Pearl Jam home shows – a review

As far as Pearl Jam shows go… this was a meh.  We shall get to that at great length.

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First, the trip.  It was a special trip by the time I hit the Denver airport going to Seattle  I saw a lot of ‘Jammers’. I don’t think us Pearl Jam fans have a cool name like ‘Deadheads’, so we will go with ‘Jammers’.  Even getting on the parking lot bus shuttle in Denver I started seeing Pearl Jam shirts. It looked like our pilot did, too. Our flight was a direct flight from Denver to Seattle, the day in-between the 2 sold out ‘Home Shows’.  As I sit down next to my future ex wife (that is a joke about how pretty the stranger in the seat next to me… NOT a joke about leaving my current wife.)  I wrote here about that, too.  the pilot says we have a lot of Pearl Jam fans on board, huh? We all yell in approval  Note, we are still just in Denver. The pilot asks us to do something fun. He said ‘everyone on the plan tonight to go see Pearl Jam turn on you call buttons. The plane lit up, and we looked around proud. It was like an airline version of holding up lighters for a concert ballad.  I had never experienced something like that, so it was super cool. SouthWest just rocks.

Now we land in Seattle and the place is dead.  It was midnight on a Thursday. As I came down the stairs into the main terminal, these awesome huge banners greeted us.

This was SO cool.  I haven’t been embraced like this as a rock fan since I was seeing Jerry and the boys 30 years ago in Vegas. Back then, as drove into Vegas from Px we saw billboards that read ‘Welcome Deadheads’.   As a BIG fan of rock shows live, I am not used to being embraced. I remember seeing the Butthole Surfers back in high school. They were playing some dive bar in a stabby part of town. Something happened with the band and the club and the show was canceled while loading in.  What Gibby did right then made me a fan for life of the Butthole Surfers. Gibby (their singer) came out to the crowd in line and said ‘hey all. We are here and have our gear and the cleaners next door are offering us their outlets. So, we are going to do a whole concert outside in the alley.   And they did it. Point being, I am still not used to society embracing rock fans.

See that pic?  I think I know not only what song he is singing… but what syllable he is singing.  I follow them that close.   22 years in the Ten Club, baby… and seat selection goes by tenure.  So, we always get really good seats to see the band.

If you have never seen Pearl Jam before these shows, you can be forgiven for thinking it was amazing.   They are amazing live. It’s their bread and butter, and always been. In fact, they have pioneered a great deal of live recording and distribution technology.  Also, no two shows are ever the same. The setlists are done only an hour before the show. Like the Grateful Dead, it gives incentive to see every show on the tour if you could.  If I could, I would.

This wasn’t their best, though.  This was far from it. Its not age, that is for sure.  Best show I have seen them from was just a few years ago.  This show was for people to meet the band, that remember them from the 90s.  The sets were big on the hits, I guess.  Funny thing is, not sure if they really have any ‘hits’ in the radio marketing sense.  technically, their only ‘hit’ was a cover.  This one. The setlists left like they were written by a fan who saw them once 25 years ago.  The show was just… different. It was safe. There was no rambling from Ed. and Ed rambles… a LOT. Last time I saw them, they played almost 4 hours, and it felt like a third of that was a drunk Ed pontificating on everything.  In fact, not even sure I saw a bottle of wine. Normally, Ed walks out to EVERY show with a notebook and a bottle of wine.

Another odd observation.  they had set up merch tents outside the show all week.  Cool.   Inside the concert were merch lines.  I wanted to get a shirt, but the lines were LONG.  I asked a dude in line how his wait was and he said 75 minutes so far, not much movement.  That isn’t even the interesting thing.  As I made my way often back the concourse… these folks were STILL there.  Same folks.  I am confident that about a thousand folks (stadium had 53K, I think) people that night never saw show.  Instead, they were inside the concourse not moving.  People flew all the way to Seattle not to see Pearl Jam… but to buy a shirt to show you were at the show.  I have to admit, I never did get a shirt, and I am a bit sad about that.  I saw a cool thing they did with the shirts, too.  One of them had Wednesday’s setlist silk screened on the back, that was super cool!  It is now Friday, two days later.  There were two shows, Weds & Friday.  We were only at the 2nd show.

It was a great shirt, It wasn’t worth missing the show, though.  I fear some of those folks are still in line.

Another thing I didn’t love… they kept Mike McCready in check.  Mike is one of the most explosive rock guitarists out there. Years ago, in introducing the band, Eddie called him a mad and dangerous science experiment.  In the early years, you heard him… too much. His style and talent simply dominate. As of the last decade or so, he is more restrained on record. I call it ‘waking up McCready’.  He stays out of the way for most songs… until about half way through. By the end of most songs, he just goes full fucking McCready and shreds our faces off. I didn’t see any of that at the Friday show.  There were two shows; a Wednesday, and a Friday.

Here is another thing I didn’t love… the jumbotrons.  I know its a football endzone thing, but it is what i call the big screens every concert has.  Last time I saw them, the filming was stunning. It was so well done, and so beautiful, I assumed the show was being taped to release.  These screens are important, as most of us are too far away to see things like facial expressions. At the home shows, there was virtually no close ups.  Most of the shots were just wide shots of the whole stage. I don’t need that… that is what I am seeing already.

