Taj Mahal Trio: 11/5/2006

This is going to be a short and sweet post. This stub hearkens back to a simpler time. I had bought tickets for me and my wife to go see Taj Mahal. Before the concert, we went out for dinner, then made our way to the Orange Peel and just had a great time listening to excellent live blues music.

These long months of COVID social distancing and no concerts has really emphasized how wonderful it is to just go out for dinner and attend a concert with someone you love. I really miss these simple pleasures. I can’t wait for when I can have a date night with my wife, enjoying dinner and a concert. Hopefully it will not be too far in the future.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe, and please do your part to help us return to a happier place.

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

Ozomatli: 3/11/2009

This was a really fun concert. I had seen Ozomatli open for Santana and they were awesome, so I was excited to see them in a small venue.

The opening act was Chali 2na, who was one of the founding members of the hip hop group Jurassic 5. He was cool and got the crowd going. Always great when you have a good opening act, it’s like a bonus.

As far as Ozo goes, they were fantastic and had the audience dancing from start to finish. Near the end, they came out into the crowd with various percussion instruments and had a real tribal thing going. It was very cool. If you’ve never seen or heard Ozomatli, I highly recommend them. They are the epitome of what a multicultural world beat band should be.

Rock on.

The Allman Brothers Band and Phil Lesh & Friends: 10/4/2008

This show was a jam-band fan’s dream. The Allmans and Phil Lesh. I was pretty psyched for this one. I made the drive from Asheville to Charlotte with my friend Greg, which took us a little over two hours. We had scored lawn tickets, which was fine. I felt no desire to be up close. Plus, the lawn tickets were only $16.50++, which was very reasonable for two great bands in 2008.

We staked out our little patch of grass at the Verizon Amphiteatre and waited for Phil. He came out and opened with “Cumberland Blues,” which was great. But the band didn’t seem able to sustain the energy for this particular show. There were a few high points, like “Golden Road” and “Cosmic Charlie,” but overall I was left with the impression that this was probably the weakest Phil & Friends show I had seen. It happens. As a musician, I know that you can’t be 100% all the time, and that any number of factors can affect a performance. Still, it was great seeing Phil, as always.

Then came the Allmans, and in comparison, they were stellar. Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes together on guitar were phenomenal. You could tell that they were feeding off of each other’s energy, seamlessly shifting between solos and augmenting and supporting each other like the seasoned veteran musicians they are. And Gregg Allman was in great form, belting out the tunes and making the hairs stand up on the back of the neck. By the time the last note of “Whipping Post” faded, I was completely rocked out.

My friend Greg and I wandered back to the car, only to discover to our dismay that the car would not start. One of the wires had come loose from the battery terminal. I tried not to panic, but the thought of spending the night in a parking lot in Charlotte was, shall we say, less than appealing. Thankfully, a friendly concert goer offered to help. We got the wire reattached, got the car started, and made it home without further incident.

Here are the setlists from the respective acts. Rock on!

Phil Lesh Setlist:

  • Cumberland Blues
  • Gone Wanderin’
  • Rock-n-Roll Blues
  • Minglewood Blues
  • Row Jimmy
  • The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)
  • Uncle John’s Band
  • Dark Star
  • So Many Roads
  • Dark Star
  • In the Midnight Hour

Encore:

  • Cosmic Charlie

Allman Brothers Setlist:

  • Done Somebody Wrong
  • Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
  • The Same Thing
  • Gambler’s Roll
  • Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More
  • Manic Depression
  • Come and Go Blues
  • Come On in My Kitchen
  • Into the Mystic
  • Dreams
  • Black Hearted Woman
  • Southbound

Encore:

  • Whipping Post

Neil Young: 2/6/1983

This was my first time seeing Neil Young, and I was really psyched. Neil was such a huge influence on me as a young guitarist (pun intended). He was performing two shows at the James L. Knight Center in Miami, and I don’t recall why, but I only got a ticket to see him on the second night.

The Knight Center was a great venue in downtown Miami, relatively small and with great acoustics. There was not a bad seat anywhere in the house.

