Sunday, April 27, 2008


When my sister told me a few weeks ago that she had bought ticket for herself, Mom and I to go see Richard Marx at the Canyon Club here locally in nearby Agoura, I had no idea of several things. First off, I did not know that Matt Scannell, the lead singer of Vertical Horizon was going to be performing with him. Secondly, I had no idea until the night before the show that three of my best friends (Gwen, Sarah and John) were ALSO going to the show! Needless to say, I knew it was going to be a fun night... best of all, I knew I'd be home before midnight - something that is very rare when attending a concert for me!

Mark Castrillion was of the first three acts to play and did a very good job, closing his 30 minute mostly acoustic set with a cover of Bon Jovi's "I'll Be There For You." Kind of ironic, since the last concert I happened to see was Bon Jovi three weeks ago.

After Mark's set, the local band Venice took the stage. My friend Gwen has been a big fan of theirs for quite a long time, and actually I had seen them perform with her and some other friends at the same Canyon Club a few years ago. They're comprised of many members of the Lennon family, led my vocalists Kipp and Mark. They have been performing for generations, quite literally. Their set was highlighted by a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" and their song "The Family Tree."

While the warm-up acts were good, they definitely paled in comparison to Richard Marx and Matt Scannell. They took the stage just before 9:45, and played for nearly two hours straight through a few technical difficulties. At the beginning, they alternated playing their songs. Richard did "Endless Summer Nights" to open things, and Matt then took over with the second hit from Vertical Horizon's 1999 self-titled debut, "You're A God." A classic Marx ballad was next - "Now & Forever," on which Marx implored the audience not to sing as they would "ruin the song." We all got several laughs throughout the night at Richard's sense of humor. They then played a couple of their newer songs before Richard launched into his hit "Hazard."

Throughout the night, I shuffled between the table I was sharing with my Mom and sister and the floor where my friends were. And yes, John and Sarah (pictured below), you're famous now! :) The middle of the show was very hilarious as Richard told a story about how his song and Matt's songs (done by other artists) were doing very well on the radio back a couple of years ago. Richard is good friends with Country star Keith Urban and they've written several songs together the past few years including Keith's hit song "Better Life". Meanwhile, Nashville star Gary Allan covered Vertical Horizon's third hit "Best I Ever Had." The songs were climbing the Country chart at the same time and in the beginning Matt's song was winning, beating Richard's song into the top 20... soon thereafter thought, Richard's song moved ahead and ended up spending five weeks at #1 on the Country charts for Mr. Urban. Matt's song did very well for Gary Allan in it's own right though, climbing to #7 on the Country chart. Soon after that, Matt launched into his version of his hit, while Richard sang an acoustic version of another of his #1 hits, "Should've Known Better."

The last part of the show was definitely the best though... Richard continued with his massive library of hits, singing his first hit, "Don't Mean Nothing" and then telling more stories - one involving his most famous #1 song, "Right Here Waiting." He basically the song didn't belong to him anymore as he told the story of a woman overseas singing the song during his travels one time. Richard then launched into the song... Matt then the song which put him and Vertical Horizon on the map, their first hit, the #1 song "Everything You Want." The crowd truly enjoyed the show and their three song encore concluded with Richard's version of another song he co-wrote with Keith Urban (which was another HUGE #2 hit for him on the Country charts), "Everybody." Two great singers and two great songwriters coming together... it was quite an awesome show and night!


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