BEST OF 2013: Stanley Johnson’s Top 15 Most Memorable Entertainment Events of the Year

Lukas Nelson performing at Farm Aid

Lukas Nelson performing at Farm Aid

Reviews and photographs by Stanley Johnson

These are the shows that come to mind most since they happened. The list is not in any particular order:

Laurie Anderson @ EMPAC at RPI, Troy, November 20: A moving, funny lecture and demonstration about processing voice and sound, her voice perhaps the only indicator of her grief for the loss of her husband less than a month before. Even the audience appeared to respect not mentioning Lou Reed in the Q&A period. Her performance of the story/song “Birds” had me imagining I was flying with this flock above a groundless abyss.

JOhn Melloncamp, Willie Nelson, Pete Seeger, Dave Mathews and Neil Young  @ Farm Aid

JOhn Melloncamp, Willie Nelson, Pete Seeger, Dave Mathews and Neil Young @ Farm Aid

Farm Aid @ the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, September 21: The best time I ever had at this venue. Highlights were the press conference, the photo tent and the volunteers who helped all the photographers. I loved being close for pictures of Willie, Neil, John, Dave and Pete Seeger.

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Americanarama Festival of Music @ the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, July 21. The day-long fest featured Ryan Bingham, My Morning Jacket and Bob Dylan, but the highlight for me was most of Wilco’s set – including Garth Hudson’s appearance.

The Allman Brothers Band with Steve Winwood @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, August 28. A strong opening set by Winwood, who later came out to play during the Allmans’ set, which was one of the most varied they’ve ever played at SPAC.

Parliament-Funkadelic

Parliament-Funkadelic

George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic @ Alive at 5 at Riverfront Park, Albany, June 27: It was at least as funky as Bootsy Collins last year, and the dancing on stage and off was great fun.

Rhythm On the Ridge Festival @ the Maple Ridge Ski Center, Rotterdam, June 8&9: It turned out to be a mostly good weather event in an excellent location at the foot of the ridge. The bands – including Everest Rising, Dan Johnson & the Expert Sidemen, Holly & Evan, Matt Durfee, Red Haired Strangers and the Lazy Suns – brought the sound of light to a bright, mountain meadow.

Grand Slamboveans Joziah Longo and Tink Lloyd

Grand Slamboveans Joziah Longo and Tink Lloyd

The Grand Slambovians @ Riverlink Park, Amsterdam, July 20: Joziah Longo, Tink Lloyd and the band brought their fashion, coffee and sound (Sleepy Hollow-meets-Woodstock) to the beautiful banks of the Mohawk.

The New Gary Burton Quartet

The New Gary Burton Quartet

Jazz at the Lake @ Shepherd Park, Lake George, September 14: A wonderful day-full of music including the New Gary Burton Quartet, Michelle Rosewoman, Joel Harrison and Anupam Shobhakar. Another excellent waterside festival, even if the breeze was stiff off Lake George.

FantaCon @ the Albany Marriott Hotel, Albany, September 15: I got to meet most of the surviving original cast and one of the writers of “The Night of the Living Dead,” plus special effects wizard Tom Savini and several comic illustrators.

Dona Oxford

Dona Oxford

Dona Oxford @ the Music Haven at Central Park, Schenectady, August 4: An extraordinary pianist.

Wild Adriatic @ Pearlpalooza at Pearl Street, Albany, September 28: A very spirited set that got great crowd reaction on the local stage.

Ray Murray & the Bomb Squad @ Wiswall Park, Ballston Spa, July 25. Notable for Tim Whalen’s songs and the hot interplay within the band.

Riverlink Jamboree @ Riverlink Park, Amsterdam, August 3: The Nellies, Tumbleweed Highway and Bear Bones Project served up another incredible day of music on the riverside. One of my favorite venues, and the trains are pretty cool, too.

The Zoppe Italian Family Circus

The Zoppe Italian Family Circus

The Zoppe Italian Family Circus @ Broadway, Schenectady, July 18: Presented by Proctors, it was up close and lots of fun.

The Zombies @ the Empire State Plaza, Albany, June 26: Great songs performed by an excellent band on the most spectacular stage in the area.

MORE OF NIPPERTOWN’S BEST OF 2013 LISTS
BEST OF 2013: Fred Rudofsky’s Top 25 Concerts of the Year
Timothy Reidy’s Year in Review Video
Mike Hotter’s Favorite Albums of the Year
Fred Rudofsky’s Best Albums of the Year
J Hunter’s Best Concerts of the Year
J Hunter’s Best Jazz Albums, Part II
J Hunter’s Best Jazz Albums, Part I

Got a Best of 2013 list that you’d like to share with Nippertown readers? Best concerts of the year? Best Local 518 music moments of the year? Best plays? Best art gallery exhibits? Best books by local authors? Best whatever? Please keep it local, but send it along to greg@nippertown.com

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