Tag Archives: Tempe

concert review

Retro Futura Tour with Tom Bailey, Howard Jones, Midge Ure, China Crisis, Katrina Leskanich / Marquee Theatre, Tempe, AZ / Sept. 3, 2014

by Jason Stone

The ’80s are roaring back! At least for one night at the Marquee Theatre.
The “Retro Futura Tour” — featuring Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins, Howard Jones, Midge Ure, China Crisis and Katrina from, oddly enough, Katrina and the Waves — made a swing through Arizona.
It reminded fans that not all music from the Eighties was bad.

Tom BaileyIMG_1427

The frontman of the Thompson Twins didn’t disappoint, playing most of the band’s hits, and updating them a little bit with today’s technology and electronic music trends. He seems to still love what he’s doing.
Setlist
We Are Detective/In the Name of Love/Lies/Sister of Mercy/You Take Me Up/If You Were Here/Love on Your Side/Doctor! Doctor!/ENCORE: King for a Day/Hold Me Now

Howard JonesIMG_1417

I’ve seen Howard Jones many times throughout the years, and he still remains one of my favorites live. Despite playing a majority of music pre-programmed, he is still showing a close connection to fans with his constant stage movement, using a wireless headset. So glad he is still at it with high energy.
Setlist
The Human Touch/Like to Get to Know  You Well/Everlasting Love/No One is to Blame/The Prisoner/What Is Love?/Things Can Only Get Better/New Song

Midge Ure

The former Ultravox frontman played probably his five most essential songs. And, no, none of them were “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (He co-wrote that you know.)
Setlist
Hymn/Fade to Grey/Vienna/If I Was/Dancing with Tears in My Eyes

China Crisis

Believe it or not, I had never head of these guys until prepping for the show the week before. Now, I can’t believe I never heard of them. After a week of listening to a lot of their best stuff it feels like I’ve known it for years.
Setlist
Arizona Sky/African and White/Black Man Ray/Wishful Thinking/King in a Catholic Style

Yep, Miss “Walking on Sunshine” herself opened the bill with a six-song set of her infectious pop-punk stylings. Actually not as bad as you’d think, and I hate to admit I still kind of like “Walking on Sunshine” despite hearing it one-million times too many over the last 30 years.
Setlist
Rock n Roll Girl/Red Wine and Wisky/Going Down to Liverpool/Every Step/Do You Want Crying/Walking on Sunshine

high schools

Gant dominates as Tempe defeats Washington

by Jason Stone

When Phoenix Washington picked Tempe to be its homecoming opponent, the school was probably hoping Tempe would play like it did the last two seasons when it won just one game.
But this year’s Tempe team is different, and Washington found that out the hard way in Friday night’s 62-20 loss in a Division III matchup.
“When we started the season we told the team we wanted to go 5-5,” Tempe coach Brian Walker said. “They said, ‘No, coach, why can’t we go 10-0.’ The sky’s the limit for these boys.”
While an undefeated season is out of the question after an earlier loss to defending state champion Scottsdale Saguaro, Tempe (4-1) is at least showing opponents it was a mistake to schedule it for homecoming.
Washington (2-3) controlled possession of the ball throughout the first half, but Tempe used the quick-strike passing game of Emanuel Gant to dominate the scoreboard.
Emanuel GantGant threw four touchdown passes in the first half and five overall — to turn a close 7-6 game into a rout. After only holding the ball for just a little over two minutes through the first quarter and a half, Gant led Tempe to four straight scoring drives, including a 90-yard drive midway through the second quarter that gave Tempe a 21-6 lead.
Gant finished with 403 passing yards, and his 35-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Wiatr to start the third quarter put the game out of reach at 42-6.
“I just had to get it to the receivers,” Gant said. “My job is to just throw the ball.”
Washington had chances to keep it close in the first half but failed to score on three trips deep in Tempe territory.

Published at azcentral.com • Sept. 22, 2012

high schools

McClintock fixes culture in hopes of lifting team

by Jason Stone

It’s almost hard to remember when Tempe McClintock was one of the top football powers in Arizona.
The late 1970s and 1980s are known as the “Powerhouse Years” at the school, and coach Matt Lewis has heard about them non-stop from longtime fans since he arrived on campus two years ago.
“So much in high-school athletics has changed,” Lewis said. “We have saturated our high-school athletics (with too many schools) in Arizona. … We don’t live in the days when McClintock is a power.”
But that doesn’t mean Lewis thinks McClintock’s winning days are over. In fact, the former Scottsdale Saguaro offensive coordinator, who helped Saguaro win three state championships, is hoping McClintock can get back to the top thanks to a handful of changes he has brought to the program.
For starters, Lewis led a drive to pour $40,000 into the school’s weight room, which will increase workout stations to 12, from four. The school has also hired a college-level strength coach to implement a year-round lifting program. And in an effort to improve safety, all players received new helmets and shoulder pads before practices began.
ImageA year ago, Lewis began tough, demanding practices that alienated some of the older players.
“It was culture shock for some of them,” Lewis said. “What it takes to be involved in our program is not for the faint of heart.”
The players who have returned are now used to Lewis’ style, and the coach said a six- or seven-win season would be great progress for a team that has not had a winning season since 2006 and only three wins last year.
Running back Sammy Jones (617 rushing yards, eight touchdowns in 2011) is one of the key returners. Jones didn’t even start until halfway through last season when Lewis noticed him dominating on the varsity scout team during practice, and now the coach expects Jones to have a breakout year.
Paving the way for Jones is junior right tackle Amir Andelija, a rising star who started every game his sophomore year. Lewis said Andelija is a legitimate big-time college prospect who should be heavily recruited by year’s end.
McClintock returns six starters on each side of the ball, including its starting quarterback in Xavier Gomez, and two talented defensive players in linebacker Jorge Valles and nose guard Joe Sanford.

