Ray LaMontagne: 11/12/2017

I had seen Ray LaMontagne some years before this show at the Christmas Jam, and he was very good, but didn’t come on stage until about 1:30 in the morning, so I was somewhat less than enthused. But since then, I have developed a strong appreciation for his music and was very psyched to see him as a headliner.

My wife and I arrived at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium and were greeted by our friends Wind and Althea, who were sitting two rows behind us. We chatted with them for a while, which was nice. It’s good to catch up with old friends that you haven’t seen in a while.

The show began promptly at 7:00 with Ethan Gruska as the opening act. He wasn’t the worst opening act I have seen, but definitely not the best either.

Finally, Ray came out. He had John Stirratt, the bass player from Wilco, with him. Also, on several songs, Ethan Gruska came out and assisted on three-part harmonies, which sounded great. I thought Gruska was much better as part of a group than by himself.

Ray’s set was excellent. He sounded amazing and the audience was very appreciative, almost to a fault. There were several people screaming during some of the more subtle moments, which I could have done without. And that leads me to a story about the people in front of us. Of course, we had to be behind a couple who were getting drunker and more obnoxious as the night went on. The guy kept trying to put his arm around the woman and inadvertently kept hitting my wife’s knee. Finally, during the last song of the encore, their talking hit fever pitch, at which point my wife leaned forward and nicely asked them if they could please not talk until after the show, to which the guy indignantly and loudly replied “NO!” I felt my muscles tense and had visions of me having to fight this jerk, but alas, he stopped talking for the rest of the song, and the person next to my wife gave her a high five.

After the lights came on, we saw several other of our friends, which was nice. I love seeing people I know at concerts. I don’t know why, but it just makes it feel more communal.

I looked at several of the setlists from the tour and it seems that the list was standard across shows. It seems right from what I remember, so here is the generic setlist from the tour.

Setlist:

  • No Other Way
  • Beg Steal or Borrow
  • Lavender
  • Shelter
  • In My Own Way
  • Airwaves
  • Hannah
  • Pick Up a Gun
  • Such a Simple Thing
  • Blue Canadian Rockies
  • Burn
  • Empty
  • To the Sea
  • Supernova
  • Like Rock & Roll and Radio
  • Trouble

Encore:

  • Jolene
  • All the Wild Horses
  • Wouldn’t It Make a Lovely Photograph
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Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: 12/29/1983

This performance by Joan Jett was quite different from when I saw her open for The Who a year earlier. The Button South was a rock and roll nightclub, so it was much more intimate seeing her here as opposed to in a large stadium.

Don’t have a whole lot else to share about this show. I’ve seen Joan many times over the years, and this one kind of blends in with the remnants of memories from other performances. But I can say with certainty that she kicked ass, because she kicked ass every time I have seen her.

I love rock and roll…

The End of the Concert Ticket?

It is no secret that I am not a fan of Ticketmaster. They charge exorbitant “convenience” fees, offer crappy service, basically have a monopoly, and as a final kick in the groin, they allow scalpers to resell tickets through their website for obscene amounts of money. Now, to add insult to injury, they appear to be moving toward the elimination of real tickets:

Pollstar Article on Ticketmaster

As I thought about why they would possibly want to do this, it dawned on me: They want to milk you for more money. Whenever possible, I purchase my tickets at the box office window. Doing so, you do not have to pay the Ticketmaster fees. By no longer offering real tickets, you are forced to purchase the virtual ticket online and pay their ridiculous fees.

Bill Graham must be turning over in his grave.

Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws, and Foghat: 5/22/1987

This ticket stub proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will go to just about any concert. I used to refer to Molly Hatchet as “Molly Hack-shit,” the Outlaws I had seen before, and Foghat I had seen more times than I care to recount. Still, I spent my $12.50 to spend the evening with the South Florida southern rock drunkards and marveled at the hootin’ and hollerin’ that occurred between each song.

I got nothing else to share regarding this show. I feel like I have intentionally purged all memory of this from my brain.

The Radiators: 4/21/1989

Woody’s on the Beach was a Miami South Beach club owned by Ron Wood from the Rolling Stones, and a place where I often went with friends to hear live music and party until the wee hours of the morning. As such, details are often sketchy at best. This show falls into that category. I recall seeing The Rads at Woody’s, and I know I was with a bunch of my friends, but that’s all I can remember.

For those of you who are not familiar with The Radiators, they were one of the coolest New Orleans bands at that time, right up there with the Neville Brothers. I went to see them every opportunity I had, and even had some good bootleg tapes of theirs back in the day when collecting tapes was the thing to do. I have a great memory of driving up to Daytona to catch a free Rads show on the beach with my friend Todd and a couple other folk. Fun times!

