The latest album from artists whose concerts I attended in 2023.
Boyz II Men
Sunday, August 27 | My wife's favorite group growing up was Boyz II Men, and I enjoyed them as well. We were high school sweethearts after all. They are quite talented singers, and I was surprised that they had a short rock set. Boy band with instruments, y'all. 😊
Sunday, August 27 | Chaka Khan opened this set at the Minnesota State Fair. She was moving slower, but can still belt out the hits.
Sunday, August 6 | Actually it was Brit Floyd I saw.
Sara Bareilles, Stephen Sondheim, ‘Into The Woods’ 2022 Broadway Cast
Tuesday, May 30 | It's been almost eight years since she released new music, but Janet has a library with which hardly anyone can compete. Hit after hit after hit.
Jesse and I sat thirteen rows in and had a ball. I've never been to a concert where, well, no song was played to completion. It was kind of a party and concert combined, which was nicely hyped by opener Ludacris. The crowd was into it from the start.
Very glad we got ourselves out on a Tuesday night to see this!
Tuesday, April 25 | Haitus Kaiyote is a band I didn't think I'd ever see live. Being from Australia, my perception is that they don't tour too often in the United States, and probably not too often in Minnesota.
I had things to learn, however, because lead singer Nai Palm talked several times about Prince's affection and support for the band. Minnesota maybe isn't a destination for them, but it's on their radar. Especially First Avenue, made famous in Purple Rain, where this concert took place.
The band was all in on stage, with the rhythm section being particular standouts in their acid rock/jazz/R&B performance. A sold-out crowd enjoyed, including a happy man next to us who basically walked by and happened in without having ever heard of Haitus Kaiyote before.
I'm beginning to think that First Avenue isn't a great venue to hear music. The mix was all over the place, with the three backup singers being hardly noticeable while the piano was super hot. Nai Palm's vocals were hard to hear at times, and certainly not as excellent as I'm used to on the albums. Especially her lower register, which was hardly audible in the mix. Perhaps it was the specific sound mixer, but I suspect the venue itself is just hard to deal with acoustically.
Tank and The Bangas
Thursday, April 20 | Smart to open the show with a reggae band on 4/20. The ganga was out, and the crowd was chilled on Discovery Green, downtown Houston.
We were there for our kid's World robotics competition at the nearby convention center, so this was a happy accident to finally see Tank and the Bangas live. They did not disappoint, putting out a ton of energy and lots of fun. The crowd was not über fans by any means, but they were still game to participate for the most part.
Sadly we had an early wakeup call for the next day and did end up leaving about 80 minutes into their performance. Not something I like to do, but the body must be tended to and cared for.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Saturday, April 8 | The show was opened by King Princess (I didn't get into the venue in time) and The Strokes. The Strokes hadn't been to Minnesota in forever. I like The Strokes and was a bit underwhelmed by them. Weird banter and a general feeling that they weren't too excited to be there.
The Peppers are an inspiration, IMO, as you see the funk they put down and how physically prepared to bring it at 60-years-old. The band was tight, I liked the interludes of Flea playing bass, and their banter was good enough. The set list worked for me as I'm familiar with their most recent few albums.
US Bank Stadium is an echo chamber. I found it to sound good enough sitting mid-floor with ear protection in, but I'm not sure how anyone could stand being in there without ear protection.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom, Jr., Phillipa Soo, Daveed Diggs, Christopher Jackson
Friday, April 7 | This was the second time I have seen Hamilton, but the first time for two of our five family members. The cast was largely excellent, and the crowd was very much into it. The emotions of the show largely worked and the whole family loved it!
Christian McBride, New Jawn
Wednesday, March 22 | A short, 1:15 set at The Dakota jazz club in Minneapolis. I attend this show with my friend Tom, who filled in last minute for a friend who was ensickened. McBride was amazing, even when he stated that the band "doesn't like to play gigs before the sun sets." It was a 6:30 set, the crowd was mostly retired folk, but they were appreciative. The band was great even considering that they only got in the pocket for probably five minutes or so. Most of the songs played were from their latest album.
Big Head Todd and The Monsters
Friday, January 13 | Yes, the latest album for Big Head Todd is 2017. I think their gravy is made on tour. I'm no big fan of the band, but I know a few of their songs. The six of us there all had a similar relationship to their catalog. They performed a solid set for the crowd that was largely older than me. What do you call people who follow Big Head Todd around to all the shows? Big Head Todd Heads?