Neil Young & Crazy Horse, with Sonic Youth and Social Distortion: 3/9/1991

I remember this concert very well. I love Neil Young, and had seen him with Crazy Horse a couple times before this show, but I had not seen Sonic Youth or Social Distortion, and I was pretty psyched that they were fleshing out a solid triple bill (and for only $20!!).

I went with my good friend and fellow musician, Big Ed Stokes (he was morbidly big, which sadly led to his early death not long after this show). Ed was one of the best guitarists I knew, and we spent many long days together playing music and teaching each other songs.

Anyway, we got to the Miami Arena with plenty time to spare, got situated, and waited for the music to start. Social D played first, and they totally rocked it! Straight-ahead rock and roll with a healthy injection of punk. When they finished, all I could think was, “Damn! I’d love to see them as a headliner.” They played a smokin’ version Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” which was mind-blowing. When they finished and the lights came up, Ed and I were both pumped and ready for the next act—Sonic Youth.

What can I say about Sonic Youth? They were one of the most disappointing bands I have ever seen. Maybe my expectations were too high, but the truth is, I thought they sucked. I stood there watching them, as they mindlessly pounded on their instruments, making noise, and rolling around on the stage, getting tangled in their cords. It was like watching a group of morons who were trying to make obnoxious noise to torment those around them. I distinctly recall wondering if they even knew how to play their instruments, because it did not seem like it to me. And after such a great set from Social D, it just made them sound all the worse. I asked Ed what he thought of them, and he said “They fuckin’ suck. I’m getting a headache.” Now Ed never shied away from loud music, so I felt validated. We ended up hanging out in the hallway until they finished playing.

After the Sonic Cacophony ended, we went back inside and waited for Neil. Finally, the lights went down and Neil & Co. exploded on stage with “Hey Hey, My My,” and it was one killer song after another. The high points for me were a powerful cover version of Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and “Welfare Mothers” as one of the encore tunes. I can close my eyes right now, 27 years later, and still picture them on stage, pounding out some of the greatest rock and roll ever. As long as Neil Young is still alive, then rock and roll can never die.

Here is the setlist from the show.

Setlist:

  • Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)
  • Crime in the City
  • Blowin’ in the Wind
  • Love to Burn
  • Cinnamon Girl
  • Mansion on the Hill
  • Fuckin’ Up
  • Cortez the Killer
  • Powderfinger
  • Love and Only Love
  • Rockin’ in the Free World

Encore:

  • Welfare Mothers
  • Like a Hurricane
Advertisements

The Pretenders: 3/28/2018

So I had some reservations about going to see this show. The reason being, I had seen the Pretenders back in the 80’s, and they were AWESOME! They were so great, I was afraid that seeing them 34 years later would be a let-down. (Note: This show was exactly 34 years to the day after I first saw them.) Anyway, my wife wanted to go because she loves the Pretenders and had never seen them, so I bought tickets. I’m damn glad I did.

The band was playing at the Peace Center in Greenville, about an hour’s drive. The venue has great acoustics and comfortable seats, but it’s a little strange. Most of the people who go there are old. Now I am no spring chicken and have earned my rank as a veteran concertgoer, but I felt like a teenager there. I think that many people purchase season tickets, but I’m not sure. Maybe I’m just older than I feel.

Anyway, the opening band was pretty good, although I forgot their name. But not long afterwards, the Pretenders took the stage.

What can I say? Chrissie Hynde still looks and sounds incredible. She took the stage in tight black pants, tee shirt, pink blazer, and leopard skin shoes, looking every bit the rock goddess that she always was. She had a great band with her (Martin Chambers on drums was the only other original), and the guitarist was especially good, channeling the classic riffs with punk-rockabilly flare.

What I thought was cool was that Chrissie was adamant about people not using their cell phones during the show, stating that they needed to just focus on the music. Now I have no issue with snapping a picture or two, even taking a short 30-second video to share on Facebook if that’s your thing, but I confess an annoyance when I am looking toward a stage and all I see are devices in the air, as if the experience is not real unless it happens on your iPhone screen. So Chrissie did shame someone for trying to use a phone, and I think that scared everyone else.

