The Best Albums of 2010 By Anthony Kuzminski Buy all of the albums below HERE at the Amazon music store
Writing for antiMusic has its perks and among them was the steady stream of new music exposed to me over the last year. I estimate I received on average one new album a day sent to me via snail mail or via MP3 from PR agencies. I won’t lie, some days it was downright maddening. I estimate I listened to a few hundred albums over the last 52-weeks. While I was often disappointed in what I heard, I found a lot to like. Now, I will be the first to admit, as much as I hold the art form of the album on a pedestal, I realize it’s dying a slow death. Too many acts have lost sight of what it once meant. If you can’t capture the essence of a full body of work, then stick with singles and EP’s. Pop singer Robyn did this with her Body Talk EP’s and the Manchester band James did the same releasing two EP’s separately (together in the US on separate discs) to great artistic success. What you will find below are the ten records that rocked my world from the first drop of the needle (or CD/iPod cue) to the final dissipating reverb an hour later. While you can’t go wrong with any of the ten records below, also check out my runners up list. I was profoundly surprised by many of them. Kylie Minogue made a dance-pop masterpiece, violinist Lorenza Ponce, known for her work with Sheryl Crow and Bon Jovi, made a record sultry and erotic and punk rock band Against Me! blew me away with their arm waving choruses that would find a home on any radio dial. Then there were album that I must admit to loving but not spending nearly enough time with. Colin Gilmore, Kid Rock and Ryan Adams all were strong contenders for the Top-Ten list if only I had more time to spend with their respective works. However, I will remember 2010 for the Swedish pop band Sambassadeur, singer-songwriter Ruby James and the rag-tag rock outfit J Roddy Walston and the Business. All three came from out of nowhere and their records crawled under my skin, seeped into my psyche and remained near and dear to my heart all year. The other seven records could have been plucked from my DNA. Southside Johnny and the Jukes made his best record in nearly two decades, Courtney Love dug deep, Butch Walker and the Black Keys continues to evolve and amaze and Michael Franti and James simply make great music. So without further adieu, here are my ten favorite records from 2010.
Number One: Sambassadeur – ‘European’
A music friend sent me this record early last year and over the last 11-months, no other record permeated as strongly as this one. Imagine your favorite indie rock band being shot up with the DNA of ABBA and you have Sambassadeur, a Swedish pop-rock band who hail from Gothenburg. You’ve probably never heard of them, but this record is sweeping, romantic, sugary and absolutely ebullient. At a mere 9-songs that stretch 34-minutes, it’s a perfectly crafted indie-pop-rock masterpiece. Imagine a brilliant dream, the sight of a melting icicle foreshadowing spring, a summer day where the sky is blue and there isn’t a cloud in the sky or a Saturday in October where the leaves drop from a tree on your face in a magnificent moment that will stay enshrined in your mind forever. The 9-songs on European evoke clear-cut images that define you and console you in those trying times. Most album fail from being too subtle or too ambitious, but European finds a group who simply write great songs for no other reason than they want to. There isn’t a lot of studio wizardry here but on the flipside, it’s highly ambitious in its tunefulness as band members Daniel Permbo, Joachim Läckberg and Daniel Tolergård perform their instruments as if their life depended on it. They take it over-the-top when warranted and pull their reigns in giving a master class in subtlety. The music jolts you to life. The sound of the record feels as if it’s from the past yet Anna Persson’s vocals evoke nostalgia like something out of an Ingmar Bergman film where Liv Ullmann would act out. “Stranded” gallops away with a wall of sweeping sounds that will warm you at any time. “Days” is the greatest ABBA song never recorded and the album closer “Small Parade” finds a way to pull the whole album into focus. It’s a staggering record as it captures warmth and innocence while sounding fresh enough to be played a few dozen times before you even think of moving onto something else. Trust me when I say you’ll love this record, seek it out.
Number Two: Ruby James – ‘Happy Now’
Ruby James mines her soul on Happy Now in a way that is intensely delicate. She manages something rare by creating music where the listener can not only revel in the aural beauty but identify with it. The intricate and personal details make Happy Now more than a mere record but a cathartic exorcism. To anyone ever led astray, Happy Now will permeate profoundly with its brutal directness which shares not just despondency but elation, joy and discovery as well. Ruby James is aware of what’s in the rearview mirror but isn’t obsessed with it because her eyes are on the road ahead. An artist’s believability is only as good as the lock on the door to their soul. This door houses their inner anguish and their true consequence as an artist is relies on their inclination to bequeath the key to these secrets. Ruby James has dismantled the door to her heart and her piercing stories of woe, lost love and eternal searching are here for us to savor and we’re better for it.
