Grateful Dead: 4/1/1990

Another Spring Tour with the Grateful Dead. By this point, it had become a tradition. I made the trek from South Florida to Atlanta with my two friends, Armando and Tim, who I met at a Dead show at Madison Square Garden.

This first night was an April Fool’s show, which was recorded and several songs later appeared on an album.

The Grateful Dead performed three consecutive shows during their Built to Last Tour on April 1–3, 1990. The shows were recorded and three songs from their April Fool’s Day show “China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy” were included on their live album, entitled Without a Net.

(Source: Wikipedia)

We made it up there with no mishaps, secured our hotel accommodations, and went to the first night’s show. We got there early and spent some time checking out the parking lot scene, procuring tee shirts and other wares which were being hawked.

After shopping, we were hanging out by the car when a strange person approached us… strange even by the Grateful Dead parking lot standard. The young man clearly was suffering from chemically induced mental illness. As he began conversing with us, it became clear that he was a crack head struggling with his addiction to crack cocaine. He talked to us about Mr. Rocky, who was an anthropomorphic embodiment of crack rocks.

“Mr. Rocky. You know Mr. Rocky, right? Mr. Rocky. He destroys you mentally, and physical-al-al-lee.”

We talked with the poor soul for a while, before he meandered off on his lonely way. I felt sad for the guy. I had seen people go down that road, and it is a sad road from which few can redeem their lives.

When the time came, we went into the Omni and took our seats, which were lower section at the side of the stage. The show was very good, and hearing Jerry sing “To Lay Me Down” was particularly moving. It is a song that I still love to play on the acoustic guitar, which transitions between major and minor chords in such a way as to stir deep emotion.

Anyway, here is the full setlist from the April Fool’s show.

Set 1:

  • Touch of Grey
  • Walkin’ Blues
  • Just a Little Light
  • Candyman
  • Me and My Uncle
  • Big River
  • Althea
  • Victim or the Crime
  • To Lay Me Down
  • Music Never Stopped

Set 2:

  • China Cat Sunflower
  • I Know You Rider
  • Ship of Fools
  • Man Smart/Woman Smarter
  • Drums > Space
  • Dear Mr. Fantasy
  • Hey Jude Reprise
  • Truckin’
  • Stella Blue
  • Sugar Magnolia

Encore:

  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Eric Clapton: 7/23/1990

This concert was part of Clapton’s Journeyman tour. I had seen Clapton years before this with Muddy Waters, but I was definitely looking forward to seeing him again. My girlfriend at the time, Joyce, was a big Clapton fan too, so we were both excited about this show.

Our seats were in the lower section, pretty much straight back, so the sound was good, but the musicians were a little small. Not that I minded. Clapton sounded great, as was to be expected. He is, without question, one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

So you may be wondering about the guitar pick that is in the image along with the ticket stub. Of course, I would not have been able to get a pick sitting all the way in the back. But my roommate at time, Lowell, had seats right up near the front center, and he was one of the lucky souls to get a guitar pick that Eric had actually touched and played guitar with… and he gave it to me! I was kind of shocked. All I could think was, “Damn! That’s a true friend who offers you his Eric Clapton guitar pick.” It is a piece of rock memorabilia that I will treasure forever.

Here’s  the setlist from the show.

Setlist:

  • Pretending
  • No Alibis
  • Running on Faith
  • I Shot the Sheriff
  • White Room
  • Can’t Find My Way Home
  • Bad Love
  • Before You Accuse Me
  • Old Love
  • Tearing Us Apart
  • Wonderful Tonight
  • Cocaine
  • Layla
  • Cross Road Blues
  • Sunshine of Your Love

Blue Oyster Cult: 7/3/1991

Blue Oyster Cult, in a club. Definitely had to check this one out. Although they were not the band I saw back in the late 70’s, they still had Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom, so well worth the $10.

I went with my friend Jim and we wedged our way into Summers on the Beach, a Fort Lauderdale club that managed to get bands that brought in more fans than was probably safe to host.

The band came out, and as expected, they rocked the house. Seeing them in a small venue was way different than seeing them in a stadium. And although the rockers were starting to show their age, they still kicked out the jams.