As far as the performance goes, it was kick ass from beginning to end, with an encore that was mind-blowing. She interspersed the tunes with some banter and cool stories, but not to the point of drudgery. The energy was high, and she played for what felt like a long time. Totally felt like I got my money’s worth.

I found a setlist online, but there were some things that I noticed were definitely not correct, so I edited it a little. I think this is mostly right now, but I am not promising 100% accuracy. But you should be able to get an idea of how the show was.

Thanks Chrissie, for all the great music. Long may you rock!

Setlist:

  • Alone
  • Gotta Wait
  • Talk of the Town
  • Down the Wrong Way
  • Private Life
  • My City Was Gone
  • Let’s Get Lost
  • Kid
  • Back on the Chain Gang
  • Hymn To Her
  • Forever Young
  • Don’t Get Me Wrong
  • I’ll Stand by You
  • I Hate Myself
  • Thumbelina
  • Night in My Veins
  • Middle of the Road
  • Mystery Achievement

Encore:

  • ?????
  • Stop Your Sobbing
  • The Wait
  • Tattooed Love Boys
  • Precious

Summer Magic Music Fest with The Guess Who and Buffalo Springfield Revisited: 5/31/1987

This show was very forgettable. It was basically one of those oldies concerts that was hosted by Magic 102.7, which was the South Florida oldies station in the 80’s. The Guess Who was cool, since they did have Burton Cummings still singing with them, but Buffalo Springfield Revisited was basically a Buffalo Springfield cover band that I think might have had the bass player and drummer from the original band with them. But how a band could even have the audacity to use that name and not have Richie Furay, Stephen Stills, or Neil Young in there is beyond my comprehension.

I think there might have been one or two other bands there, but my memory of this show is cloudy. It was basically just a day hanging out by the water and enjoying a summer day in Miami while hearing some live music.

Alice Cooper: 3/26/2018

I know – I’ve seen Alice a LOT of times. But my youngest daughter had never seen him and wanted to go, so how could I say no?

We drove to Greenville, SC, which was a little over an hour. We got there with plenty of time to spare, which was a good thing, because there was only one merchandise table, so the line literally snaked around the hallway. But we waited patiently with the other rockers and got a couple of cool shirts. Then headed in to the show.

We had decent seats on the floor, right in the center. There was no opening act, just Alice. He came out, ever the grim glam god, and opened with “Brutal Planet.” After that, it was all Killer and no filler, just one great tune after another. Some of the high points for me were “Billion Dollar Babies,” where they had the classic snakeskin wallet cover as a backdrop, “Halo of Flies,” one of the greatest epic Cooper tunes ever, and “Serious” off the “From the Inside” album, somewhat obscure, so great to see performed live.

My daughter really loved the show, which I was glad about. And while she slept on the drive home, I thought about how lucky I am that I get to share live music with my kids.

Here’s the setlist from the show.

Setlist:

  • Brutal Planet
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Under My Wheels
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • Be My Lover
  • Lost in America
  • Serious
  • Fallen in Love
  • Woman of Mass Distraction
  • Guitar Solo (Nita Strauss)
  • Poison
  • Halo of Flies
  • Feed My Frankenstein
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Paranoiac Personality
  • Ballad of Dwight Fry
  • Killer (Excerpt)
  • I Love the Dead (Band vocals only)
  • I’m Eighteen

Encore:

  • School’s Out (with “Another Brick in the Wall”)

They Might Be Giants: 9/28/2011

They Might Be Giants is the ultimate nerd band. I first heard them on a college radio station and initially did not know what to make of their music. But I soon became a fan, and their album “Flood” dominated my CD player for a long time in the 90’s. So when my daughter expressed a desire to go see them, I went out and got us tickets, figuring it would be a fun father/daughter night out.

We got to the Orange Peel and found a spot amid the other music geeks. The band opened with “Asheville,” a song they wrote about the city we were in, which was very cool. They continued playing a great show full of quirky songs that made my geek-heart flutter. “Particle Man” and “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” were particularly fun for me. The crowd was psyched, jumping up and down in rhythm to the music. It was just a fun, fun night.