Number Three: John Mellencamp – ‘No Better Than This’
John Mellencamp may be at his creative crest over the last few years and No Better Than This is a living example. While Mellencamp may be leaning his sound towards the past, he’s capturing the ache of the world in lyrics that are full of cold fury and pleas for redemption. Nine of the album’s thirteen songs were cut in Sun Studio in Memphis and amidst the spare instrumentation and mono sound you can feel the ambiance of those great Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis records from the 1950’s. The restrained instrumentation helps entrench the lyrical emotions. It’s a rich record, steeped in the folk and blues of our countries past with themes that pinch you in the present.
Number Four: Michael Franti and Spearhead – ‘The Sound of Sunshine’
The Sound of Sunshine is the culmination of a trilogy of work where one is lost (Yell Fire), is found (All Rebel Rockers) and attempts to teach others with what he has discovered on their journey (The Sound of Sunshine). Michael Franti and Spearhead have achieved romantic nirvana with The Sound of Sunshine where they avoid the trappings of success and thrillingly rely on heartfelt passion to get their points across. It is an intoxicatingly joyous record showcasing Franti and Spearhead at the crest of their powers; their third masterwork in a row.
Number Five: J-Roddy Walston and the Business–‘J-Roddy Walston and the Business’
J-Roddy Walston and the Business deliver a rock n’ roll revival that will bring you salvation. There’s a warm communal feeling to the proceedings. It feels like a family jam on back porches where beer flows and the grill is always hot. Guitarist Billy Gordan provides skuzzy riffage while drummer Steve Colmus and bassist Logan Davis fasten the core of the music so it never swerves off-course. It would be uncomplicated to use the word “virtuosity” but it wouldn’t do all four of them justice. Each cut is infused with supple sincerity allowing the indisputable nature of the material to gleam. This extends beyond mere musical talent but a forging desire to comprehend the vernacular of each individual member which materializes into a thundering and fierce yowls which are tuneful. This music and band is too rich, too genuine and too real to be denied. Some acts wear their influences on their sleeves to their detriment, but J-Roddy Walston and the Business embrace their influences while their hearts are on their sleeves. If you love your rock n’ roll primordial, and downright dirty, this record is for you.
Number Six: The Black Keys – ‘Brothers’
The Black Keys should be a two-trick pony who is scuttling on the edge of complete obscurity. Amazingly, they’ve turned into one of the most vital rock bands on the planet. Brothers finds the Black Keys in command of not just their careers but their instinctual talent as well. They haven’t merely surprised us with continually evolving and showing shades of brilliance, they have executed it to perfection this time around. “Everlasting Light” has some harmonious backing vocals and a thick overlay of rhythm guitar that drives the song. There are colors here I wasn’t expecting. “Next Girl” feels like a lost Ike Turner song with its wah-wah guitar dueling against another melodic guitar in the mix. The largest obstacle any artist encounters is the ability to continually grow and evolve and if Brothers is any indication, the Black Keys are flourishing.
Number Seven: James – ‘The Morning After the Night Before’
If listened to close enough, The Morning After the Night Before is an album that vocalizes your intimate secrets with anticipation you may do something to ease those uncertainties. Every once in a while you hear a collection of songs that capture you fears, your hopes and your struggles. These 15-songs embrace the bloody vividness of life. There are silver linings of hope, but most of the songs reflect on the wistful wreckage of our bodies and minds. There is a thorny immediacy to these stories as the band pulls the listener into their tales of yearning where these characters are fighting with their place in life and you know what? So am I. At this particular time in my life, I’m dumbfounded by the state of the world, overwhelmed by circumstances beyond my control and searching for some solace in the world. It’s been a while since I’ve heard someone who can encapsulate my struggles in a fashion where they practically stole the thoughts from my head and heart. While far too many acts try to cuddle the world, James takes these themes into our lives and our homes on a much more intimate level. Some of these songs contain chords and melodies made for stadiums and others could be spoken word poems performed in a cottage. The songs are more developed than Wah Wah, yet not quite as polished as Seven, Millionaires or Hey Ma. Ultimately The Morning After The Night Before is not a step forward or backward, but the band flexing their muscles amidst a flurry of musical styles showcasing the more off-the-cuff writing side-by-side with their collaborative musical efforts. It’s definitively James and even though it’s a slow burner, if you listen close enough, you’ll be entranced and understand completely why these 15-songs are split across two individual and enlivening EP’s.
