During the heyday of hard rock music, record sales were robust and many artists played to filled arenas. Times have changed. Record sales are on the decline and arena shows are few and far between for most hard rock artists, but the live performance is arguably more important now than it ever was before. Although I was fortunate to see numerous outstanding live performances throughout 2014, two stood out above the rest.
TOP HEADLINE PERFORMANCE OF 2014 – The Winery Dogs
Many of the most memorable concerts that I’ve seen throughout my lifetime took place in stadiums and arenas, with spectacular displays that were as much a part of the experience as the music itself, but when it comes to The Winery Dogs, the music does the talking.
Fully appreciating the talent of each member of The Winery Dogs, the expectations that I had when seeing the band for the first time were fairly high, and yet, they were still greatly exceeded.
In an unassuming club, with an alleyway entrance and a capacity in the neighborhood of 1000, elaborate stage shows are not an option, so the performance and the connection with the audience took center stage (so to speak).
With nothing more than a generic light show, the supergroup power trio featuring Richie Kotzen, Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan left the capacity crowd in awe with their listener-friendly virtuosity. If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I would have never believed that there were only three musicians on stage.
Feeding off of each other and the audience, The Winery Dogs delivered a dynamic, intense performance for the ages. It may very well have been the first show that I’ve ever attended where everyone raved about the performance, and the only disappointment was that it had to end. (Click here to read the full concert review).
When The Winery Dogs come back around after they release their second album, do NOT miss the opportunity to be in the presence of greatness!
TOP OPENING PERFORMANCE OF 2014 – Like A Storm
On a concert weekend that included legendary hard rock artists and several hours of travel across state lines, the most lasting impression was left by Like A Storm, a band of up-and-coming brothers from New Zealand.
Like most opening bands, Like A Storm had a very limited amount of time to make a big impression. Although they had the most radio success on the three-band bill with their hit song, “Love The Way You Hate Me,” Like A Storm only had six songs to win over the audience.
Often times, when an opening act has one hit, it is the only song that concert attendees want to hear. However, in the case of Like A Storm, the audience engagement and excitement grew with each song, and built to a crescendo when they played “Love The Way You Hate Me” to close the show.
Click here to read the full concert review, and find out why Like A Storm was as impressive after their performance as they were during it.
With their second album due out in 2015, and the first single (“Wish You Hell”) off of the album already making an impact at radio, it would not be surprising at all to see the band make the transition from opener to headliner in the coming year.