Hot Tuna: 1/24/1988

I’ve seen Hot Tuna a lot of times, so the shows tend to blend together in my memory, but this one stands out. I went with my friend Jon to this one, and Jon was also a huge Tuna fan, so we were pretty psyched.

The Carefree Theatre was an old movie theater in West Palm Beach that opened in 1947 and was converted to become a venue for smaller acts. It was a really cool place for a concert, because every seat was a great seat. That said, we had sixth row, so we were close to the stage.

This was the classic acoustic Hot Tuna duo, with just Jack and Jorma. They played a long time and the crowd was really into it. Great selection of songs, including “Good Shepherd,” which hearkened back to Jack and Jorma’s days with the Jefferson Airplane.

I was able to find a partial setlist on tunabase.com. Sorry I can’t fill in the blanks, but it was over 30 years ago. Rock on!

Set 1:

  • I Know You Rider
  • Hesitation Blues
  • Walkin’ Blues
  • I See The Light
  • Candy Man
  • 99 Year Blues
  • Killing Time In The Crystal City

Set 2:

  • Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning
  • Ice Age
  • Too Many Years
  • Sea Child
  • Trial By Fire
  • San Francisco Bay Blues
  • How Long Blues
  • Good Shepherd
  • I Am The Light Of This World

(missing rest of set)

Warren Haynes 25th Christmas Jam – First Night: 12/13/2013

The 25th annual Christmas Jam to benefit Habitat for Humanity was a milestone event, and as such, was extended to two nights and featured an array of amazing musicians. I, of course, had to go both nights.

The first night featured a solid list of headliners:

  • Warren Haynes & Ray Sisk
  • Gov’t Mule
  • Love Canon
  • Keb’ Mo’
  • John Scofield and the Uberjam Band
  • Gregg Allman
  • Phil Lesh Quintet
  • Widespread Panic

In addition to the headline acts, the show also included the following special guests: Ike Stubblefield, Randall Bramblett, Birdland, Jay Bowman, Ron Holloway, Ron Johnson, Casey Driessen, and Jeff Sipe.

As a die-hard Grateful Dead fan, I was most excited to see Phil Lesh. And while he played a great set, I felt somewhat sad at the end. Basically, whenever Phil sang, he just seemed weary, like the years were finally catching up with him. It did not come as a surprise that he essentially stopped touring after this, only playing an occasional show on the East Coast and basically playing at Terrapin Crossroads, a club he owns in San Raphael. I guess that seeing Phil looking old made me feel old too.

I’m pretty sure that Gregg Allman played a short acoustic set with Warren during this first night, but I could not find a setlist to confirm that.

On to Widespread Panic. They are one of those bands who, like Primus, I feel that I should like, but I really am just not crazy about. And as the clock was nearing 2:00 am, my tolerance for them plummeted real fast. I ended up leaving the show about halfway through their set. I knew I would have another long night of music the next day, so I wasn’t going to wear myself out staying up for a band that I just wasn’t that interested in.

Anyway, here are the setlists that I was able to find online. Check back soon for my memories from the second night.

Setlists:

Warren Haynes & Ray Sisk

  • Glory Road

Keb’ Mo’

  • France
  • More Than One Way Home
  • Government Cheese
  • Every Morning (with John Scofield)
  • Perpetual Blues Machine (with John Scofield)
  • Shave Yo’ Legs

Phil Lesh Quintet

  • Celebration >
  • Playing in the Band >
  • China Cat Sunflower >
  • I Know You Rider
  • Night of 1000 Stars
  • Mountains of the Moon >
  • St. Stephen >
  • The Other One >
  • Over the Rainbow >
  • The Other One
  • Terrapin Station

Widespread Panic

  • Disco >
  • Papa’s Home (with Count M’Butu) >
  • Up All Night
  • Worry
  • None of Us Are Free
  • Surprise Valley >
  • Ride Me High (with Randall Bramblett) >
  • Drums >
  • Surprise Valley
  • Expiration Day
  • Angels on High (with Warren Haynes and Randall Bramblett)
  • Jesus Just Left Chicago (with Warren Haynes)
  • Ain’t Life Grand

Gov’t Mule

  • World Boss
  • Mother Earth
  • Opium (with Bill Evans and Ike Stubblefield)
  • Scared to Live
  • Game Face (with ‘Mountain Jam’ snippet)
  • Captured
  • Funny Little Tragedy (with ‘Message in a Bottle’ quote) >
  • Thorazine Shuffle (reprise)

Rodrigo y Gabriela: 3/15/2010

If you have not listened to this acoustic guitar duo, you need to. They are nothing short of amazing. As a guitarist, when I heard they were coming to town, I was psyched and immediately bought tickets. I went with my friend Joe and we got to the Orange Peel early enough to stake out a good spot.

They important thing about being a successful duo is that your playing really needs to complement your partner’s, and vice versa. Rodrigo and Gabriela do just that. Gabriela’s percussive rhythm is like a heartbeat that allows Rodrigo to spiral off into intricate Latin-influenced guitar solos. I left the show both awe-struck and inspired.

On the way out, Joe picked up a copy of the group’s current cd, “11:11.” He later gave it to me as a gift. I have to say, I listened to it extensively. Such a great album!

Sorry I could not find the setlist for this show online, but as a consolation, here is a YouTube video to check out and get a sense of this group’s amazing musicianship. Enjoy!

