Lukas Nelson & His Band Deliver on Their Promise of Real Music

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
May 25, 2012
Arch Street Tavern, Hartford, CT

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real kicked off Memorial Day Weekend in Hartford, Connecticut with a spark and a flame.  The band performed an amazing eighteen song set at the Arch Street Tavern and packed it with original material, legendary covers, and gifted instrumental performances.  Lukas, son of living legend, Willie Nelson, displayed his amazing vocals as well as a plethora of electric guitar licks that could rival anyone in the music business. 

The last time I saw the band was as an opening act on the Country Throwdown Tour last Summer.  Since then, the band recently released a new album entitled, “Wasted”, and Lukas was featured on various songs in his father’s newest album, “Heroes”.  Lukas’ appearance has drastically changed as well.  He used to have long hair and wear a cowboy hat; however, he showed up with much shorter hair, a go-tee, and dark black eye-glasses (which he did not wear while performing).  But, much to his fans delight, his sound has not wavered at all.  Lukas’ vocals were spot on and his guitar playing was impressive as ever.  From the opening note of “Golden Rule” to closing jam-out, Lukas showed exactly why the Nelson Family is often referred to as one of the most talented musical families in the business. 

Each song had its own added “jam-out” strategically placed within the song.  Songs such as “Ain’t No Answer”, “Wasted”, “Don’t Take Me Back”, and “Four Letter Word” seemed to stand out to me as each member of the band got to shine on the tracks.  Lukas is backed by Anthony LoGerfo on the drums, Tato Melgar on percussion (mostly the bongos), and Corey McCormick on bass guitar.  The band is equally as impressive as their band leader as each member is clearly skilled at their craft.  In fact, their music is very unique in today’s world.  I cannot say what genre of music I would place the POTR in as they cross-over into everything from country to folk to rock with a bit of a Latin touch with Melgar’s infectious bongos.  Each song seemed to be extinguished with a jump kick and final intense guitar strum from Lukas. 

Lukas delighted the crowd with a slew of his own takes on some legendary covers.  He performed a dark and spirited version of Bob Dylan’s “Meet Me In the Morning”,  had everyone singing along to David Bowie’s “Major Tom”, and brought the fans back in time with Pink Floyd’s “Money”.  However, I really thought the highlight of the set was when he sang two song’s from Willie Nelson’s newest album, “Heroes”.  As I stated, Lukas was featured on multiple songs on that album (nine in all) and he performed two of those tracks.  “No Place To Fly” is the traditional old style country song that fans are accustomed to Willie singing.  However, father and son combined for an incredible version of Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” which I think is one of the best covers of any song I have heard in a long time.  Lukas did his best solo rendition without his father by his side and nailed it.  It has a hauntingly beautiful melody while Lukas’ unique voice, on that night, flowed over the song with brilliance

The POTR finished off their set as one would assume they would, with a heart-melting jam-out session where each band member had their time to shine.  The jam lasted well over ten minutes and the band took a group bow together once they finished.  Lukas and the band waiting by the stage after their performance and greeted each of their fans.  I took a photo with Lukas and discussed his home town of Paia, Hawaii as I recently visited there – and coincidentally, Lukas was wearing a t-shirt with the town displayed on the front.  I will not hesitate to see Lukas and the POTR again and again.  Their music style is refreshing in this day in age and I hope more fans will be able to appreciate and witness their unique and talented artistry. 


  1. Golden Rule
  2. Ain’t No Answer
  3. Peaceful Solution
  4. Wasted
  5. Meet Me In The Morning (Bob Dylan Cover)
  6. Can You Hear Me Love You
  7. Wasn’t That Great
  8. Sound Of Your Memory
  9. The Joint
  10. Don’t Take Me Back
  11. Major Tom (David Bowie Cover)
  12. Don’t Lose Your Mind
  13. Money (Pink Floyd)
  14. 4 letter word
  15. Just Breathe (Pearl Jam Cover)
  16. No Place To Fly
  17. Amazing Grace (Acoustic Version)
  18. Solos by each band member individually


Just Breathe

4 Letter Word
Meet Me In The Morning

Lady A, Darius Rucker, & TS Kick Off CT’s Summer Country Concert Series

Comcast Theater
Hartford, Connecticut
May 18, 2012

It was absolutely perfect weather on Friday for the first country music concert of the year at the outdoor Comcast Theater when Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, and Thompson Square brought the We Own The Night Tour to Connecticut.  The New England music fans came out early and in full effect to enjoy the weather and the amazing entertainment that would follow the parking lot party.  I was lucky enough to have access to the meet and greets with both Thompson Square and Darius Rucker.  Thompson Square, consisting of Shawna and Keifer Thompson, were extremely nice and told me they were working on their next album.  They hope it will be out sometime next Spring or Summer.  After a quick discussion and a few jokes, Keifer told me he was not named after Kiefer Sutherland (I had to ask, I am a giant 24 fan). 