Ed is obviously VERY political, and will not hesitate to ramble on about any issue.  He was careful to be on his best behavior for this show. I don’t want a restrained Ed, and that is what we got.  I really don’t want an restrained Mike McCready, but that is what we got. I am looking at the setlists, and i am jelly of the Wednesday show.  They got a much better setlist. Here is the Friday night setlist, and here is the Wednesday one.  I see there are plenty of obscure songs, but few of quality.

I should note, the two opening songs rocked my face off.  They opened with a perfect sounding Oceans, and then a super duper rare ‘Footsteps’.  I also got to hear ‘In Hiding’, which is wonderful and rare.  You can’t tell from the video, but that Oceans just sounded studio good, if not better.  It gave me chills.   How the hell do these guys keep getting better?   There are pretty much NO bands better than they were 30 years ago… except maybe Iron Maiden.

And the band can’t be blamed for this one… but Chris Cornell would should have been there.   I just kept thinking about that all weekend, and I sure everyone else did, too.  Kim Thayil came out and played a lot, he is Soundgarden’s guitarist. Also, remember that Pearl Jam and Soundgarden share the same drummer… and have for about 15 years.  Matt Cameron was in two full time working and touring rock bands at the same time. His absence was felt heavily, but understandably never mentioned. To me, the first shot of love to Chris was playing ‘Footsteps’.  See, Footsteps is an odd bird. Temple of the Dog (which is Pearl Jam, but with Chris Cornell singing) did the exact same song… but with different lyrics. The Temple of the Dog version is called ‘Times of Trouble’. Makes some sense, and Mike McCready wrote it… and he is in both bands.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the show.  It is always always always a great show.  However, I don’t think this show would crack my top ten Pearl Jam shows.  You see bumper stickers like ‘a bad day fishing is better than a good day at the office’.  That is how I feel about just an ok Pearl Jam show… it is still the best thing on Earth.

In closing, I must tell you about the Aussie next to us, and the most wonderful husband ever.  The gal next to us was from Australia, and flew all the way to the states just to see this concert.  I am a super fan, I knew every single song, and I almost always do. Not telling you that to impress you.  I am telling you that Australia girl was a super fan, and knew every word to every song. What makes that special, and what makes her husband the greatest husband ever?  Dude did not know a single song. I watched him… he didn’t even know the words to ‘Betterman’. He is the greatest husband because he literally crossed the Earth so his wifey could see her favorite band.  This poor guy had ZERO interest in the band.

I love my wife, and she means the world to me.  But, would I fly 20 hours at a cost of thousands to see a band I hate?  No sir. I would want her to go, but I’ll stay home and watch rugby and Paul Hogan movies.

*** one last thing – remember hearing about that guy who stole a commuter plane and crashed it outside of Seattle?  That was all happening during the show.  Pretty sure I not only saw that plane, I took a photo of it!  Now, I had NO idea about the whole story until the next day.  During the show, though, I pointed a plane out to the wifey that was flying really low over the stadium.  I thought it was cool, it was so cool I took a photo of it.  I think that was the plane.  The initial concern from the authorities was he might be heading for the Pearl Jam show.  it would be a perfect act of terrorism… 53K all outside smooshed together, and not even a roof to stop you.

Lemme tell you something else about that flight.  the Govt says we never shot it down, and he just crashed.  I got a buddy who I will not name who lives in one of those islands by where that happened.  He saw this, and said it was shot down.  Feel free not to believe me.  Why the hell am I putting this in writing?  Because I trust you, and I speak truth to power.

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Friday Fives – what’s the real value?

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What do you feel like you’re missing out on?

Friendships.  I miss my friends.  I miss all my Extel® crew***.  This is a function of two things… I am working a lot, and work odd hours.  The other thing, we moved out to the country.   Where once everything was 20 minutes away, it is now an hour away.  I love my life, and I love living out in ‘the sticks’, but it has taken a toll on friendships.  These days, we just hang out with our neighbors.  That being said, I fucking love our neighbors.  The people who live around us are such a cool community and we have all gotten really close.

What are some interesting life hacks for saving money?

When you have amazon prime, and free 2 day shipping, and a credit card already stored in the system… stay AWAY from amazon.com – nothing good comes from that level of convenience.  Almost anything you want, push a button, it will be here tomorrow.  No Bueno.

Here is another one – Spotify.  I used to buy CDs.  Sometimes, I might only listen to it once.  I don’t need to do that anymore.  With spotify, every album is right there.  I know I am late to the party, I just got it very recently… but I wish I bought it 10 years ago.  Wait, how long has it been around?  I used to be bullish on Pandora, and it is still nice for variety, but it can’t give you the music you want.  Seriously.  I have a Pearl Jam station… it plays everyone BUT Pearl Jam.  Apparently, due to licensing stuff, they can only play one song an hour from any one band.  Instead, they give you bands like Pearl Jam.  “you love Pearl Jam, so you will love Soundgarden.  Here is a TON of fucking Soundgarden, you fat fuck!”   the thing is… they are right, I do love Soundgarden.  Guess what, though, I don’t want to hear Soundgarden… I have a fucking Soundgarden station (that only plays Pearl Jam, mind you.)  I don’t want to hear bands LIKE Pearl Jam.  I want to hear Pearl Jam!

Phew… wow, that got a little ugly.  Guess I have been sitting on those feelings for about 5 years now.

What’s the worst purchase you ever made?

Nothing comes to mind.  I had a couple big Ford diesel trucks that were pretty much constant electrical problems.  It’s a shame, they were cool and fun trucks… but constant problems.  In fact… that reminds me of a great story that needs to be a commercial.  After 2 troublesome Fords, I bought a Toyota truck and everything was fine.  Back when I had the Fords (had 2 back to back) I was at the auto parts store every single weekend.  I knew the guys by name, and they knew me.  Once I got the Toyota, I never needed anything.  Seriously… everything just worked.  So, I went in one weekend after being gone for like a year.  They said “Mr Lang, where have you been?”  I said “Sorry guys, I got a Toyota.”  They looked at each other and shrugged.   THAT should be a Toyota commercial.

***That was my real name up there.  Someone please edit that out.

You are the editor, idiot.  Just go delete it – ed

What’s the best purchase you ever made?

Our little 5 acre piece of paradise.  We got horses and dogs and cats and fish and a view of the whole Rocky Mountain Range and a hot tub on the back porch to watch it all.   And… the coolest neighbors in the world!  Don’t worry, I am not buttering them up.  Lets be honest, none of them read this.  I think they even get their weather from Rush Limbaugh.  I still love them, though.  In case you think it is a stereotype that people who live on dirt roads are all gun nuts… it is 100% true.  I don’t know a single neighbor who has less than 10 guns.  Except Sally.  Go see Sally, she is a pottery genius, and my wonderful friend.  Here is her site, I built it for her.

What products/services are extremely overpriced but we pay for anyway?

Not me, but everyone else… tv.  The average cable bill is $120 a month after fees.  That is insane.  Here is what we have.  A $30 HD antenna from Costco.  Gets me all the local channels and then some for free.  In HD.  It’s amazing… no thicker than a piece of paper.  And we have Netflix, at about $10 a month.  That means my tv bill in one year is what cable/satellite people pay per month.  Also, in the bedrooms where the antenna doesn’t work (has to be line of site, and we live on top of a hill luckily) I bought Roku boxes.  That is a one time cost of about $50 each that gets every room Netflix and Hulu and Amazon.  Oh, we have amazon, too.  It’s Amazon prime, for the free shipping… but has a good collection of free tv and movies.  We also have Hulu, but that doesn’t count.  We are using Ashley’s account.  I gave her my Netflix password and she gave us her Hulu.

 

Note to editor – please take Ashley’s name out, or at least change it.

Why?  She doesn’t read this.  Well… maybe she does.  I guess we are about to find out.  😊

 

*** Extel – see what I did there?  We all worked for Nextel, but they are out of business.  We are ex-Nextel employees.  We are ‘Extel® ‘.  I need to patent that shit!

fives of days

it’s not Friday, but I wanted to share some content with you.  Been traveling over the weekend.

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What plans did you have for this summer?

To survive.  Am ready for cool weather, and no visitors for a bit. Heck, i am ready for cold weather.   Wifey and I made it here 21 years in Denver with no A/C. After this June that set all kinds of records, and being someone who is aware of climate change… we finally broke down and bought a portable AC unit.  Excellent investment.

It was a very very busy summer, musically speaking.  A LOT of concerts. See, our families finally figured out we live an hour away from Red Rocks, the greatest rock venue in America.  So, our out of state relatives check the calendar and pick a show to see and come visit us. Which… we LOVE. This meant that in one month this summer, we saw Umphreys McGhee, the Eagles, Jimmy Buffet, Avett Brothers, Dead and Company.  And when that stopped, we flew to Seattle to see the big Pearl Jam ‘Home Show’ spectacular. That one was fun. Not just because we have wonderful and dear friends in Seattle… but the Pearl Jam shows felt like a movement.  This may sound dorky, or old… but rock and roll (and certainly my heroes) were on the fringes.  This is why watching Pearl Jam get into the rock hall of fame was so moving.  So many bands there I loved and followed weren’t really my generation.  Sure, I saw the Allman Brothers over 20 times… but their true time was an era before me.  By the time I got on board in the 90s, they were already touring on nothing but 20 year old hits.  Pearl Jam, though… I watched them come up from day 1.  I felt that when we landed in Seattle and I saw those banners in the airport.  Those banners said “you were right, Lono.  They are awesome.  Sorry we doubted you.”  Of course, there is another side to that which is a little more sad…. so we will stick with the romantic perspective.    

 In flying out of Denver the day before the show, the SouthWest crew noticed how many people had Pearl Jam gear on.  The pilot called us all out on the flight… in Denver, mind you. He said everyone on the plane who was going to see Pearl Jam should turn on their call buttons. The whole plane lit up, like lighters on an encore. It was as if we were on a chartered jet to see Pearl Jam.

When we got to the airport, we were greeted with this

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Have you accomplished them or is it still a work in progress?

Have I accomplished all the summer stuff?  Well, we certainly jammed in a ton of visits and little trips and tons of concerts.  It was not an ambitious summer. Mostly, like everyone… we just worked. It is just work and sleep and rinse and repeat.  This summer was shitty hot, so I am just glad it’s over.  Here is a cool pic of me from this weekend.  In the evenings, when camping, I am usually the entertainment.  We sit around a fire and drink and I play guitar and tell stories for hours.  I an easily play for 4 or 5 hours at the fire.  Just keep feeding me beer and ciggies, and sing along when you can.

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What would make this summer much better for you?

