Classic Rock News
    Concert Review: Joan Jett And The Blackhearts, Hard Rock, Tulsa, OK
    Story by Scott A. Smith Photo By Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa/Tom Gilbert Decked out in a tight, red-colored outfit and boasting her trademark black, slightly spikey hairstyle, one Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee planted one high-heeled boot in the three-chord beauty of punk rock and her other boot in infectious mainstream music Oct. 18 in Tulsa. Joan Jett led her eternally edgy band The Blackhearts through an aggressive – and continuously inspiring – set for a capacity crowd inside the Tulsa Hard Rock’s Joint. Refusing to allow the tempo to ever slide into low gear, Jett kept the festivities in a speedy pace with plenty of crunchy guitar work. With their guitars slung almost to their knees, Jett, lead guitarist Dougie Needles and bassist Acey Slade hammered out each track’s arrangement with joyous adrenaline. Bouncing, standing and lurching at stage left, Needles often would hold his Continue reading...
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    Concert Review: Santana at Walmart AMP, Rogers, Arkansas
    Photo & Story by Scott A. Smith The genre-bending Carlos Santana forever will be one of the most innovative, unique-sounding guitarists in all corners of music. Proof that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee still can deliver the high-decibel goods was on full-tilt display when Santana hopped through an energized set Oct. 5 at the Walmart AMP in Rogers, Arkansas. The packed outdoor amphitheater was awash by Santana’s salsa-style rock for two fast-moving hours, with the all-ages audience cheering throughout early evening takes of “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va.” Santana even slipped the melody of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” into the upbeat proceedings moments, and the party favorite “Tequila” and Rare Earth gem “Get Ready” also found room on Santana’s set list. The amphitheater’s sound was loud and full, with bassist Benny Rietveld’s low notes coming through with amazing clarity. His bass often Continue reading...
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    Concert Review: Ring Starr at Tulsa Hard Rock’s Joint, October 2, 2014
    Photos & Story by Scott A. Smith How on earth can anyone not go see Beatles drummer Ringo Starr in concert? Over the years, some people, quite bizarrely, take unfair verbal pot shots at Starr, that perpetually smiling, left-handed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member who always plays the drums as if he were a right-handed craftsman. Curiously, virtually every one of those armchair guitarists who utter the elitist “He’s no Lennon/McCartney/Harrison” gobbledygook has never watched Starr — and most likely, no other Beatle — perform in person. Starr’s full-house concert with his All Starr Band on Oct. 2 inside the Tulsa Hard Rock’s Joint was living, singing proof that Starr is more than worthy of ticket- buyers’ love and money. Note for note, Starr’s current All Star lineup — guitarists Steve Lukather (Toto) and Todd Rundgren, keyboardist Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey), bassist Richard Page (Mr. Mister), drummer Greg Continue reading...
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    Concert Review: Kansas at Choctaw Casino And Hotel, Pocola, OK
    Photos & Story by Scott A. Smith On paper, the still-fresh departure of original singer-keyboardist Steve Walsh could have signaled the death bell for Kansas. For many of the rock group’s faithful “Wheatheads,” Walsh’s distinct tenor voice, prog-rock songwriting and adventurous keyboard skills played major roles in Kansas’ sound and character. Walsh’s recent – and quite surprising – retirement from Kansas led the group to hire new singer-keyboardist Ronnie Platt (Shooting Star). Platt and new keyboardist (and former Kansas lighting crew member) David Manion performed their second show with Kansas Sept. 13 at the CenterStage Event Center inside the Choctaw Casino & Hotel in Pocola, Okla. Were there any second-night jitters? Um, no. Were there a few stray bum vocal notes or keyboard parts because of the band’s new blood? Absolutely not. The concert was a magnificent display of passion and near-peerless playing abilities. When Platt and Manion first emerged Continue reading...
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    Concert Review: Boston at Walmart AMP/Arkansas Music Pavilion, Rogers, AR
    Photos & Story by Scott A. Smith Whoa, Boston just took me back – really far back – in time. Led by founding guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter/producer Tom Scholz, the six-piece rock band allowed myself and several thousand other music addicts to hitch a ride to our youth via a sell-out concert Aug. 15 at the Walmart Amp in Rogers, Ark. An array of Boston’s still-favored FM radio hits and newer material seamlessly merged with the evening’s slight breeze to cover the multi-generational crowd. Sounding inspired and including lead singer Tommy DeCarlo, guitarist Gary Pihl, drummer Curly Smith, guitarist Kimberley Dahme and bassist Tracy Ferrie, Boston first hopped to the stage at 8:20 p.m. following an impressive, half-hour opening set by Arkansas blues-rockers Oreo Blue. Boston’s air-tight sound was appropriately loud and remarkably clear – the guitar solos and in-the-pocket harmony patterns of Scholz and Pihl cut through the mix with ease without Continue reading...
