Tag Archives: Beacon Theatre

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Lucinda Williams Rises to the Challenge at the Beacon Theatre

November 18th, 2014

Lucinda Williams – Beacon Theatre – November 17, 2014

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Lucinda Williams celebrated her new LP, Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, with a spirited performance at the Beacon Theatre last night. For many artists, creating a double album of almost completely new and original music might be a bit daunting, but Williams’ musical output in recent years has been ambitious and inspired, and perhaps this is the new normal for her—the fans would certainly not complain.

With her leather jacket and confident, wide-legged stance, Williams commanded the stage, as usual, combining new songs—like “Protection,” the moody “Burning Bridges” and the bluesy “Something Wicked This Way Comes”—with material from back in the ’80s (“Side of the Road”), the ’90s (“Pineola,” “Lake Charles,”) and of course, a great deal from her prolific songwriting period during the Aughts. With a natural ability to give a strong sense of atmosphere with just a few well-chosen details, she’s always been an excellent storyteller. But during last night’s show, Williams prefaced another new song, “Compassion,” by saying it was especially challenging to write. It was the first time she attempted to put one of the poems by Miller Williams, her father, to music. She spoke about his insistence that songs and poems are “two different animals.”

Yet Williams rose to the challenge, and the resulting song was something of a departure from much of her lively, roots-y material, a stark, melancholic piece of music that seemed to wrap itself around the lines of the poem, allowing the rhythm of the words to inform the melody. The result was both arresting and refreshing, an interesting look at an artist seeking to keep exploring and challenging herself, while continuing to make and perform the music that has always spoken to her. —Alena Kastin | twitter.com/alenak

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Ray LaMontagne – Beacon Theatre – November 12, 2014

November 13th, 2014

Ray LaMontagne - Beacon Theatre - November 12, 2014

Photos courtesy of Greg Pallante | gregpallante.com

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Tame Impala Lay It Down on Broadway

November 11th, 2014

Tame Impala – Beacon Theatre – November 10, 2014

SwFNceWCEg-39M-6eaLmGM1RUUQeEzLOdaOmq8EzDGMWhat is it they say about Broadway, something about how there’s always magic in the air? Australian rockers Tame Impala made the move uptown this week to the Beacon Theatre, playing the second of two-sold out shows last night and there was plenty of magic in the air as the five-piece proved that they’re a perfect fit for a show right there on Broadway. After a mesmerizing set of instrumental guitar music from Delicate Steve, the Perth quintet took the stage as the electronic drums of “Be Above It” set the tone, green oscilloscope lights on the backdrop twinkling in time to the beat. As Kevin Parker’s zone-out vocals echoed, the sights and sounds grew more chaotic, the band arching orbital sounds through the venue.

The tone firmly set, the rest of the show was a majestic 80-minute psychedelic rock–and-lights masterpiece: immersive and transforming. On a day when many in the music world were discussing a new Pink Floyd release, on songs like “Solitude Is Bliss,” Tame Impala felt like the real thing at their peak, mixing prog and psych, groove and full-throated rock outs while every color of the rainbow zapped through the room in time to the music. In working through most of their 2012 LP, Lonerism, they showed there’s plenty of life in slow, otherworldly groovers like “Why Won’t They Talk to Me?” and big time arena-rock bliss in “Elephant.” There was one moment during “Endors Toi” when the group seemed to make science, ’70s prog rock and the slow clap seem cool again in one single passage, the crowd holding the beat, the band tripping hallucinogenic in synth and guitars and the backdrop going full on mathematical. Keeping with the theme, in the intro to “Mind Mischief,” Parker turned to face the screen behind him as it buzzed into shapes following his distorted guitar solo, like he was painting psychedelic patterns with his music, science meets art in Technicolor.