For it to be over, and it is.  It was just HOT. ALWAYS. Every day in June was some kind of record because it was over 95.  This is why I left Phoenix. Granted, these are first world problems. I am SO fucking blessed in my life.  I have a big beautiful ranch and house and wife who loves me and an amazing family on both sides… and I am bitching about how hot my living room is?  Hey… you asked. I didn’t bring it up. I am just answering the questions.   WAIT… can I add this?  Kudos to all of you who do all this and have kids.  We have no kids, and we are very happy that way.  I can’t imagine doing all the stuff we do, and all the work we do, and also raising kids.   Well, actually, if we had kids we wouldn’t have the time or the money to do any of these things.

When did you go back to school from summer break when you were a kid?

It was very clean… the break.  Memorial day to Labor day. Same from kindergarten to high school.  We had no variables in days… because we didn’t have snow days.

Is anyone else as shocked as I am that it’s Labor Day Weekend and most of the summer is nearly over?

No.  It now being a few days past, I feel Fall very much.  Not in the days, but the evenings cool down a lot, and quickly.  We jammed so much stuff in, I am ready to just not do much but watch some football.  Here is another example of what we jammed in… I drove 1500 miles this last weekend. Again, no regrets… but I am tired, mister.  Also, I look at things this way… every day that passes is a day less we have with President Trump.  My lord what a piece of shit that guy is.  Remember how Fonz couldn’t say the word ‘wrong’?  I know I already did that rant… but what does a guy have to do to get impeached these days?  The Russia stuff is very clear and very dark.  He is a horrible narcissist and the world will be better when he is gone.  Sooner, rather than later, would be preferable.

Ok, time for bed.  I love you, and you are doing great!

some good news about the scalping battle

We know about scalping.  We know it’s bad.  We know that it’s just too much trouble and too much cost to go see a nationally touring act.  I won’t talk about why, I did that here.  Ok, will sum up super quick.  90% of concert tickets NEVER go onsale.  AND… they are long gone BEFORE the public onsale happens.  That last 10% is gotten not by fans but by computer programs that resourceful scalpers use.  They can ping Ticketbastard 100 a minute, whereas your slow dialing ass can do it once.

Let’s instead look at if it can be fought, and is anyone doing anything about it.

First… can it be fought?  Yes, but only by sucky and complicated means that are NOT consumer friendly.  To stop scalping, you can

  • Require the ID or credit card of the credit card that bought the ticket. This is essentially making an entire concert will call.  This means where you used to have 5 ticket takers… JUST taking tickets… you could move 20,000 people into an arena.  Now imagine if EVERY one of those tickets has to be verified with an ID.  Imagine standing in line behind 10 drunk women fumbling through their purses looking for their ID as you hear the opening band start up.  In many venues, this IS being done.  In fact, with an AXS show… it is the upside down world.  Instead of going to a show and they take your ticket… you show up with NO ticket… and they print your ticket at the door.
  • Print people’s names on the ticket. No one is doing this, and (seriously) I came up with this idea myself.  I could be done SO goddamn easily.  This way, TM could justify their ‘convenience’ charge.

Either one of these solutions suffers because it means you can’t give away or sell tickets.  Or buy them as a gift for a friend.  Which one do I prefer, knowing everything I know?  Neither.  Shoot the scalpers in the fucking head.  Same with TM, for sanctioning and embracing, and encouraging scalpers with their own scalper site ‘Ticketsnow.com’

What is the alternative?  Sadly, it is simple.  Stop going to concerts.  Stop patronizing scalpers.  Like the drug trade, this is kinda all our fault.  As long as some asshole is willing to pay $4,000 to see Adele… we ALL have to pay that.  Note, if I could afford that… I would pay it.  Adele is bitchin, and likely won’t tour again for a LONG time.  That is not faint praise, the last 4 concerts I went to… 3 of them were Iron Maiden.

Why aren’t the artists and managers and all that fighting for us?   Why would they?  As long as tickets are being sold, they are good.  It is likely better for their bottom line when ALL tickets sell out… even if a venue is only half full during the show.   Some artists are fighting back, though.  Here are their badass and commendable ideas and fights.  What is cool and interesting is every one of these bands took a different tact.  Spoiler alert… none have been effective –

 

So… let’s look at the good news and good dudes/dudettes who are fighting the good fight

Pearl Jam – back in the early 90s, they wanted to keep ticket prices at $10.  Not just the face value… but the total cost at the end of the day after fees and such.  Ticketmaster laughed, and they have a monopoly on the venues due to contracts.  So, PJ filed a DOJ anti trust suit, and then testified in front of fucking Congress.   The balls on those kids.  Even today, 20 years later, no band has taken such extreme measures.  Sadly, the effort fell flat.  There was supposed to be a whole slew of A-listers to show up and support them.  Their record companies and various suits warned the artists not to piss of TM… with the monopoly and all.  So… where folks like Garth Brooks pledged to show up… NO OTHER BANDS showed up.  So, you just had 5 long hair upstarts bitching at ‘the man’.  It was dismissed, sadly.

SO… Pearl Jam said ‘fine, we’ll just sell our own tickets to our own fans… and bypass TM’.   Yeah, that SUPER didn’t work.  TM ended up writing their own legislation that fan clubs can’t have more than 10% of a venues tickets… AND said all fan clubs have to charge at least $15.

Even better?  TM got sued for not even allocating that 10%.  Also, more on that here.


