Archive for Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Live: Barry Manilow, Houston

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on July 1, 2013 by 30daysout

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By George Kovacik

In this time of venom-filled abortion debates, Paula Deen’s 30-year old racism, the Trayvon Martin trial, 19 Arizona firefighters losing their lives and other disturbing events, it was nice to spend an pleasant evening outside under the stars with Barry Manilow.  Before an energetic crowd who packed the seats and part of the hill at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, TX (40 miles north of Houston), Manilow broke out the songbook and cranked out hit after hit during his 95 minute set.

“It’s A Miracle” and the disco mix of “Could It Be Magic” kicked off the night and in between that and the dramatic closer “I Write the Songs,” Manilow gave us “Can’t Smile Without You,” “Weekend in New England” (complete with women screaming after the line “when can I touch you” and Manilow responding “I’ve still got it), “This One’s For You,” “Mandy,” which started out with his first appearance on The Midnight Special, a powerful version of “Tryin’ To Get the Feeling,” the showstopper, “Copacabana,” and a new tune from a musical he has written called “Harmony,” which received a thunderous applause.  The night’s most moving ballad was  “I Am Your Child” from his first album. He talked about the cutting of school music programs and encouraged the crowd to get behind one of his passions, the Manilow Music Project, a fund that gathers, fixes and donates musical instruments to school districts around the country.

Manilow has always been a master showman, but to be honest with you, I wasn’t expecting much from the Brooklyn native who turned 70 last week (that should make you feel old). However, he more than proved me wrong. His voice was strong, he moved up and down the stage and he genuinely looked like he was having the time of his life singing songs that still stand up after all these years.

I first saw Manilow at Illinois State University in 1975 when he was just hitting it big. At one point on Sunday he referred to himself as the “Justin Bieber of the 70s.” Somehow I don’t see Biebs sticking around as long as Barry.

“Mandy” (Live 2013)

“This One’s For You” (Live 2013)

Video Du Jour: The Beach Boys (on ’60 Minutes’ Australia)

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , on July 7, 2012 by 30daysout

One of us recently had the pleasure of working with Allison Langdon, a host and reporter for “60 Minutes” in Australia. The other one of us wasn’t so lucky. The quote of the year has to be: “You sure don’t look like Morley Safer.”

Nevertheless, when Allison and her crew were in Houston they also met up with the Beach Boys to tape an interview and some of their concert at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Nice report but a few nitpicks: almost no mention of Carl Wilson … “Kokomo” is the Beach Boys’ biggest hit? And that bit with Mike Love at the end … crikey!

“60 Minutes” Australia official website

Live: Jack Johnson, Houston

Posted in News with tags , , , on August 19, 2010 by 30daysout

Jack Johnson gets down in a mellow way in Houston (Photo by Lily Angelle)

Jack Johnson is an artist who does a lot of things right.  He doesn’t tour and release albums incessantly – his current tour supports To The Sea, a new album that is only his fifth since 2001.  He supports pro-environmental causes and in fact all of the proceeds from this current tour are going to charity.

So his recent stop at Houston’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion had a special village of tents with info on the singer’s favorite causes, including recycling, eco-friendly transportation and community volunteering.  And as a reward to those fans who took the time to visit the village, Johnson and some of his band members and opening acts played an intimate, acoustic set on a side stage tucked away among the Pavilion’s pines.

Full disclosure: I didn’t attend the concert, my daughter and her friend did …

Jack Johnson and Zach Gill (Photo by Lily Angelle)

I just showed up to swipe my credit card and present the duo with a “ticketless” voucher that aims to discourage scalpers.  Johnson and his buddies – including G. Love, Hawaiian singer Paula Fuga and Johnson keyboard player Zach Gill – played a short acoustic set in the Houston heat.  The songs included “Mud Football,” “Stepping Stone” and “Girl I Wanna Lay You Down.”

Later, fans were treated to a full-blown show (complete with a 30-minute rainstorm) that included the single “You and Your Heart” and a cover of Steve Miller’s “The Joker.”  And of course “Bubble Toes.”  By all accounts, a good time was had by all.

Jack Johnson official website

Rock Star Sighting! – Elvis Costello

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 3, 2009 by 30daysout

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In 1994, Elvis Costello and the Attractions came roaring into Houston (actually the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands about 40 miles outside of the city) on the Brutal Youth Tour. Costello had been one of my heroes for years, but I had never seen him live. Somehow I got fourth row tickets and the show was incredible. The hightlights included (but not limited to) “13 Steps Lead Down” into “Radio Radio,” and “Alison” with “Tracks of My Tears” and “Tears of  A Clown” tacked on at the end. Costello was clicking on all cylinders and, in typical Houston fashion, few people saw it.

A couple of days before the show, a guy who worked down the hall from me at KLOL Radio said “I have a couple of backstage passes, do you want to go?” Let me think about it for a half a second. Oh, okay.

Being in a band at the time, I figured I would make Elvis a “tape” of my latest project. My brother and I had just put out a CD titled No More Milk under the name The Surrealtors, which featured a song called “Tell Me Why.” It was my attempt to write a “Costello song.

We get backstage meet drummer Pete Thomas and then Costello comes down. We make some small talk, he signed my copy of Brutal Youth, asked me how I liked the show, and then I told brutalyouthhim “I’m in a band and I wanted to give you a copy of my tape.” He couldn’t have been nicer. He said “we’ll listen to it on the way to New Orleans.” Whether he did or not, I’ll never know, but at least he said he would, which was good enough for me.

I’ve included The Surrealtors version of “Tell Me Why” and the current version from my band, Orange Is In.

MP3: “Tell Me Why” – The Surrealtors

MP3: “Tell Me Why” – Orange Is In

Elvis Costello Official Website

The Surrealtors MySpace page