Aretha returning to Toronto (with Ott/Mtl a possibility). And a new album on the way too.

aretha-franklin-live-2013-650-430The legend, the Queen of Soul is making a return appearance to Toronto just over a year after her last concert in these parts, and at the same venue. Aretha (who will be 72 in March) will be at Roy Thomson Hall on Friday April 25th 2014 with tickets going on sale tomorrow, Saturday December 21st. Prices range from $59.50-$199.50. If you’re willing to shell out for the top-tier tickets, more power to you but be warned: at her well-received but brief 2013 Toronto show she only managed thirteen (!) songs over 80 minutes. Not exactly great value for the dollar but if you’re a fan, you probably don’t care.

According to, make-up dates for cancelled shows in Ottawa and Montreal are also on the horizon but those dates haven’t been announced yet. And she’s got a new album of covers on the way for the 2nd quarter of 2014. Barbra Streisand’s “People” and Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” are among the tracks she’s covering, so don’t be surprised to hear those in her upcoming Toronto show.

Some classic Aretha for your Friday:


My Saturday morning playlist. What are you listening to today?

springFinally. It’s finally starting to feel like maybe Spring will actually make an appearance soon. The last few days have felt more like late January than late March. Depressing weather. This morning the sun was shining, so I decided to take advantage of respite from the cold and head out for a walk. Stopped for a haircut along the way. Now I feel better. You’re wondering what I was listening to, right? Glad you asked. The last 15:
1. Born In The 50’s–The Police
2. Trampled Under Foot–Led Zeppelin (Celebration Day version)
4. Better Days–Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes
5. Turn The Page–Bob Seger
6. Flesh And Blood–Solomon Burke
7. What If I Do?–Foo Fighters
8. 36 Inches High–Nick Lowe
9. Entangled–Genesis
10. Who Am I Telling You?–J.J. Cale & Eric Clapton
11. Sound of Your Voice–Barenaked Ladies
12. Erase/Replace–Foo Fighters
13. Hollis and Morris–The Trews
14. Wicked Rain–Los Lobos
15. Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves–Eurythmics & Aretha Franklin

The “Why is the Subway so bloody slow today?” Shuffle Report


The Shuffle Report: 10 songs I listened to, in order, on my iPod in shuffle mode at a given point in time. No editing, no skipping. It is what it is.

I don’t understand. The ride to work on the subway this morning to forever. Not sure what the reason was, but it was so sloooooooooow. I mean, it’s not like I was in that big of a hurry to get to work, but there’s only so much standing shoulder to shoulder with people that one person can take. Thankfully the iPod was fully charged.
In the rotation this morning:

1. Livin’ On The Edge—Aerosmith (O Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits) [Is Steven Tyler in or out? Depends on who you ask.]
2. I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Loved You)—Aretha Franklin (30 Greatest Hits) [I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is a must own.]
3. Me and Mrs. Jones—Billy Paul (360 Degrees of Billy Paul) [Ok, it’s about infidelity, but it still sounds great.]
4. Must Have BeenThe Devil—Otis Spann (The Blues Never Die!) [Damn straight.]
5. Sad Songs (Say So Much)—Elton John (Greatest Hits 1970-2002) [Musically, the 1980’s weren’t that kind to EJ. But there were a few gems, like this one.]
6. Run Runaway—Great Big Sea (Up) [Bet you can’t sit still through this one.]
7. City Love—John Mayer (Room For Sqaures) [A song about falling in love with the wrong person for all the right reasons. Awww.]
8. Boys—The Beatles (Please Please Me) [One of my favourite Ringo sings tracks.]
9. The Song Is Over-The Who (Who’s Next) [Please tour this year. Please tour this year. Please tour this year.]
10. Shoebox—Barenaked Ladies (Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits) [While I’ve always liked them, I highly doubt that without Steven Page, there will be a worthy Disc Two.]

Another big ticket tour hits Toronto in 2010 (Folkies unite!)

The highly-anticipated North American tour pairing songwrting legends James Taylor and Carole King has finally been announced and Toronto scores the only Canadian date. The pair, responsible for some of the most iconic pop music of the seventies (and in Carole King’s case, even further back with songs like Will You Love Me Tomorrow, The Loco-Motion, Up On The Roof and [You Make Me Feel Like] A Natural Woman) will play the Air Canada Centre on Friday May 28th.

