The Who: 8/16/1997

“Quadrophenia” is one of my favorite Who albums, so when I saw they were touring and performing the album in its entirety, I didn’t even hesitate. My friend Jim also wanted to go, so we got the general admission field tickets, which were pretty cheap. We figured we would get there early and snag a decent spot, which was what we did.

Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ was the opening act. I had not seen them before, but I had heard of them. They were good; better than your average opener. But I was definitely stoked to see The Who.

How to describe the energy when the band kicked in to “The Real Me”? Words fail me. John Entwistle was all over that bass with his spider fingers. “The Real Me” was my buddy Jim’s favorite Who song, so he was instantly blown away.

The rest of the show was nothing short of excellent. They played through all of “Quadrophenia” and then returned for an encore which was actually more like a second set. They even tossed in some Who silliness and played a little bit of “It’s a Small World,” conjuring the Disney energy of being in Florida.

But what stands out the most for me about this particular show was the very end… the last note of “Who Are You.” Pete took his guitar and slammed in into the stage. While this was not the wanton guitar destruction of yore, it was the only time I saw Townsend “smash” a guitar on stage. It is one of those iconic rock images that is burned into the collective rock and roll consciousness.

I would see The Who perform Quadrophenia again years later, after Entwistle’s death. That show was great for other reasons, but this one has a warm spot in my heart.

Here is the full setlist. “Long Live Rock!”

Quadrophenia

  • I Am the Sea
  • The Real Me
  • Quadrophenia
  • Cut My Hair
  • The Punk and the Godfather
  • I’m One
  • The Dirty Jobs
  • Helpless Dancer
  • Is It in My Head?
  • I’ve Had Enough
  • 5:15
  • Sea and Sand
  • Drowned
  • Bell Boy
  • Doctor Jimmy
  • The Rock
  • Love, Reign O’er Me

Encore

  • I’m the Face
  • Won’t Get Fooled Again
  • Behind Blue Eyes
  • Substitute
  • I Can’t Explain
  • It’s a Small World ([Disney] cover) (Partial; sung by Roger)
  • The Kids Are Alright
  • Who Are You
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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)

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.

Joni Mitchell: 5/17/2000

At the time, this was the most expensive concert ticket I had purchased to date; but I have always loved Joni’s music and my wife is a huge Joni Mitchell fan, so I had no qualms about buying tickets for this show and spending a little extra for good seats.

What can I say about this show? She was magical on stage, and even though her voice had the smoky quality to it, she was enchanting for the entire performance. When I picture in my mind’s eye an image of a creative, intelligent, and inspiring woman, it’s someone like Joni Mitchell that I see. She’s a cultural icon who, in my humble opinion, has made a tremendous impact on our society and the world as a whole. Thank you, Joni, for all you do!

I noticed that on Joni’s website she has the setlist from the concert, as well as some great pictures. Please visit the site and enjoy the images. Here is the setlist from the concert. By the way, “Both Sides Now” had me on the verge of tears.

Setlist:

  • Orchestral Overture
  • You’re My Thrill
  • At Last
  • Comes Love
  • You’ve Changed
  • Answer Me, My Love
  • A Case Of You
  • Don’t Go To Strangers
  • Sometimes I’m Happy
  • Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me
  • Stormy Weather
  • I Wish I Were In Love Again
  • Both Sides Now
  • Be Cool
  • Judgement Of The Moon And Stars (Ludwig’s Tune)
  • Hejira
  • For The Roses
  • Trouble Man

Santana with Ozomatli: 10/17/1999

Santana is always great in concert, but this concert was especially nice since he had Ozomatli opening, and members of Ozomatli joined Carlos and his band during their set.

My wife and I went to this show with some acquaintances, another couple who we sort of knew but were not really friends with. The concert was at Coral Sky Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, which is your typical amphitheatre. There are seats in the front half and an open field in the back. We had seats, which was nice.

I was not very familiar with Ozomatli at this time, but they came out and totally rocked. I was really impressed with their sound and energy, and during their last song, they all picked up percussion instruments and walked out among the audience, jamming like a conga line. It was the perfect opener for Santana.

Santana was, as I said, amazing. His tone and the clarity of his guitar work are the signs of a musical virtuoso. He played a great mix of his classic music, as well as songs from his then new album, “Supernatural,” which I think is an incredible album and one I was listening to quite a bit at that time. The only down side about this show was the drive home. We lived in Miami at the time, so it was a bit of a long trek back from West Palm.

Anyway, here’s the setlist. Rock and roll!

  • Spiritual / (Da Le) Yaleo / Hannibal (with Ozomatli)
  • Migra (with Ozomatli)
  • Put Your Lights On (with Ozomatli)
  • Santana Sandwich
  • Day of Celebration
  • Victory Is Won
  • Maria Maria (with Ozomatli)
  • Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile)
  • Smooth
  • Bacalao con pan (with Ozomatli)
  • Make Somebody Happy / Get It in Your Soul
  • Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen
  • Oye como va
  • Everybody’s Everything
  • Love of My Life
  • Jin-go-lo-ba

Heart, Joan Jett, and Cheap Trick: 9/16/2016

heart_jj_ct_9-16-16

This show was booked as the “Rock Hall Three-for-All,” three bands from the same time period who are inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I had seen all three bands before, Joan Jett and Cheap Trick multiple times, but it was still fun. My wife had never seen any of them, so she was really excited, and my brother and his wife met us at the show, so it was great hanging together.

The bands were all good, although Cheap Trick was a little too loud, which distorted their sound, and Joan Jett seemed a little tired. Heart, in my humble opinion, was the best and deserved the headliner slot, but some people I know who also attended the show did not share my opinion. That’s the thing with music—it’s very subjective.

The high point of the night for me was the Led Zeppelin encore that Heart played. They performed “Immigrant Song” and “Stairway to Heaven.” Not many bands can pull off Zeppelin, but Heart is one that can.

The downer about this show was the crowd. It seemed like every trailer park within a hundred miles was emptied out and the residents hoarded in. Also, I was not crazy about the venue. The big amphitheater just doesn’t do it for me. I don’t see myself going to many more shows there. It’s just not worth it to me.

Well, that’s all I have to share about this concert. “I love rock and roll, so put another dime in the jukebox baby!”