Steppenwolf, Foghat, and The Outlaws: 10/18/1987

The Miami Marine Stadium was located on Key Biscayne. It was a floating stage where people could pull up in a boat, sit in crappy bleachers, or tread water to watch a show. But it was a fun place to catch a concert and usually they would have a few decent bands performing together for a cheap price, like this one: John Kay & Steppenwolf, Foghat, and The Outlaws, all for a whopping $15.

I went with a group of friends and we hung out in the stands. The details of the show are kind of fuzzy at best (I’m sure it was the Miami heat). I vaguely remember the Outlaws jammin’ on “Green Grass and High Tides.” I also have some dim images of Foghat playing their usual hits. But the one thing that really stands out for me about this show was Steppenwolf playing “Monster.” Hands down, this is my favorite Steppenwolf tune.  They also played all the hits you’d expect: “Magic Carpet Ride,” “Born to be Wild,” “The Pusher,” and so on. Fun times!

“Close your eyes girl
Look inside girl
Let the sound
Take you away”

(from Magic Carpet Ride)

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Van Halen: 4/7/1986

This concert is filed under the “Why the Hell Did I Pay to See Van Halen Again” category. This was like the fifth time I went to see them, and other than when they opened for Black Sabbath in 1978, I thought they sucked every time. (Note: Two of those five times they also opened for the Stones.) Anyway, I had hopes that with Sammy Hagar singing they would be less goofy than when David Lee Roth was the frontman, and they were, but still, I got bored pretty quickly. Honestly, having seen Sammy solo a few times, I thought he was better on his own than with Van Halen. Bottom line is I left early. I could not justify battling the horrific Sportatorium traffic to stay until the end of what, to me, was a mediocre show at best.

Anyway, here’s the setlist, courtesy of the internet.

Setlist:

  • You Really Got Me
  • There’s Only One Way to Rock
  • Summer Nights
  • Get Up
  • Drum Solo
  • Why Can’t This Be Love
  • 5150
  • Bass Solo
  • Panama
  • Best of Both Worlds
  • Love Walks In
  • Good Enough
  • Guitar Solo (Eruption, Cathedral & Spanish Fly)
  • I Can’t Drive 55
  • Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love

Encore:

  • Jump
  • (Unknown)
  • Rock and Roll

U2: 12/3/1987

I know that this might draw down the wrath of U2 fans, but I have to be honest and say that this show was a little disappointing for me. It’s not that the band was bad—on the contrary, they were very good. The issue for me was that I had seen U2 twice on the Unforgettable Fire tour in a much smaller venue, which was mindblowing. But in a big stadium, I just did not feel the same connection with the band that I did in the smaller venue. It is difficult to pull off a good stadium show. Not many bands can do it well. I suspect U2 has gotten better at the stadium performance, but 30 years ago, not so much.

Anyway, Buckwheat Zydeco opened the show, and they were fun. Cool, danceable, New Orleans style music. I seem to recall that they had a hit on the radio at that time, but the song escapes my memory.

U2 came out and opened with “Where the Streets Have No Name.” I remember the sound being pretty good for the Orange Bowl, which was notorious for its God-awful acoustics, but still not that great. And since I had nosebleed seats, I spent the night straining my eyes, trying to see the miniscule figures on the stage. I was just a bad setting for a concert. Maybe if I were closer, I would have enjoyed it more.

I don’t have much more to share about this show, but I do have the setlist.

Setlist

  • Where the Streets Have No Name
  • I Will Follow
  • Trip Through Your Wires
  • I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
  • One Tree Hill
  • Gloria
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday
  • Exit
  • In God’s Country
  • People Get Ready
  • Bad
  • October
  • New Year’s Day
  • Pride (In the Name of Love)

Encore:

  • Bullet the Blue Sky
  • Running To Stand Still
  • With or Without You
  • 40

The Moody Blues: 11/26/1986

The details of this show are a little fuzzy. I remember going with a group of friends and having a really good time. The Broward County Fair would always have a bunch of musical acts of varying genres, everything from country to new wave to classic rock. I was definitely psyched to see the Moodys again, and for only $8 plus fair admission, it was quite the deal.

The concert was held at the racetrack, so seating was in the grandstand. I recall having a good view of the stage, and the band seemed to be enjoying themselves. My friends and I were on our feet pretty much the whole time. Other than that, all I remember are fragments and songs.

I searched for the setlist but could not find one from this specific show. I did, however, find a setlist from another show on the same tour which seems to be about right with what I remember (distinctly remember Gemini Dream > The Voice to open, and Ride My See-Saw for an encore). Anyway, here is the setlist from the Indianapolis show on June 20, 1986.

