Saturday, September 29, 2007

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Many more to come...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Lips As Big As Texas

I love it when a plan comes together.
San Antonio was pie. Joe, Lindsey, and I arrived in the late afternoon to the outdoor venue. I looked like a very big outdoor patio with the stage at one end of a sunken concrete floor. We waited in the paid ticket line for about and hour and watched as the "free ticket" line grew to twice our lines size. It was amusing to see Michael walking down the sidewalk dressed in the official red jumpsuit and carrying his skeleton costume on a hanger. Only one guy jumped out of line to greet him.Once inside, we quickly made our way to the rail. We were standing on Steven's side and directly in front of the stage right p.a. stack. This made for a VERY loud evening. We hadn't been there long when Kliph stepped up to the rail and we scurried over to say "hi" and give him the Hello Kitty purse Lindsey had promised him. He accepted her gift and seemed quite pleased to receive it. I snapped a few pictures with he and Lindsey and a funny one that had him with a slack jawed look on his face as he gazed into a glowing candy ring she had given him. Sveral other people stepped up to talk to him, so we reclaimed our space on the rail and settled in for the evening.Not long after that, Lindsey tracked down the "animal wrangler" and managed to get one of the very last passes to dance on stage with the band. She was beaming as she approached us. I was so excited for he. This has been her dream and it was coming true that night. She scurried off to go backstage while all four members came and went to the side of the stage to watch the Birds Of Avalon. I didn't think they were anything special, but I thinks that's gonna be true for most bands who have the unfortunate postion of being the opening band.As the opening music came through the speakers, the Santa's & Aliens began to file on stage. The Santa's had obviously been instructed to follow the wrangler and they did just that. They emptied on to the stage and proceeded to follow him all the way across the lip of the stage. The wrangler was quite startled as he turned around to see the 8 Santa's that they had followed him instead of stopping in the box taped out for them. Pretty funny. He corraled them back across the stage and into their proper holding pen. I was delighted to see that Lindsey and the rest of the aliens were positioned stage right, directly in front of me. From ther I was able to take plenty on pictures of her and she jumped about and did her best "sultry alien dance". I was so excited for her. Although I think the group around me thought I was a bit of a pervert for snapping so many pix of the girating ladies. And because this was the closest I'd ever been to the band, I took a TON of pictures. Unfortunately, the rather dark lighting only produced about 30 keepers.The ceiling had a number of low hanging steel girters and this kept Wayne from coming out in the "space bubble". Instead, he entered wearing the gigantic foam hands and then walked around the stage cocooning each band member along the way. Throughout the evening he complimented the crowd and expressed the fun he was having. To be honest, the crowd was kind of mellow but that didn't stop them from being attentive. I don't recall them being very chatty, but then again I was right in front of the speaker cabinets and that may have flavored my auditory perceptions.Speaking of audio perception, as the band tore into the opening Race For The Prize, I noticed a siren in the mix that I hadn't noticed before. Turns out that the massive amount of smoke that Wayne was produciong from the fog machine had activated the fire alarm in the venue and it would go off at least two more times during the course of the evening. Always sharp as a tack, Wayne attributed the alarm to all those in the back of the house who were smoking the free Camel cigaretts that were being given away by the promoters. Quite amusing.The set list for the evening was very well played despite being the standard collection that has followed them across the country. Mountainside had a nice introduction from Wayne in which he pointed out the age of one of the dancing aliens(She was 3 years old) and incorrectly stated that he was only 17 when he wrote it back in 1989(he would have been 27). In the encore slot, we got She Don't Use Jelly. Not unheard of, but pretty unique.As Joe and I waited for Lindsey to come out from the backstage area, we were shuffled around by many security guards telling us where to stand. Finally, a guy named Jeff(who we later learned was the production manager) asked us to wait outside the gate and that she would be out shorty after he meeting with Wayne. We did so and it wasn't too long before she appeared with a shit-eating grin from ear to ear. She explained that she was fortunate enough to have a nice long chat with Wayne in which she discussed my fight with melanoma and the loss of her father from cancer. I don't know if it was discussed, but it's pretty common knowledge that both of Wayne's parents succomed to the disease. To my delight, she produced and hand signed poster for the evening on which Wayne had written an inspiring personal message. I was giddy. She then informed us that Wayne had agreed to meet with us in just a few minutes. Not long after we arrived at the back entrance, Jeff motioned for us to come back inside the venue and that Wayne would be out shortly. As promised, he came out greeting us with a smile, shook my hand, and gave me a hug. He looked weary from the heat, but took the time to speak to us individualy and allowed us to snap a few pictures. He was so sweet and gracious. I told him that during my struggle I had gained a great deal of hope from the band's music, to which he replied, "That's waht's it's all about." We followed him to the back exit where we said our goodbyes as he stuck around to say hello to a small group that remained. Wayne didn't have to take time out of his evening to make our concert experience even more enjoyable than it already was. But he did. I can't think of another band with their popularity that would do such a thing. As we walked back to the car I couldn't believe our dunb luck. When the three of us travel together, there seems to be an "X Factor" in play. Little did we know what was in store for us in Austin.

