Monday, June 29, 2009


Slaved away on the house another Saturday, chugging water to stay hydrated. Another wall ripped off and measured. I'm working in zombie mode. The end of the day finds me on the roof enjoying the last rays of the sun, glad to have made it to the end, satisfied with what I've accomplished and enjoying the simple pleasures of life.

Tonight I was going for two short sets. First up was Weezer's gig in Paris, France on February 12, 1995, always referred to as "The Black Sessions". High quality recording with some of the best early songs. This was a radio broadcast so a Frenchman inserts himself in between each song announcing who's playing to the radio audience. This is one of the best sounding recordings of the band I have, the others being distant, muddy and/or with too much audience in the mix. This show was performed long after the release of their debut album (May 10, 1994) of this American alternative rock band, Weezer, often referred to as "The Blue Album". They only got better from this point on.

Nuclear fires rage
Burning silently above
White points in night sky

Download it here:

Next up was Van Halen appearing in the Molson Amphitheater in Toronto on August 19, 1995. Its a great soundboard quality recording. The only problem with it is that its an edited show with only ten songs out of the 17 or more played that evening. But it includes some of their best tunes, although Eddie's solo has been edited out. I no longer have the link for this particular recording, so I threw in the one posted on Guitars 101, identical in every way except it includes five more songs, the whole show being of slightly lower quality than the one I listened to.

I was hoping this would be a short night but that never proves to be the case when Van Halen is on stage. A beautiful night outside!

Shed the tears you cry
Hero's depart one by one
Replaced by mere shadows

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I can't believe how quickly the weeks are whipping by. It's the end of June, less than a month to the New York trip. I'm moving along on the house project faster than I was anticipating as well. More heavy thunderstorms swept through Denver this past week. One struck while at work, what seemed like hurricane force winds pelting the windows with torrential rain. People gathered at the windows to watch the parking lot flood. What they didn't expect was me sneaking up behind them with a cup of water that I hurled onto the glass above their heads, splashing them. A small taste of what was happening outside! My reputation grows.

Two American icons passed away the previous day. Three if you count Ed McMahon. Farrah Fawcett was a beauty who pranced on the television screen, a lustful dream of so many adolescent boys. Michael Jackson fed the air waves with pop music that everyone could dance to, bringing a nation, a world to its feet. Stardom is no protection against the inevitable.

Stepped away from us
To turn and face cold shadows
So far out of reach

Farrah has fallen
True American idol
Her beauty erased

Hides behind the mask
Sign of insecurity
A life of despair

Stardom forgotten
Lone battle just to survive
Watching her suffer

Like water flowing
Swept up in the strong current
Takes us to the end

Awash with talent
Drawn into the fire's spotlight
Victim of our love

Rush of a strong wind
Feels refreshing on our face
Passing through our world

The chill of the night
Feels so pleasant compared to
The cold that awaits

White light in our eyes
Passing from our memory
Record in a book

A flash in our eyes
Beginning always the end
How long can it last?

First up were The Pretenders, appearing in Detroit on April 7, 1984. They were on tour following the release of their third studio album, Learning To Crawl, on January 17, 1984. This album was released after a more than two-year hiatus during which time Pretenders members James Honeymean-Scott and Pete Farndon both died of drug overdoses. An excellent recording, enjoying every minute of the hour they were on stage.

I just found out The Pretenders will be performing here in Denver on August 22nd. I'm guessing Chrissie Hynde is the only original member to be playing these days. I've got to buy a ticket this weekend! There are so many good shows to see this summer.

Download it here:

The pattern these days is for Echo & The Bunnymen, my headliner for the night, to take the stage next. I went back to the beginning and listened to their first album, Crocodiles, the special edition with bonus tracks. A great collection of songs, end with one of my favorite at the end, Over The Wall.

The tequila and cigar combination were for some unknown reason especially potent this evening, kicking my butt really hard. A beautiful night with stars shining through passing clouds. Cool enough to require a jacket to prevent getting chilled. After bothering the computer playing kids with my stinky breath, I dropped into bed by 1:30 AM.

