Results tagged ‘ Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series ’

Rays Concert Guest Miranda Cosgrove in Tour Bus Accident

In a bit of news today that will send a dark cloud throughout the younger regiment of the Rays Republic, Nickelodeon “iCarly” star Miranda Cosgrove was in an 2-vehicle accident last night.

As of this moment, Cosgrove who suffered a broken right ankle from the accident has postponed her current “Dancing Crazy” Tour, which included a Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert on September 3, 2011. As of this moment, Cosgrove and her mother will return to their home to “heal up”.

The incident happened during the night hour’s while Cosgrove’s tour bus was winding it ways towards Kansas after a concert in Ohio on Wednesday evening. The accident occurred on I-70 just outside of Vandalia, Illinois.

On a mostly pitch black road, Cosgrove’s tour bus driver suddenly came upon a overturned semi tractor trailer unit and instead of trying to swerve and possibly overturn themselves, the driver made an assertive move to brake and hit the overturned truck head-on.

Of the 5 people on board the bus, Cosgrove sustained a fractured right ankle that will require a cast, and a broken right big toe. The driver sustained the blunt of the force of the accident and had to be airlifted from the crash scene to a local hospital where he received 45 stitches for his injuries. Cosgrove’s mother also received some bruises in the collision.

Cosgrove has been more than adamant that the course of action by her tour bus driver was courageous and kept the injuries and possibilities of further harm to a minimum. Cosgrove has told people close to her “if it wasn’t for her bus driver’s quick thinking this morning, she might be dead now.”

This is not the first time the Tampa Bay Rays front office has had to deal with a accident concerning one of their planned concert guests. Most Rays fans might remember the Go-Go;s had to cancel their 2010 Rays/Hess Express appearance after band member Jane Weidlin suffered a major ACL tear during a 20-foot fall during a hike in the California mountains.

A possible scenario could be that Cosgrove could still perform for her Tropicana Field date after the Rays take on the Baltimore Orioles, but in stark reality, the concert by Cosgrove could possibly be canceled in the next few days

With the concert still over 3 weeks away, there is still a small window of time for Cosgrove to possibly resume her tour and the Tropicana Field date, but rest and the healing process might be the best medicine for Cosgrove right now than performing.

In reality, within the next few days it is possible the Rays will announce a cancellation of the concert, with a possible substitute band possibly announced in Cosgrove’s place.

It is a shame this budding star had the misfortune of coming upon the overturned tractor trailer in the dead of night, but the quick thinking of her tour bus driver adverted an impending disaster and a more uncertain result. Maybe Cosgrove can also follow the  2011 path of the Go-Go’s coming back to the Trop and performing for the fans. Could we possibly see Cosgrove do the same in 2012 and come back and perform for her Tampa Bay fans?

Drivers with Chauffeur’s licenses sometimes get a bad rap by people traveling on the highways and byways of this country. This time the safety training and impulse judgment of a experienced driver might have saved more than a life, it saved a budding icon.  Godspeed to the driver and to Miss Cosgrove  during their recovery.

 

Accident Photos by KDKS.com

From Bummer to a Blast in 60 Seconds…Pure Avril

Avril Lavigne definitely picked the right song to start off her Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert appearance, her upbeat and timely “What The Hel*” was the perfect song to start out what would be a unique and escalating Rays post game concert experience.

With stage hands frantically assembling, plugging and barking orders even moments before the Sk8tr Goddess hit the small stage you got the feeling this was going to be a high energy, dance producing moment, then someone or something decided a microphone monkey wrench had to be inserted into the whole sha-bang. During her first number Lavigne’s portable mic was anything but cooperative, and suddenly Lavigne bopped her way off stage.

The crowd was instanly stunned, and taken totally a- back, but immediately you could see frantic stagehands trying to get the mic situation done pronto. In the background you could see the angst growing on Lavigne’s face as she spoke to her handlers and concert personnel trying to figure out “What The Hel*”.

After several minutes of calming energy Lavigne reappeared smiling, enthusiastic the silence in her concert was defeated, she started out by letting out a impromptu, four-letter word Sk8tr sermon to the assembled masses that must have had a few Rays executives gasping. Still, it was the release of built up emotional garbage and hostility that needed to be exorcised for this show to explode and take us with it.

Lavigne then started sans her band in an a Capella rendition of “What The Hel*” that conquered the stress, angst and even submerged any bummer feeling among the Rays turf crowd. It was an amazing arrangement, plus really showed off that the actress, perfume and clothing maven was definitely not a one trick pony, or needed heavy musical background noise to hide any vocal deficiencies. This Gurl could wail with the best of them.

From that moment on this concert went into a non-stop ride of bouncing in place in unison with the punk rock princess, crowd participation sing-a-longs and watching the Trop’s roof bouncing up and down a few times. Suddenly you could see the crowd feed energy to Lavigne and she returned the favor in spades. This concert definitely went from a rocky summit to a thrill ride inducing encore featuring Lavigne’s smash “Complicated” and there was not a seatbelt in sight.

