Rainbow: 7/23/1982

Here is my ticket stub from when I went to see Rainbow on the “Straight Between the Eyes” tour. I don’t remember much from this show, which was post Ronnie James Dio. What I do remember is that Ritchie Blackmore was as fast as ever on the Strat. I also recall them playing “Long Live Rock n’ Roll” and finishing up with “Smoke on the Water.” I could not find the setlist from this particular show online, but I did locate a setlist from Madison Square Garden on the same tour, which is probably similar to the show I saw.

Here’s the MSG setlist:

  • Spotlight Kid
  • Miss Mistreated
  • I Surrender
  • Can’t Happen Here
  • Tearin’ Out My Heart
  • All Night Long
  • Stone Cold
  • Power
  • Difficult to Cure
  • Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • Smoke on the Water
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Pink Floyd: 4/30/1988

I was living in Miami at this time, but thought nothing of taking a road trip up to Orlando to catch Pink Floyd. A group of us decided to carpool up there together, which led to a problem. I was playing music with a guy named Mitch, who was along for the ride. We stopped at a convenience store for refreshments, and unbeknownst to everyone else, Mitch got in to an argument with the cashier and walked out of the store without paying. The cashier got the license plate and filed a police report. A few weeks after the concert, police contacted the owner of the car, who contacted me, and I passed a message on to Mitch to call the officer and straighten out the dispute. He failed to do so, and after more harassment, I finally provided his name to the police. Needless to say, that ended our musical collaboration.

Anyway, back to the concert.

We made it to the Citrus Bowl, and it was pouring like it can only pour in Florida. But it was not a warm spring Florida rain. Oh no! It was bitter cold. Everyone was huddled together, wearing trash bags, trying to keep warm. I recall shivering uncontrollably, my teeth literally chattering. If it were any band other than Pink Floyd, I would have walked out. And while the lasers looked really cool slicing through the rain, after a while, I didn’t even care.

As a musician, I could not help wondering about the safety of the band members, as well as the equipment. I for one would never want to let my guitar get wet like that. But David Gilmour did not seem to mind, although he did comment about how it always seems to rain in Florida when they perform there. Richard Wright, the keyboardist, was literally covered under a tent of tarps. It was kind of silly that when he was playing a solo, the lights just shone on this brownish mound of plastic.

Having seen Pink Floyd before in Miami, I have to say I was a little disappointed with this show. The set list was shorter, and noticeably missing was “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” which was what they opened with in Miami. It felt like the band was miserable and just wanted to finish playing and get somewhere warm and dry.

After the concert, we all piled into a hotel room. There were a lot of us, so floor space and bathtub were utilized. Next morning, we headed back to Miami.

Here is the set list…

Set 1:

  • Signs of Life
  • Learning to Fly
  • Yet Another Movie
  • Round and Around
  • A New Machine (Part 1)
  • Terminal Frost
  • A New Machine (Part 2)
  • Sorrow
  • The Dogs of War
  • On the Turning Away

Set 2:

  • One of These Days
  • Time
  • On the Run
  • The Great Gig in the Sky
  • Wish You Were Here
  • Us and Them
  • Money
  • Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
  • Comfortably Numb

Encore:

  • One Slip
  • Run Like Hell

Chris Robinson Brotherhood: 8/10/2017

I had seen The Black Crowes several times and enjoyed them, so every time that I saw Chris Robinson performing with a solo project, I was tempted to go, but ended up missing them for one reason or another. This time, I got tickets for my wife and I, and I’m glad I did.

As much as I like The Black Crowes, I have to say that I thought the Brotherhood was better live, even though I was unfamiliar with their music. They had a definite energy that was lacking the times I saw the Crowes, and it also seemed that Chris had matured musically. I found the songs more complex and interesting. Not that I have a problem with straight 3-chord rock and roll, but it was refreshing to see an artist exploring new musical realms, and not just rehashing the same crap with some different musicians.

The Orange Peel, for those of you have never been there, is standing room only. Both my wife and I had been working a lot leading up to this show, and we were getting ready to take a vacation to Spain in two days. So we were both tired. We rallied and rocked out for the first set, but then the band took a really long break, and I felt my energy level dropping. About halfway through the second set, my wife suggested we cut out. I was totally OK with that. I felt like I had gotten a good sense of what Chris’ band was like, and I really wanted to get some rest before the long trip.

I did find the full set list online, so here it is. Rock on!

