Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Third ski trip of the season was to McNamara Hut above Aspen, one I had done a couple times before, drawn by the chance of powder on the backside of Bald Knob.  Having slept outside nearby, I got an early start up to the hut, taking my time and enjoying the beautiful weather and gorgeous scenery along the way.  That last mile through the forest found me dragging, the sight of the hut a welcome relief.  However, I had forgotten the locked door's combination, needing to wait an hour outside while others in my party arrived.  I rested my weary legs while trying to sleep on the wood deck.  The last of our party arrived shortly after sunset.  Dinner, conversation and everyone was in bed by 9 PM.

Saturday after a fine breakfast found me breaking trail up to the summit of Bald Knob about a mile away.  Recent snow covered most signs of the track up the gentle mountain slope.  I found myself following what I assumed were foot prints of either a lone fox or coyote who accurately followed the trail of previous skiers where the footing would be the firmest.  It eventually veered off, leaving me to trudge through what amounted to about a foot of fresh snow.  Being psyched up for the powder run down the mountain, I made it to the summit, a large open meadow with stunning views of the tall peaks in the Elk Range behind Aspen far below, ski areas draped across the slopes below.  Others arrived shortly thereafter and we all enjoyed the smooth ride down, carving turns in the powder.  Most of the group returned to the hut, while one other and I went up for a second helping.  Then I was on my own for round three, after which I went back to the hut for a late lunch.  By 4 PM I was ready for the final run of the day, heading up one more time for a mountain sunset and a most enjoyable ride down in the evening twilight.  By the time I got back to the hut, appetizers were being served and a hearty dinner was served shortly thereafter.

Sunday found us enjoying one last meal, packing up and heading down the mountain.  The warm air temperature and sun of the previous day caused the snow at lower elevations on south facing slopes to soften, only to freeze overnight, leading to an icy run down with the beginnings of a crust atop the powder that lay in the open fields.  Although getting down was much faster, the legs tired quickly, locked in a near permanent snow plow position in an effort to maintain speed and control on the hard surface of the trail.  Listen to those metal edges scraping the ice!  Shuttling people back to their parked vehicles at the trail head parking lot farther below, we soon changed into more comfortable dry clothes and shoes, the gear loaded up and saying our farewells until the next trip, for some only a month away.

Another memorable trip skiing the pow of Bald Knob!

Wait for what's inside
Expectant eyes on the door
To the empty room

Friday night, after everyone went to bed, I found myself on the front deck outside the hut, dancing to the music while a light snow fell from a clouded sky.  This night's show was dedicated to Johnny "Rotten" Lydon, with the Sex Pistols opening this evenings virtual concert: the discotheque at hotel Östra Stranden in Halmstad, Sweden a Friday night on July 15 1977.

Halmstadt was the first gig in Sweden on their Scandinavian tour.  Diskotek Stranden (Beach Disco) was a very small place, just the restaurant of the hotel Östra Stranden. Sold out with 125 people in the audience. The band was escorted by both uniformed and plain clothes cops. There were no advance tickets available for any of the Scandinavian 1977 gigs, as that's what the band wanted.

The gig was opened to 18 and older only, but a lot of the audience was younger and got in anyway.  While in Halmstad the band stayed at the OK Motorhotell. A minor scandal occurred when the band threw a few chairs in the pool and messed up the rooms a bit.

The photo session in Halmstad took all day because of the band's reluctance to do it. They would walk in and out of the room one by one. When they finally were all there they wouldn't stand still. According to the photographer he grabbed Sid Vicious and said: "Stand still here!". He was then bombarded with beer cans and spat at. Sid threatened him with "I will drown you in the swimming pool." 

A very good audience recording.

Download it here:
OOPS!  A dead Megaupload link!  God Save the Federal Government!

Part two of Friday night was Public Image Limited, their live show in Leeds O2 Academy on December 16, 2009. This is a live recording from the 2009 PIL tour. This gig is fantastic quality and was available for collection after the show. The discs were burned while the encore was being played and you collect the main recordings after the show then you are given a code to download the encore at a time that suits you. This was a really good show, demonstrating that Johnny only gets better with time.  The experience was just as mesmerizing as the night I saw them at Coachella.

"Appearing on stage for the first time in seventeen years (this is the second of a seven night tour), Lydon's snarling, sneering presence, part Rotten, part Frankie Howard, but never less than totally committed throughout convinces that he is clearly not just in it only for the money. He may well play the pantomime villain, gargling Martell brandy from the bottle and spitting it straight back out and exchanging puerile banter with the audience. He also inhales a throat spray between songs and stalks the stage during them like a man possessed, in his ridiculously outsize checked rust shirt and spiky red hair looking every inch a caricature of his former self. Yet this music undoubtedly means everything to him. By the end of Rise (the second of three encores which he heralds by saying he is just off to have a fag, break the law and if we want him back just to let him know) he is practically out on his feet such is the energy he has expended. However, he rallies for one last hurrah, a rousing, triumphal finale of "Open Up". Burn Hollywood burn, he exhorts. This was the best gig of the year by a country life mile. It may even have been the best gig of the decade. God bless John Lydon. Let us treasure this national treasure for he has not burnt out, sold out nor has he faded away."

Read it all here:

After a day of hard skiing, I was ready once again Saturday night to crank it up under the stars.  First up was Billy Idol, his show in Mountainview, CA on May 11, 1987, an excellent soundboard recording.

Born William Michael Albert Broad in Middlesex, England, Idol found himself as part of a group of teen punk rockers, including Siouxsie Sioux, who befriended and followed the Sex Pistols, known as "the Bromley Contingent". It wasn't long before he realized that he too could be the frontman of a punk band, and assumed the name Billy Idol shortly thereafter. After a stint playing guitar in a group called Chelsea didn't pan out, Idol put down the guitar and picked up the mic, and formed Generation X in 1976, after which he pursued a career as a solo artist in the early 1980’s. Billy Idol was one the first pop/rock artists to achieve massive success in the early '80s due to a then brand-new U.S. television network, MTV. Mixing his bad-boy good looks with an appealing blend of pop hooks, punk attitude, and a dance beats, Idol quickly rocketed to stardom, before hard living derailed his career and almost proved fatal.

Download it here:

The energy level only went up a few more notches when I listened to Green Day's Awesome As Fuck, a live album by this American punk rock band, released on March 22, 2011. The album is composed of tracks recorded during Green Day's 2009–2010 21st Century Breakdown World Tour in support of their eighth studio album 21st Century Breakdown. Excellent set list of old and new material.

However, the album did receive critical reviews, having "a bit of the odor of a record-company stopgap about it."

"Much like its parent band - whose members are pushing forty but still insist on writing youth-charged anthems - Awesome As F**k screams and rages hard against the inevitability of obsolescence but unfortunately comes up short. While Green Day themselves have thus far managed to (arguably) beat the clock by showing well-timed streaks of inventiveness, in order for their live recordings to achieve the same feat it is essential that the same sense of bravado so pervasive on albums like American Idiot carry over to their shows as well. Unfortunately for now, just like in the case of 21st Century Breakdown (which a certain Adam Downer noted to contain a sound "rooted firmly in the 20th century" and "features few to no breakdowns"), Green Day have once again come up with an album whose title is simply false advertising."


Download it here:

1 comment:

trapink said...

Great Blog —

Any chance of re-upping the Muse show in Boston? My kids were at that show and would love to enjoy it again.