Saturday, December 25, 2010


Bad news was received this week when I was told a dear friend of 40 years was in the hospital and his cancer was terminal. By the time I got the news he was essentially bedridden and unresponsive, his family in attendance for the purpose of wishing him farewell. I met him in Mr. Cisik's 9th grade English class, a friendship that was to grow and endure through the years. The pain and sleeplessness he was experiencing these last several months probably allowed him to accept his fate and embrace the coming end. One of my best friends is gone and my world has become so much smaller.

Instruments beeping
Change to a steady alarm
And with that, he's gone

Mr. Cisik asks
Two pyramids and a sphinx
A friendship for life

Bears a heavy weight
Borne with such dignity
His smile is all we see

Forty years seems long
Leaving behind a lifetime
To never hear his voice

Sides with the angels
Persuasive with the good book
Praying hands give a push

Late night Christmas Eve. Time for some music to chase away Santa Claus. First up was a short set by Snow Patrol, a live performance from Dundee, Scotland on March 13, 2006 which was broadcast on FM radio.

Download it here:

What I really was waiting for was an excellent quality soundboard recording of Public Image Limited's show at the O2 Academy in Manchester, England on December 19, 2009 while on their 2009 Reunion 'ALife' Tour. Great performance even though John Lydon was ill with the flu. At the beginning he really berates someone in the audience for throwing a beer at him while on stage. After being scolded in that fashion, I can imagine that person being very well behaved for the remainder of the show.

This was written about this particular performance:

THERE’S still a certain something about Johnny. He’s still the wilful, arrogant boy we’ve all loved down the years.

Public Image is the opening battlecry, beautiful in its anti-hero message and added to by Lydon’s beautiful riposte to someone who tried to shower him with lager: “I’ve had your money, you can go home now.’’

Draped in some kind of serge straitjacket, he is still the ultimate livewire. Too scary to be confronted by drunks on the last train home, yet articulate enough to take home to your mum. If she collects national treasures.

He billed his appearance as dubious entertainment and dwelled on the idea of turkeys before Christmas. He was correct. But he’s no pantomime dame. Yes, he is camp. Yes he had the knowing asides. And yes, we never know his real hair colour.

Read it all here:

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Sunday was spent wandering the streets of Liverpool, passing by the Beatles Cavern Club on Matthew Street to get to the waterfront, where I took a relaxing ride on the Mersey ferry, an hour long sightseeing trip, with two stops on the opposite bank of the river. Although the sun shone, it lacked any warmth, hanging low in the sky even during midday. No wonder, the city is at the same latitude as the southern shore of Hudson Bay in Canada. As a consequence, I became chilled and went back to the hotel late in the afternoon. Dinner at an Italian restaurant and by then it was time to walk to the theater, cigar in hand.

Too much tequila
B-men echos in his mind
Mira wash dishes

Friday in Denver
Jensen can't sell a painting
Walt's in Liverpool

Sick of virtual
Imagination's failing
Goes for the real thing

Took my place in line before the doors opened, and then I made stratght for a front row space along the railing in front of Will. Shortly afterwards a couple take their place beside me, finding out that the woman, Stephanie, was from Georgia, visiting a friend, David, the two attending live shows while she was in the UK. Stephanie was an avid Bunnymen fan, showing her boundless enthusiasim during the entire show. Oli and Linda were also in attendance this evening, taking their place at the front, standing before Stephen and Gordy.

Another fabulous performance by Kelly. This time I was in front of the saxaphonist and keyboard player so I was hearing the show with a different emphasis than last night.

Download it here, its high quality:

Unlike last night when the curtin across the stage failed to drop shortly after the Gregorian chanting began, the entire set was revealed when it came down, fog filling the air and the Bunnymen taking the stage before a cheering audience. Wabbit was also in attendance with her friends this evening. Nice to see familiar faces! Another flawless performance, I graduallly becoming lost in the music. Unfortunately, between a failing digital audio recorder and setting improper input levels (the Bunnymen were far louder than Kelly), this evenings recording is a total loss. Another hard earned lesson. But not a problem as I was totally into the moment.

A review of the show had this to say:

Echo & The Bunnymen, a band that command devotion, and a level of devotion that is none more evident than when they play in their home city. It has over time become something of a Liverpool tradition that the Bunnymen will close each year with an appearance in the city; 2011 was no different.

The Bunnymen also have a long tradition of were possible playing venues and locations often not associated with more mainstream rock gigs – Granted Olympia is not exactly new on the gig circuit, but these days it is more often the home of cage fighting etc, and being just that little bit too far out of the city makes it a slightly awkward place to reach, and too be honest its fading Victorian grandeur, lack of parking and friendly locals looking to ‘mind yer car’ have for the most part prevented it from joining the circuit.

Therefore it’s the ideal venue for the Bunnymen!
This was the second of two nights and the final night of the tour; Ian McCulloch is not known for his modesty; this is the man who describes ‘Ocean Rain’ as “the greatest song ever written” – Well I suspect it was Mac who described the whole tour as ‘A master-class in rock ‘n’ roll’; the tag line adorning the posters on offer at the Merchandise stand!!

The Bunnymen like many other bands of their age, and I’m referring to their longevity, and stature have taken to revisiting and performing entire albums, in 2009 they did ‘Ocean Rain’ complete with accompanying orchestra, which was subsequently released on DVD etc. This time they have gone back even further; the tour was The Bunnymen performing in their entirety their first two releases 1980’s ‘Crocodiles’ followed by 1981’s ‘Heaven Up Here’; even the stage set revisited bygone days with a reappearance of their once trademark camo netting.


The Bunnymen were on stage for over two hours, Mac looked to enjoy himself, the crowd certainly did so all bodes well for a promised new album in 2011 – To quote Mac “Lets ave it”

‘A master-class in rock ‘n’ roll?’ – Yeah, I’ll ave that too.

Read it all here:

I met Kelley in the lobby of the theater where he gave me one of his CDs and invited Linda, Oli and I to the after party there in the theater. I was really tempted but for me it was all over, the third and final show, I was somewhat deflated. I would also have been uncomfortable standing amongst the giants and fearful of not knowing what to say. I declined the invitation, thanked all for the experience, made promises about next year and then departed. I was now in search of liquid refreshment other than alcohol and a serving of fish and chips!

On the way back to the hotel I observed a woman weaving down the sidewalk, obviously impaired, more so than I. Not too far behind her was a guy who appeared to be in better shape. I approached and learned they were Andy and Alison who had also enjoy the show at the Olympia. We talked about all sorts of things and I received a history lesson about how Liverpool owed much of its wealth to the slave trade. I'll have to visit that museum near the Albert docks next time.

Back to the hotel, walking the empty, marble walled hallways, back to a room where a bit more heat would have been welcome. What I was waiting for so expectantly for so long had all come to an end, and now it was simply a matter putting it in reverse and returning home.