Alan Parsons Live Project (concert review)

From the desk of The Movie Snob.

Alan Parsons Live Project.  As I get on in years, it surprises me when I find myself going to a rock and roll music concert.  Until recently, the last concert I saw was The Zombies, which was right about three years ago.  But a couple of weeks ago I ended that drought by seeing an old favorite of mine, British rocker Alan Parsons.  If you’re not familiar with him, he started out as a technical guy on some Beatles albums and, most famously, on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album.  Then he formed his own studio band called The Alan Parsons Project, and they scored several top-forty hits back in the 1970s and early 1980s.  Their biggest hit was “Eye in the Sky,” but they had decent chart success with other songs like “Time,” “Games People Play,” and “Don’t Answer Me.”  Their instrumental “Sirius” has become famous as the music that gets played before the game at Chicago Bulls home games.  Anyway, I was a fan of the Project’s light, radio-friendly psychedelia, and I bought like ten of their albums back in the day.

Anyway, Parsons eventually decided to do some touring, and back in the 90s I actually caught his live show at Dallas’s since-demolished Bronco Bowl.  Now he’s touring again, and some buddies and I saw him at the Theatre in Grand Prairie.  Although Eric Woolfson, who sang lead vocals on songs like “Eye in the Sky,” died several years ago and had a remarkable voice that no one else can really evoke successfully, it was still quite a good show.  The band played for about an hour (including almost all their top-forty hits), took an intermission, and then played the entirety of the Project’s 1977 album I, Robot.  Unfortunately I had to leave before the encore, but the internet indicates that the band probably came back and played “Games People Play” and “(The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” to wrap up the night.

In sum, it was a solid show.  Any Parsons fans out there should check out the show if it comes to a town near you.


The Zombies (concert review)

From the desk of The Movie Snob.

The Zombies were a 1960s rock band and part of the so-called British Invasion.  A minor part, to be sure:  they charted only three singles in America, all of which made the Top Ten.  They broke up in late 1967, and their last hit (“Time of the Season”) peaked in 1969.  But like their undead namesakes, the Zombies proved tough to kill.  Keyboardist Rod Argent formed a band called Argent that had a Top Ten hit in 1972 (“Hold Your Head Up”).  Vocalist Colin Blunstone occasionally contributed vocals to The Alan Parsons Project, which was a favorite band of mine back in the day.  And Wikipedia says that various reincarnations of the Zombies have been kicking around for a while.  Now they are kicking off a new American tour, and their first show was two nights ago in Dallas’s historic Majestic Theatre.  They are promoting a new album, but they are also performing their last 1960s album, Odessey and Oracle, in its entirety.  It’s a good album–trippy, tuneful, and said by the cognoscenti to be very influential on other musicians.  Anyhow, the show was good (if a little too loud).  The first half featured several new songs, a cover of Smokey Robinson’s “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” and the Zombies’ other two Top Ten hits, “Tell Her No” and “She’s Not There.”  After a short intermission, they came back and played Odessey and Oracle straight through, ending with “Time of the Season,” and then doing a reprise of “She’s Not There” for the encore.  For a bunch of old British guys in a band that broke up 48 years ago, they played quite well.  Blunstone’s distinctive voice, high and breathy, is pretty much the same as it ever was.  If you like the Zombies, or at least their three hit songs, I encourage you to give a listen to “Old and Wise,” a Blunstone track on the Alan Parsons Project album Eye in the Sky.


The Movie Snob catches up on a classic.

Scarface (B+). The Magnolia isn’t the only theater in Dallas that shows classic films; I caught this 1983 release last weekend at the Cinemark 17, and I think it was also playing at the AMC theater in Northpark Mall. Anyway, I thought Scarface was a wild and very entertaining piece of cinema. Al Pacino (The Godfather) stars as Tony Montana, a Cuban no-goodnik who makes his way to America in the Mariel boatlift of 1980. He’s good with a weapon and has bravado to spare, and he eventually finds a place working for a drug kingpin with a luminous young wife (Michelle Pfeiffer, Stardust). But Tony has big dreams, and director Brian De Palma (The Untouchables) lets Pacino run riot playing a character whose ambition really is larger than life. It’s a violent and profane movie, but I was never bored despite the long (170-minute) running time. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (The Abyss) co-stars as Tony’s little sister, F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus) has a small part as a drug thug, and Oliver Stone (The Doors), of all people, wrote the screenplay. Roger Ebert included it in his book The Great Movies II. Definitely worth seeing.

