Wilco: 4/21/2009

The first time I heard Wilco was when someone turned me on to their collaboration with Billy Bragg, which is an amazing album (check it out if you are not familiar). After that, I began to explore more of Wilco’s music and gained a deep appreciation for them. Since I had not seen them before, my wife and I jumped at the opportunity to see them at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, an intimate venue.

There really isn’t a whole lot to talk about with this show. Wilco was amazing, and I had a wonderful evening with my wife. Sometimes just enjoying live music with someone you love is all you need.

Here’s the setlist.

Setlist:

  • Sunken Treasure
  • Remember the Mountain Bed
  • You Are My Face
  • I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
  • Pot Kettle Black
  • Handshake Drugs
  • She’s a Jar
  • Impossible Germany
  • At My Window Sad and Lonely
  • Forget the Flowers
  • Jesus, Etc.
  • I’m Always in Love
  • A Shot in the Arm
  • Box Full of Letters
  • Heavy Metal Drummer
  • Hummingbird (with Lilac Rain – vocals)

Encore:

  • The Late Greats
  • Candyfloss
  • Hate It Here
  • Walken
  • I’m the Man Who Loves You

Encore 2:

  • Misunderstood
  • Hoodoo Voodoo
  • I’m a Wheel

Donna the Buffalo: 02/02/2007

Donna the Buffalo has one of the punniest tag lines: “Herd of ‘em?” This was actually the second time I had “herd ‘em” perform live, but the first time was a bit of a bummer. They were playing at the Lake Eden Arts Festival, and I had agreed to volunteer in order to get a free pass, and just my luck, my volunteer slot was right when Donna the Buffalo were on stage, so I got to hear them, and was able to sneak off for one song, but did not get the full experience. Which was why I was psyched to see them at the Orange Peel.

I ended up going to this one on my own, but it was cool. I had a great time. The music was awesome and the crowd was energized. I danced with all the hippies, and only had to relocate once when a guy who was near me kept flogging me with his nappy dreads.

Here’s the setlist. Jam on!

Setlist:

  • Movin’ On
  • Living In Babylon
  • Voice In My Head
  • Locket And Key >
  • Family Picture
  • Garden Of Eden
  • Conscious Evolution
  • Tides Of Time
  • If You Were To Love Me
  • Temporary Misery
  • Blue Sky
  • Hey Trudy
  • Killing A Man
  • If You Only Could
  • Every Day
  • I Don’t Need A Riddle
  • Hot Tamale Baby
  • Tomorrow Still Knows
  • No Place Like The Right Time

Encore:

  • 40 Days & 40 Nights
  • Let Love Move Me

The Raconteurs: 7/23/2019

I bought these tickets to see The Raconteurs at the Fox Theater in Oakland before we moved out to California. My wife loves the band, and I really like them too. Actually, my favorite of all Jack White’s projects. So I scored tickets and the show promptly sold out. They added a second show, but there’s something that makes a sold out show just a little more special.

Anyway, we drove to Oakland, which took a while because of rush hour traffic, but we still made it in time to grab a bite to eat before the show. After dinner, we walked to the theater, which even from the outside looked really cool.

Now I have to say that the inside of the theater was even nicer, really beautiful and ornate. Unfortunately, this was a “no phones” show, and they were hard-core. Everyone had to put their phones into these hermetically sealed pouches that could only be opened upon exiting the venue. But, if you want, you can Google the venue and there are plenty of pictures online to give you a sense of the décor.

The opening act was an artist called Lillie Mae, who is someone Jack White produced. She and her band were awesome. Totally worth checking out. Cool alternative country vibe. My wife said that they sounded like a mix between Dixie Chicks and Mazzy Star, which was pretty accurate.

After a brief intermission, The Raconteurs took the stage. We had general admission floor tickets, so we were pretty close, and I was grateful that I brought earplugs, because they were quite loud. After so many concerts, I need to protect my hearing.

What can I say about the show? They totally rocked! It was all killer and no filler. High energy, great mix of old and new stuff. The only criticism I have is that it was kind of short. Including encore, they barely played for an hour and a half. For $85 a ticket, I feel like you should get at least two hours. But beside that, it was great.

Here’s the setlist. Rock on!

Setlist:

  • Consoler of the Lonely
  • Level
  • Don’t Bother Me
  • Old Enough
  • Shine the Light on Me
  • Top Yourself
  • What’s Yours Is Mine
  • Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying)
  • Broken Boy Soldier
  • Only Child
  • Help Me Stranger
  • Blue Veins

Encore:

  • Bored and Razed
  • Many Shades of Black
  • Sunday Driver
  • Steady, as She Goes

R.E.M.: 4/29/1989

The 80’s was a good time to see R.E.M. They were definitely riding the wave of success and were coming out with some great music. In fact, this tour was in support of the album “Green,” which is probably my favorite R.E.M. album

I went to this show with my long-time concert buddy Jim. Neither of us had seen the band before, so we were both pretty psyched. We went to downtown Miami, to the now-gone Miami Arena, and joined the fans.

I don’t have a whole lot to share about this concert, other than I thought the band was excellent. Nothing crazy happened, just had a fun night digging on some cool music.

Here’s the full setlist. (I had forgotten they did three encores.)