Setlist

  • Gemini Dream
  • The Voice
  • Rock ‘N’ Roll Over You
  • Tuesday Afternoon
  • Your Wildest Dreams
  • Isn’t Life Strange
  • The Story in Your Eyes
  • It May Be a Fire
  • Painted Smile
  • Reflective Smile
  • Veteran Cosmic Rocker
  • New Horizons
  • Talking Out of Turn
  • The Other Side of Life
  • I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)
  • Nights in White Satin
  • Legend of a Mind
  • Question

Encore:

  • Ride My See-Saw

Elton John: 10/14/1984

This was my first time seeing Elton John, and I was pretty psyched. Elton was one of those artists I grew up listening to as a kid and was definitely an influence on me musically. He was touring in support of his “Breaking Hearts” album, which did quite well if my memory serves me correctly. Elton had Davey Johnstone, Dee Murray, and Nigel Olsson supporting him, which was great seeing them all on stage together.

I went with my brother Mike, and our seats were behind the stage. But since the Sportatorium was essentially a free-for-all, we went and found some seats on the side about halfway back.

Elton opened with “Tiny Dancer,” which was beautiful. He came on stage wearing a long purple coat, which was elegantly glam-boyant. He then started ramping things up and eventually had the crowd totally rockin’, kicking the piano stool backwards and standing at the keys, pounding away like a madman. But the frenzy peaked about halfway through the show, when Elton took off his sleek purple jacket and flung it into the crowd.

Now from my vantage point, I could see the melee that ensued. Crazed rock fanatics clawed and punched each other, while they tore and shredded the jacket. I can’t recall just how long the tug-of-war lasted, but I feel like I heard a couple songs as my eyes shifted from the stage to the crowd and back to the stage again.

While there were a few songs I would have liked to have heard that he didn’t play, the show was pretty solid and he played most of his big hits. He certainly had a formidable body of work to choose from. Anyway, here’s the full setlist.

Setlist:

  • Tiny Dancer
  • Levon
  • Li’l ‘Frigerator
  • Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)
  • Daniel
  • Restless
  • Candle in the Wind
  • The Bitch Is Back
  • Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me
  • Who Wears These Shoes?
  • Sad Songs (Say So Much)
  • Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
  • Bennie and the Jets
  • Philadelphia Freedom
  • I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
  • Kiss the Bride
  • I’m Still Standing
  • Your Song
  • Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  • Crocodile Rock

Warren Haynes’ 29th Christmas Jam: 12/9/2017

The Warren Haynes Christmas Jam has become a holiday tradition for me. I have gone every year since 2002, so this makes 16 years in a row that I have attended.

This year’s lineup was solid right from the initial announcement. That coupled with the fact that the Jam has gained national publicity over the years made getting tickets this year a bit of a challenge. Additionally, almost all of the seats were reserved this year, meaning that general admission was standing room on the floor, or obstructed view behind the stage. Since I am too old now to stand up for an 8-hour concert, I decided to get in line early and purchase reserved seats.

I got to the box office about 9:00 am on the day the tickets were going on sale (on-sale time was noon). I was the first in line, which pretty much ensured I would get seats. The next person in line, who showed up not long afterwards, would not stop talking to me. Now I’m a bit of an introvert, so after 15 minutes of listening to this guy blabber I was starting to feel uncomfortable. After 30 minutes, I was ready to lose it. Thankfully, my friend Robert showed up and took a shift in line, allowing me time to go home, do a little work, and then return as it was closer to on-sale time.

The box office started selling tickets about 15 minutes prior to when they went on sale to people via the internet, which was great. Even so, there was a lot of tension in the line and tempers flared because the line was not moving fast enough. Robert and I were glad to get our tickets quickly, and then we walked to a nearby vegetarian restaurant for some lunch.

The concert sold out that day, and the reserved seats were gone within minutes. What really sucked was that reserved seats immediately became available through “third-party vendors” for over $300 per ticket, four times the cost of the $75 seat. I really despise scalpers!

On the day of the show, I went with my wife and daughter, and it was quite nice to not have to stand in line for hours to get a seat, which I had to do in the past when it was all general admission. We showed up 30 minutes before showtime, walked right in, got our seats, and started enjoying the music.

As I expected, there was a lot of Allman Brothers music performed. Warren was a long-time member of the Allman Brothers Band, and I knew that Gregg’s passing would inspire a tribute. All the music was excellent, although I thought Margo Price was a little weak. Her vocals were powerful, but her songs were just not that interesting. The high points for me were Jake Shimabukuro on ukulele (mindblowing!); Les Bros performing an Allman Brothers tribute; and Ann Wilson from Heart singing with Gov’t Mule (heavy on the Led Zeppelin). Trey Anastasio and The Avett Brothers were also outstanding, so all in all, a great night of music.

My wife and daughter got tired around midnight, so they left at that point. I stayed until 3:00 am, to the very end. After my family left, I went and sat with my friend Robert, who was kind enough to give me a ride home after the show. I could have walked, but it was bitter cold and I was very grateful not to be dealing with icy winds in the early morning hours.

Anyway, here is the full setlist from the evening’s marathon musical event. Rock on, and have a rockin’ New Year!

