Music to our ears: It was a banner-headline year

As we ring in the new year, let’s take a look back at 2016. Here are Tahoe Onstage’s 25 most-read stories of the year. We also list the top news stories of the year.

25 – Tour manager from Tahoe keeps Katchafire moving

Katchafire with Late Nite Billy Drewitz

From left, Katchafire: Tere Ngarua, tour manager “Late Nite” Billy Drewitz, Logan Bell and Jordan Bell.

When working for a large, internationally renowned band, a tour manager’s responsibilities are daunting. But when it’s for a reggae band with a name that advocates the use of marijuana, the obstacles are especially, well, high.

South Lake Tahoe’s “Late Nite” Billy Drewitz was hired in February by Katchafire to oversee day-to-day operations of the two-month “Burn It Down Tour” through the United States and Canada.

“These guys love their medicine and going through certain areas is a challenge sometimes,” Drewitz said. READ MORE

24 – Sweet Reggae Music lights up Lake Tahoe

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Pepper’s high-energy set finished the fourth Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival.

Where’s the best place to absorb a reggae festival?

  1. Swinging in a hammock beneath the stage (apparently with an all-access pass).
  2. Meditating on grass, 10,000 square feet of it.
  3. Chilling on the outskirts as a 2-year-old girl dances the evening away in a tie-dyed shirt and two 9-year-old boys dart by, guided by their neon hoop neckware.
  4. Engaging in the party pit at stagefront.
  5. Any of the above.

More than 4,000 concertgoers had multiple choices Saturday when they filled the outdoor arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for the fourth-annual Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival. READ MORE

23 – Caravanserai’s sensational Santana tribute at Hard Rock

Alfredo Lazo, left, and Leo Herrera of Caravanserai.

Alfredo Lazo, left, and Leo Herrera of Caravanserai.

The sizzling, searing sounds of Santana poured out of Vinyl at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Saturday night, with the zesty Latin groove spilling out onto the casino floor, attracting a steady stream of concertgoers as the night went on.

Bay Area Santana tribute band Caravanserai played a high-energy set in its first appearance at the year-old venue. The seven-member band featured a variety of percussion, bass, keyboards, and of course, electric guitar, tearing through a wide selection of the legendary guitarist’s greatest hits. The combination of spicy Latin beats and blazingly fast electric guitar made for an enjoyable evening for a Vinyl crowd of all (adult) ages. READ MORE

22 – Rock ‘n’ Roll and dance: Flaming Hearts kick it up

Flaming Hearts

The Flaming Hearts — A Rock Revue in Tahoe onstage.

Champagne Productions’ 50-minute show The Flaming Hearts – A Rock Revue features a live rock trio and a dance troupe. Directed and choreographed by Jessica Broyles, who has presented and starred in numerous Lake Tahoe productions, The Flaming Hearts could be Stateline’s next long-running show. READ MORE

21 – ‘My time with David Bowie’ — musician Nino Del Pesco describes appearance in ‘Day-In Day-Out’ video

Nino Del Pesco is the guitarist to the right of David Bowie.

Nino Del Pesco is the guitarist to the right of David Bowie.

David Bowie was one of many –too many — musicians and celebrities who died in 2016. In a special report for Tahoe Onstage, Hollywood musician Nino Del Pesco recalled making a music video with Bowie and striking up a friendship with the ‘Fame’ star.  READ MORE

20 — Singer Danielle Nicole: Dickinson brothers new Allstar

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Danielle Nicole is amused with Luther Dickinson as he changes a guitar string in midsong during the High Sierra Music Festival.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

The Dickinson brothers have a new Allstar.

Luther and Cody Dickinson, who started the North Mississippi Allstars 20 years ago, welcomed bass player and singer Danielle Nicole to the group this year. If you ask Luther, describing Danielle Nicole as an Allstar is an understatement.

“She’s a superstar,” Dickinson told Tahoe Onstage. “I love her so much.” READ MORE

19 – To heaven and back, Walter Trout lives to tell about it

Walter Trout Carousel

Was it just a terrible dream?

Walter Trout feels great. The in-demand blues guitar virtuoso gets plenty of work performing for adoring fans. He spends quality time with his wife and three sons. The psoriasis on his hands has disappeared. He is no longer overweight. And new hair even is sprouting from his scalp.

To make sure it really happened, he looks at photos of himself taken last year when he was at death’s door. READ MORE

18 – Q&A with Sammy Hagar: Red Rocker for president?