I was excited beforehand to see what Sean Daly the  local St. Petersburg Times music critic announced was the “One of the Best Rays Concert signing to date” Lavigne had us from her Ceremonial first pitch when the petite Lavigne threw to Rays giant ( 6′ 8”) Reliever Adam Russell and delivered a pitch across both our and the plate’s heart. From the neon green strands in her blond tresses to her splattered paint neon green motocross boots, she not only fit the Sk8tr motif to a “T”, she was their anointed punk Queen.

The song “What The Hel*” is still ringing in my ear. Not the band induced sampling, but that dramatic and unexpected solo offering that showed so much more of this singer’s talent, creativity and down right untapped reservoir of angst energy.

Would I turn down a moment watching a prime example of the type of girl guys like me chased when Motocross, Rat Bikes and skateboarding was in its infant stages….She was the bomb-digitty in her black and neon. Would I stand waiting for her to return on stage again…. You bet your life, in a New York minute . Some musical artists you love for things you can’t explain, or do not want to divulge to friends or family. Lavigne is that kind of artist to me. She reminded me of simpler times when song, energy and sticking to your guns with your style was paramount.



In essence, she made me want to be a Skatr boi all over again. But this time with cooler hair. Only bummer of the concert ( besides the obvious) was the fact the Rays stage was too small for a piano so we could see another dimension of Avril unfold in person. “What The Hel*”, I guess life really is a bit “Complicated” after all.

 Avril Lavigne Flickr Photostream

 

 

 

Rucker Couldn’t Get Us a Win, But He Did Put Melody in Our Soul

Been a big fan of Darius Rucker for quite some time. Sure I was a guy who sang his Hootie and the Blowfish hits in my car in my younger years, but I also have become a instant fan of his switch from Rock to Country, especially with his twist towards incorporating some of his personal life into his tunes.

So when the Tampa Bay Rays announced this April that Rucker had been added to the Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series, I was one happy dude. A nice double-dipper of a bonus was that Rucker would be onstage less than 24 hours after celebrating his own birthday ( 45th) where he did a private concert and workshop on Clearwater Beach, Florida on Friday evening in the company of young aspiring singers and musicians. Then you have the added personal cravat for me that he was performing on my birthday, and was a definite “win-win” scenario in my book.

Got to tell you, if 18 holes of golf makes you as energetic and enthusiastic as Rucker on stage that night, I am heading out to get    some DVD’s and learn how to monster the club head through the zone myself. Rucker had a glow about him on stage on Saturday  night that immediately spoke to me.

 From his first tune “Love Will Do That” from his latest Country album “Charleston 1966” to his last vocal note of the night, it felt just like sitting in a corner tavern with a friend on the mike singing his heart out…But that is how true music should hit us…right between the ventricles.

And Rucker’s music did hit that spot with a passion. All from a guy who possibly had a late night Birthday celebration, threw out the Ceremonial First Pitch, plus sang the National Anthem all before hitting the post-game stage and again making us swoon to and fro to his music.

My personal favorite of the night was “Southern State of Mind“. Mostly because every word in that little ditty was so true towards people square pegging people from this region of the country.

Ironically enough, when I took my coast-to-coast trip, I honestly mistakenly ordered “Sweet Tea” in Arizona and the waitress brought me tea and a huge sugar dispenser. Then while in San Francisco, I did hold the door open for a woman and she glared at me. Sorry, but manners do still run in my family.

From his up-beat song “Alright” to the more dramatic marriage tale ” I Got Nothin’“, it was a night exploring all thing Rucker, with a few visits from his alter-ego “Hootie”.

Got to admit I was happy to again hear ” Let Her Cry” from his Blowfish days, plus a special rendition of the Steve Miller classic “The Joker“, it felt totally like a bunch of friends just sitting around enjoying great music that night.

I let the horror of another loss slip from me as Rucker bellowed out his number 1 Country hit ” Comeback Song” with its catchy segments and great words to letting it all go as he sang “History in The Making” that echoes my own life is so many ways.

It was another great concert offering from the Rays, a great spokesman for their Country Night, and the perfect artist on stage singing his heart out for the assembled fans. Got me wondering after the show when we will see Rucker again in this region as the guy seems to always have a show here every 6 months or so….I think I better reserve my ticket now because I always love a good Southern song told by a great storyteller like Rucker.


REO Speedwagon Was a Lead-Off Hit for the Rays

They have produced a multitude of songs that step beyond the annuals of time. Anthems of new romance, loves lost and even emotional pulls at your warrior side that has been at the forefront of several generations. This was the perfect band to begin the third season of the Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series.

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The selection of REO Speedwagon seemed as a natural to kick off this year’s musical celebrations considering some of their direct and indirect ties to the Tampa Bay area. How many people know that Oldsmar, the little shadetree town nestled on the northern shores of Tampa Bay is actually named for R E Olds, the originator of the Oldsmobile franchise, and the inventor of the REO Speedwagon.

Beyond that degree of Tampa Bay seperation, REO’s lead singer Kevin Cronin made sure to do a personal ” shout out” to some friends of the band (Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander) who live in the northern Tampa Bay city of Spring Hill. 30 memebers of the “Tampa Bay REO clan”, which included family members and friends converged on Tropicana Field with prime spot in front of the stage to see Cronin and crew bring back the 70’s full blown with the Teflon roof of the Trop.