NSync – did I spell that right?  Well, who cares?  You know them as a soulless boy band, and launching pad for Justin Timberlake.  Well, they care, too.  They did a tour during their heyday, and found out that NONE of their floor seats ever went on sale to the public.  It’s not just a dick move.  Knowing what we know now, not even a big deal.  BUT… they also realized they would be playing for, and facing, NOT fans.  It would be suits, and the families of suits, and radio station suits, and super rich people.  They blew a gasket and busted the whole thing wide open and told everyone.  Again, 20 years ago, this was a BALLSY move.  A band like Pearl Jam knew they could keep playing.  NSync, though, was a corporate creation.  For them to stand up to the industry that incubated them was just very cool and strong.


Prince – Prince wanted to play small clubs again.  There were 2 problems with that:  they would make a tenth of the money he could make playing mega arenas.  In fact, let’s stop here and run the numbers.  He played the Ogden theater, a cool little club of 1200.  Let’s say tickets are $100.  His gross, then, is 120K.   Great take for one night’s work, right?  Normally, someone of his status would play the ____ center.  You know, the venue where your basketball and hockey team plays.  Ours is called the Pepsi Center, and it holds 20,000.   Let’s say those tickets are also $100 each.  If he plays this venue, just a few blocks away, he grosses 2 million.

but… Prince wants to play clubs.  How does he do this and make his nut.  What can he do?  He prices the tickets are fair market value.  Those Ogden show tickets were $250 each.  Am I outraged?   No!  I am turned on!  I LOVE what Prince did, and here is why – it was incredibly innovative!  See, Prince could have charged $100.  Thing is, NO fan would get those tickets.  They would get gobbled up by presales and scalpers.  THEN… those scalpers would have charged (and easily got) $250 a ticket.  If people are willing to pay $250 to see Prince in a club (instead of a soulless mega Arena)… shouldn’t that money go to Prince?  Yes it should.  PLUS > at that price point it squeezes out the scalpers.  The scalpers would have to buy each ticket for $250, and sell it for what?  $300?  Not worth their trouble.   Prince is great, because he is one of 2 people in ALL of rock and truly do (or… did) only what they believe in.  The other is Neil Young.

String Cheese Incident – also not amused by the monopoly and mark ups.  Using a loophole where tickets could be bought for face value at the venue… String Cheese went to the venue and bought up ALL the tickets.  Then… sold them to their fans at face value.  Once again, the balls on these guys.  They also fought a couple long and ugly court battles with TM over all their bullshit.  These dudes, like everyone on this list… are heroes!  More on that here, and here, and here.  Just in case it is lost on you what they did, let’s let the band explain themselves.

One Friday afternoon recently, about 50 fans and friends of the band String Cheese Incident took $20,000 in cash to the Greek Theater in Los Angeles to take a small stand against the system — in this case, Ticketmaster.

With money advanced by the band, each person had enough to buy eight tickets at $49.95 apiece for the group’s show in July. Once all tickets were in hand, almost 400 of them, they were carried back to String Cheese headquarters in Colorado and put on sale again through the group’s Web site — for $49.95.

“We’re scalping our own tickets at no service charge,” Mike Luba, one of the group’s managers, explained in an interview last week. “It’s ridiculous.”

Fucking heroes!  Don’t worry, TM sued them, too.  It’s a great story and an interesting read.  Bonus evil TM fun?  Once they finished their total monopoly by merging with Live Nation, TM closed that loophole about the box office.  It is now MORE expensive to drive to the venue and buy tickets there (vs over the phone).  I experienced this personally, and wrote about it here.

Kid Rock – tried something fun and innovative.  He did a shed tour (its’ the half seating and half lawn venue your city has) and he capped the ticket price at $20.   AFTER FEES.  Let me demonstrate how impressive that is.  About 10 years ago, Motley Crue did a shed tour, and tickets were only $5.   Before fees.  After fees?  $25 each.  You may see $25 being a great and fair price to see Motley Crue.  You would be Correct.  Until… you see that 75% of that goes to TM.  $20 of the $25 is all service fees.   So, when Kid Rock caps the very end cost at $25… everyone has to take less.  Kid Rock explained it as “I can afford it, I am rich.  If no one shows up, I can take the loss.”  What kind of loss, you wonder?  He awesomely explained that it costs $100K for him to show up.  Keep in mind, this is cost for salaries of bus drivers and cooks and roadies and hookers.  I know Kid Rock takes a ton of shit for being a Trump flunkie, and he should.  However, it doesn’t mean he isn’t a good dude.  This stunt proved it.

This method of cost control is a very close cousin of what Pearl Jam was trying.  What did Kid Rock do different that he was able to do it, where Pearl Jam could not?  He (Kid Rock) worked with TM, instead of against them.  Every artist has been working against TM for so long (and for good reason)… that no one had tried to work with them.  Oh, and the real short answer of how this business model works?  Kid Rock gets a cut of the beers sales (which he also capped at $5).  Even though his politics are wack, I still very much enjoy ‘Devil without a Cause’.  I feel the same way about Uncle Ted.  Total psycho dickweed, politically… but it’s tough to think of a cooler song than ‘Stranglehold’.  Again, I’ll let Mr Rock (nee Bobby Ritchie) explain himself

This is a model Rock says he has been working on for a long time. “It’s always going to come down to price, but I think [from the fan’s perspective] it’s more the service charges, the fees, getting in there and not knowing what beers will cost, what they’ll hit you for parking,” he says. “Every little thing they nickel and dime you, and it’s not just music, it’s sports, it’s going to the movies. Artists demand so much money, and you have to set ticket prices at [a certain level]. Everyone’s fighting the system, and it’s really been all of our faults. We’re all fortunate to make as much money as we do, and I can surely take a pay cut and help out in these hard times.”