Sammy Hagar shares with the fans during a surprise appearance with son Andrew's band the Appalachian Murder Bunnies at Cabo Wabo on Saturday, March 26.

Sammy Hagar shares with the fans during a surprise appearance with son Andrew’s band the Appalachian Murder Bunnies at Cabo Wabo on Saturday, March 26.
Kurt Johnson / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage reporter Josh Sweigert caught up with Sammy Hagar before a surprise performance at Cabo Wabo Cantina in Lake Tahoe with family members and Kris Kristofferson. They talked music, politics and about life in general. And oh, yeah, what about a reunion with Van Halen? There was no Chicken-footing around that. READ MORE

17 – Review: Stevie Wonder leaves Tahoe ‘Overjoyed’

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder played Lake Tahoe on Sept. 2.
Photo by Jim Grant / Harrah’s and Harveys

He didn’t have to play. It would have been well within reason as an artist, performer and entertainer to cancel the show on account of being sick. But he didn’t. Stevie Wonder, one of the last bastions of iconic artistry, fought through obvious issues with his throat and vocal chords to deliver a stirring and jam-packed, two-hour set of his many classics, covers and even a couple of surprising deep cuts.

The “Evening with Stevie Wonder,” as it was billed, began with the crowd of more than 7,000 at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys rising to its feet as Wonder was guided onstage. Not a note had been played nor had the crowd been prompted, yet we all rose as if Wonder was some almighty amalgam of worldly judge and peace-promoting preacher. And shoot, maybe he is. READ MORE

 16 – Concert photos: Eric Burdon in Tahoe

eric-burdon-1

That long-haired leaping gnome Eric Burdon and his latest band of Animals spilled the wine at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe on Saturday, Sept. 24. Tahoe Onstage’s Larry Sabo captured the performance in his camera. READ MORE

15 – A mind-messing conversation with James McMurtry

James McMurtry

James McMurtry at the Cargo Concert Hall.
Photo by Eli Gross/ Cargo @ Whitney Peak Hotel

James McMurtry’s songs resonate with people of all walks of life because listeners identify with the characters and their stories.

That’s the commonly held belief, anyway. McMurtry refutes the notion when he describes his fan base.

“I think the parents play this stuff for their kids and the kids grow up and don’t hate it when they grow up and they come back and they bring their kids,” he said. “That’s been my experience, anyway. I’ve had a lot of people say, ‘Oh my dad turned me on to you. He’s in prison. Could you say hi to him?’ That kind of stuff.” READ MORE

14 – Rockabilly freakout: Rev. Horton Heat melts Reno

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Back-to-back rockabillies Reverend Horton Heat and Jimbo Wallace.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Hold your horses — Reverend Horton Heat is drifting to a town near you.

Tuesday night, the righteous reverend, sometimes known as Jim Heath from Dallas, Texas, unloaded his brand of rockabilly at the Cargo in Reno, imparting some early rock and roll religion to 400 faithful, PBR-guzzling followers at the Whitney Peak Hotel.

With wild Mustangs still roaming the open range, Nevada provided the perfect stage. READ MORE

13 – The String Cheese Incident’s March Madness jams

Backstage at the Grand Sierra, Keith Moseley's proper shooting technique ensures the basketball will pass through the strings. Photo by Brian Spady/The String Cheese Incident 2015.

Backstage at the Grand Sierra, Keith Moseley’s proper shooting technique ensures the basketball will pass through the strings.
Photo by Brian Spady/The String Cheese Incident 2015.

Basketball players and musicians both like to jam.

The six slamming jammers in String Cheese Incident tipped off a spring tour in Reno March 10 with a run that parallels the college basketball championship tournament. Both events are called March Madness. The concert tour is set up like a Final Four bracket, with 10 shows in six venues.

And while in basketball one team must lose, a String Cheese Incident concert is always a slam dunk, er, make that, a jam. READ MORE

12 – Steel Pulse band leader David Hinds hospitalized

David Hinds

Irie again: David “Dread” Hinds has a Steel Pulse.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Six weeks after being hospitalized with pneumonia, Steel Pulse founding member David “Dread” Hinds has recovered well enough that the band has resumed touring.

“As most of you have heard, I was taken down with pneumonia — an infection I wouldn’t wish on anyone,” Hinds said. READ MORE

 11 – Review: Peter Gabriel, Sting are Sledgehammers!

