Taylor Hicks: 3/4/2007

For those of you who don’t know, Taylor Hicks won the American Idol competition in 2006. My kids watched the show, so I would watch it too. It was a good family thing. Anyway, I actually thought Hicks was talented, so I was glad that he won.

The following year, Taylor Hicks booked a performance at the Orange Peel in Asheville. It was an all-ages show and my older daughter was dying to go, so my wife and I got tickets for the three of us to attend.

The club was jam packed, and it was standing room only. Unfortunately, my daughter was shorter than most of the people there, so all she was seeing was the backs of those in front of her. But then one of the coolest things happened: the crew invited the younger fans up on the side of the stage where the mixing board was, and let them sit there and watch the show. My daughter was so excited to be up there, watching without obstruction. My wife and I smiled, happy that we lived in such a cool place.

We ended up leaving a little early. It was late and my daughter was getting tired. I was OK with that. I had gone there mainly for her. I feel like I have done my parental duty, exposing my kids to live music.

Rock on!

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: 12/29/1983

This performance by Joan Jett was quite different from when I saw her open for The Who a year earlier. The Button South was a rock and roll nightclub, so it was much more intimate seeing her here as opposed to in a large stadium.

Don’t have a whole lot else to share about this show. I’ve seen Joan many times over the years, and this one kind of blends in with the remnants of memories from other performances. But I can say with certainty that she kicked ass, because she kicked ass every time I have seen her.

I love rock and roll…

Dokken: 7/27/1986

My friend Jim asked me if I wanted to go to this show. “Hey man! Let’s go rockin’ with Dokken!” I have to say that this band was not even on my radar, but I figured, what the hell. Button South was usually a fun place to hang out, and I’ll go see just about any band once.

I did not know a single song that they played. My thoughts were – meh, they were an OK metal band. Not really my thing, but not the worst band I had seen. I know there are people out there that really like this band, and I have seen lots of praise on the various guitar email newsletters to which I subscribe, but personally, I just never saw the attraction. To me, they were just mediocre. Still, saw them and another band to check off the list.

Rock on!

Chris Robinson Brotherhood: 8/10/2017

I had seen The Black Crowes several times and enjoyed them, so every time that I saw Chris Robinson performing with a solo project, I was tempted to go, but ended up missing them for one reason or another. This time, I got tickets for my wife and I, and I’m glad I did.

As much as I like The Black Crowes, I have to say that I thought the Brotherhood was better live, even though I was unfamiliar with their music. They had a definite energy that was lacking the times I saw the Crowes, and it also seemed that Chris had matured musically. I found the songs more complex and interesting. Not that I have a problem with straight 3-chord rock and roll, but it was refreshing to see an artist exploring new musical realms, and not just rehashing the same crap with some different musicians.

The Orange Peel, for those of you have never been there, is standing room only. Both my wife and I had been working a lot leading up to this show, and we were getting ready to take a vacation to Spain in two days. So we were both tired. We rallied and rocked out for the first set, but then the band took a really long break, and I felt my energy level dropping. About halfway through the second set, my wife suggested we cut out. I was totally OK with that. I felt like I had gotten a good sense of what Chris’ band was like, and I really wanted to get some rest before the long trip.

I did find the full set list online, so here it is. Rock on!

Set 1:

  • Forever as the Moon
  • High Is Not the Top
  • Hark, The Herald Hermit Speaks
  • Wheel Don’t Roll
  • Blue Star Woman
  • Boppin’ the Blues
  • Blonde Light of Morning
  • Clear Blue Sky & The Good Doctor
  • Sunday Sound

Set 2:

  • Good to Know
  • Little Lizzie Mae
  • Can You Hear Me
  • If You Had a Heart to Break
  • Try It Baby
  • Vibration & Light Suite
  • Ride
  • Star or Stone
  • Behold the Seer


  • There Won’t Be Anymore

Psychedelic Furs with The Lemonheads: 10/24/2012

This was pretty much a fun nostalgia show for me. The Psychedelic Furs were definitely a big part of the 1980’s pop culture. Songs like “Pretty in Pink” and “Love My Way” instantly transport me back to those carefree days. Thankfully, the band was not just a bunch of lame dudes milking their prior success. They really sounded good, projected a vibrant energy, and had the audience dancing. It was just a really fun time and no disappointments at all.

