Dillinger Escape Plan”. They took the stage at 1930, still plenty daylight and started with their, ah, show. Pretty simple stage setup:

I was a confused. There where these guys, holding musical equipment, seemingly playing these instruments in timed motions, but making just a hell of a noise. Go into your kitchen turn on the nosiest appliance you have then randomly in the most rambunctious “4 year old” attitude you can muster scream at the blender for being on. Do this for 40 minutes or so and there you go, you probably have to pay a royalty to these guys for copyright infringement.

Soundgarden stage setup had some nifty light bars setup:

They took stage about 20:45 coming out strong and playing a mix of crowd favorites mixed with some (to me anyhow) older lesser tunes. I was impressed overall with Chris Cornell both in his voice and his guitar playing. I liked the story he told about visiting his grandpa in Kansas City who worked at the Rolls Royce airplane engine factory.

However good Cornell was, he was clearly second fiddle to Kim Thayll that dude can seriously play the guitar. I was more than once impressed with his shredding capabilities (below left):

Soundgarden ended with raucous “Slaves & Bulldozers” with each member playing off the stage with reverb in effect for their instrument. It was rock’n’roll at its finest.

We watched drunk people stagger down the Starlight aisles, chuckled at the people dancing way out of time (beer seems to make anyone think they dance better), and then watch the drunks urinate in the parking lot. Ah, good times, making memories…

Me and my Angie:

Gojira and Opeth at The Midland

I have a couple of Devin Townsend’s albums and saw he was opening for some band and Opeth (who I also have several albums of) at The Midland, so Angie and I picked up tickets.

The initial set was crowded, they had all three bands set on the stage each in front of the other. From what I could tell from my four-hundreds cheap seats it looked like the opening act (The Devin Townsend Project) only had about six feet of stage:

Here is a shot of Devin doing there thing with their cool backdrop:

After a couple of songs you were reminded that Devin Townsend is a strange fellow making some really odd comments. I think he was trying to be funny but most of it sounded like random thoughts strung together to fill awkward silence. At one point something was wrong with the gear and he literally rambled on saying “and we keep the audience busy to not see the technical problems” (paraphrasing) while crew members scampered about fixing this and that.

Then a set change for Gojira:

I do have “Magma” from these guys but I guess I didn’t remember this was going to be pretty hard set. Pretty simple stage setup but damn their lights where very VERY intense. Several points you just had to close your eyes to prevent some sort of seizure reaction.

 At any rate their music was hard, intense and frankly hard to follow with the volume being so loud it was just mottled loudness. Angie and I always wear earplugs but usually we can make out the music fine, here the double bass and the guitar, well, noise was so dominate all you really heard was a mix of aggression and screaming. Not that it was horrible we were just mostly confused to what was really going on.

That said the Gojira drummer was something to see:

The band clearly recognizes that this guy has some serious drum skills, he had several solos and at multiple points I think I caught myself saying “Damn!” out loud. Yeah, really impressive stuff.

Then the set change for Opeth (note the covered up Gojira stuff in the middle, they didn’t really clear the set just covered up the others, shared the majority of the light bars):

Their backdrop was their signature logo:

Angie and I were hoping Opeth would take a bit of a softer approach as we were kinda still recovering from the onslaught that was Gojira. Opeth didn’t disappoit as several of their songs had more melodic structure and showed off their technical chops.

Opeth took the stage and Mikael Åkerfeldt quickly established he is the man with his stage presence and his ability to both sing and growl:

Opeth played several songs from their “Sorceress” album, which has both beautiful and disgusting imagery on the cover:

For some reasons the tour managers for these groups must think their audience are wee folks, no tour shirts on any of the groups larger than a 1x – I mean seriously. If you guys make most of your tour receipts off of merchandising then bring shirts that fit real people. All together now a collective “GRRRR!”.

Anyhow overall it was an interesting event, I am not sure how I am going to convince Angie to go to the next new to her band that I sell with “oh, ah, they sound like Dream Theater, yeah just like that”.

Me and my Angie (I am wearing my Iron Maiden trooper shirt which to my surprise there were about 5 other Iron Maiden shirts seen at this event):

Garth Brooks at Sprint Center

I have been a fan of Garth since his first album.  Does it mean I am a big country music guy, pfft, far from that I usually really dislike country music but Garth has the talent, passion, and uniqueness for me that makes him stand far above the country music landscape.

His stage setup was a oval stage at the end of Sprint center with huge screens on each side (nice touch), here is a setup shot:

I found it interesting that Amazon was a clear sponsor being printed on his bags and several videos on a rotation before the show on the (I am going to guess) Amazon paid for screens:

The interesting part of his stage setup is his light bars that come out into the crowd. They turned off the house lights and these lightbars were used to light up the center – I suppose allowing the stage crew the ability to control the house lighting. During “The Thunder Rolls” these light bars had (what acted like) dozens of strobe effects that made Sprint center look like a super lightening storm – it was pretty epic.

This was the only concert at Sprint center I have seen that utilizes the lighting around the center, meaning the lighting was synchronized with the show – it was unique and added a neat subversive effect:

This tour was labeled “The Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood“. Sure Trisha came out sang a song with Garth then sang 4 others and back to Garth. Kinda a special guest contribution I thought, but then again she is married to the guy.  Shot of Tricia on stage:

Here is a shot with the drum set cage in the middle lite up, it also rotated and was built with the idea that Garth would climb all over it (as he did several times):

Garth is no doubt a showman. Couple his energy, passion for what he is doing and him genuinely having a good time you just cant help admire the guy and his ability to get 20k people singing 20 year old songs.

We had tickets in section 122, all seats were same price $65 and everyone was limited to 8. This I think is one of the reasons the man sold out 7 shows in a row this time around (13 when Sprint center opened!) This was a Saturday afternoon (15:00) concert, Angie and I think this is a first for us most of our concert outings are nighttime and we get home past midnight.

Really one of the best concerts for energy and passion I have seen in a long time, even if you’re not a fan of the country music scene if you like to see people doing their thing, and sharing it with you, Garth is one to catch.

UPDATE: We returned to Sprint center at a later date and saw this banner which we though was neat because we saw one of the shows (left side banner):

Me and my Angie: