Friday Fives – in concert edition

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, or over-think this.  Just whatever pops in to mind.

20141017_095812Best concert

Gosh, I have been to so many concerts. Hundreds. See those ticket stubs in there?  That is just the last ten years, after I had effectively stopped going to concerts.  Best Concert? In the spirit of not over-thinking it (per our instructions), it just may have been Pearl Jam last night in Denver. I have seen the band a lot. Over ten times, I would say. Last night’s show was unique and amazing. And long. Almost four hours. I wrote that up this morning, though, if you are interested.

Worst concert

I can’t think of any overtly bad shows. Ok, there were some that were a little disappointing. I saw Smashing Pumpkins three different times on the Siamese Dream tour. Each and every one of those shows was stopped early because Billy lost his shit at something stupid. However, the band was absolutely at the height of their powers then. So, even a shortened Pumpkins set was still more beautiful and powerful and intense than every other rock band playing a full set.  At that time, in that era, on that tour, Smashing Pumpkins*** were the greatest rock band in America.  This was a band at the height of their powers > like Guns and Roses ‘Appetite for Destruction’ era.  Zeppelin in ’77, the Destroyer bootleg era Chili Peppers*** on the ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magic’ tour.  Beastie Boys*** on ‘Ill Communication’.  Nirvana*** on Nevermind tour.  Pearl Jam*** on the Ten Tour.  Police*** on ‘Synchronicity’.  Prince in the ‘Purple Rain’ era.

Billy Corgan:  he will cut you

These are bands that were in top form, taking over the Earth.  It never lasts long, but if you can catch a band in this moment, you should.

There was another show I was disappointed at, but not the band’s fault at all. Back at Lolla 2 (1992) Pearl Jam had been added to the bill last minute. They were just coming up, and getting bigger every day. Because they were a late add, they had a shitty time slot. They went on at 2 pm. PLUS, it was a school/work day. So, about half the audience wouldn’t show up until about 7 pm, after work, time to catch the headliners. PLUS – it was Phoenix in the summer. So, it was 118 degrees out… as it is in summer in Phx.

At this point in time, I was already a rabid Pearl Jam fan. This was my third time seeing them, and they were still just out whoring for their very first album. I saw them three times in Phoenix in one year.  Can you imagine how many shows they must have played that year?  Editors note:  I counted them up.  They played 71 shows in one year. So, there was virtually no one there to see them. It was early and it was hot as hell. There was no shade at this venue, so most folks found a shaded beer garden and holed up there for a few hours. Sadly, those folks missed an amazing show. Pearl Jam ALWAYS puts on a killer and passionate show.

Most overrated live band

Poison. Actually, I don’t know how they are ‘rated’ live. But, I do enjoy their music. I don’t actually have any albums, but I know the music. Many, many years ago I had the cassette ‘Look what the cat dragged in’.  Look at this cover.  They were seriously hot, beautiful women. Their show was flat. It felt like they were just going through the motions. I fully get how that happens. After 4 or 500 hundred live shows, I imagine it gets tedious. The good bands, though, never let it show.

Oh, and Pink Floyd. That is correct, I have not only seen Pink Floyd, but they sucked. Even kookier – I can tell you that every other person there will tell you it was the greatest show in history. Why the discrepancy? Because most people are stooges. Couple that with the fact that I seriously am an expert in live concerts. I have actually seen more national touring acts than all of your friends put together.

At this point (early 90’s, Division Bell tour) the band was basically the David Gilmour show. That isn’t a necessarily a bad thing. The band played only expected songs. The setlist was boring and predictable. On top of that, the versions played were too good. There was no character or intimate moments. It literally sounded like the band put on a greatest hits CD and stood there. I understand that saying Pink Floyd is wildly over-rated sounds like a hipster douche. However, they are wildly overrated. I very much enjoy their music. However, about 60% of it lost its appeal after I stopped doing drugs. In an unrelated side note, here is my favorite Pink Floyd song, performed awesomely by David Gilmour. This is a beautiful and unique performance of a very deep cut… the kind of moments I live for… and the kind of moments that were not present that evening in Tempe.  I could tell you the name, but it’s so absurd you wouldn’t believe me.  Put some headphones on and dig it!

If you ever get me cornered, ask me to tell you about the drive home. In a blizzard. On drugs. In a strange car.   With a busted window. With 3 guys tripping balls. Oh, I guess I just told you the story. Well, never mind.

I love to play this song camping. It’s tough for the others. I tell them I am going to play some Floyd. Then, I play that song, an Fearless. People get quite disappointed. Sorry, but Wish you were Here gets boring after playing it for 30 years.

