Sunday, October 26, 2008


As go all Saturdays, I seem to accomplish (or not) a mish-mash of tasks with an emphasis of not pushing it. The chainsaw doctor said the the cause is hopeless: after putting in considerable time, he could not get the machine running reliably. The age of the chainsaw and the expense needed to keep it going suggests its time to buy a new one. I'll easily drop $300 finding a good replacement. But is it an essential tool considering all the trimming/cutting I do around the house.

I'm still finding fairly good 2004 and 2007/2008 tour concerts on Guitars 101 that I'm downloading and burning onto CDs. After a recent surge, the new finds are definitely waning. But I have enough music to listen every weekend well into next year. I just wonder whether my liver will last that long.

With regard to my liver, on Saturday morning I wake up feeling somewhat wiped out, the tequila/cigar combo being especially potent. I'm always restored by late in the afternoon, but then when the evening approaches and I plan my next night's virtual reality concert tour, the thought of repeating that drinking experience is not always welcome. But after the first shot and having the music cranked up, all is well. The flask is never finished during this second go around.

Speeding down the road
Events passing by so quickly
Towards the dark horizon

High flying lights blink
People relaxed in their seats
Lost in the distance

The storm front's deposit
Distant peaks bathed in pure white
Winter is coming

A world in decline
People tired of the past
A message of hope

I was jonesing for a Sammy and Eddie show from the 1990's, so I chose to play their April 9, 1993 concert when they appeared in Stockholm, Sweden during the Right Here, Right Now tour following the release of the live show album/video of the same name. What a difference between this show and the one I had listened to last night with DLR. I'm now seeing that Sammy raps as much if not more with the audience as Diamond Dave. During this recording he'd spend a bit of time between almost every song chatting it up. This show was the 7th one on the tour, all the shows up until then having been in European cities. He couldn't recall what day it was or what countries they had been to. That's the life of rock and roll stars in their prime.

Find it here:

Ian Christe's "The Van Halen Saga" says this about their 1993 tour:

Venturing to Europe in March 1993 for the first time in nine years, the Right Here, Right Now tour was launched in Munich, Germany, not far from Nuremberg where the 1984 tour had ended. They had never been to Europe with Sammy before, and gained an unexpected publicity bump from fifty-six-year-old international superstar singer Nana Mouskouri, earner of 250 gold and platinum records around the world. "I just love Van Halen and David Lee Roth, or hard rock," she said.

After seeing his fist-pumping stage presence, Continental crowds blamed the uber-American Sammy for keeping Van Halen away from Europe for so long- especially in Holland, where a thirteen-year absence had strained family ties.

Back in the United States, Van Halen picked up erstwhile Motley Crue singer Vince Neil as an opening act. This former David Lee Roth clone now had a successful solo act while his former band carried on with a new lead singer. In the Motley Crue biography The Dirt, Neil fondly recalled bonding with Sammy through kamikaze shots before Neil's set and margaritas before Van Halen's. "He always ended up with the short end of the deal," Neil said with a laugh, "because he was always wasted before he hit the stage."

A sound so lovely
Not unlike a harp's lullaby
Angel plays the strings

Come on baby please
He remembers the first time
Jamie was cryin'

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Another week zips by as we rocket to the end of the year. Saw the physical therapist and he ran my shoulder through some painful moves, but it sure feels good afterwards. We are continuing to make progress, although the shoulder is beginning to ache every now and then, making me wonder if the injection from over two months ago is wearing off.

A Basin and Lovelend have already gotten some powder days. I've chosen not to go up this early in the season because skiing one or two runs is just not worth the expense. If I find the time, I'll tune up and wax the skis in the garage to prepare for the first day of my ski season.

Some of you are familiar with this message:

"Sorry, you are not permitted to use this board"

I dedicate the following to those of you who run that exclusive club:

Pledged loyalty spurned
Cast out by false prophets
The believer triumphs

Freedom is captured
Hoard their labeled specimens
Nights spent counting beats

Prison door unlocked
Their treasure stands unsecured
Thief steals from thieves

Locked in their clutches
Key to the dark cell is found
Set the music free!

Hey, how else to celebrate Friday night on October 24, 2008 than with Van Halen's show from October 26, 2007? That will be the pattern for the remainder of the "tour": if one of the 2007/2008 shows I have in my collection coincides on or very near the same day one year later, that's the concert that gets blasted on the truck stereo if it happens to be a Friday or Saturday night.

