Capital Region

The Daily Gazette’s best of 2017: Pop/rock/jazz

Bryan Ferry, Dead & Company, Sting rose above
Bryan Ferry gave a memorable performance at Proctors in March.
Bryan Ferry gave a memorable performance at Proctors in March.

Gazette music reviewers Michael Hochanadel, Kirsten Ferguson and David Singer saw dozens of shows in 2017. Here is their top concerts, along with one reviewed by copy editor Jeffrey Haff:

  • Los Lobos at The Egg on Jan. 29 — In English or Spanish, folkloric bluesy east-LA rockers Los Lobos rolled a huge wave of passionate sound through The Egg; starting deliberately then building, building and building. (MH)
  • Bryan Ferry (and Judith Owen) at Proctors on March 30 — Expectations felt both high and fragile before Bryan Ferry made tremendously dramatic, majestic, masterly Brit-rock at Proctors: big music in the hands of a veteran entertainer and terrific band. (MH) (Review) (Photo gallery No. 1 and No. 2)
  • Dwight Yoakam (and Elliot Root) at The Egg on May 12 — Yoakam and his quartet churned seamlessly from one tune to the next in a relentlessly energetic set that included several of Yoakam’s signature covers (Elvis’ “Little Sister,” Buck Owens’ “Streets of Bakersfield”) and some of the hillbilly rabble-rouser’s own biggest hits (“Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose,” “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere,” “Guitars, Cadillacs”). (KF) (Review)
  • Sawyer Fredericks at Caffe Lena on May 28 — He has an uncanny knack of sinking deep into his songs very quickly — like a play actor in a role.  He is fearless with his voice, and from the first song “Red Memories” he closed his eyes and sang boldly. (DS) (Photo gallery)
  • Dead & Co. at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on June 11 — Perhaps the highlight was when the group took on the epic “Terrapin Station,” and occupied it in their own way, matching the original in some spots, and veering off on their own in others. John Mayer handled most of the lyrics, until the grandiose line, “Inspiration,” when Bob Weir took over. (DS) (Fan video)
  • Amadou and Mariam (and JoJo Abot) at Music Haven on July 16 — People who hadn’t danced in public for years, decades (I was one), pumped flying elbows and knees, rolled shoulders and hips; all animated by smile-energy. The songs were simple; few needed more than two or three chords, and most were sung in French; but the uplifting beat was the relentless language of funk. (MH)
  • Rod Stewart (and Cyndy Lauper) at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on July 22 — During a 21-song set that drew from his greatest hits, Stewart swaggered across the stage in a gold tuxedo jacket during “Some Guys Have All the Luck,” executed jumping jacks during the sing-along “Maggie May,” and kicked around soccer balls during the set-closing “Stay with Me” from his days with the rock band Faces. (KF) (Review)
  • Tim McGraw & Faith Hill at the Times Union Center on Aug. 19 — “Free,” “This Kiss,” “Breathe” and “Stronger” were crowd favorites, showcasing Faith Hill’s clear vocals and showmanship. … Tim McGraw delivered a heartfelt “Humble & Kind,” his 2015 Grammy-winning song, as fans swayed back and forth, cellphone cameras in hand. (JH) (Review) (Photo gallery)
  • Sting (and Joe Sumner & the Last Bandoleros) at Saratoga at Performing Arts Center on Aug. 30 — For over 90 minutes, including 24 songs and two encores, he offered a selection of Police hits, fan favorites from his solo career, and a few of his newer tunes, with little fuss or pompousness. Just sharp arrangements, a playful interaction with the adoring crowd, and a voice that sounded in fine form. (KF) (Review) (Photo gallery)
  • King Crimson at The Egg on Nov. 9 — Nowhere else do you see three robust drum sets in the front of the stage, with the band elevated behind them. King Crimson’s eight musicians — led by Robert Fripp — put on their typical maniacal show (DS) (Review)

Jazz shows

In addition, Hochanadel saw numerous jazz shows in 2017. His big three:

  • Dave Douglas & the DaDa People Quartet at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Apr. 13
  • Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival (Sunday) — highlights: Hudson, DeeDee Bridgewater, Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles, Blind Boy Paxton, and Jane Bunnett & Maqueque) (Review) (Jukebox) (Photo gallery)
  • The Don Byron Quartet at A Place for Jazz on Nov. 3

Best of 2017: The full list

Categories: Entertainment

Leave a Reply