Singer songwriter Melanie Safka (known to most as Melanie) is currently on the Just As Hot 2018 Tour. Most remember Melanie from being the first woman to perform at the original Woodstock festival almost 49 years ago. She has a long relationship with Buffalo, she recorded her 1985 album “Am I Real or What” here and had ties to local funkmaster Rick James back in the day.  So, when Melanie had a date at Aqua on her itinerary, it was a joy for WNY fans to see her in such an intimate setting. The set up at Aqua is basically a restaurant geared towards having banquets and weddings. Gary Swanz and his staff were up to the task of setting up proper staging for this performance. A mini stage was set on the back of the patio with a beautiful backdrop of the Niagara River.  She was accompanied by her son Beau Jarred, who warmed the audience for about 20 minutes before her mother’s set.

Melanie took the stage around 8:40pm and still dresses (bohemian) like the hippie she truly is. At first, she remarked how she would have preferred to play inside where there was air-conditioning. After about 45 minutes, the scenery and weather cooperated making it the perfect backdrop in which Melanie later acknowledged and appreciated. For her set, Beau Jarred joined her as well. The set was total impromptu. She took some request form the crowd. Her and Beau went back and forth and played a few chords to various songs before deciding which song to delve into.

A nice snippet of the Barbara Keith cover of “Detroit or Buffalo” was an appropriate way and ode to Buffalo to start off her set.  Melanie talked about how she wrote Beautiful People during a blackout in NYC in the early 1970’s. Beau played a cross between a violin and a guitar called a “GuitarViol” for this track. She talked about how “Johnny Boy” was written for a guy who she had a platonic love affair with named John McEverly from Toledo, Ohio during Summerstock. He was yet to be seen again after that always wondering what ever happened to him quipped Melanie. Beau Jarred played a flute on parts of that song as well. She still showed her acoustical prowess on “Do You Believe” as she strummed that guitar with authority.  She dove into her latest studio release “Ragamuffin” by playing “White Man Singing the Blues.”  How else would you expect Melanie to close her set but by playing a snippet of The Plastic Ono Band’s “Give Peace a Chance.”

As the set came to a close, an unorthodox move was made as Melanie as she came back to the stage to read a passage from her book called “Tales from the Roadburn Café.” After reading for about 15 minutes, Melanie and her son played The Rolling Stones classic “Ruby Tuesday” to close out the evenings performance.  It was an interesting show to say the last, Melanie showed she is a true hippy through and through. Her voice still remains strong, she still seems she still likes performing and I’m sure performing with her son makes these gigs extra special for her. The remaining Woodstock artists won’t be performing forever so if you appreciate that era of peace & love and music, you may want to see Melanie before she decides to call it a day.

 

 

Setlist:

 

Detroit or Buffalo (snippet)

Babe Rainbow

Beautiful People

Any Guy

Johnny Boy

Animal Crackers

Do You Believe

Lovers Cross (Jim Croce cover)

Brand New Key

Some Say

Nickel Song

White Man Singing the Blues

Ruin

Look What They’ve Done to my Song Ma

Psychotherapy

Candles in the Rain

Give Peace a Chance (Plastic Ono Band cover- snippet)

 

Encore:

Read a passage from her book (I Am a Woman With a Past)

Ruby Tuesday (The Rolling Stones cover)

 

Photo Gallery

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We would like to thank Gary Swanz from Classic Catering for the credentials to review the show.

About The Author Gus

My first opportunity to write about music was with Kissunderground, featuring just one band (KISS). In 2006, I started working for another outlet that showcased more musicians. It was a great experience for me at the time. I personally nailed down some great interviews during my time at glam-metal.com (Paul Stanley, Jonathan Davis, Slash and Sully Erna to name a few). In early 2009, I decided to venture out on my own with the idea of creating a website that has all the offerings that a reader would want in a music review website. That's when Backstageaxxess.com began. I’m so proud of what was created here and of our staff that brings it to you. Each one offers a diverse opinion and a creative ability to share it in a unique way. We are so lucky to have them here. When discussing making a list of favorite shows with the staff, I also found it hard to narrow that list down to a select handful of shows. Everyone experiences a concert in their own terms, whether it’s the show itself, maybe it’s the people you met there and the new friendships created, or maybe it was meeting the artist at the show. For my criteria, I tried to stick to just the show itself, but again, it was sometimes hard to do. My first concert was Sammy Hagar’s first tour with Van Halen at the Niagara Falls Convention Center, Niagara Falls, NY, on August 30, 1986. My favorites are as follows: 1. Kiss – Tiger Stadium - Detroit, Michigan 6/28/96 2. SARS (Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Rush, and handful of other bands) - Downsview Park – Toronto, Ontario 7/30/03 3. Paul McCartney (every McCartney show I saw was awesome, but Iwent with my first show) Air Canada Centre -Toronto, Ontario 10/10/05 4. Motley Crue – Memorial Auditorium – Buffalo, NY 12/19/89 5. Kid Rock – Tweeter Center - Camden, New Jersey 3/25/06 The honorable mentions would be any McCartney show (The Joint at the Hard Rock, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 2009 or Air Canada Centre Toronto, Ontario 8/10/10), Prince (Club 2112) at the Rio Hotel, Las Vegas 12/30/07, Heart (Pulse Lounge * only 200 people) Hilton Hotel, Anaheim, California, January 21,2008, Monsters of Rock (Van Halen, Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken, and Kingdom Come) Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, NY 6/19/88 and the Rocklahoma Festival (Queensryche, Lita Ford, Triumph, etc.). Also, Cher (with my mom) at the Blue Cross Arena Rochester, NY, November 22, 2004.