John Fogerty (concert review)

A concert review from The Movie Snob.

John Fogerty (Oct. 18, 2013, at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, Texas).  How often do you get to see a rock and roll legend, much less one who performed at Woodstock?  I heard that Fogerty was coming to Dallas only last weekend, and I did not hesitate long before shelling out my $65 for a ticket.  (For a seat with a slightly obstructed view, as it turned out.  But three giant screens over the stage made that a minor annoyance.)  I was only four when Creedence Clearwater Revival broke up, but like every American over a certain age I’m reasonably familiar with CCR’s hits and a few of Fogerty’s solo efforts.  Fogerty, who is 68, put on a good show (with no opening act).  He played quite a few songs I wasn’t familiar with, but even they were reasonably enjoyable.  And he played plenty of songs I did know.  Off the top of my head, he played:

Hey Tonight
Born on the Bayou
Good Golly Miss Molly
Who’ll Stop the Rain
Green River
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
Fortunate Son
Down on the Corner
Looking out My Back Door
Long As I Can See the Light
I Heard It Through the Grapevine
Pretty Woman
Midnight Special
The Old Man Down the Road
Bad Moon Rising
Proud Mary

I don’t remember much about the songs I didn’t recognize, although one called Mystic Highway was pretty nice.  Fogerty played a solid two-hour set, and his voice is still good.  He told a few interesting anecdotes, including a story about CCR’s performance at Woodstock.  CCR got the 9:30pm slot on Saturday night, right after the Grateful Dead, but the lack of organization, technical problems, and, well, the Grateful Dead kept CCR from taking the stage until about 2:30 in the morning, when most attendees were asleep.

The show was much louder than I had hoped it would be, but I went prepared with earplugs.  I noticed the middle-aged fellow in front of me put his fingers in his ears for the first few songs, and then an usher came by with a big cup full of earplugs and gave him a couple.  In sum, it was good show, and I was glad I went.  Go see him if you get the chance — but take some ear protection!

ABBA – The Music (concert review)

From the desk of The Movie Snob

ABBA – The Music. Last night the Borg Queen and I went down to Dallas’s Meyerson Symphony Center and enjoyed a concert by an ABBA tribute band called Waterloo. (You can see their official website at We got a little nervous at first — they did the second song and most of the third in Swedish! But then they switched back to good old American for the rest of the concert, so all was well. They had two guest stars in tow — musicians who had actually played with the real ABBA back in the day! They were a saxophonist and a drummer, and they seemed to enjoy sitting in on a few numbers. For the most part the band did sound reasonably like ABBA, and they mimicked some of the band’s costumes and choreography from their old music videos. They did pretty much every song that hit the American charts, with a couple of minor exceptions. Lots of people were standing in the aisles, waving their arms in time with the music. In short, a good time was had by all, even us folks in the nosebleed seats.

Spinal Tap concert review

Review by The Movie Snob

The three stars of This Is Spinal Tap (Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer) are touring with a show called “Unwigged and Unplugged,” and I saw their performance in Dallas this evening. I thoroughly enjoyed it. They played for almost two hours, and they covered many of the most memorable songs from Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind, interspersed with some comedic repartee and some reminiscences about the movies. They even took some questions from the audience. (They were all softball questions from gushing fans, as I recall. If I had gotten the mic and screwed up the courage, I would’ve asked Guest what happened to make his last movie, For Your Consideration, such a misfire.) The guys play and sing well enough for me, and of course the material is hilarious. Of course, the songs from Spinal Tap sounded a lot different in these acoustic renditions, but the crowd still ate up “Stonehenge,” “Give Me Some Money,” “The Majesty of Rock,” “Listen to the Flower People,” “Big Bottoms,” etc. The songs from A Mighty Wind sounded pretty much the same as in the movie, with McKean’s wife Annette O’Toole joining the band for “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow” and “The Good Book Song.” They did some other songs I’d never heard before, which were all enjoyable enough except for one unfortunately scatological one about Elvis Presley. And they did a very funny, very sped-up version of “Start Me Up” by The Rolling Stones. I give this show an A.