One cool thing that happened, during a pause between songs, I screamed out for “Astronomy,” which is my fav BOC tune. Eric stepped up to the mic and said, “Yeah, we can do that one,” and broke into it. Although looking back over the setlists from that tour, seems like “Astronomy” was a standard, it was still cool and made me feel like there was a connection between me and the band.

Here is a generic setlist from the tour, which seems like what they played at this gig.

  • Stairway to the Stars
  • OD’d On Life Itself
  • Before The Kiss
  • ETI
  • Buck’s Boogie
  • Take Me Away
  • Cities On Flame
  • Astronomy
  • Career of Evil
  • Unknown Tongue
  • Burnin’ For You
  • Godzilla
  • (Don’t Fear) The Reaper
  • Dominance & Submission
  • The Red & The Black

Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians: 3/23/1991

Edie Brickell was one of those artists that I liked right off the bat. She had that cool hippie chic vibe, and her guitarist was obviously influenced by Jerry Garcia. So I jumped at the opportunity to see her and her band at the Button South, which was one of the better music clubs in South Florida at the time.

There is not much to say about this show, other than it was really, really good. Edie’s vocals were so sweet, and the band was tight and energetic. They also tossed in some cool cover tunes by Bob Dylan and David Bowie. I guess if you are going to pick artists to cover, those are solid choices.

Which I had more to share, but it was just a good, fun concert, and I was glad that I got to see them in their prime.

Here’s the setlist.

Setlist:

  • Woyaho
  • Mama Help Me
  • Little Miss S.
  • Nothing
  • Carmelito
  • Strings of Love
  • Picture Perfect Morning
  • Do It Again
  • He Said
  • Jackrabbit
  • Stwisted
  • Oak Cliff Bra
  • Air of December
  • What I Am
  • A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
  • Forgiven
  • This Eye
  • Circle
  • Moonage Daydream

Lollapalooza Festival: 8/20/1991

Yes, I attended the first Lollapalooza Festival, which was really, really cool. I was living in Miami at the time and the show was in Orlando. I went with these two girls I knew, but it was strictly a platonic thing. I had a car, and they needed a ride, so it all worked out.

We left in the morning and made the trek to Orlando, which was not too bad. We got there plenty early enough and made our way into the fairgrounds well before the music started. The lineup was pretty solid, and I was really looking forward to seeing all the bands on the bill, especially since the only band I had previously seen was Living Colour. Anyway, here is a list of the bands that performed that day:

  • Jane’s Addiction
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees
  • Living Colour
  • Nine Inch Nails
  • Ice T & Body Count
  • Butthole Surfers
  • Rollins Band

If memory serves me correct, Rollins Band played first. I had seen Henry Rollins years ago with Black Flag, which was a wild show. His solo band was cool, and he definitely got the energy going.

Next up were the Butthole Surfers. I remember wondering if they were mentally challenged. The singer would toss bottles in the air and allow them to smash on his head. Anyway, they were entertaining. I can appreciate a good freak show.

I’m pretty sure Ice-T and Body Count were next. Their set I remember vividly. They were so raw, so powerful, and they felt—dangerous. I recall thinking that rock music had become pretty tame, but seeing Body Count filled me with the combined sense of danger and excitement that I had not felt at a concert in a long time. And when they performed the infamous “Cop Killer,” with Ice-T beginning with his rap about taking a cop “into the parking lot and shooting him in his mother-f***in’ face,” it was hard not to notice the rage exuding from the phalanx of Orlando police officers lined up and glaring at the stage. It is an image that was burned into my brain.

Nine Inch Nails played afterwards, and the girls I was with were pretty psyched for them. I had not really listened to NIN prior to this, so I didn’t know what to expect. They were intense; only way to describe them. Not my fav, but I appreciated the energy they had on stage, and their sound was definitely unique.

Next up was Living Colour. Damn, I love that band! As a guitarist, I’m always in awe of Vernon Reid’s playing. They totally rocked, in my humble opinion.

Then came Siouxsie and the Banshees. Siouxsie was so cool. I wished I was closer because I really enjoyed their set. But even from a distance, it was great seeing them.

Finally, Jane’s Addiction took the stage. They were great, and even after a long day of music out in the Florida sun, the pit was still swarming and people were going wild. I thought they played well, and my only disappointment was that they didn’t play “Jane Says.” Otherwise, killer set.

