Saturday, November 22, 2008


Woo-hoo it's Friday night again!

I had a very busy week at work, spending some time in downtown Denver. Over lunch one day I went to David Cook's Fine Art Gallery to see a few pieces of art produced by a couple favorite artists, Gustave Baumann 1881-1971, block print above) and Birger Sandzen (1871-1954, painting below). I love their work and enjoyed the pleasure it brought holding their framed art in my hands to study the fine details of the masters work. The gallery was in the process of preparing for an "opening show" that evening and the various pieces of art were scattered around waiting to be hung on the wall. They had many other beautiful paintings of mountainous landscapes that are like eye candy to me.

Thursday night I met up with a bunch of guys, an annual tradition of having dinner and a few beers before going to the Paramount Theater to watch the latest ski porn flick produced by Warren Miller, Children Of Winter. Heart pumping scenes of phenomenal skiing in fabulous mountain landscapes through deep, blowing powder, all accompanied by loud foot stomping music. The exuberant audience cheered, hooped and hollered throughout the show. We went to Earls afterwards where we had a few drinks, eyeing all the attractive waitresses. At the theater they passed out coupons for a free lift ticket to one of three mountains. My goal will be to use it and ski Steamboat before mid December.

Last weekend I thought I would hold off doing anymore outdoor concerts with Van Halen in order to build up the craving in advance of my trip to Oregon in a couple weeks. But Friday night arrived and I could not resist the desire to dance on the prairie to their loud beat. I caved and picked one of their early shows. Van Halen at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on June 1, 1978, the first of four nights they played at that concert hall during their first world wide tour. Van Halen was the opening act for the headliner of the evening, Black Sabbath. Their playing is awesome! This is what Ian Christe says in his book The Van Halen Saga about these shows:

"Van Halen was so good opening for Black Sabbath in England in 1978 that Sabbath toppled and broke apart immediately afterward. Their lead singer, Ozzy Osbourne, became completely demoralized and left the group. Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler later quipped sardonically that it was the first time after eight albums that Warner Bros., their American label, had ever bothered to come see the band - and then only for the sake of catching Van Halen."

This is one of their '78 soundboard recordings and so the quality is excellent. You can download it from here:

The 1978 shows are special for me because it was 30 years ago that I first heard of Van Halen while working in Washington state. The job with the USGS had me hiking the forest mapping the geology of a low grade ore deposit that intruded rock laid down by ancient volcanoes that have long disappeared. From the tops of ridges and mountains I could see Mt. Rainier to the north and an unblemished beauty called Mt. St. Helens to the south. That's why this upcoming trip to Oregon/Washington is special in that I will be returning to where it all started, to indulge in late night concerts in the deep forest, knowing that a full day of skiing lies ahead.
Held them as babies
Life's advance yields young manhood
Taller than me now

Viral infection
Thoughts play in an endless loop
Lodged deep in his head

Mind so infected
Roaches scurry in his skull
Driving him insane

Looks up at the stars
Circle through the centuries
Yearns for forever

Consume to excess
To the corners of his mind
Mouth tastes of his bile

Sucking on a stub
Voyage into the beyond
Circles, then descends

Piano man speaks
Describes the things I have done
Says all the right words

The years have gone by
Footsteps often repeated
Same streets that I've been

Cold wind on his face
Immune to its effects
Forty proof headscarf

After the Van Halen concert, I popped another album into the trucks CD player and enjoyed the sounds of The Killers. Tickets to their January 17th concert are in hand, I can't wait to go!

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