Almost exactly a year ago to the day Van Halen played at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO. A good quality recording, although Dave's voice did not come through as loud and clear as I would have preferred. In a way I feel sorry for the folks in Kansas City that night because I got the distinct impression that the boys were simply hustling through the set list in a very business-like fashion. No rapping with the audience during or in between songs. No megaphone harmonica intro, Dave plays just a few notes before they rip into "Somebody Get Me A Doctor". Although Dave tries his best, the whole show seems somewhat sterile. That may explain why at the end of the concert the taper or one of his buddies remarks that it was one of the worst shows he's been to. Rumor had it that Dave was not feeling well about this time and/or Eddie was drinking again, explaining the mediocre performance by both of them. It is interesting to note that the band cancelled their next concert in St. Louis, MO on the 28th, lending some truth to the rumors. I didn't let any of this interfere with my usual concert on the prairie experience, as I "danced the night away."

Stands with eyes closed
All thought is on the music
World between his ears

Egos in conflict
Marriage of convenience
Beautiful music

Band gets together
Are lost for so many years
Brothers reunited

Run through the set list
Play what the audience wants
All about business

To the precipice
The promise of musics flight
Pushed by Eddie's hand

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Nice day but I got very little accomplished. The chain saw is still not working so I brought it in for a tune up. That dead tree gets to stand another week. Stopped in at Colorado Ski and Golf where reps of Aspen were selling ski passes. I picked up a 4 pack, which translates into two days of skiing during two weekends of the season. More parties on Independence Pass!

This Saturday night concert originally took place on September 5, 1982 at the Selland Arena in Fresno CA, part of the Diver Down "Hide Your Sheep" Tour. The band sold out all 80 of its U.S. concerts while grossing $10 million during an industry-wide slump in concert ticket sales. The stage set-up continued to get bigger and more elaborate. This was the tour that gave birth to the infamous "grid system." According to the Van Halen Encyclopedia:

"Each of the stage barricades was marked with a number and each number corresponded to specific security guards, located at various points around the stage. If Roth spotted a female fan that he wanted to party with after the show at say, section 24, the appropriate guard was sent to hunt her down and provide her with a backstage pass. Should the guard be unable to locate the specified person or if he found others en route who were good enough or better than the selected recipient, it was his call whether or not to provide them with a pass."

This was a decent audience recording with DLR doing his usual rapping with the loud crowd. The usual story of Dave's exploits back at the hotel room during "Everybody Wants Some". A classic Van Halen set list. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I've been listening to a lot of DLR era sound these last 2-3 weeks because that's the bulk of my collection. I'm beginning to crave the Sammy sound from the late 80's and 1990's. I suspect next weekend I'll be switching gears to taste the music from Van Halen II and III eras. Can't wait!

Clouds obscure her face
Pale skinned beauty of the night
Hides behind the veil

Lifts off with the booze
But music achieves its goal
Escape velocity

Dave's bottle of Jack
Amber lips through his lips
Uncorked voice of gold

With each burning gulp
Drifts closer to the minds edge
Leaps, and then he's gone

No one else does it
Lost art by the lone master
Ed's guitar solo

Cranks up the music
One twelfth of a rotation
Leaves it all behind

Spits out tobacco
With words running through his head
Counting syllables

Music at an end
He struggles to remember
Back to the future

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Another week slips by. At a friends request, I've purchased tickets to fly into Portland, OR to meet two buddies in early December for a "reunion" of sorts. It's been over six years since the three of us have gotten together. There's a question as to how long we will have such an opportunity because both buddies have/had cancer. A decision was made that its now or perhaps never. I tacked on a couple extra days to the trip with the intent of skiing at Crystal Mountain in WA adjoining Mt. Rainier. If that happens, I MUST do a deep forest concert in Randal WA where I first heard of Van Halen, the deep bass booming from a Trans Am stereo, the opening sound of Runnin' With The Devil.

This night I decided to go to the beginning of the 2007 tour, their opening night on September 27th at the Bobcats Arena in Charlotte NC. The sound quality of this bootleg recording was very good to begin with but was subsequently remastered to make it excellent. Everyone was performing at their best for an appreciative audience. Dave sounded just like himself straight out of 1984. I rocked the night away on the prairie, dropping in bed in a darkened house shortly after midnight.

Turbulence filled screen
Yields a moment of silence
Faces of the dead

Another long week
The garbage is tossed around
The candidates preach

Week comes to an end
Fills the flask, picks a cigar
The music's calling

Across the empty gap
A face of gray dusty plains
A bright moon watching

A sound so unique
Unties his soul from the mast
Eddie's siren song

Waiting for so long
Twenty two years of silence
Explodes up on the stage

Quivering dark shape
Opposite the rising moon
Dance with my shadow

Ego and style
Dave prances across the stage
What we both wanted

No one there at home
Acts like there's no tomorrow
Runs with the Devil

He's so fucked up
Sent into the stratosphere
Launched by Ed's six strings

Dead embers in hand
The tequila is now gone
Flys over the edge

Grips the steering wheel
His mind's neither here nor there
Reality blurred

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I forgot to mention in the last post that the October 10, 2007 Cleveland, Ohio show was David Lee Roth's 53rd birthday. On Friday when I listened to that concert, he was celebrating his 54th birthday. This is what was written about DLR:

This Friday (Oct. 10th) marks the 54th birthday of rock'n roll’s number-two best front man of all time: (Diamond) David Lee Roth. I say number two, because it’s widely understood that Mick Jagger has held the top spot since basically the beginning of rock as we know it.