Wish I had more to share, but alas, that’s all I got. If anyone out there has a setlist from this show, feel free to add it to the comments.

Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe: 8/3/1984

I was really psyched for this concert. It was a great double bill and the Sunrise Musical Theater was one of my favorite concert venues at the time in South Florida. I went to this show with my girlfriend Enid, and another couple from our apartment building, Glen and Linda.

We got to the Sunrise and took our seats, which were in the lower section and pretty decent. Nick Lowe came out and totally rocked. I distinctly remember what seemed like the entire place singing along to “Tempted.” He was even called back to perform an encore, something that is not very common with opening acts.

After intermission, the lights went down and Elvis came out. As soon as he took the stage, Glen and Linda engaged themselves in something which they should not have done. Very swiftly, police descended and escorted the group of us out to the lobby. After a short consultation among themselves, they informed us that we were all going to be kicked out of the concert. At this point, I spoke up.

“Awwww, come on! Give us a break. We will all behave. You can keep an eye on us. Just let us stay and see the show. Please!”

The officers looked at each other, and then said, “OK. But we will be watching you.” So we humbly walked back to our seats in time to catch the last half of the second song, “Watching the Detectives.”

Once back at our seats, Glen finally broke his silence: “Fuckin’ pigs! What the fuck? Why do they have to bust our balls like that?” I looked at him with dismay. “Relax, man. We got to stay and see the concert. You should be happy.” The sullen and defeated look on his face showed that he knew I was right, but was probably just being pissy because his party got spoiled.

Thankfully, we did not get booted, because Elvis’ show was phenomenal. He played great and blasted through a nice long set. The show ended with a medley of tunes that included “Pump It Up,” which was the perfect way to end the night.

I was able to find both artists’ setlists online, so here they are for those who are interested. Rock on!

Nick Lowe Setlist:

  • Stick It Where the Sun Don’t Shine
  • Saint Beneath the Paint
  • Marie Provost
  • I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock ‘n’ Roll)
  • Tempted
  • Cracking Up
  • Ragin’ Eyes
  • Half a Boy and Half a Man
  • I Need You
  • How Long
  • Burning

Encore:

  • You’ll Never Get Me Up in One of Those

Elvis Costello Setlist:

  • Lipstick Vogue
  • Watching The Detectives
  • Let Them All Talk
  • Mystery Dance
  • Shabby Doll
  • Girls Talk
  • I Hope You’re Happy Now
  • I Wanna Be Loved
  • The Greatest Thing
  • Worthless Thing
  • So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star
  • Everyday I Write The Book
  • King Horse
  • The Only Flame In Town – fast version
  • Shipbuilding
  • Waiting For The End Of The World
  • Beyond Belief
  • Clubland
  • Inch By Inch
  • The Deportees Club
  • Man Out Of Time
  • Alison
  • Home Truth
  • Room With No Number
  • Young Boy Blues
  • Getting Mighty Crowded
  • Peace In Our Time
  • (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?
  • Pump It Up (medley, including Ain’t That A Lot Of Love and Tears, Tears And More Tears)

Joni Mitchell: 5/17/2000

At the time, this was the most expensive concert ticket I had purchased to date; but I have always loved Joni’s music and my wife is a huge Joni Mitchell fan, so I had no qualms about buying tickets for this show and spending a little extra for good seats.

What can I say about this show? She was magical on stage, and even though her voice had the smoky quality to it, she was enchanting for the entire performance. When I picture in my mind’s eye an image of a creative, intelligent, and inspiring woman, it’s someone like Joni Mitchell that I see. She’s a cultural icon who, in my humble opinion, has made a tremendous impact on our society and the world as a whole. Thank you, Joni, for all you do!

I noticed that on Joni’s website she has the setlist from the concert, as well as some great pictures. Please visit the site and enjoy the images. Here is the setlist from the concert. By the way, “Both Sides Now” had me on the verge of tears.

Setlist:

  • Orchestral Overture
  • You’re My Thrill
  • At Last
  • Comes Love
  • You’ve Changed
  • Answer Me, My Love
  • A Case Of You
  • Don’t Go To Strangers
  • Sometimes I’m Happy
  • Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me
  • Stormy Weather
  • I Wish I Were In Love Again
  • Both Sides Now
  • Be Cool
  • Judgement Of The Moon And Stars (Ludwig’s Tune)
  • Hejira
  • For The Roses
  • Trouble Man