Of course, there were plenty of bits of esoteric instrumentals and extended jams throughout the performance, but they felt earned, part of the journey and not the destination itself. The growing entropy of the show met its end with the set-closing “Apocalypse Dreams,” the oscilloscope imagery a Crayola box of squiggles seeming to rush out at the geeked audience while the band built to a final climax. With a crowd-pleasing, sing-along encore of “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” it appeared that what they say about Broadway, at least as far as Tame Impala are concerned, is true after all. —A. Stein

(Delicate Steve play Mercury Lounge on 11/20.)

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A Special Night of Southern Rock with Drive-By Truckers on Friday

October 20th, 2014

Drive-By Truckers – Beacon Theatre – October 17, 2014

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In all its majestic glory, the Beacon Theatre has a way of making rock shows feel special. As the go-to venue for any local Allman Brothers Band show (and reportedly their final one), this may hold especially true for Southern rock. It was certainly the case on Friday. Following a fantastic opening set from the Alabama soul outfit St. Paul and the Broken Bones, there wasn’t a single butt sitting in one of the venue’s seats. And it was pretty much that way for the next several hours as Drive-By Truckers performed. “Today’s one of those days where your real life exceeds the life you dreamed of,” said Patterson Hood.

Drive-By Truckers are a band that never seems to stop gaining momentum. And if these aren’t the group’s golden years, there still hasn’t been a time when they’ve had more loyal fans. Led by Hood and Mike Cooley, two songwriters who seem to keep getting better, DBT brought out everything you’d expect, leaving no stone unturned: Great songs about Southern tragedies, “Puttin’ People on the Moon” from Hood and “Uncle Frank” from Cooley, to fan favorites like “Women Without Whiskey” to deep cuts like “Runaway Train,” from Cooley and Hood’s first band, Adam’s House Cat.

Of course, there were also the rousing sing-alongs, like the one that accompanied “Hell No, I Ain’t Happy.” Hood added in an epilogue of “I’m fuckin’ happy” at the end, as if to let everyone know that the song wasn’t a real-time account. There were some epic tales of Hood family history leading into “Box of Spiders,” a song about Hood’s great grandmother, who loved going to strangers’ funerals. The night closed with “Grand Canyon,” off their latest album, English Oceans, and then one by one everyone in the band waved goodnight and exited the stage. —Dan Rickershauser

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A Friday Night Rock Show with Drive-By Truckers at Beacon Theatre

October 15th, 2014

Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley founded Drive-By Truckers in Athens, Ga., in 1996. Over the years the two musicians—plus nuanced lyrics and plenty of guitar—have been the constant while the lineup around them has changed. An early Internet presence allowed the band to gain new fans before they’d ever seen the Truckers live. But following several years of steadily touring, the group released the double album Southern Rock Opera (stream it below) and things really took off from there. Since gaining wider acclaim the Truckers (above, playing “Shit Shots Count”) have served as the backing band on albums by Bettye LaVette and Booker T. Jones in addition to putting out fine discs of their own, including 2011’s Go-Go Boots (stream it below) and this year’s English Oceans (stream it below). The Guardian, in a rave review, says it’s “full of their familiar Southern rock: soul and brass occasionally adorn storytelling songs, which attempt to right wrongs and champion the worker against the Man. However, sharing singer-songwriting duties equally between founders Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley for the first time has brought out the best in both.” Drive-By Truckers are now out on the road in support of their tenth album and, alongside the terrific Birmingham, Ala., seven-piece soul outfit St. Paul and the Broken Bones, they play the Beacon Theatre on Friday night.

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The Fab Faux, Raw and Stripped Down in Brooklyn Tomorrow Night

July 18th, 2014

Individually, Late Show with David Letterman bassist Will Lee (vocals and bass), Conan house-band leader and guitarist Jimmy Vivino (vocals, guitar and keys), in-demand Rich Pagano (vocals and drums), accomplished songwriter Frank Agnello (vocals and guitars) and multi-instrumentalist Jack Petruzzelli (vocals, keys and guitars) are each incredibly hard working and fantastically talented. And together, they combine to join forces as the Fab Faux, which Rolling Stone’s David Fricke calls “the greatest Beatles cover band— without the wigs.” Of course, the Fab Faux (above, performing “Tomorrow Never Knows”) are much more than a cover band. No, they don’t look like the Beatles, but thanks to their love of the Fab Four and their attention to every little detail, they sound remarkably like them. And not only are they playing “raw and stripped down in Brooklyn,” tomorrow night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, but the Fab Faux return with horns, strings and special guests on 10/18 at the Beacon Theatre.

