Saturday, March 28, 2009


The morning and early afternoon were spent relaxing in the hot spring pool, hoping the winter storm would have passed out of the mountains and Denver area for the drive back. Relaxing warm water with the air temperature just slightly above freezing. Lunch at the brewpub. Back on the highway to relatively dry roads, making it safely back by the late afternoon. I learned later that evening that a spot of cancer was found on the liver of my friend John, who has already undergone several treatments/surgeries for this disease, including his liver several years ago. Not good news.

Friday nights show happened just outside the front door in the new snow that had fallen while we were in Glenwood. It was Van Halen's June 23, 2004 show at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This was their second night at this venue, hence the reference to being "slightly" hung over from the night before. To change the show for this evening Sammy claims to have had a few additional cocktails before coming on stage, supplemented by a bit of herb from a "tight one".
A good audience recording but there is a lot cheering/talking going on around the taper. The whole band appeared to be performing well, including Eddie. Young Wolfgang Van Halen came out for his bit during 316, Sammy correctly noting that he's the future of Van Halen. An enjoyable 2 hour show.

Clock has been reset
The children have time to spare
Mine is running out

Baton has been passed
Their long race is before them
While mine is over

Cells in rebellion
Enemy that lies within
Battles with himself

Hidden deep within
Microscopic monsters thrive
Takes friends, one by one

Message from the band
Music that can only please
Crowd reacts as one

That which feels so good
Wishes for what cannot be
To last forever

Friday, March 27, 2009


We took a couple days off from work to enjoy spring break with the kids, the decision made to go to Glenwood Springs to soak in the hot spring pool. We left home Wednesday night in advance of a winter storm scheduled to hit Colorado that evening. Early snow made the ride over the mountain passes tricky due to icy road conditions, but once we got past Vail it was smooth sailing. I did my virtual concert late this same evening, more on that later. Snow began falling in Glenwood as we pulled into town that evening.

Woke up and we had breakfast provided by the hotel. Only a few inches had fallen in town overnight, causing me to wonder how improved the slopes would be considering what was available last weekend. Dropped the family off at the hot spring pool and I continued on to the nearby ski resort, Sunlight. This mountain is small compared to all others in the state, considered to be a "family" ski area made up mostly of blue and green runs.

I arrived at the ski area and was pleasantly surprised to find that much more snow had fallen at this elevation. On my first run I was even more surprised to learn that knee deep powder covered most of the slopes. With so few people present at the mountain today, I was anticipating skiing in powder all day long. And that's the way it was right until the 4 PM closing. After a few runs on the open slopes I was ready to plunge into the aspen glades covering most of the mountain. For the remainder of the day I was carving tele turns in the deep untracked snow amidst the white trunked trees, going back for more until closing time. The best runs lay in the trees between Rebel and Beaujolais. It continued snowing all day, clearing up in the late afternoon.

Dinner at Uncle's Pizza and then back to the hotel where Rachel and I hung out while Mira and Eric returned to the hot spring pool. One of the best ski days for me this whole season!! An unexpected treat!

Snow falls overnight
Ocean moisture blankets hills
Knee deep powder runs

Float on powders bed
Glides through the snowy aspens
Pale green trunks race by

Silent sentinels
Hieroglyphic scared tree trunks
Like eyes, watching me

My virtual concert happened Wednesday night shortly after arriving in Glenwood Springs. Once everyone settled into our room at the hotel, I took off and found my way to an isolated bridge passing over the Colorado river, a short walk from the hotel. It was there that I cranked up the CD player and listened to Van Halen's June 120, 1978 show at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, England. An excellent soundboard recording with the young band playing at their best. Classic Van Halen at its finest! The 1978 UK shows are some of the best sounding concerts in the entire Roth era bootleg collection, real gems which I'm sure every true Van Halen fan has and cherishes. The footsteps in the snow on the bridge marked my nearly hour long dance party on this mild evening!

Two ribbons run west
One carries mountains snow melt
Concrete feels our wheels

Act two of the evening was Echo & The Bunnymen's show on January 17, 1984 at the Sun Plaza Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Another great quality recording of some of their best tunes up until that point in time, before Ocean Rain was released.

Here's what POPocalypse says about the Bunnymen from this time period:

"Coolness was an important key to the Bunnymen's earliest success. Once McCulloch, guitarist Will Sergeant and bassist Les Pattinson dispatched with their drum machine "Echo" and hired Pete DeFreitas as their drummer, they became renowned for powerful, shambling live shows in which McCulloch would break away from the song in progress to start adlibbing old Doors or Stones tunes. Washed in shadow and wearing long trenchcoats, they were the Liverpudlian counterpoint to Manchester's Joy Division."

"The Bunnymen spent 1982 continuing to build their reputation, and broke into the top 20 singles chart for the first time with "The Back of Love" in the summer. It was included on 1983's Porcupine, which some critics today consider the weakest of their first four albums. It was recorded while the band members were beginning to stress each other out and this paranoia is evident in the music. Nevertheless, the album was their biggest hit at #2, and spawned their first top 10 single, "The Cutter." The very commercial and upbeat "Never Stop" followed it into the top 20 in the summer as the band played an important date at the Royal Albert Hall. They were the first rock act to play there in a decade; allegedly, the venue had banned rock acts after Mott the Hoople trashed it in 1973."

