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.

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

George Thorogood and the Destroyers: 3/31/1983

This was my second time seeing George Thorogood (click here to read about the first time). He was great both times. There is not a whole lot to say; George is just fun, straight-ahead rockin’ blues. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, just wants to play guitar and have a good time. And that is exactly what his concerts are like, just a good time.

I was not able to find the setlist from this particular show, but I did find one from the same tour when he played in Salem, OR. While 1983 was a long time ago, this seems pretty consistent with what I remember from this show, so here it is. Rock it on over…

Setlist

  • The House of Blue Lights
  • Who Do You Love?
  • I’m Wanted
  • Cocaine Blues
  • Wanted Man
  • Bad to the Bone
  • Move It on Over
  • The Sky Is Crying
  • Madison Blues
  • El Paso
  • It Wasn’t Me
  • Willie and the Hand Jive
  • Night Time
  • No Particular Place to Go

Encore:

  • One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
  • Nobody but Me
  • Wild Weekend

Warren Haynes Christmas Jam – Night Two: 12/13/2008

This was the second night of the 20th Anniversary Christmas Jam. While the first night was long and epic, the second night proved to be even longer and more jam packed.

I basically went solo this night. My wife could only handle one night of jams, but I had friends who were there so I was able to hang out with them for most of the night (although they did leave early, and I stayed to the very end, which was around 4:30 am). The headliners for this night were Steve Earle, Johnny Winter, Coheed and Cambria, Michael Franti, Ben Harper and the Relentless 7, John Paul Jones, and Gov’t Mule. In addition, there was a plethora of guest musicians forming impromptu groups and sitting in with the other bands.

When Warren opened the show, playing an acoustic number with Ruthie Foster, he informed the crowd that there would be something special at the end of the night, and to make sure to stay. I did not need much convincing.

After that, the “Xmas Jam Band” played for a while, playing some great songs and bring up lots of special guests.

Steve Earle played next. He was really good and I gained a whole new level of appreciation for his music.

Not long after Earle, Johnny Winter took the stage. I had seen him once years ago, and it was not his best night, but it felt kind of special to see him this time. He was pretty sickly, and was literally assisted out on the stage and placed in a chair. Then his classic Gibson Firebird was brought out and placed in his hands, and he proceeded to wail. This would be my last time seeing the legendary bluesman, may he rest in peace.

Next up was Coheed & Cambria. I was kind of looking forward to seeing these guys because I’d heard great things about them, but I have to say, I was disappointed. Maybe they were having an off night, but they just didn’t do it for me.

Michael Franti followed, and he got the place on their feet and dancing. John Paul Jones (the great Led Zeppelin bassist), played with him for almost the entire set. While the friends I was did not care for his set, I personally really enjoyed it. Hey, to each their own.

Ben Harper performed next, and he was great. This was my first time seeing him, and he totally lived up to my expectations. The fact that I was still rockin’ in the early morning hours is a testament to his set.

Finally, the closing event of the night: Gov’t Mule’s set. They played a few cover tunes with some guest musicians, and then brought out John Paul Jones to do a mini Zeppelin set to close the night. Totally rocked the house!

It took me a couple days to recover from all that music, but it was well worth the lack of sleep. Here is the full setlist from the night’s multiple performances.

WARREN HAYNES & RUTHIE FOSTER:

  • Grinnin’ In Your Face

XMAS JAM BAND (Audley Freed, Jen Gunderman, Buddy Cage, Kevn Kinney, Fiddle Dave, Robert Kearns, Edwin McCain, Mickey Raphael):

  • Blues on Top of Blues
  • Straight To Hell
  • Free Fallin (w/ Patterson Hood)
  • Dreams To Remember (w/ Joan Osborne & Horns*)
  • TCB (w/ Robben Ford, Joan Osborne, Eric Krasno & Horns*)
  • Chain of Fools (w/ Ruthie Foster, Robben Ford, Joan Osborne, Karl Denson, Ron Holloway, Eric Krasno)
  • When Something Is Wrong With My Baby (w/ Joan Osborne, Warren Haynes & Horns*)
  • Tumblin’ Dice (w/ Ruthie Foster)