Fleetwood Mac concert review

From the desk of The Movie Snob

Three friends and I saw the Fleetwood Mac show at the American Airlines Center last night. I think we all generally thought it was a good show. Christine McVie is not participating in this tour, but Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, and Stevie Nicks all are in. They played a solid set of around 2 hours. Of course they focused on songs that did not originally feature Christine McVie on lead vocals, and they did lots of album tracks from Rumours. Lindsey Buckingham dazzled on the guitar, especially on a version of “Big Love” that he played by himself on acoustic guitar. Stevie Nicks looks like she hasn’t aged a day since the 80s, and she sounds pretty much the same too–maybe her voice is just a touch lower and huskier. Mick Fleetwood looks pretty demented, and I never understood a word he said when he addressed the audience. Somewhat to my surprise, they played only one of Stevie Nicks’s solo songs that I noticed, “Stand Back.” Anyway, the band sounded pretty good, and they did “Tusk,” “Say You Love Me,” “Go Your Own Way,” and most of the hits that Nicks did lead vocals for like “Gypsy” and “Dreams.”

The downsides: The volume was pretty comfortable for maybe the first two-thirds of the show, but then they suddenly seemed to jack it up to a painful level, where it stayed for the rest of the show. A couple of super-extended guitar and drum solos got a little torturous after a while.

And I have to complain about the AAC. We were on the first row of the uppermost balcony, section 321. Who designed these seats? They simply are not large enough to accommodate normal-sized adults. The four of us could not simultaneously sit back in our chairs, or our shoulders would have been totally jammed together. My buddy Mark, who’s over 6 feet tall, must have really been suffering. For $60, I would think we could get full-sized chairs!

But on the whole, it was a worthwhile show. I give it a solid B.

Carrie Underwood (concert review)

Concert review from The Movie Snob

This evening The Borg Queen and I went to see Carrie Underwood in concert at Nokia Theater in Grand Prairie. Safe to say, it was not my idea. But I figured it would be a pleasant enough evening, and I was right about that. Clearly I, a 40-year-old guy, was not the target demographic, a fact Ms. Underwood cheerfully acknowledged during her set. Anyway, an opening act called Little Big Town played for about 45 minutes or so. I was totally unfamiliar with their music, which seemed like pretty ordinary, middle-of-the-road country music to me. They did do a decent cover of “Life in a Northern Town,” the old 80s hit by Dream Academy. Then Carrie eventually made her way onstage and played for 90 minutes or so. I thought she had an engaging personality, great looks, and a decent voice. The only songs of hers that I knew were “Jesus Take the Wheel” and the one about destroying her cheating boyfriend’s car, and she also did covers of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” and Guns n Roses’ “Paradise City.” I had a good time, and the scads of country music fans there seemed to as well. In fact, I sat next to a woman with three little girls who said this was their second time to see her this year. So there’s a testimonial from a true fan for ya.

Roger Waters concert review

From The Movie Snob

Roger Waters. A couple of college buddies and I went out and saw the former Pink Floydian at his Dallas show. In fact, one of those two guys and I saw Waters on his Radio KAOS tour way back in 1989 or therabouts, so it was sort of a reunion for us. But now Roger is doing an all-Floyd show, which may explain why this concert was virtually sold out and the KAOS show was not. He didn’t disappoint, musically or theatrically. The first half of the show was a melange of songs that included “In the Flesh,” “Sheep,” “Mother,” parts of “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” “Have a Cigar,” “Wish You Were Here,” and several others that were not as familiar to me. The music was marred, however, by Waters’s juvenile political rants. There was a giant screen behind the stage, and during one number from The Final Cut they flashed lots of photos of various dictators such as Stalin, Saddam Hussein, that crazy guy from North Korea, and — you guessed it — Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. He told a short story about hitchhiking through Lebanon many years ago and the amazing hospitality an Arab family showed him, from which he infers that there would be no war if we would just be nice. And the coup de grace was the giant inflatable pig that drifted over the crowd with “All Religions Divide” emblazoned across one side, “Obama” and a checked box across the other side, and “Impeach Bush” plastered on the porker’s posterior. Hmm. Seems like Obama himself belongs to a fairly divisive religion, but maybe I am misremembering. Actually, the political stuff was so juvenile it was fairly easy to laugh off, so it didn’t really mar the music too much.