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The Afghan Whigs – Brooklyn Bowl – May 15, 2014

May 16th, 2014

The Afghan Whigs - Brooklyn Bowl - May 15, 2014

Photos courtesy of Greg Pallante | gregpallante.com

(The Afghan Whigs play the Beacon Theatre on 10/4.)

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Rodrigo y Gabriela – Beacon Theatre – May 2, 2014

May 5th, 2014

Rodrigo y Gabriela - Beacon Theatre - May 2, 2014

Photos courtesy of Lina Shteyn | www.linashteyn.com

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Nickel Creek – Beacon Theatre – April 29, 2014

April 30th, 2014

Nickel Creek - Beacon Theatre - April 29, 2014

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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Three Nights of Acclaimed Guitar Duo Rodrigo y Gabriela

April 29th, 2014

When Rodrigo Sanchez (lead guitar) and Gabriela Quintero (rhythm guitar) met as teenagers in Mexico City, they discovered a mutual musical taste and formed the thrash-metal band Tierra Acida. When that ultimately didn’t pan out (they recorded music that was never released), the duo began to learn different guitar styles, taking a liking to fast, rhythmic acoustic guitars. Finding the Americas stifling, they set out for Europe, landing in Dublin, where Rodrigo y Gabriela honed their fast and lively acoustic sound (incorporating some Zeppelin and Metallica along the way) in pubs and on streets. Then one-time busker Damien Rice asked them to tour with him and things eventually took off. Ever since, Rodrigo y Gabriela (above, performing “Somnium” and “Torito”) have been mashing up rock, classical, Latin, world music and heavy metal into their own unique sound over the course of several acclaimed live albums and studio full-lengths. The most recent of which, 9 Dead Alive (stream it below), just came out today. The new tunes eschew some of the pair’s Latin influences in favor of straight-ahead (acoustic) rock. According to AllMusic, “There isn’t a dull moment in these 41 minutes.” And furthermore, “This album evidences an expanded creative reach for the pair, even as it reengages the sharp edges they displayed on earlier recordings.” Rodrigo y Gabriela celebrate the new release with three nights at the Beacon Theatre, Thursday, Friday (sold out) and Saturday.

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A Top Five Look Back at 2013

January 10th, 2014


Ten days into the New Year, The House List looks back at 2013 with some Top Five lists.

My Top Five Favorite Shows
1.
The Postal Service, Barclay Center, June 14
My decade-belated live date with the Postal Service finally culminated at Barclays Center, where rabid fans, like myself, roared as Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello hit the stage. As if acting out lyrics from “Nothing Better,” Gibbard and Jenny Lewis shimmied close for the duet. Old friends reunited onstage never felt so good.

2. Haim, Webster Hall, September 3
I was late to this bandwagon, as fellow House List contributor Alex Kapelman shortlisted Haim last year for his Top Five Bowery Presents Shows of the Year. I knew I was in for a good one when I could barely find a spot in the rafters to catch the three sisters, who charmed with their onstage banter and wicked musicianship

3. Jessie Ware, The Bowery Ballroom, January 17
Straight off her Jimmy Fallon taping backed by the Roots, the British songstress elated the crowd with her effortless, down-to-earth stage demeanor. Her star quickly rose with American audiences, as she sold out shows at Webster Hall, Music Hall of Williamsburg and Irving Plaza throughout the year. I was glad to have caught her earlier in the more intimate venue.

4. Basia Bulat, Bowery Ballroom, November 23
I’ve been a fan of Basia Bulat since I heard her cover Sam Cooke’s “Touch the Hem of His Garment.” This show on a cold night wasn’t sold out, which made me a little sad since she’s quite the talent. But those who were there were enraptured by her prowess on autoharp to the point that you could hear a pin drop during her solos.

