How far will I travel for a great concert in a cool venue? 3 hours to Madison Square Garden to see Electric Light Orchestra... 90 minutes for a zillion shows at the Wolf Den... 2 hours to Poughkeepsie, NY for Stryper or Last In Line? How about 15 minutes for Dokken/Last In Line? SOLD!!!!
Kicking off a new venue and a new summer event at the MGM called MGM Live On The Plaza were two of my favorite bands, Last In Line and Dokken. It was exciting to see a major venue start their inaugural run with bands that mean a lot to me and judging by the attendance, so many other people, too. As someone who has waved the flag most of his life for hard rock and heavy metal, it's refreshing that MGM look at these bands as legitimate and viable enough to start it all!!!!
First off the bands!!!! To read what I thought about Last In Line, just read the story below from last week because nothing has changed... except i'm an even bigger fan now!!!! They had an abbreviated set and took full advantage of every second... winning the crowd over and giving them a show featuring some of the best players in the business. Thank you Andrew, Vivian, Phil and Vinnie!!!!
Having not seen Dokken since 1986, I was excited to not only see and hear some of my favorite music ever, but see a few friends (Chris McCarvill (bass) and BJ Zampa (drums) joining longtime guitarist Jon Levin and the legendary Don Dokken! Despite the fact that Don can't hit the notes like he used to, the show was an awesome collection of timeless songs presented with a lot of energy and power. The most important takeaway was that the fans really enjoyed the set and so did the band. And, Don Dokken is pure attitude!!!!
So lets talk about the venue. On The Plaza has an amazing look to it, with brick everywhere and "the Castle" at one end, giving it such a distinct appearance and feel. The outdoor venue has a large cover over it, giving it a real intimate feel (and keeping you cool and or dry) but allows air to circulate and of course, no crazy hot or stale standing room only pit... just comfortable.
But, what I was worried about was the sound. How would the acoustics be? How would the sound play off all the brick and no real walls? From every part of the area, all the way to the far back, the sides, the concourse, behind the stage and even in the photo pit (I know sad me, eh), the sound was not only perfectly balanced, but clear and clean. And just so you know... I legitimately walked the entire area trying to find a spot where the music didn't carry well... and I couldn't, except the bathroom, but that is to be expected.
AND.... how can I forget some real cool restaurants and free easy in and out parking!!!!!! WIN-WIN!
A full calendar of events including more of my favorites (Village People, Firehouse and Warrant) can be seen by clicking here .
So congrats to everyone at MGM Springfield for their first concert On The Plaza being a huge success with the bands, the fans and with me. With so many boxes to check when it comes to creating a solid and memorable live event these days, you guys did it all... and a little more.
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.