After a short break, Waters and the band ripped through The Dark Side of the Moon from beginning to end, and they did a fine job of it. Great sound and nice trippy visuals on the big screen. A metal-framed pyramid dropped down from the ceiling and projection equipment inside the thing did a credible job of reproducing the famous Dark Side prism in lights. Sure, Great Gig in the Sky” was tedious as ever, but it allowed for a timely bathroom break. And for the encore (which I predicted to my compadres) consisted of “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)” and “Comfortably Numb,” plus their respective intros. Naturally he took advantage of “Bring the Boys Back Home” to deploy some more political video footage, although this part was more of an attack on Israel and its notorious (and notoriously effective) anti-terrorist wall. A great show for Floyd fans, and a good lesson in how seriously addled an aging rock star can be.

Avril Lavigne (concert review)

Concert review from The Movie Snob

Avril Lavigne. Okay, safe to say that this was not my idea. The Borg Queen dragged me to this little musical event, although I will say that I did not protest too much since she paid. Anyhoo, I am not exactly an Avril fan–pretty much the only song of hers I would say I’m very familiar with is the one about “Why’d’ya hafta go and make things so complicated?” But I was game to hear what the younger crowd is listening to these days. First, the opening act was a band called “Boys Like Girls.” Judging from the number of “Boys Like Girls” t-shirts that I saw being worn, this band has at least a decent following here in the Dallas area. But I thought they were terrible. Just very loud noise, and unnecessarily vulgar. Fortunately I brought cotton balls to stuff in my ears, or I would have gone half deaf and had a terrible headache to boot.

Avril’s set was much more pleasant, although still loud enough to justify cotton balls. I was expecting her to be much more punk, but as a friend of mine at work remarked, she’s leather and cotton candy, not real punk. She wore tons of dark and glittery eye makeup, and I guess her clothes were sort of punk, but she was so friendly and smiley the whole time that there really was no punk effect. Also, I was very distracted by her striking resemblance to my cousin Anita (minus the ridiculous eye makeup, and her nose is bigger than Anita’s). I sort of recognized probably four of her first five songs, which was nice, but even the songs I didn’t know were decent. And to make the evening even better, the Borg Queen didn’t care to stick around for the encore, so we didn’t have to sit in traffic forever to get out. That’s what I call rock and roll!

Springsteen concert review

That Guy Named David checks in with a review of the Boss’s Dallas concert

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (A-)

I first saw Springsteen when he came to town a few years back to do an acoustic show at the Nokia Theatre. While I was very impressed with that show, I was told by a friend that it was nothing compared to the type of show he puts on when he is complemented with the full band. The friend was right. For a little over 2 hours last Sunday, Springsteen and band brought a high-energy, very entertaining show to the American Airlines Center. The show started out with “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and proceeded to go back and forth between the stuff from the new album (Magic) and his classics. There were a few obscure choices (“Meeting Across the River,” “Independence Day”), but for the most part, the songs were well-known to the vast majority of the baby boomer crowd. The highlights of the night for me were “Because the Night,” “Long Walk Home” and “Badlands” in the initial set; however, the energy of the show really picked up in the encore with “Born to Run,” “Glory Days” (with Jon Bon Jovi), and “Dancing in the Dark.” I was a little disappointed that “Thunder Road” was not played, given that they opened with it a few shows back (and played it again the next night in Houston); however, overall, it was a great performance by great artists. Solid A-.

Concert review: Kelly Clarkson

From the desk of The Movie Snob

First, let me say that going to this concert last night was not my idea (notwithstanding Entertainment Weekly‘s report that Kelly Clarkson is the “must-see” concert of the summer). A friend had an extra ticket, so I decided to go ahead and see the Queen of All American Idols. Truthfully, it wasn’t a bad show. Of course, the opening act was lame — a California band called “Rooney” that consisted of five generic white guys playing amazingly generic rock music. Won’t be running out to buy their CD anytime soon. On the plus side, although their music was loud, it was not as painfully loud as some concerts and karaoke bars I’ve been to.

