This week, for your reading enjoyment, we have compiled critical reviews of live performances from Drake in Miami; Joan Baez in Sonoma, Calif.; Kenny G in Pahang, Malaysia; Jorja Smith in New York; J Mascis in San Francisco; and John Mellencamp in Victoria, B.C.
Drake @ AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Fla., Nov. 13 – “In a concert do-over after the rapper postponed his September show due to a sudden illness, Drake pulled out all the stops for a Miami crowd at the AmericanAirlines Arena. Turns out it was well worth the wait.” – Christiana Lilly / Boca Magazine
Joan Baez @ Weill Hall @ Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif., Nov. 11 – “She took the stage alone and opened the concert with a cover of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” by Bob Dylan, a songwriter that might well be selling shoes for a living today if Baez hadn’t introduced his music to the masses in the early ’60s.” – Jim Harrington / Marin Independent Journal
Kenny G @ Arena Of Stars in Pahang, Malaysia, Nov. 11 – “Like a true professional, he started his concert at 8.30pm sharp, making his trademark entrance from the rear of the arena, playing as he walked through the audience.
“Along the way, Kenny halted a slow ballad to display his signature soft-edged technique to hold a single note using the circular breathing method, for several minutes before making his way to the stage and launching into “Silhouette.’” – Revathi Murugappan / Star2.com
Jorja Smith @ Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, N.Y., Nov. 14 — “Not surprisingly, her songs — which recall Amy Winehouse, Sade and early Erykah Badu — work well in a small jazzy-combo setting, although her between-song comments were often lost in the museum’s cavernous acoustics.” – Jem Aswad / Variety
J Mascis @ Slim’s in San Francisco, Calif., Nov. 18 – “Mascis’ instantly recognizable voice and lyrics still contain all sorts of contradictions. He sounds as if he believes the problems in his songs to be both profoundly meaningful and utterly meaningless; he’s both old and bitter, and young and naive.” – David Gill / Riff Magazine
John Mellencamp @
Save on Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, B.C., Nov. 12 – “It began with a feverish and fawning mini documentary that ran for 25 minutes — which felt a little heavy handed and unnecessary, to be honest. The film eventually drew jeers from the anxious audience of 5,107, but the singer recovered quickly soon after. And so did his followers.” – Mike Devlin / Times Colonist