Most underrated live band

Again, I am going to mention a couple here. The first is Barenaked Ladies. I haven’t seen them since Steven Page left, so I can’t vouch for their shows now. However, this band is the most fun band live… consistently. I went in to the first show (tour supporting Rock Spectacle, and excellent live collection) just being a casual fan. Maybe even the tickets were free. I can’t remember laughing so hard or feeling so engaged as I did that night. Once that happened, I went to see them every chance I got. In Winterpark the show became rather famous among hardcore fans as the ‘pipe guy’ show.

It’s a great story, but one you need to hear in person. I have met hardcore BNL fans, who have never been to Colorado. I tell them “I was at the ‘pipe guy’ show and they gush every time. Ever been to a rock show at a ski resort? It is super cool. They set up a stage at the bottom of the hill/run. Then, the people just fill up the hill. Everyone has a great site line, because you are halfway up a mountain. On top of that, you are in the woods. It is just magical.

Oh, the other is James Taylor.  As you can guess, I have seen him a ton, too.  Over ten times.  Now, you imagine a James Taylor show is relaxed white people listening to very pretty songs.  It is.  But, it is SO much more.  First off, his voice is still crystal clear.  It sounds as good or better than it did in 1972, when Fire and Rain first came out.  Next, he is a super good guitar player.  Then, my favorite part; he is incredibly funny.  He is as engaging and fun as BNL.  There is no concert I laugh at more than a James Taylor show.  He gets is self image.  He is keenly aware that is a punchline of all that is white and boring in music.  He plays off that. Here is my favorite song of his, Copperline.

Best concert album

Simon and Garfunkel – Live in Central Park. There is no further discussion. There is top five list. Just that concert, far and away above the others.  I defy you to watch this and not cry.

 

*** I was at these shows

Friday Fives – more music edition

  1. What album is the first you can remember purchasing yourself

easy, this one   It not only had ALL the hits, but that is very cool album cover.  It was a $59, which to me is cheap on he big internet gigs.er of

  1. What concert stands out in your mind as the best you’ve ever seen?

Well, it isn’t what you would think.  See, I have seen everyone live.  I am sure I have told you that, but it’s pertinent.  I have seen folks that simply don’t tour.  Van Morrison, Page & Plant, Tom Waits, Don McClean, Moby, Richie Havens, Jethro Tull, Nirvana, Timothy Leary & G Gordon Liddy, the Police… it goes on and on.  Now, every dip you know will tell you that Pink Floyd was the best show they ever saw.  Of course, I saw them too.  It was boring as well.  Just David Gilmour playing the obvious hits pitch perfect.  BORING.

One of the best shows I saw was recently, within the last year.  It was in a horrible downpour.  The entire power grid went out for hours.  No music, no lights, nothing.  The band could have, and should have, left.  They didn’t, though.  The singer came out by himself and sat at the edge of the stage in the rain and darkness.  He sat there with an acoustic guitar and did a sing along in the dark of ALL his hits.  We all (20,000) sang along.

That band was touring on 3 new albums, along with a double album of broadway hits.  That is what they played with the power.  When it went dark, Billy Joe came out and did ‘time of your life, when sept ends, when I come around, basketcase… etc”.  All great hits from 20 years ago.  He knew we paid and he wasn’t leaving until we got some kind of concert.  That is a g*damn class act.

  1. What concert stands out in your mind as the worst you’ve ever seen?

Probably Jethro Tull about 25 years ago.  It kinda wasn’t their fault.  First off, the singers live voice is shot.  it’s really bad, and has been for almost 30 years.  He just can’t sing.  So, there was that disappointment.  Then, apparently, he got sick.  So, he played half a show and they left.  no refunds, no apologies.  No thanks! ******

  1. If you could create your dream band, what musicians would you choose? (they can be live or dead, it’s a dream band)

super easy.  Original Guns line up in their day, sometime during or just after Lies and Appetite.  Tried to see them in Phx back then but Axl bailed on four separate concerts day of.  Locked himself in his hotel room and refused to come out and play.  I don’t think they ever made it onstage in Phx, AZ for about five years.  We called them Guns and Noshows.

Axl was SO known for this that when Guns played with Metallica a few years later, promoter Barry Fey was wise to Axl’s bs.  So, when Axl tried to sneak out of Red Rocks that night and ditch their set… Barry Fey pulled a gunn on him and ordered him back on stage.  During that same tour, Axl pulled the same crap in several other cities and called major deadly riots.   See, when you ditch a club with 300 people… no biggie.  Axl did this to stadiums with 25,000 people… a lot.  Not just those venue, but some of those cities were destroyed because of Axl.  Remember, at Woodstock they planned for 5,0000 people.  That is the food and porta potties they had the resources and electricity.  500,000 showed up.  No food, no bathrooms, horrible rainly weather the whole time, dangerous and poisonous acid going aound.  It literally became a Federal emergency.  Everyone lived, and had the time of their lives.  Know now?  No axl