Set 1:

  • Forever as the Moon
  • High Is Not the Top
  • Hark, The Herald Hermit Speaks
  • Wheel Don’t Roll
  • Blue Star Woman
  • Boppin’ the Blues
  • Blonde Light of Morning
  • Clear Blue Sky & The Good Doctor
  • Sunday Sound

Set 2:

  • Good to Know
  • Little Lizzie Mae
  • Can You Hear Me
  • If You Had a Heart to Break
  • Try It Baby
  • Vibration & Light Suite
  • Ride
  • Star or Stone
  • Behold the Seer

Encore:

  • There Won’t Be Anymore

The Decemberists: 9/25/2009

People often tell me that bands today are just not as good as the bands of yore, but The Decemberists demonstrate that this is just not the case. They are ever innovative, unique, and inspiring.

This concert was a true family outing. My wife and I brought both our daughters, which was so much fun. The girls were very excited, and the feeling was infectious. I had that sense of rock and roll energy that I felt when I was younger. I guess it’s true that live music keeps you feeling young.

The band was excellent.  For the first set, they performed The Hazards of Love in its entirety. Then they took a break, came back, and played a really solid second set, which included a super-energetic cover version of Heart’s “Crazy on You.” I left the show with an even greater appreciation for the band. They demonstrated that they are not only superb studio musicians, but they are also outstanding live performers.

Here is the set list…

Set 1 (The Hazards of Love)

  • Prelude
  • The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone)
  • A Bower Scene
  • Won’t Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)
  • The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All)
  • The Queen’s Approach
  • Isn’t It a Lovely Night?
  • The Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid
  • An Interlude
  • The Rake’s Song
  • The Abduction of Margaret
  • The Queen’s Rebuke / The Crossing
  • Annan Water
  • Margaret in Captivity
  • The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!)
  • The Wanting Comes in Waves (Reprise)
  • The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)

Set 2

  • Angel, Won’t You Call Me?
  • Leslie Anne Levine
  • The Crane Wife 3
  • Down by the Water
  • Shankill Butchers
  • The Chimbley Sweep
  • Dracula’s Daughter
  • Valencia!
  • Crazy on You

Encore:

  • Raincoat Song
  • Sons & Daughters

Roger Waters: 7/18/2017

My brother who lives in the Greensboro area is a huge Pink Floyd fan, so when I saw that Roger Waters was playing in Greensboro, I asked him to grab me some tickets. That was about nine months before the show. But finally the day arrived and it was time to take the drive to my brother’s.

My daughter and I set out on what should have been a two-and-a-half hour drive, but we were beset with rain, hail, accidents, construction, basically everything except an earthquake and a plague of locusts. But eventually we arrived, ate a few slices of pizza, and then piled into two cars to drive to the show (since there were six of us altogether).

We arrived at the coliseum where they were charging a criminal $20 per car to park. As we pulled up to the fee booth, my brother asked the guy working there if we could get a two-for-one deal, since the car behind was with us. And the dude actually said yes! I was kind of shocked, but my brother has always had a touch for finagling things like that.

We parked and headed inside. I went and checked out the shirts, which looked cool, but the cheap ones were $40, and a tie dye shirt was $75! I’m an old timer, and I just couldn’t bring myself around to spending that much money on a tee shirt.

Our seats were straight back, which was great because we got the full visual experience, which was amazing. The concert was heavy on the “Dark Side of the Moon” and “Animals” material, which was fine with me. The earliest piece he played was “One of These Days” from the Meddle album. That song always gives me the chills.

While the music and the stage show were both awesome, there was one big bummer about this concert: we had a screamer in the row behind us. This woman, who was obviously fresh from a trailer park, was raving about all the Xanax she took before the show. Then once the lights went down, she started screaming, and screaming, and screaming, at the top of her lungs. I am all for people getting psyched about a show, but this was ridiculous. About halfway into the second set, I said something to her, to which she nastily responded “Shut the fuck up!” and just screamed even louder. I debated escalating the situation, but decided it was not worth it. We have to choose our rock and roll battles.

Anyway, in spite of that, I had a great time. The show was political, but not overly so (lots of images of Trump as a pig in the second set). Having seen Waters about four times now, I have to say that this was one of his better shows. If you have an opportunity to catch this tour, you definitely should. Here is the setlist for those who are interested.

Set 1:

  • Breathe
  • One of These Days
  • Time
  • Breathe (Reprise)
  • The Great Gig in the Sky
  • Welcome to the Machine
  • When We Were Young
  • Déjà Vu
  • The Last Refugee
  • Picture That
  • Wish You Were Here
  • The Happiest Days of Our Lives
  • Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
  • Another Brick in the Wall Part 3

Set 2:

  • Dogs
  • Pigs (Three Different Ones)
  • Money
  • Us and Them
  • Smell the Roses
  • Brain Damage
  • Eclipse
  • Vera
  • Bring the Boys Back Home
  • Comfortably Numb

Grateful Dead and Sting: 6/26/1993

This was the second of a two-night stand at RFK Stadium. Before the show, we decided to go and check out the National Gallery. On the way there, we had to make a quick exit from the train because my friend must have eaten something that didn’t agree with her. Thankfully, she recovered quickly and we had a good time checking out the art before the show.

