A Tribute To The Music Of Linda Ronstadt

11 December 2016, The Theater at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles, CA

When thinking about how I would describe this outstanding event I wondered what I could add to the detailed reviews in the LA Times and Billboard, the links for which are at the end of this report. While I can certainly speak to the excellent musicianship, the thoughtful choice of songs to represent Linda Ronstadt across all the genres of her repertoire – country, folk, rock, pop, standards, Mexican and more – and the seriously outstanding singing from the female performers on the bill, the greatest impression on me, what mesmerised and touched me, was the outpouring of love for Linda on stage, on the video tributes, and in the audience.

Jeff Lynne’s ELO

10 September 2016, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA

This just might be among the best live concerts I’ve ever seen. It should have been longer and it should have been louder, but it was visually and aurally spectacular and, similar to when I saw Barbra Streisand last month, I was aware that I was among the very privileged few even getting to see this show, Jeff Lynne’s ELO tour of the US playing only three nights in Los Angeles and two nights in New York, and nowhere else.

Hall & Oates

3 September 2016, Blue Sun Music & Wine Festival, Westlake Village, CA

I hadn’t seen Daryl Hall & John Oates in concert since 1998 and had never photographed them, so in the setting sun I enjoyed focusing in on the lustrous locks and funny faces of Hall, and the craggy mean looks of Oates, but what you can’t see is the amazing voices singing those soulful songs sounding as great as they did back on Abandoned Luncheonette and Bigger Than Both Of Us, the latter still in my vinyl album collection. “She’s Gone”, “Sara Smile”, “Rich Girl”, “Do What You Want, Be What You Are”, and all those ’80s pop hits too. The best of Philadelphia white soul – perhaps the best white soul anywhere – on a California summer evening, quite sublime.

Adele

5 August 2016, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

A superb month of concerts culminated in the Adele show I didn’t think I would get to see. Not so secret trick: great seats are released just a few hours before show time. If you can’t get one online, call the ticket phone line. Buy a face value seat instead of outrageous broker prices.

Three nights after Barbra, here was Adele at the Staples Center, for the first of eight sold-out shows.

Barbra!!

2 August 2016, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

So many moments, so many photos. She was my bucket list item, the last great performer I hadn’t seen live. Why wouldn’t I want to capture “every single look and sweet expression on her face”, to quote a line from one of the songs in Yentl, “The Way He Makes Me Feel”? Barbra didn’t sing that one; she sang – and I knew she would – “Papa Can You Hear Me?”. It had been my father’s favourite song from the Yentl soundtrack and so I thought of him with tears in my eyes as she sang it mesmerisingly, and that was just fine.

Michael McDonald & Boz Scaggs

31 July 2016, Greek Theater, Los Angeles, CA

Boz continues to maintain his buzz. Sounding every bit as good as he did when I saw him in 2013 (LA) and in 2009 (Philadelphia) and way back in 1978 (Sydney), it’s fitting that he tours with Michael McDonald – they are two of the most distinctive voices in popular music and their smooth rock infused with blues and soul, along with consummate musicianship, makes for a perfect pairing.

Don Henley in Berkeley

23 July 2016, Greek Theater, Berkeley, CA

It’s actually hard to write about this concert in my usual reportage style. This was very emotional for me, seeing Don in person for the first time since Glenn died. At times I felt overwhelmed. Of course the performance was stunning; Don is rarely anything less.