Tuesday, September 29, 2009


A day spent putting finishing touches on the house siding project: touching up spots, small areas of trim, final painting (front) and polyurethaneing (back) the front door. The project is in its final stage. A roll-off has been ordered and the trash pile will soon be gone. Hallelujah!

Saturday night was spent with Van Halen performing at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angles, CA on July 24, 1988. The sound was a B quality audience recording with considerable audience noise, straining to hear what Sammy had to say on stage. This is the second night they were at the coliseum, a problem on the first night causing Sammy to pledge that they were going to perform better and longer. According to reports , the audience at one of the LA shows (the day before?) tried to rush the stage and over 200 police officers were used to control the crowd.

A very pleasant evening outside. I was a bit more relaxed knowing there were no big accomplishments scheduled for the next day. A bright first quarter moon lit the sky overhead.

Monday, September 28, 2009


The week ended on a downer, events at wthe office making me wonder whether the people who we work with are on our side or not. Problems arising both internal to the organization as well as from outside. But looking forward to a weekend of drudgery working on the house effectively pushed all that nonsense aside. Ha, ha, ha... Especially since it was Friday night and music was in the air!

The bright spot was that after an agonizing time trying to say yes or no, I took the plunge, finally deciding to go to Liverpool.

As has been the case for some time, two shows were planned for this cool evening. The first was with The Pretenders, appearing live at Glastonbury on June 25, 1994. An excellent audience recording. I'm not sure what it was but the sound during the first half of the show seemed to lack the crisp, sharp edges of the guitars so characteristic of their sound, making me wonder whether it was due to the other performers on stage with Chrissie. Wikipedia says:

By 1993, Hynde had teamed with ex-Katydids guitarist Adam Seymour to form a new version of the Pretenders. The team of Hynde and Seymour then hired a number of session musicians to record Last of the Independents that year (released May 10, 1994), including ex-Smiths bassist Andy Rourke. But by the end of the album sessions (and for the subsequent tour) the official band line-up was Hynde, Seymour, bassist Andy Hobson, and returning drummer Martin Chambers.
So the peculiar sound may have attributable to the band's lineup at that time.

An endless parade
Soldiers on the TV screen
Faces of the dead

Tossing and turning
Pursued by his fevered dreams
Jumps off the minds edge

A love so precious
Inhabiting our small lives
Saddened by the loss

Download it here:

Next up were Echo & The Bunnymen appearing live at the SXSW festival on March 21, 2009 at the Bat Bar in Austin, TX. An excellent soundboard recording, or close to it. They all perform flawlessly, putting on a great performance. Ian's voice sounded really good considering its 2009. During his stage banter with the audience, when you can understand it, he mentions that they were asked to perform for 42 minutes. "Can ya make it 42 minutes long? What else is 42 minutes long? Ah, oh, ah."

Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News wrote:

Certainly much of the arty nonchalance, the elegant despair and the graceful melancholy at the heart of Echo & the Bunnymen can be credited to lead singer-songwriter Ian McCulloch. Onstage Saturday afternoon at the Bat Bar inside the Austin Convention Center, McCulloch led his four Bunnymen cohorts through an hour's worth of familiar songs during the band's return engagement to South by Southwest. The SXSW Live taping - yes, large cameras took up valuable space in an already overcrowded room - encapsulated the Bunnymen magic. McCulloch, dressed in black with dark sunglasses, epitomized the new romantic British movement from which the band emerged. Angst, psychedelia, new wave and anthem rock played into cheered-on staples "Seven Seas," "Bring On the Dancing Horses," "Nothing Lasts Forever," "The Killing Moon" and of course "Lips Like Sugar." McCulloch, an expert at brooding resignation, can now be definitely seen as one of the architects of the sound that would influence big bands of today such as Coldplay, the Killers and Radiohead.

The second coming
Fans wait in expectation
Never to arrive

Bunnymen’s mirage
Their shimmering illusion
Dust in empty hands

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Saturday night after a long day spent stripping paint off the pair of doors found at the main entrance of our house. I'm hoping that by next weekend I will have both painted a cranberry red or bright maroon color that will contrast nicely with the olive green paint on the new siding with the reddish brown trim accents. The eye popping contrast will be very similar to the picture of Wembley Stadium in London above. After the mind-numbing task of stripping paint off a pair of 15 panel doors and all its detail, I was ready to party.

