Sunday, August 23, 2009

NO PRETENDING WITH THE PRETENDERS

The summer concert series continues with a trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens open space area near Chatfield Reservoir right up against the foothills. The line up for this evenings event were Juliette Lewis, Cat Power with the headliner being The Pretenders. A beautiful day with the music beginning at 4 PM and The Pretenders playing at 6:30 for no less than an hour and a half.

Juliette Lewis, American actress and musician, performed her style of rock on stage for a half hour, warming up the slowly gathering crowd. In 2006,Blender Magazine included her in their hottest women of rock music list while saying, "[She] delivered sonically varnished melodic punk replete with purring vocals and lyrics that bash porn, pharmaceutical companies and rotten lovers. (in no particular order)".

This is what she recently said about Van Halen:

“When I was 13 and I saw Van Halen’s “Panama” video, I was blown away. When Roth is crawling toward the camera singing, “I reach down between my legs and ease the seat back,” I was like, “Holy crap! I want to be that guy.”
Cat Power is the stage name of American singer/songwriter Chan Marshall. She is known for her minimalist style, sparse guitar and piano playing, and breathy vocals. She kept the crowds entranced with some of her original songs sprinkled with many cover tunes from other artists, done in a unique way that made it difficult to tell who's song she was singing. You can tell she had some real fans in the crowd.


But the moment I was waiting for was for Chrissie Hynde to take the stage and perform her high octane blend of punk/new wave to an enthusiastic audience. She both looked and sounded great, even though 28 years had elapsed since I last saw her in New York. The crowd really showed their appreciation when she performed many of her well loved classics from the 80's, everyone getting up on their feet to dance. She can still kick ass.

The Pretenders' album Breaking Up The Concrete was released on October 7, 2008. It was their first Top 40 album in the U.S. in 22 years. The "Break Up The Concrete Tour" began in mid-January and covered most of the United States, with shows until the end of March. It then continued in Europe, with gigs in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Holland, France, Spain, Belgium, Scotland and England during the months of June and July, before returning for a new tour in Canada and the U.S. during August and September 2009. The work they put in on the tour showed this evening with a superb performance.







It's always a let down when the music comes to an end. The crowd disperses, the roadies begin to disassemble the stage. A line of red tail lights snakes out of the parking lot up towards the highway. I set up my lawn chair in the back of the truck with the stereo on loud, playing a live performance of The Pretenders back in 1981. To be honest, there was very little difference in quality between what I heard on the stereo from back in the day and what I heard this evening. A very memorable and truly enjoyable show. Can't wait for the bootleg recording.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

WAITED FOR THE DAY

Not only was it a Friday night, but the day before a concert to see another favorite band, The Pretenders. Not wanting to overdo it, I chose only one bootleg CD for the evening, a recent acquisition of a Van Halen III era concert. The first 8 tracks were recorded live in Sydney at the 10 Spot on April 20, 1998, the last 4 tracks recorded live in Melbourne, Australia on April 17, 1998. My evening started off with the last 4 tracks, a good audience recording in mono, to get in the groove, followed by closing the show with the first 8 tracks which were excellent quality and in stereo. Whoever created this bootleg recording messed with the sound, jacking up the volume every time the audience cheered, to a ear splitting volume.

Van Halen III era recordings are relatively rare so I look forward to any opportunity to acquire one. After seeing Gary Chereone/Extreme at the Ogden Theater last month, I could easily imagine him moving all over the stage.

This is the 3rd version of the Sydney show that I have, one of the best recordings from this era. None of my versions are of the entire show from beginning to end. Hoping that one day I find it.


Runs to the dark edge
Following the golden light
Laughing as he falls

Run from the giant
Crushed by monsters footsteps
Pain on small faces

Our youth sacrificed
In distant far off places
Hear the nation cry

Our shiny mirror
Hides a war not going well
Comfort that sedates

Curse of the insane
Distant leaders push their plan
"Lets try it once again?"

Lost so far from home
A piece of America
Soaks into the sand

The facade crumbles
No moral majority
White faces screaming

Clueless people yell
Clucking hysterically
Clandestine white fears

Download it here:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

GREEN DAY ROCKS DENVER

I took family and friends to see Green Day perform at the Pepsi Center here in Denver this Saturday night. We had dinner at Lola's in NW Denver and then cruised over to the Pepsi Center where I was able to sneak in both my camera (only cell phone cameras allowed) and an evenings supply of liquid gold. Franz Ferdinand kicked off the show with a short warm up act. Although I'm not familiar with the band, the songs were very recognizable as one I enjoy listening to when they come on the radio, such as "No You Girls You Never Know" and "Take me Out".


