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Artist Spotlight

Coldplay – Live 2003

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Artist Spotlight on April 10, 2014

A rush. That’s what it must have been for Coldplay as they toured behind their album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, which came out, worldwide, in summer of 2002. By the time they hit Sydney and the Horden Pavilion, they’d been on tour for more than a year. But, as Coldplay Live 2003 shows, it was still a rush. And, in hindsight, there was other excitement surrounding Coldplay and its lead vocalist, pianist and songwriter, Chris Martin. He was dating Gwyneth Paltrow, a mu…

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Eric Clapton: MTV Unplugged

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Artist Spotlight on April 3, 2014

Eric Clapton didn’t get off to a very promising start in his performance for the MTV Unplugged series in 1992. Seated on stage at the Bray Studios in London, alongside guitarist Andy Fairweather Low (of Amen Corner in the ‘60s), Clapton didn’t address the exuberant cheers from the audience. He turned to Low, muttered, “Ready?” and essentially warmed up with an instrumental, “Signe.” “Thank you very much,” he offered before movin…

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All You Need is Love: Episode 7: Always Chasing Rainbows: Tin Pan Alley

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Artist Spotlight on March 27, 2014

With a musical about Carole King, called Beautiful, just beginning its journey to Broadway (it’s set to open in January, 2014), I’ve been thinking about Tin Pan Alley. That’s partly because I wrote an article about Beautiful for the San Francisco Chronicle, including interviews with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, the songwriters who worked at 1650 Broadway, in the tiny office next to the equally compact one occupied by King and her husband, lyricist Gerry Goffin. Betw…

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Grace Slick plays – and paints – Monterey Pop

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Artist Spotlight on March 20, 2014

Grace Slick is one of the few rock artists who declared that they wouldn’t perform on stage past age 30—and stuck to it.  (Mick Jagger, famously, was another.) She split from the Jefferson Starship soon after reaching that landmark age, returning only a couple of times for fundraising concerts and short tours. One show is here on Qello, titled The Definitive Concert, recorded in 1983, when Grace was – yikes! – almost 45. After a final, final show in 19…

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Paul Simon and Friends: The Library of Congress

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Artist Spotlight on March 6, 2014

Who woulda thunk that one of the best music specials would be courtesy of the Library of Congress? But, yep. In 2007, that Washington, D.C. institution honored Paul Simon with its first Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and threw a party at the Warner Theatre, with many stars blended with vintage film and video clips. The program was later broadcast on PBS stations. The tribute kicks off live, with Lyle Lovett, his eraserhead slightly moderated, doing a fine “50 Ways to Leave You…

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