As Nippertown.com’s chief photographer and primary concert reviewer, it seemed as though Andrzej Pilarczyk was everywhere this year. Whether it was a club show, a concert or a festival, chances are that Andrzej was there. In words and pictures, here are his eclectic selections for best performances of 2010:
1. Sarah Chang & the Philadelphia Orchestra @ the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, 8/18/10
Sarah Chang’s inspired interpretation of a Shostakovich violin concerto exploded on stage with blazing passion and unequalled perfection from both Chang and the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Peter Oundjian.
2. The Allman Brothers Band @ the Palace Theatre, 11/15/10
The Allman Brothers have been touring and recording for over four decades with different line-ups throughout the years. The band’s current front end of monster guitarists Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes creates a modern signature sound that transcends time and space. It’s Twilight Zone stuff at its best if you think back to Duane and Dickey Betts trading fiery solos in the band’s first incarnation.
3. Arlo Guthrie @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, 5/22/10
Celebrating Caffe Lena’s 50th Anniversary with a double bill of Arlo Guthrie and Robin & Linda Williams, I was asked to take a few casual shots of them just hanging out in one of the theater’s adjacent music rooms before the concert. It was a blast to just be the preverbal fly on the wall and listen to the three of them swap road stories.
4. David Malachowski & the Woodstock All-Stars’ Haitian Relief Concert @ the Palace Theatre, 2/11/10
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing David Malachowski for almost 20 years. I’ve heard him play in many different musical contexts with Shania Twain, Ernie Williams and Savoy Brown, just to name a few. But as the group-leader of the Woodstock All-Stars, David has really come into his own fronting a truly stellar line up. They make blues-rock music exciting, passionate and most importantly, vital again.
5. Wilco @ MASS MoCA, 08/12-14/10
It was the festival event of the year! Tweedy and the guys made the Solid Sound Festival a special and intimate three-day event for everyone that came. By incorporating the museum, the grounds and the exhibits, Wilco intelligently made it an adult Disneyland of wonder and awesome sound.
6. The Eilen Jewell Band @ The Linda, 11/13/10
What makes the band sing is the tastefully powerful rockabilly guitar lines of former Nashville cat, Jerry Miller, intertwined with the dynamic alt-country vocals of Jewell.
7. Kurt Elling @ Tangelwood, 09/04/10
When J Hunter and I saw the line-up for the Tanglewood Jazz Festival at the beginning of the summer, no one performer or group really stood out as a “must see” act for either one of us. We eventually chose Kurt Elling as the one concert to go see. Boy, he blew our socks off with his voice, the band’s musicality and the presentational flow of the concert – including an exquisite Jack Kerouac reading in the middle of the show.
8. Alice Cooper @ Proctors, 7/25/10
It’s nice to know that some things just don’t change and an Alice Cooper concert is one of them. Theatrics, Halloween and mayhem are all mixed together with a dose of high-octane rock and roll in one entertaining package.
9. Wayne Johnson @ Lillian’s, 4/29/10
As part of the Taylor Guitar Company’s Road Show package (where a notable guitarist and a company rep go out to dealers and do a quasi workshop-demo presentation), Wayne Johnson was holding the pick this time out in Saratoga Springs, in conjunction with the Capital Region Guitar Show. A veteran of the Manhattan Transfer and Bette Midler’s Las Vegas show, Johnson has played all kinds of musical styles. He is truly one of the unsung guitar heroes.
10. The Jerry Weldon Trio @ Flights Of Fantasy, 11/7/10
Weldon’s fiery saxophone sound could set something ablaze if he just stood still. It’s a good thing that his restless pacing and continual swinging of his axe from side to side or up and down cools things down just enough so that he wouldn’t burn down the store or cause a fire-alarm or two to go off.
Honorable Mention: Ed Kowalczyk @ Northern Lights, 7/07/10
Whenever I hear Ed Kowalczyk sing Live’s “Lightning Crashes,” I still get goose bumps because of the song’s powerful dynamics and emotional cry. That night I got them all over again when he did that song as an encore.
Story and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
THE 2010 LIST OF LISTS:
Best Music Videos of the Year: IFC
Best Books of the Year: The New York Times Book Review
Best Live Acts of the Year: Paste Magazine
Best Poetry Books of the Year: Dan Chiasson of The New Yorker
Best Albums of the Year: Andy Maroney
Best Movie Titles of the Year That Sounded Like Porn, But, Alas, Were Not Porn: Movieline
Best DVDs of the Year: Rolling Stone
Best Albums of the Year: NME
Best Fiction of the Year: Salon
Best Jazz Albums of the Year: A Blog Supreme
Best Albums of the Year: Tim Livingston
Best Albums of the Year: Filter Magazine
Best Albums of the Year: Mojo Magazine