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The chemistry on stage between Cronin, lead guitarist David Amato, piano/keyboardist Neal Doughty and long time member bass guitarist Bruce Hall was evident from the first note played.How can you not like a band with a drummer who last name is Hitt….Bryan Hitt to be precise. From the drum beats to the solo guitar riffs that embody every REO song, the band pulled us in with their musical magic.

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 I am one of those who remember and wore out my copy of their Hi Infidelity album with its great ballads and high energy guitar and drum riffs. With the band celebrating their 30th anniversary of the release of that iconic album, and a remastered version out now, it purely felt like a hometown concert between friends.

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The first thing I noticed upon hitting the photog’s well today was the entire band was smiling from ear-to-ear. These are guys who definitely get into their songs and have fun playing together. That is something so rare to see a band together for over 30 years since their days at the Univeristy of Illinois who enjoy their work, and love sharing their craft. Made for the perfect ambrosia to again remember all of our lovelorn past.
Thumbnail image for REOSpeedwagon2011 068.JPGThumbnail image for REOSpeedwagon2011 115.JPGHow many of us lived and died in our early relationships wins and losses with songs like “Take It On the Run“, The Letter” or “Can’t Fight This Feeling“. I have noted before that “Riding The Storm Out” actually set in a snowy setting was one of the songs we heard in our ears when I hit the sands of Kuwait City back in 1991. In my youth, REO Speedwagon definitely has a special place.

Thumbnail image for REOSpeedwagon2011 279.JPGThe set by the band kept the assembled Tropicana Field crowd swaying and grooving with the riffs and vocals with more than a few in the crowd singing along and showing their inner Karaoke demons. But that is what hearing bands like this who set up musical memeory chips to our lives do to you.

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They bring up the intensity of the first moment you might have heard the song, possibly proposed to your future wife, or even lamented a failed attempt to keep the one you loved with you. REO delivered full bore and then some. 

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Was even great to see Johnny Damon and his kids around the Rays dugout rails enjoying the music. Funny thing is only 3 Rays, Damon, RP Kyle Farnsworth and RP Joel Peralta were even born when Hi Infidelity made its first march through the Billboard charts
Thumbnail image for REOSpeedwagon2011 093.JPGThumbnail image for REOSpeedwagon2011 088.JPGWith the band ending their set with “Riding The Storm Out” it sent the crowd back into the words buzzing on the band’s performance, and even bringing in a few new fans to the band’s music. REO Speedwagon has come a long way since their first gigs in campus bars and stashing their equipment in a friend’s station wagon (possibly an Oldsmobile).
Thumbnail image for REOSpeedwagon2011 306.JPGThumbnail image for REOSpeedwagon2011 270.JPGClassic bands like REO always bring a new sense and appreciation of music to younger fans, but to those of us who have weathered the rock storms of the past it brings moments to light that sculptured our lives and made us who we are today.

Looking Back at the Rays 2010 Concert Series…Part 2

 


 

So after a few days getting over a slight bit of misfortune of food poisoning eating some I relish…a hot dog, Ironically, it was my last hot dog of the year at a local High School football game against a bitter inner-city rival that took me down…Figures, thanks Northeast H S.


No more stalling, time to get this final edition of the Rays 2010 Concert Photos underway. One of the greatest thing I like about music is that the first few song of the musician’s sets are sometimes pre-programmed to get the crowd into a rising energy so that the concert can take a particular flow throughout the night.

The first seven concerts of the 2010 Rays Friday Fest and Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series definitely set of tone for the final second half. From John Fogerty to Barenaked Ladies, the Rays concert events began and uphill turn that never ended to the last event of the year, Bret Michaels. Each of the 14 concerts this year left a special mark with me. I was lucky to take photos during 12 of the 14 Rays concerts and get in tune with practicing my concert photography.

 

I am not a professional photographer, and my little Fuji S5100 has seen better days (Thanks drunken Yankee fan), but I think I do the best with what I got. Sure would love a $ 4,000+ Canon or Nikon camera body and a lens as long as my arm, but that is not in the slim, money-less budget right now. Now back to the awesome years in Rays music.


 

 

Vanilla Ice did not attract as many to the Trop’s infield as I might have thought for his concert, but it was the most high energy event of the year. Vanilla Ice has changed his modes operandi to push more towards the hard guitar and drumbeats that pumped through the crowd like a large heartbeat. Combine that with the (I thought) whimsical idea of Vanilla Ice trying to get the photographers’ wet, and you get a audience/photog participation event. This was the first of three straight Friday Fest concerts that would hit all spectrums of the music World, and it hit on all levels.


Sure most in the front photo pit with me that day did not totally see eye-to-eye with the whole water and expensive cameras’ bit, but I was laughing and having a good time dodging the 20 ounces of unexpected water, and a few time Vanilla Ice looked down and smiled at me that I seemed to have understood it was part of his method…or his madness. It was tied for my favorite Rays concert offering of the season, and a great way to push off the second half of the concert schedule.

 

Of course there was one concert missing from this list this season, and I want to send out good vibes hoping that GoGo’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin recovers perfectly from her ACL injury sustained when she fell while hiking near her home in California. With up to a year recovery time for such an injury, hopefully we can again see the GoGo’s possibly perform in the future. It is a great concert event that I have not missed (even in Jannus Landing) since the band first started coming to the Tampa Bay area.


