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):

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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 😉

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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):

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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:

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