He also, as you may know, still show up to every show at least 3 hours late.  So, you go to see Guns.  It’s a weeknight, mind you.  The opening band plays 8 to 9 pm.  Headliner comes on and 10 pm.  the new Guns won’t come out until at least 1 am .  So, maybe you will get home at 4 am… on your school night.

the worst part is I still LOVE Axl’s early voice, and I regard him as one of the great rock stars of all time.  Appetite for Destruction is the best rock album ever.  Problem is, Axl is the biggest dick in all of rock.  He fired his entire band (the guys who wrote the songs, mind you.  He is a singer, he doesn’t write) and then if he does show up it is 3 to 4 hours late.

 

**** to be fair to Jethro Tull, they have made one of the coolest moments in rock.  So, they get a pass.  In the 70s they were playing Red Rocks.  The show got WAY over sold.  People broke in, and it became a riot.  Helicopters descended on Red Rocks and dropped tear gas.  So, did Jethro Tull run for their lives?  No.  Ian Anderson stayed out there on stage during all of this.  He let everyone know what was happening, and why.  he also promised as soon as they safely cleared some gate crashers out and got rid of the helicopters that they would stay and play a full show.  So, my experience isn’t indicative of them.

The story, one of the most famous in all of rock history, is told pretty well here.  It’s a good and quick read.

**** ppsss > another band I failed to mention both this week and last week as an AMAZING live band.  I swear you won’t believe me unless you have seen them, but I swear it’s true.  This band was better than Page and Plant.  Better than BB King.  Hell, these guys were better than all of them – the Canadian pop band Barenaked Ladies.  Fact!

rock re-union – it will happen

Long ago, I posited that every band would get back together, if they are alive.  Long ago.  I wrote that, specifically, about Pink Floyd.  Since then, the most acrimonious of break ups have re-united.  Pink Floyd got back together, so did Zeppelin.  Van Halen got back with Roth.

So, who is left?  Well, Oasis, but that is easy.  They are attention whores, and will be back together soon.  Tougher?  Stephen Page and Barenaked Ladies.  Will they?  Yes, without question.  Why?  Well, the same reasons all other bands get back together.  Both are not as good without the other.  Both bands are having less exposure, and selling less tickets.  This is common.  Ask Ratt, Motley, Maiden, or Anthrax… who all fired their lead singers… and then had to take them back.

Tougher level of degree > this one is, to me, the holy grail of potential reunions.  not Pink Floyd, or Led Zeppelin.  No.  Guns and Roses.  Will they get back together?  I think they have to.  None of them are doing anything near what they were doing as a band.  I imagine they all became intolerable… we certainly know that Axl did.  However, now they are older (Axl just turned 50) so I assume they have melllowed  a bit.  Plus, there is literally billions of dollars on the table here.  I can’t imagine Axl is rich anymore.  He took 15 years to release ‘Chinese Democracy’, and he refused to do press or tours for it.  So, that is 15 years he wasn’t making any money.  Now, he is gigging again, but not making much.  The new Guns shows aren’t selling out… yet their costs remain fixed (roadies, union stuff, venue rental, transpo, security etc).  These costs are the same if you sell 1 ticket, or 18,000 (average amount of seats in venues they are playing, NBA arenas).

Plus, each smart local promoter has put fines in place if Axl goes on late.  Axl goes on late every show.  Generally, the new Guns and Roses do not go on until after midnight, and then play three hours.  So, let’s say it’s a work night (odds are, it is)… the concert is over until 3 am, you get home at 4 am.  The opening band, see, is over by 9 pm.  So, it’s 9 pm and beer sales have just stopped. You now have a 3 hour wait to see if they will show.

So… is there any band where the principles are alive that will not get back together in some fashion?  No.

your thoughts?

Friday Fives

Simple Yes/No questions.  Yes/No as answers will never do. Instead, give the real answer with a few revealing details. – Roy

1. Is she going to the dance?

No.  She says she has other plans, but I think it is obvious she didn’t really want to go with me.  I was kind of butt hurt for years.  I mean, I missed my senior prom.  What does that do for your self esteem?  It makes you a musician, and that is just sad.  In retrospect, I think she didn’t want to go because she was possibly a lesbian.  I mean, she had short hair and played soccer and never had a boyfriend.  Could it be?  Or, is this just a defense mechanism/denial I have built up?

2. Are they flying home?

No, they are driving.  They always drive.  It frees up schedules, and takes into account the dogs.  Plus, they don’t have to rent a car or depend on relatives etc.  I think the main reason is they take their dogs everywhere.

3. Are you coming to the party?

The pants party? You bet your ass I am!

4. Is this free?

It sure is.

5. Do you like apple?

These apples are delicious.