5. Daughter, Bowery Ballroom, April 30
Somehow Elena Tonra manages to disguise heartbreak behind soulful lyrics and melody. She has a knack for turning happy dance songs into somber endeavors. The band mashed-up Bon Iver and Hot Chip’s “Perth/Ready for the Floor” that evening. Check out Tonra’s somber retake of Daft Punk’s hit “Get Lucky” for further proof. —Sharlene Chiu

My Top Five Shows I Never Thought I Would See
1. Desaparecidos, Webster Hall, February 26

Desaparecidos (and really any Conor Oberst project) were my bread and butter back in the early aughts, and for a while they seemed to be a one-off, a politically minded side project firmly planted in the past. Fortunately (and unfortunately) the global state of affairs remains messed up enough for the band to regroup to write protest songs for a new decade. It was a nostalgic, sweaty and inspired performance.

2. Shuggie Otis, Music Hall of Williamsburg, April 19
Shuggie Otis began putting out music in the mid-’70s, followed by a long period of laying low. Content to groove along to songs like “Ice Cold Daydream” at home, I never really thought about the possibility of a Shuggie Otis tour in 2013. But when I found out, I was there. And “Ice Cold Daydream” is even better in person.

3. The Flamin’ Groovies, The Bowery Ballroom, July 6
Instead of discovering the Flamin’ Groovies in a smoky San Fran club in the ’60s, I was introduced to their catchy psychedelia on a Nuggets compilation more than 30 years later. Who’d have thought they’d still be going strong in 2013 and that I’d be dancing right alongside some old school fans at this fun summer show.

4.  John Prine, Beacon Theatre, September 26
John Prine has been active since the early ’70s, but unlike Shuggie Otis, he never really went away, writing and recording songs at a steady pace throughout the years. But I still always thought of him as an artist too legendary for me to see in person—or that tickets would be too out of reach. But John Prine put on an amazing show, highlighting his singular skills as a songwriter and storyteller.

5. The Julie Ruin, Music Hall of Williamsburg, October 25
I was late to the party for the original riot-grrl movement, but I became an admirer of Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna during her time in Le Tigre. She’s dealt with some debilitating health issues in the past few years, but I had no doubt she’d continue to make art and music. So I was happy to learn of her latest project, the Julie Ruin, and her energetic show did not disappoint. —Alena Kastin

My Top Five Shows
1. Yo La Tengo, Town Hall, February 16

I don’t like to pick a favorite, but my last.fm account tells me I’ve listened to Yo La Tengo more than any other band since 2007. At Town Hall, they performed an acoustic set and an electronic one, doing two versions of “Ohm,” my favorite song of the year. And then I ran into Tim Heidecker from Tim & Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job! Had the Red Sox not won the World Series, this would’ve been my favorite night of the year.

2. Killer Mike/El-P, Webster Hall, August 14
I don’t care what anyone says: The best two rap albums of 2012 came from Killer Mike and El-P. And in 2013 they topped them, coming together as one entity, Run the Jewels. The night included a set from El-P, a set from Killer Mike and a combined set with both. El-P’s ingenious production plus Killer “I bleed charisma” Mike equals one concert I will never forget.

3. Foxygen, The Bowery Ballroom, October 21
With Foxygen it occasionally feels like shit could fall apart at any moment. And sometimes it does. But when their shows don’t come unhinged they deliver that sweet thrill of relief, like narrowly avoiding a car crash. And on this Halloween-themed night, the band made a weird show even weirder with homemade costumes and pseudo spooky vibes.

4. Steve Earle, Music Hall of Williamsburg, May 8
You can just tell some people are genuine, and Steve Earle is certainly one of them. Forever wearing his heart on his sleeve, that same energy bleeds right into his music, which he played alongside what he’s calling “the best band he’s ever had.”

