Alice Cooper: 9/30/2009

This tour was coined the Theatre of Death tour. What was unique about this show was that the Coop was killed not once, not twice, but three times during the concert: once by hanging, once by electric chair, and once with the classic guillotine.

I went with my friend and bandmate, Bill. We made the long drive from Asheville to Durham, but got there in plenty of time to grab some dinner before the show. Some great Cuban food in Durham!

We got in to the Performing Arts Center, which is a beautiful venue. Our seats were a little to the right, but pretty close. Anyway, the buzz was going around the place that a band called 5th Avenue Vampires was opening, and the band included Dennis Dunaway, Alice’s original bass player. I got pretty psyched after hearing this.

The 5th Avenue Vampires were very cool, and Dunaway did a nice bass solo which included classic snippets from vintage Cooper songs, like the intros to “Dead Babies” and “Gutter Cats.” Definitely got the crowd riled!

After the intermission, Alice took the stage, opening with “School’s Out,” and just ripping through one of the most incredibly choreographed performances ever, with an onslaught of one kick-ass song after another. It was all Killer, and no filler.

Then came the encore, which featured Dennis joining Alice on stage to play an extended reprise of “School’s Out.” For an old Cooper fan, I was in my glory seeing those two together slinking around the stage. One of those rock and roll moments that will remain with me forever.

After the show, we drove to my brother’s house and crashed there, since he lived fairly close to Durham.

Anyway, here’s the setlist. Rock on, my droogs.

Setlist:

  • School’s Out
  • Department of Youth
  • I’m Eighteen
  • Wicked Young Man
  • Ballad of Dwight Fry
  • Go to Hell
  • Guilty
  • Welcome to My Nightmare
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Poison
  • The Awakening
  • From the Inside
  • Nurse Rozetta
  • Is It My Body
  • Be My Lover
  • Only Women Bleed
  • I Never Cry
  • Black Widow Jam (with Drum Solo)
  • Vengeance Is Mine
  • Devil’s Food
  • Dirty Diamonds
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • Killer
  • I Love the Dead
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Under My Wheels

Encore:

  • School’s Out (with Dennis Dunaway)
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Warren Haynes 21st Christmas Jam: 12/12/2009

Another year, and another Christmas Jam. This one was special for me because my wife and I took our older daughter, along with some of her friends. This was the only Christmas Jam that she attended with us, and I have great memories of how excited she and her friends were.

The lineup for this show was a little more eclectic than most jams. The main acts included:

  • Counting Crows
  • Ani DiFranco
  • Gov’t Mule
  • moe.
  • George Porter Jr.
  • Eric Krasno
  • Nigel Hall & Adam Deitch
  • Stax Records Legend William Bell

In addition, there was a nice group of guest musicians who augmented the headliners.

Special Guests:

  • Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford
  • Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews
  • Jeff Austin
  • Mike Barnes
  • DJ Logic
  • Jackie Greene
  • Col. Bruce Hampton
  • Jimmy Herring of Widespread Panic
  • Kevn Kinney
  • Collective Soul’s Ed Roland

Counting Crows was definitely cool. They did a cover of The Beatles’ “Golden Slumbers” medley, which was excellent. I also enjoyed Ani DiFranco. She is someone that I probably never would have paid to see by herself, but she was better than I expected. Glad to be able to check her off the list. William Bell was also really great. I wasn’t familiar with him, but was very impressed with his performance.

At one point, I took all the youngsters down onto the floor for a bit, while my wife held the seats. While on the floor, Brad Whitford joined some musicians on stage and did a cool version of “Last Child,” one of my fav songs from Aerosmith’s “Rocks” album. As we were cramped into the floor space, I noticed some older freak offering his pipe to one of the younger girls I was chaperoning. I caught his eye and gave him a look that basically said, “You’ll most regret doing that.” He heeded the silent warning and melted back into the sea of people.

As always, the show went on until the wee hours of the morning. I was not able to find all the setlists, but I found a few. Here are the ones I was able to locate. Rock on!