Green Day began their show shortly after 8 PM and stayed on stage for over 2 hours, performing numbers off their latest album as well as old classics. An incredibly great, high energy performance before a packed house. We had unobstructed views looking down on the stage from the edge of the 3rd level balcony, where we stood the whole show and danced to the loud music. The event staff person "patrolling" our are asked me 3 times to cease using the camera, but by then I had taken all the pictures I needed. I had also finished off the tequila so there was no fear of losing that if searched.

Here are comments by people who attended the show posted to the Denver Post review (http://www.denverpost.com/entertainment/ci_13133333) said about the show:

"Billie Joe is nothing short of a musical genius and a brilliant showman. I can't imagine any other band working as hard as they do to entertain their fans. We were blown away by the fact that they took the time and trouble to play some of their "old-school hits" for those of us who had never had the pleasure of seeing them live before. For "young boomers" like us, who grew up with the Beatles, the Stones, Led Zep, and the punk bands of the '70s and '80s, it was blissful to hear an American band that synthesizes all of the great elements of rock from the past 50 years. These guys aren't even in their 40s yet, and they are already American classics."

"Without a doubt one of the high energy shows of this or any year. Everyone was up on their feet right from the opening song and like the band no one took a break for the next two and a half hours. Green Day was on their game and Billie Joe Armstrong knows how to work a crowd! A classic Saturday Night take no prisoners concert!!"

"Great Great Great concert! Billie Joe Armstrong is a fantastic front man. He really knows how to capture a crowd and keep them with him the whole night. I too loved when he got the 12 year old boy on stage to play Jesus of Suburbia. It was great how he stayed with him and helped him work it out. The kid did a magnificent job on his own! It was an awesome night. I will be there for the next tour too!"










Friday, August 7, 2009

WANDERING NEW YORK'S CANYONS

A day was spent visiting an old friend I've known since high school. It's becoming a tradition for us to watch David Lynch's 1997 surreal horror movie Eraserhead. Watching it for the first time is a shock, but with each viewing more attention can be spent trying to interpret the symbolism of events that make up this nightmarish movie. I returned to Long Island by train the following day.




video
It is also a tradition to spend at least one day visiting Manhattan, even though I'd much rather spend it relaxing on the beach. I took my son in to the city while my daughter went in with her cousin. She spent the day wandering Times Square and taking in a Broadway play. My son and I accomplished several different things: visited the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum located in the USS Intrepid, a 1943 air craft carrier docked on the Hudson River; visited the National Museum of the American Indian; had a relaxing ride on the Staten Island ferry; had a lite dinner at a restaurant in the South Street Seaport; walked midway across the Brooklyn Bridge to enjoy a cigar and the view during sunset. This last activity was fun, not only for the views of the surrounding city skyline, but it is a great place to people watch as a steady stream of people and bicyclists come out to also enjoy the warm summer evening.

After a day in the city I'm tired of it. The running around, all the people, the constant noise, the stinky air, and the heat. You can probably bake a pizza in the heat of the subway system, although the trains are comfortably air conditioned. Returned to our home base late that evening.













Jostling people
Wander the metropolis
Everyone alone

Youthful bravery
Lacks the lesson learned to late
That we all can die

Crows calling loudly
Pass overhead on their way
Flying through our lives

Sleep with the sorrow
Fondly dreams of the past
Wakes to loneliness

Big house by the lake
The family has long since gone
Rooms that lay empty

Another virtual concert late on a warm summer evening, the first being Van Halen's August 26/27,1986 show in New Haven, Connecticut, fondly referred to as "New Halen" throughout the concert. An excellent soundboard recording, a great performance by a reinvigorated band now that Sammy Hagar was on tour for the first time as their lead vocalist. A really rocking show, Eddie and Sammy playing off one another as they dominate the performance. Compare this show to the ones with David Lee Roth in 1984 and you can clearly hear the difference in style and quality. They took it up a notch and the albums they produced from 5150 on all went to number one on the charts. This is one of the best recordings from that first tour.

The final countdown
His dizzied rocket ascent
Into the black hole

The peasants listen
Princes and Princesses bow
King Edward's guitar





Next up was Echo & The Bunnymen appearing live at the Mont-de-Marsan Arena in France on August 10, 1984. A superb performance and excellent soundboard recording from a time when they were at their best. I can't stand still when their music fills my ears, dancing in darkened street on this humid summer evening.

Download it here: