Written by Kevin Black – November 10, 2019
I’ve always believed that if you really want to thank a veteran, be a good American. Well, Joe Walsh is doing his part. Joe had his 3rd Annual VetsAid concert at The Toyota Center this past Sunday night where we were all inspired to respect and support our returning veterans from the battlefield. Not that you need help being inspired, but it’s always nice to push those thrusters from time to time to get a boost to remind us.
Joe Walsh is the son of a Gold Star veteran who lost his life while serving in the military as a flight instructor for the Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star when his plane went down in Okinawa.
Joe personally didn’t serve in the military and feels like this is his way of giving something in return for those who do serve. What better way to give back than to do what he does best, throwing a star studded concert to help raise money and awareness to help support our troops who find it difficult to make the transition from the battlefield to everyday life of a civilian.
Here’s an FYI before we get started. Due to the amount of artists performing, the shows had to be reduced to around 30 minutes per artist. That didn’t allow much time for me to get into position to shoot, return to press room, drop off gear and return to my seat only to return to press room to be back in position for next performance. So, my apologies for not knowing everything I wish I could report to you.
With that said, the country music community has always been supportive of our great warriors so, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when Brad Paisley stepped in to help J.W.
When you have six musical acts sharing a stage, there are going to be a lot of great guitarist performing. Brad is part of the elite when you start comparing guitar players. He can exchange licks with anyone in the business no matter the genre. After a few songs, and just when you thought Paisley couldn’t get any more entertaining, J.W. joined him for a song. You gotta love Brad’s energy and enthusiasm and his overall talent as a songwriter. Thank you B.P. for supporting our troops.
Drew Carey was onboard to sort of co-host the event. He introduced a retired service dog. I didn’t know we had large poodles in the military. But hey, we do have a diverse military these days.
Next on the bill was Jason Isbell. I have to be honest. I hadn’t heard of Jason until two days prior to this event. Looked him up to get an idea on what to expect, and have to say I thought he was going to be a bit somber for this bill. I was wrong. He played a style of music I didn’t hear when I looked him up. I was pleasantly surprised. He rocked the stadium. Another guitar champion. His closing rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s original version of “Oh Well” was absolutely a grand slam! Thank you Jason for supporting our troops!
Bare with me on this one, Houston mayor Sylvester Turner was on deck to say a few words about our vets and to introduce the next artist to the stage. Now I was at the press conference with Joe Walsh earlier in the evening and he mentioned that this was not a partisan issue. This is a national crisis. This is when I believe Americans should disregard their allegiance to a political party and come together as Americans. Things couldn’t have been any different. When the mayor was introduced, the stadium roared with distain. He did what politicians do, he smiled and kept on talking. The thing that bothered me was why the American people have to inject politics in events where it’s inappropriate unless something inappropriate comes out of the speaker first. Even after the introduction of Sheila Jackson Lee, the audience booed twice as loud. I am fully aware of each of these politician’s policies, and I still would not have participated in tacky behavior at a veterans support concert. This was not a political event. Moving on!
Sheryl Crow entered the stage with a huge Gibson acoustic guitar and an even bigger smile. Here we go, back to the music. I love it when musicians that have been performing for decades still enjoy what they do. A lot of female artists go through wardrobe changes throughout the concert. Sheryl Crow is all about the music. Instead of a costume change she changed guitars. She even played the bass guitar during her performance. S.C. remains an icon on the rock and roll music scene. Thank you Sheryl for supporting our troops!
So you think anyone at this point is ready to retire they’re ears from two and a half hours of great music? Not going to happen when you have ZZ Top on in fifteen minutes. It’s been way too long since I have seen our Texas rock-in-roll hero’s live. After 50 years and counting, the legendary trio manages to sound great, look great, make the audience feel great and entertain at the highest level. Some artists look cheesy when teaming up for an infamous twin guitar dance, but not Billy and Dusty. They have always had the most unique guitar sound allowing fans to recognize a ZZ Top song immediately. It’s amazing how three guys can fill the stadium with so much sound.
And now ladies and gentleman, would you please welcome to the stage, The Doobie Brothers! Hit after hit, the Doobies couldn’t have sounded better. China Grove, Black Water, Running Down The Highway, it’s hard to imagine the Doobie Brothers with only 30 minutes to convey 40 years of music. They’re harmonies were legendary and Sunday night they couldn’t have blended any better. It was probably the highlight of the evening for me to hear that many vocalist sing so well together live. Thank you Doobies for supporting our troops!
Hey Joe, where are going with that guitar in your hand? Joe was fully cocked and loaded without the support of drugs and alcohol. His presence onstage, his ability to still perform in a rocky mountain way, his humor and most of all, his willingness to bring so many artist together to support our military was the defining moment. He still hits the high notes, still blows a mean voice box and he still has a tremendous fan base outside the Eagles. After performing “Life in the Fast Lane” he called on all performers to join him for a finale where everyone accompanied him on the Bill Withers tune “Lean On Me”. My guess is, next year he will relocate his 4th Annual VetsAid concert to another lucky city. Don’t miss it! Thank you Joe for supporting our troops!