In Concert

Buzz News Chicago: Theatre and Concert Reviews

There is nothing better than seeing a concert driven with high energy. The audience waits with excitement for the concert to start. The introduction takes place and the band walks out onto the stage. The first notes on the electric guitar come through the monitors while everyone cheers and shouts the name of the man leading the show. A power chord drives the adrenaline up and is followed by fast paced minor riffs. Martin Barre has come to entertain you and the entire performance will be nothing less than spectacular. He’s is just amazing!

Martin had gone his own way in 2011 after Jethro Tull finally dissolved. Several years of performing within one of the toughest groups to ever exist had come to an end and left this six string master without a band. Mr. Barre had decided to start a new group. His current concert experience is fresh with a straight up rock and blues feel. The band is made up of some really great players that are having a good time playing some incredibly intricate music. The overall skill level is just off the charts!

Blues, rock, folk, and much more are the genres that make them up, but they don’t fit into any one category. This group is a four piece that is ready to blow anyone away who comes to see them. It’s a show that is a must see it to believe it. Do you like rock, blues, soulful guitars, and a super band? The Martin Barre Band is the band to see.  

George Lindsay is filling the role of drums and percussion with style that can mimic men who have been in Tull. His skill with sticks and mallets grace his kit with every beat. The foot work on the double bass pedals sounds like machine guns rapidly firing. This young man is big in every way. The percussive sound is huge and fills up any room he is playing in, but he is not lacking in the height category either. Standing six foot eight in height, he is quite an intimidating guy and appears taller than he admits. Don’t let his size spook you because he is a gentle giant and an awesome drummer. After a show, a concert attendee yelled up to him on stage, “George!” to get his attention. He responded back quickly, “That’s Big George!” Then he smiles.

It’s always great when a singer can belt out a song and push it over the top to excellence. Taking the role of singer can be difficult, but Dan Crisp has done an outstanding job. He is not attempting to fill the shoes of a one legged flute player, but rather he stands solidly on the ground as his own man. He has a voice that is very pleasant to listen to. Dan also plays guitar leads and solos that are quite difficult to undertake, but he does songs justice in everything he plays. He has a mad scientist, comical way about him as he moves around on stage. Mr. Crisp has been with this band for quite a while and with a little luck, he doesn’t leave anytime soon.

Providing the bottom end for the band is an extremely talented musician, Alan Thomson. His playing style is filled with dynamics as no notes better be played that don’t belong. It’s not possible for Martin to have picked up a better all around musician for bass. Alan sings backup and also plays slide guitar on the song “Bad Man.” His expertise shines with every swell during his mournful lead. Alan is so into the music that he appears as if he is not having a good time at all. “I may look like I’m not having a good time on the outside, but on the inside, I’m having the time of my life.” This low end master is fantastic to see live and a true gentleman to his fans. All bass players who have played with Martin in the previous years have been incredible and Alan Thomson is no exception. He can’t be compared to anyone else.

Martin Barre is just an amazing guitar player and he won’t let you forget it during any song that he performs live these days. He has taken Jethro Tull songs, ripped them apart, and put together arrangements that just impress the ears. Smiling from ear to ear, this man appears to be enjoying himself. He is actually quite funny too as he converses with the fans between songs. He talks about being a “bad guitar player” and hanging out with the Queen. You don’t have to be a fan of his previous band to enjoy his new show.

Some Jethro Tull fans seem to be divided into two separate camps, but still with respect for each other. Some are diehard Ian Anderson followers and others have preferred to watch the new and improved Martin Barre. Both are performing great shows solo, but most would just like to see them together again. Dave Pincus who has seen Jethro Tull over 150 times said, “Martin’s new band has a freshness and energy level that makes the show two hours of awesome entertainment.”

Martin being the band leader he has formed this concoction of musicians and blended these guys into awesomeness. The crisp sound of the guitars, the bass tone, and an excellent mix on drums helps capture their stage sound for the audience. The man behind the mixing board helps out a bit as well.  

New Day Yesterday, Teacher, and Fat Man are usual Jethro Tull songs that you will hear at a Martin show. In addition, other songs like Crossroads by Robert Johnson will feature Martin on mandolin and for a while it becomes a heavy metal mandolin. The arrangement is nothing like the Cream version at all. Having the mandolin lead the song was a good choice as it gave the song a sharpness that it never had before.