 

 

Los Lobos is one of those bands that I do not think would have ever hit y musical tastes if not for their great rendition of the classic Ritchie Valens “La Bamba“. I also would not have known that recent Oscar winner T-Bone Burnett produced their first album “How Will the Wolf Survive” and one of the songs from that album is playing over the opening credits to the Sean Penn/Robert DeNiro classic “Colors“.


My first tastes in live music were preserved in a small beachside bar in Maderia Beach, Florida that a certain well known Florida ocean troubadour used to frequent named Jimmy Buffett when he came up to see his band pal Mike Utley.

I got used to hearing tunes that flowed with the waves and just seemed to roll in the ears and settle for a while to sit and ponder things. I got the same vibe from this Friday Fest concert by Los Lobos. It might have been more refined to a South Texas border town that a beach resort on the Gulf of Mexico, but the whole time I was wishing for a boat drink…or a shot of Avion (thanks Entourage).


 

 

The next Rays Friday Fest event featured a band that to this point had to be the most audience involved and totally choreographed dancers of the Rays concert series. Felt kind of eerie at first covering the Village People concert more for the fact of having to remember what I wore back then, and seeing myself again with long curly hair, but I took one for the team here.

Seriously, it was a great event in that we got to see most of the original members of the band still out there supporting their music and dancing their well known routines. But it did seem a bit unusual to me to see rhinestones and glitter on a construction worker…just saying.


It was another high energy night and a great moment if you are fond of the 1970’s or even want to remember back that far. I even found a bit of glitter all over me camera when I took it out of my backpack when I got home. As a nice sidebar to this concert, after I posted my concert review, the Indian from the Village People actually Direct Messaged me on Twitter with a cordial thank you for covering the event. It was a great time in my life, so maybe I should thank him again for helping remember some great moments in my life sans the platform shoes.

 

 

Train really did roll in to the Trop for the next concert event. This is one of those bands right now that are right on the cusp and thoughts of so many in the music World because of their song “Hey Soul Sister” plus the million of samplings of the song in countless commercials and advertisements Worldwide right now.


Train front man Pat Monahan also did one of the coolest things I have ever seen done ( so far) during a concert when he posted two pictures of the crowd during their song “If It’s Love” that I still have as my desktop background on my aging laptop. Monahan also became the second performer to do an infield sprint around the Trop when he started an impromptu walkabout from the stage to the area near the Visitor’s dugout.

Reminded me a lot of the same run M C Hammer had done two years earlier, but Monahan seemed more at ease strolling amongst the 4,000+ fans on the Rays Field Turf.


 

 

Allison Iraherta was not originally suppose to open for Adam Lambert, but Orianthi had to pull out of the opening act gig after some family situations. Iraherta still looks a bit nervous and wooden on stage, but her music more than makes up for any sense of clumsiness or irrational movements on stage. But the raspy voice of this young woman definitely makes you remember her voice and her music.


She has one of those resounding voices that brings back memories of past singers like Janis Joplin or even Joan Baez. Iraherta will definitely be on that “one to watch” list, and opening for Lambert will get you some extra exposure she desperately needs to get noticed beyond her huge American Idol triumphs. In time the stage set will mellow out and become more fined, and with that the star in the center of the stage belting out those tunes will shine brighter.

 

 

What can you say about Adam Lambert’s concert. Well, I guess my concert review was good enough to still be placed on his International website and with that came over 78 comments within 24 hours. Got to tell you I always know bands have their followers, but this guy definitely has an army ready, willing and able to carry out his wishes. But the concert was even more amazing to me than the response by his followers. It really was stage musical to me. Set with great costumes, gyrating dancers and spectacular musicians playing some incredible music.


For effect, this concert was tied for the best concert event (with Vanilla Ice) of the year for me. It has a little bit of everything to it. And the wildest part is that one of my photos was also popped on the Lambert website and I took it from over 100 yards away since this is one of the two concerts I did not get approved for ahead of time…how ironic is that.

But it was a fantastic journey of music performed by Lambert, and his dancers brought a great melding of it all together into something worthy of the Broadway stage. Some might say it is more of a stage show than a concert, but I remind you that David Bowie and countless other have done just the same thing for a long, long time.


 

 

Last, but definitely not least is the Rays Saturday Night Concert I was waiting for all year. The climax at the end where I got to see another artists that every time he comes into the Tampa Bay area as a solo artist, I am in the crowd. The last time was in a more fan-friendly environment of Ruth Eckerd Hall, but no matter where you put him, Bret Michaels is all about the music and a good time.


When the announcement was originally made near the end of May, it might have seemed to ambitious or even ill advised for Michaels to throw himself back into his musical tour so early after his health situations, but that is one of things that endears you to him…his strength, fan commitment and his desire to do what he loves to do….sing to the masses.

Some might say the night was not as energetic or the usual ” Bret Michaels” show. But to me it was a celebrate of his music and a way for all of us to send some healing vibes and also sing a few classic tunes that always stick in our minds. Michaels even did the Country version of “Every Rose Has Its Thorns“, and it was taken in by the crowd like it was the original. For myself, it was the perfect ending to the Rays 2010 concert series. I was taken photos of a rock icon who had taken a dirty and dangerous road of medical problems and whisked them away like road dust to sing.