Austin(aka Hollywood, TX)
We arrived about 4 hours early to La Zona Rosa which put us back about sixty people back in line. I was happy about our position but concerned that only one line had formed with both "real" and Camel ticket holders mixed together. Everyone turned out to be pretty cool, except when they broke up the lines to distinguish which ticket you hand in your possession. Moving over to the "real" ticket line, we stood for about 45 minutes and it actually put us closer to the front. And to our surprise, Gretchen & Eddie were just picking up their tickets at Will Call as we arrived, insuring we would be together for the show. Just as the line began to move, some Austin jerk-off shoved his way in front of us with the excuse, "I let you guys get in front of me earlier." WTF? Eddie and I weren't about to swallow his shit, so we pushed he and his buddy back and made it in to the venue without a problem. We had no problem getting dead center, one person off the rail(about 10 ft. back). We took turns making ourselves "large" in order to save space for those in our group who needed to take a piss, buy merchandise, or get drinks. It wasn't long before the crowd filled in behind us when some drunk 20 year old girl pushed her way up to us and informed us she was gonna tell us how it would be. WTF? The second thing out of her mouth was, "How many concerts have you been to?", like she trumped us in some way. WTF? As Eddie & I brushed her aside, Joe took the time to calm the situation down and ended up flirting with her. Turns out she was only there to see the Birds Of Avalon and took off as soon as they left the stage. About 15 minutes before the opening band, another asshole pushed his way up to us and tried to stand in the spot we had been saving for Gretchen while she went to buy t-shirts. To our amazement the first question out of his mouth was, "How many concerts have you been to?" Uuuggghhh. Again, we pushed him aside and made sure he was as uncomfortable as we could. What is it about Austin residents that makes them think they can show up at 7:45 for an 8:00 show and get a front row position? Assholes aside, the evening was about to blossom into one of the most intensly personal concert experiences I've ever had. Not lang before the list came on, Santa came out and distributed our laser pointers. Oh, shit! The excitement began to build. Did I mention that the stage was teeny-tiny? Well it was. I thought San Antonio was small! We were shocked that they could actually get Santa's/Aliens on stage. They did, but there couldn't have been more than five on each side. They had the small video screen set up and we could only see about two thirds of it. It was right against Kliphs back. As Wayne walked on stage, the crowd went fucking berzerk. Both the crowd and sound were extemely loud all night. The energy was not wasted on the band. They came out firing on all pistons and I've never seen them be as intense and commited to what they we doing than I did that evening. Steven and Wayne kept making eyes at each other and were clearly having a ball. Both Steven and Wayne acknoledged Lindsey & I during the course of the show, with Wayne singing to us on more than a handful of occasions. But the moment that swept us off our feet was a personalized command performance of Taps>Superman directly to us. It was heavy. VERY heavy. In more than 20 years of seeing concerts have I ever experienced such a heart wrenching moment. Knowing about my fight with cancer, Wayne sent every ounce of love and healing energy in our direction, moving me to tears. I know words can't do it justice, but I felt a love of forgivenance rain down on me filling my soul with more joy than I've ever experienced. I think I began to glow and it's possible my body was lifted off the ground. My god, it was beautiful. The Moonlight Mile that closed out the evening was phenominal. Wayne was so focused on the task at had, he sang the lines "Let the airwaves flow. LET THOSE FUCKING AIRWAVES FLOW!" through clenched teeth. It was a big fat slice of Heaven. That's all. I've seen some fantastic Lips performances before, but this one had our names on it and I'm not sure that could ever be topped. But I hope someday it will. Thank you, Wayne. Thank you.