Setlists:

Ani DiFranco:

  • Anticipate
  • Untouchable Face
  • Manhole
  • As Is
  • Present/Infant
  • Fuel (with Nigel Hall)
  • ¿Which Side Are You On? (with Warren Haynes & Jeff Austin)
  • Overlap (with Adam Deitch, George Porter Jr., Jeff Austin, Nigel Hall, Warren Haynes, Eric Krasno & Xmas Jam)

Counting Crows:

  • Round Here
  • Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End
  • Miami
  • Goodnight L.A.
  • 1492
  • Washington Square
  • A Long December
  • Rain King (with Warren Haynes)
  • With a Little Help From My Friends (with Warren Haynes & Jeff Austin)
  • Rain King (with Warren Haynes) (reprise)
  • This Land Is Your Land (with Warren Haynes)

Ed Roland:

  • The World I Know
  • Shine

George Porter Jr.:

  • Little Old Money Maker
  • Leave Me Alone (w/ Trombone Shorty )
  • Fire on the Bayou (w/Jimmy Herring, and Xmas Jam Horn Section)
  • Hard to Handle (w/William Bell, Audley Freed & Xmas Jam Horn Section)
  • Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday (w/William Bell, Warren Haynes, and Audley Freed)
  • You Don’t Miss Your Water (w/William Bell, Audley Freed, and Xmas Jam Horn Section)
  • Everybody Loves a Winner (w/William Bell, Audley Freed, and Xmas Jam Horn Section)
  • Born Under a Bad Sign (w/William Bell, Brad Whitford, Audley Freed, Xmas Jam Horn Section, and Warren Haynes)

Gov’t Mule:

  • Broke Down on the Brazos
  • Steppin’ Lightly
  • Railroad Boy
  • Frozen Fear
  • Devil Likes It Slow (with Jimmy Herring and Ron Holloway)
  • Patchwork Quilt (with Jimmy Herring and Fred Eltringham)
  • Sugaree (with Jackie Greene, Jimmy Herring & Fred Eltringham)
  • Don’t Let Me Down (with Jackie Greene and Fred Eltringham)
  • I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home (with Brad Whitford, Ron Holloway & Fred Eltringham)
  • Train Kept A-Rollin’ (with Brad Whitford and Fred Eltringham)
  • I Shall Be Released

Warren Haynes:

  • Wild Horses

moe.:

  • Captain America (with DJ Logic)
  • Tailspin
  • Together at Christmas
  • Z0Z (Zed Nought Z)
  • Happy Hour Hero (with Jimmy Herring)
  • George

Phil Lesh & Friends: 4/14/2001

Not a whole lot to say about this show, other than it was great. This was the second show of a two-night run at the Sunrise Musical Theatre, and my wife went with me the first night, which was an experience because she was late in her pregnancy. This night, I went without her and hung out with friends, which was fun. I had a lot of Deadhead friends in Florida at the time, and it was like one big party with my peeps. We all danced and sang along until late in the night.

Here’s the setlist. Although they didn’t play a lot of songs, they played a long time. It was just over three hours, if my memory serves me correct. Rock on!

Set 1:

  • Jam >
  • Comes A Time >
  • Eyes of the World >
  • Just a Little Light >
  • Help on the Way >
  • Slipknot! >
  • Franklin’s Tower

Set 2:

  • The Golden Road >
  • Viola Lee Blues >
  • Wharf Rat >
  • Viola Lee Blues >
  • I Know You Rider
  • Dark Star >
  • Night of 1000 Stars >
  • Dark Star

Encore:

  • Box of Rain

Phil Lesh & Friends: 4/13/2001

This was my first time seeing Phil Lesh and Friends. As a long-time Grateful Dead fan, I was pretty psyched. The Sunrise Musical Theatre was an intimate venue, so getting to see Phil there promised to be a treat.

This incarnation of the band consisted of:

  • Phil Lesh on bass and vocals
  • Warren Haynes on guitar and vocals
  • Jimmy Herring on guitar
  • Rob Barraco on keyboards and vocals
  • John Molo on drums

The band was playing two nights, and I of course was planning to attend both shows. My wife though, who was very pregnant at the time, was only up for going this first night. And when I say very pregnant, she was well into her third trimester and looked like she would go into labor at any minute.