 

Some say these Rays concerts were devised for the pure sake of escalating Rays attendance figures and bolstering their overall yearly numbers while most of the Major League Baseball teams were experiencing up to 6-10 percent decreases in their yearly attendance numbers.

Sure that reasoning is true, but I kind of look at it another way. It is also a way for the Rays entire staff and the Rays Republic to collectively celebrate this great team we have here, and also enjoy some great music.


Thank You Rays for this year’s Concert Series. Looking forward to another killer schedule in 2011.

Looking back at the Rays 2010 Concert Series..Part 1

 


 

During the Tampa Bay Rays 2010 season, the Rays front office brought together 14 great artists during the course of the season to play in either during their Friday Fest celebration or their popular Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series. This season the Rays surpassed their previous collection of artists by bringing some of the most musically loved and admired artists of this era and the past. This post will be a small collection of some of my favorite moments during the 2010 Rays Concert series.


It decided to cut the concerts completely in half and bring you 7 today and possibly 7 in a day or two to show again the music and the great fun Rays fans had both in the stands and on the field in 2010. I will try and pick what I consider my two most memorable photos out of the more than 581 photo that made it onto my online photo collection on Flicker.com. I do not in any way consider myself a professional photographer, but I can assure you I am taking a few classes this off season and the 2011 photos will be (hopefully) miles above my present collections.

So kick back, relax and maybe pop on a I-Tunes or Internet Radio station as I begin a short journey again through the musical journey furnished to all members of the Rays Republic in 2010. It was great journey from times from my young youth (John Fogerty/ ZZ Top) all the way to a duo of the most talked about artists in the last two years (Adam Lambert/ Bret Michaels). I can guarantee you, I will be checking these photos out for years just trying to relive the great moments and still singing their songs.

 

 

It was great to see John Fogerty this year out singing during the 25th Anniversary of his baseball-themed classic “Centerfield“. I had always thought Fogerty had a Southern twang and feel to his music, but this was the first time I have even gotten to see him live and really take in both the accent and the great musical talents this artist brought to us in the first of 14 Rays concerts. Fogerty did a great array of his own classics, plus a nice mixture of C C R classics to make the entire Trop seem to be swaying to his music that night.


 

 

ZZ Top was one of those bands in my youth where I had cassettes like “Afterburner” playing on my car stereo during road trips or if I was in a hurry to get somewhere. It was also the first concert that I got my green Rays photographer credentials to get up close and personal shots of the band during their first four songs.

It was a new opportunity for me, being an amateur photographer and blogger to push another nice item onto my online resume` plus get instantly into the energy and vibe of the concert. The definitely wasn’t nothing “cheap” about ZZ Top that night.


 

 

Nellie was held on the day after my birthday, so it had a special fee because of the significance of this date to me. But it was the great pumping of the bass and the music that got me to enjoy this concert. Instead of standing in front of stage tonight, I snuck into the front mosh pit area to take my photos tonight.

I think I took over 400 photos, but with the rocking and swaying movement of the crowded pit area, I got more than I expected to out of focus shots or even muted photos. It was a great example of why photographers are in the photo wells and not among the fans during a concert. It was a well lesson learned that night.


 

 

Hall & Oates was an interesting concert for me. Not that the band ever held a great significance in my musical tastes, but if you dated in the late 70’s-80’s this band held your dating prowess firmly in their hands. If you wanted to have a romantic rendezvous or even a chance to dance with your date, you usually had to have a Hall & Oates tune playing. But it was also a time to reconnect with some of the past for me as a few friends from Philly came into town and were more excited about being on the field than me for this concert moment.


 

 

Dierks Bentley is one of those country music stars you know by his music, but ladies just loved to mosey up and just watch him sing as if he was singing to them. His band just seemed to sweat high energy that night and it was one of those concert moments you do not soon forget based on the music and the high level of involvement and dancing even in the crowds.

 

Added a third photo to this selection because it was such a great moment to sit there and watch Bentley bend down and hold the hand of a young fan in the front of the stage during his performance..simply magical.

It was the first time I had ever seen a huge line dance of his hit “Sideways” in my life, and a moment that will stay close tome. Wish I knew that dance, but I have been sideways a few times in my life…maybe.


 

 

Most of Tantric’s music was a bit of an unknown to most Rays fans before this Friday Fest concert but we all collectively knew their tune “Down & Out ” because of its connection to Rays All Star Third Baseman Evan Longoria’s who uses the tune as his walk-up music. Just the first few bars from the violin of Mark Ratzenboeck and the entire Tropicana Field crowd went nuts yelling, screaming and singing the words to the tune.

Tantric was one of the concerts this year, like Dierks Bentley where I got to hear some new music that I was not accustomed to, but became a fan of the group after the concert.


 

 

The group Barenaked Ladies have a sad reminder for me. My daughter’s mother was ill and in an area hospital when I decided to take my then 10-year old daughter to Universal Studios for the day and the band was playing that night as a musical guest.

