Friday, October 10, 2014

Been A Long Time Since I Rock and Rolled...

Karen: Today's post was suggested by BABster Joseph -thanks for the great idea! Knowing how folks around here love to talk about music, why not discuss some of our favorite live music experiences? I'm sure that many of you have great stories to tell, and we'd love to hear them.

Karen: To get the ball rolling, I can say that my fondest concert memory is from 2005. It wasn't too long before I knew I would be leaving the Bay Area to move out to Phoenix, and a very dear friend and I got tickets to see Robert Plant and his band play at the Paramount Theater in Oakland. His album, Mighty Rearranger, had come out that year and was doing pretty well, and I had enjoyed that and Dreamland from a few years prior, so I was really looking forward to the show. Neither my friend nor I had been old enough to have experienced Led Zeppelin when they were touring, and I had no expectations that Plant would cover his old band's material, but still, to see him live, a true rock legend, would be exciting. Plus I knew I didn't have much time left to hang out with my friends as I would be moving soon, so every chance I got was special.

Karen: Well, I was in for a huge surprise: about half of Plant's set was Zeppelin tunes! He was in great form and his band was fantastic. My pal and I rocked out like we were teenagers! It was a magical night and when the show was over the place was full of smiles. I think a lot of folks were transported that night. 

Karen: Let's hear your stories now!


William said...

Back in '88 I went to see the Smithereens at the Cameo Theater in Miami Beach. I was still in Coast Guard at the time, and so was my then girlfriend. We had planned to go together, and then I found out she had been cheating on me, so I broke up with her a few days before the event. And she actually had the nerve to say "So, I guess this means we're not going to the concert." And I was like, "Yes! That's exactly what it means."

So, I ended up going with a buddy of mine, and when we got there we discovered that the theater's air-conditioning was broken. Mind you, this was August in South Florida, so the temperature in the theater got up to about 105 degrees. It was also a general admission event, so everyone in the place rushed the stage and we were just a big sea of humanity. It was like the mosh-pit from hell. It was so hot in there, that the lead singer performed a couple of songs sitting crossed legged on the stage. And by the end every guy had their shirt off, (and some of the girls). And I was about to pass out from dehydration.

Despite all that, the concert was awesome. The Smithereens really brought the house down as I recall. Afterward, my friend and I hit the nearest 7-11 store, and each bought a 2-liter Gatorade and guzzled it. Good times.

Edo Bosnar said...

Santana. I've seen him seven times on two continents, and he always puts on a good show.

Hard to pick which is the best, but I'd say one of the most memorable was the first time I caught a Santana concert, in Berkeley's Greek Theater in 1987 (which is, in my opinion, one of the best venues in the world). It was only the second concert I'd ever been to (first was the Doobie Brothers), and it just blew my mind - the music, obviously, was great, and I loved the atmosphere. The Greek Theater is cool because, like any amphitheater, it has this big flat "orchestra" just in front of the stage where everyone go down and dance. And in California at least, Santana tends to attract a really diverse crowd, so that orchestra section was full of hippies/Deadheads, Mexicans and other Hispanics, bikers and metalheads, the odd squares like me and my buddies, and even a smattering of punks and Goths, all together enjoying the awesome music.
That first Santana concert was also notable because Buddy Miles was a member of the band during that tour (for the Freedom album), and one of the opening acts was Ruben Blades.

Anonymous said...

Where do I begin? Which do I pick?

I'll start with two quick scary concert moments. 1982, the Stones, you know, the Rolling ones, were on their farewell tour. First one. We caught them in the Astrodome. I was with my friend, the one I called "Steve". The floor of the Dome was all festival seating, only there weren't no seats on the floor. The opening acts were The Fabulous Thunderbirds and ZZ Top. By time the Stones took the stage, it was around 9 pm. As the lights went out, everybody on the floor rushed forward, I jumped up so I could see and got PINNED to the guy in front of me by the crowd. He tried to push me back with his elbow, I was trying to find the floor with my feet, he was again with the elbow, I start yelling "I'm stuck, I'm stuck!!!". He turns sideways, I fall to the floor, now I'M UNDER EVERYBODY!!!! I still don't know how I made it out.

