Monday, June 22, 2015

Jack's 10th Show gives fans plenty to love

My review originally ran on The Orange County Register's Web site on Sunday, June 21. You can find the review in today's Life section of the print edition of the newspaper. A special "thank you" to Kelly A. Swift for permission to run her photos with my review.

Roland Orzabal, left, and Curt Smith of Tears for Fears on June 20, 2015. Photo: Kelly A. Swift

Jack's 10th Show

Who: Tears for Fears, Bush, Cake, Everclear, Lit, Richard Blade
Where: Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
When: June 20


Jack's 10th Show gives fans plenty to love

A. Jay and Jeremy Popoff of Lit
at Jack's 10th Show on June 20.
Photo: Kelly A. Swift
Five artists performing over the course of five hours – Lit kicked things off at 5:50 p.m. and Tears for Fears finished its set at about 10:45 p.m. – produced a fast-paced and eclectic mix of ’80s and ’90s hits at Jack’s 10th Show at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre on Saturday night (June 20, 2015).
Like many of Jack FM’s previous multi-artist mini festivals, this was a party-minded affair that allowed fans to make the day their own. Many of the seats around me were empty until evening, with many fans opting to eat, drink, check out merchandise and entertain themselves in the expansive grassy area outside. There was a long line of people trying to win prizes at the Totally ’80s Bar booth (who wouldn’t want their own Rubik’s Cube?), and many concertgoers were busy checking out the drums and guitars at the Yamaha Music Experience booth.
After radio personality Richard Blade kicked things off on the main stage, taking requests and hosting a kind of name-that-tune game, it was time for the real action. Orange County’s Lit played 40 minutes of rock that included its best-known hits and enticing new material. A new reggae-tinged melodic rocker likely titled “Make Love Easy” that is part of a new crop of songs the band has been working on in Nashville was particularly effective, while fans got to their feet and sang along to the group’s biggest hit, “My Own Worst Enemy.”
Everclear was a good choice to include in the day’s lineup, but lead singer Art Alexakis’ hoarse vocals detracted from the power of “Heroin Girl,” “Santa Monica” and “Father of Mine.” An acoustic-style version of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” also failed to excite.
Cake performing at Jack's 10th Show in Irvine on
June 20, 2015. Photo: Kelly A. Swift
Cake’s 40-minute outing was a bona fide joy, highlighted by singer-guitarist John McCrea’s offbeat personality, consistently impressive harmonies and trumpeter Vince DiFiore’s stellar work. The keyboard-anchored “Long Time” and psychobilly burner “Stick Shifts and Safety Belts” were early highlights, while the cool rocker “Sick of You” and a reworked version of Black Sabbath’s 1970 classic “War Pigs” delighted fans later. When the band realized it only had a few minutes left, Cake quickly kicked it up with a buoyant version of “The Distance.”
Gavin Rossdale of Bush performing at Jack's 10th Show.
Photo: Kelly A. Swift
British rockers Bush had the prime slot, performing as the night grew dark and temps had dropped dramatically. The Gavin Rossdale and his group’s post-grunge sound had the near-capacity audience on its feet for more than an hour. Hits aplenty were unleashed with power, including “Machinehead,” “Everything Zen,” “Glycerine” and others, allowing the band to rock relentlessly. Toward the end of the set, Rossdale left the stage and ventured far into the audience, providing a dramatic element to the band’s set.
Tears for Fears’ intoxicating and nuanced rock was the perfect follow-up to the hard edge of Bush. More than 30 years after the release of seminal studio discs “The Hurting” (1983) and “Songs From the Big Chair” (1985), the duo of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith continue to champion songcraft like few others. Tears for Fear’s 70-minute set was heavy on hits, but thankfully, that wasn’t a bad thing.

Curt Smith of Tears for Fears on June 20, 2015.
Photo: Kelly A. Swift
The dramatic opener “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” the Beatle-esque “Sowing the Seeds of Love,” the haunting “Pale Shelter” and the swirling “Head Over Heels” have lost none of their luster over the years and were performed with perfection. Lesser-known songs (“Secret World” and “Closest Thing to Heaven” from the band’s outstanding 2004 release Everybody Loves a Happy Ending) were equally stirring. An interactive six-minute version of “Shout” closed out the night, the crowd on its feet and happily singing along.
Review: Robert Kinsler

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