Stars Align Tour: JEFF BECK/PAUL RODGERS/ANN WILSON w/Deborah Bonham
Five Points Amphitheater, Irvine, CA – 7/20/18
Review and Pictures: Diane Lynn
It was a very warm summer evening at the wonderful outdoor venue, Five Points Amphitheater in Irvine, Ca and the Stars were Aligned perfectly!
The Rock Gods brought three amazing artists together for a magical tour! All three are iconic musicians/singers who share a history of producing music that still to this day is played by fans young and old alike.
Opening this evening was a very special guest from across the pond; Deborah Bonham, sister of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer, John “Bonzo” Bonham. It’s a rare occasion that Deborah brings her vocal talents to the US, so this was definitely a special treat for all attending. Normally Deborah performs with a full band, but this night it was an all acoustic set spotlighting her beautiful voice with Ian ‘Tat’ Hatton on guitar.
Before each song she gave a bit of history on why and how the song was written, personalizing the performance for her fans. She talked a little of her famous brother who passed in 1980 and the influence he had on her as well as a few other tidbits. I also noticed that Deborah was wearing a necklace that had the famous symbol being three circles that is famously associated with her brother and now her nephew, Jason Bonham.
Deborah’s music is bluesy with a bit of folk added in, so tonight’s acoustic presentation still fit the sound. Deborah hasn’t released anything new since about 2008 but her songs are timeless so look her up and have a listen, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
Anytime you hear the name, Ann Wilson, you instantly think of that powerhouse voice! Ann is mostly known as one half of the iconic band Heart. Since Heart has been on hiatus, the sisters have been branching out and flying solo. While Ann may still perform Heart songs she will usually put a new spin on them by slowing it down a bit and adding a blues feel to the song or maybe just doing it acoustic style.
Ann has also has written new music under her solo umbrella and released several projects; check out “Hope & Glory” and “The Ann Wilson Thing“. This night Ann performed hits from Heart, The Who and several others. Her beautiful strong voice was still in full effect and she brought the crowd to their feet.
Ann is playing with a group of very talented musicians: Guitarist Craig Bartock, who has also been a guitarist with Heart since 2004. Bassist Andy Stoller, who has performed with the likes of Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen. Former Heart drummer, Denny Fongheiser and Keyboardist Daniel Walker. So much talent combined with Ann’s vocals is a winning combination anyway you look at it.
The Real Me
(The Who cover)
Fool No More
She Talks to Angels
(The Black Crowes cover)
I Am the Highway
You Don’t Own Me
(Lesley Gore cover)
Life in the Fast Lane
Won’t Get Fooled Again
(The Who cover)
Paul Rodgers has still got it!
Paul Rodgers was and still is one of my favorite rock singers. You instantly know his voice when you hear it and this night he proved that he still has one of the most iconic voices in rock history. His voice sounded strong and never wavered.
When Paul walked out on stage you could tell you were in for a great set of rock and roll. He started us off with a song from Free, “A Little Bit of Love” bringing the whole audience to their feet. Next up was “Can’t Get Enough” the rockin’ hit by Bad Company. Paul’s set list was actually a string of hits from both Free and Bad Company including the Mott the Hoople cover “Ready for Love”.
This set of the Stars Align tour was a stand out for me. This was a good old fashion rock concert. The music was kickin’, the people were up and dancing and singing’ and I even spotted a few of the ushers working the show who were also singing along to a few of the songs.
Up on stage with Paul was Peter Bullick on Guitar, Ian Rowley on Bass, Gerard Louis behind the Keyboards and Richard Newman on Drums. That’s a great group of talented musicians, so it’s not hard to see why this was the standout performer of the night for me.
Paul has always been a great front man which is definitely a key to a great show. He still has a charisma that shines through when he’s on stage and when you add in that one-of-a-kind voice you can see why he’s still so popular today.
Little Bit of Love
Can’t Get Enough
(Bad Company song)
Feel Like Makin’ Love
(Bad Company song)
My Brother Jake
Ready for Love
(Mott the Hoople cover) (Bad Company version)
Walk in My Shadow
Fire and Water
(Bad Company song)
Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy
(Bad Company song
All Right Now
Paul and the band couldn’t have picked a better song for the encore. An upbeat, classic rock and roll song. Honestly, I think Paul and the guys could have played all night and the crowd would have loved every minute of it.
I know I would have!
Jeff Beck brought the coolness when he started the final set of the Stars Align tour this evening.
The sun had gone down which brought relief to many who suffered through the California sunshine, but the crowd was ready for one more hot set and this time it was the iconic guitar player who brought the heat.
This was a special treat for me. I’ve heard Jeff’s music throughout my whole life; growing up listening to tunes from the Yardbirds and loving his hit “People Get Ready” feat. Rod Stewart, so being able to see him finally play live was amazing!
Most of Jeff’s solo releases have been instrumental compositions which made sense that he and the band would start the set minus vocals with the song, “Pull It“.
It was such an honor to see this Hall of Fame guitarist perform his craft. Of course his raw, and at times, unmatched talent for playing guitar has not gone unrecognized. He has won eight Grammys, the first being in 1986 for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for “Escape” from the album “Flash“. And as mentioned Jeff is also a TWO time Hall of Fame Inductee for his solo work as well as his contributions to The Yardbirds. He is also the subject of a new documentary called “Still On The Run ; The Jeff Beck Story“, which came out on May 18th of this year. For you hard core Beck fans you may want to check this out.
Jeff has brought some amazing musicians in their own right to accompany him on this tour. He has Vinnie Colaiuta on drums (Frank Zappa, Sting, Herbie Hancock), Jimmy Hall on vocals, Rhonda Smith on bass (Prince, Chaka Khan, Beyoncé, George Clinton) and Vanessa Freebairn-Smith on Cello.
Jeff Beck has been listed as one of the most influential guitarists in rock history. His style of playing is his own; it’s unique and not simple. He has collaborated and/or performed with some of the most recognizable names in rock and roll and then some.
Roger Waters, Paul Rodgers, Eric Clapton to name a few and even Kelly Clarkson in 2007 for her cover of Patty Griffin‘s “Up to the Mountain” on a special episode of American Idol.
It’s obvious that Jeff loves to play guitar, lending his talents to many different artists across many different genres . In 2004, Jeff was featured on the song “54-46 Was My Number” by Toots and the Maytals on the album “True Love” which won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.
The set and evening ended with Jeff playing “Going Down” by the “Alabama State Troupers” for his final encore song to which the standing crowd showed their appreciation with applause, whistles and cheers.
(Billy Cobham cover)
(Nitin Sawhney cover)
You Know You Know
(Mahavishnu Orchestra cover)
(Bonnie Dobson cover)
I Have to Laugh
(Otis Rush cover)
Lonnie on the Move
(Lonnie Mack cover)
Mná na h-Éireann
(The Chieftains cover)
Just for Fun
(The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers
Brush With the Blues
(Stevie Wonder cover)
A Day in the Life
(The Beatles cover)
Corpus Christi Carol
(Benjamin Britten cover)
(The Alabama State Troupers cover)
The Stars Align Tour was a great show, the variety of music and talent that were brought together made for a fantastic evening. It looks like they are wrapping up this tour at the end of August, so if you missed it I would keep any eye out for it next year with the hope that the Stars are Aligned just right again where you’ll able to enjoy an evening of some fantastic music from some iconic musicians.