The Lemonheads were a solid opening act. They were high energy and got the crowd riled. Personally, my favorite song of theirs is their cover version of “Mrs. Robinson,” which they didn’t play. But that’s OK. I was really there to see the Furs; the Lemonheads were just a bonus.

I could not find the setlist from the Orange Peel show, but this one was from St. Petersburg, FL a couple days afterwards. I think the shows were pretty similar, if not the same.

  • Only You and I
  • Love My Way
  • Mr. Jones
  • Heartbreak Beat
  • The Ghost in You
  • No Easy Street
  • She Is Mine
  • Little Miss World
  • All of This and Nothing
  • Believe
  • Danger
  • Pretty in Pink
  • Highwire Days
  • Heaven


  • President Gas
  • India

Camera Obscura: 6/3/2010


Camera Obscura is an indie band from Scotland. I had some friends who listened to them and the stuff I heard I liked, so when they booked a show in Asheville, I convinced my friend Joe to go along with me.

The bad sounded good, but they seemed a little tired on stage. It’s possible that travelling had taken its toll, or maybe they had overindulged. Whatever the case, they were not that energetic. But musically, they were tight and the songs sounded solid. It could also have been that they were a low-energy band on stage. Some bands are like that—great on recordings and less so live. Anyway, I enjoyed the show overall and bought a vinyl copy of “My Maudlin Career” from the concession stand, which was their most-recent album at the time. It’s a good album and I still listen to it occasionally.

Not much else to say about this show. If you’re into the indie stuff, like Belle and Sebastian, then you should check this band out too.


Aimee Mann: 2/4/2003


I went to this show with my wife, who is a big Aimee Mann fan. I had seen Aimee years back with Til Tuesday and I also really liked her music, so I was pretty psyched to go too. In fact, around this time, the soundtrack to “Magnolia,” which is comprised of mostly Aimee Mann tunes, was getting a lot of play on the CD player in the car.

We went to the Orange Peel and ran into people we knew there. It’s always cool to see friends at a concert. It just makes it more fun.

Aimee is the epitome of cool on stage. In fact, she seemed way cooler than I remember her back with Til Tuesday. She just had the total hip vibe, and she sounded amazing. The high points for me were definitely “Driving Sideways” and “Save Me.”

One big surprise was when they performed a cover version of Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” with the guitarist handling the lead vocals. Having spent many years in South Florida, my tolerance for Lynyrd Skynyrd is pretty low, but I have to confess, they did a rousing version and it was fun singing along with everyone in the crowd. Definitely one of the rare instances when I actually enjoyed a Skynyrd cover tune.

Anyway, that’s about all I have to share. If you get a chance to see Aimee in concert, I recommend doing so. She’s very, very good live.

Rock on!

Lindsay Buckingham: 3/19/2007


When I heard that Lindsay Buckingham was coming to The Orange Peel, a small venue that holds about 1000 people, I thought it would be cool to go, but I did not bother getting a ticket. I liked Fleetwood Mac, and appreciated Lindsay’s guitar playing and vocals, but didn’t want to spend the money.

Anyway, the day of the concert, my next door neighbor texted me that he was sick as a dog and could not go, and asked if I wanted his ticket for free. I graciously accepted, walked over and got the ticket, and told him I hoped he felt better soon.

I went by myself to the show, but that was fine. The crowd was really into the music and Lindsay sounded amazing. He played a solid mix of solo material and Fleetwood Mac tunes. I danced and had a great time. I felt sorry that my friend had to miss the show, but I was glad the ticket came my way instead of going to waste.


