East Coast Rocker

Putting You in the Front Row

With Neil Young, The Who, The Stones, ‘Oldchella’ Desert Trip Was Event For the Ages, Not the ‘Aged’


“Welcome to the ‘Catch ’em before they Croak Festival!’” Mick Jagger greeted the sun baked throng of 75 thousand gathered at the Polo Grounds in Indio, California for the second weekend of Desert Trip the music festival featuring six of rock’s penultimate iconic artists – Bob Dylan, The Rolling Sones, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters and The Who.

Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones

Mick and the boys had followed a spirited set by Bob Dylan who despite failing to utter a single word to the audience, still delivered a quality set with several crowd pleasing selections spanning his 50 year career. Opening with “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35” (Everybody Must Get Stoned); other selections included “Don’t Think Twice. It’s All Right”; “Highway 61 Revisited”; “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue”; “Tangled Up in Blue”. He also played his classic “Like a Rolling Stone” for the first time in nearly three years. (Videos courtesy of Prestoff2000)

The Rolling Stones, like Dylan and Neil Young too — who we’ll get to later and in my opinion stole the show — did not play identical sets from the previous weekend, choosing to vary things up a bit. There may not have been a head exploding “whoa!” moment like doing the Beatles’ “Come  Together,” but amazingly, of the first 11 selections of the Stones’ set 7 of them were not done the week before.

In what would prove to be a recurring theme over the weekend time was taken to acknowledge the noteworthy occurrence of Dylan being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the day before with Mick noting “We have never shared the stage with a Nobel Peace Prize winner before. Bob is like our own Walt Whitman.”

Neil Young

Paul McCartney and Neil Young - Kevin Mazur for Desert Trip

Paul McCartney and Neil Young – Photo courtesy of Kevin Mazur for Desert Trip

Saturday night saw a vintage Neil Young firing on all cylinders. Opening with a few classic acoustic numbers “After The Gold Rush,” “Heart of Gold,” and “Old Man” then signaled the end of those oldies with “Comes a Time” and “Helpless.”

The most magical moments arguably of the festival occurred when he performed “Harvest Moon” with literally a super full moon rising in a cloudless sky for all to see which when projected on the giant 240-ft-wide screen and taller than the towering palm trees the moon’s image was gigantic.

A moving performance I suspect I and all in attendance will long remember. However, whereas none of the six festival’s acts had to come out of retirement and all tour continually with consummately professional productions, it was Mr.  Young who stood apart from the others by the sheer force of his vitality. He and his band The Promise of The New Real featuring Lukas Nelson son of Willie Nelson proceeded to burn the place down with incendiary playing, highlighted by a jaw-dropping “Cowgirl In The Sand” clocking in at 19:07.  Neil also made note of Dylan’s Nobel Peace Prize saying looking at his watch saying “We started five minutes early so we could fuck around like this!”

Paul McCartney

Sir Paul McCartney followed with his customary hit filled show featuring songs spanning Beatles’, Wings, and solo career with songs that everyone knows every word to and gleefully sings along with. Surprise guest and highlight was Rhianna coming out to sing their collaborative 2015 hit “FourFiveSeconds.” Rhianna dressed conservatively for her in a patterned frock albeit with a severely plunging neckline sounded fantastic and seemed thrilled to be there.

Paul had Neil come out to do a wonderful “A Day In The Life” into “Give Peace A Chance” and then a debut for Paul with “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road”, a wild and raucous rendition where Neil was let loose to shred and boy did he ever. Sir Macca’s show’s have been virtually the same for a decade but the underlying all you need is love communal feeling is tailor made for music festivals. I am certain Beatles’ songs will still be sung in a hundred years.

The Who

The Who - Kevin Mazur for Desert Trip

The Who – Photo by Kevin Mazur for Desert Trip

Sunday’s final night saw The Who in the opening slot surprising it seemed many people including myself. Again, another constantly touring excellent production technically. However, the first slight vibes of complaint came from The Who first before a note was even played with Roger Daltry asking if someone could turn off the fan, referring to the hot desert wind which was constant at that point.

Then after the second song, “The Seeker,” Pete Townshend asked the crowd “Are you tired?” apparently referring to the less than wildly enthusiastic reception.

Regardless, The Who executed their 22-song set with the consummate skill we’ve come to expect from them over the past few decades.

Roger Waters

As the final act, Roger Waters’ set was mesmerizing and the sound was astounding. He reportedly spent many days working on the sound and he took full advantage of the tremendous array and placement of speaker towers throughout audience. Sound, both musical and effectual, came from any direction at any time. Time and time again there would be the sound of a helicopter, or plane, or God knows what else that would cause everyone to look in whatever direction expecting to see that helicopter or plane. It was that realistic.

