Friday, December 26, 2008


Wednesday was spent at the Hogadon ski area. Five runs, one lift, 600 feet of vertical drop. The place was sheltered from the very strong winds blowing out of the southwest, the ski area located in valleys on the north flank of the mountain. Not a very exciting time but I did got out to exercise the legs. These house shuddering winds would blow uninterrupted for the next four days.

I parked atop Casper Mountain to watch the sunset. Lenticular clouds filled the sky. The wind was howling loudly through the towers/antennas located on the west end of the long, flat topped mountain.

Time spent with the in-laws and wife's sisters back in Casper during the evening. Unfortunately I was coming down with a cold or the flu since Tuesday, only building in intensity. Christmas day was spent lounging around the house, enjoying the gifts and eating lots of good home made food.

Although I was not feeling well, I was getting bored Christmas evening and so decided to do a Van Halen concert, believing a strong dose of tequila might get rid of the soar throat. I bundled up and headed into the wind howling out of the west, seeking shelter in the pine trees in the wind break around the home.

Christmas night's concert took place on April 2, 1984 at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. A good (B+) audience recording before a very enthusiastic crowd. Dave went on for a long time during his break in the middle of Everybody Wants Some. It was still early in the 1984 tour so the band was playing well, unlike the shows later in the tour when they appeared to be tiring of the constant partying and time on the road. For some reason my version is missing Jump/1984 so when I get back to Denver I'm going to check to see whether I left it off the set list when burning the CD. You can't mistake the tapers girlfriend's classic NJ accent!
Winter's frigid gale
Strips the landscape of its snow
Streams across the road

Wind across the ridge
Swirling columns of fine snow
Feels its icy sting

Mountain top wind blows
Scoured ground reveals black rock
Curling plumes of snow

The unceasing wind
Races from its distant source
Face feels its cold touch

Out of the southwest
Trees bend to its driving force
The incessant wind

Not nearly enough
A sea of screaming faces
Demand an encore

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


This was a very short work week due to scheduled travel plans and the Christmas holiday. The threat of snow caused us to head out for Wyoming earlier than planned, hoping to avoid slick roads and slow traveling. All was well until we got with 60 miles of Casper where a snow was coming down. It was so cold outside that the snow was a light powder that did not stick to the road. The only danger was losing sight of the road while driving in clouds of snow behind vehicles one might pass. Arrive at the in-laws in the early evening.

Dressed up for some time outside listening to the music. Light snow coming down. For this evening's concert I chose "I Can't Tell You", another variation of Van Halen's February 1, 1989 show at the Tokyo Dome. Excellent soundboard quality, the show edited to remove the long pauses in between the songs. There's something wrong with my copy of the show, the disc skipping a bit before the close of each song and static affecting the quality of the music midway through the show, becoming unbearable to listen to long before I reached track 15. I was not the portable CD player, as I first thought. Don't know if its my burning of the disc or the show I downloaded. This show is damn good and I intend to find a better copy to download and listen to another time. The first half of the concert was enough to get me into the "zone", so I was satisfied.

PS: Thinking about it some more, the same ything happend in NY when I tried to listen to "I Can't Tell You". I checked my sourecs and they did not have a copy, leading instead to my acquiring the "When Its Love " variatrion of this same show. If anyone's got "I Can't Tell You", please let me know and we'll do a trade!

Framed in the headlights
White clouds of billowing snow
Sweaty hands on the wheel

A light snow falling
Through the refinery's glare
Colored Christmas lights

A time long ago
Reaches out from the past
Touched my heart with his hand

Music fills the ears
Dance in the snowy darkness
Stumbles from the booze

Shout that they want more
Like addicts hooked to the sound
Crowd so fucking wild

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Weather reports suggested snow would fall in the mountains. I was considering going Saturday but I wanted Mr. E to join me so I rescheduled for a trip up on Sunday. I even managed to convince him to drive up the night before to avoid the early morning mad highway rush.

We drove up Saturday night, arriving at the Loveland ski area paring lot at around 11 PM. No new snow, only frigid temperatures. Loveland Pass was closed so we were forced to sleep in the parking lot. I don't like that because of all the heavy equipment that rumbles around all night. I'll try the Loveland Valley Parking lot next time.