For this show I wander back towards the hotel, using the bridge over I-70 as my dance platform. Very little traffic at this time of night, watching the occasional vehicle pass me on the highway below. Unfortunately one of the only vehicles to pass on the bridge where I was partying was black and white and belonged to the Glenwood Springs police, stopping to find out what's going on with this guy at midnight. Got id? No. What's your name? Where you staying? Etc. The two guys were real cool about the whole thing, understanding that I was a paying visitor in this town that is dependent on tourism. They claimed they nearly hit me when passing (no sidewalks on the bridge), but that was simply the excuse to convince me to get me off. I finished out the concert on the snowy grass alongside the highway after climbing back down the bridge embankment.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Spent all day Saturday skiing Aspen Highlands. The mountains in Colorado have not received much snow lately and the warm weather made for generally poor skiing: the freeze thaw causing the snow to crust or turn into a hardpan that improves with grooming. By late afternoon it would warm up enough to turn slopes into soft carvable snow. The mild temps and sunshine made for perfect spring skiing. It was a blast in the most scenic ski area in all of Colorado.

There was a Friends of the Fallen celebration and competition held at the lodge near the top of the mountain. A remembrance to several young skiers who had died, but included anyone who departed early and had a love for skiing. All contestants had to dress up and come down the slope together, hitting bums and jumps. An opportunity to sit back in a lounge chair, enjoy the sun and watch the show.

Changeless in our eyes
Bold peaks rise into the sky
Washed away by time

Room filled with their loud sounds
Stares out the plate glass windows
The sunset lit clouds

Shops sell us fashion
Money spent on an image
Just can't buy the cool

Overhear them speak
Their distant conversations
Hear their life stories

Week after week
Pushed to the limit each night
Exhaustion sets in

Fifty plus years old
Another birthday approaches
The blackest of thoughts

Had dinner in Aspen, went to the theater to see the movie Watchmen, and then drove out to the end of the road towards Independence Pass. Although somewhat tired, I did my concert thing and then enjoyed an undisturbed sleep. Woke up late on Sunday, had a leisurely breakfast and got to Snowmass Mountain by mid morning. Why rush when snow conditions would be at its worst before it warmed up? Beautiful day, blue skies and great bomber runs down the groomed slopes. Back to Denver by early evening.

The show below Independence Pass was put on by The Killers on June 23, 2007 at the Glastonbury Festival in the UK. Great recording, great performance by the band.
Here's the review for the show by Rosie Swash of the Guardian newspaper written the following day:

If ever there was a time to keep an open mind about the Killers, it is when Brandon Flowers sashays on stage to headline Saturday night in a head-to-toe sparkling gold lamé suit, to a background of dazzling pyrotechnics. It is an immediate reminder that the Killers are a band whose powerful, emphatic stadium rock is beaten only by their total lack of irony. And yet for all their overindulgence, these four boys from Las Vegas draw the biggest crowd of the festival so far and they are here to give the people what they want.

Reports suggest that sound is intermittently lost during the beginning of the show, to the point where people at the front can hear people at the back shouting "Turn it up!", but it is a problem that the band seemed blissfully unaware of. The most enjoyable songs are those from the band's 2005 debut Hot Fuss, Mr Brightside and Jenny Was A Friend of Mine particularly. They remind us of the once humble band who endeared thousands when they warmed up for the White Stripes on this very stage two years ago. In contrast, the material from current album Sam's Town rapidly blends into one long, fraught, reverberating din, and the montage of iconic, trite American images that play behind them serves only as a reminder that the band themselves are a series of clichés.

But it cannot be denied that the Killers are utter crowd pleasers and they have been anticipating this moment for a long while. The effect of the poor sound on the audience is a shame, but hardly the band's fault. The fireworks and the excessive keyboard jewellery may be a long way from the waistcoated frontman and his modest band of two years ago, but it shows that the Killers care a great deal about how they are received tonight. And that is rather endearing.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Friday evening and I turn the truck westward, heading up into the mountains, with a trip to Aspen in mind. It was time to tap into my classic 4 pack pass that I've been saving all winter long.

Good weather made for fast driving. First stop was Penny Hot Spring along the Crystal River near Redstone. The main pool was frigidly cold, high water from the recent warm weather flooding the side-by-side pools. The smaller pool downstream was warmer and I undressed and slipped in, laying on my back or belly, getting as close to the side were the trickle of hot water flowed in. One side was warm, the other side was bathed in cool water, burning hot water flowing around my neck. Not very comfortable, causing me to exit after only about 20 minutes. Too bad because as I was leaving a bunch of young women arrived, ready to take a dip in their bikinis. I offered them the small pool as I departed.

I drove to the dead end of the road leading to the Continental Mine just north of Redstone. Snow blocked the end of the road. Time to party. For some reason I was spooked when I got out to do the concert thing, sensing there was something around me in the darkness, moving on the periphery of my vision. No good explanation, but it diminished as I got lost in the music.

