John Fogerty: 10/22/1986

This was one of those embarrassing memories. I was pretty psyched to see John Fogerty, but unfortunately, none of my friends shared my enthusiasm, so I ended up going by myself. Since I was alone and bored before the show, I spent a little more money at the beverage booth than I probably should have. The first act came on, and I became very aware of that certain unease in my stomach, so I made a rapid dash to the bathroom and actually made it into a stall (which thankfully was clean). After getting quite sick, I made it back to my seat and sat there alone, not feeling all that well.

Fogerty came out, and he sounded good. I remember hearing about five songs, and then the next thing I knew, I was being awoken by a man with a broom, the harsh lights jarring my brain: “Time to go home. Concert’s over.” I looked around and I was the last person there, except for the staff cleaning up. I dragged myself out of the venue and went to the bus stop. I tried to console myself with the fact that I did get to see a few songs, but honestly, I was feeling pretty depressed about the whole affair.

Oh well, these things happened at concerts back in the day.

David Grisman Bluegrass Experience: 3/18/2017

This was a somewhat pricey ticket for a show at the Grey Eagle, which is a bar and essentially standing room only (unless you paid $75 for a seat). But, I had never seen Grisman and figured I should jump at the opportunity to do so, and I am glad I did. I was supposed to go with my friend Robert to this show, but he was sick so he told me to give away his ticket. I called a few people and ended up giving it to my friend Bob, a mandolin/guitar player that I am currently in a band with, so it went to someone who appreciated the music.

The show was sold out, so the place was cramped and hot, but no one seemed to care. There was an opening band (the name evaded me) that also played traditional bluegrass, and they were good. They got the crowd excited. Then Grisman’s band came out. They were outstanding. They basically played unplugged, each member stepping up to one of the several microphones set up on stage when it was time to solo. But what made this show truly special was the surprise guest: Bobby Hicks, the fiddler from Bill Monroe’s group. He basically sat in for the second half of the set, and it was awesome. I managed to get a good picture with my phone.

I wish I had more to share, but was unable to locate the set list. It was an excellent concert and I am really glad I went.

Yes: 4/21/1984

Since Yes is about to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I was inspired to dig through my mess of ticket stubs and locate the stub from the first time I saw Yes, which was on the 9012Live tour. They played at the infamous Hollywood Sportatorium, notorious for its crappy acoustics; but in spite of being in a proverbial barn, the band sounded amazing.

I remember the stage being sparsely populated. The amps seemed to be hidden somewhere. There was just a futuristic series or ramps that allowed the musicians to move about in an unfettered manner. Trevor Rabin was the guitarist on this tour, and though I love Steve Howe’s guitar work, Trevor did an outstanding job. They featured the 90125 album prominently, but included some choice classic pieces, such as “And You and I” (one of my favorite Yes songs) and “Soon” from the Relayer album.

The band closed the main set with “Starship Trooper,” and as they played the outro, the lights above the stage began folding down like the landing gear of a spacecraft. Smoke billowed as multicolored lights flashed and exploded. It was really mind-blowing! After that, they came back and played “Roundabout” for the encore. In my humble opinion, a spectacular show!

I would see Yes several more times in my life, and each show was unique and special in its own way, but this one holds a special place in my heart. Here is the full setlist.

  • Cinema
  • Leave It
  • Yours Is No Disgrace
  • Hold On
  • Hearts
  • I’ve Seen All Good People
  • Keyboard Solo
  • Solly’s Beard
  • Changes
  • And You and I
  • Soon
  • Make It Easy
  • Owner of a Lonely Heart
  • It Can Happen
  • Long Distance Runaround
  • Whitefish / Amazing Grace
  • City of Love
  • Starship Trooper

Encore:

  • Roundabout

Martin Barre: 3/24/2017

Martin Barre is the guitarist from Jethro Tull, and since Tull is on an extended hiatus, he is performing solo with a backing band.

I had planned to go to this concert with my youngest daughter, who really likes Jethro Tull (proof I’ve raised my kids right), but she was unfortunately sick and could not muster the strength to go, so my friend Dan acquired my extra, and he and his significant other Angie joined me for the show.

First, I want to say that at 70 years old, Martin is as great of a guitarist as he was when I saw Jethro Tull for the first time in the late 70’s. His technical performance, tone, and energy were those of someone half his age. There was also a maturity in his playing, and I mean that in only the best sense of the word.

There was no opening act, and the band played two sets and an encore. Early in the first set, they played “Minstrel in the Gallery,” probably my favorite Tull song. I have seen Tull three times and the only time they played “Minstrel” was as an encore the first time I saw them, so hearing Martin and his band play it was amazing for me. After the song, I told Dan I could leave now and be happy. But I’m glad I stayed. The rest of the night was packed with incredible music, including an abundance of Tull songs and some really nice cover tunes (see setlist below).

After the show, I went out to my car and grabbed my record cover of “Minstrel in the Gallery,” which I brought with me in the hopes of getting autographed. I waited around with the other old rockers (a reference to a Tull song here) and after a short while, Martin came out to sign autographs. When it was my turn to meet him, I told him that I had attended a guitar clinic that he hosted at Ace Music in Miami many years ago. He clearly remembered the clinic and shared his memories of staying at the Fontainebleau Hotel. He was really pleasant and friendly, and I left feeling grateful to have met someone whose music was so inspiring to me throughout my life.

Here is the setlist, and remember, you’re never too old to rock and roll if you’re too young to die.

