Thursday, July 23, 2009


The summer concert season began this past Wednesday night when I attended the show at the Odgen Theater in downtown Denver. Playing this evening, in order, were Swirl (rock band from Los Angeles), Extreme (rock band out of Massachusetts) and Ratt (heavy metal band out of San Diego). I was there strictly for Extreme, headed by frontmen Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt, a band that reached the height of their popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Gary was also lead vocalist for Van Halen for three years until the band let him go following the 1998 VHIII tour.

Had dinner at a nearby restaurant and arrived at the theater by 7:30 for the loud opening act, Swirl, pumping up the crowd. The tequila I carried in was also both warming and loosening me up. Extreme followed with both Gary and Nuno on center stage, putting on a great show. What was nice was that this is a relatively small theater and getting up close was fairly easy. Gary was all over the stage, just like in Van Halen days, sweat pouring off him as a result of the poor air circulation in the building and his dancing around the stage. The crowd was wildly exuberant. I contributed to the loud cheering and whistling, probably ruining eardrums in the heads of people in front of me.

I pretty much finished the half liter of tequila by the time Ratt showed up on stage. Good, an opportunity to "dry out". They too put on a good show, although by that point I had seen what I wanted and I simply let the music take over, in a sense checking out.

What now follows is a trip to New York with the kids, visiting my two sisters, hanging out at the beach. More concerts follow: Echo & The Bunnymen (August 2), Green Day (August 15), The Pretenders (August 22), Blink 182 with Weezer (September 6), The Killers (September 9) and Chickenfoot (September 11). This should be a very fun second half to the summer!

Lots of crappy pictures. At first I thought it was the tequila affecting the steadiness of hand and eye. But no, its my daughters Kodak piece of junk. With all the shows coming up, I bit the bullet and shelled out a good sum of money for a nice pocket camera.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Compared to past weekends, this one was down right relaxing. All I needed to do on the house was put up a few last pieces of trim, and I was essentially done, except for the painting later in the summer. There is one small section of wall above the roof line that needs to be completed, but I'm waiting for the birds inhabiting the wall to vacate their home before I tear off and replace that siding.

I went to a friends house later that evening for his wife's birthday party. Margaritas, good Mexican food and fine company. I returned home sometime around 9 PM, racing down the darkened county line road. The Douglas County sheriff pulled me over for going 60 in a 40 mph zone, but he was kind and let me go with a warning when I explained my wife left me to take care of a neurotic dog now sitting alone at home.

I had time enough this evening to pull out a bootleg concert of Van Halen's live performance on May 11, 1984 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. This was their third and final night in San Francisco with David Lee Roth, never to return, not even during their 2007-2008 reunion tour. The closest they got in 2007 was Oakland, CA across the bay.

A very good audience recording, the band ripping through their very long music set. An enthusiastic audience. Dave is kind of singing. Eddie muscles his way through the songs, lacking the finesse of later years.

During the lull in Everybody Wants Some, Dave does his usual rap with the audience. He just kept on going and going and going. I think the other guys in the band were growing tired of his endless gibbering that they cut him off by starting up the music to finish playing the last part of the song.

A day that marks time
Measured in decades elapsed
Old, but still a babe

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I looked forward to Friday night, not only for the music, but simply knowing that the worst of the siding project was behind me. All I had to look forward these next two days was nailing up a few pieces of trim and then caulking the joints between pieces of siding and other key areas. Easy stuff.

Friday night was clear and comfortably cool. A great time to be outdoors. The two shows I planned to listen to were of excellent quality so I switched back to the headphones for maximum effect.

Wanted to try something different and went for Goldfinger, the pop Punk / ska band out of Los Angeles. I've always liked their sound, and lament the fact that they don't come around often for live concerts, or when they did I was unavailable to attend. First up tonight is their live performance in June of 2001 in the UK, a show entitled Foot In Mouth. This title must come from the fact that the band members playfully joke amongst themselves and the audience between each song throughout the show.

"We've been in your beautiful country England for about five days now. The other day we stopped at a truck stop and Darrin, our drummer, orders fish and chips and then he asks, a true story, and then he asks "Do French fries come with that?"

An excellent soundboard recording to their live performance.

