Monday, May 04, 2015

Music Monday ~ Who Have You Seen Performing Live?

My husband, and some of his family, have seen literally dozens of famous musicians and vocalists performing live. Once they begin reciting their lists I listen enviously, trying hard to remember anybody nationally or internationally famous at all that I've seen on stage. Best I can do is say I saw British crooner Dickie Valentine, back in the 1950s; then many years later, sometime in the 1990s, I saw country music star Don Williams perform in Harrogate, Yorkshire. I think that's about it!

It wasn't that I was never enthusiastic enough, I just never had opportunities to attend concerts, often due to where I was living, or my work hours, or travel difficulties, or expense. In the UK, in those days, and still, I guess, most big name stars performed only in London, and that was always out of reach for me, due to all of the listed reasons.

I have enjoyed listening regularly to a number of locally-known vocalists during vacation times abroad (abroad from the UK that is) who, though well-known in their little corner of the world, were not household names. Those artists were more real to me, anyway, than some "big name" big shots. I could chat to them, have a drink with them, sing along even....more fun altogether than sitting in the cheap seats of some huge theatre or arena.

Ye gods, I do so hate arenas! We went to an arena concert in Tulsa to see the American Idol concert in the year when Adam Lambert was runner up, 2008 I think (he should've won!) We could scarcely hear the singing for the incessant screams and screeches all around. Simply unpleasant, it was!

I've done much better on the live performance front since coming to the USA. Thanks to husband, his daughter and son-in-law we've seen Leon Russell, Elton John, Ricky Lee Jones, and Boz Scaggs - all but one in nice, smallish venues.

Husband and I took a coach trip from our town to to Branson, Missouri some years ago, included in the tour was a show featuring Andy Williams & Petula Clark; and another with country singer Mickey Gilley. Still on the country music front we saw an old favourite of mine, Gene Watson singing at a small casino near Norman, Oklahoma. We also saw David Alan Coe "singing" in a small venue in Oklahoma City several years ago. What possessed us to make the effort for that I really don't know. Ooooh, but it was LOUD and pretty darn BAD! We staggered out into the car park at half time never to return. I was deaf - completely for a while, a very strange experience - new to me! Husband had constant ringing in his ears for a while too.

I've been wondering who, among those living and still performing, I'd pay good money to see on stage, but I came up empty. CDs and/or DVDs will suffice! What I'd really love to see would be top notch live peformances of two favourite musicals, Les Miserables and Evita. Not much hope of that though, I suspect.

Anyway - who among musicians and singers have you seen performing "in the flesh" as it were, or alternatively, who do you wish you'd seen or might still have the chance of seeing - any offers?


mike said...

The last live concert I attended was many years ago: Jimmy Spheeris (DOB 11-5-49). The local radio station had an interview with him and I called-in with a question, which won me a backstage pass, then an invitation to his post-performance private party. I thought, "WOW!", and was duly self-impressed, but I didn't enjoy the party. It was stuffy, full of groupies, and Spheeris was full of it! LOL.

Here's his "I Am the Mercury":

An odd twist is that he died in 1984, in a motorcycle accident. This occurred about five years after I saw him in concert.

I'm not one to attend concerts for many reasons: cost, crowds, loudness, difficulty with location. I'd rather spend the money on their album. I don't have much desire to meet & greet the celebrities of music or movies, as they are adored for their image, and not much true substance to be had probably. I'd rather maintain the untested persona than the possible reality of misgivings.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I'd never heard of Jimmy Spheeris - his name must not have reached the shores of Britain before he met that untimely accidental death. I enjoyed "I Am the Mercury" - an undemanding yet interesting and quite gentle style. Nice!

The celebrity culture, in UK and even more so in the USA has mushroomed, not always in a good way, aided by social media I suppose. Celebs have their own mini-1% group of characters, and though it has always been that way to some extent, these days the difference in lifestyles between the celeb 1% and the humble singer/musician doing the rounds of small clubs and bars is so wide as to be obscene. Such is life!

anyjazz said...