See, this is what is great about Kid Rock, and why I can’t hate him.  Plenty of folks talk about protecting the vaunted ‘blue collar worker and poor suffering family’… but Kid Rock actually did something.  Name someone else who has?   Trick question, the answer is no one.

Adele – wanted fans to see her show.  And only fans.  Here is the unique approach she did – no ‘holdback’ tickets.  This means she put every single ticket on sale for every show.  No tickets were held back for family, friends, promoters, fan clubs, record companies, radio stations.  How is this a big deal?  I mention in the article I referenced at the very top that 90% of tickets now to go ‘holdbacks’.  What that means, specifically, is this:  Billy Bob is going to play Red Rocks this summer.  It holds 10,000 seats.  Tickets go on sale Dec 15th, 2017.   When that onsale happens, and you log in to get tickets, 90% are already gone.  Only 1,000 tickets will actually go onsale.  When that happens, you won’t even see those 1,000 tickets.  Computer programs used by resourceful scalpers get those tickets.

Sadly, industry folks say Adele’s most excellent intentions had little effect.  Her tickets still showed up instantly on the ‘secondary’ legal scalper sites.  It’s ok, though, at least she tried something no one else has.  Fucking Hero! If you don’t like Adele, as a person, you don’t like puppies!  She drinks and curses and belches and laughs… all in concert.  She is good people!

Eric Church – several artists have canceled tickets they knew were scalped.  Most famously, the Boss.  Springsteen has canceled blocks of tickets, and encouraged use of paperless tickets (where you have to show your ID at the door).  Church, though, went nuts. He just canceled 25K tickets for his tour.  Here is why that is ‘balls’;   those 25K tickets were guaranteed money that he had in pocket.  Assuming tickets were $85 each, he walked away from 2.1 million dollars.  I gotta be honest, I have no idea who he is, and I don’t dig new county that isn’t Chris Stapleton.  But, whoever the hell this guy is… he is a hero.

That is all for now, I shall keep you posted on the good fight as it occurs.  If you know of other artists taking similar initiatives, please drop me a line.  My email is ‘I am correct at gmail dot com’ (all smooshed together, no spaces)

Friday Fives – He’s a Juicy Fire!

A mondegreen is a mis-heard lyric. What is your favorite misheard lyric? 

A boy, I got a good one. I recently bought the remastered box set of U2’s ‘Unforgettable Fire’. It is such an amazing album, and is mixed so poorly, I had great hopes. In the HUGE hit song ‘Pride in the name of Love’, in the first verse there is a sentence that goes ‘one comes here to justify’. I never knew that lyric until I got the box set last week. In the original CD, they only print the lyrics to one song, which is the first song.

Now, I was always pretty sure what I was hearing was incorrect, but listen to the song. Right now. Here, I will embed if for you. Now, go to that first verse. The exact moment is 57 seconds. I always heard ‘one man come, he a juicy fire’. Go ahead, sing that with that line. He a juicy fire. That isn’t the heart of this story.  Not anymore. Don’t worry, this story gets WAY worse.

As with all things, I was discussing this with my pal Jamie. I asked him what he heard. This is no lie. He said “I always thought he was saying ‘one man come, he set Jews on fire…’. Wow. That is brilliant, and fucked up. Obviously, it’s not brilliant to set jews on fire. It’s brilliant that that is what Jamie thought all these years, and gleefully sang along. Kinda puts my ‘juicy fire’ into perspective, doesn’t it?

A spoonerism is a deliberate (or accidental ) error in speech or words. Do you have a favorite? 

I found this to be too kitschy to interest me. So, how about another mondegreen. In ‘Every Breath you Take’ from the Police. There is a line that says ‘how my poor heart aches’. Makes sense. That is not what I heard, and I listened to this song thousands of times. This album was incredibly influential for me. Really, it changed my life more than any other album. I was such a fan of this record that my brother took me to see the Police live. It was on this tour, Synchronicity. It was their farewell tour, and they were firing on all cylinders. It was incredible. I knew that night that rock and roll was all I ever wanted. It’s what I wanted to do, to think about, to talk about, to be my job, to be my nights and weekends… all from that Police show. I was 10, I think.

FOCUS, man! What I heard was ‘how my pool hall aches’. Go ahead, watch. Its at the 50 second mark. Tell me he is not saying ‘how my pool hall aches’.


A malapropism is an incorrect word in place of another.  Can you remember one used?

This one also does not interest me. It’s strange, I am a word guy. I am super passionate about words. I got a degree in literature, that is how much I love words. Yet, I am not inspired. I think it’s because I need to just get to bed.

So, how about this? The funniest mondegreen of all time comes from Dave Barry. There was a classic great soul song called ‘ain’t no woman like the one I got’ Makes sense. Touching, and sweet. What Dave Barry brings us is this – Ain’t no woman like the one eyed Gott’.

Lastly, no conversation about mondegreens can be complete without this. My favorite band, and someone trying to figure out just exactly what the hell Eddie is singing.  In fact, there is not even an official studio version of this.  The recording we all know was done on the fly at a radio station that Ed and Mike were visiting.  Mike brought an acoustic and they knocked out two songs that day.  Both were largely improvised on the spot.  The other song was Bee Girl.