Darius Rucker and I discussed his golf game since I know how much he loves the sport.  He put my handicap to shame when he told me his was a 5.  He also said that his new single is set to hit country radio on May 22nd and his new album will shortly follow.  He was personable when talking with me which is always refreshing for an artist who has had so much success for the greater part of twenty five years. 

I got to my seat in time for Thompson Square’s set which was spirited despite only singing a few songs and not having the production effects their touring mates would.  Keifer plays the guitar and sticks to his microphone stand as he lets his wife Shawna use the stage.  They have an excellent chemistry that is neither forced and nor phony.  Giant lips popped up on stage for their smash hit and final number, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”.

Darius Rucker, formerly the lead singer of Hootie & The Blowfish, followed up TS with an incredible set that rivaled most headline acts I’ve seen.  He had the crowd in the palm of his hand from start to finish.  Dressed in a simple t-shirt, jeans, and nike baseball cap, Darius belted out a setlist that displayed the uniqueness that makes up this mega-star: his musical diversity. 

He sang all of his number #1 country tunes, including “Alright”, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” and “Come Back Song”, as well as, to the crowd’s delight, two Hootie songs “Only Wanna Be With You” and “Hold My Hand”.  He even sang a few covers such as Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker”, Hank Williams, Jr.’s “Family Tradition” and Prince’s “Purple Rain”.  It does not get more diverse than that and he absolutely nailed each song. 

Darius sang thirteen songs in all and his time on stage nearly equaled that of Lady A’s.  In fact, as much as I was impressed by Lady A’s performance, I think Darius’ overall set was better.  He has a stage presence that has clearly been refined over the course of his stellar career.  There is nothing he does that is staged and Darius’ free spirit is on display throughout.  Whether it is classic rock, country, or even R&B, I only hope he continues to make music and perform for a long time because all of what Darius Rucker does is flat out great. 

After a short delay, Lady Antebellum took to the stage.  I had seen Lady A perform a few years ago as an opening act for Tim McGraw and was really interested to see if they had grown as a live act since then.  My answer was very clear right from the start.  The trio dominated every foot of the guitar shaped stage and had the crowd dancing from start to finish.  They not only improved a great deal from the first time I had seen them, they absolutely passed my expectations. 

While Lady A kept to most of the chart-topping singles, they did throw in a few of their deeper cuts from their albums.  They even performed a few cover songs and brought out each of their tour mates, Thompson Square for the Allman Brothers classic, “Midnight Rider”, and Darius Rucker (with TS sticking around) for the Doobie Brothers’ “Black Water”.  I did not particularly love their take on the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman”, but that was one of the few misses from their set. 

The one thing that I enjoyed most was the band’s use of Dave Haywood.  The last time I saw the band live, Haywood seemed a bit lost on stage.  This time they showcased his musical abilities and gave him a plethora of different guitars and solos.  Instead of looking like the third wheel, he truly was at the forefront along with Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott.  Moreover, on the deep love songs which the lyrics really speak to a man and woman, Dave let Charles and Hillary take the spotlight and did not step forward as he had done in the past.  I thought it was a lot more effective and made their performance much more polished. 

All in all, I left the amphitheater with a full understanding of why this Tour has been so successful.  Each of the three acts were wholesome, unique, and professional.  I really gained newfound respect for Lady Antebellum and Thompson Square, and continued my admiration for Darius Rucker’s craft.  No matter what age you are, this Tour, more than most, has something to appeal to the music fan in you. 


Thompson Square:

  1. I Got You
  2. Let’s Fight
  3. Getaway Car
  4. One Of Those Days
  5. Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not

Darius Rucker:

  1. Love Will Do That
  2. Alright
  3. The Craziest Thing
  4. It Won’t Be Like This For Long
  5. Only Wanna Be With You (Hootie & The Blowfish Cover)
  6. The Joker (Steve Miller Band Cover)
  7. Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It
  8. Come Back Song
  9. History In The Making
  10. Hold My Hand (Hootie & The Blowfish Cover)
  11. Family Tradition (Hank Williams, Jr. Cover)
  12. This
  13. Purple Rain (Prince Cover)

Lady A:

  1. We Owned The Night
  2. Stars Tonight
  3. Our Kind of Love
  4. Dancing Away With My Heart
  5. Wanted You More
  6. Perfect Day
  7. Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
  8. Just A Kiss
  9. Hello World
  10. American Honey
  11. Midnight Rider featuring Thompson Square (Allman Brothers Cover)
  12. Black Water featuring Darius Rucker & Thompson Square (Doobie Brothers Cover)
  13. I Run To You
  14. Honky Tonk Woman (Rolling Stones Cover)
  15. Looking For a Good Time
  16. Need You Now (Encore)

Darius Rucker – Only Wanna Be With You

Darius Rucker – Hold My Hand
Darius Rucker – Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It
Lady A – American Honey
Lady A – Love Don’t Live Here Anymore