This past week saw the start of the summer concert season at Ironstone Amphitheater. With the most aggressive line up ever this summer promises to be one for the ages delighting music lovers of Calaveras County and all of our welcomed friends and neighbors. I am so humbled getting to do what I love to do, listen to great music by world class performers and take pictures of the event. Sharing my take on the evening with y’all is just a bonus for this country boy.
Thursday night kick started the summer with a country party. Michael Ray, Dan and Shay and Darius Rucker.
Just an outstanding night out with a crowd so eager and energetic and I must say beautiful too, settled in for the country ruckus going on. Michael Ray opened the show with a very uptempo start to this party followed by Dan and Shay.
The crowd was buzzing awaiting Darius Rucker and exploded out of their seats when he took the stage. With a voice like butter so smooth and soothing it is easy to see why he has lasted the test of time in a difficult industry. Just an amazing talent. Although converting to country more than 10 years ago he still brought some of the Hootie and the Blowfish songs out of the vault delighting the crowd even more. A great Country Music Crowd out for a great evening. Everyone I spoke with left the night pleased that they came.
Friday night brought out the rock-n-roll crowd with a fully stacked line up of Tribal Society, Collective Soul and The Goo Goo Dolls. Having seen the GGD’s a few times prior I knew they always try to help upcoming New York (Buffalo area) bands by bringing them on tour. Tribal Society was one of those opportunities. I felt they may have been a bit out of place for the crowd but did enjoy a few of their songs. I had trouble figuring out their genre, kind of a cross hybrid of Korn and Jethro Tull.
Atlanta based Collective Soul took the stage next and owned it for their 45 minutes with us. Ed Rowland shows how to interact with a crowd wanting to be told a story. Just an outstanding stage presence. Brother Dean on lead guitar went off with his nimble fingers floating across the frets with every power stance known to man. I like these guys a lot and would love to see more than the 45 minutes allotted. They covered some of their new album “See What you Started” and a few of their old hits, my favorite, “World I Know” completing their 8 song set.
Has it really been 30 years since John Rzeznik and Robbie Takae formed Goo Goo Dolls in Buffalo, NY? Even though it is their first visit to Ironstone the Calaveras crowd treated them like old friends with a great big hug and kiss. John wasn’t sure where he was… (Six Mile Road can do that to you) but knew he was with friends. Their music is timeless as many can attest to singing along with all of their hits..ummm me included… I hope they come back again. You won’t find a more fun night out than bouncing balloons with the Goo.
The show stealer was the gorgeous sunset lighting Ironstone in hues of blue and pink and the beautiful faces of Calaveras County. I can’t imagine a better start to concert season than Thursday and Friday night. Richter Entertainment Group got these right.