The music of this group is very up-tempo and their beats and rhythms can get you instantly into moving and grooving to their music. It was a special night then, and this night was extremely special also because of the group doing an extended set and really connecting with the Rays crowd on so many levels.

So we are at the halfway point in the photo review of the Rays 2010 Concert series and I am going to sign off now and get to checking out a few more photos and concert footage to post some more great moments and events online in the next few days. 2010 was for me one of the best concert years, and with the Rays also involved in that process, it became an instant “win-win” opportunity for me.


I was lucky enough to have photo credential for all but one (Fogerty) of these first 7 Rays concerts. But one of the unseen great items of getting this opportunity is being in front of the stage and meeting so many of the great fans who also wanted to get as close as possible to these artists.

 

It was great to talk with some of them before every concert, and even discuss both the band and the experience with them before the event started. It was fantastic hearing some of the opinions and songs they were hoping to hear during the band’s sets. But in the end, it was not about the conversations or even the photos, it was all about the notes and lyrics of this great music.

 

General Lambert and the Glam Nation Invade Tropicana Field

 
 
It was kind of funny to hear Depeche Mode’sPrecious” being played before the beginning of Saturdays night’s Tampa Bay Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series event with Glam rocker Adam Lambert. More for the fact it set the pace of the evening where our master of disguises, Mr. Lambert himself showed us why he is going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. And as soon as he came onto the stage tonight it was evident why people see him as a hybrid of so many great legends of music all rolled up into one.  

Lambert has the stage presence of Elton John, the wardrobe changes of Cher, and is boosted by a voice that seems to scream the vocal artistry of Queen’s great front man, the late Freddie Mercury. Boosted by enough glitter on himself and his entourage on stage to make any Mardi Gras float envious and jealous, it was Lambert’s voice tonight that made you forget some of his stage distractions and immediately concentrate upon the lyrics and the songs we have all come to associate with Lambert’s flair for the theatrical. 

And his theatrics on stage both through his stage riser in the center of the stage mixed with a brisk and totally popping choreographed dance segments push the envelope between both an audio and visual extravaganza that makes you take a step back and collect your breath, then begin to sing along with the singer on his tunes that have shocked, awed and also entertained us ever since he broke off the American Idol stage.

And we definitely got the PG-rated show because of the impressionable youth in the crowd, but the diversity of the crowd definitely shows that Lambert is crossing all type of boundaries and stereotypes to entertain and push his Glam Nation prerogatives towards some new listens. And I kind of like his style of thrusting his views and opinions at you with gusto, but keeping his on stage image bordering on the brink of surreal. But just as you are about to pigeon-hole him with simply a meshing of  androgynous music with his tunes like “Strut” and “For Your Entertainment“, Lambert whirls you into a 180 degree turn and pushes your ears and eyes into another defined direction. And that is the reason I can see Lambert being pushed into the mold or direction of the always theatrical Mercury.

That zest and energy to attack the vocals and invite musical accompaniment to throw the eyes and ears into different angles and directions while still tapping your foot or clapping your hands to the beat.  Another section of music that Lambert has seemed to attack with vengeance is acoustic sets of music to his songs like “Whataya Want From Me” and even “Soaked” which has a really familiar Queen feel to it. When Lambert goes into his acoustic sets, you really get a great indication of the unfolding talent and incredible vocal range he is exploring more every day.

Sometimes his musical mannerisms and moves on stage did seem to play more towards Broadway than pop culture. But if you are not entertained at a Lambert show, then you came into it with a closed mind. He reminds me of some of the classic 80’s groups like The Pet Shop Boys or even Depeche Mode in his booming bass lines and rhythms that take you beyond the lyrics. If you are not into club music or have an allergy for glitter, than Lambert will not be your cup of tea. But as someone who has pushed his way through the Punk Rock stereotype and the epic explosion of experimental techno music and electronically enhanced House music’s New York minute, Lambert is a lion pretending to be a kitten. In a way, Lambert reminds me of a splash of David Bowie with a more pronounced sensual sexuality about him, but with lyrics that catch your attention and your mind simultaniously. 

All you have to do is hit up any music site and click on a small snippet of “If I Had You” and you will see that someday, the whole world could be come a Glam Nation colony. Lambert definitely takes you on a sensory explosive adventure with his music, the color hues of his stage lighting with high accents on purple, aquamarine and even a pinkish burst here and there for added dimensions. This color pallatte explosion of lights made it a bit difficult for some photo shots, with the always changing background colors and formatting, but that was also part of the “Glam Nation’s” intention. 

Lambert definitely can put you off by his many wardrobe changes (I lost track at four) during his performances, but we have already concluded, that is Lambert’s ultimate intention. All your sense have to be ready for overload if you are ever going to enjoy Lambert’s theatrical and vocal sideshow. But his costumes were all done in the basic black format of most of the gone, but not forgotten Punk Rock groups. With the splash of hues of aqua, purple and red, the outfits somehow took a life of their own at times.

I was a bit upset that Lambert did not get a chance, or give us an extra bit of magic tonight with his rendition of Foghat‘s “Slow Ride” with Allison Iraheta, who opened the show for Lambert. But even without this tasty morsel, it was a hearty meal of great music and theatrical fun.