Second moment. We had driven up to Amarillo to catch The Scorpions with Zebra as the opening act. Again, festival seating on the floor of the old Coliseum. As Zebra gets into their set, my friend starts pulling on my sleeve. I'm lost in the music, so he pulls again but really REALLY hard. That's when I realize that two guys were in the middle of a knife fight, the crowd had made a big circle to give them room and said circle contained three people, only I didn't have a knife!!!!

First really good concert, Austin Tx, Auditorium Shores, INXS, with The Del Fuegos and Jason and the Scorchers as openers. The place was just one great happening from beginning to end.

Second really good concert, Compaq Center, Houston Tx. The Cult and Metallica. OMG. Just one massive sonic attack from beginning to end. Steve Jones was touring with The Cult. Not only did the Cult out do themselves by the end of their concert, Metallica saw their opening bid and raised them. I swear, every amp was on 11!!!!

Okay, gun to my head, money or my wife, best concert was in the old Coliseum in downtown Houston. U2 was on their WAR tour with The Alarm opening for them. Bono climbed on everything and danced down every aisle. I think I got sweat on me at one point.

Honorable mentions: Prince on the Purple Rain tour and Dire Straits on the Brothers In Arms tour.

And just to be honest, all my Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers concerts are in a separate category.

The Prowler (I'll say anything you want to hear I'll see everything through I'll do anything I have to do Just to win the love of a girl like you, a girl like you).

david_b said...

My McCartney concert, Frankfurt Germany, 1990. I saw him again last year, but I almost didn't go because I still miss Linda.

I don't have the time for too many marvelous details, but I got there WAY early (2am that morning.., I'm used to standing in long lines in the US..). I was one of the first to get in the stadium.

It was so surreal when his limo came, he rolled down the window and waved to everyone. That was weirder than the actual concert. Once in, I was standing front row, touching center stage. When he came on, I was like 6 feet from Macca most of the concert.

I had my portable camera and was going to take a picture of him when this HUGE burly hand came out of nowhere. It was this german security guard who tried to snatch it from me, so not quite a scuffle, but I drew Paul's attention just 6 feet in front of him. Paul actually looked me right in the eyes, perhaps not for the best of reasons... THAT was quite embarrassing.

Later in the show, since he loves doing the 'Elvis' bit with rubbing his neck with towels and throwing 'em in the audience, he threw one up in the air and being so tall, I caught it.

It was again surreal, but I immediately thought, 'Who's going to believe me that this is Paul's towel..?' 'I won't be able to get it autographed.' 'How much is a DNA test to confirm/legitimize it's Paul's sweat..?' All these things went through my mind. At the end of the concert, since it got quite warm inside this young german girl who squeezed in front of me was asleep most of the 2nd half of the concert due to the heat and carbon dioxide, I just gave it to her.. I suppose it was one of the dumbest things to ever do, but without a 'certificate of authenticity', yada yada, I suppose it would have just been worth it to me and me alone. Oh well.

(It now reminds me of that Big Bang episode where Sheldon gets Leonard Nimoy's DNA, where if he got hold of an healthy uterus, he could grow his own Leonard Nimoys.., 'course my story happened 20yrs before...)

Ok, who's next...?

Edo Bosnar said...

Sorry if this is a bit of a digression from the main topic, but as my work day draws to a close on this Friday afternoon, I was doing a little goofing off and watching last night's episode of the Colbert Report, which featured none other than Robert Plant as the special guest promoting his new album. He performed two songs, and they are really good - worth watching for anyone who's a fan.
And bringing it back to today's topic, sort of, I would love to see Plant live, and wouldn't even be bothered if he didn't do any Zep songs. His solo stuff ever since the early '80s has been pretty phenomenal in its own right.

Dr. Oyola said...

Funny, I saw Robert Plant open for the Who (I guess it was technically a double bill, but most people were there for the Who) in 2002 and it was one of the worse shows I ever saw! His voice was gone and he was cock-rockin' around like he was still 21 or something. It was kind of sad. Glad to her that perhaps that was a fluke.

The Who, on the other hand was one of the best concerts I ever saw.