Tahoe Onstage

Sting and Peter Gabriel had a “congenial battle of the bands” at Tahoe on July 15.
Photo by Jim Grant / Harrah’s Harveys Lake Tahoe

Nostalgia reigns at Lake Tahoe, the romantic resort destination on the California-Nevada border. Sometimes the entertainment here can be more about great memories and less an ethereal experience of witnessing something superb, unique and contemporary. There was the fat Elvis in 1976 and a raspy Bob Dylan in 2009. However, Peter Gabriel and Sting performed together in Stateline on Friday night in a show that left an everlasting impression on all 7,000 who attended. It was a thrill. READ MORE

 10 – ‘Blue on Black’ and blond, too — Kenny Wayne Shepherd rocks

Kurt Johnson

Kenny Wayne Shepherd rocks Lake Tahoe in the MontBleu Theatre.
Tahoe Onstage photo by Kurt Johnson

The standing ovations for the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band started midway into Saturday’s concert at Lake Tahoe. Like a tide that rises with each wave, more and more fans in the audience stood and roared at the conclusion of each song. And with his long hair looking as bleach blond as a surfer’s, Shepherd rode the waves with the skill and showmanship of a superstar.

“I am trying to get used to having long hair again,” Shepherd said, explaining that he grew out his locks because of requests on Facebook. READ MORE

9 – Jefferson Starship flight continues without Paul Kantner

After Paul Kantner died in late January, Dave Freiberg is the remaining original Jefferson Starship member. Tahoe Onstage photos by Kurt E. Johnson

After Paul Kantner died in late January, Dave Freiberg is the remaining original Jefferson Starship member.
Tahoe Onstage photo by Kurt E. Johnson

Lake Tahoe got a taste of the 1960s and ’70s rock Saturday night, when Jefferson Starship landed in the South Shore Room at Harrahs Casino for a throwback show in front of a packed house.

Sadly short one member, after founding guitarist Paul Kantner passed Jan. 28, Jefferson Starship still put on a terrific show, playing a wide range of classic tunes for an enthusiastic crowd. The group faithfully reproduced Starship’s vintage sound, with a mellow, rock vibe underscoring a blend searing electric guitar solos and soaring female vocals. READ MORE

8 – Chickenfoot rules South Shore Room roost

Onstage for the first time since 2010, Chad Smith, left, Joe Satriani, Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony -- Chickenfoot -- rock the South Shore Room. Tahoe Onstage images by Larry Sabo

Onstage for the first time since 2010, Chad Smith, left, Joe Satriani, Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony — Chickenfoot — rock the South Shore Room.
Tahoe Onstage photo by Larry Sabo

It was a quiet Sunday night at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, with modest crowds gathered at the slot machines and gaming tables around the casino floor.

Except for in the South Shore Room, of course, where super group Chickenfoot put on a high-octane performance in front of a packed house. The renowned rock band was playing its second set of the weekend of its first time onstage since 2010. Promoters of “Cinco de Foot, May the Original Foot be with You!” decided to the Sunday show after tickets to the initial Saturday gig sold out within minutes. READ MORE

7 – It’s not a dream: Beat Farmers live album to be released

Country Dick Montana Heading North

Country Dick Montana was the singular showman with the Beat Farmers.

Country Dick Montana never died. Joey Harris has this shocking revelation as he stands on the outskirts of a small, dusty desert town. This is where his friend and Beat Farmers bandmate has been hiding out. At the end of a street, Harris approaches a tiny shack with Christmas lights hanging all over the front porch. Country Dick is the proprietor of the old roadhouse. As Harris walks through the front door, he wakes up.

He said it’s a recurring dream.

Dan “Country Dick Montana” McLain, 40, died on stage during a show in Whistler, British Columbia, on Nov. 8, 1995. If 21 is the legal age in heaven, that means, as of today, Country Dick can do what he famously sang as a mortal on earth, “Are You Drinking With Me Jesus?” READ MORE

6 – Bass Camp IV makes waves at Lake Tahoe

Bass Camp Festival

Bass Camp Festival IV was a resounding success.

The annual EDM celebration at Lake Tahoe was held for the second-straight year at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino at South Shore’s Casino Corridor. Organizers shook things up with more than $200,000 of stage lighting, sound and special effects. There were more live artists featured than ever before and the weather was typical Tahoe gorgeous: 77 degrees, light breeze and a clear, blue sky. And 10,000 square feet of turf was installed for the Aug. 6-7 event. READ MORE

5 – Rappin’ 4 Tay arrested before Lake Tahoe show

Tahoe Onstage

Posted at Whiskey Dick’s Saloon on the night Rappin’ 4-Tay was to have performed.

