JLo’s Stunning ‘It’s My Party’ is One of The Top Shows of 2019

San Antonio, Texas

by Jerri StarbuckUnknown-13(photos by Michael Amico)

Surprisingly, JLO has not had many tours considering she’s one of the top selling artists (selling over 80 million albums). It’s her first tour in 6 years and perfect timing for the San Antonio tour stop -and it was a special one. Not only is it JLo’s 50th birthday in July, but the city has a large latin presence and a huge fan base.

From the start, the vibe was a complete Vegas-style party with full DJ- and all glitz and glam.  Openers World of Dance (Lopez stars and produces) dancers were absolutely phenomenal. The opening to Lopez was the DJ “Go Shorty, it’s your birthday” (50 Cent) to get everyone in the birthday party mood. Lopez descended in a tiered bling chandelier dressed in all crystal bling (and boots) singing “Medicine” with full amusement park carousel and then trombone section dancing along with her—- the choreography was flawless with dancers in precision dressed in all white.

JLO-2(photos by Michael Amico)

One of the crowd’s favorite moments was her tribute to Texas native Selena. “Whenever I get to Texas I remember the beautiful time I spent here doing the movie Selena.” Lopez sang Selena’s “Yes Once/Si Una Vez” in Spanish to great applause (Lopez’s big break came when she portrayed the famous Tejana singer who’s life was cut short by tragedy). She wore a gorgeous red gown and was suspended and appeared to be floating. The video production on the screen was breathtaking with gorgeous, sensual shots of Lopez.

She topped off this portion of the set by singing briefly with daughter Emme during “Limitless” and yes her daughter can sing and she is beautiful and looks like her. It was a sweet special moment and one of the night’s highlights. One wonders if Emme is destined to follow in her mom’s footsteps.

Unknown-8(photos by Michael Amico)

The set list seamlessly tied epic hit songs like “Love Don’t Cost a Thing”, “Jenny From the Block”, “If You Had My Love”, “Waiting For Tonight”, and more with newer ones. At times the show is nonstop, hit after hit, with a few built-in breathers for her costume changes. The killer finale was one of the best you’ll see all year with “Waiting For Tonight”, “Dance Again”, and “On the Floor” complete with perfectly planned 80’s throwback neon spandex bodysuits and tights (think Jane Fonda and Madonna). She came out  briefly for a one-song encore of “Dance Again” dressed as a Vegas showgirl with full feathers (a nod to her recent residency).

JLo has been a style queen forever and this show did not disappoint. There were all the big designers including Versace, Marchesa, Guess, Jebron, and others. She had a bling cane, bling mic and bling hat and water bottle. The fashion and style were a huge highlight for the show and an amazing feat by her stylist Rob Zangardi. We read there were 19 costume changes for Lopez plus 176 for the dancers and band. Bling is the theme of the night; she loves some sparkle. We read that the Swarovski crystal count tops one million including a dazzling piano and giant chandelier also blanketed in bling.

The entire production was off the charts including major pyro moments during her songs at the piano. Tons of pink smoke pyro too. There was a cool floating round stage that all the dancers and her had to time their choreography around and at other times it dropped below the stage. Other parts of the set were birthday-party focused with tons of balloons, huge life-size bday cake, and DJ party grooves – of course focused on her big 50th birthday coming July 24th.

Unknown-12(photos by Michael Amico)

Lopez is known for some of the best lyrics- one of our faves -“Don’t be fooled by the rock that I got , I’m still Jenny from the block!” -got a huge crowd reaction during the set. “We had to show the children how we use to play when we were kids”! We love that she included several covers of top artists today like Drake, Sara Bareilles, David Guetta, and more, and made them her own.

JLo engaged the audience from start to finish including shaking hands, reading signs, and talking to them often. A surprise of the night was when she  brought a guy on stage on his birthday who got to sit in a chair center stage with dancing girls and yes, lap dances and then JLO surprising him from behind during hit song “If You Had My Love”, up close and personal. He had a huge grin the whole time and this will be a night he will remember the rest of his life.

Part show-stopping concert and part birthday party, Lopez also included important messages of inspiration to the crowd with words of wisdom of overcoming life’s obstacles and hard times and believing in yourself.  She proved why she is the icon she is today and one of the top shows of the year.

