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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
16 July 2016, Greek Theater, Los Angeles, CA
Two words: Rock God. Another word: Wow.
Having only previously seen him live doing a few songs at the Countdown Spectacular 2 extravaganza in Sydney in 2007, and then having had two failed attempts at seeing him headline a full concert (I had a ticket to see him in London three years ago but I was too sick to go; I had a ticket to see him in Sydney two years ago but he cancelled the tour in favour of making a movie with Meryl Streep… as you do), finally I was in an audience surrounded by Rick’s famous Super Fans to see him in full flight and wow. Just wow.
3 July 2016, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA
Another year, another Chicago concert. Except this one was different. Reinvigorated and bolstered by their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three months ago, Chicago sold out three nights at the Hollywood Bowl over the July 4 weekend. Along with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and its jovial conductor Thomas Wilkins, and the US Air Force Band of the Golden West, no less, plus fireworks, there was plenty of colour and ceremony and spectacle to go with those classic Chicago songs I’ve heard and seen them play each year for a while now.