To be fair, this song never had official lyrics, and I am about 90% confident that he changes the words night to night a bit to fit his mood.

An earworm  is a snippet of catchy tune that gets stuck in your head. Do you have a common one? 

Goodwill Halloween, goodwill Halloween, goodwill halloween

Btw, I… and I alone, have pioneered a way to fix them. It will sound dumb and obvious… but it works. Your mind needs closure when this is happening. To fix the earworm, you need to listen to the song in its entirety. I have had to actually reach over to my phone in the middle of the night and download a song online and listen to it with headphones while wifey is sleeping to get closure. It works.

The Tetris effect occurs when so much time and attention is devoted to an activity it affects other parts of your life.  Do you do this? 

Really? I disagree. For me, the tetris effect is all about organization. It could be packing the back of a moving van with everything you own. Every spot counts. It could be about time management… trying to fit in all the shit you need to fit into your day. My wife is the master of tetris in real life. Need stuff packed? You just sit back, keep your hands and feet away, and watch the art.

Friday Fives – more music because my editor is a lazy bastard

I can say that, right?  I mean… it’s with love.  Plus, it’s about music.  I can hold forth all day long about music… but you poor sucks already know that, don’t you?

Who is the worst band you’ve ever seen live and why?

Flaming Lips at Red Rocks.  They were opening for someone, I don’t remember.  I was initially very excited to see them.  Wayne Coyne is famous for his great live shows.  Red Rocks is also a magical place that has coaxed amazing performances out of mediocre bands… like Radiohead.  The Flaming Lips were horrible.  I finally realized they are built on kitsch and novelty.  They are not good songwriters, they are not good musicians, and Wayne Coyne is not a good singer.  10 or 15 minutes into their set I have to leave. I went up top to drink and look at the amazing view.

See, if you go up top, the sound is horrible… which is best for the Lips.  It means it is also the quietest up there.  Red Rocks doesn’t put speakers anywhere but the base of a stage.  Normally, this would be fine… were you not on the side of the mountain.  If you are not in the first 30 rows, the sound is terrible.  This is especially true when the wind whips around, which it tends to do on the side of a mountain.

but why were they so bad?  The music just wasn’t compelling on any level.  Not catchy, nor thoughtful.  You know those kids songs Charlie Sheen’s character wrote on 2 and a half men?  It was stuff like ‘who cut the cheese?’.  Yeah, that is Flaming Lips catalog.  Anyone who likes Flaming Lips is a hipster douchebag!  Trust me, it takes one to know one.

But… any concert at Red Rocks can’t be that bad, right?  It’s like how they say a bad day fishing is better than the best day at work?  Well, they weren’t at this show.  To close, Will Rogers never met this band.

Who is the best band you’ve seen live, and why?

Oh golly, I have see a LOT of bands, and a LOT of great bands.  It is almost impossible to pick 1.  So, I’ll pick two.  This answer goes out to Cody in Utah, a month late.  Sorry on that, bud.  James Taylor and Barenaked Ladies.

James Taylor I have been seeing since high school, possibly longer.  For one, and maybe this is a given, he sounds perfect… every time.  80s, 90s, 2000s, 2010s… every decade I have seen him he was amazing and crystal clear.  Every show gets the obvious hits.  Here is what people don’t know who haven’t seen him; he is hilarious.  He is a seriously funny and engaging guy.  I have seen comedians live, many of the great ones:  Richard Lewis, Mitch Hedberg, Lewis Black, and Brian Regan.  I have laughed that hard at every single James Taylor show.

Barenaked Ladies have always killed it live.  First time I saw them, it was the ‘Rock Spectacle’ tour, which was a very early greatest hits tour… of sorts.  I wasn’t a big fan, but I Gordon.  The internet wasn’t everywhere yet, so I hadn’t seen clips or read reviews.  After that show, I was amazed.  As everyone knows now, they are amazing live.  Funny and sweet and musical and surprisingly improvisational.

Every show becomes a very unique experience.  It becomes about your city, and current events.  I have seen them 3 or 4 times, and every show was better than the last.  I should have to mention this was all back when Steven Page was with them.  I can tell you every person who has ever seen BNL at any era with Steven Page will tell you it was the best concert they have ever seen.  I agree.

What band has your go to perfect album?

Again, SO many.  How about three?  Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti,  Guns & Roses Appetite for Destruction, and Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream.

What are the best comebacks you know?

The question implies a witty rejoinder, a la ‘the jerk store called’.  In the spirit of the questions leading up to this, I will assume it is a poorly worded question about career comebacks in music.

I have been seeing bands for 30 years now (it starts with the Police in 1983 and Rush in 1985… and keeps going).  One day, ask me about the golden girl I saw at the Rush, and how that kinda changed my life. Hint, it involves boobs and a 13 year old boy. A lot of the acts I have seen were regarded as ‘comebacks’, but never left.  I saw Pearl Jam in 1997, and the critics were calling it their ‘comeback’ tour.  They never went anywhere, never broke up, and never stopped making music.  Same has been said for seeing Page & Plant together, James Taylor, and Paul Simon.  To qualify, we have to count a band who fully broke up before I saw them.  I think these guys broke up a lot.  Heck, they just re-broke up again last fall.  This time, I think it’s for good.  Greg must be in his 70s.

The Allman Brothers.  I first saw them in the late 80s.  They had already been broken up and reunited several times by then.  Over the years, I saw them more than any other band, except maybe the Grateful Dead.  I have seen both bands around 20 times.

