• Concert Review: Kansas at Choctaw Casino And Hotel, Pocola, OK

    Photos & Story by Scott A. Smith On paper, the still-fresh departure of original singer-keyboardist Steve Walsh could have signaled the death bell for Kansas. For many of the rock group’s faithful “Wheatheads,” Walsh’s distinct tenor voice, prog-rock songwriting and adventurous keyboard skills played major roles in Kansas’ sound and character. Walsh’s recent – and quite surprising – retirement from Kansas led the group to hire new singer-keyboardist Ronnie Platt (Shooting Star). Platt and new keyboardist (and former Kansas lighting crew member) David Manion performed their second show with Kansas Sept. 13 at the CenterStage Event Center inside the Choctaw Casino & Hotel in Pocola, Okla. Were there any second-night jitters? Um, no. Were there a few stray bum vocal notes or keyboard parts because of the band’s new blood? Absolutely not. The concert was a magnificent display of passion and near-peerless playing abilities. When Platt and Manion first emerged Continue reading...

  • Concert Review: Boston at Walmart AMP/Arkansas Music Pavilion, Rogers, AR

    Photos & Story by Scott A. Smith Whoa, Boston just took me back – really far back – in time. Led by founding guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter/producer Tom Scholz, the six-piece rock band allowed myself and several thousand other music addicts to hitch a ride to our youth via a sell-out concert Aug. 15 at the Walmart Amp in Rogers, Ark. An array of Boston’s still-favored FM radio hits and newer material seamlessly merged with the evening’s slight breeze to cover the multi-generational crowd. Sounding inspired and including lead singer Tommy DeCarlo, guitarist Gary Pihl, drummer Curly Smith, guitarist Kimberley Dahme and bassist Tracy Ferrie, Boston first hopped to the stage at 8:20 p.m. following an impressive, half-hour opening set by Arkansas blues-rockers Oreo Blue. Boston’s air-tight sound was appropriately loud and remarkably clear – the guitar solos and in-the-pocket harmony patterns of Scholz and Pihl cut through the mix with ease without Continue reading...

  • Roger Hodgson set to Kick off Breakfast in America U.S. Tour This Fall

    Story by Scott A. Smith¬† /¬† Photo courtesy of RogerHodgson.com Supertramp co-founder Roger Hodgson is launching his new Breakfast in America Tour in the U.S., which promises to give more than just a little bit to fans of the acclaimed singer/guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter. Hodgson and his gifted solo band will perform Hodgson’s best-known Supertramp cuts like Breakfast in America, Give a Little Bit, Take the Long Way Home, The Logical Song, Dreamer, It’s Raining Again, School, and “Fool’s Overture.” – Roger Hodgson (writer and composer) with Orchestra The sets also will include numerous selections from Hodgson’s post-Supertramp solo career, which started with Hodgson’s 1984 LP, “In The Eye of The Storm.” Supporting Hodgson’s recent “Classics Live” CD release, the upcoming tour will kick off Nov. 4 in Wabash, Ind. before traveling to Detroit (Nov. 6), Niagara Falls, N.Y. (Nov. 7), Ridgefield, Conn. (Nov. 8), Bethlehem, Penn. (Nov. 9), Huntington, N.Y. (Nov. 11) Continue reading...

  • Concert Review: Steely Dan at Walmart AMP/Arkansas Music Pavilion, Rogers, AR

    Photos & Story by Scott A. Smith Remember way back when, when Steely Dan ignored the road, treating the word “tour” like a big, glowing slab of Kryptonite? Back in the mid- and late-1970s, Steely Dan’s creative nucleus, Donald Fagen (keyboards, vocals) and Walter Becker (guitar, bass, vocals), showed extreme favoritism to the recording studio, where they meticulously built still-great-sounding, jazz-rock LPs such as 1975′s “Katy Lied,” 1976′s “The Royal Scam” and the Grammy Award darling from ’77, “Aja.” Back then in those big-car, pre-digital times, Fagen and Becker steered clear from touring, even though they had the musical gifts to cut it on the stage. In their minds, who needed auxiliary touring musicians, the endless hours of travel and a meddling road manager? It was more fun for the Dan to hole up in a studio and cut into black discs of wax with friends like Michael McDonald, Jeff Continue reading...