Mr. E snoozed inside the running vehicle, I stood outside for nearly two hours listening to Van Halen, their June 28, 2004 show at the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford CT. A very good audience recording with the band playing well. Sammy's gravely voice. What I'm noticing about Eddie during the 2004 reunion tour is that he's always improvising his technique: little flourishes here and there, new takes on his old standards. It really is the only new thing to be found on these reunion recordings, something to look forward to. Hard to say whether his improvising is the result of his legendary style or the bottle he was hitting during this tour.

I was beginning to freeze after being outside for an hour and a half. I would say it was close to O degrees. After Eddies solo I finished the concert inside the truck, snoozing kid by my side, quietly sipping tequila. I must have briefly fallen asleep in the comfort and warmth of the truck cab, waking for Panama and their encore, When It's Love. I listened to disc 2 a second time on the way home from skiing to catch anything I may have missed the night before.

It was 1:30 AM by the time the bootleg recording ended. I got the "beds" ready in the back of the truck and both Mr. E and I crawled in the sleeping bags and under extra blankets. We both were warm and slept comfortably through the night, heavy vehicles rumbling around the parking lot till dawn. We woke to the sound of explosive charges going off meant to trigger avalanches on the mountain behind us. Another great day skiing packed powder on the slopes!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


A week of parties from beginning to end! At work and after work. That's what the holidays are all about. They are lots of fun, but after a while I long for the peace and quiet of just being left to ones self. That's why I'm already looking forward to the end of the holidays, longing for the everyday routines of life: Van Halen and skiing!

I spent the early part of the evening at a friends house where guests were invited over a celebratory holiday dinner. By 10 PM I was back on the road, heading towards my parking spot on the prairie overlooking the bright lights of Denver, stars above. The clouds over the mountains suggested it was storming and by the end of my virtual concert they had covered the entire sky, bringing with them a frigid north wind. So cold in fact I had to turn the truck around in order to use it as a wind break, otherwise my capped head would have frozen, taking away from my enjoyment of the music. Home by 2 AM.

This nights concert was a very good audience recording of their show at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA on December 16, 2007, almost exactly a year ago. The band performed well, Dave giving it all he's got, but Eddie seemed to lack the spark he had ten years ago or earlier. His playing lacked that energy, crispness and "tight" feeling you get from his earlier work, almost as though he was consciously searching for the notes as opposed to it flowing directly from the heart. But it was all good and I relived a night on the 2007 leg of their most recent tour.

Lying in the dark
Hears distant voices speaking
Outside the doorway

A north wind blowing
It slices through the fabric
A bone numbing cold

So true and steady
Sitting on his backstage throne
Alex on the drums

For three decades long
Stands in his stage lit cathedral
Guitar oh so sweet

Earth's eternally
Moon above the horizon
Yellow light beckons

Rises to the clouds
The music takes him higher
Nothing gets him down

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I watched the weather report all day, trying to get a sense of how much snow we'd get out of this approaching storm, the first in a series marching towards Colorado. Loveland reported 4 inches by Saturday morning, with the best was yet to come. The decision was made to pack it up and head to the high country, leaving home around 9 PM. I felt guilty at the thought of going skiing so soon after my Oregon trip and knowing there were other things needing to get done around the house, but the wife accepted it because she always assumed I'd go regardless.

Few vehicles on the road that time of the evening. The snow began to come down half way up the mountains, turning into white out driving conditions, barely able to make out the edge of the road. Loveland Pass was closed and blocked off, so I parked in the Loveland ski area parking lot. About 8 inches of snow had already accumulated during this evening. But it let up long enough for me to crank up the music and enjoy Van Halen from outside the vehicle, being careful not to slip on the compacted snow, the result of my "dancing".

The ski area received a total of eleven inches of new snow overnight, and it showed on the slopes with the excellent skiing. Powder everywhere, all day long. A little wetter than the light fluffy stuff, making for sometimes tricky skiing, as one went from wind packed to the soft and deep stuff on the downwind side of features. A fabulous time! It snowed lightly all day, the sun appearing as a dim orb in the sky above. I took off early to avoid the weekend traffic, arriving home late in the afternoon.

Falls an inch an hour
Anxiously awaits the dawn
Like Christmas morning

Thick flakes falling
Like fog beneath the street lights
Parking lot buried

Saturday night's show took place on February 1, 1989 at the Super Dome in Tokyo, Japan during the Monsters of Rock Tour. It was originally broadcast on Japanese television, DVD copies of which are readily available. The quality is an excellent soundboard recording, can't get any better than this. This version of the show has been edited to remove all of Sammy's chatter between songs. The band played flawlessly. Their perfect performance coupled with how the show was edited, one could easily conclude that this was a studio album. It was a dynamite performance!