This was a solo tour in support of the Trans album, which had come out the previous year. It was just Neil by himself with various guitars, harmonicas, keyboards, and a banjo. He took his time, selecting what instrument to play, and seemed 100% comfortable on stage. And he played for a long time, not shying away from songs that usually have a full band (“Powderfinger” and “Down by the River” come to mind).

I would go on to see Neil multiple times in the future, including four times with Crazy Horse, but this first time seeing him holds a magical place in my heart.

Here’s the setlist, and may Neil keep on rockin’ for many more years.

Setlist

  • Comes a Time
  • Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  • Down by the River
  • Only Love Can Break Your Heart
  • Soul of a Woman
  • Are There Any More Real Cowboys?
  • Cowgirl in the Sand
  • My Boy
  • Helpless
  • Dance, Dance, Dance
  • Southern Man
  • Don’t Be Denied
  • The Losing End
  • Cortez the Killer
  • Powderfinger
  • Ohio
  • Sail Away
  • After the Gold Rush
  • Transformer Man
  • My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
  • Mr. Soul
  • Sugar Mountain
  • I Am a Child
  • Computer Age

Grateful Dead: 10/16/1988

This was the last night of a three-night run of Dead shows. The previous night’s show was excellent, and my friends and I all crashed and slept late.

After waking up and having a late breakfast, I convinced Armando and Tim to join me on an excursion to the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. Immersing ourselves in surreal artwork seemed like a good way to prepare ourselves for the third Dead show.

The museum was very cool, and we were not the only Deadheads who had the idea of checking out the Dali Museum. There were many tie-dyed freaks wandering around, gazing glassy-eyed at the many artworks that were on display. Two in particular stood out for me. There was a hologram of Alice Cooper wearing a tiara, which was very cool, especially since I am such a big Cooper fan. But without question, it was the massive painting entitled The Hallucinogenic Toreador that was the most captivating. I stood for what seemed like an eternity, getting lost in the psychedelic colors that pulsated on the canvas. Here is a link to an image of the painting to provide a sense of context.

The Hallucinogenic Toreador: Wikipedia

After the museum, we made our way back to the Bayfront Center and hung out with the other intrepid music fans until show time. It was decided amongst us that we would drive back to Miami after the show. I was not too keen on this idea and felt it would be better to spend the night in St. Pete and drive back early in the morning, but Armando was adamant that he had to leave tonight to be in Miami in time for work in the morning, so I acquiesced since he said he would be the designated driver.

This particular evening was Bob Weir’s birthday, and as expected, the show was stellar. Our seats were not as good as the first night in St. Pete, but since the venue was so small, it really didn’t matter. The second set was especially hot, with Phil opening the set with “Box of Rain.” The set also included “Terrapin Station,” one of my favorites, and “Morning Dew” to close, followed by “Quinn the Eskimo” for an encore. If you are at all interested, the full concert is available on YouTube, with actual video from the show and not just pictures.

Anyway, after the show, we skipped hanging out because Armando was eager to get on the road. We were facing a good five-hour drive, which would get us in to Miami close to 4:00 am. Once we were on I-75 southbound, Tim stretched out in the back seat and fell asleep, while I sat up front with Armando and had the important task of keeping the music going. But eventually, the hypnotic lines on the road got the best of me and I leaned my head against the window and slipped into slumber. I was ripped from my sleep by the sound of Tim screaming as the car was bouncing and careening off the road. Everything was a blur as I waited for the inevitable crash, but somehow, Armando miraculously got the car back on the road without us hitting anything. Tim was yelling from the back seat, and Armando was apologizing that he fell asleep. At this point, we were all wide awake with the collective adrenaline rush, but after a while, the rush was replaced by a deeper fatigue brought on by the adrenaline crash. This time, Armando consented to our suggestion that we pull over at a rest area and sleep a bit in the car. We cracked the windows and sank into some much-needed sleep.

When we awoke, we were all groggy, but rested enough to make the remainder of the drive. We rolled in to Miami around 8:00, which wasn’t bad, all things considered. It was a long, strange trip, which could have ended in disaster, but the four winds blew us safely home again.

Here’s the setlist.