Setlist:

  • Pop Song 89
  • Exhuming McCarthy
  • Welcome to the Occupation
  • Turn You Inside-Out
  • Sitting Still
  • Orange Crush
  • Fall on Me
  • Feeling Gravity’s Pull
  • Cuyahoga
  • World Leader Pretend
  • Begin the Begin
  • Pretty Persuasion
  • Rotary Ten
  • I Believe
  • I Remember California
  • Get Up
  • Auctioneer (Another Engine)
  • It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Encore:

  • Stand
  • Academy Fight Song
  • You Are the Everything

Encore 2:

  • Finest Worksong
  • King of Birds
  • Swan Swan H
  • Life and How to Live It

Encore 3:

  • Harpers
  • Summertime
  • Crazy
  • Perfect Circle
  • After Hours

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

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

Buck Pets: 6/3/1989

I can’t tell you much about this show. I went with some friends of mine because we had heard the band was supposed to have been good, and because Churchill’s Hideaway was our favorite dive bar at the time. The one thing I remember about this night was my bandmate’s comment after the show: “The Suck Pets.” Whether they sucked or not, I really can’t say. But who cares. Back then, it was more about going out, checking out live music, and having fun with friends.

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.

The Black Keys with The Flaming Lips: 7/12/2013

I was really psyched for this show. I had never seen the Black Keys so I was excited about seeing them for the first time, and I had seen the Flaming Lips before at MoogFest and they were awesome, so I was totally looking forward to seeing them again.

My wife and I drove to Simpsonville, SC, which was nearly a 2-hour drive. There were some pretty strong storms that day, so I was bracing myself for having to stand out in the rain for the concert. What I did not anticipate was the shit that we were going to have to deal with.

We got to the Charter Amphitheatre and were directed to a “parking lot” which was a field that had turned into a swamp because of all the rain. I was very concerned that our little car was going to get stuck, but I kept the forward motion and we got to our spot in the field. The first thing that assaulted me was a vile stench like raw sewage. As we got out of the car and started wading through the mire, I quickly realized that it was the ground below us that was emanating the foul odor. I had this image of sewage percolating up from the ground and mixing with the mud that was coating my sandaled feet. I was genuinely concerned that I might be exposed to hepatitis or something of that nature.

Eventually we got to paved area and discovered, to our dismay, that they had not opened the gates because of the storms. Supposedly they were concerned about lightening, so thousands of people were lined up in a labyrinthine queue that seemed to go on forever. We got in line and waited… and waited… and waited. Finally, the line began to move and after a painfully long time, we were in the amphitheatre.

It did not get any better. There were virtually no facilities in this place—a couple porta-johns at each far end, and a couple vendors selling beer and shitty soft drinks. The people there were a nightmare, and we were sandwiched in the muddy general admission area along with some people who clearly imbibed way too much.

The Flaming Lips came out, and they were over-the-top, as usual. Although they were good, I personally thought they were better the previous time I saw them. But hey, not every performance is going to be the best.

Afterward, the Black Keys took the stage. They sounded great and I was enjoying the music, but the crowd and the general environment were beginning to wear on me: the smell of vomit, the sweaty people pressing against me, etc. I was beginning to feel like I am getting too old for this kind of shit. When my wife suggested we leave early, I gladly acquiesced. We had seen well over an hour of the Black Keys, so I felt like I had gotten my money’s worth. We slogged back through the fetid swamp to our car and drove out of there before the crush of traffic. After that, I vowed I would never go to another concert at that venue. No band is worth having to deal with that nightmare place.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse, with Sonic Youth and Social Distortion: 3/9/1991

I remember this concert very well. I love Neil Young, and had seen him with Crazy Horse a couple times before this show, but I had not seen Sonic Youth or Social Distortion, and I was pretty psyched that they were fleshing out a solid triple bill (and for only $20!!).

I went with my good friend and fellow musician, Big Ed Stokes (he was morbidly big, which sadly led to his early death not long after this show). Ed was one of the best guitarists I knew, and we spent many long days together playing music and teaching each other songs.

Anyway, we got to the Miami Arena with plenty time to spare, got situated, and waited for the music to start. Social D played first, and they totally rocked it! Straight-ahead rock and roll with a healthy injection of punk. When they finished, all I could think was, “Damn! I’d love to see them as a headliner.” They played a smokin’ version Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” which was mind-blowing. When they finished and the lights came up, Ed and I were both pumped and ready for the next act—Sonic Youth.

What can I say about Sonic Youth? They were one of the most disappointing bands I have ever seen. Maybe my expectations were too high, but the truth is, I thought they sucked. I stood there watching them, as they mindlessly pounded on their instruments, making noise, and rolling around on the stage, getting tangled in their cords. It was like watching a group of morons who were trying to make obnoxious noise to torment those around them. I distinctly recall wondering if they even knew how to play their instruments, because it did not seem like it to me. And after such a great set from Social D, it just made them sound all the worse. I asked Ed what he thought of them, and he said “They fuckin’ suck. I’m getting a headache.” Now Ed never shied away from loud music, so I felt validated. We ended up hanging out in the hallway until they finished playing.

After the Sonic Cacophony ended, we went back inside and waited for Neil. Finally, the lights went down and Neil & Co. exploded on stage with “Hey Hey, My My,” and it was one killer song after another. The high points for me were a powerful cover version of Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and “Welfare Mothers” as one of the encore tunes. I can close my eyes right now, 27 years later, and still picture them on stage, pounding out some of the greatest rock and roll ever. As long as Neil Young is still alive, then rock and roll can never die.

Here is the setlist from the show.

Setlist:

  • Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)
  • Crime in the City
  • Blowin’ in the Wind
  • Love to Burn
  • Cinnamon Girl
  • Mansion on the Hill
  • Fuckin’ Up
  • Cortez the Killer
  • Powderfinger
  • Love and Only Love
  • Rockin’ in the Free World

Encore:

  • Welfare Mothers
  • Like a Hurricane