According to, tickets go on sale to Amex card holders starting January 19th at 10:00 a.m. with the public onsale beginning January 23rd at 10:00 am. Prices range from $49-$125. Also, in an effort to combat the somewhat cavernous effect of the ACC, this will be a concert in the round, with the stage at centre ice. Hopefully that will result in a more intimate performance befitting the style of music by both Taylor and King.

The tour is being called the “Troubadour Reunion” tour, in reference to some shows they perofrmed in 2007 to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic California nightclub The Troubadour. Should be one mellow and enjoyable evening.

James Taylor 2009:

Carole King 2005/2006:

And a classic clip of the pair from 1971:

The RnR Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concerts

Rolling Stone

The new issue of Rolling Stone provides a comprehensive look at the two recent RnR Hall of Fame concerts held in New York City at the end of October. By all accounts, the two shows featuring the likes of the three kids pictured above plus Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, CSN and a whack of other legends were nothing short of historic.

You can see some great photos here.

Also, HBO will be showing a highlights special on November 29th (and sure to be re-run) so if you’re a subscriber, it will be worth tuning in. If you’re not a subscriber, footage is bound to show up somewhere on the internet, so no worries. Speaking of which, here’s a fan-filmed clip of U2, Springsteen and Patti Smith coming together to perform Springsteen’s ‘Because of the Night’, famously recorded by Smith:

The “I really hope this week goes well” shuffle report


The Shuffle Report: 10 songs I listened to, in order, on my iPod in shuffle mode at a given point in time. No editing, no skipping. It is what it is.

It’s Monday. Here’s hoping the week goes well for everyone. 🙂

Joining me on the subway ride this morning for a little distraction:

1. Taxman—Stevie Ray Vaughan (Greatest Hits) [Great Beatles cover from a phenonmenal bluesman.]

2. It Don’t Hurt—Sheryl Crow (The Globe Sessions) [Really nice tune.]

3. Streets of Philadelphia—Bruce Springsteen (The Essential Bruce Springsteen) [Great song from a great movie.]

4. Code of Silence (Live)—Bruce Springsteen (The Essential Bruce Springsteen) [A killer cut, co-written with the underrated Joe Grushecky].

5. Jesus In A Camper Van—Robbie Willams (The Ego Has Landed) [Throwaway but still fun pop from the Brit whose huge popularity overseas has never quite transferred to North America.]

6. I Love The Rain—Lenny Kravitz (It Is Time For A Love Revolution) [Released in 2008, it was his first decent outing in years. Worth checking out if you like his earlier stuff.]

7. Workin’ Them Angels—Rush (Snakes & Arrows) [You’re in one of two camps: you either love Rush, or you don’t. Ok..I don’t love them, but I do like them. Make that three camps.]

8. The House That Jack Built—Aretha Franklin (30 Greatest Hits) [A must own. Period.]

9. She—Elvis Costello (The Very Best of Elvis Costello) [Originally heard in the film Notting Hill. An interesting side to the former angry young man.]

10. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough—Michael Jackson (The Jacksons Story) [In my opinion, and it’s just my opinion, this is the greatest single of his career.]

Concert fans take note: Wolfgang’s Vault is open for business

vault-door-wallpapers_13216_1280x1024This past summer I blogged about Wolfgang’s Vault. It’s a great website that houses a massive collection of licensed streaming live recording and now they’re about to make even more of these concerts available for downloading. According to Billboard, beginning November 3rd, the site will add more than 1,000 titles from 919 artists to the approximately 500 that are currently available for purchase. The additions will include more than 160 Grateful Dead concerts as well as titles from artists such as Santana, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt, Hall & Oates, Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many others.

The download prices will run $7.98 and $8.98 for MP3s and $11.98 and $12.98 for Flac recordings, which is a format similar to MP3, but higher quality (all prices in U.S. dollars). Wolfgang’s vault will also introduce a $48 annual membership which includes a $50 gift certificate, discounts on recordings and memorabilia and unlimited higher-end 192k streaming.

For those looking to bump up their collections with high-quality live recordings that would otherwise be unavailable from traditional outlets, this sounds like a really good deal.

Here’s a few classic live clips to get you in the shopping mood: