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
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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

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’

Warren Haynes 30th Anniversary Christmas Jam – Second Night: 12/8/2018

The second night of the Christmas Jam was faced with a winter storm, which dumped significant snow on Asheville. Because of the expected difficulties, those who did not feel comfortable venturing out were given the option to stream the show from home. Since I live only about a mile from the venue, I of course went and brought a warm jacket so I could walk home afterwards.

I went with my friend Seth, and we grabbed some barbecue before heading over to the show. When we got there, I was elated to see throngs of scalpers desperately trying to sell off their tickets for below face value in a lame attempt to recoup some of their money. It makes me happy to see scalpers suffering and losing money. I have no sympathy for those vampires who feed off others.

Anyway, the second night boasted a stellar lineup of headline acts:

  • Joe Bonamassa
  • Jim James
  • Dave Grohl and Friends
  • Eric Church
  • Gov’t Mule

In addition, there were also the guest musicians who graced the stage on the first night of the Jam.

The show began with a collaboration of guest musicians jamming and warming up the crowd. That was followed by Joe Bonamassa, who I was probably the most excited to see. As a guitarist, I was eager to see the blues great perform live. He did not disappoint. After he played, all I could think was that I would hate to be a musician having to follow that guitarist. But, the rest of the show was right up there in caliber.

Sadly, my friend Seth left right after Bonamassa’s set. Snow was already piling up and he was concerned about not being able to make it home. Thankfully, I had other friends who were there, and I made the rounds, sitting with various friends throughout the evening.

There were many high points that night, but probably the best for me was when Gov’t Mule kicked off their set with Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” segueing into Hendrix’s “Machine Gun,” then back into “Rockin’ in the Free World,” with Dave Grohl playing guitar with them. UNBELIEVABLE! Here is a video recording on YouTube for those who are interested.

Not long after that, I decided to cut out a little early and start walking home. It was already past 1:00 am, and I knew it would be a cold trudge through the deep snow. But actually, it was kind of nice, in the surreal early morning darkness. Here is a picture I snapped on the walk home.

Here are the setlists from the headline acts. Hope you all have a rockin’ New Year, and may 2019 bring you lots of live music!

Setlists:

Joe Bonamassa:

  • Beck’s Bolero >
  • Rice Pudding
  • Spanish Boots
  • SWLABR
  • I Can’t Quit You Baby
  • How Many More Times

Jim James:

  • Just a Fool
  • Throwback
  • All Over the World
  • Here in Spirit
  • Over and Over
  • Better Get Together While Still Got Time
  • No Secrets
  • A New Life >
  • State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)

Dave Grohl:

  • Play
  • Times Like These (with Warren Haynes)
  • Everlong

Eric Church:

  • Desperate Man
  • Record Year
  • Carolina
  • Smoke a Little Smoke
  • Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More (with Warren Haynes)
  • Atlantic City (with Warren Haynes)
  • Diddy Wah Diddy (with Warren Haynes)
  • The Weight (with Warren Haynes)

Gov’t Mule:

  • Rockin’ in the Free World (with Dave Grohl) >
  • Machine Gun  (with Dave Grohl) (instrumental) >
  • Rockin’ in the Free World (with Dave Grohl)
  • Thorazine Shuffle
  • Revolution Come, Revolution Go
  • Million Miles From Yesterday
  • Dreams and Songs
  • Red Baron
  • Mule

Warren Haynes 30th Anniversary Christmas Jam – First Night: 12/7/2018

The Christmas Jam has become a holiday tradition for me. Every year since I moved to Asheville, NC, I have attended the Jam, and it is always great. This year, Warren held the Jam over two nights, which was consistent with the 20th and 25th. I, of course, planned on going both nights.

Ticket purchasing has become a challenge, even in the small city of Asheville. Scalpers and bots scoop up tickets and resell them through TicketMaster and scalper sites like Stub Hub, making it tough for fans to acquire tickets. For that reason, I went down early in the morning to the box office and was first in line. This proved advantageous, since the box office opened the window 5 minutes prior to when TicketMaster opened the online sales. I got reserved seats for both nights, and then found to my dismay that many of my friends who tried to buy online got shut out, all reserved seats gone in less than 2 minutes. The bots strike again! Now for my quick PSA—Scalpers are scum. No matter how much you want to see a show, don’t ever buy from a “verified reseller” for more than face value. As long as you do, these bottom feeders will continue to ruin music for all of us.

OK, stepping down from the soapbox and getting on with the show.

First night I went with my wife and daughter. The lineup was pretty solid. The headliners included:

  • Dark Side of the Mule
  • Grace Potter
  • Mike Gordon
  • Jamey Johnson
  • Marco Benevento

In addition, there were a bunch of guest musicians, including: Audley Freed, Jen Gunderman, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Jimmy Vivino, Kevn Kinney, Mike Barnes, Robert Kearns, Ron Holloway, and Tyler Ramsey. There were others who were not announced. Sorry, but don’t remember them all.

The show went on until after 2:00 am, and I think this was the first time my wife made it to the very end. While the entire show was great, Dark Side of the Mule was by far the highlight. Gov’t Mule performed a long Pink Floyd set, complete with lasers and an incredible light show. It was a great way to end a marathon night of music.

The only negative about this night was Jamey Johnson. He was good, and I liked the music he played, but he was painfully loud. Now I am not one to shy away from loud music, so if I consider a band to be too loud, they are probably too loud. He obviously missed the memo that when playing country music, you do not need to turn the amps up to 11. Leave that setting for Spinal Tap.

I could not find all the setlists, but I found a few. I will add others if I find them. Also, I’m including a few pictures that I snapped. And for those who are interested, here is a video of Dark Side of the Mule, with the full on lasers.

Rock on, and check back soon for my post on the second night.

Setlists:

Marco Benevento

  • The Story Of Fred Short (Intro) >
  • Seven Twenty Two >
  • Walking With Tyrone
  • Live A Certain Life
  • Stay In Line
  • I Can’t See The Light >
  • Follow The Arrow
  • Band Introductions/Banter
  • Greenpoint
  • Pepper

Mike Gordon

  • Say Something
  • Whirlwind
  • Peel
  • Victim > Sweet Emotion
  • Pendulum
  • Wild and Blue
  • Do You Still Drink About Me
  • Crazy Sometimes

Grace Potter

  • Gold Dust Woman (w Warren Haynes and Jim James)
  • Medicine
  • Empty Heart
  • Not Fade Away > Stars
  • The Lion the Beast the Beat
  • Paris (Ooh La La)
  • I Shall Be Released

Dark Side of the Mule:

  • Pigs on the Wing 2
  • Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)
  • Have a Cigar
  • Breathe
  • On the Run
  • Time
  • Breathe (Reprise)
  • The Great Gig in the Sky
  • Money
  • Us and Them
  • (with Jim James on lead vocals)
  • Any Colour You Like
  • Welcome to the Machine
  • One of These Days
  • Fearless
  • Echoes, Part 1
  • Comfortably Numb

Encore:

  • Wish You Were Here

 

Warren kicking off the show

 

Mike Gordon
Grace Potter
Dark Side of the Mule

Goblin: 11/28/2018

As a horror film buff, and someone who enjoys prog rock, it’s no surprise that I am a fan of Goblin. I saw them some years back on their first ever US tour, and they were awesome. So when I saw that they were coming back to town and would be performing the soundtrack to “Suspira” live during a screening of the film, I knew I would be going. I offered to buy my brother a ticket, since he is also a horror fan, and we were in.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Goblin, they are an Italian progressive rock band that formed in the 70s and became famous for composing the soundtrack music for films such as “Suspiria,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Tenebre,” and many others. Note: Claudio Simonetti, the keyboardist, was the only original Goblin member on this tour, but the other band members were exceptional musicians.

We got to the Orange Peel early enough to snag a decent spot, as well as one of the few bar stools so we could sit and watch the film. The band took the stage, and got ready to queue up the film.

The film started, and the band played the opening musical sequence, which was hauntingly powerful. I commented to my brother that they had an easy first half of the gig, spending a lot of time sitting and waiting for the next point in the film where music was needed. But I have to say, it was a totally unique concert experience for me, something that is rare for a veteran concertgoer as myself.

After the film ended, they paused briefly before launching into a killer second set, with lots of horror film clips and surreal visuals projected on the screen. The band was really tight, effortlessly flowing through intricate scale runs that rival any prog band. Suffice to say, I was on my feet for the entire second set.

Here is the full setlist, along with some pictures from the show. Rock on!

Set 1: “Suspiria” live screening and soundtrack accompaniment.

  • Suspiria
  • Witch
  • Opening to the Sighs
  • Sighs
  • Markos
  • Black Forest / Blind Concert
  • Death Valzer

Set 2:

  • Mater Lachrymarum
  • Demoni
  • E Suono Rock
  • Roller
  • Dawn of the Dead (L’alba dei Morti Viventi)
  • Zombi
  • Zaratozom
  • Tenebre
  • Phenomena
  • Profondo Rosso

Dweezil Zappa: 10/31/2018

I had seen Dweezil a couple times before, and I had seen his dad, Frank Zappa. Which was why the last few times he came to town, I opted to pass. But this time—Halloween Night! That was something I could not pass up on.

I had bought tickets for me and my friend Dan to go. The Diana Wortham Theatre is a very small venue, so I bought tickets way in advance. We had good seats, second row balcony center, which affords a great view of the stage and excellent sound.

Halloween rolls around, and I get a text from Dan that he is at the hospital with his mom and not sure if he will be able to make it. Of course, I told him no worries, take care of what you need to do. Thankfully, his mom was alright and released after a few hours, so Dan texted me that he was still in and we would meet up before the show.

Since it was Halloween, I sported my Captain Kirk costume. Most of the crowd was also in costume, which added to the general freakiness. We got our seats, chatted for a bit, and then the lights went down and the band took the stage. All the band members except Dweezil were in costume, which was fun. They definitely were having a blast on stage, hamming it up, and of course, playing some incredible music. They played a loooooong time, a solid three hours. And the song selection was definitely worthy of the “Choice Cuts” tour name. They really dug deep into Frank’s vast musical repertoire. Definitely got my money’s worth.

Here’s a few pictures from the show, along with the setlist.

Setlist:

  • The Purple Lagoon (Intro)
  • Andy
  • Honey, Don’t You Want a Man Like Me?
  • Fifty-Fifty
  • Call Any Vegetable
  • Tell Me You Love Me
  • Absolutely Free
  • T’Mershi Duween
  • Dog Breath
  • Dog Meat
  • Sleep Napkins
  • The Black Page Drum Solo
  • The Black Page
  • Halloween – Movie Theme Music (John Carpenter cover)
  • The Torture Never Stops
  • Valley Girl
  • Pygmy Twylyte
  • King Kong
  • Suzy Creamcheese
  • Cocaine Decisions
  • Drowning Witch
  • Sleeping in a Jar
  • Florentine Pogen
  • Zoot Allures
  • Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow
  • Uncle Remus
  • This Town Is a Sealed Tuna Sandwich
  • Keep It Greasey
  • Joe’s Garage

Encore:

  • Oh, In the Sky
  • Cheepnis
  • Return of the Son of Orange County
  • Funky OC
  • Trouble Every Day