A Pink Floyd fan’s fantasy come true the song list was comprised entirely of Pink Floyd songs, eschewing Roger’s solo material, sometimes going way way back and way deep. Waters’ shows are always a spectacle comprised of spectacles. The flying pig has been a staple of the shows for decades however this time around the pig was imprinted with the image of Donald Trump in conjunction with images and messages on the giant screen on stage many of them way past R rated that left no doubt the level of detest Mr. Waters has for Mr. Trump. Interestingly, songs like Mother are amazing for how completely relevant they are to today’s times. Predictably, “Comfortably Numb” was the closing number and as usual was magnificent.

Lastly, it would be a crime not to mention the real star of the festival which was the venue itself. Veteran concert goers with hundreds of shows and a score of venues under their belts like myself walked around in awe marveling at the facilities, vendors, lighting, exhibits, food. Even the parking and traffic was handled exponentially better than at any other big shows I’ve attended. Seriously, a model for how to run a festival. A huge tip of the hat to the organizers who hit it far far out of the park.

‘Little Kids Rock’ Benefit With Joan Jett Raises $1.5M

Joan Jett will be honored with concert benefit Little Kids Rock

Joan Jett: Rock and Roll Royalty

Editor Update: This event raised $1.5 million, according to our friends at Little Kids Rock.

By DONNA BALANCIA – NEW YORK CITY — Joan Jett will be feted by some of the top names in the music business this Friday night during the Little Kids Rock charity fundraiser at the Hammerstein Ballroom.

Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, and Adam Horovitz of The Beastie Boys are among the artists will honor Jett and nephew of Clarence Clemons, Jake Clemons.

Jett will be presented with the “Rocker of the Year” award.

Jett’s tunes “I Love Rock and Roll,” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” skyrocketed off the charts and helped cement her place in history as one of Rock and Roll’s most famous figures.

Jett’s music career has seen a resurgence as of late and she has also been producing and acting.

Several months ago, on the CBS daytime show, The Talk, Jett discussed the impact social media has had on the music world.


Also being honored is Jake Clemons, the nephew of the late Clarence Clemons, who is a singer-songwriter in his own right and who is a member of the E Street Band.

Little Kids Rock helps bring music into the lives of children who attend disadvantaged public schools.

Among the stellar performers honoring Jett and Clemons are Mike Ness of Social Distortion, Billie Joe Armstrong, Darlene Love, Glen Hansard and Kathleen Hanna.

Tickets and more information are available at the Little Kids Rock website.






Glastonbury Loves Dolly

Dolly PartonDolly Parton’s arrival to the Glastonbury stage sends festival-goers into a musical frenzy. Even the local newspaper couldn’t resist the temptation to have a little fun with the Tennessee-born songwriter-performer-actress. Dolly will always be a powerhouse in the music industry and in our lives.

2014 Glastonbury Fest Live Updates

An eclectic mix of performers hit the stage at the 2014 Glastonbury Festival and check here for live updates.

Blondie, Arcade Fire, Dolly Parton and Robert Plant are among the performers at the annual event.

For more information go to the Glastonbury website.

Moog Synthesizer Genome Project Complete

Moog Synthesizer painstakingly recreated East Coast Rocker

The Moog Synthesizer. It no longer shoots rockets.

ASHEVILLE, NC – It has taken three years, but Moog Music engineering team has reverse-engineered and built a 1:1 re-creation of one of the world’s most famous keyboards: Keith Emerson’s Moog Modular, using original processes and components.

Moog Synthesizer

Known as “The Synthesizer Genome Project,” the revitalization of the keyboard was painstakingly undertaken by engineers at Moog Music’s Asheville, N.C. headquarters.

When it was created in 1970, the original Emerson Modular included the following:

·       81 total modules / custom panels

·       12 unique, custom built modules including: sample and hold, preset programmer, custom LFO’s and DRONE VCO Control

·       903 Noise Source and 905 Reverb

·       First synthesizer with performance presets

·       Shoots rockets

The Emerson System, by Moog Custom Engineering, is to be released later this month and is based on the original Emerson Modular. The Emerson System will include the following:

·       Every standard module printed from original circuit board films

·       Original/vintage and new old stock components sourced from around the world

·       All face places are reproduced using original transparencies and techniques

·       Each module is hand build and soldered with original schematics and service manuals as guides

·       No longer shoots rockets

Bob Moog East Coast Rocker

Bob Moog

More information is to come.  The Moog Music 500 series modules and electronic musical instruments are designed and lovingly handcrafted at the Moog factory in downtown Asheville, N.C. Moog Music and its customers carry on the legacy of Dr. Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer and Founder of Moog Music Inc.

The company puts on the annual Moogfest in Asheville.  This year the lineup features Kraftwerk 3D and Pet Shop Boys.

For more information, go to Moog Music and Moogfest websites.



