Greg's Top Ten
December 28, 2020
In a year like no other, 2020 will go down as they year that brought the entertainment industry to it's knees. Artists, road crews, truck drivers, sound and light techs along with several other jobs like ticket takers, ushers and food vendors all had their jobs put on hold since mid March.
I was fortunate to be able to attend about a dozen events before the shut down and another handful for the remainder of the year. Some of these events included seeing comedians like Dave Chappelle and Tom Papa, and some great cover bands like Straight On (Heart) and Dead Letter Office (REM), and a few guest lectures at The Music Box from the likes of music manager David Spero and music author Deanna Adams.
All of these were great, however I did not include them in my Top Ten Concert list. I stuck to national touring acts that came to town, or in one instance, I went out of town to see.
Normally, I would have over 70 shows to choose from. But thanks to COVID-19, I only had 13 to choose from this year. Don't get me wrong, I know that I am very fortunate to have seen those thirteen concerts.
Without further ado, I present to you my Top Ten Concerts of 2020.
10. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy- Robins Theater. The Robins Theatre officially opened their doors with a bang with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The theater in downtown Warren, OH has undergone a major transformation and is the jewel of the city. The California swing band, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was the perfect choice to christen this newly refurbished venue.
9. The Motels, Bow Wow Wow at the House of Blues. It was a throw back concert for me. The Motels were the first rock band I had ever seen live when they opened for the J. Geils Band back in 1982. Fast forward 38 years just like it was suddenly last summer. Martha Davis and company still sound fantastic and put on a fun show along with Bow Wow Wow and When In Rome II.
8. Donnie Iris and The Cruisers at Robins Theatre. Pittsburgh native, Donnie Iris still has it. The man is in his mid-seventies and he can still hit the high notes! A good time is always had when one attends a Donnie Iris concert. A true professional.
7. British Lion at The Odeon. Iron Maiden founder, Steve Harris has a side band called British Lion and they made a stop at The Odeon in The Flats. It was a rare chance to get up close and personal with such a metal legend. The band was tight and rocked the 300 fans that attended.
6. Geoff Tate at Beachland Ballroom. The former Queesryche frontman was out celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Empire and threw in Rage For Order in it's entirety "because I can" as Tate told the audience. The man can still sing although he may have brought down some of the higher notes a step or two. It was still fantastic to hear those classic Queesryche songs and deep cuts that you rarely get to hear in concert.
5. Steel Panther at Starlight Drive-In. This was my first time seeing Steel Panther and it will not be my last. Take the look and sound of 80's era metal and throw in some over the top lyrics about sex, drugs and rock and roll and you have yourself a Steel Panther party. This show was at the Starlight Drive-In which provided several socially distanced concerts in a pandemic summer. Thank you to Starlight and Drusky Entertainment for keeping music alive this year!
4. The Struts at the Starlight Drive-In. One of my favorite, newer rock bands, The Struts played this show right before they released their quarantine-written album Strange Days. The band gave the fans a sneak peak of the album by playing 3 songs during the show. Of course, hits like "Body Talk," "Put Your Money On Me" and "Could Have Been Me" were all in the set.
3. Joe Bonamassa at Connor Palace Theater. One of the best guitarist of this era, Joe Banamassa is doing his part to keep the blues alive. Playing a good number of original tunes as well as some select covers by B.B. King, Albert King and ZZ Top for a very rocking, bluesy evening. I enjoyed every minute.
2. Blackberry Smoke at Youngstown Amphitheater. Southern rockers, Blackberry Smoke played a socially distanced show at Youngstowns' beautiful outdoor amphitheater. It was a risk holding an outdoor show in mid October, but everything turned out perfectly and the weather held out until the end of the show. Blackberry Smoke is becoming the southern rock band for this generation. This was an all acoustic affair as the band kept things very chill for the evening. Playing many of their hits as well as tasteful covers of Tom Petty and REM. This event really brought a sense of normalcy as audience members sat out on the lawn and enjoyed a great evening of music.
1. Aerosmith at the MGM, Las Vegas. What can you say about the Bad Boys From Boston? All five original members set up residency at the MGM in Las Vegas and I was fortunate to see their last show before things shut down. All band members are on top of their game and Steven Tyler is still one of the best front-men out there. All the hits, as well as a couple of deep cuts like "Chip Away The Stone" and "Toys In The Attic" made the set list. .
There it is, my Top Ten for 2020!
Here's to a safe and normal 2021. We all deserve to get out there and rock out with our friends and favorite bands.
Hope to see everyone soon!