In late August, Martin kicks off his Fall US tour in Iowa. He will be touring the Midwest and upper East coast. He has over 30 shows scheduled and is already posting new shows for 2017! There seems to be no stopping this man. Complete show listing can be seen

Martin Barre has come to entertain you and it will be nothing less than spectacular. The towns and cities wait with excitement for Martin Barre to come to the stage. Seeing him and his band is something that will make you happy and feel at home. The show is mostly musical, but he does make you feel like you’re the only person sitting in the audience. It’s just amazing!


Published in In Concert

Amazing times can be had at a live production. Summer concerts can be especially nice; the sun is setting, the crowd is excited, and the opening act is about to take the stage. This particular musical presentation couldn’t have gone much better. 

Opening the show was blues legend, Charlie Musselwhite. The talented musician came out blowing the harp and he gave it all he had. His entire performance was just fantastic, warming up the crowd on a chilly summer night. The audience was certainly amped and ready for the “Space Cowboy”, as the seats and picnic area were already well occupied for this amazing guitar man. 

The Steve Miller Band then took over and hit the crowd right between the eyes with “Jungle Love”, “Take the Money and Run”, and “Abracadabra”, and that was just for starters. If Miller’s performance wasn’t thrilling enough, the place really exploded with excitement when Charlie Musselwhite was invited out to join in on a few bluesy songs. They did a few old cover songs from Little Walter and Freddie King. It was a very memorable time for everyone. 

Longtime fan, Ron Marten says, “I became a fan in 1976 when I was six-years-old. My mom had just bought an 8-track player and joined Columbia house. She was stiffed with this 8-track that was the selection of the month, Fly Like an Eagle. At that time, I was really into the "Space Intro". She couldn’t send it back now. It was part of my nursery rhymes.  We ended up playing the hell out of it.”

Miller’s set continued on with more hits; hit after hit after hit! The night couldn’t be better for any true fan of Steve Miller. He performed very well and his sound is always top notch.  Highland Park was truly fortunate to get an act like this playing in their backyard. 

One fan, however, seemed disappointed during an intro the song "Wintertime". “That was the Window!” he shouted. He turned about to his friends and joined in singing, “In the wintertime ……….”. His mood couldn’t be ruined. 

Steve Miller brought out all of his classics that he could including “Serenade”, “The Joker”, “Fly Like an Eagle”, and closed his triumphant set out with another favorite “Jet Airliner”. Not a single fan in the crowd could be disappointed with the set list. Seeing this man live is like flipping on a radio. Instantly the ear candy is something you know and it hits you hard. 

Ravinia Festival in Highland Park is the place to be to see a live act and who could possibly be better than Steve Miller?                    


Published in In Concert
Saturday, 29 August 2015 18:02

ZZ Top Live at Ravinia

An amazing feeling comes over you when going to see a live band outside during the summer. It’s such a treat to be able to attend a show in beautiful landscapes of Ravinia in Highland Park, Illinois. When ZZ Top is in town you know it’s going to be a party.  

On such a beautiful Thursday evening several thousand fans gathered into Ravinia to see that little band from Texas that wallops a big ol' punch. ZZ Top is going to take the stage tonight and you better watch out. The guitar riffs are amazing.

Opening out the night was Blackberry Smoke. Great musicians! Vocally they were just an amazing band. They tore into it with a nice country twang to them that really set your hair on fire.  The influence of Southern rock on this band can be heard. They have an Allman Brother’s feel to them within their big jam band style. Some real great playing was displayed. Great pickers!

The time had come for the main act to come out. The temperature was perfect, the mood was serene, and the crowd was ready. “Got Me Under Pressure” and “Gimme All Your Loving,” were just like the record and tremendous crowd pleasers as well. They brought out the choreographed dance moves and charmed the hell out of a sold out audience. They come complete with matching guitars, beards, hats, and matching attitudes. Bad ass!!

This band seems like it’s been going on forever. Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard got ZZ Top going strong and soon had a great following in no time. They had a good career in the 70’s with a few strong hits. Once the 80’s came they added synthesizers and became unstoppable. Each one of these guys was right on the money all night long.  

At Ravinia they displayed their MTV hits, old hits, and never stopped laying down a groove. The crowd was very well organized. Large displays of food, tables, chairs, bottles of wine were everywhere to be seen. Can’t think of a better way to enjoy ZZ Top live than in the plush lawn of Ravinia. It was a perfect setting for songs like, “Jesus just left Chicago”, “Sharp Dressed Man”, “Tush,” and “LaGrange”.

When ZZ Top is in town you know it’s going to be a party.  ZZ Top just played Ravinia and it was amazing. They played a great set that made everyone want more, but what did they leave out?  Nothing.

Published in In Concert


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