Seething fire within
Way beyond all control
Releases his grip

Feeling like a pawn
Lost, confused in the middle
Watches giant battle

Lifetime of building
So carefully assembled
Then it falls apart

Once sheltered within
Unbreakable confidence
The shell is cracking

Download it here:

Next up was another excellent recording of Echo & The Bunnymen's live performance at La Zona Rosa in Austin, TX on June 17, 2006. Not much more to say other than they perform well, Ian's voice hangs in there, although its a bit rough in spots, and they cover all their best material right up through their most recent release Siberia which came out the year before.
In bed by sometime after midnight. Nice knowing there was no grueling project awaiting me the following day.

Endless waves approach
Each one crests and then they fall
Vanish without a trace

Green growing slowly
Foundations paper is lost
Amidst all the red

High pinpoint of light
Moves across the darkened sky
Yellowed clouds drifting

Cutting so deeply
There's no make up and forget
Bandage as a mask

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


This was the long awaited weekend with the biggest residing project planned. The last big wall to be replaced was the one with all the electrical panels and poles attached to the side of the house. They turned the power off Friday at noon and I almost immediately began ripping the two service panels, the meter box and power pole off the house. I had to label everything meticulously if I had any chance of putting it all together again in the same exact way.

Saturday was spent ripping off the siding, measuring locations of every stud and then covering the wall with a protective, waterproof Tyvek sheeting. Sunday saw me reside the entire wall. I had a scare of as darkness was descending, believing I may have accidentely shot a nail into a wire bundle buried in the wall. Fortunately all was well. Monday was spent reassembling all the service panels, the meter box and power pole. A very heavy rain struck in the afternoon, bringing it all to a temporary halt, fearing I would run out of time. Tuesday I stuck around to watch the power company come out and turn the electricity back on, crossing my fingers there were no problems. Everything worked perfectly in the house! I was essentially done with the residing for the summer, the painting could wait another month while I now went out to play. Concert season is approaching!

96 hours without electricity and water. By Monday night I was filthy and exhausted. It was a pleasure to take a shower after four days of crawling behind a large hedge and working under a burning sun. The daily afternoon thunder showers stopped all work, but it was an opportunity to lay down and rest with eyes closed, waiting to resume work after the rain had passed by late afternoon.

Hands craft something new
In unknown territory
Hoping for the best

After ripping all the electrical off the wall by Friday night, I was feeling relieved that this long dreaded project had begun. So I was feeling relatively good and wanted to celebrate with music in the usual way: loud, with a cigar and tequila.

David Bowie started off the set with his July 13, 1983 show in Montreal, Canada. A flawless soundboard recording from finish to end. With 10 band members supporting him, David's sound was rich and well orchestrated. This show was performed 3 months after his Let's Dance studio album came out. Wikipedia correctly notes that it was during this time period that Bowie went from superstar to megastar. It goes on to note:

"Bowie scored his first truly commercial blockbuster with Let's Dance in 1983, a slick dance album co-produced by Chic's Nile Rodgers. The title track went to #1 in the United States and United Kingdom. The album also featured the singles "Modern Love" and "China Girl", the latter causing something of a stir due to its suggestive promotional video."

A long double CD got me dancing under the beautiful moonlight.

Looks down from the stars
Distant street once familiar
Peers into the past

The bellowing cows
Massed herd slowly moves as one
To the slaughter house

Hail the tank man!
Lonely act of defiance
Stares down the giant

Download it here:

Ever since day one
Always race against the clock
To the finish line

As is the usual pattern, next up was Echo & The Bunnymen's March 30, 1984 live show in Boston, MA. Another excellent recording and performance. One of the best Bunnymen shows I've listened to. I was really grooving to the beat by this point in the evening, having to make a trip back into the blackened house by flashlight in order to take an extra swig from the bottle (the Bowie show was really long!). A superb performance by all the band to an enthusiastic crowd shouting out their favorite songs they hope will be played next. I don't know what it is but the lull in the song Thorn of Crowns always seems to elicit some laughter in the crowd.

A beautiful, cool evening under the moon. I could not help but be drawn back to the house, waiting to get on with the task of finishing it as quickly as possible. Although I went to sleep late that night, I was up by 6:30 AM, had a quick breakfast and had the generator roaring by 7. I'm sure the neighbors loved that pattern for the next 3 days.