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    Roger Hodgson set to Kick off Breakfast in America U.S. Tour This Fall
    Story by Scott A. Smith  /  Photo courtesy of RogerHodgson.com Supertramp co-founder Roger Hodgson is launching his new Breakfast in America Tour in the U.S., which promises to give more than just a little bit to fans of the acclaimed singer/guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter. Hodgson and his gifted solo band will perform Hodgson’s best-known Supertramp cuts like Breakfast in America, Give a Little Bit, Take the Long Way Home, The Logical Song, Dreamer, It’s Raining Again, School, and “Fool’s Overture.” – Roger Hodgson (writer and composer) with Orchestra The sets also will include numerous selections from Hodgson’s post-Supertramp solo career, which started with Hodgson’s 1984 LP, “In The Eye of The Storm.” Supporting Hodgson’s recent “Classics Live” CD release, the upcoming tour will kick off Nov. 4 in Wabash, Ind. before traveling to Detroit (Nov. 6), Niagara Falls, N.Y. (Nov. 7), Ridgefield, Conn. (Nov. 8), Bethlehem, Penn. (Nov. 9), Huntington, N.Y. (Nov. 11) Continue reading...
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    Concert Review: Steely Dan at Walmart AMP/Arkansas Music Pavilion, Rogers, AR
    Photos & Story by Scott A. Smith Remember way back when, when Steely Dan ignored the road, treating the word “tour” like a big, glowing slab of Kryptonite? Back in the mid- and late-1970s, Steely Dan’s creative nucleus, Donald Fagen (keyboards, vocals) and Walter Becker (guitar, bass, vocals), showed extreme favoritism to the recording studio, where they meticulously built still-great-sounding, jazz-rock LPs such as 1975′s “Katy Lied,” 1976′s “The Royal Scam” and the Grammy Award darling from ’77, “Aja.” Back then in those big-car, pre-digital times, Fagen and Becker steered clear from touring, even though they had the musical gifts to cut it on the stage. In their minds, who needed auxiliary touring musicians, the endless hours of travel and a meddling road manager? It was more fun for the Dan to hole up in a studio and cut into black discs of wax with friends like Michael McDonald, Jeff Continue reading...
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    Review: The Winery Dogs, May 20, Neumeier’s Rib Room & Beer Garden, Fort Smith, AR
    Photos & Story by Scott A. Smith How many bands has former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy been in over the last decade? That could be a million-dollar question for many rock followers. Portnoy’s latest post-DT project is The Winery Dogs, a powerhouse of a trio that magically marries Superman-like instrumental abilities with a disciplined focus on the song. Also featuring bass guru Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and singer-guitarist Richie Kotzen (Mr. Big, Poison), The Winery Dogs showed how to be hard-hitting aggressive in sound without shoving melody away from the front-and-center position May 20 at Neumeier’s Rib Room & Beer Garden in Fort Smith, Ark. Following an impressive opening set by Charm City Devils, The Winery Dogs commandeered the stage by immediately diving into the jet-propelled “Elevate,” pulling the capacity crowd into a frenzied wave of exciting rock and roll music. Assertive, loud and air-tight on Continue reading...
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    Review: Don Felder/Styx/Foreigner, May 16, Zoo Amphitheatre, Oklahoma City, OK
    Photos and Story by Scott A. Smith Cool-breeze melodies and some of the most gripping guitar solos and riffs in all of rock-and-roll land are among the high points found on the new U.S. tour by Styx, Foreigner and former Eagles guitarist-singer Don Felder. Billed as “The Soundtrack of Summer Tour,” the tour saw its second night at the Zoo Amphitheatre in Oklahoma City, with Felder and his four-piece solo band mixing his solo work with  must-play Eagles numbers over the course of a well-received, 50-minute set. Donning sunglasses, black vest, black pants, black shoes and a polka-dotted, black-and-white shirt, a grinning Felder emerged from the backstage area to greet the all-ages audience with an impressive take of The Eagles’ “Take It Easy.” Felder handled the song’s lead vocals with ease — why Eagles founder Glenn Frey continues to erroneously claim Felder is no lead singer is one of music’s Continue reading...
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    Review: Black Star Riders, Neumemier’s Rib Room & Beer Garden, Fort Smith, AR
    Photos and Story by Scott A. Smith The spirits of Thin Lizzy, Brother Cane and Megadeth are near – but never overpower – one of rock’s newest, most invigorated bands. Black Star Riders are burning down U.S. highways to promote their debut CD, “All Hell Breaks Loose,” and their concert May 5 at Neumemier’s Rib Room & Beer Garden in Fort Smith was loud and proud, with the quintet of veterans giving 150 percent over the course of a well-paced, tour-hour set. Guitarists Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy) and Damon Johnson (Brother Cane) kept six-string fans and casual rock fans happy with edgy, always tasteful interplay, while bassist Marco Mendoza (Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy) and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso (Megadeth) formed an air-tight rhythm section from the get go. This instrumental base gave lead singer Ricky Warwick (The Almighty, Thin Lizzy) the ultimate, punchy platform. Well-rehearsed but often incorporating brilliant flashes of Continue reading...
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