54518649_10157032354135768_5082691210351476736_n.jpgSET LIST

Medicine
Love Don’t Cost a Thing
Get Right

I’m Into You
Waiting for Tonight
Louboutins
Goin’ In
I’m Real / All I Have / Feelin’ So Good / Ain’t It Funny
Jenny From the Block
Baby I Love U!
Hold It Don’t Drop It
Starting Over / I’m Glad / Secretly
If You Had My Love
Until It Beats No More
Dance Interlude
Let’s Get Loud
Papi
On the Floor
Encore:
Dance Again

Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion 2019 Review

by Jerri Starbuck

From a beautiful drive in the rolling hills of the ‘hill country’ just west of Austin appears an amazing and special place called LUCK, Texas. It’s basically a sprawling ranch (complete with homes, recording studios, golf course, horses, and parties) just outside of Austin (famous lyrics) in Spicewood. This is Willie Nelson’s estate that uneducated passers-by on Bee Creek road, would have no idea about. Of course, when he bought it, there was no major highway or new neighbors. On this day, we got ‘lucky’ with the weather as it was clean and warm unlike previous days and weeks of gray and wet.

final-3264Luck Reunion is a one day music festival that isn’t just about country-far from it. It’s sort of SXSW or anti-SXSW- however you want to look at it. Far from the 300K people in downtown Austin during the 10 days of the annual SXSW festival, there were only 2,000 sold tickets to Luck this year which made it feel incredibly intimate and special. There were noticeably fewer people than last year, and it was enjoyable to move around the grounds freely from stage to stage.  The chapel is probably the most unique of the stages as it only seats about 20 people with only a bit of standing room beyond that. Most people try to get a glimpse through the many chapel windows.

The lineup was special this year with lot of amazing newcomers like standouts J.S. Ondara, Angie McMahon, Yola, Mountain Man, and Bonnie Bishop. Plus the super fun band Low Cut Connie played a wild set. There was plenty of star power too with Nathaniel Rateliff, Staples, Chris Shiflett (Foo Fighters), Lukas Nelson, Willie Nelson, Hayes Carll, and Steve Earle. Plus our locals Paul Cauthen and Shakey Graves are awesome. Of course we love them but we were blown away by the Marcus King Band, The Cactus Blossoms, Billy Strings, and J.S. Ondara (an angelic, sublime voice). See the full lineup full lineup

final-4027The stages ranged from a small outdoor stage in the beer garden to a tiny dark stage inside the saloon to the mega main stage with epic lights and sound and great production. We like the added ‘Stronger’ stage this year that was comprised only of female performers with headliner Mavis Staples-who pretty much stole the show and gave an especially soulful finale as she was joined by Nathaniel Rateliff and the other female performers (Yola, Angie McMahon, Mountain Man).

 

 

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View our photo gallery from Luck 2019 and 2018.

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You see plenty of Willie around the grounds- from the Weed store to the new Willie’s Reserve CBD coffee. There are shrines with candles, flowers, and photos in tribute to passed-on musicians from Amy Winehouse to Tom Petty, Waylon Jennings, and legend Aretha Franklin. The buildings look like an old western movie set complete with working saloon, distillery, chapel, general store, and  homestead. The fake town was originally built for Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger film. Did we mention it’s free drinks all day thanks to sponsors like Titos Vodka and Jagermeister?

We got a special treat this year as we were invited to attend the listening party for Willie’s new album coming out this summer, “Ride Me Back Home” where his wife Annie and other friends were also gathered in the main building, the ‘World Headquarters’. You could also try Willie’s new hemp-infused coffee and jagermeister punch.

53639409_2089679837782261_3127148783226322944_ophoto courtesy Luck Reunion/@jjamesjoiner

With a tradition of the Nelson family closing out the final sets of the night on the main World Headquarters stage- first Micah, Paula, then Lukas & his Promise of the Real, Willie is last and brings the crew on stage together for several iconic songs. Willie with his long time guitar, braids, hat, and jacket and iconic mannerisms- the finger in the air, the hand to his ear for a listen, and a peace sign or two- and he sounds good at 85, hopefully we have many good years ahead to see this legend.

We love that the website has to mention “absolutely no entry by ticket holders until 10am on 10/14”! They must have had experiences of people wanting to crash early or even overnight. Except for the obvious corporate involvement from big sponsors like Southwest Airlines and Titos Vodka, it’s really a commune-feel- almost like you’re back in the 60’s where people are free, fun, and buzzed. Everyone is chill and just wants to eat, drink, smoke, and listen. The merch is unique too and our favorite item is the “Don’t be an asshole” t-shirt.56188851_2078513375530781_1167561725268983808_n

Luck is about more than just the music, it’s also a fundraiser for Farm Aid (Potluck) and a way to help up-and-coming artists get some high-value visibility. Plus it’s the best people watching on the planet. The only downside we saw the entire day was the long wait to get out of the parking lot. Other than that, things just looked to be smooth sailing. Read more about Luck.