I saw Prince at Radio City in 1993 and it was as amazing as you would think Prince would be, plus the venue is fantastic.

I have seen Wilco three times and they have never failed to disappoint.

I went to the Austin City Limits festival in its inaugural year and among the many bands I saw there was Al Green, who was amazing.

And surprisingly one of the best shows I have ever seen was by an artist I am not that familiar with, Joe Jackson.

I've seen so many shows I lose track though. . . so I am sure I am missing someone who was fantastic.

Dr. Oyola said...

Of course, the comment about Wilco above should read: They have never failed to NOT disappoint

Edo Bosnar said...

Osvaldo, sometimes I really think how good a performer is depends on time and place, mood, etc. Interestingly enough, the one and only time I saw the Who back in late 1989 during some kind of reunion tour, I was pretty unimpressed. It was disappointing, because I really, really like the Who.
About a month later I saw the Rolling Stones at the same venue (a stadium in Oakland, CA) and they were on fire. Incidentally, the opening act was Living Color, and they were quite awesome as well.

Joseph said...

Thanks for choosing this topic and I'm dying to weigh in, and I'll keep it to 5.

The Who in '89 playing Tommy in its entirety in Los Angeles. One of my favorite albums by my absolute favorite band and it was goosebumps for 2 hours listening to it live.

Sleater-Kinney in Portland 2003. So much positive energy. A friend and I had to sit and rehash the show over a few drinks afterward we were so pumped.

Pixies 2005 Portland - after listening to their albums for years, it was surreal to hear them live. So tight and so amazing.

Arcade Fire 2005 in Portland - unexpectedly mind-blowing. Liked their album very much but the live show left me shaken for days.

Dinosaur Jr 2013 in Portland - I'd been dying to see them for years and fully expected them to fall short of overblown expectations. But it was simply exceptional. Fantastic set list, great sound, and absolutely the loudest show I've ever seen (if temporary hearing loss the next day is any measure).

@Prowler: the Scorpions and Zebra? Brilliant! Would've loved that one!

Anonymous said...

Whoa about "plane of existence". I am headed to see Macca TONIGHT! I'll have to report back with a review.


Anonymous said...

Joseph.....and the knife fight. Don't forget the knife fight!!!

Another music experience. The Cars were opening for someone, I forget who. Anyway, group of us from High School all wanted to go. So a friend, I'll call him "Chris" got tickets. I think there was 9 or so of us going. Should that be "were". Anyhoo, pressing on. We got there, Chris started passing out tickets. WE WERE DIRECTLY OPPOSITE THE STAGE!!!! Across the entire Compaq Center, up above the first ring. Next level up, directly under the spotlights. These were the tickets they sell BEFORE they start selling behind the stage and obstructed view. The usher said that it was good we got there early since we would have to stop twice for 15 minutes to allow our bodies to adapt to the changes in altitude. Sherpas carried the girls the final quarter mile. We got yelled at twice for putting our hands in the lights and making puppet shapes. At the end of the night, the stage went dark and 5 minutes later the sound from the opening song reached us. WE WERE UP THERE!!!!

The Prowler (sitting on top of the world).

Cease said...

For me, when a storm started blowing during "Like A Hurricane" by Neil Young at Lakewood Ampitheater (1996) I was truly diggin' it. But our trip to see Bob Dylan in Memphis, in an orange microbus in 2001 (June), was probably the overall best atmosphere for a classic encounter. I've been having the most fun playing shows as Integr8d Soul/ Rocket Ba-Doom but who wants to hear about that, lol

Anonymous said...

ANY Ween (or current post-Ween) show is HIGHLY recommended....

Another highlight was the White Stripes at Delaware's very intimate Grand Opera House...

And more recently, The post-Dead band Furthur doing an AMAZING encore of Zep's "Fool in the Rain" on a sweltering night in Philly....


Redartz said...

Osvaldo-I would love to see Joe Jackson; a talented, versatile performer indeed.

One of the best shows I witnessed was Depeche Mode at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago; 1985. The music was incredible; the synthesizers chiming like crystal, the vocals rich and emotional. The lighting was as much a part of the show as the music; and the crowd was loving every minute of it.

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