 I came into this show expecting to be impressed, and I was quickly blown away by the vocal range and the true artistry of Lambert’s band and dancers. Might have been over the top for a few moments as Lambert had to remind one of his guitarist it was a “PG show”, but well worth staying here until the Witching Hour.  The diversity of the crowd was not even apparent once the music began and everyone began to sway and use their cellphones to record photos or video moments of the concert. Was a great peek into one of the artists that might help shape the future of rock as we know it today.

Still curious as to how the Rays grounds crew are going to get all that silver metallic glitter up before Sunday’s game.

Not to worry, I think we are going to be talking about this show long after the last tinsel or freckle of glitter is gone

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Allison Iraheta’s Raspy Vocals Energize the Trop


 

 

Most people who have known me outside of the baseball park, and usually during the off season know that I used to play and sing in a band for a long time, plus have done my share of hitting the Karaoke microphone both as a KJ and as a performer.

 

 

It is one of those hidden little passions and talent some people know about, and other find out through the grapevine or by accident step into a bar you are playing at the time.


 

 

And that is one of the reason I have always had a liking for the rocker chicks who perform on shows like American Idol. I am a huge closet Alternative and Rock guy who has done everything from Depeche Mode to Journey on stage. I do it not for the chick and ego, nut it is my calming force, the place I head to if life get too hard, or the road too long. And that is why I feel a distant, but connective bond with a singer like Allison Iraheta.


 

 

Most of us know her as the pint size crimson-haired leather-clad singer who can belt out anything from Heart’s Anne Wilson classics, to Aretha Franklin without anyone questioning her vocal range. And believe me, on Saturday night during the Tampa Bay Rays/ Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series as she opened for Glam rocker Adam Lambert, she definitely got the party started right. Even with her limited exposure and only one album under her belt, Iraheta had her vocals bouncing off the Trop’s roof and delighting the crowd.


 

 

The way she hit the stage reminded me of those old red bouncing ball that never seemed to lose energy or slow down at all unless you trapped it under a box or snagged it with your fingers. She was energetic, juiced-up and rocking to all types of vocal heights as she performed a half hour set before Adam Lambert was to hit the stage. Heard the song “Robot Love” for the first time last night and loved the bass pumping and wonder why this is not a good club hit, or maybe I am hitting the wrong clubs.


 

 

But the one tune everyone was waiting for was “Friday I’ll Be Over You” and she nailed it and was prancing across the stage like a veteran rocker instead of someone out on their first tour. Also had not heard “Don’t Waste The Pretty” before and might be headed to Best Buy soon and getting myself a new CD for the old collection. She performed “Still Breathing” and I could almost see a bit of the range and vocal talents of Gwen Stefani hidden inside her ready to unleash its carnage on the World.


 

Iraheta might have been an opening act, but she definitely showed all of us her name will be heard a lot in the future with her rasp voice that reminds me a little of Janis Joplin with a hint of Joni Mitchell for good measures.

 

And that is high praise when you consider Iraheta’s age and that she is growing more and more in talent and abilities every day. And she is also a cross-over star being bi-lingual and could be a budding star in both English and Spanish recording.

 

But I guess the best praise I can give Iraheta right now is for her to Rock On and keep striving for that special place where music and life make their crossroads.
 

Allison Iraheta to Open for Adam Lambert Saturday Night!

 

Just got confirmation from a really reliable source within the Rays cloak of silence that scheduled artist Orianthi, who was to be the opening act for this Saturdays nights Rays/ Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series event featuring Adam Lambert. Orianthi had to back out of her tour commitment and will be replaced by another American Idol alumni who is on her own course to stardom.


You might remember Allison Iraheta, the spunky Latin California cherub we all got to love during season 8 for her stirring rendition of Heart’s classic “Alone” during that season’s American Idol finals. But even before she bellowed out ” (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” at the San Francisco American Idol auditions back in 2009.

Most people might remember the look of immediate shock on then American Idol music director Rickey Minor when Iraheta was eliminated and had to settle for a fourth place in the singing competition.


And all through her Idol performances, Iraheta was given astonishing critique about her growth as a budding artist and in an interesting twist, fellow American Idol judge Paula Abdul once compared both Iraheta and Lambert together had a “special sauce”.

Before auditioning for American Idol, the los Angeles based Iraheta won a singing competition on the Telemundo reality show “Quinceanera” back in 2006, which used a format of singing in either English or Spanish songs during the competition. The program had Grand Prizes of a $ 50,000 purse and a recording contract. The Telemundo program did not offer the final prize of a recording contract.

But after her time on American Idol, Iraheta was signed by 19 Entertainment and Jive Records and they collectively released her first album “Just Like You“, which contained her songs “Friday I’ll Be Over You“, “Scars” and “Don’t Waste the Pretty“.


On April 2010, Iraheta was announced as the opening act for Lambert’s “Glam Nation” Tour. The addition of Iraheta actually makes the double billing a bit more of a true entertainment bonus for everyone as some will come to see the flamboyant and vocally entertaining Adam Lambert, and others will come to the Trop Saturday night to hear Iraheta sing some of her tunes off her own first album.