* Karl Denson, Ron Holloway, Derrick Johnson, Craig Sorrells

STEVE EARLE:

  • Copperhead Road
  • Christmas In Washington
  • My Old Friend The Blues
  • Guitar Town (w/ Warren Haynes)
  • Gotta Serve Somebody (w/ Warren Haynes, Steve Earle, Joan Osborne, Travis Tritt & Ruthie Foster)
  • Brand New Companion (w/ Mickey Raphael & Warren Haynes)

GROUP SONG:

  • Serve Somebody

JOHNNY WINTER:

  • Paul Nelson Jam (Intro)
  • Hideaway
  • Blackjack
  • I Used To Love Her But It’s All Over Now (w/ Warren Haynes)
  • Mojo Boogie

COHEED AND CAMBIRA:

  • No World For Tomorrow
  • Gravemakers & Gunslingers
  • Mother Superior
  • Favor House Atlantic (acoustic)
  • I Shall Be Released (w/ Warren Haynes)
  • Welcome Home (w/ Warren Haynes)

MICHAEL FRANTI & JAY BOWMAN (FRED ELTRINGHAM ON DRUMS):

  • Love Don’t Wait (w/ John Paul Jones, Robben Ford & Mickey Raphael)
  • Sweet Little Lies (w/ John Paul Jones, Robben Ford & Mickey Raphael)
  • All I Want Is You (w/ John Paul Jones, Robben Ford, Mickey Raphael & Eric Krasno)
  • Hey World (w/ John Paul Jones, Robben Ford, Mickey Raphael & Eric Krasno)
  • I Got Love For You (w/ John Paul Jones, Robben Ford, Mickey Raphael & Ron Holloway)
  • Say Hey

BEN HARPER & RELENTLESS 7:

  • Number No Name
  • Shimmer
  • Lay There
  • Better Way
  • Fly 1 Time
  • Keep It Together
  • Dressed In Black
  • Boots
  • Up To You Now
  • Good Times, Bad Times (w/ John Paul Jones)

GOV’T MULE:

  • Southern Man (w/ Patterson Hood)
  • Lively Up Yourself (w/ Karl Denson & Robben Ford)
  • Simple Man (w/ Travis Tritt)
  • Livin’ Lovin’ Maid (w/ John Paul Jones)
  • Since I’ve Been Loving You (w/ John Paul Jones)
  • No Quarter (w/ John Paul Jones on keys & Audley Freed)
  • The Ocean (w/ John Paul Jones on bass, Ben Harper & Mike Barnes)
  • When The Levee Breaks (w/ Ben Harper & John Paul Jones on bass)

David Bromberg: 11/9/1989

Since some of you might not be familiar with David Bromberg, I figured I would share his bio from Wikipedia.

David Bromberg (born September 19, 1945) is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter. An eclectic artist, Bromberg plays bluegrass, blues, folk, jazz, country and western, and rock and roll. He is known for his quirky, humorous lyrics, and the ability to play rhythm and lead guitar at the same time.

Bromberg has played with many famous musicians, including Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie Nelson, Jorma Kaukonen, Jerry Garcia, Rusty Evans (The Deep) and Bob Dylan. He co-wrote the song “The Holdup” with former Beatle George Harrison, who played on Bromberg’s self-titled 1972 album. In 2008, he was nominated for a Grammy Award. Bromberg is known for his fingerpicking style that he learned from Reverend Gary Davis.

(Source: Wikipedia)

So as you can see, he is no slouch. This was actually the second time I had seen Bromberg. I went with my dad to see him in the 70’s at Avery Fisher Hall in New York (alas – I do not have that stub). When I saw he was coming to Tobacco Road, I figured I had to go see him again, since the Road was the perfect place for his style of music.