Published at azcentral.com • Aug. 14, 2012

high schools

Talent-laden Marcos de Niza hopes to win it all

by Jason Stone

Marcos de Niza has been knocking on the door of state immortality in football for four years.
But with six top-level college-bound players on its roster, Marcos hopes this is the year the school finally goes all the way.
The last four seasons have seen playoff finishes of at least the quarterfinals each year, including one shot in the state championship game in 2009. The last two seasons, however, ended with crushing one-score losses in the quarterfinals, leaving the team hungrier than ever.
Coach Roy Lopez has built a consistent winner in the East Valley, and the thinks this team has a chance to win it all in Division II after recent near-misses.
“We’ve worked our tails off to get to this point,” said Lopez, who has lead his team to a 51-12 record over the last five seasons.
The talent on this year’s roster is staggering.
Marcos de Niza’s Priest Willis (on right)
Wide receiver Paul Elvira and running back Mauriece Lee have already committed to play at the University of Arizona. The 5-foot-6 Lee carried the ball only 83 times last year, but Marcos de Niza simply had too many other options.
The 5-foot-11 Elvira plays slot and is a possession-type receiver, mostly known for his great hands. He is coming off a junior year when he made 48 catches, taking 12 of those in for scores.
Not to be outdone, Marcos has another big-time future college player in Priest Willis, a 6-2, 200-pound cornerback. Willis has yet to commit to a college but is making his first official visit next week to LSU. He has at least 40 others, including ASU and Notre Dame, begging for his services.
Phoenix South Mountain transfer Derek Craig is another big piece to the puzzle on the defense, which allowed fewer than 10 points in eight games last year. The hard-working 6-foot, 220-pound linebacker is quick and a great tackler. He will be making his first college visit to Army.
Offensive lineman Richard Becerra has a 4.6 GPA and is drawing serious interest from University of San Diego. And ASU is showing interest in cornerback Josh Kirkwood, who had an impressive showing in camps over the summer.
The big question is the replacement for quarterback Tommy Thornton, who amassed 3,000-plus yards of offense. The battle is between senior Andrew Molina and speedy junior Josh Eckley.

Published at azcentral.com • Aug. 9, 2012

high schools

Tempe High football puts quarrels in the past

by Jason Stone

Tempe High has won just a single game the past two seasons. So the last thing the team needed was players arguing with each other after school let out.
“We faced quite a bit of adversity over the summer,” coach Brian Walker said. “We had kids disagreeing with each other. You know, the typical locker-room beef.”
But Walker said a tough time in his own personal life has helped lead his players to become closer together.
Tempe High coach Brian Walker
Tempe High coach Brian Walker
A former in-law of Walker’s is battling an undisclosed illness, which has taken up much of the coach’s time when he is away from the football field.
Walker said players have rallied around him, and it made the team finally feel like a family.
“We’ve been stressing this whole off-season up to now the whole family aspect and getting on the same page,” Walker said. “These kids actually trust each other now.”
That’s great news for long-suffering Tempe fans, who haven’t seen the glory days in awhile. Tempe hasn’t had a winning season since 2004 and was outscored by nearly 300 points during last year’s 1-9 season.
Walker said Tempe will be markedly improved in 2012, mostly because for the first time in his three years there the team is experienced and deep.
Leading the way is senior defensive tackle Devonte Gray (6-2, 265), a player Walker thinks is about to have a breakout year.
Another key player to watch is offensive guard Greg Mills, who will be starting his third year and is drawing big college interest for his academics as well. Oregon State and Ivy League schools Princeton, Harvard and Yale are reportedly eyeing the senior.
Of course, how Tempe fares could rest on the development of sophomore quarterback Emanuel Gant.
The 6-2, 200-pounder started every game as a freshman, and Walker said Gant is ready to have a big year. Gant threw for 1,011 yards last year.
“He’s got a pretty strong arm, and he has been doing a great job of reading defenses (during summer camp),” Walker said.
Overall, Tempe returns about two-thirds of its team from last year.
“We were struggling playing kids earlier than a lot of other teams have to play them,” Walker said. “We’ve actually got quite a few kids with experience this year.”

Published at azcentral.com • Aug. 6, 2012