Dwight Yoakam at Stir Cove

Written by Karen Freeman • May 2019

Mr. Honky Tonk Man, Dwight Yoakam, brought his A+ game to Stir Cove on Thursday night, and filled the amphitheater with a string of hits and covers that never stopped.  It was a night that was as electric as the sky.

Yoakam is a ‘stoic’ performer, with, with very little flamboyance and a whole lot of flair.  His sequin studded support staff however, made up for whatever grandiosity Yokam lacks, and it all meshes together in a nice performance package.  There was plenty of guitar shredding and honky tonk blues going on.  I especially loved his cover of Ring of Fire, which is one of my all-time favorite country tunes.

Yoakam’s voice is clear and strong and this troupe executed a string of songs that came together rapidly and constantly.  It was as if they were trying to defy the odds of impending foul weather.  And, it worked for about an hour. 

None of the 3,000 fans left disappointed…wet maybe….but not disappointed.  By the time the concert was called, Yoakam had delivered over 15 songs and was professional to the end.  It was truly an enjoyable evening by this seasoned, award-winning gentleman.

Stir Cove…this concert series is on a roll…and we’ve only just begun……..



Chicago at Stir Cove

Written by Karen Freeman • May 2019

The 2019 Stir Cove Concert Series opened in style on Friday night, when the legendary, multi-talented 10-man ensemble, simply titled -  Chicago -  graced the stage for a two-hour extravaganza of classic hits and formidable brass presentations.

Over 4,000 devotees of all ages filled the bowl, and this iconic entourage gave us all exactly what we were hoping for.  Having seen this group numerous times, I have to say they NEVER disappoint.  They are still as entertaining and energetic as they were in 1967.

Their musical aptitude abounds, and with four original members still touring, it is quite something to behold.  Those original members, Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow and Walter Parazaider, demonstrated their abilities on a variety of instruments, but it is clear that the brass blast that made this band unique, truly makes this band timeless. They are supported by fabulous keyboards and guitar/bass players, which altogether equals 10 kinds of talent on one platform.

Neil Donell does a fabulous job in his lead vocal position, and of the finest additions to Chicago is their new percussionist, Ramon Yslas, who delighted the audience with energy and proficiency.  Yslas and drummer Walgredo Reyes, Jr did a 10-minute percussion/drum solo interlude that was totally off the hook.  Honestly, one of my favorite nights of entertainment….ever.

Just choose your favorite Chicago hit, and they sang it.  It was non-stop action in two one-hour sets.  Everyone in the house sang at the top of their lungs as the hits kept coming.  They rocked to the brass solos and of course, we all danced to Colour My World, because well, you have to.

Hands down, the finest way to open the 2019 concert series.


Judas Priest and Deep Purple at Stir Cove

Written by Cydney Phelps • September 2018


We closed out the season on Friday night at Stir Cove. And it went out with a bang! It was certainly a chilly evening and we snuggled up and settled in for what turned out to be quite the spectacle. We kicked off the show with a band from the UK, The Temperance Movement. These guys were really a great way to warm us up for what was to come. High energy, easy to listen to and lead singer Phil Campbell has got moves that may just challenge Jagger’s. They formed in 2011 and released their first album in 2012. They’ve come a long way in a short period of time to be touring with legends like Judas Priest and Deep Purple. With their style and drive, they might have what it takes to follow right in their footsteps.

And then the Priest arrived. I gotta say, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a louder show at Stir. We like to park ourselves closer to stage right. I love the view and the sound over there. But I was absolutely not prepared for my ears to be ringing halfway through the show. Not that I’m complaining, of course! Judas Priest has not lost any sense of who they are. From the set of the stage to Rob Halford’s 7 different and equally amazing jackets. I mean, what’s a heavy metal show without the wardrobe changes, right? Halford’s operatic voice sounds as if the man hasn’t aged since their formation in 1969. And the many, many, many guitar solos kicked ass. The current musicians may not be all original members, but they absolutely do them justice. In the end, they made a vow that the Priest will return. If I were you, I wouldn’t miss it!

Just as we felt that we’d been to a full concert, here comes Deep Purple. Known as one of the pioneers of heavy metal, Deep Purple got their start in 1968. In 1972, they were even deemed one of the globe’s loudest bands by the Guiness Book of World Records. It’s no joke when I tell you that my ears are still ringing. This is a band that has seen success despite the revolving door of band members. The only original member still touring is drummer Ian Paice. No matter the members, the sound is still there. Those unmistakable tunes of the keyboard still ring true with touring member David Airey tickling. I love seeing those closeups on the screen behind the band, it’s mesmerizing. Singer Ian Gillan, much like Priest, has pipes that would keep you in disbelief that the man is 73 years old. It’s incredible to see these living legends still pushing on and rocking hard at their advanced stage of life.

