Saturday, January 31, 2009


A week of fire drills, frustrations, questioning what I'm doing, administrative boredom, planning and more goodbyes. The only bright spot is reading a book written by an individual sharing his experience circumnavigating Lake Superior by kayak. This is preparation for a family vacation I'm planning to take this coming summer. I was ready to let loose by the time Friday night rolled around.

I drove out to my prarie parking spot under the starry sky just as the crescant moon was setting behind the Rocky Mountains. The concert chosen was Van Halen's show at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on January 26, 2008, almost exactly a year ago. A good audience recording, although the sound mix was a little muddy. I suppose if I had the time I could EQ it to make the recording sound a little bit better, but who has the time?

This show took place on Eddie's 53rd birthday. The title of this show refers to a line said by Dave at the beginning of "Romeo Delight". Wolfie tells the crowd to sing Happy Birthday, then Dave replies "Shut your fucking mouth Wolfie and play the song." Halfway through "Romeo Delight" Dave and the crowd sang Happy Birthday, to which Eddie replied "Im sure you're all having a great mother fucking time here". Dave rightfully acknowledges that his rendition of the birthday song was out of key before launching into "Magic Bus".

Download it here:

Stone mausoleums
Facades that house said leaders
Their floors ring hollow

New moon emerges
A pencil thin cusp of light
Hangs in orange sky

Night sky's pocked gray stone
Billions of years to have grown cold
Reflects suns warm light

Pale Queen of the night
Slips behind mountains curtin
Alone with the stars

There before our eyes
Lost in the interference
Land once called Eden

Parking lot is full
A recession proof product
Liquor store's profit

Truck stereo maxed
Their music fills the praire
Amplifer burns

It's David's solo
Sings into the cold night air
Coyotes howl nearby

Poison in his veins
Lost in the music's vortex
Leaves the world behind

What we've waited for
A performance so unique
Eddie takes the stage

Visceral message
Loud poems masked in the music
Crowd sways to the words

Reach the late night's end
Nothing but double vision
Shakes the empty flask

Van Halen put me high up on the crest of the wave and I was not ready to quit. So I pulled out the short (incomplete?) song set of The Killers who played at the Reading Festival in London on August 23, 2008. The tequila was gone, the music was over and it was time to go home. In bed sometime after midnight.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Another week evaporates. The evenings following The Killers concert were spent looking for and downloading a half dozen of their concerts stretching back to 2006, all of which were of fairly good quality. What I noticed is that there aren't very many bootleg recordings available that can easily be found on the net, not the seemingly hundreds of recordings available for Van Halen. While in the process of doing this I got to wondering whether this was the beginning of the end for my year of Van Halen, believing that new sounds were going to push them aside. The answer was obvious once I popped in that CD and Eddie's guitar filled my ears. Nope. Not yet.

This Friday night I decided to do something a little different. Not one but two concerts, with Van Halen opening for The Killers. A 30 year difference in time. Both were rocking good shows.

Van Halen opened up with their October 15, 1977 appearance at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in California. Dave announces that they won't be appearing at this venue again (incorrect in that they appeared again at the Civic Auditorium 5 days later). This show took place 5 months before they were to go on their world tour following the release of their first album Van Halen on February 10, 1978. And because this show takes place shortly before they released the album, the set lit is the same one they used during the 1978 tour. Very good quality recording, great performance before an enthusiastic audience.

Download it here:
Part two of tonight's show was The Killers, appearing at the Royal Albert Hall in London, UK on November 3, 2008. Very good audience recording, also before a very loud and enthusiastic crowd. The set list was pretty much the same as when they appeared here in Denver, with some of the songs switched around in different order. Good show that kept me bouncing to their beat right up until midnight. Brandon Flowers is not nearly as chatty as Dave was in Pasadena 30 years ago!

Download it here:
A blinding new light
Rapt attention is broken
The luster's worn off

Junior jumps on stage
Challenge for the crowds applause
Steal the old king's crown

Sound made of power
That's given birth by a man
Six strings in his hands

Stand and watch in awe
They don't know where he's going
We follow his lead

Their sound fills the ear
Floods the heart with emotion
Life soars for a moment

Sits across from me
A beauty in black and white
Its strictly business

So hard to reach it
Feet stumble to advance
Whiskey on his breath

Monday, January 19, 2009


And now for something completely different. My daughter and I went to see a sold out performance of The Killers live at the Magnus Area here in Denver on Saturday January 17th.

