This week, for your reading enjoyment, we have compiled critical reviews of live performances from Elton John in Philadelphia; Niall Horan in New York; Robert Plant in St. Louis; Gillian Welch in Oklahoma City; Rise Against in Houston; and Car Seat Headrest in Columbus, Ohio.
Elton John @ Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 11 – “Having attended dozens of John shows in the past, this seemed to be the most personal, personable and emotive of his gigs. For a guy always pleased to announce that ‘The Bitch is Back,’ he was pretty sweet.” – A.D. Amorosi / Variety
Niall Horan @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, N.Y., Sept. 12 – “The most intimate moment of the night came when Horan instructed fans to close their eyes and soak in his favorite song, the lovelorn ballad that he named his record and tour after. The venue quickly lit up with iPhone flashlights, but the spotlight (literal and figurative) remained on Horan. In an age where artists rely on theatrics, backup dancers and video interludes, it was refreshing to see just a dude and his guitar. Especially one who is having the time of his life.” – Nicholas Hautman / US Weekly
Robert Plant @ The Pageant in St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 9 – “The singer was generous with the spotlight, giving it over to guitarists Justin Adams and Liam “Skin” Tyson as well as violinist Lillie Mae Rische, who goes by Lillie Mae and who opened the show before joining in for much of the headlining set. A palpable shiver went through the crowd when a molten beat laid down by drummer John Blease gave way to the opening lyric of the Zep classic ‘Black Dog.’ The crowd was so loud repeating back Plant’s “Ahh-ahh” call, that it momentarily cracked him up.” – Daniel Durchholz / St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Gillian Welch @ Tower Theatre in Oklahoma City, Okla., Aug. 24 – “Welch sang, played the guitar and banjo, and engaged the audience in conversation like an old friend, entertaining a diverse group of young and old at the Tower Theatre — proof that good music attracts all generations of fans, no matter what the genre.” – Ed Godfrey / The Oklahoman
Rise Against @ Revention Music Center in Houston, Texas, Sept. 12 – “On any given night, Rise Against can be one of the best live acts in music, and while I don’t think they quite hit that level on this trip to Houston, they put on a fine show to an appreciative, but far from packed house; seriously, I rarely have so much elbow room at Revention. In a way, I think it was the location that really hurt the show the most: Rise Against plays big rooms regularly — their last Houston stop was up in The Woodlands — but they’re the type of band that’s always going to be better in more intimate spaces.” – Cory Garcia / Revention Music Center
Car Seat Headrest @ Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio, Sept. 9 – “The group set the audience into fits early-on with songs that addressed deep emotional wounds with celebratory, intoxicating rock-and-roll. The group opened with a loose jam that evolved into Lou Reed’s harrowing portrait of panic ‘Waves Of Fear,’ which felt fabulously cathartic.” – Curtis Schieber / The Columbus Dispatch