5. Meat Puppets, Mercury Lounge, April 4
Not only are the Meat Puppets still kicking (after living through some serious shit), but also they’re thriving. And as much as I respect their legacy, seeing them play for more than two hours with the intensity you’d expect of a band 20 years their junior makes me respect them that much more. Long live the puppets of meat! —Dan Rickershauser

My Top Five Shows
1. Dessa, Union Hall, May 5

There are few performers I feel can move mountains with their vocal chords, and Dessa is one of them. This performance was an eruption of defiant lyrics and bold beats. A sizable crowd of young girls knew all of her lyrics, giving the show a chant-like feel. The only female member of Minnesota’s Doomtree collective practically vibrates with energy, and it’s completely contagious.

2. Kishi Bashi, Irving Plaza, September 12
Kishi Bashi sounds even better live than he does recorded. And he delivered a dazzling set with profuse vocal looping and an excellent backing band. Kauro Ishibashi has a supercharged, effusive aura, and his music embodies that persona. This set took a rowdy turn that involved crowd surfing, strobe lights and an outright jam session.

3. Panama Wedding, CMJ Music Marathon
I happened upon newcomers Panama Wedding three different times during CMJ: Initially, opening for NONONO at Mercury Lounge on the first night. Since the band had only released one song, “All of the People,” I was eager to see what would unfold onstage. Their set was so tight that I caught the fantastical pop group the following night at Pianos and then again at a showcase at Santos Party House.

4. You Won’t, Rockwood Music Hall, October 30
The live iteration of You Won’t is a spectacle to behold. I watched eagerly as Josh Arnoudse and Raky Sastri wielded a slew of instruments with ease, quickly fascinating the audience. The duo took their jaunty music into the audience a couple of times to break the barrier and enlisted some extra vocal support by encouraging us to all to sing along.

5. James Blake, Terminal 5, November 6
In this spellbinding live performance, complete with plenty of vocal looping and haunting electronica, James Blake made a cavernous room filled with people feel intimate. And that he’s such a dapper-looking fellow only helps boost his appeal. I’m still transfixed by this performance nearly two months later. James Blake’s music has some serious lasting effects. —Schuyler Rooth

My Top Five Shows with Regard to Lights, Visuals and Production
1. Umphrey’s McGee, Brooklyn Bowl, January 20

Kick-ass creative lighting
and Brooklyn Bowl don’t usually go hand in hand, but Umphrey’s McGee lighting guru Jefferson Waful turned the room into a thing of beauty.

2. Föllakzoid/Holydrug Couple, Mercury Lounge, March 21
What better way to enjoy some old school psychedelic music than with some old school liquid projections courtesy of Drippy Eye.

3. Plaza: Portugal. The Man, Irving Plaza, May 20
Freakin’ lasers!

4. The Flaming Lips/Tame Impala, Terminal 5, October 1
It was almost as fascinating to watch the Lips’ spectacle getting set up as it was to see it in action—confetti, strobes, LEDs and, well, pretty much everything. And Tame Impala’s projections were no slouch either.

5. Phish, Atlantic City Boardwalk, October 31, November 2
Phish’s fall tour found lighting director Chris Kuroda playing the Willy Wonka of eye candy all over the East Coast. —A. Stein

My Top Five Albums
1. Phosphorescent, Muchacho
I’d only seen Phosphorescent once before listening to Muchacho for the first time. And while much of Matthew Houck’s previous work is country-tinged (not that there’s anything wrong with that), this album, ostensibly about a breakup, covers more territory, from the meditative sounds of “Sun, Arise (An Invocation, an Introduction)” and “Sun’s Arising (A Koan, an Exit)” to the jammy, driving “Ride On/Right On” to softer fare, like “Muchacho’s Tune,” all centered on Houck’s evocative voice. I still can’t stop listening to it.

2. Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Foxygen’s third full-length, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, comes off as a loving mash note to ’70s rock. You’ll hear bits of the Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground and David Bowie, but the album expertly manages to sound like something whole and new rather than something derivative.