Set 1

  • Hammer
  • To Cry You a Song
  • Minstrel in the Gallery
  • Steal Your Heart Away
  • Back to Steel
  • Love Story
  • After You After Me
  • Eleanor Rigby
  • I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
  • Sweet Dream
  • Sealion
  • Thick as a Brick

Set 2

  • Blackest Eyes
  • Nothing to Say
  • Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day
  • Cross Road Blues
  • Bad Man
  • A Song for Jeffrey
  • Moment of Madness
  • Teacher
  • Fat Man
  • A New Day Yesterday

Encore:

  • Locomotive Breath

Jethro Tull with U.K.: 9/4 or 5/1979

This is a pretty sad stub. The concert was amazing, but I was quite upset that the gatekeeper gave me the short stub. I even said something to the guy, but he was a real asshole about it and refused to let me have the better half. As such, I had to do some digging online to find the actual date of the concert, which was part of the Stormwatch tour. It seems that they played two nights at the Sportatorium. I’m not sure which was the one I attended.

Anyway, the concert was awesome! I was a huge Tull fan growing up. I have great memories of being in the woods in New York with my friends, listening to Songs from the Wood on a dinky cassette player. One of my earliest album purchases was Best of Jethro Tull, and I listened to it over and over and over. So getting to see Tull was a big deal for me.

The prog rock band U.K. opened the show. I was not that familiar with them at the time, but once I learned more about them, I felt fortunate to have gotten to see them live. The incarnation of the band I saw was the trio version which included singer/bassist John Wetton (from King Crimson, Roxy Music, and Uriah Heep), keyboardist/electric violinist Eddie Jobson (Roxy Music and Frank Zappa’s band), and drummer Terry Bozzio (from Frank Zappa’s band). I didn’t know any of their music, but damn – I was really impressed with their performance.

Then Tull took the stage. The entire band was out, sans Ian Anderson. There was a stand in the center of the stage holding his flute. Suddenly, a pirate-looking figure swung from one side of the Sporto on a rope to the other, swung back, and on the next swing, let go, slid across the stage and swooped up his flute. I was completely blown away! They played five songs from the new album, after which Ian said, “Well, we’ve played some new stuff, now the rest of the evening will be all older material. This song starts out loud, then gets soft, then gets loud, then gets soft, then gets loud again. I think you know the rest…” and they blasted into “Aqualung.” The crowd exploded. And true to his word, the rest of the show was all classic tunes, which included “Songs from the Wood,” “Thick as a Brick,” “Too Old to Rock and Roll,” and “Cross-eyed Mary.” And just when I thought it could get no better: the encore!! They came back, played Minstrel in the Gallery > Locomotive Breath > Dambusters March > Minstrel in the Gallery (reprise). To this day, that holds up as one of the best encores I’ve ever seen.

I would go on and see Jethro Tull other times in my life, but none of the subsequent shows ever lived up to this one. It was by far the best Tull show I have seen, and up there with some of the best concerts overall.

David Gilmour: 7/5/1984

Before I would have the opportunity to see Pink Floyd, I was fortunate enough to see David Gilmour solo. He played the Sunrise Musical Theater, which was a small venue in South Florida, and it was mind-blowing. Gilmour’s guitar work is totally cerebral, unlocking areas of the psyche with his rich tones. I left the concert feeling like my mind was expanded. While I wished he would have played a few more Floyd tunes, it was great seeing the legendary guitarist in an intimate setting.

Unfortunately, most of the details have faded. I can’t even recall with whom I went to this show. But, I managed to find the setlist online, so here it is.

  • Until We Sleep
  • All Lovers Are Deranged
  • Love on the Air
  • Mihalis
  • Cruise
  • Short and Sweet
  • Money
  • Out of the Blue
  • Let’s Get Metaphysical
  • You Know I’m Right
  • Run Like Hell
  • Blue Light
  • Murder

Encore:

  • Comfortably Numb

Santana with Ozomatli: 10/17/1999

Santana is always great in concert, but this concert was especially nice since he had Ozomatli opening, and members of Ozomatli joined Carlos and his band during their set.

My wife and I went to this show with some acquaintances, another couple who we sort of knew but were not really friends with. The concert was at Coral Sky Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, which is your typical amphitheatre. There are seats in the front half and an open field in the back. We had seats, which was nice.

I was not very familiar with Ozomatli at this time, but they came out and totally rocked. I was really impressed with their sound and energy, and during their last song, they all picked up percussion instruments and walked out among the audience, jamming like a conga line. It was the perfect opener for Santana.

Santana was, as I said, amazing. His tone and the clarity of his guitar work are the signs of a musical virtuoso. He played a great mix of his classic music, as well as songs from his then new album, “Supernatural,” which I think is an incredible album and one I was listening to quite a bit at that time. The only down side about this show was the drive home. We lived in Miami at the time, so it was a bit of a long trek back from West Palm.

Anyway, here’s the setlist. Rock and roll!

  • Spiritual / (Da Le) Yaleo / Hannibal (with Ozomatli)
  • Migra (with Ozomatli)
  • Put Your Lights On (with Ozomatli)
  • Santana Sandwich
  • Day of Celebration
  • Victory Is Won
  • Maria Maria (with Ozomatli)
  • Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile)
  • Smooth
  • Bacalao con pan (with Ozomatli)
  • Make Somebody Happy / Get It in Your Soul
  • Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen
  • Oye como va
  • Everybody’s Everything
  • Love of My Life
  • Jin-go-lo-ba