I can’t express just how much time like this mean to me. Live music is such a bonding experience, and sharing this night with my daughter is a memory that I will treasure. If you haven’t listened to this band, I suggest checking them out. They are unique and not like any “popular” music you will have heard before. Here is the setlist from the show.

Setlist:

  • Asheville
  • Can’t Keep Johnny Down
  • We Live in a Dump
  • Canajoharie
  • Judy Is Your Viet Nam
  • Particle Man
  • Meet James Ensor
  • Los Angeles
  • Turn Around
  • Celebration
  • Birdhouse in Your Soul
  • Clap Your Hands
  • Withered Hope
  • Battle for the Planet of the Apes
  • Cloisonné
  • Spoiler Alert
  • lder
  • Don’t Let’s Start
  • Your Racist Friend
  • Alphabet of Nations
  • Old Pine Box
  • Ana Ng
  • When Will You Die
  • The Mesopotamians

Encore:

  • Careful What You Pack
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Encore 2:

  • Lie Still, Little Bottle
  • Nothing’s Gonna Change My Clothes

Lynyrd Skynyrd: 5/29/1988

So as you can see from the ticket, this concert was supposed to have been held at the Miami Baseball Stadium, but was instead moved to the infamous Hollywood Sportatorium. I was on the fence about going, for a few reasons. First off, they were not the original Skynyrd, although they had most of the originals, along with Ronnie’s brother on vocals:

Lineup

  • Johnny Van Zant – vocals
  • Gary Rossington – guitar
  • Ed King – guitar
  • Randall Hall – guitar
  • Billy Powell – keyboards
  • Leon Wilkeson – bass
  • Artimus Pyle – drums
  • Lacy Van Zant (Ronnie and Johnny’s father) – tuba for one song
  • Toy Caldwell of the Marshall Tucker Band – fourth guitar to some songs

The second cause for hesitancy was that fact that, living in South Florida, I was subjected to the raving fanaticism of redneck adoration to Skynyrd on an almost daily basis. Finally, I was not crazy about the Baseball Stadium. In spite of all that, I bought a ticket, and felt somewhat relieved when it was announced they were moving the show to the Sporto.

The Gary Rossington Band opened the show, and got the crowd pretty riled. Rebel flags were waved with pride, something that made me feel less than comfortable.

When Skynyrd came out, I have to confess, they sounded good. Seeing Ed King up there was a treat, and Billy Powell’s keyboard playing was as great as ever. While I never considered myself a fan of the band, I did know every song that they played, which always makes for a good concert experience.

When the band played “Free Bird” as the last song of the evening, Johnny opted not to sing, and just hung his hat on the microphone stand, and the band played an instrumental version to which the crowd sang along. It was actually a nice, sentimental gesture.

Anyway, here’s the setlist. Rock on!

Setlist:

  • Workin’ for MCA
  • I Ain’t the One
  • Saturday Night Special
  • Gimme Back My Bullets
  • The Needle and the Spoon
  • That Smell
  • The Ballad of Curtis Loew
  • Things Goin’ On
  • Swamp Music
  • I Know a Little
  • Gimme Three Steps
  • Call Me the Breeze
  • What’s Your Name
  • Comin’ Home
  • Simple Man
  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • Free Bird

Donavon Frankenreiter: 11/23/2010

So I knew absolutely nothing about this dude when I bought tickets for this show. In fact, the only reason I bought tickets was our friend Erin was visiting from Miami and my wife and I wanted to take her to a show at the Orange Peel (Asheville’s coolest music venue). This was the only show happening while she was visiting, so we went by default. We were pleasantly surprised.

First off, the artist was giving away free copies of his latest CD to all attendees, which I thought was very cool. Additionally, attendees were given fake moustaches to wear, since Donavon I guess is known for his stache. We all donned our upper-lip wigs and found a spot.

While I did not know any of the songs he played, he sounded good and he was a lot of fun on stage. We all enjoyed ourselves, which is a testament to his performance. We all left the show in a great mood, and I was really happy that our friend got to experience the Asheville music scene.

Not much else to share about this one. Keep on enjoying live music!