Number Eight: Butch Walker – ‘I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart’
Ever since debuting on the music scene two decades back, Butch Walker has proven to be a chameleon, continually evolving and dispatching what he knows for an unknown terrain. All of this from an artist who knows a thing or two about ferocious six-string riffs and melodies so tasty you engulfs them in one swift bite. Despite this penchant for melody, he has continually tested himself and his talent and continually thrusts himself to the furthermost extremes. Instead of pursuing fads or fashions, Walker has followed his own muse and made more than just a living for himself, but has molded a career that I’ll follow up until the end. Every artist yearns for this, but at times is scared of pushing the envelope for fear of alienating those who love your music. Butch Walker knows that if he continued to crank the amp up to “11”, he would be dishonest with himself and prove himself to be limiting. Life is about broadening your knowledge through new experiences and reveling in the beauty of discovery and no artist on the planet is augmenting their life more than Walker, the proof is in the records. A less aware individual would follow the lead of an A&R representative and create something just as familiar as his previous records, but Walker, once again, has opted for the road not taken. I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart contains such an onslaught of influences; it’s dizzying to see him meld them through these eleven songs with ease. There is a fusion of nostalgic influences all throughout the record from doo-wop to classic rock, to the Nashville songwriters of the fifties and sixties to the warm sonic of ELO. Despite leaning on the past, the album sounds impeccably fresh, warm and pertinent.
Number Nine: Hole – ‘Nobody’s Daughter’
The latest Hole record Nobody’s Daughter finds Courtney Love wresting with a crisis of faith. It’s an endearing and stirring record where Love doesn’t just make confessional pleas to a higher power but details her trials and tribulations and at the end of the record, there’s thunderbolt commencement reinvigorating not just her spirit but ours as well. The arrival of Nobody’s Daughter comes amidst four years of intense labor where Love experienced five lifetimes of events. Through her heightened consciousness, these trials and tribulations have forced Love to reckon from within. Make no mistake; this is by no means a religious record, but rather an intensely spiritual excursion where our infamous narrator takes us on a voyage of self-renewal where she attempts to uncover the secrets of the soul. Spirituality, the afterworld, death, destruction, sin and unanswered prayers infuse the eleven songs on Nobody’s Daughter. The album’s preeminent track, “Letter To God” may be her most masterful recording to date. Despite being written by Linda Perry, Love wills the song into existence and like Christina Aguilera did with “Beautiful”, she conjures up absolute believability behind her seizing and searing vocals which are delivered like a distressing prayer. This unbridled honesty and awakening makes Love more accessible, credible and ultimately it crystallizes her music in ways I don’t think anyone could have imagined. The lyrics take you on a whirlwind journey painting pictures of devastation, redemption along with a pining for emancipation. Like Christ’s pleading wish to God above to not be crucified, you can hear Love’s bewilderment with the state of her world, yet on “Never Go Hungry”, a shimmering acoustic number is a sprawling declaration. As she snarls the chorus, “I will never go hungry, go hungry again”, the tough-talking delivery reaffirms her liberation and if Love can walk through fire and come out on the other end, it opens up unlimited possibilities for anyone fortunate enough to hear her music. Love severed a piece of her soul so that not only can she make sense of it, but in the hopes someone else will crawl out of the depths of their own personal hell and make it to the other side. The greatest records are ones where the listener can dive into, get swallowed whole and come out the other end with a better understanding of themselves; Nobody’s Daughter is one of those records.
Number Ten: Southside Johnny – ‘Pills and Ammo’
Pills and Ammo is an album full of simplistic strengths and highlights what a great rhythm, blues, soul and rock band truly is. When you hear some of these other acts attempt to forge new ground in the rock-blues template, you hear musicians attempting to capture lightning in a bottle and it comes off as a bunch of fans trying to imitate greatness. The mix, the aural aesthetic and the performances are all top-notch making it the best Southside Johnny record since 1991’s Better Days.. In many ways, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, despite an ever revolving line-up, have stayed truest to the genealogy of rock ‘n roll than most other artists who make such claims. Southside Johnny’s Pills and Ammo doesn’t emulate anyone or anything, this music is tattooed into their DNA and flows as free as water down a river. What differentiates Pills and Ammo from other artists attempting the blues-rock template is that Southside and the Jukes aren’t trying to be something they’re not. Many of the rock-blues records from the past few years may be good, but make no mistake; most of those acts are merely students while Southside is a professor whose knowledge of the art form is engrained into his consciousness. Pills and Ammo is the sound of a master showing his students how it’s done.