notable momets:
-As the smoke cleared following the chaos that was Mountainside, Wayne said he had fallen down several times and even forgot where he was. In his best deadpan voice Steven replied, "Yes Wayne, I forgot where you was."
-Steven's father was in attendance.
-As we walking into the venue, Jeff(production manager) recognized us from San Antonio and said, "You're back again!" Shook his had then and after the performance and thanked him for being so cool to us. Very nice guy.
-All of us bought at least one piece of merchandise. I got a powder blue t-shirt with a Wayne drawn cartoon of the band.
-Beacause of it's size, there was no space bubble entrance. Wayne did the whole cocooning bit again.
-The lasers during Vein Of Stars were fucking intense(as the pictures will reveal). At one point, there were so many lasers on Wayne he looked as if he was constructed of red lasers. He also held up the mirror like he did at Bonnaroo.
-Got a set list after the show(Steven's)
-Much horseplay between the band during their stage set up. Steven talking through his microphone to Kliph who was on his cell phone. "We're taking through the cell phone"
-Steven putting his hands together and bowing in our direction while mouthing, "Thank you".
-When ABBA's Dancing Queen came on as the pre-show music, the whole crowd began to sing along with it. This was truly the ice-breaker of the evening and put the band in an even better mood than they already were. Wayne mentioned it following Race For The Pize.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

That Lucky Old Sun

Brian Wilson's newest musical endeavor premiered last week in London and, once again, exceeded all expectations. That Lucky Old Sun is a slice of Americana daydream pie. Surprisingly upbeat, the seamless piece slows down only for a handful of sprinkled narrative voice overs and for two slower numbers toward the end. The music contained inside its ivy walls recalls several classic Beach Boy songs including Do It Again and Marcella. All I have is an audience bootleg recording, so while the lyrics aren't always clear they frequently speak of Southern California and are stacked together with layer upon layer of trademark Wilson harmonies. Masterfully performed by his backing band and the Stockholm Strings, this splendid collection will effortlessly stand side by side with 2002's SMiLE. A real tribute to Brian's genius and a moment of body tingling joy for his generations of fans everywhere. Let's hope the studio recording isn't too far behind.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ween @ Warehouse Live! 8-8-07

They're a little late...but tell the story quite well.

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(in attendance): Lindsey, Kirk & Shelley, Jenni Rotten

noteworthy moments:
-1 person off the rail directly in front of Deaner
-Gener "I went to your mall today. It was big."
-a thong was thrown on stage. Gener wrapped it around his mike stand. After a few songs it was passed back and placed on a drum mike stand where it stayed for the remainder of the evening.
-bass drum was broken which caused "Big Jilm" to be played w/o it while being repaired.
-keyboard malfunction caused "The Mollusk" to be played w/o its signature line.
-bought two leather key chains w/ Ween logo for Lindsey & I
-two guys video taping. I hope to get a copy.
-15 min. "Poopshoot" final encore w/ Gener blasting the bullhorn