Rappin’ 4 Tay never made it to the Playaz Club Saturday night. His rap sheet preceded him.

It was a gamble, but Anthony Forte, 47, headed to the Stateline, Nev., casinos before a scheduled show at Whiskey Dick’s Saloon with Andre Nickatina. It was there that the San Francisco rapper fell into the custody of Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies, who arrested Forte on a warrant from Clark County, Nev., for failure to appear. Forte missed his 2014 court date on a charge of failing to register with authorities, a sheriff’s spokesman said. READ MORE

That was in 2015. This September, 4 Tay once again found himself in trouble with the law. San Francisco police arrested the hometown rapper on suspicion of first-degree burglary, and he spent a month in jail before gaining his release. READ MORE

4 – Tahoe family jam with Sammy Hagar, Kris Kristofferson

Kelly Kristofferson, Kris Kristofferson and Sammy Hagar perform at Cabo Wabo on Saturday, March 26.

Kelly Kristofferson, Kris Kristofferson and Sammy Hagar perform at Cabo Wabo.
Kurt Johnson / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe music fans got a special treat Saturday, March 26, at Cabo Wabo, when both Sammy Hagar and Kris Kristofferson took the stage in support of the American debut of the Appalachian Murder Bunnies, a folk act formed by children of each of the musicians.

Appalachian Murder Bunnies was assembled in preparation for a recent Kristofferson tour of Scotland. Andrew Hagar had met Kelly Kristofferson through her brother in 2015. READ MORE

3 – Red Rocker Sammy Hagar ‘Circles’ back to Lake Tahoe

Sammy Hagar and the Circle: Sammy Hagar, left, Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson. Jim Grant / Harrah's and Harveys

Sammy Hagar and the Circle: Sammy Hagar, left, Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson.
Jim Grant / Harrah’s and Harveys

An honorary South Shore resident, Sammy Hagar and his band The Circle rocked 5,000 Redheads at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys on Friday.

All eyes turned to the stage as a montage of music videos and interviews from Hagar’s career roared over the sound system, heralding the arrival of the well-known frontman and guitarist. The Circle strode out minutes later, Hagar introducing Michael Anthony (bass), Vic Johnson (guitar), and Jason Bonham (drums). READ MORE

2 – Finally, a tune for unsung hero, tour manager Tom Ames

Tom Ames, the tour manager and sound engineer for Reel Big Fish, relaxes after February's show at Cargo in the Whitney Peak Hotel in Reno. Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons

Tom Ames, the tour manager and sound engineer for Reel Big Fish, relaxes after February’s show at Cargo in the Whitney Peak Hotel in Reno.
Tahoe Onstage photo by Tim Parsons

Behind the scenes, rock and roll is hardly glamorous.

It’s seven hours before Reel Big Fish takes the stage, but the band’s gear already is set up. A stagehand screams and whispers inane, random thoughts and he makes fart noises into each of the six microphones. Then one by one, the band members test their instruments. Tom Ames, the sound engineer and tour manager, works the control panel that has more knobs and lights than an airplane. READ MORE

1 – Widespread Panic’s groovy July 4th after-party in Tahoe

Dave Schools and Widespread Panic soothed Lake Tahoe with its quintessential Southern rock. Tahoe Onstage photos by Kurt E. Johnson

Dave Schools and Widespread Panic soothed Lake Tahoe with its Southern rock.
Tahoe Onstage photo by Kurt E. Johnson

The holiday party continued Wednesday when Widespread Panic erupted at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena after a fun-filled Fourth of July weekend at South Shore, one of many stops on the band’s 30th anniversary tour.