Luck is a tradition we’ve only been to the last couple years but plan to never miss in the future. There is truly nothing like it and you feel like one of the cool kids and ‘lucky’ ones just to be a part of it- part of the ‘Luck family’.

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CMA Music Festival 2018 Review

by Jerri Starbuck

It was a huge week in Nashville, with record crowds and record heat, with the CMT Awards, the CMA Fest, celeb bar openings (Blake’s), concerts at the Ryman, tons of after-party shows with headliners, and another big music fest just down the road (Bonnaroo).

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Every bar and restaurant also became a CMA Fest venue that had stages for tons of showcasing musicians from around the country, getting a chance to be seen and heard. From FGL, Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, John Rich, Gavin Degraw, Caleb Followill, Alan Jackson, George Jones, Dan Auerbach, downtown Nashville is a hot spot for celebrity musician’s bars and restaurants.

Over 380 artists on 11 stages from The Music Center, The Ryman, and Nissan Stadium plus tons of outdoor shows at Riverfront, Breakout, Hardrock and other stages. Huge names like Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker, Chris Stapleton, Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Keith Urban,  really helped sell the huge Nissan Stadium shows each night. There were tons and tons of free music to the public which was so cool. See all our CMA Fest photos on Austin 101 Magazine.

final-6849.jpgBut the fest was also a great showcase for newer or not as well-known (yet) artists such as Hunter Hayes, Wild Feathers, Lindsay Ell, Frankie Ballard, Cam, Lauren Alaina, Grainger Smith, RaeLynn. Plus many legacy country musicians like Tracey Lawrence, The Bellamy Brothers, Charley Pride, Ricky Skaggs, The Oak Ridge Boys, Little Texas, Linda Davis, LeeAnn Womack, and more. We love that there was something for everyone and every age.

 

Check out our Instagram for tons more photos.

Some of the coolest things, people, and moments we saw: Garth Brooks interview, Trisha Yearwood at HGTV, Randy Travis getting an award, John Rich dancing with fans at his bar, the just opened-Blake Shelton’s new bar-Ole Red, A Thousand HorsesMason Ramsey, Lindsay Ell, Cam, Jon Pardi, Midland, Old Dominion, LeeAnn Womack, Tracy Lawrence, Dustin Lynch, great surprise appearances from Sam Hunt, Jake Owen, Dwight Yoakam, Backstreet Boys, and tons more. We love that there were so many great Texas artists at CMA Fest representing our great state.

Best up-and-comers- RaeLynn, Lindsay Ell, Carly Pearce, Cam, Maddie & Tae, Runaway June, Restless Road, Tyler Rich, Claire Dunn, Morgan Waller, Tegan Marie.

Daily shows we felt were the highlights:

Day 1- Jon Pardi, Carly Pearce, Restless Heart, Lindsay Ell, Chase Bryant, Lauren Alaina, Runaway June, Nashville cast w/ Charlie Hesson, Dan and Shay, Brothers Osborne, Jason Aldean

Day 2-RaeLynn, Tyler Farr, Cam, Cadillac Three, Aaron Watson, Hunter Hayes, Grainger Smith, Tegan Marie, Wild Feathers, Lee Brice, Tyler Farr, Blake Shelton, Old Dominion, Carrie Underwood

Day 3- Tracy Lawrence, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood at HGTV, Scooter Brown band, Michael Ray, Tyler Rich, Dustin Lynch, LeeAnn Womack, Chris StapletonKeith Urban headlining at Nissan.

Day 4- High Valley, Luke Pell, Thousand Horses, Ricky Skaggs, Brett Eldridge, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, FGL, and tons of surprise appearances from Dwight Yoakum, to Randy Travis and Backstreet Boys at Nissan closing out the fest.

