Jul 11, 2008

Concert Review- JOE COCKER /STEVE MILLER BAND at Radio City Music Hall

It was a double classic rock bill at Radio City Music Hall. The best place to see a concert! The crowd was real good, alot of dancing on & off and alot of warm cheers for the big songs. I got my tickets on "Tickets Now" day of the show, they were e-mailed to me and were printable at home. I even saved $20 off the ticket price. Center stage Orchestra Row A (about 20th row). I was more eager to see Joe Cocker, as I have gotten in to him more over the past few years.

Joe Cocker is a Veteran Rocker with the gritty voice and spastic stage performances. Joe earned major respect with his performance at the 1969 Woodstock concert; his performance of the Beatles “A Little Help from My Friends” with The Grease band is legendary. Through the years he has been known for his hits of covers of other artist’s songs besides his own. He has had 3 top 10 U.S. Hits 4 top 11 hits and a number one hit.
The 1969 Mad Dogs & Englishman Tour was famous for its all night parties and massive drug & alcohol use. It was one big party that led Cocker to battles with drug & alcohol problems through his life, but he cleaned up his act and made a comeback in the eighties.
Joe has released over 20 albums through his career and many Greatest Hits & Anthology compilations. He has appeared on Ed Sullivan, the Tom Jones show, Woodstock 1969 & 1994, and my favorite; an appearance on Saturday Night Live where he was joined by John Belushi doing a parody of Cocker during “Feeling Alright”. (The Joe Cocker bit was Belushi’s favorite part to play.)
He currently lives on “Mad Dog Ranch” in Colorado with his wife Pam.

Joe cocker at Woodstock 1969
Joe was fantastic. You either like him or you don't. His act is the same, a very distinct screaming, gravely voiced vocalist who looks like he may not make it through the next line at times.

Spit flying out of his teeth, and horrifying grimaces, that make it seem like he is in agony. But somehow he is sensational. His voice is full of power & energy as he takes songs to a new level. He has been doing it for 40 years and keeps rolling along covering songs like no one else can.

Dressed in all black, rolled up sleeves, playing air guitar & air piano with those classic spastic moves. He still belts out screams that sound as if they are full of pain & yet excitement. He made the crowd roar with the classic scream in "With A Little Help' just like he did at Woodstock.

His band had a female bassist, 1 piano player & keyboardist, drummer, sax player and two female singers in short short skirts who could sing. Bringing the blues of Cockers records to life.

The set rolled along early on with his classic 'Feeling Alright" & "The Letter". He surprised me with another Beatles cover -"Come Together", done in the same style as the Beatles. He brought it down a notch and sang an absolutely beautiful version of "You Are So Beautiful". Featuring just Cocker at center stage and a piano backing him. It was a great live concert moment.Brought the crowd to their feet for a standing O!!

The set just took off during the last segments-"Leave Your Hat On" -"Unchain My Heart" and then he blew us away with "A Little Help From My Friends", and the encores of "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" & "Cry Me A River".

Joe was great and stole the show. I can't wait to see him headlining on his own doing a longer set.


Joe Cocker's Set List
Feeling Alright
The Letter
When the Night Comes
The Lift is Up Where We Belong
You Are So Beautiful
Summer in the City
Come Together'
Hymn for My Soul
You Can Leave Your Hat On
Unchain My Heart
With A Little Help From My Friends

Encores:
She Came In Through the Bathroom Window
Cry Me A River
___________________________________________________________________
The Steve Miller band was formed out of the San Francisco Haight Ashbury scene of the late 1960s. Boz Scaggs was a member of The Steve Miller Band in its early years. Miller had success with “Space Cowboy” in 1969 and the song “My Dark Hour” featured Paul McCartney on bass under the name Paul Ramon. Miller had huge success in the mid seventies with two consecutive block buster albums. “Fly Like An Eagle” in 1976 which included major hits “Fly Like An Eagle” “Take the Money & Run” and a number one “ Rock N Me”. The 1977 release “Book of Dreams” included “Jet Airliner’ ”Jungle Love” & “Swing town”. In 1982 “Abracadabra “became Steve’s third number one song.
“Steve Miller Bands Greatest Hits 1974-1978” has sold over 13 million copies.


As for Steve Miller he came out with a bang opening with "Swing Town" , he played a great opening set but then lost me along the way. He had a full band on stage including a new member Sonny Charles, who just dances around & sings. His longest time band member (32 years) is his harmonica player whose name I don't know. I never saw so many harmonica leads & duals with a guitar in my life.

Steve switched guitars for every song, he told a great New York story about when he was on Hulabaloo in 1965 and got paid $125. He went to Manny's guitar shop on Broadway and spent it on a guitar that he still has & played last night.

He then paid tribute to Bo Didley and gave the mic to the newest band member Sonny Charles who sang the next 3 songs. He lost me here, it went on too long. The Steve came back & played the intro to "Fly Like an Eagle" going right into the song. This is my fav Steve Miller song so I was excited. The song went into a jam and then he introduced his keyboard player and he came out and sang a rap in the middle of "Fly Like an Eagle" Yes a rap to "Fly like an Eagle"!! What the hell is this??? I booed it and it ruined the whole song for me. He did a couple more old tunes, not popular ones and closed out with a few hits that made the crowd happy.

"Rock N Me" "The Joker" and then"Jet Airliner' probably the best song of the night.

Steve Miller Band Set List
Swing Town
Living in the USA
Space Cowboy
Abra Cadabra
Nobody Loves You
Mercury Blues
Hey Bo Diddley
Pretty Thing
Boom Bopa Boom
Fly Like an Eagle
Wild Mountain Honey
Wintertime
Dance Dance Dance
Rock N Me
The Joker
Jet Airliner
encores:
Take The Money & Run
Jungle Love

1 comment:

TFTD said...

Just saw the same show in Draper UT July 30, 2008. Outdoor stage, most people sitting on the grass, setting sun baking the (Joe Cocker) performers wearing shades from necessity, and dressed in black. But it was GREAT! Joe stole the show. Having only paid $20 for a chair seat, by the time he sang The Letter, I had gotten more than my money's worth.

I remember a few years ago watching RockStar INXS when that weird guy sang the Joe Cocker arrangement of that song, I remembered how much I loved it. Now getting to hear it live, even with syntho-brass, I felt complete.

Thanks for listing the songlist, I should have taken my Edirol recorder in and gotten the audio for the grandkids to hear years from now.

My fav new song, along with being very apropos, was Summer in the City. Reggae bridge was brilliant. I know Joe doesn't do the arrangements, but he DOES pick them. He also proves the great quality of the Beatles songbook which stands up to many different interpretations.

P.S. I am in love with the bass players legs.