The concert was packed, and Sting opened the show. He changed his set up from the first night, only repeating a few songs, which I thought was cool. And again, Jerry came out and jammed with Sting on a couple tunes.

Just like the first night, Bruce Hornsby also played accordion and helped with the vocals. The Dead’s set was solid, and they played “Spoonful,” which was a really nice surprise. That’s not one they play all that often.

They closed the show with “Liberty,” which is not one of my favorite Dead tunes, but I can understand why they picked it as an encore. We were in the nation’s capital, after all.

Here are the set lists.

Sting’s Set

  • All This Time
  • Why Should I Cry for You?
  • Synchronicity II
  • Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
  • Roxanne
  • Fortress Around Your Heart
  • Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)
  • Penny Lane
  • Purple Haze
  • When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around
  • Walking on the Moon (with Jerry Garcia)
  • Consider Me Gone / I’ve Been Down So Long (with Jerry Garcia)

Dead’s Sets

Set 1:

  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Brown-Eyed Women
  • Spoonful
  • Lazy River Road
  • When I Paint My Masterpiece
  • Bird Song
  • Picasso Moon

Set 2:

  • Iko Iko
  • Way to Go Home
  • Playing in the Band >
  • Terrapin Station >
  • Drums >
  • Space >
  • The Last Time >
  • Days Between >
  • Throwing Stones
  • One More Saturday Night

Encore:

  • Liberty

Grateful Dead and Sting: 6/25/1993

I had seen the Dead quite a few times by this point, but never in a stadium setting. I was a little hesitant to brave the stadium crowd, but figured I might as well. My friend Erin wanted to go with me, so we got tickets through mail order. I had a good friend, Julie, who lived in D.C. and offered us a place to stay, so we were on our way.

The drive from Miami to D.C. was long. Erin slept most of the way and I drove through the night, powered by a steady stream of caffeine. We arrived at Julie’s and had enough time to sleep for a bit before the show.

We took the train to RFK Stadium and the place was insane. Way too many people for my comfort level, but they were all having a good time, so it wasn’t too bad. It was very hot and muggy, though. I saw quite a few people struggling from a mixture of intoxicants and heat exhaustion.

We walked around the parking lot for a while, and I bought a couple shirts from vendors. One in particular was really creative and included a bunch of cartoon characters frolicking around. After a while, we headed inside. We had general admission tickets for the field, which felt like we were swimming in a sea of people.

Sting came out and opened the show. He was really good, playing a nice mix of Police, solo material, and some cover tunes. Jerry Garcia came out at the end of Sting’s set and played a little with him, which was very cool. But seeing Jerry in shorts was a strange sight, indeed. Still can’t get that image out of my mind.

The Dead came out and the first thing that struck me was that there were more people on stage than I was used to seeing. I quickly figured out the Bruce Hornsby had joined the band and was playing accordion. It sounded really good and added a unique feel to the music, especially on songs like “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” and “Cumberland Blues.”

During intermission, Erin and I attended the Wharf Rats meeting, which was unbelievable. It was great to see so many people there. Forming a circle at the end of the meeting was impossible, so everyone just huddled together in a massive group hug which made me feel a part of something larger than myself. It was deeply moving for me.

Second set was great. I’m always happy when I hear “China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider.” For an encore, they played “The Weight” on which they did a round-robin, everyone taking a turn singing a verse, then joining together for four-part harmony on the final verse. It was a great was to close an amazing concert. I was already looking forward to the next night.

Here are the full set lists.

Sting’s Set

  • Driven to Tears
  • If I Ever Lose My Faith in You
  • Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)
  • A Day in the Life
  • Fields of Gold
  • Synchronicity II
  • Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
  • Roxanne
  • Saint Augustine in Hell / Straight to My Heart
  • King of Pain
  • When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around
  • Tea in the Sahara / Consider Me Gone (with Jerry Garcia)

Dead’s Sets

Set 1:

  • Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
  • Little Red Rooster
  • Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
  • Althea
  • Cassidy
  • Cumberland Blues
  • Promised Land

Set 2:

  • China Cat Sunflower >
  • I Know You Rider
  • Saint of Circumstance >
  • Uncle John’s Band >
  • Corrina >
  • Drums >
  • Space >
  • I Need a Miracle >
  • Wharf Rat >
  • Sugar Magnolia

Encore:

  • The Weight