We got to the theatre, and someone from either security or management must have seen my wife and become very concerned. From the moment we walked in, there was someone near us, with walkie talkie, making sure that nothing happened to her. We were basically ushered to our seats, if my wife needed to go to the bathroom, someone was right there to clear the way for her, and once, someone down the aisle from us spilled a drink, and a maintenance person with a mop was immediately dispatched to clean it up. It was a little surreal, but we just went with it and enjoyed the VIP treatment.

The first set began with a poetry reading, which was pretty cool. Here is the excerpt that Phil read:

“Invocation to the Sun, the Prologue to The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel” by Nikos Kazantzakis (part 1)

O Sun, great Oriental, my proud mind’s golden cap,
I love to wear you cocked askew, to play and burst
in song throughout our lives, and so rejoice our hearts.
Good is this earth, it suits us! Like the global grape
it hangs, dear God, in the blue air and sways in the gale,
nibbled by all the birds and spirits of the four winds.
Come, let’s start nibbling too, and so refresh our minds!
Between two throbbing temples in the mind’s great wine vats
I tread on the crisp grapes until the wild must boils
and my mind laughs and steams within the upright day.
Has the earth sprouted wings and sails, has my mind swayed
until black-eyed Necessity got drunk and burst in song?
Above me spreads the raging sky, below me swoops
my belly, a white gull that breasts the cooling waves;
my nostrils fill with salty spray, the billows burst
swiftly against my back, rush on, and I rush after.

After the poetic invocation, the music kicked off and the band performed “Celebration,” which the Dead archivists assert was the first time this was ever performed. Pretty cool! The first set also included “The Eleven,” possibly my favorite Grateful Dead song ever. I was ecstatic.

After the first set was over, my wife ran into a friend of hers, who had been up toward the front. This friend kept raving about “The sickness of the jams!” That became our catch-phrase for the evening.

After the break, the band took the stage again for the second set, which was stellar, and loooong. My wife was definitely hitting her limit by the end of the night. She said that while it was great, she was glad she was not going the next night.

I’ve often thought about our unborn child, exposed to that long night of music. I think the sickness of the jams must have penetrated into her being, because she has had a deep love of music her whole life, and has since become a multi-instrumentalist.

Anyway, here is the full setlist. Rock on, and may the sickness of the jams ever plague you! (ha ha)

Set 1:

  • Poetry Reading: Part 1
  • Celebration >
  • Jam >
  • The Eleven >
  • Space Jam >
  • Soulshine >
  • Uncle John’s Band >
  • Get Together >
  • Not Fade Away

Set 2:

  • Low Spark Jam >
  • China Cat Sunflower >
  • Uncle John’s Band Reprise >
  • St. Stephen >
  • Sugaree >
  • St. Stephen >
  • I Am The Walrus >
  • Taste Like Wine >
  • The Wheel >
  • Lovin’ Jam >
  • The Wheel >
  • The Other One >
  • Celebration Reprise

Encore:

  • Here Comes Sunshine

Blues Traveler with The Derek Trucks Band: 7/30/2005

Bele Chere was an annual street fair that used to happen in downtown Asheville (the city stopped having it in 2013). They would close off the streets, and have artists, vendors, and stages set up for musicians. Generally, all the music was free, and over the years I saw some cool acts, like Cracker, Grace Potter, the Old 97s, and Southern Culture on the Skids.

Anyway, in 2005, the powers that be decided to try adding a “paid” performance to the festival. This pissed off a lot of purists who felt that all the music should be free, but I didn’t mind paying the $15. I figured it was worth it to see two bands, and I have never seen Blues Traveler before, so I figured it would be worth checking them off the list.

Derek Trucks Band opened the show, and as always, he was tremendous on the guitar. He played a nice long set that included Count M’Butu sitting in on the congas, and Susan Tedeschi joined him on stage for a song, which was cool.

Afterwards, Blues Traveler took the stage. I really wanted to like them, because I like their studio stuff, but they were just not that interesting live. Even with Count M’Butu and Derek Trucks joining them on stage, it was just… OK. Maybe it was that Derek Trucks is a tough act to follow. God knows I wouldn’t want to get up on stage following his slide guitar playing. Bottom line, Blues Traveler didn’t suck, they were just not as good as I had hoped they would be. A little bit of a let-down, but glad I got to see them and check them off the list.