First up was Van Halen's performance at Wembley Stadium in London, opening up for Bon Jovi (seen above). Amazing, Van Halen opening up for someone else! Not since 1978 had they done that! The idea was that by performing with Bon Jovi in Eurpoe Van Halen might tap into both his popularity and younger audience. It had been many years since Van Halen played in Europe, performing fewer than 20 dates in the past 10 years. Although they opened 24 shows for Bon Jovi near the beginning of their Balance tour, the lack of reaction from the crowd disturbed Eddie and put him in a funk, turning to the bottle for comfort.

According to Ian Criste:

During the European Trek with Bon Jovi, Alex was shocked when a fan asked after the concert if they had any other records besides Balance. "This tour is a rock and roll band and a bunch of posers," he told a German paper. "We indeed play the same venues Bon Jovi plays, but we simply wanted to play in front of as many people as possible. The sad thing about it is that he, Bon Jovi, tries to get some credibility out of it."

This is the only recording I have of their time in Europe during the Balance tour (with the exception of the pre tour show in Holland back in January, the "Secret Gig"). An excellent recording of their short time on stage, playing several of their best known songs. A very tight performance with Eddie dominating one side and Sammy on the other. I only wish it were a standard Balance tour show that went on for 2 hours.

Hold their screaming signs
Rigormortis of the mind
Mouth theater's script

Say he's the leader
Bible's savior in white robe
Put on their peaked hoods

Cherish their freedom
Scream for fabled liberty
Moved about like pawns

Selfish ignorance
Loud anger in their voices
Watch the sky turn black

Next up was Echo & The Bunnymen performing live at the Savoy in New York city on April 1, 1984. Another excellent recording of a classic post-Porcupine 1984 show just before they released Ocean Rain (May 8, 1984). I wonder who that guy, Mike, is who got caught with a potted plant that Ian talks about. I had tried listening to this show a couple times while visiting my sister in New York this past summer, but part way into the show I realized I was too exhausted from an active day at the beach, cutting it short in an effort to get some sleep in my tent pitched in the back yard.

I swayed to the music late into the night on this cool summer evening. Not looking forward to a second day of sanding doors in preparation for painting.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


The last planned show of the summer concert season happened this Friday night at the Fillmore Auditorium in downtown Denver. Headlining the show was Chickenfoot, a new hard rock band led by former Van Halen lead vocalist Sammy Hagar. With him are solo artist Joe Satriani (guitar), Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and former Van Halen bass player Michael Anthony. The band released their self-titled debut album, Chickenfoot, on June 5, 2009, this being part of the tour to promote themselves and the album.

Michael Anthony asserts that the bands name originated from initial jam sessions between Hagar, Smith and himself: "there are three talons on a chicken’s foot and there [were] three of us." Later Anthony stated: "it was just supposed to be a bullshit name that we’d used for a while, and then [when] the rumours spread about the band, everybody used that name so we thought, "fuck it, let’s call it Chickenfoot" - it all comes down to the music anyway."

People showed up early for the sold out show, a line snaking around the block, waiting for the doors to open at 7 PM. Those people wanting to purchase alcoholic beverages waited in a second line to get ID'ed and tagged. Not me, as I was serving myself.

Opening for Chickenfoot were Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam, a bluesy rock sound that really got the audience going. In June 2009, Joe Satriani described Davy as his "new favourite modern-day bluesman" in a Playlist article in the Sunday Times.

The place really began rocking when Chickenfoot took the stage. Sammy once again proved why he such a great front man with his down to earth style, a true love for what he's doing and his appreciation of the support of his fans. He sounded great and was all over the stage, enjoying every minute of it with his band members. Chad was the crazy man that set the beat. Michael still knows how to lay down the groove and provide backup vocals. Joe is a great guitar player with a sound that really made the songs pop. Watch out Eddie!

I was just a few heads from the edge of the stage with great views of the action. These general admission shows in small venues are the best because its easy to get in real close. Drum sticks were flying through the air into the audience, guitar pics following. Although packed in a crowd up front, there was plenty of room for me to dance to the music (or the people around me moved away from this crazy dude!). By the end of the show I was drenched with sweet from the heat of the crowd and my dancing to their great sound. As always, I was very enthusiastic when it came to cheering the band on. The people around me were probably thinking "WTF!" at my very loud support. I don't feel sorry for the people standing in front of me.

It's always a let down when the band takes its final bow and the lights are turned on. Fortunately I've figured out how much tequila is needed to put me at the edge and safely bring me back before the end of the show. No memory lapse. Getting home was no problem and I was in bed by 1 AM.

Although not the Denver show, here's a sample of what it was like. Download Chickenfoot's August 10, 2009 show in St. Paul Minnesota: