February 2018 turned out to be quite a month for classic rock ‘n roll in Austin. I’m sure we missed a few events—there’s always a lot happening here—but here’s what Bill and I saw…
Our February rock music journey started with the David Byrne/Talking Heads concert film, Stop Making Sense, at the Paramount Theatre. Bill and I have seen a lot of David Byrne recently. Back on Father’s Day 2018, Austin musician Shakey Graves and his dad had hosted a screening of this movie at the Austin Film Society Cinema. My film-loving husband and I agreed that this was a fine way to celebrate the holiday. We liked David Byrne’s set at October’s Austin City Limit Music Festival so much that we bought tickets to his November show at Bass Concert Hall. We were not disappointed! After seeing those two live performances last fall, we enjoyed Stop Making Sense even more. That guy is soooo talented.
As you might have guessed from my first photo, Fleetwood Mac visited Austin last month for a sold-out concert at the Frank Erwin Center. Band members Mic Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie and Stevie Nicks are all in their 70s now. Even so, their songs have aged well, and the music and visuals combined for a great show.
You might have heard that long-time Fleetwood Mac guitarist, Lindsey Buckingham, was kicked out of the band last year. The day before this Austin concert, he had emergency open heart surgery and the band wished him well. Two experienced guitarists have replaced Buckingham: Neil Finn (Crowded House) and Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). The set list included a Crowded House cover, Don’t Dream It’s Over, and the famous Tom Petty song, Free Fallin’.
Fleetwood Mac played all their big hits: Rhiannon, Black Magic Woman, Little Lies, Go Your Own Way, plus many more. I thought the highlight of the concert was Stevie Nick’s performance of Landslide. Stevie still does those flowing, twirling dance moves, but she’s also still got the vocal chops to sing this song.
A few nights later, Bill and I were back at the Frank Erwin Center for another concert, this one featuring Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor. The show began promptly at 7:30 PM, with Raitt and her band playing for the first 45 minutes. James Taylor joined her onstage for a John Hiatt cover, Thing Called Love, and then came right back out for his own hour-plus set.
James Taylor still has that pure, tenor voice that I have always loved. He sang all my favorites: Fire and Rain, Sweet Baby James, and Country Roads, plus two Carole King covers that were also hits for him: Up on the Roof and You’ve Got a Friend. He played acoustic guitar on most songs.
The stage design for this tour was a huge improvement from the last time we saw James Taylor (at Bass Concert Hall). In addition to a huge background screen, five smaller screens were hung from above. These screens were moveable and were rearranged for each song.
The backgrounds were extremely creative and complemented the music with interesting visual elements. Some were just stunning!
During the encore, Bonnie Raitt joined James Taylor and the band onstage for a lackluster version of Johnny B. Goode. This was the only low point in an otherwise wonderful concert.
Bill and I finished off our month of classic rock with a visit to the Mean Eyed Cat on West 5th Street. My friend plays in a Johnny Cash tribute group called The Band in Black, and the place was packed for their annual Johnny Cash Birthday Bash. A fun evening!
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