When I count the Dead above, I am talking about with Jerry Garcia.  Since his passing, I have seen another 20 shows of their very many offshoot bands.  Also saw Bobby and Jerry solo while Jerry was alive.  Still go see Bobby every year.  Going to see him this summer, too.

The Allmans are a unique class of band that got better with age.  They are also a band that thrives live.  I say the same about Iron Maiden.  They not only get better, they get more popular.  Iron Maiden is amazing, and one of two bands I NEVER miss when they come to town (the other is Pearl Jam).  Sorry, since we are talking about great live bands, I had to get in a plug for Iron Maiden.

The radio is on and you are driving down the road, a song comes on. At what moment did you realize “Damn.. I’m getting old”?

HA… I remember the exact moment.  Wifey and I were driving through Northern Arizona on our bi annual trek to see movies.  We were in a car that likely only had a cassette deck, and we were sick of our tapes.  Maybe it was CDs, who knows?  We were searching the radio for anything.  Of course, when you are in the middle of nowhere, you only get county and bible shit.  Why is that?

FINALLY we find a good station.  Prince was on, from his Purple Rain heyday.  We were so pleased with ourselves until the dj came on.  “you’re listening to Northern Arizona’s golden oldies.”.  we listened for another hour.  We knew, and loved, every song.  We were OLD, man.  I swear we were only in our early 30s, if even that.  We are early 40s, now.

* for the record, Wayne did this.  It was cool and all, but clearly a distraction from shitty music.  Prince never had to do this.  Also, he was afraid to get passed back/up.  Reasonable, since Red Rocks is built into the side of a mountain.  Still, though, that woulda been cool.

Friday Fives – musicology edition

What album do you enjoy every song on?

I wish I could tell you it was Blood on the Tracks, which I think is an absolute masterpiece.   BUT… there are some absolute dogs on there. I mean… Lilly and the Jack of Hearts? To call that filler would be hurtful to things that fill things. So, what albums do? I have to name a few, and they all came out very close together.

Pearl Jam – Ten

Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream

Guns and Roses – Appetite for Destruction

What’s your favorite lyric of all time?

First, let me tell you the one I simultaneously love and hate with great passion on both sides… this line from the Rolling Stones –

“she blew my nose, and then she blew my mind!”

Is there better writing than that?  Yes, but just barely. Is there worse writing than that?  No sir.

To answer your question, though, I have to go to this line:

I was living in London with the girl from the song before

That is Paul Simon, from the ‘Late Great Johnny Ace’. It is remarkable not just for being one of the best songs ever written, it is remarkable that you have never heard it… nor heard of it. That lyric is so great it hurts my heart to think of writing that good. I mean… is there a song before? Was there a girl in the song? No, it’s nonsense.  It’s your imagination.  That is what makes it so great. It’s as if you two were in the middle of a great conversation, and he lets that drop. I guess if we have to give that girl a face and a name, it would be Carrie Fisher. That is Princess Leia to you, to whom Paul was married.  Yeah, not just great songwriter… dude is banging the Princess of the friggin’ Federation.  You better check yourself!

You date Taylor Swift for a Year before breaking up. What is the name of her next album?

“I never fully appreciated, or understood him”

OK, this is it. The executioners are taking aim.  What is the last song you want to hear?

Mayonaise from the Smashing Pumpkins. Studio version. I think this is my favorite song in the whole world. It also embodies the Smashing Pumpkins, and Billy C, so perfectly. Pretty, thoughtful, spacy, and balls out rock your skull off… all in the same piece. Here is a secondary live, acoustic, on the fly version. You may watch this only after you have heard the studio version about 30 times and cried to it.

It’s a quiet little genre and only you enjoy it – what is it?

Just about everything Astrud Gilberto ever did. You know her as the ‘girl from Ipanema’ lady. She is that, and so much more. Her and her hubby, along with a couple others (like Stan Getz and Antonio Carlos Jobin) basically invented Bossa Nova… AND got it to the states. Now that you know that, you will start to notice that a muzac version of Girl from Ipanema plays in they background in all elevator scenes. I know it is one of the most iconic songs ever recorded.  Think about this, is there a better known melody in all of music?  There are a precious few – ‘My Favorite Things’, Fur Elise’, ‘New York New York’, ‘Star Spangled Banner’… these are all melodies that you know whether you like it or not. Same with ‘Girl from Ipanema’.  Why then do I regard this as a ‘secret quiet little music genre’? Because – popular culture has only used that song as an ironic hipster statement.  That song is regarded as the most boring and sanitized song ever. It is used to define something lame. No sir, it was groundbreaking at the time – 1964.

when I say ‘groundbreaking’, that isn’t hyperbole.  When you hear ‘Purple Haze’, you don’t think anything about it.  When people heard that first, in 1967, their faces exploded.  No one had made noise like that, and certainly no one had seen a black kid playing rock.

There is a great story that may or may not be true about Miles Davis meeting the first lady (Nancy Reagan). Supposedly, she said to him “and what do you do that got you a seat at the President’s table?” having no idea who the super creepy, probably super high, and extra black man in front of her at dinner was. His response – straight-faced, Davis replied:

“Well, I’ve changed the course of music five or six times. What have you done except fuck the president?”

In that anecdote, was it necessary I pointed out how black he was?  Since we are talking about old rich white Republicans… yes it is.