The crowd was of course filled with your expected middle aged metal heads. Speckled with some of us younger kids who appreciate what was put forth and who laid the path for the future generations of heavy metal. All of whom, by the way could not help but play air guitar at some point during the show. It really was a great way to end Stir Cove’s 15th season. I’m already anxious for next year’s lineup! Thank you for another amazing year, Stir, staff, and security. See you in the Spring! Cheers!


Counting Crows at Stir Cove

Written by Karen Freeman • September 2018

The Counting Crows adorned the stage at Stir Cove on Thursday night, and it was an interesting mix of nostalgia and those magical hits.  Duritz spent much of his time during the first 45 minutes of the show explaining his roots, and the roots of their melodies.  It was very introspective and soulful expression of how and why tunes like “Round Here” came to exist.  I found it to be quite touching, while others around me found just another excuse to chat or visit the bar.  Too bad for them, they missed some very intriguing commentary.  Duritz shared a bit of his life history, the hardships and the good times, the loves he has had and lost, and the adventures that have brought him and the band to where they are today.   When the balance of the 90-minute show was rife with hits and amazing band work, the full amphitheater sang loudly and proudly and gave the Crows the accolades they deserved. 

For twenty-five years Adam Duritz and the Counting Crows have traveled the world to share their library of rock and alternative rock.  Let’s hope they can continue for another twenty-five years. 


Opening for The Counting Crows on Thursday was Live, the rock band from York, PA.  Ed Kowalczyk and entourage put on a strong set of hard rock sounds and grunge like vocals.  It was pretty lively (no pun intended) and entertaining.  The concert-goers seemed to appreciate the volume and the commotion that comes along with Live, and it was a great way to open up the evening.  Kowalczyk has only been back in the lead for a couple of years, but it is as if nothing ever changed.


Pentatonix at Stir Cove

Written by Karen Freeman • September 2018

How do they DO that?  Tuesday night at Stir Cove, I witnessed one of the most enjoyable shows  - or you could call it a cabaret – when the Pentatonix (PTX) came to entertain the masses.  They totally rocked my world and if you ever have the chance to attend one of their performances, I strongly encourage you to do so.

This a cappella group from Arlington, TX were the winners of the third season of The Sing-Off, and they have been rocking our world ever since.  The night was full of original music, cover songs, rap mashes and some of the most beautiful harmonies and beats an audience will ever hear.  They are pitch perfect and multi-talented.  Much of the presentation included full stage choreography, and their energy and passion was palpable.  I could have sworn there was a full band behind them, but alas, it was just the incredible talents of Kevin Olusola and Matt Sallee.  Wow! 

There were so many poignant moments in their 2-hour show, but one of my favorites was their rendition of the John Lennon smash, “Imagine”.  It brought tears to my eyes and goose bumps to my flesh.  It was phenomenal.  Each one of the talented five sang a verse, and whether it was a bass or soprano sound, it was beautiful.

PTX has a large personality, and they seem to thoroughly enjoy every moment on the stage, and interact with their audience with sincerity and gratitude.  The attendees ran the gamut of ages, which was fantastic.  Their finale was an extraordinary version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and they nailed it.  What a show, and what a way to end it.  The full house left sated and smiling.  It was exactly as it was meant to be.





Lee Brice at Stir Cove

Written by Cydney Phelps • September 2018

We could not have asked for a more beautiful night at Stir Cove on Thursday night. The weather was perfect, the ground wasn’t (too) muddy, and the beer lines weren’t (that) long! It was a perfect way to settle in for good old country music.

First up on the docket was Tyler Farr, a fairly newcomer to the scene. Farr had a comedic presence on stage and was just entertaining to watch. You wouldn’t think his band, one dawning a Soundgarden shirt and one with a Mohawk and long beard, would be your typical country band. But boy, could you tell they enjoyed what they did. Each one had talents that were able to shine individually in every song. I’m not a huge country fan, but I can dig a country song with a killer guitar solo. Farr was having a blast interacting with the crowd, taking cell phones from those up front. At one point he even came down off the stage and started running through the cove. He took a breather in a fan’s empty lawn chair as he continued to cover The Outfield’s “Your Love.” They certainly woke the audience up with that stunt and ended their set with a helluva drum solo. What a great way kick off the night!

Lee Brice was our headliner for the evening. Brice made his debut in the country crew in 2007 as he began writing songs for Jason Aldean, Keith Gattis, and Cowboy Crush. He even had the honor of co-writing the song “More than a Memory” performed by the legend himself, Garth Brooks. His debut album dropped in 2009 and he’s been charting hits ever since. He’s a man who comes out swinging once he hits that stage. It was non-stop energy and enthusiasm. I’ve mentioned this before about country shows, but I’ll say it again; these artists are so appreciative of their fans. Not a song goes by without them thanking the audience for their support. It is, after all, the fans who have made their careers possible and each one of them could not be more grateful.

The season is winding down as we are in our last month of shows at Stir Cove. It’s been a great one so far with a handful remaining. I’ll be anxious to see what they bring in next year! Thanks, as always to Stir Cove, staff, and security for another great night! Cheers!