Saw the opening
Reached up and touched white hot stars
Once upon a time

End of the concert
Seeks inanimate support
His firm grip is lost

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I screwed up my back Friday morning while exercising, sharp pain followed by constant aching all day long. This new aliment, along with the other existing aches proves that getting old sucks.

Continuing to work on the house, ready to rip off a new area of siding this weekend. More opportunities for injury.

Looking to something new. This night I decided to go back to 1981. First up was the British rock band The Pretenders, their December 16, 1981 show at the Old Dominion Theater in London. An excellent audience recording of some of their best music from their first two albums. Chrissie was sounding great while the guitar work was superb! A really rocking show. I had forgotten how good they were.

They were gaining in popularity following the release of two studio albums in 1980 and 1981. Their second album, Pretenders II, was release a few months prior to this show. The album would be the final release from the original lineup of the band, as shortly afterword the band would be fractured by the drug abuse that would take the life of guitarist James Honeyman-Scott, leading to a long recording hiatus.

If I remember correctly, I saw the original lineup at SUNY/Stony Brook, in the gym back in February 1982. I was transitioning from one job to another, taking a few months off to hang out at home during the winter. The Pretenders were frequently played on the radio station I listened to while finishing up my masters degree at the the University of Oregon. I liked them back then, I still like them now.

The paths beginning
Has not a care in the world
Felt like forever

Was a time to laugh
A life of youthful squander
But now he's crying

Trapped in this vessel
Spirit striving on clipped wings
Yearning to roam free

Mutiny in progress
A body in rebellion
Breakdown in command

The short horizon
Trees give way to nights stars
No limit above

A world in decay
The worst of us on display
Where are the heroes?

Download it here:
The second show to rock my world this evening was Echo & The Bunnymen, live at the Philadelphia East Side Club On October 15, 1981. A good quality audience recording. Someone in the club was really wanting to hear Over The Wall real bad, repeatedly calling for it towards the end of the show. Since it is a favorite of mine, I was hoping the band would play it too. Alas, they did not.

"Separately, what they're playing didn't seem that great. But somehow , when the four of them touched together, it ignited the blue paper. You could say to them, 'Play A to D' They'd all join in and play A to D, and it would just sound great. The four of them created some kind of chemical reaction." -Mojo, 1997

Song of the parents
Their children taught how to sing
The grand finale

Feet firm on the ground
Eyes looking up to the stars
Sky so far above

Gray hair on his head
Family awaits the end
Young man trapped inside

The whispering pines
Sound that goes on forever
Ears that stop hearing

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Saturday of siding. Measure. Cut. Haul it up the ladder. Check. Haul it down and trim. Haul it back up. Nail it onto the wall. Tap in the nails to just the right depth. Measure the next piece. Repeat over and over again. The rain shower moves in. Put the tools away. Wait. It clears. Haul the tools out again until the next shower moves through. Put the tools away. The sun comes out and continue working. Until shortly before sunset. I'm tired, my body is aching. Repeat on Sunday.

I literally forced myself after dark to load up the flask, grab a cigar and take the CD player outside to listen to Van Halen, their June 2, 2008 show in the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI. The very last show in the 2007/2008 tour. An excellent audience recording. A classic 2008 setlist performed with style, DLR never seeming to shut up during the whole performance except when Alex and Eddie did their solo time on stage.

Late that same evening, John Sinkevics of the Grand Rapid Press wrote:

There was a relaxed, energetic, pressure-free aura to the final show of Van Halen's tour with no special surprise guests or major setlist changes. Instead, the band tore confidently through its biggest hits, from "Runnin' With the Devil" to "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" to "Beautiful Girls" in a show that wasn't so much about the songs as it was about attitude and the way they're played on a loud and proud electric guitar.

