BEST OF 2016: Stanley A. Johnson’s Top 10 Favorite Musical Places
Story and photographs by Stanley A. Johnson
Poor health didn’t keep me from hearing some great music this year. The music made me feel better and was great fun.
Here is a list of local places where I know that fun can be found. The accompanying photos are evidence. I am grateful for the experiences.
THE EGG, Albany:
This venue leads the list because of several events, including:
The New York Living Legacy Project: The Band, which also included a musical lecture by John Simon which I saw at the Guilderland Public Library, one of several branches hosting the event (11/5/15). The Egg featured an interesting panel discussion followed the screening of a rare theatrical version of “The Last Waltz,” which was PLAYED LOUD! (11/25/16). Another event had Elliott Landy talking about photographing The Band while showing some of the images he had taken (12/3/16).
Martin Barre, (9/23/16) guitarist for Jethro Tull, playing with his new band and promoting his latest solo record, Back to Steel.
Richie Furay, (9/29/16) founding member of Buffalo Springfield and Poco, playing with a band that included his daughter on vocals.
Hot Tuna, (11/20/16) with a electric set by guitarist-vocalist Jorma Kaukonen and a red-hot Jack Casady on bass.
SARATOGA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, Saratoga Springs:
I got there twice and saw six bands.
Tedeschi Trucks Band, North Mississippi All Stars and Los Lobos, (7/13/16) which featured much jamming.
Cheap Trick, Joan Jett and Heart, (9/8/16) which featured much rocking.
THE PALACE THEATRE, Albany:
Gov’t Mule’s Mule-O-Ween, (10/29/16) which featured an extended second set of songs by Traffic. The best cover band in the business.
WASHINGTON PARK, Albany:
The Tulip Festival (5/8/16), featuring Jonathan Edwards, the Last Conspirators, Red-Haired Strangers and more, with thousands of beautiful tulips topping the bill.
RIVERLINK PARK, Amsterdam:
With the new pedestrian bridge, which has become part of my daily exercise routine, this site had the most free events I attended this year:
Roomful of Blues (7/23/16)
Jocelyn & Chris Arndt (7/9/16)
Robin & Linda Williams (8/27/16)
The Revelers (7/2/16)
True Grit Outlaws with Tunnel (8/19/16)
The Lustre Kings featuring Cindy Cashdollar and Kevin Maul with Billy Eli (7/16/16)
Riverfest featuring Tumbleweed Highway (8/6/16)
CORNING PRESERVE BOAT LAUNCH, Albany:
Moving the stage to the other end of the rain-site parking lot resulted in having the stage in a nice sunset and a better view of the river for the Albany Jazz Festival featuring KJ Denhert, the Lucky Chops and more (9/10/16).
MUSIC HAVEN, Schenectady:
A musical passport in Central Park.
DakhaBrakha with Tavche Gravche (8/7/16), which, for me, was the concert of the year. It’s not everyday I go to a show with absolutely no idea of what kind of music I will hear and come out completely blown away, still unable to describe the music.
Jerry Douglas & the Earls of Leicester with Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys (7/17/16). Bluegrass as good as it gets.
TROY SAVINGS BANK MUSIC HALL, Troy:
Graham Nash (10/9/16), giving the best performance I’ve ever seen him do.
RIVERFRONT PARK, Troy:
What a venue this has become…
The Felice Brothers (7/20/16)
SHEPARD PARK, Lake George:
A venue so nice you don’t even need a concert to enjoy it, but Jazz at the Lake – featuring the Brubeck Brothers, Charanee Wade, Diva and Tizer with Karen Briggs (9/17/16) – made it even better.