Against Me! ‘White Crosses’, Frightened Rabbit ‘The Winter of Mixed Drinks’; Kid Rock ‘Born Free’; Arcade Fire ‘The Suburbs’; Lady Gaga ‘The Fame Monster’; Patty Griffin ‘Downtown Church’; Lorenza Ponce ‘Soul Shifter’; Kylie Minogue ‘Aphrodite’; Johnny Cash ‘American VI: Ain't No Grave’; Colin Gilmore ‘Goodnight Lane’; Ryan Adams ‘Cardinals III/IV’; Robert Plant ‘Band of Joy’; Shelby Lynne ‘Tears, Lies, and Alibis’; Sheryl Crowe ‘100 Miles from Memphis’; Mumford & Sons ‘Sigh No More’
Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and Special Features Editor for the antiMusic Network. His daily writings can be read at The Screen Door. He can be contacted at thescreendoor AT gmail DOT com and can be followed on Twitter
Read all related John Mellencamp reviews and articles HERE
The darkened stage is filled with instruments sitting in the shadows as the sold-out crowd of 3,600 sat in silence while a single spotlight shines on John Mellencamp and his violinist Miriam Strum as they perform his 1989 single “Jackie Brown”. I’ve heard “Jackie Brown” hundreds of times over the last 20-years, but inside the Chicago Theatre, John Mellencamp wrangled with it in a downright evocative and compelling manner. Years of seeing it amidst sledgehammer singles in larger venues, made me look the other way. Mellencamp’s reedy voice provided the crowd with visceral images that were difficult to shake. It was as if I was hearing it for the first time. His tales of a poor man who can’t catch a break is more effective and real than any pie chart of excel spreadsheet. You can see the holes in the clothes of Jackie Brown; see the defeat in his eyes and the depth of despair on his face all through the gripping vocal delivery. The job of an artist is to teach and through their art, they hope to educate people on something they may not fully grasp. Just like Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) become the post child for alienation three-decades back, Jackie Brown is the poster child for a failed government. As we sit around and let the world manipulate us through a series of political talk shows where talking heads spew forth venom, it’s up to the listener to discern the truth. No one knew it at the time, but John Melllencamp’s foresight into the state of America two-decades back was scarily spot-on. Never given the credit he has deserved, Mellencamp has made a career of piercing into the American psyche much like filmmaker Martin Scorsese. Both men obsess about characters that reek authenticity. Scorsese comes from the streets of New York and Mellencamp from the pastures of the Midwest and even though they grew up a thousand miles apart, these two men have helped capture the essence of what it means to be an American. Scorsese has inner insight into backstreet deals where gangsters rule the streets, but Mellencamp has a way of breathing life into the unpretentious characters of our nation whose dreams have been decimated by government thugs. John Mellencamp’s latest concert tour is full of American fools, dreamers, saints, sinners and above all else survivors. For over two hours, Mellencamp shined a light on these characters in what is more than his best concert tour in nearly two decades, but without question, the best concert I experienced all of 2010.
Closing out the first leg of his intimate theater tour (picking back up early next year for 3-additional months of dates), the show began with the Johnny Cash song, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” setting the tone for an evening. The last time Mellencamp toured theaters was in the winter and spring of 1997 but it was a wholly separate event. Despite a high throttle set on well known hits, you couldn’t help but feel one had seen the show before. Only two songs from his latest album, the adventurous Mr. Happy Go Lucky were aired. The current tour leans heavily on Mellencamp’s rebirth over the last decade where he’s gone from pop star to roots interpreter and lastly to the reborn John Mellencamp. With the release of Life, Death, Love and Freedom Mellencamp has seem to find his inner muse and for the first time since 1992, he appears to have brought it along on the concert stage as well. The show is his longest in terms of time and number of songs since his 1992 tour and more than that, it’s his best. Weaving more than three decades worth of songs about alienation and desolation is no easy feat, but Mellencamp and his gun slinging band are up for the task.