But hopefully they can both come out on Saturday night and do their stirring rendition of their American Idol Finals Week duet of their rendition of Foghat’s “Slow Ride” which was the performance that Iraheta did with Lambert when Iraheta was being considered a “rock goddess” by American Idol judge Kara DioGaurdi, and inspired that weeks musical mentor Slash who thought she ” possessed a better voice than most women “twice her age””.

Should be an amazing night of super vocal scales rolling off the Teflon roof of Tropicana Field. The set is being rumored to be possibly 80-90 minutes long, and will be performed after the conclusion of the Rays versus Angels game that will begin at 7:10 pm. Do not forget the game time has been pushed back from the previously advertised 6:10pm first pitch.

Also if you want to still purchase a wristband for the performance to get on-the-field access ($40.00), please this link to the Rays/Ticketmaster website for more information on getting an up close and more personal sound experience with Allison Iraheta and Adam Lambert this Saturday.
 

See you there!

Train Took us on a Musical Journey

 

 

I can tell you from doing years of Special Event planning for Pepsi that I have been in front and in back of some great stages for concerts. But last night’s Train show, which was part of the Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series had the feel of an outdoor concert, fresh with anticipation and a want by the crowd to sing along. And Train fits that bill of the smaller concert bands in that they love to use the audience as a essential part of their shows. From musical sing-a-longs, to bring in up some kids to become official “Trainettes” the show had a special magic to it.


 

 

And Train lead singer Pat Monahan showed before the Rays game that he is not a one-trick pony putting a perfect pitch across the plate showing not just a vocal talent, but maybe a spot relievers role. Okay, maybe it was not faster than former Rays reliever Casey Fossum’s loopy pitch, but it was great to see a pitch break over the plate. But that was not the extent of Monahan’s physical show to the assembled fans within Tropicana Field that night.


 

 

 

After changing from his Carolina Blue T-shirt to a pure white T-shirt, Monahan not only shocked the Rays security force with his next move, he shocked the entire audience on the Rays field for the concert by popping down off the stand and doing an impromptu walkabout around the Trop with plenty of fans in tow with him. Monahan wanted all of us to “marry” that night, and the song ” Marry Me” definitely became a special moment for the throng of fans who embraced the action of Monahan that reminded me of former Rays concert performer M C Hammer when he did his epic sprint around Tropicana Field in 2008.


 

 
 

There is something about Train’s simplicity not in their lyrics but in the performers of the band that strikes a great chord within my musical memory that all three from Monahan to drummer Scott Underwood, and guitarist Jimmy Stafford remind you more of that group you saw in a tavern somewhere in your youth than a multi-album recording group that has even had their hits posted on the Country music channel CMT. And that is a major coup for a rock band to be able to cross that invisible line and be accepted by the Country public. But if have heard their songs “Meet Virginia” or even “Let It Roll“, which could be a Country song in a heartbeat.


 

 

 

The group threw their hearts and soul into last night’s performances and definitely made a few of the crowd believers in the group that also brought us “Save Me, San Francisco” and “This Ain’t Goodbye” with a great clarity in their live set that was missing from the CD versions. But the crowd was eager and more than willing to also provide back-up vocals throughout the night anytime Monahan needed a few seconds of relief. And that not often, as Monahan is one of those high powered energetic front men who feed off the crowd’s energy. And the Trop definitely was feeling his voice and their music Saturday night.


 

 

But it wasn’t until they started to do some of their other well known tunes like “If It’s Love“, “Calling All Angels” and “I Got You” that the energy level within the audience that could only be quelled with a song like “Hey Soul Sister“, which started out totally acoustic with the crowd providing some of the lyrics before Stafford joined Monahan, the former Led Zepplin cover band front man to bringing the night with the band to a crescendo moment. Throngs of fans on the field embraced, sang in groups, even thrust their cell phones to the skies to illustrate the old lighter trick of solidarity within the music.


 

 

 

It was definitely one of those nights that made you cherish the work the Rays have done to provide such a great atmosphere this season with these concert offerings. And even if Train kept their hit “Drops of Jupiter” for after their “Soul Sister” moment, it was not lost on the crowd who embraced the moment and again almost became louder than Monahan in their singing of the song. Train should be proud of the moments shared by the band and the Rays fans Saturday night. It was one of those moments so many will remember for Monahan’s stage presence, his stroll through the outfield, and how the band also let the audience become a unique part of the concert.
 


 

But the moment that sealed the deal for me last night was when the band adapted the Rihanna song “Umbrella” and did a resounding rendition of the song accented by Monahan’s tremendous vocals and the way the crowd instantly took Train in as a band not stuck within their own songs and lyrics, but willing to push beyond the borders for the enjoyment of the crowd. Train definitely left it all on stage last night with fantastic vocals from Monahan, inspired riffs from Stafford, and Underwood always seemed in control behind his drum set. You know Monahan and the band came off that stage drained of energy and totally proud of their performance.

 

 

And that is what I want to see in a great band. Leaving it all out there on the stage for the fans to soak in and take home with themselves as memories and moments to talk about for a long time. All that was missing was surly conductor to start us off last night with an “All Aboard” oratory because this Train ride was definitely one worth taking, and if you missed it…..You missed a killer ride.
 

*** Just a reminder, I have a page on Flickr.com under Rays Renegade that has sets of concert photos from all the Rays concerts, plus a few surprises.

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