Ms. Clarkson played for about an hour and twenty minutes, and she gave the audience 100%. I’m not very familiar with her body of work, but I did recognize four or five of her songs, and all of them were plenty catchy. Even the one that apparently started out as a commercial for Ford (which is sponsoring this concert tour). Ms. Clarkson definitely has a good voice, and she easily whipped the crowd (average age: 16; average sex: female) into a frenzy with instant classics like “Break Away,” “Since You’ve Been Gone,” and “Stairway to Heaven.” For her encore, she did something I don’t think I had ever seen at a concert, which is reappear in the middle of the crowd, where the sound equipment was, and start her next song right there amidst the fans. And during the song, she gradually walked back down to the stage, heavily escorted by security personnel of course. Her adoring fans went nuts. I could see why she is so popular.

Star Wars: The Live Concert

Concert review from The Movie Snob:

Star Wars: The Live Concert. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra sold out a three-night run of this production, in which the orchestra performed music from all six Star Wars movies, and Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO, provided a narration between the various pieces. It was very entertaining. First of all, they had several guys wearing stormtrooper outfits wandering around the lobby of the concert hall before showtime, and lots of people were getting their pictures taken with them. They also had R2-D2 there, and some woman dressed as someone I didn’t recognize. Maybe she was supposed to be Princess Leia in the outfit she wore on the Ewok planet in Return of the Jedi. Anyway, the performance progressed chronologically from “Episode I” through “Episode VI,” and they wisely gave shorter shrift to the music from Episodes I and II. Daniels’ narration of the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker was quite enjoyable, and he frequently broke the audience up by over-emphasizing the virtues and importance of C-3PO in the saga. Of course, the musical selections from Episodes IV – VI were the real crowd-pleasers, especially the main Star Wars theme, the fanfare from the very end of Episode IV, and best of all Darth Vader’s theme, the Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back. The thunderous standing ovation at the evening’s end brought the conducter and Daniels back out for an encore — the music from the legendary cantina scene in Episode IV. It was a lot of fun.

Christmas with the DSO

Concert review from The Movie Snob.

Last Thursday I saw the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas concert at the Eugene McDermott Concert Hall, and it was a delight. The DSO and the Dallas Symphony Chorus perform lots of favorite carols, including “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Frosty the Snowman,” O Come, All Ye Faithful,” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” The orchestra performs a selection from the Nutcracker, as well as a version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” borrowed from Mannheim Steamroller. There’s an audience sing-along featuring “O Christmas Tree,” “Silent Night,” and “The First Noel.” There are interludes featuring a children choir and some featuring a group of carolers dressed like Dickens characters. And there’s a reading of the Nativity story, much like the passage Linus recites in A Charlie Brown Christmas, by a local minister. It is definitely not a non-sectarian sort of concert, but if you are not offended by an overtly Christian Christmas pageant you should try to see this show. The last performances are on Sunday the 18th. I think the performance on the 16th may be televised live on NBC.

The Best of REM (music review)

Another CD review from That Guy Named David:

The Best of REM: In Time 1988-2003 (B+)

As a child of the late 80’s/early 90’s, I was in my teenage years when REM blew up after Out of Time with “Losing My Religion,” etc. I had been a bit of a fan for several years when my first serious high school girlfriend (kinda an oxymoron) turned me on to Eponymous, which documented their greatest hits off Murmur, Life’s Rich Pageant, Document, and the early college radio material. While, for the most part, I am still a bigger fan of their earlier material, I found this c.d. contains almost all of their post-Eponymous hits. I was a little disappointed that this album contained such lame songs as “Stand” and “Electrolite,” while omitting “Radio Song,” “Drive,” and “Texarkana.” However, the inclusion of pure greatness, such as “Man on the Moon,” “Orange Crush,” “Daysleeper,” and “Nightswimming” made up for it. Plus, the c.d. contains a few new songs, including “Bad Day,” which is probably the best REM song I have heard in the past several years. While I probably have most of these songs on various c.d.’s, this compilation was well worth the buy.

Pearl Jam

That Guy Named David submits the following CD reviews for your edification:

Pearl Jam – State College, PA, May 3, 2003 (A+)

As an admitted Pearl Jam fanatic, I must say that I have listened to quite a few of their performances over the past 12 years. I’ve also seen them in concert on every tour through Texas (with the exception of the No Code tour). This concert is by far the best performance I have ever heard from this band. The concert is made up of 36 songs and 3 1/2 hours of some of the best Pearl Jam music that they have recorded. Highlights from the show include a version of “Daughter” with a “Highway to Hell” and “Another Brick in the Wall” tag in which the crowd gets involved and is as loud as the band, an acoustic set by Eddie Vedder including the Beatles’ “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” and “Gimme Some Truth,” and the closing of the show with CCR’s “Fortunate Son,” Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” and the regular closing number, “Yellow Ledbetter.” In addition, there are performances of songs from every album, rarities, covers, pretty much everything a fan would want from this band. Amazing.