Neither one of us were disappointed. M83 warmed up the crowd with their synth rock sound. The Killers followed, opening up with a number of songs off their new album, followed by one hit after another from their earlier albums. Not a dud song in their set-list. Lots of energy and enthusiasm from the band and audience. Their anthemic choruses are designed for the live setting with a willing crowd being brought along for the ride. I left the gig wanting more!

Dinner beforehand at Pete's Cafe. A trip to my private suite at the arena allowed me to mix up some hard lemonade that kept me fueled for the entire show! Could have bought Killers underwear, but $25 was a bit too pricey. Good seats on stage right allowed us to look down on the action. No difficulty getting home that evening although I was prepared to sleep in the back of the truck if necessary. Nothing would have been able to prepared my daughter for that experience. Click on the photos for enlargements.

Download their show in Glastonbury UK on the 23rd of June 2007, a BBC digital TV broadcast:

Monday being a holiday, Sunday night was spent with Van Halen at the Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City, OK during an afternoon concert (The Oklahoma Jam) on July 15, 1978. A classic set list from that year, the boys all fired up. Very good quality soundboard recording (ie:low audience noise). Dave has some cool raps between the songs, particularly enjoying being outside in the Oklahoma sunshine. Sounds like the party happened inside their trailer just before the show.

Raw, high energy sound, but very different compared to the refined technique of someone like The Killers. Rock has definitely evolved. Both are damn good. Both get the audience up on their feet.

Rock and Roll era
The Kings pass their crown around
New bands on the block

Their beat captivates
Many have stood on the stage
Fills our heads with rhyme

The band really rocks
Diamond Dave thinks he's the lead
But Eddie's guitar sings

Turn up the volume
Because Eddie's on the stage
Guitar rips the air

Wowed the audience
On talent's high pedestal
Man becomes legend

Rose to the stars
Joins the ranks of our heroes
Then is forgotten

Thirty years gone by
Rise and fall unchallenged
Eddie's still the king

Saturday, January 17, 2009


The week starts off by attending a memorial service and giving a departing eulogy for a friend and coworker who had passed away the week before. I had the opportunity to meet her whole family who had come from outside Colorado and let them know what a great person I had an opportunity to work with and all the good she had done. It snowed that morning and the traffic was horrible, barely making it to the church on time. I was in a somber mood for the remainder of the week, finding it somewhat difficult to become motivated to get down to business. It's not a pleasant experience cleaning out a persons office and throwing away or boxing 10 years of someones life.

Another week slips by and I have nothing to show for it. I have high hopes for this weekend to get a few things done, possibly even get in a day of skiing. The Killers appear at the Magness Arena here in Denver tonight!! The only question that remains is how much will I be drinking tonight and will my daughter and I be sleeping it off in the truck out in the parking lot!

There in the folders
A life written on paper
Run through the shredder

In the empty desk
Find a card with her picture
Stares out from the past

Lost another friend
Watch them depart, one by one
Party nears an end

Friday night and it's party time! I originally pulled several early VH selections, but then at the last minute I had an itch for a 2004 show. Tonight's concert had Van Halen playing at the Worcester Centrum Center in Worcester, MA on June 19, 2004. Very good audience recording, very good show, during which Eddie appeared to be sober. During the performance of "316" I noticed that two guitars were playing, learning this morning that Eddie's young son Wolfgang came out and joined him on stage with his own stripped guitar. This is what the Van Halen Encyclopedia says about that tune:

This song derived its name from the birthday of Wolfgang William Van Halen, son of Eddie and Valerie, born 3/16/91. During Valerie's pregnancy Ed would lay a guitar next to her stomach and play this song, which had a calming effect on the then-unborn Wolfgang.

What was most unusual about this show was that the very enthusiastic audience managed to coax the band out for two encores. Speaking of the audience, I felt as though I was standing amongst a bunch of friends listening in on their conversations all around me.

Lion rears its head
Creeps up behind the Hunter
Who fights the red-eyed Bull

With every download
Catch the spirit of the night
Party never ends

Stands with his eyes closed
But see them up on the stage
Watch through Ed's fingers

Calling out his name
Loyal fans stroking his ego
Gives them an encore