Reviews: Goo Goo Dolls, Willie Nelson, Chicago & EWF, Jon McLaughlin, Simply Red, Ani DiFranco

Check out what scribes had to say about Goo Goo Dolls performing in Bethlehem, Pa.; Willie  Nelson in Stafford, Texas; Chicago & Earth, Wind & Fire in Wichita; Jon McLaughlin in Denver; Simply Red in Glasgow; and Ani DiFranco in Portland, Maine.

Photo: Hard Rock International
Hard Rock Live, Orlando, Fla.

Goo Goo Dolls @ Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Pa., Nov. 17 – “On other songs, Rzeznik, now 50, wailed vocally in ways he hasn’t recently – on the strong ‘Big Machine’ and the chanty, big-sound exercise ‘Rebel Beat.’ The 2002 song ‘Here Is Gone’ had seething vocals and solid backing from a band that now includes three touring members since the departure of drummer Mike Malinin.” – John J. Moser / The Morning Call

Willie Nelson @ Stafford Centre in Stafford, Texas, Nov. 16 – “ ‘Heartaches by the Number’ (a Price tune) was stronger than anything he played all night, as was his version of ‘It’s All Going to Pot,’ a song he lustily introduced by saying, ‘Let’s do one by Merle!’ And then it struck me: for the good of our nation, Willie must never stop playing. We should just prop him up on stage with an IV drip and an electric bong that occasionally forces smoke into his lungs and let him sing forever.” – Pete Vonder Haar / Houston Press

Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire @ Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan., Nov. 16 – “The co-headlined show, part of the bands’ Heart and Soul Tour 3.0, worked much better than I expected it to. Seeing Earth, Wind and Fire singer Philip Bailey singing ‘25 or 6 to 4’ alongside Chicago was truly awesome, as was seeing Robert Lamm jamming on his keytar to Earth, Wind and Fire’s ‘Shining Star.’” – Matt Riedl / Wichita Eagle

Jon McLaughlin @ Soiled Dove in Denver, Colo., Nov. 10 – “On this night, he gave us everything he had: tremendous vocal range, falsetto, full-on voice, and fragile moments. Even though he was technically performing solo, the way he played the piano, it was like a voice in itself.” – Laura Hamlett / PlayBack:stl

Simply Red @ SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland, Nov. 16 – “Most striking of all was Hucknall’s voice. Especially in that more relaxed first half, it thrummed with a creamy, throaty, natural tone quite absent from the band’s pop records. He held the microphone a foot or more away from his mouth and let effortlessly soulful sounds drift out.” – Matthew Magee / Telegraph

Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP, file
Performing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans.

Ani DiFranco @ State Theatre in Portland, Maine, Nov. 15 – “She tackles subjects that are more rare in music than one might think, such as devoted friendship, sharing with the crowd one of her finest such songs in ‘If He Tries Anything,’ before a request for unity in ‘Subdivision’ and the showstopping crescendo of ‘Swan Dive.’” Robert Ker / Portland Press Herald