Went to see Eric Johnson and Mike Stern (whom I had never heard of) at the Rialto Theatre last night. The Rialto is a nice theatre, I’ve seen Otmar Liebert and 311 there. It is in downtown Tucson, across the street from Hotel Congress (where we had dinner – which was very nice).
From the top
Parked at the Highland garage, met my companion for the evening (Dennis), took the new Sunlink trolley downtown. The trolley is clean and new. We had our tickets checked by a nice “fare enforcer.” I guess the novelty of riding the trolley is down so now the city has to make sure people are paying their fares because the trolley is loosing money. Surprise? not really. It only goes from the UA to downtown. If it went to the airport and maybe to the center of town or north? Then it’d be useful. Along those lines, AZ should put in a train that runs from the Tucson airport to the Phoenix airport so that people could avoid driving on the interstate.
Anyway – had dinner at Hotel Congress. Very nice. Did not drink, but was tempted to. It was a school night so to speak.
The last time I went to the Rialto, it had a parking lot to the west of it. That parking lot is now a large building with World of Beer in it. There is also a large many story building across the street in what used to be empty(? I don’t remember). Very cosmipolitan now.
This was a low key concert. No fancy staging or lighting. Just two guys with electric guitars (Fenders), a bass player, and a drummer. Mike Stern has a lovely, infectious smile. You may think that odd to mention for a guitar player but it was key to the enjoyment of this show because Eric Johnson is not a very dynamic frontman. Stern smiled frequently at the audience in away that invited us to marvel at Johnson’s playing (which was not as amazing as I wanted it to be). Stern is a master guitar player. While Johnson was having equipment issues, Stern held the group together and powered through some long-winded jams. It was a pity that Johnson had those equipment issues, because he really can wail on the guitar. I couldn’t tell if he was pissed about that or just shy, for he rarely looked at the audience. My companion said that Johnson was like that at a previous concert – so I guess that’s his thing.
By the end of the evening, I was jammed out. Luckily, the band seemed to realize it and played a blues song and The Cliffs of Dover, which is Johnson’s main hit. I decided that he looks like Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon. I also realized that perhaps Tad (see other posts) may look like Eric Johnson, and thus like Hiccup.
A solid B performance. Better than a sharp stick in the eye or staying home to watch a Castle rerun.
To finish out the story, we were unable to take the trolley back to the parking garage because it stopped running at 10pm. So we ended up with a taxi. Tuesday night concerts are tough when Wednesday starts so very early. I am completely useless at work today and yeah – it was worth it.

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