Enthusiastic music-lovers thronged to the Stateline venue while the sun set over the western mountainscape, casting long shadows across the arena as the Southern rock band served up a full menu of jam-filled tunes. Sounds of drums, heavy blues guitar and wailing organ filled the air, expressive dancers twirled at the edges of the crowd and a casual, mellow vibe appeared to be the order of the day. READ MORE

John Bell, guitarist and lead vocalist, noted before the show,  “We’re gonna slow down our schedule next year and from thereafter, and so this is probably the last heavy year of extended touring that we’re going to do, so kind of taking that all in.” READ MORE

Flashback: Headlines that made the news in 2016

For one special afternoon in Reno, Tim Lincecum was the toast of the town. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

For one special afternoon in Reno, Tim Lincecum was the toast of the town.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

* Love drives Lincecum’s comeback to the big league

Minor-league stop in Reno: Tim Lincecum’s big-league career isn’t finished, but it’s not quite ready to resume. LINK

Larry Sabo / Tahoe Onstage

The Crown Room show sold out hours before it began.

* Crown to add more jewels: Concert hall expanding

The Crown Room gets greater — 16 booth seats and a satellite bar removed to make room for 120 more guests, 750 in total, at Crystal Bay Casino. LINK

Tim Parsons

Chris Vos of the Record Company said he will take his High Sierra debut memories to his grave.

* High Sierra Music Festival: The Top 5 Bands

Tahoe Onstage writer Spencer Kilpatrick gives his lowdown on the cream of the crop at the 2016 High Sierra Music Festival. LINK

Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard and The Strangers played in Reno on Dec. 5, 2014.
Photo by Nick McCabe, Front Row Photo

* Merle Haggard dies on 79th birthday

Country music legend Merle Haggard lost a battle to double pneumonia, passing away on April 6, 2016. He played in 2015 at Carson Valley Inn. LINK

Chris Hubbell's rock and roll collection is on display at the Psychedelic Ballroom and Jukejoint in downtown Reno. Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons

Chris Hubbell’s rock and roll collection is on display at the Psychedelic Ballroom and Jukejoint in downtown Reno.
Tahoe Onstage photo by Tim Parsons

* The Psychedelic Ballroom and Jukejoint: A music venue and rock and roll art museum

Located in Reno’s Brewery District on Fourth Street, PB&J’s was adorned with one of the world’s greatest music poster collections. The venue closed in 2016. LINK

Art "Papa Funk" Neville and the Funky Meters thrilled a the audience at the Crystal Bay Casino on June 17. Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons

Art “Papa Funk” Neville and the Funky Meters thrilled a the audience at the Crystal Bay Casino on June 17.
Tahoe Onstage photo by Tim Parsons

*Funky Miracle at Lake Tahoe: Art Neville returns to stage

Do you believe in funky miracles? The leader of one of music’s most influential bands returned to stage in Lake Tahoe after several-year hiatus. LINK

Steph Curry stretches out his right knee on the 16th fairway at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course on Thursday. Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons

Steph Curry stretches out his right knee on the 16th fairway at Edgewood Tahoe.
Tahoe Onstage photo by Tim Parsons

* Record attendance at American Century Championship

Locals know the ACC as the “Celebrity Golf Tournament.” The Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry made a return appearance to Tahoe in 2016. LINK

Chicago Cubs

Singer and Cubs fan Steve Goodman.

* In a song, Cubs fan Steve Goodman gets his dying wish

Goodman penned the Chicago Cubs’ victory song, “Go Cubs Go.” Now the nation knows it, as the Cubbies (finally) won the World Series. LINK

Fortunate son Doug Clifford was the Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient. Photo by Tony Dellacioppa

Fortunate son Doug Clifford was the Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient.
Photo by Tony Dellacioppa

* Forte Lifetime Achievement Award: CCR’s Doug Clifford

The inaugural Forte Awards was a black-tie affair at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno. A red carpet greeted nominees from 37 performing-arts categories. LINK

Tahoe Onstage

Gene Evaro Jr. at the OffBeat Festival.

* OffBeat shows off Reno-Tahoe’s musical ‘gr8ness’

More than 100 talented local and out-of-town bands performed in the “Biggest Little City’s” very own three-day musical festival, held in venues throughout Reno. LINK

New Music Friday: Fresh nuggets every week

At Tahoe Onstage, New Music Friday is something we look forward to, well, every week. That’s when new albums are released to the public. Some of our favorites in 2016 include Drive-By Truckers “American Band;” Snarky Puppy “Culcha Vulcha;” Santana “IV Live at House of Blues Las Vegas;” Tedeschi Trucks Band “Let Me Get By;” Bob Margolin “My Road” and Rebelution “Falling Into Place.” Check out reviews in the Tahoe Onstage albums category. LINK

Santana IV Live

– Compiled by Tahoe Onstage editor Tim Parsons and copy chief Randy Hashagen

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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