Roth, once brutally described by music critic Dave Marsh as "the most obnoxious singer in human history," often lived up to that billing as he strutted the stage in goofy fashion in a loud pink jacket, waddling with a megaphone between his legs, making a "booty call," grabbing his crotch.But even if his voice seemed to lose its luster at times (sometimes even undermixed), Roth also made the perfect over-the-top, rock-star foil to Eddie Van Halen's tattered-jeans-style guitar wizardry, and even showed off some nice vocal chops on "I'll Wait."

Of course, it helps when your lead guitarist is a master of his instrument and seems awfully happy to be so, grinning unabashedly all night long, hopping up and down in red, hightop sneakers, churning out eye-popping, Lamborghini-quick riffs, actually looking healthy.

And there were plenty of father-and-son bonding moments, as Wolfie and his dad sang into the same microphone and traded smirks across the stage.

It all made it seem like there was plenty more life left in this version of Van Halen, even as rumors of another studio album continue to crop up.Roth referred to the band's story as an "epic" and a "saga," with some choice four-letter words thrown in for good measure.

"Hopefully, it won't be too long before we see you all along the road again," Roth declared.

So maybe Grand Rapids isn't the end of the line after all.

By the end of the show at midnight the exhaustion nearly put me to sleep, right there outside, body resting on the truck. By that time the Patron was simply a sedative. I craved sleep, dropping in bed as soon as the music stopped, filthy from sweat and saw dust from cutting siding all day.

The chain gangs hammer
His self imposed enslavement
Suffers aches and pains

Look to the heavens
Familiar friends have returned
One more year closer

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I can't believe how quickly the weeks are passing by! It seems like before I know it Friday comes around and the fun happens late in the evening. This Friday was especially enjoyable because I had lunch with another avid Echo & The Bunnymen fan, followed by a late afternoon cigar with a buddy close to home. The Parker Days Festival was happening only a block away, the sounds of live music drifting in the air as we sat smoking on his porch, watching the people streaming towards the music and carnival rides. A busy week of wild weather, thunder storms generating heavy hail and tornadoes.

Friday night saw me pull out a pair of what are becoming old favorites. First up was an FM radio broadcast of Nirvana playing live in Bremen, Germany on August 27, 1991. Although its an FM broadcast, the recording is in mono, but it's excellent quality. This particular show took place shortly before the September 24, 1991 release of Nevermind, their second studio album. That's why during the show Kurt proclaims "some new stuff". When Nevermind reached number one in January 1992, Billboard proclaimed, "Nirvana is that rare band that has everything: critical acclaim, industry respect, pop radio appeal, and a rock-solid college/alternative base." A great rock performance.

Tonight's performance was nearly ruined when thoughts of work intruded, the sense of frustration welling up inside me. A couple of haiku's and it was out of my system.

Feels it all at once
Bright sunlight on the counter
The essence of life

Signs begging for help
There on every street corner
People abandoned

Nothing we can do
Trapped behind their ignorance
Fire barely contained

Rule with such confidence
With supreme incompetence
The king has no clothes

Download it here:

Next up was Echo & The Bunnymen, their live performance at the Berlin Kantkino, also in Germany, on June 15, 1981. This show followed the release of Heaven Up Here, their second album, released in 30 May 1981. In June 1981, Heaven Up Here became Echo & the Bunnymen's first Top 10 release when it rocketed to number 10 on the UK Album charts. During the show Ian speaks very little, just matter of factly giving song titles before they perform. An excellent quality recording, although Show of Strength was messed up digitally. I need to check to see whether its my version or the one available for download off the web.

"Liverpool's finest continue to sing the blues, continue to devote themselves to the glossy celebration of existential sadness. Heaven Up Here offers an anatomy of melancholy, resplendent with the glamour of doom." - Record Mirror, 1981

The bands performance this evening was not particularly remarkable, Ian's in particular, and I question whether they may have had one too many "beveys" prior to the show.

Tossing and turning
A dream wanting to awake
Freed by saying "yes"

Standing in the rain
Night sky lit by white flashes
Mind so far away

Do we remember?
The gift lies over the wall
Climb to my rescue

His sound dominates
William rocks the house
He leads, we follow