We drove back to Miami that night, so it was early in the morning by the time I dropped my friends off and made it home. Coffee is a wonderful thing.

I was not able to find all the setlists from the day’s performances, but I found a few. Here are the ones I found.

Nine Inch Nails Setlist:

  • Now I’m Nothing
  • Terrible Lie
  • Sin
  • Physical
  • The Only Time
  • Wish
  • Get Down Make Love
  • Down In It
  • Head Like A Hole

Living Colour Setlist:

  • Type
  • Desperate People
  • Funny Vibe
  • Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing
  • Love Rears Its Ugly Head
  • Under Cover of Darkness
  • Time’s Up
  • Sweet Chariot
  • Open Letter (To a Landlord)
  • Memories Can’t Wait
  • Elvis Is Dead
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go
  • Cult of Personality

Siouxsie and the Banshees Setlist:

  • The Last Beat of My Heart
  • Silver Waterfalls
  • The Killing Jar
  • Paradise Place
  • Cry
  • Kiss Them for Me
  • Peek-A-Boo
  • Cities in Dust
  • Switch
  • Fear (of the Unknown)
  • This Wheel’s on Fire
  • Rhapsody
  • Helter Skelter

Jane’s Addiction:

  • Up The Beach
  • Whores
  • Standing In The Shower… Thinking
  • Ain’t No Right
  • Three Days
  • Been Caught Stealing
  • Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey
  • Ted, Just Admit It…
  • Classic Girl
  • Mountain Song
  • Stop!
  • Summertime Rolls
  • Ocean Size

Guns n’ Roses with Soundgarden: 12/31/1991

I was never a huge GnR fan, but I like some of their stuff. When I heard they were holding a big New Year’s Eve concert with Soundgarden, and some of my good friends were going, I figured this would be the time to check them out and scratch them off the list of bands to be seen.

The concert was being held at Joe Robbie Stadium, which kind of sucked. I’m not a fan of stadium shows, but such is life. One thing that made me chuckle, though, upon getting my ticket, was the statement *Showtime Approximate*. Axl was notorious for showing up late for performances (or not showing up at all), so the audience was duly warned.

We got there and our seats were straight back, lower section. Soundgarden came out and started their set, and some asshole in the upper deck started tossing down M-80s, one of which exploded at my feet. I was beyond pissed and stormed upstairs, seeking out the jerk with every intention of having an altercation, but alas, I could not find him. He either moved on or ran out of ammunition.

After what seemed like an unusually long time, GnR took the stage and kicked right into “Welcome to the Jungle.” I have to say, I was pretty impressed by the energy with which they opened the show. Reminded me of how I felt when I saw The Clash and they exploded on stage with “London Calling.” Even sitting at the back of Joe Robbie Stadium, I felt the power of the music emanating from the stage.

The band played a long time, and the show was killer. I gained a new level of respect for the band, and understood why people liked them so much. I still don’t own any Guns n’ Roses albums, but I have good memories of seeing them live and tend to turn the volume up a bit when one of their songs comes on the radio.

Here’s the setlist.

  • Welcome to the Jungle
  • Mr. Brownstone
  • Live and Let Die
  • Attitude
  • Nightrain
  • Bad Obsession
  • Double Talkin’ Jive
  • Civil War
  • It’s So Easy
  • Patience (w Wild Horses intro)
  • Rocket Queen
  • November Rain
  • You Could Be Mine
  • Matt Sorum Drum Solo
  • Slash Guitar Solo
  • Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather)
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine (with Sail Away Sweet Sister… more )
  • Don’t Cry
  • Move to the City
  • Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door  (w Only Women Bleed intro)
  • Estranged
  • Paradise City

Allman Brothers and Little Feat: 10/31/1991

Halloween Night with the Allmans and Little Feat!! I almost don’t need to say anything else.

I went to this show with my good friend Melissa. We decided not to get dressed up, but appreciated the fans who did. The Miami Arena was packed. We got there and grabbed our seats, which were on the right side of the stage, about halfway back. Great view, and the sound was good for an arena.

Little Feat opened and totally rocked it. Warren Haynes even came out and sat in on one of their songs. The only thing that was disappointing was I wished they would have played longer. I love me some Feat, and while the set was solid, there were plenty of other songs I would have loved to have heard.