Pearl Jam – Mansfield, MA, July 11, 2003 (A-)

During this tour, Pearl Jam played Mansfield, MA outside of Boston on 3 different nights. In those 3 nights, they tried to play as much of their collection as possible. This 3-c.d. performance is the last performance in Mansfield and, included with the staples that you will hear at most Pearl Jam shows, there are quite a number of songs that I have never heard of them playing live. The performance begins with a 12-song acoustic performance before the opening band goes on (in other words, they were the opening act for the act that opened for them). They then come back with a 33-song set that includes some favorites of mine that aren’t normally played in concert (including “Why Go” and “Tremor Christ”). The only problem I have with this concert is the acoustic set is incredibly good, while the regular concert set is a bit monotonous. Overall, it’s an out of the ordinary performance and nice addition to the collection.

Pearl Jam – Madison Square Garden, July 8th and 9th, 2003 (B-)

Normally, I would have to say that 5 c.d.’s worth of concert material from Pearl Jam would be considered a musical delight on the grandest of scales. However, this collection just didn’t do it for me. Maybe it was just Pearl Jam overkill. I did thoroughly enjoy the rendition of “Indifference” with Ben Harper (an incredible artist in my opinion), but the c.d.’s just don’t flow enough for me. The first night’s performance was exceptional, the second was pretty bland. There are much better performances out there if you are considering buying Pearl Jam concerts (see reviews above).

The Life of David Gale

From the Movie Queen:

The Life of David Gale. (B+) This film was based on the true story of a Harvard-educated, Rhodes scholar (played by Kevin Spacey) who was convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to death in, of course, Texas. The week before his execution, he asks a reporter, played by Kate Winslet, to come interview him for his story that he has previously never given. It is through their interviews that the story is told. It was compelling and definitely not typical. I really enjoyed it and appreciated the strong acting by both Ms. Winslet and Mr. Spacey. It is certainly worth a rental.

Phone Booth; concert review

From That Guy Named David:

Phone Booth (B+)

Very short, succinct movie, so I’ll give a similar review. I was very impressed with the performances of both Colin Ferrell and Forest Whitaker. Also, the movie’s premise was a bit unusual and creative, which was a welcome relief to the movies I have seen over the past month or so. The only criticism I have is that the movie dragged a little in the middle. That being said, it was definitely worth the rent.

Concert Review

Counting Crows (A-) and John Mayer (Incomplete)

I’ll admit that I have been a big CC fan for the past several years, and this was the 6th time I have seen them in concert. There was some trepidation in going to this show because I’m not a fan of them splitting the the bill with the current flavor of the month, but I was there to see CC and so, I really didn’t care too much about the other headliner. Counting Crows came out first, which was probably appropriate considering the majority of the thousands of 15-18 yr. old fans were there to see John Mayer. Opened with an acoustic version of “Rain King” with a few lyrics from “Raining in Baltimore” inserted in the middle. The crowd wasn’t really into the set until they played “Mr. Jones” about 4 songs in. Good version, but nothing out of the ordinary. They kicked into Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” after “Mr. Jones” and were able to keep the fans in the set for the rest of the show. Two highlights of the first set: (1) the version of “Round Here” was the best I have ever seen. In the middle of the song, Adam Duritz went to the piano and played/sang the entirety of “Sweet Thing” by Van Morrison. Incredibly cool. (2) John Mayer and the opening band joined them for “Hangin’ Around” to close the first set. Good version, and the crowd was definitely into it. The encore was “A Long December” with an intro of “Live Forever” by Oasis. That’s the second time I have seen them play that version, and it was much better than the first time. Overall, very light, fun set, and a good time. I stayed for 5 songs from John Mayer and thought he was talented but too much of a Dave Matthews ripoff. Plus, I didn’t have a bra to toss onto the stage, so I was a little out of place with the alternateens in the audience.