Feels like 104 in Texas but 78 inside the venue in Irving, TX. I don’t know how the lawn seating is, but the inside area feels really nice. What a great design and concept, imagine air conditioning in Texas? Who thought of this? Toyota Music Factory, I can’t believe the concert lineup. Ann Wilson, Paul Rodgers, and Jeff Beck! I am not sure if the concert promoters are just pairing better band packages together or if this venue is just hand selecting the cream of the crop. I am telling you Irving really has it together. They have the whole city block closed in order to get the people out of the garages fast. And there is restaurant after restaurant on this block. So be smart and go early for the happy hour specials.
Heartless…Ann Wilson sings like a songbird. Her powerful voice echoed throughout the venue and everyone rose to their feet at the start of HEART classic “Barracuda.” Everyone was left breathless after her performance, and everybody was on their feet dancing. Ann told the crowd that she would not be playing anymore HEART tonight. A hush fell over the crowd. The Toyota was turned into a listening room for the next hour. The packed house intensely listened to one of the first Ladies of Rock belt out the best of her favorite songs by the people who influenced her as she grew up.
I called this part “Heartless” because everyone wanted to hear her play her hits. Instead we heard her sing everyone else’s hits. She did a great job and it was well-received but everyone was a little disappointed that we did not see more of her own material. I think if she had just played any songs that she was a part of it would have been enjoyed by the crowd.
And all the world will love you just because…Best band of the night for me was Paul Rodgers. The man puts on an amazing show. He is as hot as ever and he rocked his ass off. It’s not just wine that gets better with age. Closing my eyes I travel back in time listening to his unchanged voice. His hands mystically followed the music and he sang it note for note. Live or on record you get the true song and it is clear he has never gotten tired of the work he did years ago. Paul’s health is great and he is still rocking it.
Back in the 70’s Rodgers traveled on tour with a martial arts trainer and worked out everyday. And let me tell you ladies, that man still has it going on. I think he could sing anything and be successful. He jumped from FREE to BAD COMPANY numbers twirling the mike stand and captivating all of us.
Another interesting note was when he sang “Shooting Star” he said, “Yeah I know a little about that.” He was referring to his time as a rising mega star. This was the bucket list charmer of the night for me. Great shows get better at Toyota Music Factory!
One of Rolling Stone’s top five guitar players of all time, Jeff Beck’s bio reads like a who’s who of rock history. He has played with the best. Jeff was not going to let a single fan down this night, and even his band are musical heavyweights. Jeff started the first song and everyone was on their feet. When you come to see Jeff Beck you come to hear him play the hell out of the guitar. We got this from him along with some killer bandmates.
When Bassist Rhonda Smith went for her first solo it was well done but ended short. I found out this powerhouse has played with everyone from Prince, Chaka Khan, Beyonce and George Clinton. Drummer Vinnie Colaiuta has played with greats such as Frank Zappa, Sting, and Herbie Hancock. It took one drum solo and the audience was grooving on this dude.
After about the second song some guy wanders onstage and starts singing with no introduction. This was Jimmy Hall who needs no introduction. He has written songs for Gregg Allman, Marshall Tucker Band, The Amazing Rhythm Aces, Blackberry Smoke, and Johnny Russell. He has been the band leader for Hank Jr for years. And if that wasn’t enough Jimmy is an inductee of both the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and the Alabama Hall of fame. How all of this talent could walk out and not get an introduction is beyond me.
The show was laced with Beck’s ingenious musical instrumentals and was well composed. Most of the crowd had sat after the first song and were dancing in their chairs and listening intently to his innovative sound. The best of Jeff Beck happened in the Beatles medley with some magic on that beautiful rendition of “A Day in the Life.” The light show was great as well. Overall a truly magical night.
LIVE IMAGES: JOE GUZMAN – GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: DONNA LOTHRIDGE