Then the Allmans came out and kicked things off with “Statesboro Blues.” Perfect! The whole set was killer, and Melissa was especially psyched that they played her namesake song. Members of Little Feat came out and jammed with the Allmans on “Southbound,” which was way cool. And they closed the night with “Whipping Post.” We danced our asses off and left totally pumped from a long night of incredible music.

Here are the setlists.

Little Feat Setlist:

  • Let It Roll
  • Hate to Lose Your Lovin’
  • Fat Man in the Bathtub
  • Boom Box Car
  • Willin’
  • Cajun Girl
  • Shake Me Up
  • Oh Atlanta
  • Dixie Chicken (with Warren Haynes)

Encore:

  • Texas Twister

Allman Brothers Setlist

  • Statesboro Blues
  • Blue Sky
  • End Of The Line
  • Nobody Knows
  • Southbound (w/members of Little Feat)
  • Low Down Dirty Mean
  • Melissa
  • Come On In My Kitchen
  • Midnight Rider
  • Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
  • Hoochie Coochie Man
  • Kind Of Bird
  • Get On With Your Life
  • In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
  • Revival

Encore:

  • Whipping Post

Bob Dylan and Paul Simon: 9/2/1999

I had seen both of these musical icons before this show, but it was impossible for a music fanatic like me to pass up the opportunity to see them both together.

I got tickets for my wife and I to go to the show, and we made the long drive from Miami up to Coral Sky Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach. We had lawn “seats,” so we were pretty far back. But that was fine. Like I said, I’d seen them both before and didn’t feel the need to be up close.

The details of this show are a little hazy. I have impressions of each of them performing, and I vividly remember the two of them performing together at during Dylan’s encore. I’m pretty sure that Paul Simon played first. Since the two played together during Dylan’s encore, it seems to support my recollection. Also, my wife agrees that she remembers Paul Simon playing first. I know for certain that I enjoyed the show, and thought that both artists played well.

Here are each of their setlists.

Paul Simon Setlist:

  • Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • Can’t Run But
  • The Boy in the Bubble
  • The Coast
  • Trailways Bus
  • Mrs. Robinson
  • Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
  • Further to Fly
  • Graceland
  • The Cool, Cool River
  • Slip Slidin’ Away
  • Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
  • You Can Call Me Al

Encore:

  • Late in the Evening
  • Still Crazy After All These Years

Encore 2:

  • Proof
  • The Sound of Silence

Bob Dylan Setlist:

  • Somebody Touched Me
  • My Back Pages
  • Masters of War
  • Love Minus Zero/No Limit
  • Tangled Up in Blue
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Just Like a Woman
  • Silvio
  • The Heart That You Own
  • Highway 61 Revisited

Encore:

  • Like a Rolling Stone
  • It Ain’t Me, Babe
  • The Boxer (with Paul Simon)
  • That’ll Be the Day / The Wanderer (with Paul Simon)
  • Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (with Paul Simon)

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant: 3/6/1995

Seeing Plant and Page performing together is about as close as you can get to seeing Led Zeppelin without actually seeing Zep. This tour was booked after the rock gods appeared on MTV Unplugged. When they booked a show at the Miami Arena, I immediately got tickets for my wife and I to go. And not surprising, a good number of my friends also got tickets.

The Miami Arena was fairly small as far as arenas go, so getting to see Plant and Page here was great. We had seats straight back in the lower section, but could still see really well, and the sound was good.

Rusted Root was the opening act for this show. At the time, I had not heard of them, but I was immediately impressed by their music and stage presence. They totally had the place rockin’ and did not draw any wrath from the usually intolerant South Florida music crazies.

After a break, Plant and Page took the stage. It was awesome! They totally kicked ass from the first crushing notes to the very end. They had a solid band backing them up, which included Porl Thompson from The Cure.