  • Not Too Late
  • Trouble
  • Never Going Back Again
  • Second Hand News
  • Cast Away Dreams
  • Red Rover
  • It Was You
  • Big Love
  • Go Insane
  • Under the Skin
  • World Turning
  • I’m So Afraid
  • I Know I’m Not Wrong
  • Tusk
  • Go Your Own Way


  • Holiday Road
  • Turn It On
  • Show You How
  • Shut Us Down

Smashing Pumpkins: 7/3/2007


This was one of the hardest tickets I ever managed to get. The Smashing Pumpkins decided to do a residency at the Orange Peel, a small venue here in Asheville that holds about 1000 people. They scheduled nine nights at the Orange Peel, which they followed with an eight-show residency at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Minutes before tickets went on sale, I began clicking Refresh on my computer. I got right in, scored tickets for my wife and I, and all shows sold out within about two minutes. I know more than a couple of my friends were very disappointed that they did not get in.

Night of the show, we got in the long line and made it in. It was about as packed as I have ever seen the Peel. They were selling earplugs, which we wisely purchased, because they ended up being blisteringly loud.

I had seen the Pumpkins before, but it was at a huge stadium show where they opened for the Rolling Stones (another story). Seeing them in an intimate setting was amazing. To this day I think of how fortunate I was to get to see this. They played a really long time and the show included a combination of new material and classic tunes. There was a technical mishap where one of the amps died, so they had to take an unscheduled break and acquire another amp, which they did, and then they continued.

If you are interested in listening to songs from this concert, they are all available at Archive.org.

Here is the setlist, and yes, the encore was a 33 minute song!

First Set
01 – I Don’t Mind (Billy solo acoustic) [04:09]
02 – Rotten Apples (Billy acoustic, Lisa on keys) [04:34]
03 – Mama (acoustic) [04:19]
04 – Question Mark (acoustic) [05:52]
05 – Drown (acoustic) [04:52]
06 – Starla [07:39]
07 – Tonight, Tonight [04:38]
08 – Starz [04:02]
09 – Zero [02:15]
10 – United States (abandoned) [04:40]

Second Set
11 – Intro Music [02:19]
12 – United States [13:18]
13 – Lucky 13 (abandoned) [04:57]
14 – Lucky 13 [04:01]
15 – Hummer [06:34]
16 – The Aeroplane Flies High (Turns Left, Looks Right) [07:26]
17 – Thirty-Three (Billy solo acoustic) [04:03]
18 – Winterlong (Billy solo acoustic) [05:42]
19 – With Every Light (acoustic) [06:30]
20 – Today [03:34]
21 > Bullet With Butterfly Wings [04:27]
22 – Tarantula [05:03]
23 – Neverlost [04:32]
24 – That’s The Way (My Love Is) [03:59]
25 > Heavy Metal Machine [08:46]

26 – Gossamer [33:57]

The Ramones: 10/30/1984


So as you can see, not only do I have a ticket stub from the Ramones, but I have a guitar pick too! It’s kind of a crazy story, so here goes.

I kind of liked the Ramones, but my friend Jim was definitely into them and invited me to go. I figured I might as well check them out.

The Button South was one of the main South Florida rock clubs at the time, and the place was jam packed with rock and roll crazies. We made our way up to the front and waited for the show to start.

The Ramones exploded on the stage. They were high energy right from the first note, and Jim and I were almost directly in front of Johnny Ramone. They all looked strung out, especially Joey who was skinny with long hair, growling into the microphone. It was pure rock and roll! I also marveled at their equipment, which looked like crap. The cords were patched together with old electrical tape and the amps looked battered. I was surprised that they still produced sound.

Anyway, on to the story of “the pick.” There was a girl who was next to me who had her hands cupped, begging Johnny Ramone for a pick. He kept coming up to her, holding a pick just above her outstretched hands, and then tossing it out to another part of the crowd. This went on the entire show. This girl didn’t dance, didn’t move, just stood there, begging.  Finally, after the last song of the encore, Johnny drops a pick into her hands… and it bounced out and landed right in front of me. So, I picked it up and looked at it. Now, I was a dumb teenager, and all this girl had to do was flash me a sad look and the pick would have been in her hand. But no. She got in my face and started screaming at me, saying that the pick was meant for her. I looked her in the eye and said, “Well, you should have held onto it then,” and tucked the pick into my pocket.

Later on, I felt somewhat sorry. Regardless of the fact that she was nasty to me, I probably should have given her the pick. But I was young and stupid. And “hey ho,” I still have a Ramones guitar pick.