Sunday, August 24, 2008


Another week has gone by and so much still to get done. Times are busy both at work and at home. But whats most important is that I ran across several more Van Halen bootleg recordings from the 1990's, some that appear to be very good quality. I feel like I hit the jackpot whenever that happens because I'm really enjoying the Sammy era concerts. If I were to stop looking for bootlegs today, I easily have enough music to last me the remainder of the year, two per weekend.

I met with the new physical therapist last Wednesday. I'm really confident in his ability to diagnose the problem and provide the necessary exercises to make me whole again. I've been following his orders and doing at least two sets of shoulder strengthening and stretching exercises each day. For the first time I have some hope that I can beat this thing without having to go under the knife. What's great about that is it means there is a good possibility I'll have a decent ski season this year. Just got to keep working at it with that in mind.

I prepare this entry Sunday evening. Earlier in the day I picked up the kids from the local water park and we drove home beneath a very dark thundercloud which was beginning to release its heavy load of rain. Climbing a hill on the way back we noticed cars stopped on the side of the road, people looking west, cameras in hand. That meant only one thing - tornado! I confirmed it and we pulled over, the kids and I jumping out to view the scene to the west. Hanging beneath the black edge of the storm cloud was a slender funnel cloud that stretched all the way to the ground, kicking up clouds of dirt. It then seemed to break up and then reform, even darker than before. It broke up and we continued on our way when the kids noticed that it had reformed even bigger and blacker than before. Looking in the opposite direction, we noticed a second tornado hanging from the cloud, with a detached dirty funnel down on the ground. I was expecting one to drop down from directly above because we were on line, beneath the darkest part of the cloud. Eventually the two broke up and we drove the rest of the way home where the rain and hail began and dumped for over an hour. The drainage running across our property turned into a muddy stream with all the water coming down the hill above our home. The news on TV were all talking about the tornado's in the area and the strong line of storm clouds that produced them. The kids were thrilled by the whole event, just as I was.
Friday night was a bust for a Van Halen concert: it was raining and the kids had to be up early for a martial arts tournament. However, I was faced with no such constraints Saturday night so it was a "go" for a concert. I picked Van Halen live at the Garden State Art Center in Holmdel, New Jersey where they played on July 16, 1995. A very good audience recording during which the vocals and instruments were loud and clear. They went through the first 20 minutes without Sammy saying anything between songs, just ripping through the music. During Why Can't This Be Love Sammy handed the mike over to both Eddie and Michael. Way back when Eddie and Alex had formed their band Mammoth Eddie acted as both lead singer and guitarist. Listening to him tonight, it's clear why Eddie gave up singing lead vocals and a year later hired Diamond Dave, allowing Eddie to focus on what he does best, play guitar. Another year later they hired Michael and shortly thereafter changed their name to Van Halen. The rest is history!!
The crowd called for Eddie during the encore. With one exception (calling for Dave shortly after Sammy took over from him in 5150 time), they never call out for anyone else in the band. They know who Van Halen's heart and soul is.

A nice cool evening, the lights of Denver shining bright to the northwest. I drained the whole flask and was reluctant to return home because I was still flying after the music came to an end.

Summer storm fronts pass
Cold hard rain drenches the dry ground
Tall peaks dressed in white

Thunderstorm long gone
From below the horizon
Distant lightning's flash

Cusp breaks the horizon
Reflects the suns distant light
Orange moon rising

One mouse click away
Virtual door is opened
Musical gold mine

Seeks his weekend fix
Seen shaking in nights shadow
The junkie dances

Drawn to the music
Thousands fill the stadium
Band counts the millions

The gates have opened
Greeted by heaven's angel
Eddie Van Halen

Time for an encore
A fired up crowd wants some more
Chanting for Eddie

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