Chaos on the ground
Oblivious to it all
Moon rides its slow arc

Counting life's decades
Trees standing for centuries
Light shone for billions

Sees with his eyes closed
Its light shines later each night
Circles endlessly

Songs that elevate
His heart and soul are flying
Sees the gates of heaven

Carried far away
Holds onto something solid
Finding reality

Something precious lost
Deep emptiness in the soul
Life of loneliness

Pick it off here:

Monday, July 6, 2009


Guess what I did on Friday and Saturday of this holiday weekend? Residing the house. That and only that. Well, except for the music, cigar and tequila Saturday night on the Fourth of July.

A very unusual beginning to the summer, almost daily thundershowers that bring heavy rain. The pattern repeats itself each day this weekend: partly cloudy in the morning, clouds build, blossom into full fledged thunderstorms and the downpour begins by mid to late afternoon. In years past there was always the danger of fireworks igniting brush or forest fires, but this year everything is so damp that one would find it very difficult to start a fire. A good year for the sale of fireworks.

Friday brought one of the heaviest rains I've seen in the 10 years living in this house. So much that the rain gutters flooded and the water came pouring straight off the roof. For the first time in 10 years the wind forced rain into to the house, drips falling off the wood paneled ceiling of the living room. It's entering the house through a section of siding I have yet to replace. The rain washed gully's through the gravel in the driveway. It was really intense to hear the heavy drumming on the roof.

The same pattern repeated itself on Saturday, Independence Day. Like clock work the storm built and dumped on us, lacking the wind and intensity of the previous day. But the storm was heavy enough to cause runoff to form a creek in the drainage running through our property. Frigid water that had fallen from thousands of feet, if not a few miles, above us in the thunderhead.

All this rain has turned the landscape a vibrant green. The trees are very healthy looking. The grass needs to be mowed again. The weeds are loving it.
All this rain is interrupting my ability to get in a full day of work before sunset. With heavy downpours like what we had these last two days, there's no way to continue working afterwards because everything is soaked. Progress slows.

But the storms passed by sunset, allowing all the planned fireworks displays to proceed without interruption. My wife and son disappeared without my knowing it, having gone down to Parker to see the show. I'm not into professionally done shows. I'd much rather dig out my big box of fireworks and put on my own show, something forbidden in years past due to fire danger.

I step outside and am surprised at the sound of explosions all around, both near and far. Like a war zone, a firefight happening nearby. Around 9 PM I drove out to my party spot out on the prairie, far away from homes to crank up the music on the truck stereo. Bursting fireworks lit up the sky over Denver, star bursts of colored light, spheres of red, green, yellow and white. A brilliant moon overhead. I brought some fireworks of my own to play with once solidly inebriated.

Nirvana kicked off the nights show, performing live at Nakano-Sunplaza, in Tokyo, Japan on February 19, 1992. Excellent recording of some of their best work. I noticed that Kurt Cobain's voice was a bit rough from the beginning. Turns out that he was experiencing a bit of the flu. This is what he says to his audience:

"So about two days ago I got sick. I got this really bad cold, you know, like a flu, an illness, whatever. And uh, the doctor gave me this stuff to drink and I think its Chinese herbs, and it has cow sperm in it and its got, like, lizard penis scrapings. And uh, I still feel really sick but it makes me feel good to know I've been drinking cow seaman."

Lord of the darkness
Alone in the firmament
No one dares approach

Self absorbed millions
Their two dimensional lives
Their world is still flat

A world that burning
It's everyman for themselves
Drinking the Kool-Aid

Download it here:

Next up was Van Halen, appearing live at the Selland Arena in Fresno, CA on September 22, 1978, the warm-up band for Black Sabbath. At this early stage in their career they were becoming seasoned musicians, having been on the road performing almost continuously since March of that same year, including a tour overseas to Europe and Japan. Dave is perfecting his routine. Eddie burns down the house with those fingers. A good recording of their show on their home turf in California. I have another recording of the same show, but which includes Black Sabbath that follows Van Halen. I'd love to see the contrast in their live performances.

By the time I was done it was close to midnight. The fireworks were largely done, the only bursts of light being shot locally from homes on the surrounding prairie.