3. White Denim, Corsicana Lemonade
Upon the first couple of listens, I found White Denim’s latest, Corsicana Lemonade, to be too singer-songwriter-y, but I continued to give it a chance, and it opened up to something much bigger, with genre-hopping songs like “Let It Feel Good (My Eagles)” and “Pretty Green”—not to mention some searing guitar parts—grabbing me by the throat.

4. Futurebirds, Baba Yaga
Admittedly, I didn’t know anything about Futurebirds, out of Athens, Ga., before writing a preview of their late-May show at The Bowery Ballroom. But while listening to their second LP, Baba Yaga, as I wrote, I became totally enamored of the album—half twangy Southern rock and half spacey reverb.

 5. Kurt Vile, Wakin on a Pretty Daze
I love Kurt Vile’s Wakin on a Pretty Daze so much, that I can’t believe it’s only No. 5. Labeling it stoner rock, as many have done, is lazy. Although I supposed me calling it laid-back rock isn’t any better. But the fact of the matter is there might not ever be a better album to listen to while walking the streets of New York City with headphones in your ears. —R. Zizmor

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John Legend – Beacon Theatre – October 28, 2013

October 29th, 2013


Photos courtesy of Greg Pallante | gregpallante.com

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John Prine Showcases His Talents

September 9th, 2013

John Prine – Beacon Theatre – September 6, 2013


Since the release of his self-titled debut album in 1971, singer-songwriter John Prine has enjoyed a productive career and honed a unique songwriting style with an ability to oscillate between light, humorous themes and serious, downcast fare. At the Beacon Theatre on Friday night, Prine showcased material from both ends of the emotional spectrum, from the easygoing twang of opening song “Spanish Pipedream” followed by the nostalgic “Picture Show” and the slowed-down, heavy hearted “Humidity Built the Snowman.” Those in the crowd remained rapt throughout each tonal shift, often shouting requests in between songs, or simply imploring, “play all night!”

Although he didn’t oblige this last request, the show covered a range of crowd favorites, including a lovely mandolin-tinged “Angel from Montgomery,” a brisk and lively “Fish and Whistle,” and the political “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You into Heaven Anymore,” which calls out patriotic hypocrisy and “just won’t seem to go out of style,” according to Prine. An affable presence, he spoke with jovial familiarity, cracking jokes at his own expense—“that song took less time to write than it does to sing,” he said of the humorous “Dear Abby”—and peppering the set with anecdotes about his childhood and career.

For the closing songs, Prine and his band selected a poignant doubleheader from his debut album: “Hello in There,” about the realities of time and aging, and the wistful “Paradise,” on which he was joined by the night’s openers, Rosanne Cash and guitarist John Leventhal. He may not have played all night, as some had hoped, but Prine treated the audience to a showcase of his extensive catalog and skillful songwriting. —Alena Kastin

 


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Marisa Monte – Beacon Theatre – June 26, 2013

June 27th, 2013


Photos courtesy of Chris Becker | www.artistsweetsbecker.us

(Marisa Monte also plays the Beacon Theatre tomorrow night.)

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Frampton’s Flying Guitar Circus at the Beacon Theatre on Thursday

June 25th, 2013

Following the release of 1971’s Rock On, Peter Frampton left Humble Pie to go solo. He put out four albums over the next four years and then became known as a guitar god across the world with the release of Frampton Comes Alive!, in 1976, with its smash singles “Show Me the Way,” “Baby, I Love Your Way” and “Do You Feel Like We Do.” And while Frampton (above, performing “Can’t Take That Away” for EagleRock TV) remains forever associated with that live album, which topped the charts for 10 weeks, he’s continued touring and recording new material, most recently releasing his 14th studio album, Thank You Mr. Churchill (stream it below), in 2010. This summer, the guitar legend and some of his famous friends are hitting the road as Frampton’s Flying Guitar Circus. And that tour brings Frampton, along with special guests Don Felder (of the Eagles) and Roger McGuinn (of the Byrds)—plus Robert Cray opening—to the Beacon Theatre on Thursday.