Set 1:

  • Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
  • Never Trust a Woman
  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Friend of the Devil
  • Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again
  • To Lay Me Down
  • Don’t Ease Me In

Set 2:

  • Box of Rain
  • Victim or the Crime
  • Foolish Heart
  • Looks Like Rain
  • Terrapin Station
  • Drums > Space
  • The Wheel
  • Gimme Some Lovin’
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Morning Dew

Encore:

  • Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)

Grateful Dead: 10/15/1988

I had gone to see the Dead the previous evening in Miami, and the morning of Saturday October 15, I got in the car with my friends Armando and Tim and we made the drive up to St. Petersburg for two more shows. The drive was fairly uneventful. We took Alligator Alley across the Everglades and then I-75 north up to St. Pete. The drive was pleasant and uneventful, and we had a steady stream of bootleg tapes that we listened to as we drove.

The drive from Miami to St. Pete was about five hours, so we got there with plenty of time to check in to our hotel and make our way to the Bayfront Center Arena. Once there, we spent some time wandering the parking lot, buys wares from vendors and grabbing some food from the entrepreneurial purveyors of vegetarian food. We also connected with friends from Miami, including my good friend Todd, who was determined to join us inside the arena.

Armando, Tim, and I had some great 7th row seats that we managed to score through the mail order ticket sales. We snuck Todd up there with us and no one seemed to care, so he was able to hang with us for the entire night.

The show was phenomenal! Bob Weir was in exceptional form and it seemed like the band was feeding off his enthusiasm. Add to that the fact that the audience was in a constant state of ecstasy, and it made for a magical evening.

During the second set, the band came out of drums > space and went into “Truckin’” and the energy was tangible. At the end of the song, the band went into an instrumental jam, building in intensity like some cosmic crescendo. At this point, my friend Todd screamed out to the band: “Give it to Bobby!” And sure enough they did, segueing into the Howlin’ Wolf blues classic “Smokestack Lightning,” which would be the only time I would experience the Dead playing this one. It was an amazing show that is etched into my memory.

After the concert, we hung out in the parking lot for a while, until the mental burnout of a road trip and a show took its toll and we headed back to the hotel to crash. But tomorrow would be another show, and it would be Bob Weir’s birthday, so we had high expectations.

Here is the setlist from this night’s performance.

Set 1:

  • The Music Never Stopped
  • Sugaree
  • Blow Away
  • Walkin’ Blues
  • When Push Comes to Shove
  • Queen Jane Approximately
  • Tennessee Jed
  • Let It Grow

Set 2:

  • One More Saturday Night
  • Crazy Fingers
  • Playing in the Band
  • Uncle John’s Band
  • Drums > Space
  • Truckin’
  • Smokestack Lightning
  • Stella Blue
  • Turn On Your Love Light

Encore:

  • U.S. Blues

Grateful Dead: 10/14/1988

This was the first night of a three-night run of shows. I would see the Dead on October 15 and 16 in St. Petersburg, FL, and those nights I remember, but for some strange reason, I have no recollection of this first show in Miami. No idea why that is. Anyway, I can only assume that I hung out with my Deadhead friends and had a real good time. In the morning after the show, I would be heading up to St. Pete with my friends Armando and Tim, and we had a bit of an adventure. More to come on that one. For now, all I have left to share about this show is the setlist. Rock on!

Set 1:

  • Touch of Grey
  • Minglewood Blues
  • Row Jimmy Row
  • It’s All Over Now
  • Brown-Eyed Women
  • When I Paint My Masterpiece
  • Bird Song
  • Promised Land

Set 2:

  • China Cat Sunflower
  • I Know You Rider
  • Saint of Circumstance
  • He’s Gone
  • Drums > Space
  • Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
  • I Need a Miracle
  • Dear Mr. Fantasy
  • Hey Jude

Encore:

  • Black Muddy River

Blue Oyster Cult, Foghat, and Whitford/St. Holmes: 10/9/1981

Here is why it was so cool growing up in the 70s and 80s. A great triple bill for a whopping $9.00! Even though I had seen Blue Oyster Cult earlier in 1981 with Heart, I could not pass up on this one.

