Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Spring break arrives and there is an opportunity for the family to get out and do something different.  We chose to do two nights in Glenwood Springs: two nights in the huge, but crowded hot spring pool; the wife and kids rent bikes and peddle 15 miles downstream along the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon; I head to Ski Sunlight to spend the day racing down the slopes in the sunshine.  What a wonderful experience: warm spring skiing, coming down the mountain in a T-shirt, the wind blowing across the skin, a powerful sense of freedom and life.  The only thing I did different this time was put the telemark skis aside and take out the alpine skis after about 8 years of never having touched them.  WOW, what fun!

Red star in nights sky
On its lonely dusty plain
Sun burns in silence

Black man on the ground
Blood dripping near officers boots
Look, red, just like mine

Time has come to fly
To drift amongst midnights clouds
Even swallows fall

Sees it's getting late
Says farewell to the party
Heading out the door

Missed opportunity
A love between life's best friends
Lost my chance to say

Social studies class
Kept for so many years
The flame in my heart

With so much promise
Rebels unfulfilled desire
Life stuck in reverse

Once in a lifetime
That someone who understands
Special childhood friends

Friday night started off with Coldplay, live on October 26, 2011 at Madrid's Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas in Madrid, Spain. The concert was an 'American Express Unstaged' event which aired the show on YouTube and nearly 20 million live streams of the concert were viewed via that website. Excellent sound and strong performance that had a tendency to draw tears.

It was written:

Launching an expensive looking pyrotechnic display into the sky as the band thundered straight from Mylo Xyloto's first proper song, Hurts Like Heaven, Coldplay kicked off their gig in climax mode as driving, muscular versions of Yellow and In My Place as a blaze of ticker tape soon followed.

Not that the band were in a mood to limit the opening salvo's sensory overload to just the stage, with their arrival triggering a the 25,000 plus crowd's entry wristbands to trip into life, turning the Spanish capital's iconic bullring into a bejewelled sea of twinkling green, blue and red LEDs.

Perhaps the fact that the gig was being broadcast live across the globe (directed by Anton Corbin no less) on Vevo made Coldplay pull out all the stops, but the early endeavours did almost cause a worry that Chris Martin and co were accidentally playing their setlist backwards.

However with the singer and guitarist Johnny Buckland hitting a Bono and The Edge-style walkway barely four songs in so they could perform from the heart of the crowd, it quickly became clear this was only the beginning for Coldplay.

Read it here:

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After an aborted attempt listening to a Bunnymen show (the recording needed to be slowed down a bit to remove an annoying quality in Ian's voice), I ended the second half of the night with Public Image Limited, a very good quality recording from their show at Le Palace in Paris, France on January 17, 1980.  "We'll get off this fucking stage if you don't stop spittin. I got as bucket of piss back here that I'll pour all over you.  That is no fun."  Classic early PIL.

On the drive out to Glenwood we stopped in Vail and I ran across a hole in the wall record shop that had a remastered version of Iggy Pop and The Stooges first album, Raw Power, their third studio album.  I bought it for the second half, a live show Georgia Peaches, Live at Richards, Atlanta, GA, October 1973. I was hoping to share the experience with the family but I subsequently learned the CD player in the Honda Pilot was also not working! What a bummer!

So Saturday night I started the show with the first disc of Iggy Pop, Roadkill Rising.

"The real reason why Iggy's been able to carve out a career for 40-plus years-- going from certain drug casualty to potential "American Idol" judge-- without the benefit of a platinum record is his magnetic charisma as a live performer. And long before YouTube allowed us to attend concerts vicariously, bootlegs played a crucial role in establishing that legend. Even without being able to see his wiry body slither across the stage, the seemingly bottomless supply of unauthorized Iggy concert recordings reified his incomparable talents for baiting a crowd, ad libbing, and rewriting "Louie Louie" with new lyrics more vulgar than the FBI could've ever imagined. At an Iggy show, what happens between the songs is just as entertaining and edifying as the songs themselves."

"Which brings us to Shout! Factory’s latest offering. Roadkill Rising gathers live, unreleased tracks from the 1970s through the 2000s, culled from numerous gigs around the world. Typically three or four songs from each show are included, so there is no attempt to recreate a particular evening or performance. This leads to some abrupt shifts in sonic fidelity as, say, one treble-heavy session suddenly leads into another performance in which the bass is more prominent. For the most part, these moments pass quickly. The sound is generally okay-but-not-great, particularly on the first disc, which tends to the treble end of the spectrum. This will be familiar enough to Iggy fans (remember Raw Power?)."

Go buy IT!

Late Saturday night found me standing along the highway grooving to the music.  The second half of this show was by Television, The Blow Up, live at CBGBs in NYC on March 31, 1974, 38 years ago shortly before I was graduating from Sachem High School in New York.  Again, if I only knew then what I know now.

"On the evening of March 31, 1974 the band Television took the stage at the NYC Bowery night club CBGB’s for an extended residency that revolutionized the rock and roll universe! It was the actual birth date of the New Wave movement. This anti-glam, anti-big industry rock crusade incubated in New York with the likes of Patti Smith, The Ramones, Richard Hell, and The Dictators."

From Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk:

RICHARD HELL: We used to take the bus down Second Avenue or Third Avenue or something to get to Chinatown to go to our rehearsal loft. Verlaine and Lloyd were apparently walking to a bus stop to go to rehearsal and they spotted CBGB’s. They went in and talked to Hilly Kristal, the owner, and asked him if our idea appealed to him.

RICHARD LLOYD: Hilly was like, “What kind of music do you play?” We said, “Well what does ‘CBGB-OMFUG’ stand for?” He said, “Country, Bluegrass, Blues and Other Music for Uplifting Gourmandizers.” So we said, “Oh yeah, we play a little of that, a little rock, a little country, a little blues, a little bluegrass…”

RICHARD HELL: The scene definitely started snowballing. CBGB’s was clearly where things were happening, from the very first time we played there. We were really unique. There was not another rock and roll band in the world with short hair. There was not another rock and roll band with torn clothes. Everybody was still wearing glitter and women’s clothes. We were these notch-thin, homeless hoodlums, playing really powerful, passionate, aggressive music that was also lyrical. I think we were the best band in the world that year. Well, for the first four or five months… I don’t remember wearing the Please Kill Me t-shirt, though I do remember forcing Richard Lloyd to wear it. I was too much of a coward.

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Sunday night found me listening to Van Halen, their March 11, 2012 show at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston MA. Great recording, although after how many of these show I've listened to, they are beginning to wear thin. Read the reviews and you can still see that the hype is still there, town after town.

"If Dave was the ringmaster showcasing his vaudeville dance stylings while wearing snakeskin trousers and a flat cap, then Eddie was the star attraction. Despite dressed in a black and white tee that made him look like Waldo, the man who inspired an entire generation of hair-metal guitarists was in fine form. Edward Van Halen doesn’t say a lot (he doesn’t need to with the amount of verbal diarrhea that comes tumbling from the mouth of the lead singer) but what he does is play guitar. Really well."

"The final song came too soon. That familiar keyboard intro, the crashing of drums and EVH plucking a riff that had the audience air-guitaring in unison. At the corner of the stage, Diamond Dave readied himself and launched himself slightly into the air. The crowd cheered, the cannons exploded confetti and we all jumped.  Van Halen have rolled with the punches, this was a fair warning that Diamond Dave is back and so is the entire family. The tour may be called A Different Kind of Truth, but Van Halen are just a different kind of band."

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