Tobacco Road was a famous blues bar on the Miami River that was a speakeasy in the time of prohibition, and was the oldest bar in Miami until it was demolished on October 26, 2014. So it was a regular haunt for me and my music-loving friends. This particular night I went with my friends Todd and Craig. The place was packed, and the music was incredible. Seeing Bromberg in this venue was really something special.

I could not find a setlist from this particular show, but found a generic setlist from 1989.

Generic 1989 Bromberg Setlist:

  • Brown’s Ferry Blues / There’s No Business Like Show Business
  • Framed
  • Chump Man Blues
  • Keep On Drinkin’
  • I Like to Sleep Late in the Morning
  • Summer Wages
  • Stagger Lee
  • I’ll Take You Back
  • First I Look at the Purse
  • Midnight Hour Blues
  • Sharon

Encore:

  • Fiddle Medley
  • Delia’s Gone

The Who: 11/8/2012

I had seen the Who several times, and had seen them perform “Quadrophenia” also, but the fact that they were playing in an arena (I had only ever seen them outdoors) and the fact that I wanted to take my kids to see the legendary band prompted me to get tickets.

I drove with my friend Greg to the box office at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville, SC on the day the tickets were going on sale. It was a solid hour’s drive, but we figured it would be worth it to save the exorbitant TicketMaster fees that we would be charged if we bought the tickets online. The line was pretty long, and they were doing the lottery thing where they give everyone a number and then pick who gets first in line. We ended up getting a decent spot for when the tickets went on sale. Our seats were on the balcony, about halfway back, but first row, so we would not have any heads obstructing our view.

On the night of the show, my wife and I drove down with the kids and we met Greg and his family, along with another couple of friends, and we all sat together, which was fun. There is something about going to see live music with a big group of friends and family that makes the experience even more special.

Anyway, the opening act was a band called Vintage Trouble. They are a really great R&B band and I was thoroughly impressed with their sound and stage presence. If you are into high-energy, 1960s style rhythm and blues, then you should check these guys out.

After a relatively short intermission, the Who came out and launched into the Quadrophenia set. They had a great high-def video wall behind the band that displayed some amazing visuals that supported the music. And while Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey were both showing their age, they still performed with the energy that the Who is known for.

After completing the Quadrophenia part of the performance, the band did an extended “encore” set of classic Who tunes. Overall, it was a great show. And while it was not the best Who show I had seen (I did miss John Entwistle’s bass playing), the fact that I got to share this experience with my whole family makes it one of those live music moments that I will cherish forever.

Here is the full setlist.

Setlist:

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:

  • Baba O’Riley
  • Pinball Wizard
  • Behind Blue Eyes
  • Who Are You
  • Won’t Get Fooled Again
  • Tea & Theatre

Ray LaMontagne: 11/12/2017

I had seen Ray LaMontagne some years before this show at the Christmas Jam, and he was very good, but didn’t come on stage until about 1:30 in the morning, so I was somewhat less than enthused. But since then, I have developed a strong appreciation for his music and was very psyched to see him as a headliner.

My wife and I arrived at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium and were greeted by our friends Wind and Althea, who were sitting two rows behind us. We chatted with them for a while, which was nice. It’s good to catch up with old friends that you haven’t seen in a while.

The show began promptly at 7:00 with Ethan Gruska as the opening act. He wasn’t the worst opening act I have seen, but definitely not the best either.

Finally, Ray came out. He had John Stirratt, the bass player from Wilco, with him. Also, on several songs, Ethan Gruska came out and assisted on three-part harmonies, which sounded great. I thought Gruska was much better as part of a group than by himself.

Ray’s set was excellent. He sounded amazing and the audience was very appreciative, almost to a fault. There were several people screaming during some of the more subtle moments, which I could have done without. And that leads me to a story about the people in front of us. Of course, we had to be behind a couple who were getting drunker and more obnoxious as the night went on. The guy kept trying to put his arm around the woman and inadvertently kept hitting my wife’s knee. Finally, during the last song of the encore, their talking hit fever pitch, at which point my wife leaned forward and nicely asked them if they could please not talk until after the show, to which the guy indignantly and loudly replied “NO!” I felt my muscles tense and had visions of me having to fight this jerk, but alas, he stopped talking for the rest of the song, and the person next to my wife gave her a high five.

