Sunday, February 22, 2009

FROM SYDNEY TO AMSTERDAM WITH THE PUSH OF A BUTTON

Putzed around the house all day Saturday, enjoying not having to do anything of importance. I did spend a considerable amount of time hunting on the Internet, succeeding in rooting out nine new, high quality bootleg concerts for Echo & The Bunnymen. That primed me for what I was to select for this evenings show.

First up was Van Halen's April 20, 1998 show at the Entertainment Centre in Sydney, Australia. This was a truncated version of that show, a compilation of someones idea of what were the best songs played that evening. Strangely enough, it was a mix of stereo and mono sound, making me wonder what this bastard of a recording really was. What got me most was that Ed's solo in "Year To The Day" was really short, leaving out the 316/Cathedral/Eruption combo which to me is the highlight of the show. Looking at my collection this morning I'm now wondering whether I even have the full show from that evening, which is a great sounding recording. Perhaps I'll put getting this show on my wish list.

Step on their footprints
A nation of assassins
Send out the soldiers

Live right besides us
Alien civilization
Ants climb up the wall

Sense filled riot ends
Eyes open to the darkness
Eternal silence

The part of the evening I waited for was listening to an excellent soundboard recording of Echo & The Bunnymen, their appearance at the Crossing Border Festival in Amsterdam on November 26, 2001. Even this late in the game Ian's voice was like silk when he sang, although I found it impossible to understand a word he said when he spoke in between songs, that heavy Liverpool accent making it sound like a foreign language. A fantastic show with all of their best material, the band performing flawlessly. This one may be hard to beat.

Like a soft caress
A sensual voice that beckons
Lures us into love

Masters of the art
The one relies on his voice
Six strings the other

Our everyday lives
Seemingly random actions
Ruled by emotions

Saturday, February 21, 2009

KILLIN' IT!

A short work week filled with frustrations and mini crises, making the arrival of Friday night most welcome. I had an invitation to join a small group on a ski trip to the Indian Peaks Wilderness, overnighting in an igloo, but I had other things I needed to get done this weekend. Plus next weekend I go on another three day hut trip above Aspen.

A front moved through earlier in the evening, dropping both the temperature and a couple inches of snow. Very light crystalline snow that would billow into a cloud of white when blown on.

Once again reaching back to the early years I picked the bootleg CD "Slummin' It!" from the collection. Although the cover says that some of the recordings were taped at Pasadena High, the belief is that the tracks are from various shows from 1976 & 77, including the Starwood on June 3, 1976, the Whisky on Dec 31, 1977 and the Starwood Club on June 12, 1976. The quality was fairly good and the set list included some of their earlier unreleased works.

A good rockin' warm up show, putting me in the mood for round 2 to follow.

Clouds shed their white load
Flakes fall gently from night sky
Drift past lit window

High school party band
Played during his far off youth
Sounds he wished he heard

Captured by their sun
Drawn deep into its tight grip
Fears his sure burnout
Download it here:

Many thanks to the VH Bootleg site that can be found at:
Act Two for the evening was spent with The Killers, their November 2, 2007 show at the Buenos Aires Yeah Festival. Good quality recording with a typical setlist of all the favorite songs. The crowd is definitely into it, with almost every other song played greeted with soccer stadium-like chanting.

Rolled into bed by 1 AM.

Endless twists and turns
All so unpredictable
Life's river is wild

Transports out of sight
Scotty's machine is broken
He's lost in the past

Songs voice calling out
Message echos through the crowd
Drawn in by the heart

Download it here:

Monday, February 16, 2009

PARTY ON MONARCH PASS

Shortly after dinner Sunday night, I hopped into the truck and drove the nearly 200 miles to the Monarch ski area. Knowing the snowcats rumble around the ski area all night, I opted to park in a dark location at a turn off atop Monarch Pass a mile up the road. Although I had gotten there relatively early, I was not interested in making this a late night. So rather than pick a 45+ minute Van Halen concert, I went straight for the good stuff, their Van Halen II studio album. Ah, the clarity of sound! It sounds like Eddie's right there on "Spanish Fly". In 31 munites it was over and I moved onto the main act.

Van Halen was followed by Echo & The Bunnymen, their July 5, 1987 performance at the Torhout Festival in Belgium. Their fifth studio album Echo & The Bunnymen, was released the following day, on July 6th. Similar to what happened with Van Halen, tensions arose in 1986 while they preparing this studio album. Recording was complicated by the star treatment received by McCulloch. This, along with his heavy drinking, alienated him from the rest of the band. After this tour, in 1988, Ian McCulloch left to pursue a solo career.

I love the sound and it sent into the "zone" this night atop a mountain pass, dancing in the snow beside the truck. Crawled into the back of the truck when it was all over, enjoying a restful sleep.

