Monday, September 27, 2010


I decided to take a little time off from both work and the house, heading up to Aspen Wednesday night with the plan to hike the 28 mile long four pass loop in the nearby mountains. It traverses over four high passes (each above 12,400 feet), crosses many streams, travels through several stunning basins, much of it above timberline, and yields awesome views of the highest peaks in the Elk Range. Four days set aside to complete this solo backpack trip, with the added goal of climbing 14,092 foot tall Snowmass Mountain. The weather started off threatening with light rain that turned to scattered snow showers, but that cleared up by the first evening, yielding beautiful blue skies, warm days and mild evenings.

Upon my arrival in Aspen on Wednesday, I chose to set up for the evening in the parking lot of the recreation center, cranking up the tunes and lighting up a cigar, far enough away from nearby homes so as not attract the attention of the police.

Considering the the time of night, there was only one performance, Echo & The Bunnymen's show on November 27, 2008 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. Excellent recording from their "Ocean Rain" tour, playing their fourth album in it's entirety, along with many of their favorite classics. This show was about a month after having seen them in Los Angles, my first failed effort at bootlegging a live show.

This is what the local paper had to say about the show:

It's good to know that love can last the distance. And last night, at the ECHO arena, Liverpool showed its affair with Echo And the Bunnymen is as passionate as ever.

Thirty years since the band began, the Bunnymen’s live performance of Ocean Rain had been mooted as one of the must-see events of Liverpool’s year in the sun.
And quite rightly so.

The seminal 1984 album has been hailed as one of the finest pieces of work ever to grace two sides of vinyl.
And to hear it played in its entirety, with an orchestra, was always going to be something special.

But there was more. Following a support slot by Glaswegian bright young things Glasvegas the first half of the show was the band’s greatest hits, showcasing the great Bring on the Dancing Horses, Lips Like Sugar and Nothing Lasts Forever.

Peering through the omnipresent dry ice, Ian McCulloch was on form – one part Lou Reed, one part Oliver Reed, with a bit of Jim Morrison thrown in for good measure.

Thirty years since he and Will Sergeant met at Eric’s his voice is slightly more gravelly, his chuckle a tone lower. But he is unfeasibly cool, the inspiration for a whole generation of new artists.

With a back catalogue like that, it’s not hard to see why.

They defined the sound and atmosphere of the early 1980s with their hard-edged post-punk and dreamy melodic Doors-esque psychedelia.

Then, after an interval, came the sublime Ocean Rain.
The packed arena crowd lapped up every line.

As the haunting strains of Silver, Ocean Rain and The Killing Moon rang out, you could see every face in the crowd mouthing the words.

“It may not be the best album ever made,” proclaimed McCulloch between songs.

“But it’s a pretty good one.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Ancient sea exposed
Its inhabitants long gone
And soon so shall we

Green turns brilliant gold
Leaves carpet the forest floor
It snowed this morning

One piece at a time
Chips and flakes litter their feet
The mountains crumble

A beast of burden
In search of joyful beauty
Self inflicted pain

Autumn has arrived
The flowers have all turned brown
Seeds drift on the breeze

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Another busy week come to an end, with one of my staff finding greener pastures in someone elses work unit. The challenge begins finding a suitable replacement.

Friday night found me attending the wedding of a friend's son, a great guy who I've known from birth. Wow, doesn't that make me feel old! A fun celebration with friends I have not seen in ages. Rather than risk the long drive back home, I simply crashed in the back of the truck for the night, returning home the following morning.

Saturday and Sunday were spent working on the room again. Two coats of stain on Saturday, two coats of polyurethane on Sunday. Long days sniffing fumes. The worst is over and the end is in sight.

Saturday night found me on the prairie with the stereo cranked. What was surprising was that two vehicles passed my location even though I was in this secluded cul de sac in the middle of no where. Where did they think they were going?

First up was Stiff Little Fingers, live in Sao Paulo on July 7, 2000. Wikipedia describes them as a Northern Irish Punk band from Belfast, formed, in 1977, at the height of the troubles. They started out as a schoolboy band called Highway Star (named after the Deep Purple song), doing rock covers, until they discovered punk. They split up after six years and four albums, although they reformed five years later, in 1987. Despite major personnel changes, they are still touring and recording as of 2010.

After listening to the hour long recording, I was uninspired, nothing drawing my attention as being catchy or memorable. I gave it my best shot and it appears to lead nowhere.

The main act of the evening was Nirvana's Nevermind, their second studio album released on September 24, 1991. It is a kick ass album packed with some of their best tunes. Stiff Little Fingers faded rapidly from my mind when the first few chords of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" are heard. Kurt Cobain was a genius. You can sense that when he sings he's putting heart and soul into the lyrics and guitar playing. What a performer!

Wikipedia says:

Despite low commercial expectations by the band and its record label, Nevermind became a surprise success in late 1991, largely due to the popularity of its first single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit". By January 1992, it had replaced Michael Jackson's album Dangerous at number one on the Billboard charts. The Recording Industry Association of America has certified the album ten times platinum (10 million copies shipped). Nevermind was responsible for bringing alternative rock to a large mainstream audience, and critics subsequently regarded it as one of the best rock albums of all time.

Rolling Stone wrote in its entry for Nevermind on its 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, "No album in recent history had such an overpowering impact on a generation—a nation of teens suddenly turned punk—and such a catastrophic effect on its main creator."

Misfit with blond hair
Fingers burning up the strings
Spills raw energy

The coyotes gather
Sadly howling to the moon
See her in my dreams