The 50 Greatest Live Acts Right Now (at least according to Rolling Stone)

Rolling Stone_bruceSo the cover story of the new issue of Rolling Stone is all about the hottest acts on the road. Of course, any kind of top-whatever list will lead to all sorts of disagreements (just check out the comments on the magazine’s website), but I can heartily agree with their choice for number one on the list. Hint: It’s the fella on the cover.

Yeah, yeah, I know…I’m biased. But c’mon…who else could it be? I’ve seen Springsteen 13 times since 1984; three of those on the Wrecking Ball tour that just finished up in Europe. Whether it was with the E Street band, solo, or with the “other band” (well, maybe not that last one), every show was a unique and memorable experience. No two shows were ever exactly alike. And on the most recent tour, he played a whopping 223 different songs over the course of 129 shows.

Here’s what the magazine had to say about their top choice:

Springsteen has always brought nearly superhuman levels of energy to his shows, but his current Wrecking Ball tour stands as one of his greatest and most thrilling. (It even featured the longest Springsteen show ever – four hours and six minutes, in Helsinki, Finland, on July 31, 2012.) For more shows, Springsteen shreds the pre-planned setlist and collects request-bearing signs from the crowd, leading the band in impromptu renditions of covers by everybody from The Ramones to Jackie Wilson. “I don’t look at the setlist very much during the night,” he recently told Rolling Stone’s David Fricke. “I’m listening to the song we’re playing – it’s talking to me about what to play next. And I’m watching the audience. Sometimes it’s the look in someone’s eyes about how bad they want to hear that song they’ve written on a piece of cardboard or their head.”

I’ve listed the top 20 below, and you can find the rest and read the whole story here. And check out the great fan-filmed clip at the end of the post from the Springsteen show at Toronto’s Rogers Centre last August. I was there, and it was outstanding.

1. Bruce Springsteen

2. Prince

3. The Rolling Stones

4. Arcade Fire

5. Neil Young

6. Jay Z

7. Radiohead

8. Jack White

9. Rage Against The Machine

10. My Morning Jacket

11. U2

12. Wilco

13. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

14. The Black Keys

15. Paul McCartney

16. Alabama Shakes

17. Nine Inch Nails

18. Metallica

19. The Roots

20. Kanye West


Happy Friday. What are you listening to?

ipod-classic-accessories-3Haven’t posted one of these in awhile, so here’s what I’ve been listening to in shuffle mode today as I get ready for a couple of days off. Enjoy, and hope everyone has a great weekend.

As of the time of this posting, here are the last 15 to come up in the rotation.

1. Alert Status Red–Matthew Good

2. Shine a Light–The Rolling Stones

3. That Lady (Parts 1 & 2)–The Isley Brothers

4. Afternoon-Pat Metheny Group

5. Perfect Stranger–Cheap Trick

6. Open All Night-Bruce Springsteen

7. You Really Got Me–The Kinks (One From The Road version)

8. Two of Us–The Beatles

9. Spy In The House of Love–Was (Not Was)

10. Bitch–The Rolling Stones

11. You Got Lucky–Tom Petty

12. Spar Wid Me–The English Beat

13. Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakes–Los Lobos

14. V-2 Schneider–David Bowie

15. What Makes You Think You’re The One–Fleetwood Mac

Tom Petty on the road this summer? Yay! Only one Cdn. date? Boo! Unless you live in London, ON.

PettyI’m a big Tom Petty fan, but due to a variety of circumstances over the years I’ve never had the opportunity to see him live. Today it was announced that Petty and The Heartbreakers will be hitting the road for an intimate summer tour that will for the most part see the band bypass cavernous hockey arenas for smaller venues like NYC’s Beacon Theatre where he’s set for a multi-night stand in May. Until I saw the tour dates, my first thought was “Toronto! Massey Hall!” which would be, in a word, outstanding. But no such luck. The only Canadian date on the itinerary is June 18th at London’s Budweiser Gardens. Lucky bastards.

With respect to playing smaller halls, Petty tells Rolling Stone: “This is a good thing to do every now and then,” he contends. “It gets the band members in tune with each other in a way that you don’t get on a big tour. There’s a different challenge than you’re used to. We got together the other night, the band and I, and everybody is up for this. There’s no telling what we’ll do.”

Tickets for the London show go on sale March 8th and prices range from $36.75 to $126.75. More information can be found here.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tour dates:

5/16 Evansville, IN  – Ford Center
5/18 Gulf Shores, AL – Hangout Music Festival
5/20 New York, NY – Beacon Theatre
5/21 New York, NY – Beacon Theatre
5/23 New York, NY – Beacon Theatre
5/25 New York, NY – Beacon Theatre
5/26 New York, NY – Beacon Theatre
6/3 Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theater
6/4 Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theater
6/6 Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theater
6/8 Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theater
6/9 Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theater
6/11 Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theater
6/15 Noblesville, IN – Klipsch Music Center
6/16 Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
6/18 London, ONT – Budweiser Gardens
6/20 Pittsburgh, PA – Consol Energy Center
6/22 Dover, DE – Firefly Music Festival
6/23 Saratoga Springs, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center
6/28 Milwaukee, WI – Marcus Amphitheater/Summerfest
6/29 Minneapois, MN – Target Cente

Here’s a great clip of the band performing at last year’s Isle of Wight festival:

New Tom Petty Videos

Did you happen to catch Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers this past weekend on SNL? They sounded awesome. While their new album ‘Mojo’ doesn’t hit stores until June 15th, two new music videos have surfaced for the songs “I Should Have Known It” and “Something Good Coming”. Great stuff.

Click on the link below for “Something Good Coming” Music/something-good-coming/86413151001

Two Awesome Double-Bills Heading North

Now these are the kinds of announcements I like. One of my all-time favourite singer-songwriters, John Hiatt, has a new disc out next Tuesday entitled “The Open Road”. While his last outing, 2008’s Same Old Man was a little on the introspective side, the new disc finds Hiatt back in rock mode. And he’s heading North. Hiatt’s tour will be making a stop at Toronto’s Massey Hall on June 29th. Tickets go on sale Monday and range from $52.50-$75.50 plus the usual fees. While Hiatt has toured with such artists as Lyle Lovett in the past, this time around he has paired up with the voice and keeper of the beat of the legendary The Band, Levon Helm. Helm’s latest disc, Electric Dirt, won the 2009 Grammy for Best Americana album. According to the Massey Hall website, “the evening will begin with a full set by John Hiatt and his Combo performing both new and old material, followed by a full set from Levon Helm’s Ramble who will then be joined by John Hiatt in the second half of the evening.” Sounds like one helluva show. You can listen to two tracks from Hiatt’s new album here, and even download a free MP3 of the title track.

Here’s a great clip of Hiatt in concert recently performing the terrific “Have A Little Faith In Me.”

And an amazing clip of Hiatt performing with Helm doing The Band’s “The Weight”. Just outstanding.

And another great double-bill heading North: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers along with Joe Cocker or Crosby, Stills and Nash. Petty’s new disc, Mojo, the first new full-band album in 8 years hits stores this spring (exact date TBC) and you can preview a new track, Good Enough, here. Petty’s tour starts May 6th and will make five Canadian stops:

June 8: Vancouver, GM Place (w/ Joe Cocker)
June 15: Calgary, Pengrowth Saddledome (w/ Joe Cocker)
June 16: Edmonton, Rexall Place (w/ Joe Cocker)
June 19: Winnipeg, MTS Centre (w/ Joe Cocker)
Aug. 25: Toronto, Air Canada Centre (w/ Crosby, Stills and Nash)

Tickets for most of the shows go on sale March 8th. And here’s a great bonus: According to Petty’s website, every online ticket purchased to the tour comes with an MP3 download copy of Mojo. Plus, fans who purchase tickets online and download Mojo will also receive 8 tracks recorded during the 2010 Tour to be delivered after the tour. Members of Petty’s “Highway Companions Club” will receive an additional 6 live tracks. (Costs about 45 bucks to join.)

As I write this post, the only show has posted is the Winnipeg show, with ticket prices ranging from $63-$157. Expect Toronto to be pricier because of the addition of CSN on the bill. I don’t believe CSN have any new music on the way but it’s sure to be a crowd-peasing evening between their classics and the amazing catalogue that Petty has to choose from.

Classic Petty:

Classic CSN:

Classic Cocker:

Sidetwo’s Decade Ending List, Part 2

Moving up the list, from 40 to 31. Good mix of tunes in this batch, from classic rockers to Oscar winners. Some you may know, others you may not. But all worth a listen. More music to come.

40. Going In The Right Direction–Robert Randolph & The Family Band (Unclassified)

He takes the pedal steel guitar to 11.

39. Take Your Mama–Scissor Sisters (Scissor Sisters)

Great fun. The Elton John influence is obvious.

38. In View–The Tragically Hip (World Container)

While overall I prefer their ’90s output over their more recent releases, I have to admit I love this cut.

37. Saving Grace–Tom Petty (Highway Companion)

Love the album title. Who wouldn’t want to have Tom Petty music along for a trip down the open road?

36. Always A Friend–Alejandro Escovedo (Real Animal)

Odds are you’re not that familiar with is work. Frankly I wasn’t either, at least until he shared a stage with Springsteen a while back. Now I know what I’ve been missing. Great stuff.

35. Walk Like You Don’t Mind–Blue Rodeo (Palace of Gold)

The boys added some new sonic touches to this disc, like strings and horns. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t. But this track is one the band’s hardest rockers. Couldn’t find a video of the album version, but this take from Jim Cuddy and pals will give you an idea. But check out the album version, then turn it up.

34. This Time You Got It–Cheap Trick (Rockford)

From their 2006 album, Rockford. Proof that you can go back to 1979 and survive. The power pop masters prove that they still got it, indeed.

33. The Pretender–Foo Fighters (Echo, Silence Patience & Grace)

I liked In Your Honor better, but this disc definitely has some strong tracks, especially the lead-off track.

32. Falling Slowly–Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová (Once)

Oscar got it right this time.

31. Everybody Went Low–John Hiatt (The Tiki Bar Is Open)

There’s Hiatt the balladeer, and there’s Hiatt the rocker. This is a great example of the latter. No video for this one, but you can listen to it here.

The Who to play 2010 Super Bowl?


In 2005, it was Paul McCartney. Then came the Stones, followed by Prince (in the rain, natch) Tom Petty and last year’s great performance by Bruce Springsteen. I have to admit, I’m not a big football fan (I prefer hockey and basketball), but like millions of others I usually jump on the Super Bowl bandwagon every year, if for nothing else then to tune in to the halftime show, which has been quite the spectacle over the last few years.

Now comes rumour that The Who will be taking the stage at the 2010 extravaganza known as Super Bowl XLIV, set for February 7th in Miami. This has not yet been officially confirmed by either the NFL or the band, so stay tuned.

The Who are apparently working on new music for their next album, a follow-up to “Endless Wire“, released in 2006. I can only hope another tour will follow and this time they’ll stop in Toronto. On the last tour, they bypassed Toronto in favour of Hamilton.

Until their (let’s hope) Super Bowl performance, here’s a great clip of the band from Switzerland in 2006. They still got it.