Setlist

Holly Bowling (pre-show)

  • St. Stephen >
  • Free
  • Proxima B
  • Cassidy
  • Little Martha

Warren Haynes & Jake Shimabukuro

  • Melissa
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Jake solo)
  • Dragon (Jake solo)

Margo Price

  • Nowhere Fast
  • Tennessee Song
  • Wild Women
  • Hurtin’ (On the Bottle)
  • Learning to Lose
  • All American Made
  • Paper Cowboy

Holly Bowling & Jake Shimabukuro

  • Bird Song >
  • 6/8
  • Hallelujah

Blackberry Smoke

  • Fire in the Hole
  • Let It Burn
  • Waiting for the Thunder
  • Free on the Wing (w/Benji Shanks, guitar)
  • Ain’t Got the Blues (w/Benji Shanks, guitar)
  • Will the Circle Be Unbroken Intro >
  • Ain’t Much Left of Me

The Avett Brothers

  • Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
  • Cigarettes
  • Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women
  • Country Blues
  • Laundry Room
  • Paranoia in B Flat
  • No Hard Feelings

Warren Haynes

  • If We Make It Through December (w/The Avett Brothers)
  • You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (w/The Avett Brothers)
  • Southern Accents (w/Ann Wilson)
  • I Am the Highway (w/Ann Wilson and Jake Shimabukuro)

 

Trey Anastasio

  • Gotta Jibboo
  • Burn That Bridge
  • Everything’s Right
  • Aqui Como Alla
  • Sand
  • Dark and Down
  • Set Your Soul Free
  • First Tube

Warren Haynes

  • Miss You (w/Trey Anastasio)
  • Midnight Rider (w/Trey Anastasio)
  • Morning Dew (w/Holly Bowling)

Les Bros (Marc Quinones, Warren Haynes, Paul Riddle, Lamar Williams Jr., Bruce Katz, Jorgen Carlsson)

  • Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More
  • In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (w/Mike Barnes, guitar)
  • Southbound (w/Mike Barnes, guitar; Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, guitar; and Craig Sorrels, trumpet)
  • Blue Sky (w/Charlie Starr, guitar)
  • Dreams (w/Marcus King, guitar)
  • Whipping Post (w/Marcus King, guitar)

Marcus King

  • Remember
  • Jealous Man (w/ Stephen Campbell)
  • Where I’m Headed (w/Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, guitar and Stephen Campbell)
  • Rita Is Gone (w/ Stephen Campbell, Dean Mitchell, Kyle Snuffer & Craig Sorrels)
  • Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out (w/Craig Sorrels, trumpet, Stephen Campbell, Dean Mitchell, Kyle Snuffer, Charlie Starr)

Gov’t Mule

  • Traveling Tune
  • Thorns of Life
  • No Quarter (w/Ann Wilson, vocals)
  • Black Dog (w/Ann Wilson, vocals)
  • Cry Baby (w/Ann Wilson, vocals)
  • Mother Earth (w/Ann Wilson, vocals) >
  • You Shook Me (w/Ann Wilson, vocals
  • Immigrant Song (w/Ann Wilson, vocals)
  • Magic Man (w/Ann Wilson, vocals)
  • Mule (w/Craig Sorrels, trumpet)

Grateful Dead: 9/13/1987

This was the last of the three-night series of Dead shows at the Capital Centre in Maryland, and frankly, I was glad it was. While on the previous day the Prince George’s County police had engaged in Gestapo-style tactics, today proved to be more of the same. I witnessed a phalanx of officers advance aggressively through the parking lot, actively assaulting and intimidating concert-goers. The worst incident that I saw was a cop walking up to someone who was holding a bottle of beer, taking his nightstick, and smashing the bottle in the person’s hand without any warning. It was so sickening that I felt like throwing up. Thankfully, I was savvy enough to avoid any confrontation.

My brother Mike and our friend Jon, who were with us for the first two nights, had left to head back to Florida. It was just Julie, Miriam, and me. We made it safely into the venue for what turned out to be a great show, in spite of all the violence and tension outside. The parts that really stood out for me were “Fever” in the first set and “Throwing Stones” in the second set. I would learn later on that this was the Dead’s only performance of “Fever,” which Bob Weir sang. As far as “Throwing Stones” goes, the crowd sang along with such fervor and anger directed to the authorities outside and the politicians in nearby DC, that the anti-authoritarian sentiment was palpable in the air.

The next day, the three of us would catch a train to New York City for four more shows at Madison Square Garden, but that part of the long strange trip is for another day and another stub. For now, here is the full setlist from the last night at the Cap Centre.

Set 1:

  • Iko Iko
  • Little Red Rooster
  • Brown Eyed Women
  • Fever
  • Stagger Lee
  • When I Paint My Masterpiece
  • Bird Song
  • Promised Land

Set 2:

  • Scarlet Begonias
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Drums  > Space
  • The Other One
  • Stella Blue
  • Throwin’ Stones
  • Good Lovin’
  • La Bamba
  • Good Lovin’

Encore:

  • Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door