Tim Van Schmidt | New SCENE
This is the second edition of a revival of my old column, “Afterword”, with capsule reviews of recent NOCO events.
Angelique Kidjo: I think even the flowers were dancing at Gardens on Spring Creek on September 25 — the final live music show of the season at the excellent NOCO venue. The artist was revered Benin vocalist Angelique Kidjo and it was a rousing, celebratory performance.
If the flowers weren’t dancing, at least a full third of the audience was up and moving, making a big happy dance floor in front of the stage.
This was no toss-off gig. Kidjo was WORKING, maintaining strong vocals while strutting, twirling and constantly engaging the crowd. From Talking Heads covers to songs in various languages, the positive underpinnings and rhythmic joys of African pop played happily underneath it all.
But that doesn’t mean this was light music — Kidjo infused some inspiring messages into the upbeat, infectious rhythms.
Kidjo’s show was just a fine way to usher in the cooler nights of autumn. Do yourself a favor and become a Gardens on Spring Creek member to get advanced info and ticket discounts for future live shows.
Alice Cooper: Ahhhh — there’s nothing like a good hard rock show to get the blood pumping and Alice Cooper delivered in full at the Events Center in Loveland on October 4.
Let’s get the age nonsense out of the way right away. Cooper is 74, but he remains a strong rock ringmaster. He’s got younger musicians blasting off the musical fireworks, while he stalks the stage and belts out the tunes with authority.
Cooper’s stage persona has always been a little rough — his voice too — so really there wasn’t any real sign of the usual aging rocker’s troubles. Actually, his “pre-aged” presence has been a little bit of a genius for years.
Then you have to admire the usual scary stage props that help make his show continue to be a rocker’s delight. From a huge “Billion Dollar Baby” to the famous guillotine bit, the show was a Halloween-ish visual feast.
The tunes were all there — “Be My Lover”, “I’m Eighteen”, “Under My Wheels”, “School’s Out”, “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, “Poison”, and “Hey Stoopid”. The patriotic display for “Freedom” included not only American flags but also a Ukrainian flag right in the middle.
Packed into a 1 1/2-hour show, it was a mighty setlist. And the whole ensemble kept the momentum fast and furious — there was no loose talk, just rock action.
Did I like the show? No — I loved it! More hard rock is on its way to the Events Center — Judas Priest and Queensryche on November 10.
Suzanne Vega: Indeed, it was “An Intimate Evening of Songs and Stories with Suzanne Vega” at The Armory in Fort Collins on October 6. And the artist who brought a fresh quality to the singer-songwriter genre with luminous recordings and poetic songcraft seemed happy to be there.
She told songwriting stories, engaged with the crowd with a friendly tone, and performed her songs with some passion, the music ably underscored by the at times ethereal guitar work of Gerry Leonard, known for his work with David Bowie.
Besides turning in a full hour-and-a-half set, Vega also repeatedly thanked the crowd for being there since “live music without an audience was nothing”.
Coming up at The Armory: The Heavy Heavy on November 3 and Penny & Sparrow on November 19.
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