Duran Duran: 3/27/1984

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I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I went to this concert, but it seems that Duran Duran has somehow become more hip, with the whole retro thing. Funny how that happens. Anyway, back in the 80s, they were about as pop as you can get. And I REALLY did not want to go to this concert, but my girlfriend at the time loved Duran Duran and wanted to go, so… that essentially meant that I was going.

I can say that I did not enjoy myself at all. Even the songs that I kind of liked were wretched to hear live. The main reason for this was the sheer volume of the screaming teenage girls. The screams would crescendo and drown out the music (a bad thing?). It did give me first-hand insight to how it must have been at a Beatles’ concert at the height of Beatlemania, because that was what it must have been like.

I don’t have anything else to share about this show. Musically, not my thing, but another band that I can say I’ve seen in concert.

Jake Bugg: 6/20/2014

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I was first introduced to Jake Bugg by my daughters. They both like his music and played it for me, and I immediately recognized his brilliance as a songwriter. Then, while on a family vacation to England, we visited the Cavern Club in Liverpool, and what was on display there alongside Beatles memorabilia? One of Jake Bugg’s acoustic guitars. Clearly, he was a musician worth checking out. So when he booked a show here in Asheville at the Orange Peel, an intimate venue, I knew I would be going.

Not surprising, my daughters also wanted to go. My older daughter was putting money away for college at the time, so my younger daughter decided to buy her big sister a ticket for the show, which I thought was so sweet. Anyway, it ended up being the whole family going: me, my wife, and our two girls.

The concert was amazing. Jake had a great band backing him up, and he roared through a set that was a nice mix of acoustic and electric songs, demonstrating his versatility as a songwriter and performer. He was not the type of person who spent time talking with the crowd, which was fine by me. He got up there, played his music with all he had, and then ended the show.

We were fairly close to the stage, and I have to admit that Jake looked pretty rough, like he was either burnt out from being on the road, or he had been overindulging. Very likely a combination of the two. That said, it did not seem to impact his performance, which I appreciated. I’ve seen too many musicians suck on stage because they were too stoned. But I felt a touch of sadness, fearing that he may become another in the long list of talented people who burn out way too soon. Hopefully, that will not be the case.

What will always stand out for me about this show is the joy I felt being with my family, watching my two daughters together, and sensing the sibling love that they have for each other. What more can a parent wish for?

Paul McCartney: 4/15/1990

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I’m bummed that this ticket has faded! What was it Neil Young said: “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away.” Still, here is the stub in all its faded glory.

I went to this concert with my good friend Lowell. It was a huge stadium show at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, and it was amazing.

First off, I should say that seeing a Beatle in concert was a really moving experience for me. My mom turned me on to The Beatles at a young age. To this day, I still have some of her old vinyl Beatles’ albums and listen to them with my kids (thanks to my brother for saving those and passing them on to me).

The concert was a solid mix of Beatles, Wings, and McCartney solo material. When you see McCartney live and start singing along with all his songs, you realize just how prolific he was and how much music he created that impacted our world.

High points of this concert? There were too many to list. Consider it one long high point. But the songs that really stand out in my memory are “Let It Be,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (with a great liquid light show), and “Golden Slumbers Medley” as the final encore.

I was fortunate enough to see McCartney again with my daughters, many years later. But that’s another stub and another story.

“And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make.”

Willie Dixon with Ronnie Wood and Bobby Keys: 11/10/1988

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In the 1980’s, before Miami’s South Beach was the chic hot spot it is today, it was a collection of decrepit vacant hotels populated by drug dealers and prostitutes. It was also the place where old people from the northeast went to spend their last years. But then something happened. Ronnie Wood, guitarist from the Rolling Stones, purchased an old hotel and opened a nightclub called Woody’s on the Beach. It was the coolest place on Miami Beach at the time and it was a music-lover’s dream come true. Ronnie would invite music greats to come and perform in this intimate setting and would often join them on stage. It was my favorite place to go and hang out.

I have some really cool ticket stubs from shows at Woody’s, but this one is worthy to be my first Woody’s post. When I heard that blues legend Willie Dixon would be playing at Woody’s along with Ron Wood and saxophonist Bobby Keys (he played sax with the Stones, the Beatles, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, just to name a few), I had to shake myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I immediately ran out and bought a ticket for a whopping $10.

The show started with the house band, featuring Ronnie and Bobby. After a little while, they called the man to the stage. Willie Dixon came out, walking slowly, age and hard living clearly having taken a toll, but the energy that surged through the small club was palpable. He sang five songs with the band before he retired. The band continued for a while without him. I maintained hope that he would come back out, but no luck. Still, I got to see Willie Dixon! The man who inspired so many of rock’s elite.

Dixon died of heart failure on January 29, 1992. But his songs live on, because great music is eternal.