Anniversaries – Chicago Transit Authority turns 50

Fifty years ago I was just six years old. I was growing up in Sydney, Australia. The major music landmarks of 1969 in the United States were worlds away. Yet this year I will find myself preoccupied with many anniversaries of great albums and monumental events. Woodstock, for one, and Crosby Stills & Nash, Sweet Baby James, Morrison Hotel… and today I am thinking about Chicago Transit Authority.

Rick Springfield – heart on his sleeve, strings on his bow

30 March 2019, Saban Theater, Beverly Hills, CA

I’ve been a fan of Rick Springfield for 45 years or so, and yet I only know a handful of his songs well.

I have several friends who are die-hard super-duper travel-all-over-the-country Rick fans, who have met him and talked with him and gone on music cruises with him and he knows them too. Of course they know every word to every song and so they might be appalled when I say I knew him long before they did and yet I hardly know the words to his songs. “Jessie’s Girl”, you bet. “Don’t Talk To Strangers”, pretty much only the chorus. Ditto “I’ve Done Everything For You”. I love Rick, I do, but my admiration for him is about something greater than the songs themselves.

A Heart torn asunder, now on the mend

“How can you mend a broken heart?” So sang one sibling group, the Bee Gees, and now the last man standing from that musical family, Barry Gibb, carries on, brilliant as he is, with an inescapable sadness over lives ended too soon, things that can never be said, or unsaid. Maybe that notion of the shortness of life is what’s prompted Ann Wilson to reunite with her sister Nancy Wilson and go back on the road as Heart this year. The what-can’t-be-said-or-unsaid concern, or just the lure of big money, has brought these goddesses back together for a 39-show “Love Alive” tour that will culminate at the Hollywood Bowl in September.

On the yellow brick road of Elton John’s sweet farewell

22 January 2019, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

Elton John just completed the six-show Los Angeles run of his very long worldwide farewell tour – Elton’s never done anything in small measure – and how very thankful I am that I saw a concert, because it was a glorious and preciously poignant occasion indeed. Elton’s signalled his intention to quit touring before – I’m pretty sure there was at least one “farewell” tour some years back – but I really got the impression he means it this time.

Vets Aid – Joe Walsh and friends jump to the cause

11 November 2018, Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, WA

There was hugging and kissing and gratitude and wide-eyed wonder at the Joe Walsh-organised Vets Aid concert on Sunday night, and I’m not talking about what was going on in the Tacoma Dome audience of 20,000 or so. It was on stage, and it was genuine, as music veterans paid tribute to war veterans and as Joe’s friends gave kudos to Joe for caring enough about the vets to start a charity and mount a concert and raise $1.4 million dollars in the event’s second year.

Don Henley’s Desert Trip

2 November 2018, Agua Caliente Casino, Rancho Mirage, CA

A couple of years ago when the huge Desert Trip festival was staged in the Coachella Valley, I was happily not there. When the mammoth line-up was announced with great fanfare, it was a relief to me that none of my favourite acts was on board and I didn’t want to see any of the acts on the bill badly enough that I would subject myself to a weekend in a vast dusty field in the desert with many thousands of people.