Opening the show with a stern and stripped “Authority Song”, the instrumentation has been reduced to the essentials; guitar, bass and drum. The arrangement would have elicited a smirk from Keith Richards, a purist at heart. This is precisely what made the whole show such a revelation. The band currently backing Mellencamp is his best since his late 80’s heyday. Longtime guitarist Mike Wanchic expanded his six-string horizons with additional percussion and mandolin. Miriam Strum colors in the open spaces with her violin, while bassist Jon E. Gee thrillingly slaps his bass when it needs to be rousing and dexterously glides his hands across the strings of the upright bass on more solemn numbers. Drummer Dane Clark spent most of the show on a two piece drum kit (better known as a cocktail drum kit) which let his thundering talent sit on the bench in service of the songs. Troye Kinnett embellished the songs with his accordion and bar room piano playing. However, the standout performance of the evening belonged to guitarist Andy York. Besides being Mellencamp’s guitarist for nearly two-decades, his guitar work is angry, possessive and distressing. When a vocal infliction isn’t appropriate York finds a way whether it be electric, acoustic or a banjo to help flesh out the emotions bristling underneath Mellencamp’s lyrics. “No One Cares About Me”, “Don’t Need This Body” and “Right Behind Me” found York’s guitar stirring voices from beyond with hypnotizing focus. The discipline the band has brought to these songs allows them to breathe in unforeseeable ways. “Deep Blue Heart”, a lost cut from 2001, was given new life in an artfully fragile delivery (It is also featured on his superb box set released earlier this year, On the Rural Route 7609). “Death Letter” (from Trouble No More) trembled with a rigorous blues groove. “Walk Tall” was transformed into a depression era country honk rendering with Troye Kinnett piano evoking a Big Easy ambiance. Mellencamp has never shied away from reinvigorating arrangements in concert whether it’s a stone cold classic or a new cut and “The West End” was subjected to a beefier arrangement highlighted by an unearthly yelp where Mellencamp turned up the volume to drive his point home. “Small Town” may have been performed alone on acoustic but it lost none of its triumph while “Cherry Bomb” was full-on a capella with the 3,600 in attendance providing backing vocals.
It wasn’t until the evening’s 18th performance which finally placed Dane Clark behind his full drum kit where for the remainder of the show the delivery of the songs veered towards menace. By restraining themselves for 90-minutes, the full band attack came across as a world under siege. It was a meticulous move that worked. Close to the bone renditions of “Paper In Fire” and “The Real Life”, “What If I Came Knocking” found the crowd singing along to every word as the lyrics were etched into their minds despite some novel arrangements. Followed by “If I Die Sudden” and “No Better Than This” and “Pink Houses” the crowd watched John Mellencamp do more than be a human jukebox but an artist evolving in front of their eyes. This growth spilled over to the concert stage with a set that balanced his classics (all in brave new arrangements) against his salient new material. The commercially appealing sonic nature of some of his 1980’s recordings may have misguided people, but on stage Mellencamp’s perfectly aged voice cuts through you not just scratching you but hitting arteries in the process.
This is the type of tour artists of stature spend years talking about, but almost never do. Even when acts take the plunge going back to theaters, the results is sometimes less than satisfying (R.E.M. and Neil Young come to mind). Few are brave enough to perform in halls this small (out of fear of revenue loss) and others fail to properly execute a show that does their catalog justice. Mellencamp’s 2-plus hour set was flawlessly constructed with material hearkening back three decades. The theater allowed the audience to get up close and personal with these songs as if they have known them their whole life. Instead of being cast off as mere throwaways, they can delicately digest them and wrap themselves around them in ways that are not possible in an arena or amphitheater. No Better Than This and Life, Death, Love and Freedom capture the essence of the American experience the same way notable American auteur like Martin Scorsese. With Mellencamp’s attention to detail and his instinctive realism, his music has never been more vivacious or vital than it is at this moment in time. Heading down the road less traveled, Mellencamp’s message may not reach the same numbers as they once did, but generations from now, this period will be seen as his most fertile. One can only hope a live album or DVD is planned as the show is a triumph molding personal and political intimacies few other artists would dare to wrangle.
