This week, for your reading enjoyment, we have compiled numerous critical reviews of live musical performances, with a focus on two particular cities. The reviews include Chicago in Fresno; Kid Cudi in Toronto; Gillian Welch in Los Angeles; Dream Theater in Mumbai, India; Mac DeMarco / Flaming Lips in Los Angeles; and Propagandhi in Toronto.
John Davisson – Chicago
Chicago pulls out the stops while playing MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, Fla., June 29.
Chicago @ The Big Fresno Fair in Fresno, Calif., Oct. 6 – “The show wasn’t really meant for me, but the reaction from those who it was meant for was mostly positive. It’s always nice to see experts who have spent a lifetime (in Chicago’s case, almost two lifetimes) mastering their craft perform it live. And the next time I hear ‘Hard To Say I’m Sorry’ in a hotel elevator, I will remember this night. That’s something, isn’t it?” – Rory Appleton / The Fresno Bee
Kid Cudi @ Rebel in Toronto, Ontario, Oct. 4 – “Standing there, amidst the hanging foliage adorning the stage, you could feel the love circulating back around. … It reminded you that, in a year where we lost legends like Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, artists and individuals who battled depression, that our struggles will always be a part of us; that hope is sometimes a hard thing to find, especially in the darkest of hours.” – Mehek Seyid / Live In Limbo
Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings @ Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif., Oct. 4 – “There are good reasons why Welch cultists want to savor every waveform of Harrow and the Harvest … was plainly on view at the Orpheum: Rawlings might be the most captivating acoustic guitar soloist alive. Any rock crowd that imagines acoustic duo music couldn’t possibly be exciting would only need a few songs’ worth of schooling in his live string-bending, which sometimes plays it straight with the conventional beauty of string-band improv, and sometimes veers more into rock or even odd jazz progressions for a few bars.” – Chris Willman / Variety
Aloysuis Lim / LAMC Productions – Dream Theater
John Petrucci of Dream Theater is lost in the music during the band’s show at Zepp @ Bigbox in Singapore Oct. 10.
Dream Theater @ MMRDA Exhibition Grounds in Mumbai, India, Oct. 8 – “The clouds covered the bright sky and soon the rains took over with some lightning, but the fans did not move an inch away from the MMRDA ground. It was this progressive metal band that was holding them back.” – RadioAndMusic.com
Mac DeMarco / The Flaming Lips @ Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Calif., Oct. 7 — “Whenever DeMarco exhibited even the slightest bit of variation from his recorded songs, or showed just a bit of personality, as he did on ‘This Old Dog’ and ‘Dreams From Yesterday,’ the audience went wild, almost as though they expected an improv-light night. That’s not to say DeMarco’s performance was predictable; it’s just that there’s only so much you can do on stage when your songs are designed to be low-key. …
“At one point, Coyne rode through the audience on a unicorn covered in rainbow lights wearing rainbow blow-up angel wings. Later on, he took to his trademark clear plastic bubble for a roll among the worshipers.” – Erin Nyren / Variety
Propagandhi @ Opera House Concert Venue in Toronto, Ontario, Oct. 11 – “Again and again, [vocalist/guitarist Chris] Hannah and occasionally [bassist Todd] Kowalski thanked us for listening to Propagandhi play songs from Victory Lap. It seemed almost sheepish, like they were imposing on us somehow. But the room needed and wanted these songs bad. There was nothing to be sorry for.” – Vish Khanna / Now Toronto