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Happy Birthday and Hats Off to Carlos Santana

Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres

Posted to Music News on July 20, 2016

 What a shock the NBA Finals were for a lot of fans of the Golden State Warriors.  No, I don’t mean losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers. I mean seeing Carlos Santana playing the National Anthem in Game 2, accompanied by his wife and drummer, Cindy Blackman Santana. As they did in last year’s Finals, they performed brilliantly. The surprise was that Carlos went hatless, exposing a James Taylor-like dome. A shock, and I say salud.  On his 69th birthday, whic…

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The Doors at the Bowl: Mick, LSD and a Moth

Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres

Posted to Center Stage on July 15, 2016

To play the Hollywood Bowl. For any musician, that has to be a career highlight. The Doors performed in that revered venue in 1968, and Ray Manzarek, in his interview for Qello Concerts, articulated the import of such an occasion. “Everybody played the Hollywood Bowl,” he said. “Igor Stravinsky conducted at the Hollywood Bowl. Miles Davis played the Hollywood Bowl. Great opera singers, great orchestras, great pop acts played it, but not a lot of rock acts. So to pl…

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The Dead at the End of ‘So Many Roads’

Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres

Posted to Artist Spotlight on July 8, 2016

It’s not a sexy, round-number anniversary, but I bet Deadheads know that July 9 was the date of the last Grateful Dead concert with Jerry Garcia. That was in 1995, at Soldier Field in Chicago. With the surviving Dead having celebrated a 50th anniversary with a farewell tour—and then a return of most of them, as Dead & Company—they continue to be in the news. They are on Qello Concerts, in the Classic Albums series (Anthem to Beauty) and in Festival Express, roc…

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Umphrey's McGee: Storytellers, Soundstage and Live at Red Rocks

Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres

Posted to Center Stage on July 1, 2016

A dozen years ago, Rolling Stone declared that Umphrey’s McGee “have become odds-on favorites in the next-Phish sweepstakes.” Truth is, from its beginnings in 1997 at Notre Dame, when two bands became one, Umphrey’s McGee haven’t been the next anythings. They’re their own thing, with their adventurous, wide-ranging music and their enthusiasm for leaping off cutting edges, producing podcasts back in 2005 and performing live mash-ups of their own so…

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