Rodrigo y Gabriela – ‘Tamacun’

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

Grateful Dead and New York City Percussion Ensemble: 9/16/1987

For the second night at Madison Square Garden, we had seats straight back in the lower level. When we got in and took our seats, I noticed something different about the stage—there were chairs set up along the front of the stage. My heart began to race! I immediately assumed that this meant the Dead were going to play an acoustic set. I had never seen the Dead play acoustic, but had heard recordings and was psyched at the prospect. Alas, they did not do an acoustic set, but we were treated to a nice surprise.

The New York City Percussion Ensemble opened the show, unannounced. They were awesome, and had some incredible African dancers accompanying the drummers. One of the people sitting near us said that Babatunde Olatunji was one of the percussionists. I have not been able to confirm this, but I am going with the belief that he was there and that I got to see the legendary drummer perform.

After the drummers, the Dead came out and played two solid sets, so it ended up being quite a long night of music. High points for me were Brent singing “Devil With a Blue Dress > Good Golly Miss Molly,” and a roaring version of “Truckin’” coming out of drums and space.

A side note about this show that is pretty amazing. There were a couple of guys sitting in front of us, and we chatted a bit between sets. Well, after the tour was over and we were all back in South Florida, my friends Julie and Miriam (same friends I was at these shows with) went with me to a Grateful Dead night at a club in Fort Lauderdale. While we were there, these two guys came up to us and said “Hey! Weren’t you at the Dead shows at Madison Square Garden, toward the back, on the second night?” They were the same dudes who were sitting in front of us! We exchanged phone numbers and became close friends. In fact, one of them, Armando, is still one of my closest friends today. It was kind of like some strange twist of fate.

Anyway, here is the full setlist from the show. “New York’s got the ways and means; but just won’t let you be, oh no.”

Set 1:

  • Touch of Grey
  • Scarlet Begonias
  • Little Red Rooster
  • Dire Wolf
  • My Brother Esau
  • High Time
  • Let it Grow
  • Don’t Ease Me In

Set 2:

  • Bertha
  • Greatest Story Ever Told
  • Devil With a Blue Dress
  • Good Golly Miss Molly
  • Devil With a Blue Dress
  • He’s Gone
  • Drums > Space
  • Truckin’
  • Wharf Rat
  • Throwin’ Stones
  • Not Fade Away

Encore:

  • Black Muddy River

Donovan: 11/20/1987

Club Nu was a trendy nightclub on Miami’s South Beach, which seemed like an odd place for an old hippie like Donovan to be performing. But several of my musician friends and I went to see the psychedelic troubadour and made sure we were in the appropriate state of mind prior to the show. My friends included Bongo Bob, Greg, and Big Ed (RIP).

As we mingled in the strange scene which was the South Beach nightclub, the lights went down for the opening act. I stood for a bit, trying to grok exactly what it was that I was observing, because it did not make sense to me. Something was… different. Then it dawned on me: female impersonators. We were being treated to a drag show as the opening act. It was surreal, to say the least.

Later, Donovan took the stage, just himself with an acoustic guitar. My friends and I sang along and were truly engrossed in the performance. I had the strange feeling that most of the other people there had no idea who this old guy was or why he was up there singing, but I didn’t care. I was happy to see the musician whose music inspired me and my friends. After the show, we all hung out together and played Donovan songs on our acoustic guitars. It was a great night that lasted till the early morning hours.

Sadly, I could not find a set list online, and the memory of this night is a little too hazy to recall what he played; but I can say with certainty that there were not any songs that I wanted to hear that he didn’t play. “Let us rejoice and let us sing and dance and ring in the new: Hail Atlantis!”

The Pretenders with The Alarm: 3/28/1984

This concert ranks among my top shows. It was nothing short of amazing! Two great bands for $11.75. This is why I am glad I grew up when I did.

I went to this show with my girlfriend, Enid. We both liked the Pretenders, but I was really psyched. I had a secret crush on Chrissie Hynde.

We had great seats close to the front: Row F, which I suppose was sixth row. The Alarm opened and played a kick-ass set. They were on acoustic guitars and I remember thinking how hard these dudes rocked on acoustics. I was familiar with a couple of their tunes from the radio, but I bought their record not long after seeing them live.

Then The Pretenders came out and opened with “The Wait.” Oh… My… God! Seeing Chrissie on stage clad in leather pants was like the vision of a rock and roll goddess. I was in complete lust. But my appreciation for the band’s musical talent quickly took precedence. They were tight, high energy, and rocked from beginning to end.

I had an opportunity to see Chrissie solo a few years ago, but I passed. This concert was so great and so perfect, I did not want to taint the memory. I want to keep the image of her singing “Bad Boys Get Spanked” pure and adulterated.

Here are the set lists from both acts. Rock on!!

The Alarm’s Setlist:

  • Shout to the Devil
  • Declaration
  • For Freedom
  • Third Light
  • Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke
  • Reason 41
  • The Deceiver
  • Howling Wind
  • Blaze of Glory
  • The Stand (Prophecy)
  • Sixty Eight Guns
  • Marching On

The Pretenders’ Setlist:

  • The Wait
  • Message of Love
  • The Adultress
  • Time the Avenger
  • My City Was Gone
  • Show Me
  • Talk of the Town
  • Private Life
  • Thin Line Between Love and Hate
  • Thumbelina
  • Back on the Chain Gang
  • Pack It Up
  • Bad Boys Get Spanked
  • Mystery Achievement
  • Middle of the Road
  • Up the Neck
  • Precious
  • Room Full of Mirrors