The Band Perry

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Waterfront Concerts and the brand spanking new Cross Insurance Center brought The Band Perry to Bangor this week. I still can’t believe we can see performers like this just about a mile from our house in little old Bangor, Maine. This was the opening date on The Band Perry’s first headline tour, and boy were they polished and ready for primetime. Anyone expecting a laid-back, country music group from Tennessee would have been seriously disappointed… this family trio absolutely rocked the house. I’m no concert reviewer – I’ll leave that to others more qualified – but I know what I like when it comes to entertainment, and I liked this show immensely. Jack, Lori and I were just a couple of rows from the front, and our proximity to the stage allowed us to swim in the band’s energy from start to finish. Excellent show!

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Playing like you mean it – Keith Urban

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You gotta love it when a performer gets on stage and plays like he means it. That’s exactly what Keith Urban and his band did last week when performing in Bangor at the Waterfront. The energy throughout the show was exceptional, and I don’t think there was ever a moment when Urban didn’t have a smile on his face. From the moment he stepped onto the stage until he played the final song of a nearly two hour set, he honestly and genuinely engaged with the crowd and put on a show to remember.

Although categorized within the genre of country, these guys totally rocked the Waterfront and absolutely got after it on stage from start to finish – I think it’s safe to say that this wasn’t your grandma’s country music. An impressive singer in his own right, he also showed himself to be a phenomenally talented guitar player – and when he and the band got cranking, it was a sight (and sound) to behold. I’ve personally seen some of the more renowned live performers such as U2 and Springsteen… and I’ve even seen the almighty KISS live… and I have to tell you that this Keith Urban show was as entertaining as – and worth the price of admission of – any show I’ve seen.

Tim McGraw in Bangor

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Tim McGraw was in town tonight. Hard to believe that a star so big would come to little old Bangor, but there he was live and in-person on stage at the waterfront, and boy did he put on a show! All week long the proposed path of Hurricane Earl had been threatening tonight’s concert, but by late this morning the storm had eased its way off shore and up into the Canadian Maritimes, making way for clearing skies and a picture postcard evening.

I always say that live music is hard to beat any time you hear it, but when a talented performer and his band gets on stage and means it, then you have the makings of a really cool evening. Admittedly as I get older I am becoming more and more of a country music fan, and Tim McGraw has been a favorite of mine for a while now. I like how he offers a nice mix of rock and roll, energy, and story, and as I mentioned before… he also provides an honest performance where he connects with the audience and makes them feel like he really wants to be there. I saw the ultimate performer and showman, Bruce Springsteen, play magnificently at Gillette Stadium a couple of summers ago, and he did not do anything to damage his reputation as one of the most impressive concert performers. The Boss is renowned for putting on a show and giving the crowd their money’s worth, and based on what I saw that night, the legend is true… his show was amazing and memorable. Tonight in Bangor… Tim McGraw gave similar value.

In recent years I can remember seeing a couple of what were then favorite singer/songwriters of mine in Shawn Colvin and Nancy Griffith perform at both UMaine and the State Theater in Portland respectively. Both were concerts that I was incredibly excited to attend, shelling out what was probably at least $50 per ticket, only to experience performers who obviously had no interest in being there. Both shows were weak and disappointing, with both Colvin and Griffith offering zero passion for their music or any obvious desire to connect with their audience, leaving me feeling somewhat cheated. No such experience on this evening though. Tim McGraw was dynamic and engaged, playing many of his most famous tunes and putting on a show that those who attended will likely remember for a long time.

I took Jack’s little point and shoot camera with me to try to capture something to remember the show by. Easy to carry, but lacking in manual controls, I struggled to get any photographs that I liked. Obviously it was dark for most of the time, and without the ability to set the shutter speed manually to where I could stop the action on stage, most of the photographs I made this evening were fuzzy and out of focus. I refuse to believe that our proximity to the beer garden had any bearing on that, but I did come away with a couple that I liked. To try to combat the lack of light, I would point the camera at one of the very bright spotlights on stage (getting me a relatively faster shutter speed), and I would then recompose trying to capture a decent image of the show. I think the fastest shutter speed I was able to render was about 1/25th of a second. I wasn’t that concerned about photography tonight though… Lori and I were happy to see such a big name performer come to Bangor and rock the Waterfront so well!