Bummed we missed: CMT Awards, Blake playing at his bar, Ashley McBride, Jimmie Allen, Last Bandoleros, Easton Corbin, Jaredd Niemann, Kip Moore, Jillian Jaqueline, Dillon Carmichael, Tanya Tucker, Terri Clark, Sundance Head, Joe Diffy, Song Suffragettes panel,  and more fest female artists (weren’t there- Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert, Margo Price, Kelly Clarkson, Reba, Dolly, Loretta Lynn, Martina McBride, Allison Krauss, (for that matter, groups like LBT, Lady A.).

final-2218So many great musicians and legends were at the fest representing the Lone Star state (Texas) such as: Randy Travis, RaeLynn, Grainger Smith, Midland, Last Bandoleros, LeeAnn Womack, Easton Corbin, Sundance Head, Jaredd Niemann, Chase Bryant, Hudson Moore, Aaron Watson and more.

We love that the fest proceeds help enrich and sustain music education programs across the country through CMA’s nonprofit arm, the CMA Foundation and many artists donated their time.

If you weren’t in Nashville, don’t fret- watch the CMA Fest show on ABC August 8th!

 

Bon Jovi Concert Review: This House is Not For Sale Tour

by Jerri Starbuck

Bon Jovi’s This House is Not for Sale Tour– promoting album of same name- stopped in San Antonio’s AT&T Center (we had to make the trek since he wasn’t stopping in Austin).  The single was released in 2016 of the same name. November 4, 2016, the band officially released their 13th studio album, This House Is Not for Sale,  and then their third live album, This House Is Not for Sale – Live from the London Palladium, released on December 16, 2016. The tour marks the first time that Phil X and Hugh McDonald (bass) became official members of the band.

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At 56, Jon still looks amazing and youthful. He looks healthy, is in great shape-wearing his outfit of tight jeans and t-shirt- with a full head of hair most men envy. Francis Bongiovi Jr. is father of 4 and married to his long-time sweetheart since 1989. I think that’s what’s most impressive about his 4 decade career. This new jersey boy is a model for a rock star family man, let alone any marriage.

Although the absence of Richie Sambora is noticeable, Phil X (Phil Theofilos Xenidis) is pretty great and charismatic and pianist David Bryan was absolutely amazing to watch and playing both piano and keyboard at the same time-one in front one from behind. Bon Jovi is still one of the best rock bands ever selling over 130 million albums (in a time when that was impossible to achieve). This guy doesn’t need to tour and certainly doesn’t need the money. He truly seems to love performing and loves what he does.

Bon Jovi is finally being honored by getting inducted into the hall of fame class of 2018. Probably the biggest thrill of his music career.

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During the show, he played top hits and had a nice mix of ballads and high energy rock n roll-“It’s My Life”, “You give Love”, “Livin’ on a Prayer”, “Wanted Dead or Alive”, “Always”, “Bed of Roses”, “Bad Medicine”, “We weren’t born to follow” as well as great new ones. He is sincerely having a great time performing and being on stage-smiling and jumping and entertaining all through the set-just as high energy as ever.

At the beginning of the show, he kicked off with “You’re here to see me shake my ass so let’s get started!”The stage set, performance, sound and lighting was still an A-list stadium style, full sound show-  full guitars, drums and dual keyboards. Although his voice started off a bit rough (maybe even a bit off-key at times) but it smoothed out nicely for his huge a capella solo tracks that he did from the crowd.

A lot of his song lyrics and quotes are inspirational, motivational, uplifting and perhaps religious too-but always about believing in something. “Believe in love. Believe in magic. Hell, believe in Santa Clause. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don’t, who will?”

See our full photo gallery from the show

We’ve always liked Bon Jovi’s American spirit and still today pay homage to America and patriotism and supporting our troops, without being political. There are flags and lyrics and red, white, and blue as well as images of vets and pride playing on the big screen behind him. And he still loves kissing the girls and making them scream for him. towards the end of the show, he jumped from the stage and started singing from the crowd (not sure if it was placed or not) and he took tons of selfies with fans, drinking their drinks and kissing girls. Same Jon.

We love the fact that he promotes local artists and brought on local Soul Tribe– a great local rock band. He does this for all his tour stops. That’s giving back and helping others. Check out this note he wrote for the Dallas opener.

Set list

This House is Not for Sale

Knockout

You Give Love a Bad Name
Whole Lot of Leavin’
Lost Highway
When We Were Us
Born to Be My Baby
Who Says You Can’t Go Home
It’s My Life
We Weren’t Born to Follow
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
We Got It Goin’ On
Keep the Faith
Amen
Bed of Roses
Lay Your Hands on Me
God Bless This Mess
Have a Nice Day
Bad Medicine

Encore:
(You Want to) Make a Memory
I’d Die for You
Wanted Dead or Alive
Livin’ on a Prayer