Marking the last night of their U.S. Summer tour, Yes treated their fans by opening with the Close to the Edge album in its entirety, albeit out of sequence. This was followed by a couple of songs from the just-released Heaven & Earth album, which received a warm welcome, an unusual occurrence for new material among old favorites. The opening notes of “Roundabout” signaled the beginning of the Fragile album in its entirety as well, and the evening at the Greek Theater was topped off with two of their greatest hits, “Your Move/I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Owner of a Lonely Heart”.

“Laura! Laura! Laura!” was the chant heard throughout the venue while the crowd waited in anticipation for Against Me! to hit the stage. Last Tuesday, August 19th, Against Me! played to a lively crowd at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, CA. In mid-2013, the band went through a few line-up changes, acquiring Atom Willard (Angeles & Airwaves, Social Distortion), as the new drummer, and Inge Johansson (The (International Noise Conspiracy) as the new bass player. Even with a few changes to the line up, Against Me! tore up the stage!

As support for Motley Crue’s “The Final Tour” (with special guest Alice Cooper), The Raskins, a five-piece band fronted by twin brothers Logan and Roger Raskin, played a memorable set for the crowd at Irvine. The New York City-based group plays melodic hard rock with a radio friendliness, providing a fitting prelude for the Alice Cooper and Motley Crue performances.

As the opener on Motley Crue’s Final Tour, Alice Cooper and his band performed a set of greatest hits to an enthusiastic Southern California crowd. The three-guitar attack of Nita Strauss (who recently replaced Orianthi Panagaris), Ryan Roxie and Tommy Henriksen is sterling. With a lavish stage production (boa constrictor, Dwight Fry straight-jacket, creepy-looking dolls, etc.), and a killer sound, Alice Cooper gave Irvine a show that arguably upstaged the headlining act.

Iced Earth opened with “Plagues of Babylon”. After its ominous, building intro, guitarists Jon Scaffer and Troy Seele virtually shook the audience by the scruff of the neck while drummer Jon Dette battered the room with rhythmic mayhem. Vocalist Stu Block manned the microphone with authority, frequently belting out high-register screams reminiscent of Rob Halford (Judas Priest). The moving “If I Could See You” from Plagues of Babylon provided contrast in the heavy set. “Boiling Point” followed, putting the wicked, almost foreboding vibe back into the air.

It was just what the doctor ordered when Ted Nugent and his band of Nigerian Rebels (Derek St. Holmes, guitar and vocals; “Wild” Mick Brown, drums; Greg Smith, bass) played the City National Grove of Anaheim. Supporting the recently released album Shutup & Jam, Nuge’s setlist included a few new songs and several of his smash hits. The guitar god, as usual, showed no restraint of tongue between songs, expressing contempt for U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and big government. Some of us don’t give a shit about Ted’s political views or what he shoots with his crossbow or sidearm. We just want to hear that Gibson Byrdland sing. Shut up and jam, Ted!