David Lee Roth’s signature vocals and screams, amazing stage acrobatics and zany off-stage antics have definitely secured his place in rock’s number-two slot, at least in my opinion.

And there’s not a Roger Daltrey or Robert Plant who can hold a candle to his bonfire of charisma.

That’s because Roth is/was the consummate California heavy metal rock'n roller. With his flowing blond locks, spandex stage wear, a bright smile and smart-ass quick wit, there has never been (and probably never will be)another example of “entertainment” quite like him.

Rolling Stone called him “the most obnoxious singer in human history, an achievement notable in the face of long tradition and heavy competition.” Ouch. In fact, most journalists at the time took everything Roth stood for with a grain of salt, largely due to his unapologetic pursuit of placing good times on the same level as good performance. And for him, it worked.

For the complete story, go to the Van Halen News Desk:

A cold drizzle prevented me from taking the truck out because I would have been soaked in a few minutes while standing outside. I instead dropped the CD into the home stereo, plugged in the headphones and rocked out on the darkened back deck of the house. This arrangement worked just as good as a trip out onto the prairie.

The show I had chosen took place on May 10, 1978 at the Le Theater Mogador in Paris, France. WOW! What a concert! Sound quality of the bootleg recording was Excellent! The band was hot, playing to an appreciative crowd. This is Van Halen at their finest! "Voodoo Queen" and "Summertime Blues" were added to their normal VH 1 album set list. Very few of their early shows can get better than this one!

Download the concert here:

By the time the music stopped close to midnight and I entered the house, everyone was going to sleep. I played the second half of the Van Halen DVD "JUMP LIVE!" on the upstairs TV. Clips of various shows during the Van Hagar era, mostly from their Live Without a Net performance in New "Halen". It came to an end, the flask was empty and I immediately dropped into bed for the night.

Face the damp wind
Cold droplets against the skin
Every one a kiss

Foggy nights drizzle
Cold front crosses the mountains
Coming winters breath

Earphones on his head
Distant echos still resonate
Loud, between his ears

Thirty years ago
Band gets the crowd to party
As they do today

Spring time in Paris
Dave and Eddie rock the crowd
Their music kicks ass

Wait for his solo
The undisputed master
Captivates the crowd

Oh! He's so gifted
Sounds like no other can make
Enter his cathedral

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Winter is making its entrance! The weather for this nights concert was cold, damp and under a cloudy sky. Wet weather predicted for the weekend, including the possibility of snow on Sunday. Time to stack some of the new cut firewood on the back deck!

I've begun the process of making decisions regarding what ski passes/discount cards I'd like to get this winter. Many to choose from. Aspen 4-pack for sure. I picked up a discount card to Loveland. Whether I get another 4-pack or two to some other ski areas remains to be seen. I may cut back on the skiing, or double up the weekends because the cost of fuel and lift tickets makes a day on the slopes a costly affair.

The music has had a year to age and the time has come to drink its sweet nectar! The Van Halen 2007-2008 Tour began on September 27, 2007 in Charlotte, NC. In celebration of the reunion and the fun I had during their North American tour, I pulled out their October 10, 2007 Cleveland,OH show at the Quicken Loans Arena (don't you love the corporate names of all these areas/stadiums/amphitheaters?!). A good bootleg recording that exemplifies most, if not all shows during the tour. Dave sang well, perhaps even better than shows during the 1984 tour, probably because he was genuinely glad to be back with the boys and was really trying to do his best for them and and the audience. He's back, rappin' with the crowd! Eddie played a bit slower and with less flourish when compared to the bootlegs from 1998 and earlier. But its still delicious to the ears! Alex keeps the beat while Wolfgang remains largely hidden in the background, in the shadows behind Dave and Eddie, just like Michael was. But it was a good show and I was rocking throughout it, bringing back memories of the four shows I attended during that tour. More to come!
I typically write these the day after the outdoor concert. Lately I'm noticing that its difficult to impossible to read my haikus that I've scribbled down on bits of paper during the show. It looked fine the night before while under the influence!