Here are the setlists from each act.

Derek Trucks Setlist:

(Count M’Butu  on congas for entire show)

  • Volunteered Slavery
  • I’ll Find My Way
  • Crow Jane
  • Sahib Teri Bandi >
  • Maki Madni
  • Leavin’ Trunk
  • I Wish I Knew (with Susan Tedeschi)
  • Kam-ma-lay
  • Joyful Noise
  • Going Down Slow
  • Feel So Bad
  • Gonna Move
  • My Favorite Things

Blues Traveler Setlist:

  • Carolina Blues
  • Back in the Day (with Count M’Butu)
  • Hook (with Count M’Butu)
  • No Woman, No Cry (with Count M’Butu and Derek Trucks)
  • Partner in Crime
  • Nail
  • Thinnest of Air
  • Amber Awaits
  • Stand
  • Manhattan Bridge
  • The Mountains Win Again
  • Run-Around
  • NY Prophesie

Encore:

  • Can’t Win True Love
  • Brother John

Jethro Tull: 4/30/2002

I’m pretty sure this was my first concert after moving to Asheville, although I might have seen Moe Tucker from the Velvet Underground first (I don’t have a stub from that show and I can’t recall when it was). Anyway, I’ve always been a Tull fan, so I figured I had to go and see them again. I hate to say it, but I was disappointed.

Having seen Jethro Tull in the late 70s, it was tough to live up to that experience. Even so, this performance was just downright sad, in my opinion.

I went by myself, since funds were tight at that time and my wife opted to pass. So I was very focused on the band’s playing, which seemed to lack enthusiasm, especially on the standards. It was almost like, “Yeah, here’s your Cross-Eyed Mary.” There were a few exceptions, most notably was “Pibroch (Cap in Hand),” which I thought was great. Martin Barre’s guitar work on that one was phenomenal. But by the time the show was over, I was yawning. As I exited alone, I recalled an article I had read years back that criticized Tull and called them Jethro Dull. I felt a little sad that the creative and powerful prog rockers that were such a huge part of my musical upbringing had lost their edge. It happens.

I would go on to see Ian Anderson solo, and Martin Barre solo too after this, and I really enjoyed both of those. If the band reunited, I’d consider seeing them again, just on the hope that they might rekindle their earlier spark.

Here’s the setlist from the show.

Setlist:

  • Aqua-Intro
  • Living in the Past
  • Cross-Eyed Mary
  • Roots to Branches
  • Jack-in-the-Green
  • Thick as a Brick
  • Hunt by Numbers
  • Elegy
  • A Song for Jeffrey
  • The Water Carrier
  • The Secret Language of Birds
  • Wond’ring Aloud
  • Pibroch (Cap in Hand)
  • A New Day Yesterday
  • Boris Dancing
  • Budapest
  • Mayhem Jig
  • Aqualung
  • Locomotive Breath
  • Sweet Dream
  • Protect and Survive
  • Cheerio

Perry Farrell’s Satellite Party: 9/10/2007

So I appreciate a good freak show as much as the next person, which is why I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see Perry Farrell’s Satellite Party in a club setting, especially since it was only $18. I had seen Jane’s Addiction, but had never seen Porno for Pyros. I figured this would be some short-lived side project, so I had better not miss it. I got tickets for my wife and I, since she also likes Farrell and had not seen him in any of his musical incarnations.

Not surprising, the place was packed with freaks, so we blended in easily enough. Couldn’t tell you anything about the opening act. They were obviously forgettable.

When Farrell came on stage and opened the show with “Stop!” the place went bonkers. Everyone was dancing and having a blast. The set was short, but high quality, including classics from Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros, as well as new material. Normally, I’d feel a little rooked by a short set, but not this night. I was happy with the songs they played, the price was cheap, and I was home at a reasonable time.

Here’s the full setlist.

Setlist:

  • Stop!
  • Kinky
  • Insanity Rains
  • Mountain Song
  • Hard Life Easy
  • Been Caught Stealing
  • Only Love, Let’s Celebrate
  • Wish Upon a Dog Star
  • Pets
  • Ultra Payloaded Satellite Party
  • Jane Says