Katy Perry ‘Prismatic’ Tour Dates Announced

Katy Perry launches her Prismatic world tour in Raleigh, N.C.

Katy Perry launches her Prismatic world tour in Raleigh, N.C.

Miami, New York and New Jersey in July

Katy Perry will kick off the North American leg of her Prismatic world tour on June 22 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The 46-city tour is presented by Goldenvoice, a division of AEG Live.   She will be touring in support of PRISM, which debuted at number one on The Billboard 200 and remains in the Top Ten three months after release.  The platinum album has given Perry her biggest ever single with “Roar,” while “Dark Horse” just became her lucky 13th Top Ten hit on The Billboard Hot 100.

Capital Cities, Kacey Musgraves and Tegan and Sara will open for Katy in different markets during the 4-month North American tour.

Katy Perry's Prismatic East Coast tour dates

Katy Perry’s Prismatic East Coast tour dates

“The Prismatic world tour is coming to light up some of my favorite North American cities this summer, as well as some new cities that you introduced me to through your video requests” Perry said in a statement. “This colorful show will bring you all the songs you know as well as ones from my new album, PRISM. I’m so excited that I got to hand-select some of my favorite artists to join me on this journey – I know you’ll

love Capital Cities, Kacey Musgraves and Tegan and Sara as much as I do.”

The stage for the Prismatic world tour allows Perry to get closer to her fans than ever before.   The stage design will provide concert-goers with good access from different angles in the arena. Ticket offerings include a limited number of general admission tickets in the intimate “Reflection Section.”

For more information CLICK HERE

The Original Wailers Put Time to the Test

Al Anderson of The Original Wailers EAST COAST ROCKER

Al Anderson of The Original Wailers during a show at Milliken’s Reef, Florida – PHOTO © DONNA BALANCIA

ORLANDO  — When your friends say “Let’s go see some reggae,” a great choice is the group The Original Wailers.

The Original Wailers put on a lively show Thursday night at Milliken’s Reef and will likely continue to satisfy fans during their tour of the East Coast and this Memorial Day weekend in Florida.  The band was scheduled to play Captain Jax Friday night in Ft. Pierce; Higgs Beach Saturday night in Key West; and Abacoa Park on Sunday night in Jupiter.

The Original Wailers guitarist Al Anderson is still looking as good as he did in 1978 when we saw him side-by-side with Bob Marley performing in front of 30,000 strong at Madison Square Garden.  In 1978, the audience was 99 percent African-American/Islands/Jamaican-based families — all of whom were dressed in Sunday Best, including men wearing ties, women in cotton dresses and little girls and boys in patent leather shoes.

At Milliken’s Reef, the stage is in a scenic beach setting in Port Canaveral and it is particularly beautiful at sunset. We estimated roughly 400 attendees at Milliken’s Reef Thursday night, as barefooted, bikini, and flip flop-clad reggae fans danced, drank and even Hoola-Hooped during the night.

Hoola Hoop lady at Milliken's Reef in Port Canaveral during The Original Wailers show.

Hoola Hoop lady at Milliken’s Reef in Port Canaveral during The Original Wailers show.

The Original Wailers were a hit with the audience, but a few people were overheard asking questions related to the history of the band and the band’s name. With an ongoing rift between the former members of Marley’s backup band from days of yore, there was a split between those who had at one point or another been dubbed Wailers, and Anderson took the helm of The Original Wailers. A few artists have joined and departed The Original Wailers, but the core group has stayed together.

Desi Hyson, the lead vocalist for The Original Wailers, gets the crowd up and dancing with his jovial appearance and trademark sneakers. His gravelly voice carries the subtle deep tones that conjure up images of the Caribbean Isle of Dominica, his homeland. And on behalf of music fans, we are fortunate his career in soccer was shelved in favor of pursuing music the moment he first saw Bob Marley perform in Central Park in NYC.

Desi Hyson: A reluctant but undeniably talented keyboardist

Desi Hyson: A reluctant but undeniably talented keyboardist

You might say Florida has a special significance for fans of The Original Wailers.  Hyson, who was a guitarist for the band previously, took on the keyboard duties because it was in Florida a while back, the then-keyboardist quit and rather than conducting  a search, Hyson took over. He has said he does indeed want to find a keyboardist so he can go back to guitar.

The show was worth the cost of admission and fans got their money’s worth on a relatively inexpensive ticket.

Highlights from the evening included some oldies but goodies including “No Woman, No Cry”  and “Three Little Birds” (“Every little thing’s gonna be all right”) as well as tunes from Miracle, The Original Wailers’ Grammy-nominated EP, for which Hyson wrote most of the songs.

Relationships fracture. Clothing styles evolve. Certainly, a lot of things change in 30 years. But The Original Wailers show that talent and quality will always withstand the test of time.