A sound so perfect
Play up there on the stage
Four acting as one

Stands in the spotlight
The best guitar in the world
Man from Amsterdam

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Back to my usual parking spot out on the prairie after a short week in the office. Issues that I thought were behind us thrust me back into the here and now, all the good that the short vacation provided feeling as though it had been erased. Fortunately I'm still basking in the afterglow of that fun time.

This night was spent back at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on May 10, 1984, the second night of three they would play in that city during the 1984 Tour. A pretty good audience recording with a few cuts here and there due to tape flips and/or editing out long cheering sections. The audience was really into the show based on their enthusiastic response. And the band picked up on that, Dave especially because he was in prime form when it came to rappin' with the audience. "We start the weekend early around here! You a noisy bunch of mother fuckers! You give southern California a run for its money. What's that you say baby, you wanna give me a run for my money?" A classic 1984 show! I was rockin' for the nearly two hour event. Being low on tequila, I had to prime the pump with a bit of whiskey this evening. That yielded some hot tasting belches! Party on!

Reality's back
Friends and places far behind
It was just a dream

Head filled with wishes
Anxious rubbing of the lamp
Genie has long gone

On familiar ground
The boredom of adulthood
Longing for the dreams

Distant airport's lights
Rise up into the night sky
A means of escape

Dave is on a roll
Fucks the audiences mind
With his tight pants on

The music so loud
Cheering of the drunken crowd
Feels like yesterday

A moon so bright
Follow the white concrete curbs
No headlights needed

Moonlit cold outside
Tequila and loud music
Fire on the inside

Dave's dance on the stage
Only things on his dirty mind
Sex, drugs, rock and roll

Download it here:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Woke up this Saturday morning to catch the first rays of the rising sun glinting off the ice high up on the south face of Mt. Rainier. The clouds that graced the sky the day before were gone, leaving behind pale blue skies. This would not normally be the case at this time of year in the rainy Pacific Northwest but this is an unusually dry year. Good for my short time while visiting, bad for those how count on the drenching rain and snow.

I met Cappy at the airport where we greeted Kowloon upon his arrival to Oregon. For the next two and a half days we had a blast doing a variety of things in the Portland area. We spent time at Wallmart buying a DVD player and inexpensive surround sound speaker system, which we hooked up to Cappy's TV and then watched the Chronicles of Riddick late into the night. Attended the Holiday Ale Festival in downtown Portland. Had some really good dinners at a variety of restaurants, including McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant for Cappy's 53rd birthday. We ended the long weekend with a trip into the Cascade mountains were we hiked to Bagby Hot Spring and soaked for several hours deep within the towering forest. Both Cappy and Kowloon are battling cancer. It was at the hot spring that I got to see Kowloon's scars from this fight, a large Mercedes-Benz like symbol carved across his chest and stomach.

But like all good things, our short time together was up and we each had to return to our respective destinations.

A new day dawning
World full of hope and promise
Night for someone else

Distant destination
Drive the dark road to its end
Night's long sleep awaits

Dingy apartment
Promise cast aside like litter
Story of his life

Full of opinions
Spoken with such confidence
Sourced in ignorance

Mind tightly focused
Unswerving commitment
His self destruction

Bemoans the loss
Fiction of what could have been
Life he never had

I sipped on the bottle of tequila at the hot spring. I was thankful that Kowloon happened to bring along a small flashlight because the sun had long set when we departed. Having to navigate the mile long trail through a pitch black forest without it would have made for very slow traveling. We drove down the road to a clearing alongside the rushing Clackamas River, where I popped the Ipswich, England Van Halen concert into the car's CD player and cranked it up. I'll never get tired if hearing this excellent show. Out came the cigars and tequila for a traditional "party on the pass". The music's end highlighted the beauty of the location, standing in the darkness, out there in the damp forest with the sounds of rapids in the background. We got back in the car, driving the winding logging road to the first restaurant we came to where we had another excellent meal. The acoustics in their concrete walled bathroom tucked away in the basement were phenomenal! I wish I had a CD player to blast Van Halen in that echo chamber! No VH on the restaurant jukebox, but I found other suitable music to serenade us while we ate. Back to Portland and our trip was essentially over.