The Knockout Punch

The defining moment of the Dylan concert at Stubb's BBQ last weekend was just as Bob turned to walk off stage following the bands "line up" he made eye contact with his drummer, George Recile, who made a boxing one two punch with his fists while bobbing his head from side to side. The sparring partners had been nodding to each other all night and brought out more smiles from each other than I can remember. Although, I must admit, the underage girls on the rail who were driving the show did seem to be having just as much fun. Bob had his eyes on them all night(as did the rest of the band).
This was the closest I've ever been to the stage in my 18 years of seeing Dylan shows and it made all the difference. The onstage "drama" was in full swing. From the first notes of the blistering "Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat" to the Hendrix inspired "Watchtower", the band found a groove so deep it nearly left a smoking crater in their wake.
As always, I had big expectations for the show. Highlights included "Big Girl Now", "Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)", and "Nettie Moore". However, the biggest impact of the evening came from "Working Man's Blues #2". Spitting the lyrics from between his clenched teeth, Dylan displayed a vitriol that I haven't heard since the Rolling Thunder performances. His anger was buoyant. But in the next moment he was gentle and vulnerable. I was caught off guard and moved beyond words.
In stark contrast to his soulful NYC performance last fall, Saturday night I saw Dylan at his most playful and exuberant. He danced and displayed his confidence on his sleeve. It's performances like this that will have me coming back for another 18 years.

(in attendance) Lindsey, Jason & Miki, Gretchen & Four

iPod Song Of The Day: "Midnight's Another Day" from Brian Wilson's new opus That Lucky Old Sun (WOW!)

noteworthy moments:
-Standing in line behind several hundred people for hours and having the gate right next to us open which allowed us to get a step on those in front. We were 2 people off the rail, dead center
-Seeing the ambient mikes that were on top of the p.a. speakers. Bob's recording these things and they'll NEVER see the light of day.
-Sharing her first Dylan show with my baby
-The band starting "Most Likely" and watching as Bob stepped up to the mike with much confusion. He almost acted as if he didn't know what they were playing. He missed the first line but made the most of the rest of the song. Even stuttering(on purpose) during the "t-t-t-t-time will tell" portion. He cracks himself up!
-massive crowd in attendance. Had to be more than the 2100 capacity .
-Got to hear "Masterpice" and "Memphis Blues" (along with several I didn't recognize) during the sound check. Bob was in attendance at the sound check. rarity
-Donnie had his eyes on Dylan's fingers the whole night. Even yelling out, "Go man!" at one point. nose and cheeks very rosy.
-Tony had the droopy eyelid syndrome. Looked like he'd been drinking for a better part of the day.
-Between song antics of Bob. In the darkness of the stage he primped, stretched out his legs, smiled at George, and generally acted pretty full of himself. Quite humorous.
-Post show(late night) music discussion at Matt & Mo's. KISS, Led Zeppelin vs. Black Sabbath, kraut rock, iPod shuffle, Gil Scott Heron, Super Furry Animals, Slayer vs. Marilyn Manson. Do you LOVE Slayer?!?
-Sometimes things are ridiculous, while other times they're REDUNKULOUS!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Surprise, surprise!

I've been hearing about this new Dylan remix of "Most Likely You Go Your Way(And I'll Go Mine)" for a few months now. It's been included as a bonus track on yet another retrospective boxed set surprisingly titled..."Dylan". My original though was to cringe. But to my delight, the remix doesn't suck. In fact, it's pretty rad. The original recording had a funky New Orleans jazz club feel to it, but the new mix takes it straight out of the bar and in to the streets. With an everpresent wailing trumpet to its chunky and driving back line, this is pure swamp-ass music. Dylan's vocals are clean and up front. Mark Ronson, who had a big hand in Amy Winehouses "Back To Black", has done a tremendous job at creating something new from this 40 year old nugget. That ain't easy, folks. Bravo!

I also came across a new recording by the Flaming Lips called "I Was Zapped By The Lucky Super Rainbow" that's to be included on the soundtrack for some Dane Cook movie. It's quite catchy. I was totally taken back by its infectious upbeat feeling. Think 80's Cure. It'll only take about two bars into the song before you feel like you're on the dance floor at Numbers(circa 1985) with a head full of MDMA. This song makes me wanna dance like Molly Ringwald.