The opening act was disc 1 of Van Halen's 2004 compilation album Best Of Both Worlds. It was named after the Van Halen song of the same name from Sammy Hagar's first album with the band, 5150 but also because it has the best of both of Van Halen's famous vocalists. It features 20 songs with Sammy Hagar on lead vocals, 16 with David Lee Roth despite Roth recording 6 albums with the band and Hagar recording 4 and a live album. Consider the simmering feud between the Van Halen's a David Lee, the album's artwork features no photos of Roth. Great rocking music to start the party!

Latin legacy
They remember freedoms gift
Salvador death squad

Waits at street corner
Shots fired at nearby checkpoint
Lived for twelve short years

Lies awake at night
Distant sound of roadside bomb
Silence is restored

Swerves and then strikes
His explosive-laden car
Gone in a blinding flash

Explosive filled car
Swerves towards the stunned policeman
No chance for goodbyes

The final moment
Look into each others eyes
White of the bombs flash

Forgotten landmine
Sounded like a firecracker
Wakes an amputee

Frightened men react
The innocent pay the price
Poor Jesus still weeps

Download it here:
No way! Go out and buy it to support the band!

Act 2 was Echo and the Bunnymen's Ocean Rain, the 2003 reissue with 8 bonus tracks, several of which were live recordings. As always, I was swept away by their dreamy sound. Earlier in the week, in the quiet of the morning before others awoke, I sat over breakfast with their Seven Seas running endless through my head. As a consequence, I was looking forward to hearing it from beginning to end on this album.

By the end of this evenings show I was dropped back to Earth finding myself standing alongside a rushing creek running down the red rock walled canyon in the pitch black. Crawled into the back of the truck and slept soundly wrapped in my sleeping bag. A very mild night, although I became chilled after standing in the wind blowing down the canyon for so long.

Trapped between his ears
Music's sound so alluring
Echos in his head

He's staring blankly
Sees without his open eyes
Visions in his head

Launched up towards the sky
Spirit rides on musics wings
Drifts amongst the stars

Star lit firmament
Trees stand black against the sky
Canyon's cold wind blows

Download it here:
Ha! Go out and buy it to support the band!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


On Saturday night I drove to turnoff a half mile up the road past the Loveland ski area to park and party on the pass. I wasn't in the mood for a blow out night so my tequila consumption was a fraction of what I might normally do. The next day I had breakfast at the lodge and skied up until 3 PM. A beautiful sunny day, mild temperatures and decent packed powder conditions. When it was time to leave, I was pleasantly surprised to find no serious traffic, all vehicles moving moving at a good pace. The beautiful weather in Denver probably helped to discourage thoughts of skiing for most people.

Spawned by the jet stream
Strong winds play on mountain crest
Swirling plumes of snow

Launched down the ridge line
Approaches the precipice
He sees no bottom

Above the unknown
Skis begin their forward plunge
Makes his leap of faith

Flying down the slope
Feels like a superpower
His mind is airborne

On the drive up I listened to David Lee Roth's 1991 studio release, A Little Ain't Enough. Some good rocking songs, but for me it lacked the pizazz of a Van Halen album. The voice is still strong (much better than what was available on the 2007/08 tour) and his style seems as flamboyant as ever.

This is what is said about this particular release:

"This album was seen as something as a make or break release for Roth after his successful arena tour in support of Skyscraper a few years earlier pretty much sold out in the UK (rightly show as it was a fine spectacle) as well as enabled Roth to return to Donington as part of the 1988 Monsters Of Rock line-up. Gone for this release though was Steve Vai whose technical contributions had so shaped Skyscraper, his place taken instead by Jason Becker on lead guitar duties while Steve Hunter was also recruited for the recordings on rhythm and slide duties, although I recall possibly incorrectly that it was Ron Ricochet, himself occasionally involved on the album session, that took the 2nd guitar duties on the live tour."

"Summary : Far from being a breaker, this album saw Roth continue his roll and again merited an arena tour of the UK. With Vai gone so was much of the flash and this sounds a much more direct album in places. In fact, surprisingly given Roth’s reputation, neither the sleeve or the inner sleeve features a picture of either Roth or the band, the cover going for a devil like figure, the inner sleeve the strange shark pic’, giving the whole package a somewhat darker flavour than the expected Roth style. Ultimately though this album is just as satisfying as Skyscraper, although not up to the level of that superb debut solo full length effort."

For me, it was not satisfying enough to cause me to play it any other time besides when trapped in the truck on a two hour drive into the mountains.

DLR with a young Modonna

The main act for the evening began once parked on my dark roadside camp, bright stars above. I pulled out Echo & The Bunnymen's Ocean Rain, B-Sides/Demos. 16 songs, good recording quality of demos, some live numbers and some of their more rare performances. It's really interesting to hear them go through several variations of one of their best known song The Killing Moon, varying either the style or emphasis to get a different sound for this beautiful song. Creativity in action. I really enjoyed it, enough to play it a second time on the drive back home.

A voice that's golden
Passion felt songs of love
Rising from his soul

Drop in the CD
Indulge in a fantasy
Sings only to me