While Martin Scorsese has made a career capturing a wildly eccentric characters who are guilt ridden seeking salvation ranging from Charlie in Mean Streets to Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull to Frank Pierce in Bringing Out the Dead to Billy Costigan in The Departed, John Mellencamp has weaved tales about American fools who bought into the American dream only to realize they were sold a lie. Mellencamp’s stories may take place in a more rural setting far away from the streets, but they are every bit as detailed and divine. He takes you inside our homes to the kitchen tables where bills are discussed, tears are shed and dreams are diminished. This voice was alive and well on the concert stage as he evoked stark images you couldn’t shake from your psyche. On his current concert tour, these tears are wet, the kitchen tables are old and the struggles are realistic. This especially hit home on two specifics numbers; “Longest Days” and “Save Some Time To Dream”. These may be the two greatest songs Mellencamp has ever committed to tape. Despite highlighting the tragedies and shortcomings of the world over the last decade, it’s a pair of songs that remind us of the John Mellencamp is still capable of inspiring. On “Save Some Time To Dream”, Mellencamp stood alone on stage with nothing other than an acoustic guitar around his neck and as each word escaped from his mouth, it was like a prayer being sent out. In a world so filled with bile, it urges us to seek the beauty the world has to offer. Any act can steal headlines from a newspaper and write a song, but it’s when they bare themselves naked that defines an artist. It’s when they aren’t afraid to let the audience into their mind, body and soul. “Longest Days” is a solemn tale of growing old, something we don’t discuss or debate in a youth obsessed culture. However, with plaintive strumming and additional fret work by Andy York, there was vulnerability in the performance that made me stand up take notice and make me feel dangerously alive in the theater setting as Mellencamp gasped “Nothing lasts forever /And your best efforts don't always pay /Sometimes you get sick /And you don't get better / That's when life is short /Even in its longest days”. Mellencamp’s ability to break down his art to the most basic of levels is what makes his recent rebirth so rewarding. He has lived and experienced life to the fullest and to those listening closely; he’s sharing his secrets and formulas to liberation. The characters within Mellencamp’s work are all part of the American psyche. They may reside most of the time on albums, but truly come to life on the concert stage. This is where their hearts beat, their blood flows and their eyes penetrate the world. These saints, sinners and survivors are more than background noise, but characters brought to life through the ferociousness of John Mellencamp and his band. You may enter the theater in the hopes of escaping the world for a few hours, but instead you will leave with not just a better understanding of the world, but more importantly, yourself.
Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and Special Features Editor for the antiMusic Network. His daily writings can be read at The Screen Door. He can be contacted at thescreendoor AT gmail DOT com and can be followed on Twitter
I've had a lot on my mind as of late. Music has been a wonderful escape as of late. It hasn't been much of a distraction but has been healing. In it, I find a way to process life. My favorite song from all of 2010 is probably John Mellencamp's "Save Some Time To Dream" from his No Better Than This record. I think I have been listening to the song daily as a reminder that no matter what one encounters, it's the people you share your life with that matters; the rest is superfluous. It doesn't feel that way when we are confronting pain head on. In fact, the battle we forge daily is enough to extinguish one's heart and mind forever. But it's the simple reminders that keep us on our toes, our feelings in touch and are hearts and minds open.
I wrote extensively about "Save Some Time To Dream" HERE and HERE. I also wrote about No Better Than This HERE and HERE.
Feeling a bit disillusioned with things beyond your control? Listen to this song, I promise you; you will feel better.
My review of the best concert of 2010 will appear on the front page of antiMusic tomorrow. My apologies for the lack of updates as of late, but I've had to focus on life a little more attentively.
Here's a small sample of the review. I won't unveil the show or artist until tomorrow, but here is a hint.
This is the type of tour artists of stature spend years talking about, but almost never do. Even when acts take the plunge going back to theaters, the results is sometimes less than satisfying (R.E.M. and Neil Young come to mind). Few are brave enough to perform in halls this small (out of fear of revenue loss) and others fail to properly execute a show that does their catalog justice.The theater allowed the audience to get up close and personal with these songs as if they have known them their whole life. Instead of being cast off as mere throwaways, they can delicately digest them and wrap themselves around them in ways that are not possible in an arena or amphitheater.
While Martin Scorsese has made a career capturing a wildly eccentric characters who are guilt ridden seeking salvation ranging from Charlie in Mean Streets to Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull to Frank Pierce in Bringing Out the Dead to Billy Costigan in The Departed, **** **** has weaved tales about American fools who bought into the American dream only to realize they were sold a lie.****’s stories may take place in a more rural setting far away from the streets, but they are every bit as detailed and divine. He takes you inside our homes to the kitchen tables where bills are discussed, tears are shed and dreams are diminished. This voice was alive and well on the concert stage as he evoked stark images you couldn’t shake from your psyche. On his current concert tour, these tears are wet, the kitchen tables are old and the struggles are realistic.