  • Porl Thompson — guitar, banjo
  • Nigel Eaton — hurdy-gurdy
  • Charlie Jones — bass, percussion
  • Michael Lee — drums, percussion
  • Ed Shearmur — orchestral arrangements, organ
  • Jim Sutherland — mandolin, bodhran

What can I say about seeing Plant and Page together on stage? The image was so iconic, like they stepped right out of a poster from my teenage wall and exploded into reality. The energy was tangible, and I think half the crowd was hoarse by the end of the night. They played a great mix of hard-rockin’ Zep tunes, some acoustic stuff, and even a couple covers. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to choose songs from such an amazing catalog of music. If you think about it, there is no such thing as a bad Zeppelin song. Everything that they wrote was amazing.

It’s impossible for me to pick out high points from this show. It was all one big high point. That said, “Song Remains the Same” with Page on the double-neck guitar was amazing, and “Kashmir” to end the night was perfect. Here’s the full setlist, forged from the Hammer of the Gods.

Setlist

  • Tales of Bron
  • The Wanton Song
  • Bring It On Home
  • Celebration Day
  • Thank You
  • Dancing Days
  • Shake My Tree
  • Lullaby (The Cure cover)
  • No Quarter
  • Wonderful One
  • Hey Hey What Can I Do
  • Gallows Pole
  • Hurdy-Gurdy Solo
  • Nobody’s Fault but Mine
  • The Song Remains the Same
  • Since I’ve Been Loving You
  • Friends
  • Calling to You (w Dazed And Confused / The Hunter excerpts)
  • Four Sticks
  • In the Evening
  • Black Dog
  • Kashmir

Lollapalooza: 8/22/1992

As you can see, this is not a ticket stub per se, but is an access pass which was provided to people working at the event (it now adorns one of my guitar cases). At the time, I was involved in a political action group and we were permitted to have a table at the festival, so we all got passes and had to commit to working the table for at least one shift, which was fine with me. We could still see the main stage from the plaza fair and could hear the music no problem.

The festival was being held at Miami’s Bicentennial Park, which was right in the heart of downtown Miami. It was a great space for the festival, and it was a beautiful day, which made it even better. This particular Lollapalooza Festival was heavy on the grunge scene, featuring bands that would later go on to become really popular:

  • Pearl Jam
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Ice Cube
  • Ministry
  • Stone Temple Pilots
  • Soundgarden
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain
  • Lush
  • Jim Rose Circus Sideshow

There was so much intense music, it was almost overwhelming. My girlfriend (later wife) and I synched up our shifts at the table, and then went up closer to see Ministry, the Chili Peppers, and Pearl Jam. They were all excellent! But the one thing I could not convince her to go see with me was the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow, which was off on a side stage. But our friend Gail was there and she had a photo press pass, so she and I went right up to the front of the stage where the freaks were performing.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Jim Rose Circus, I will tell you now they are not for the faint of heart. If you decide to seek out some videos online, you have been warned. Acts included Mr. Lifto, who attaches cinder blocks and other heavy items to chains connected to his genital and nipple piercings and lifts them, grotesquely stretching his body parts. There were people eating glass, getting darts thrown into their backs, eating live maggots, and on and on. But by far the most disturbing was Matt the Tube, who ran a tube into his stomach, pumped in a god-awful concoction, sucked it back out, and then drank the stomach bile along with some of the other freaks and one fool from the audience who decided to go up on stage and partake in the drinking. As this was happening, people were literally fainting around me as Gail eagerly snapped pictures. When reporters inquired what possessed the guy from the audience to go up and drink the stomach bile, he replied that he knew he would never have an opportunity to try something like that again, so he had to go for it. Some people will drink anything.

Anyway, we stayed for the entire festival, then spent some time breaking down the table, and finally my girlfriend and I got to the car to leave. As I turned on the radio, I got a most unwelcome surprise. Hurricane warnings had been issued for Hurricane Andrew, which was targeting South Florida (the storm would hit on 8/24/1992). We were both living on the beach, so we were in the mandatory evacuation zone. We went to a gas station to fill the car, and even at 1:00 am, the line was blocks long and we waited for over an hour. Then we went to a 24-hour supermarket to try to get some supplies, but it was slim pickings. The shelves were already ransacked. The next 36 hours were spent without sleep as we loaded important stuff into our cars, sealed up our apartments, and fled inland. Thankfully, we survived the storm with no catastrophic impacts, but I cannot say the same for friends of ours. Needless to say, I had PTSD afterwards and no longer live on the coast.

LOL – have to say that the storm pretty much overshadowed the festival in my memory.