Skiing was a blast: decent snow, a comfortable/mild day and blue skies. Practiced the tele turns on the bump runs. What was amazing was that every time I went into the lodge for something (restroom, lunch, a coffee, etc), they played a Van Halen tune on the piped in sound system. The "classic rock" channel off of satellite radio. That made the day even better!

Senses distorted
Reality so confused
Drawn to the music

Time line is broken
Has no choice but to obey
Voices in his head

Its all in his head
Psycho-sexual pleasure
Dracula's daughter

Happened so long ago
A love never realized
Dreamed of black and white

Download it here:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

DANCE PARTY IN PASADENA!

After last nights excess, I decided to simply have a cigar outside late Saturday night. Well, if I'm going to stand outside in the cold for a half hour or more, might as well grab a CD to play in the truck's stereo for some entertainment.

Looking for a relatively short set list, I chose one of the early Van Halen concerts. They were one of two bands that performed at a dance party on June 13, 1975 at the Pasadena Hilton in California. They played a handful of cover tunes, songs by other artists adapted to their performance style. Dave was chatty with the audience, urging them to get on the dance floor and shake it. By his laughing tone, I would have to say that he was under the influence. Eddie was already a master of the guitar, his style easily turning the songs of others into the Van Halen sound. The recording closes with a) the band messing around in their hotel room, b) several minutes of Eddie alone warming up with the guitar and c) one last song played at the Pasadena Convention Center on May 29, 1976. Eddie's solo has him playing riffs that I've not heard before. You can also hear him working on the very beginning of "Somebody Get Me A Doctor".

The audio is listed as a "stereo soundboard recording" and was of excellent quality. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this recording was and enjoyed it immensely. If I were at the Hilton on that day in 1975, no urging from Dave would be needed to get me out there on the dance floor!

Here are a few classic Dave'isms off the recording:

"No sense trying to be high class and play nonsense shit, we'll do something you can relate to. At least you can dance man, and find out if that honey you've been looking at wants to look back at you. Ask her to dance. People get on up man, its good and healthy for ya. You sit around all night and you get hemorrhoids, you'll be in sad shape."

"Van Halen at the Hilton. I don't know if the two go together. Oh, it even said on the flyer no bluejeans. Didn't have anything to wear."

"Seems like we got difficulties, the equipment man. Everyone drinks too much beer before the gig, I think."

"What a place to have a party, huh? I think this is about the first time I've been in here. My friend Stanley used to deliver flowers here, and that's about as close as I've ever got."

Back in the hotel room on the 9th floor:
Dave: "I'm about ready to hit the sack."
Eddie (?): "Who's comin?"
Laughter.
Dave loses his room key a second time and dreads having to ask for another from the hotel.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

SOUNDS WITH KILLER ECHOS

And now for something completely different. No Van Halen this Friday night, wanting instead to plunge into a different pool by enjoying the sounds of two other bands.

I started off with a trip back to November 6, 1987 to hear Echo & The Bunnymen play in Gothenburg, Sweden. An excellent bootleg recording. The Rolling Stone magazine describes their style as:

"The standard-bearers of Liverpool's neopsychedelic movement, Echo and the Bunnymen's moody, atmospheric music combined punk's energy and edge with the Doors' poetic theatricality. Self-consciously literary, outspoken, and sometimes arrogant (singer Ian McCulloch was known as "Mac the Mouth"), they never matched their popularity in Europe in the United States. Their influence can be seen in the attitudes and guitar textures of such '90s English bands as Suede."

I like the sound because of its ethereal moodiness, with Ian McCulloch's voice having a mesmerising quality.

This show was relatively short, simply a warm up for Act 2 that followed. I did not realize it but the batteries in the CD player were low on juice, explaining why I had to crank it to maximum volume to get it close to where I like the volume. I figured it out with the next CD.

Public debt explodes
Victims dying in their homes
Our children's children

Stares through the windshield
Head numbed by mere words of faith
Four Marines will die

News report word spin
Discharged weapons a mistake
Can't mistake the dead

The wrong place and time
Swept up in net cast through fear
Detainee four three five

Download it here:
video

The second half of the evening was spent with The Killers, who appeared live in Berlin on November 11, 2008. Another excellent recording which makes for such easy listening. The only unfortunate thing about this recording is that it's only the first half of the concert. So when it ended prematurely, I freaked, running into the darkened house to pull another of their CDs off the shelf to complete the show.

I was flying by the end of the night. I have no idea what time I dropped into bed, to tired to even undress.

Invades through the ear
Sound's seed planted in his mind
Fevered infection

Music fills the ears
Like the Pied Piper calling
Grabs him by the heart

A world in distress
Human frailties exposed
In search of heros

Straps on the headphones
The tequila and music flow
Wakes up in a dream