After the lights came on, we saw several other of our friends, which was nice. I love seeing people I know at concerts. I don’t know why, but it just makes it feel more communal.

I looked at several of the setlists from the tour and it seems that the list was standard across shows. It seems right from what I remember, so here is the generic setlist from the tour.

Setlist:

  • No Other Way
  • Beg Steal or Borrow
  • Lavender
  • Shelter
  • In My Own Way
  • Airwaves
  • Hannah
  • Pick Up a Gun
  • Such a Simple Thing
  • Blue Canadian Rockies
  • Burn
  • Empty
  • To the Sea
  • Supernova
  • Like Rock & Roll and Radio
  • Trouble

Encore:

  • Jolene
  • All the Wild Horses
  • Wouldn’t It Make a Lovely Photograph

Buddy Guy: 9/26/2017

Buddy Guy is one of those guitarists that I always wanted to see but for one reason or another, never did — until now. When I heard he was coming to town, I knew I had to go see him. He is advancing in his years and I figured I might not have many more opportunities to see the legend live.

My wife did not want to go with me to this show (she had seen Buddy before), and none of my friends seemed interested, so I bought a single and went by myself. This ended up being fine. The Thomas Wolfe Auditorium was only about 2/3 full, so I went and got a better seat up on the balcony very close to the stage.

The show opened with a performance by a band called Blackfoot Gypsies. The band was comprised of three young white dudes and an older black man on the harmonica. They were pretty good. Obviously, the white guys were raised on a steady diet of Stones and Black Crowes, which reflected in their playing and stage attire. Not the best opening act I’ve seen, but definitely not the worst either.

Finally, Buddy came out and opened with “Damn Right I Got the Blues.” I was immediately impressed by his playing and by how energetic he was on stage. For a man in his 80’s, he played and moved like someone half his age. He played guitar with drum sticks, walked out into the crowd while playing, and channeled Hendrix by playing with his teeth and behind his back. All the while, exhibiting superb musicianship.

I was unable to locate a setlist from this show, so I will just say he did a great mix of his own stuff (including his work with Junior Wells) and some great blues covers. He played songs from Clapton, Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, and Muddy Waters, but gave each rendition his own unique style and sound.

If you have the opportunity to see Buddy Guy live, I highly recommend doing so. He is an incredible musician and an outstanding performer.

Ron Wood and Bo Diddley: 6/22/1988

wooddiddley_6-22-88

As I mentioned in my previous post about the first night of the two-night stand, my memories of the numerous shows I saw at Woody’s on the Beach are somewhat vague, but this night I remember well. Ron and Bo were particularly pumped and they broke into some classic Stones tunes, as well as some Faces. And while Ronnie Wood is not a great singer by any stretch, watching him sing “Honky Tonk Women” and mimicking the snorting of cocaine with his big nose while croaking out “She blew my nose and then she blew my mind” is a rock and roll image that is forever burned into my memory.

The Faces medley was also quite an experience for me. The first concert I ever attended was Rod Stewart and the Faces, way back when (unfortunately, I do not have that stub). So seeing Ron jam on these tunes connected me with my concert christening.

Finally, the gunslingers closed the show with a smokin’ version of “Hey! Bo Diddley.” I could not think of a better song to wrap up two nights of rock, rhythm and blues.

Here is the full setlist.


Setlist:

  • Crackin’ Up
  • I’m a Man
  • Money to Ronnie
  • Around the Plynth > Prodigal Son > Gasoline Alley > Little Red Rooster
  • Honky Tonk Women
  • Black Limousine
  • Bo Diddley’s A Gunslinger
  • You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover
  • It’s All Over Now
  • Hey! Bo Diddley