First to play was Whitford/St. Holmes, a band comprised of Brad Whitford from Aerosmith and Derek St. Holmes from Ted Nugent’s band. This was one of those moments in rock history, where I had the chance to see a band that really was not around very long, but was very cool.

Next up was Foghat, and if memory serves me well, this was the first time I saw them. I admit I was into Foghat as a teenager, so seeing them live was a big deal for me (I would see them more times than I care to admit afterwards). They played a short, tight set that included all their hits, and the generally intolerant Sportatorium crowd was appreciative.

Then came BOC. As always, they were nothing short of excellent. This was the Fire of Unknown Origin tour, which was definitely a high point in the band’s career. I have some distinct memories from this performance, like the amazing version of “Godzilla” and “Roadhouse Blues” for the encore, at the end of which Buck Dharma systematically popped his guitar strings one by one during the closing solo, grasping and tearing the last string as the final note decayed. It was rock and roll at its finest.

So as I was researching this show online and I found the setlists for Foghat and BOC, I discovered something ultra-cool. It seems that “The Red &The Black”, “Joan Crawford”, “Burnin’ For You”, “Godzilla”, “Veterans of the Psychic Wars” and “E.T.I (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)” were all recorded at this show and released on the Extraterrestrial Live album (here is track list on Wikipedia). Once this Shelter-in-Place restriction is lifted, I will definitely be scouring the record stores to get a copy of this.

Anyway, here are the setlists. Rock on!

Foghat Setlist:

  • Stone Blue
  • My Babe
  • Eight Days on the Road
  • Wide Boy
  • Fool for the City
  • Third Time Lucky (First Time I Was a Fool)
  • Honey Hush
  • Live Now Pay Later
  • Slow Ride
  • I Just Want to Make Love to You

Blue Oyster Cult Setlist:

  • The Red & the Black
  • E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)
  • Joan Crawford
  • Burnin’ for You
  • Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll
  • Veteran of the Psychic Wars
  • ME 262
  • Godzilla
  • Born to Be Wild

Encore:

  • (Don’t Fear) The Reaper
  • Roadhouse Blues

Alice Cooper: 7/6/2003

This is one of my favorite ticket stubs. I mean, Alice Cooper, in Liverpool England, the home of the Beatles. How cool is that?

I was in England visiting family at this time, which was a very difficult period in my life. I was working like crazy because I owned a small business, and let’s say that my business partner was the antithesis of helpful. My wife and I were struggling financially, I was physically and mentally exhausted, and things were pretty grim. But there was a huge family gathering happening in England and one of my uncles offered to buy me a ticket to fly there, so I packed my bags and flew across the pond.

I was staying with family not far from Liverpool, and discovered much to my surprise that Alice was playing there. My cousin P., who is one of the most awesome people in the world, knew how much I liked Alice Cooper and bought two tickets so that I could go with one of my uncles. So my Uncle B. and  I headed down to Kings Dock to see the Coop.

The venue was surreal. It was like a big tent set up on the dock, so it had that crazy carnival feel, which is apropos for a Cooper concert.

The lights went down, and the band took the stage, opening with “Hello Hooray,” arguably the best opening song ever. And then it was all classic Cooper.

He broke out some really cool tunes that were surprising, like “Desperado,” “Public Animal #9,” and “Long Way to Go,” a highly underrated song off the “Love It To Death” album. The tour was dubbed the “Bare Bones Tour,” so it was missing the elaborate stage props (no guillotine or snake), just Alice and the band playing a solid set of killer tunes.

Although I was teetering on the brink of depression, seeing Alice in England was a nice boost for me. And getting to go to a concert with my uncle is a memory that I will treasure for the rest of my days. Anyway, here’s the setlist. Rock on!

Setlist

  • Hello Hooray
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • Long Way to Go
  • Public Animal #9
  • Be My Lover
  • Lost in America
  • I’m Eighteen
  • Serious
  • Desperado
  • Halo of Flies
  • Welcome to My Nightmare
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Ballad of Dwight Fry
  • Guilty
  • School’s Out

Encore:

  • Poison
  • Elected
  • Disgraceland
  • Under My Wheels