The first live performance I remember was in 1953 when I attended a Spike Jones concert. I saw him again the following year. Since then, I’ve seen live concerts by Ricky Nelson, Stan Kenton (2x), Harry James, Carole King, Simon and Garfunkel, Ricki Lee Jones, World’s Greatest Jazz Band (1968 line up), Maynard Ferguson, Cheryl Crow, Paul Desmond with Dave Brubeck, Billy Eckstine, Dukes of Dixieland, Preservation Hall Band, Ed Bickert, Rene Rosnes, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Count Basie (3x), Asleep at the Wheel, Gene Watson, Lavay Smith, Rod McKuen, Sarah Vaughn, Merle Haggard, Jethro Burns, Johnny Gimble, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Turtle Island String Quartet, Tony Bennett, Michael Hedges, Hugh Masekela, Woody Herman, Leon Russell (2X), George Carlin, Barney Kessel, Laurendo Almeda, Herb Ellis, Christine Jenson, Maria Muldaur (2x), Cesaria Evora, Sonny Rollins, Ravi Coltrane, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Dr. John, Elton John, John Pizzerelli, Joe Lavano, Ravi Coltrane, Dallas Jazz Orchestra, David Allen Coe, George Thorogood, The Gatlin Brothers, Boz Scaggs, Joe Diffee, Andy William, Clark Terry and Petula Clark. I am probably forgetting a few. Not many “celebrities” in the list, just musicians and George. I am sure there have been some who have seen many more concerts; the thing about this list is the diversity: from Merle Haggard to Maynard Ferguson, from Spike Jones to Ricky Lee Jones. And although some, such as Elton John, were seen in very large auditoriums, most were in small venues. Lionel Hampton for instance, was in a tiny Oklahoma City school assembly room which doubled as a cafeteria. Several others appeared in the 750 seat theater in our town. Some of the big band concerts I attended back when I still lived in Kansas.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~ PHEW!! WOW!! Ah well - you've been around for a long time (as have I). ;-)

Good variety of style there for sure - including one artist who didn't sing at all - George Carlin (bless 'im). I saw that very good show with you in OKC. :-)

I didn't list Joe Diffee in my post but I was there too, and didn't like his style, especially when he ordered the audience to stand for a flag-waving military-thanking type song - I was the only person remaining seated in the entire theatre.
Almost put me off country music for good he did!

Bob said...

Elvis and the Beach Boys. Probably others who performed at local summer festivals years after they were no longer headliners. And some at the Coronado theater in Rockford, IL., revamped movie theater. Can't remember who. Not important to me. I was usually taking someone else.

Bob said...

I should have included these links.

Twilight said...

Bob ~ Two really big stars there - even if they were past their heydays.

What a beautiful theatre! thanks for the links. I love to see old theatres - we saw Boz Scaggs in Salina Kansas at the Stiefel Theatre there, a couple of years ago - it's a nice one too.

Bob said...

Elvis was at his prime - 1972 tour after the '68 comeback special and during his early Las Vegas years.

Beach Boys were past their prime but still had the exact sound of their hits.

Bob said...

I think I would be very pleased to see this little dybamo from Btoken Arrow, OK.

Kristin Chenoweth "Spoonful Of Sugar"- Kennedy Center Honors

Born: July 24, 1968 (age 46), Broken Arrow, OK

Height: 4' 11" (1.50 m)

Bob said...



"During emcee Walter Cronkite's opening remarks, she was the only honoree to receive an ovation."

Bob said...

So many!


Bob said...

Judy was my choice for female intense energy - this man for male version.

Sammy Davis Jr. - Mr. Bojangles

Twilight said...

Bob ~ Many thanks for these.

I remember Ktistin Chenoweth from her role in "West Wing" - a multi-talented lady!

Julie Andrews - another lovely, gracious and multi-talented lady!

Placido Domingo - superb!

Sammy Davis - another multi-talented entertainer who never missed - but we still miss.