A year to the day
Arena long grown silent
But not in his head

Friday night party
Always playing for the crowd
Our spirits unchained

Invades his bloodstream
Powered by the loud music
Self induced coma

Does it every time
Aims with his six string guitar
Eddie hits the mark

Eddie plays his song
He sends our spirits soring
The flask has run dry

Alcohol's stiff fumes
The concert comes to an end
Grips the steering wheel

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Last Thursday I met a friend and we both went to see the first of several ski movies that will play in the Denver area. A group of collage kids bought a 16 mm camera and filmed their days riding powder at a variety of locations in the western US. The most notable part of the flick was the music: all of it was written and played by a single blues artist out of Colorado Springs. He supposedly watched the movie and composed/played as the film was rolling before him. Bought the soundtrack following the show. These movies pump up my desire to hit the slopes, ski season being just around the corner

After listening to the 1993 anniversary show at the Whiskey A GoGo last night, I dug through my stack of unlistened to bootleg recording and found another show at that club, this one taking place on June 10, 1977 with Dave at the helm. VHboots says this about the recording:

"This is an "A-" audience recording of the early club days. A lot of Dave's rappin'/talkin' is in this one. A nice set of songs for 1977. A must if you can get your hands on it!! "

Although the quality of the sound was limited by the recording devices available in the '70s, it was a very good concert that had a feel similar to the 1993 show. You can tell it was taped in a small club, the audience going wild between the songs. A couple people had whistles that they were blowing in appreciation, the loud sound grating on the nerves after a while. Yeah, Dave raps with the audience, but I get the sense that its part of the stage act, still not entirely comfortable/confident of himself since they are still unknown outside the southern California music scene. It was only a couple months earlier that they signed up with Warner Brothers to produce an album. The Van Halen Encyclopedia says:

"On a rainy Monday night in May 1977, Marshall Berle brought Warner Brothers Chairman Mo Ostin and producer Ted Templeman to see Van Halen perform. Unbeknownst to the band, Templeman had also been there the previous night as well, probably scoping them in preparation for the following night's visit. Van Halen was offered a contract on the spot. They accepted it 24 hours later." The album they produced, Van Halen I, rocketed them skyward, their brand of party rock making them a national and then global sensation.
Youths nimble fingers
Played so fast and furious
Sound with a sharp edge

Friday night party
Crowd worked to a fevered pitch
Feelin' love tonight

Picks the guitar strings
Eddie's power fills the air
Juices up the crowd

Youths game is lacking
Maturity's confidence
Fight to reach the top

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Another week zips by, dropping me into Friday night. Earlier in the day while fueling up the car at the Conoco station, I saw a teen wearing a black Van Halen t-shirt from the 07/08 tour. Looked like his wrist was broken because he was wearing a cast, to which he stuck a McCain bumper sticker. Across the parking lot I motioned to him, first pointing to the shirt and saying "good", then to the bumper sticker and said "bad". He and his dad looked at me strange.

Physical therapy is proceeding well. The therapist really cranked my arm back this last visit, the discomfort of the movement merging into pain. But after I leave the office I'm buzzin', the arm feeling good. Must be those pain-relieving endorphins which act in a similar fashion to morphine! More physical therapy please!

I continue to download more music practically every night. I have a large stack of CDs I've burned that need to be labeled. After this surge in downloading, I once again see the drought showing up in the future, depending on random hits from different sources for new bootleg recordings. I'm not looking forward to those lean times.

All seems so endless
But it passes too quickly
Standing on the edge

Tonight's show was the secret anniversary gig at the Whisky A GoGo, a club they played in the very early days on their rise to stardom. This show was held a little more than three weeks before they began their Right Here, Right Now world tour. Here's what the Van Halen encyclopedia says about this show:

"Van Halen Celebrated their fifteenth anniversary on 3/03/93 by performing at one of the clubs they performed in before they were signed, the Whisky A GoGo in Hollywood, CA. 250 tickets were available for sale for $20. It sold out in fifteen minutes. Thousands of fans were left in the streets. Police riot squads were called. A live video for "Dreams" was made at that event."

This was an excellent bootleg recording of that occasion. The crowd was wild, chanting for Eddie after every other song. Sammy was unusually talkative, rapping with the audience throughout the show. The clarity of the recording was such that you could listen in on conversations of people in the immediate vicinity of the taper. I spent two hours rockin' away to this show, returning home after midnight.

By coincidence, I was short on tequila this evening, having drained the big bottle and filing up only half the flask. So I pulled out a gift bottle of Glenlivet, a scotch whisky that I poured into a second flask half way. The concert started by first swigging and then sipping the whisky before switching over to the other juice. So it was appropriate to start my night at the Whisky A GoGo with the alcoholic beverage of the same name! Thanks Mike for the bottle! I received it as a gift from a friend in exchange for my inviting him to the Van Halen show here in Denver last February 1.

Stands in their shadow
His four strings keep the bands grove
Michael's voice shines through

He's so into it
Every fiber in his body
One with his guitar

Unscrews the white cap
Flask held high above his lips
Flys besides the band

A tip of the wrist
Thrown into another world
His short-lived time warp