My girlfriend at the time really wanted to go to the show, and I was totally down for it, especially for $10. I thought “Pyromania” was a great album, even though I could tell the band was going down the commercial pathway. And I was right, and to date, this would be my last time seeing them live.
I had no recollection of the opening act, but according to what I found online, Ratt was the opener. Hah! I went most of my life thinking I had avoided seeing Ratt in concert. I suppose it’s another band I can now check off the list.
Def Leppard definitely rocked. This show was a long time ago, so many of the details are gone, but I remember parts of it vividly, including the kick-ass version of Creedence’s “Travelin’ Band.” Glad I got to see them at their peak. Rock on!!
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)
I’ll Find My Way
Sahib Teri Bandi >
I Wish I Knew (with Susan Tedeschi)
Going Down Slow
Feel So Bad
My Favorite Things
Blues Traveler Setlist:
Back in the Day (with Count M’Butu)
Hook (with Count M’Butu)
No Woman, No Cry (with Count M’Butu and Derek Trucks)
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.
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.
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!
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:
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!
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
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.
This is one of those concerts that is a little foggy. I remember pieces of this show, and I distinctly remember really liking it, but the details are lost. I tried to find the setlist online, figuring that would spark some more memories, but alas, could not find one. What I do recall from this show is “American Girl” and “Even the Losers,” two of my favorite Petty tunes. Also, during “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” I recall that they had a cool liquid light show, which was appropriate.
I wish I had more to share about this one. I know it was great. But alas, that’s all I have. Rock on!