Warren Haynes’ 22nd Christmas Jam: 12/11/2010

First off, I’d like to apologize for the long hiatus. With COVID putting concerts on hold, I just could not bring myself around to posting about past shows. It felt like rubbing salt in a wound. But as vaccines are rolling out and concerts are getting booked again, I feel OK starting to share stories once more.

For this one, we go back to 2010 for the annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam. For those who need a refresher, the Christmas Jam is a benefit concert in Asheville, NC where all the proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity. This show had a great lineup, with the following headliners:

  • Steve Miller Band
  • The Warren Haynes Band
  • Gregg Allman
  • John Bell (from Widespread Panic)
  • Umphrey’s McGee
  • Dirty Dozen Brass Band
  • Missing Cats

In addition to the headliners, there was also a slew of special guests, including: Mike Barnes, Cody Dickinson, Fred Eltringham, Sherman Ewing, Ruthie Foster, Audley Freed, John “JoJo” Hermann, Terence Higgins, Ron Holloway, Ron Johnson, Robert Kearns, Kevn Kinney, Ivan Neville, and Artimus Pyle.

Because this was a general admission show, my friend Terry and her date got there early and secured seats for us. We were straight back, which was OK, but I would have preferred being closer and on the side. Still, the sound was good, and at least I didn’t have to stand outside in the cold for hours, which was a plus.

Not surprising, the high points for me were Steve Miller and Gregg Allman (who even jammed together, which was way cool). Warren’s band was great, as were Umphrey’ McGee and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Not a big John Bell fan, but he did perform “Walk on Guilded Splinters” with Gregg Allman, and that was excellent. The only disappointment was that Steve Miller did not play “The Joker,” but everything else made up for that one minor disappointment.

As is always the case with a Christmas Jam, the music went on until the wee hours of the morning. But it was a great time, and thinking about it now, I can say I am itching to see some live music again.

Here are the setlists.

Missing Cats:

  • Smiling Assassin
  • The Slaughter
  • Step On Over Me
  • Highwire
  • Over Lubbuck

Umphrey’s McGee:

  • Conduit
  • 1348
  • Ain’t No Sunshine w/ John Bell
  • Miss Tinkles Overture
  • All In Time

The Warren Haynes Band (featuring Warren Haynes, Ivan Neville, Ron Johnson, Terrance Higgins, Ron Holloway, and Ruthie Foster):

  • Man In Motion (w/ Andy Farag and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band)
  • Rivers Gonna Rise (w/ Andy Farag and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band)
  • Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday
  • I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (w/ The Dirty Dozen Brass Band)
  • Sick Of My Shadow (w/ Andy Farag and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band)

Steve Miller Band:

  • Jet Airliner
  • Take the Money and Run
  • Mercury Blues
  • Further On Up The Road (w/ Warren Haynes)
  • Just Got Back From Texas
  • Ooo Poo Pah Do (w/ Carlos Reyes)
  • Shubada (w/ Carlos Reyes)
  • Nature Boy (w/ Carlos Reyes)
  • Wild Mountain Honey (w/ Carlos Reyes)
  • Dance Dance Dance (w/ Carlos Reyes)
  • The Stake
  • Abracadabra
  • Livin’ In The USA
  • Fly Like An Eagle (w/ Warren Haynes and Carlos Reyes)

John Bell:

  • Dobro Christmas Medley
  • Papa’s Home
  • May Your Glass Be Filled

Gregg Allman:

  • Midnight Rider
  • Just Another Rider (w/ Dirty Dozen Band and Ron Holloway)
  • Dreams (w/ Ron Holloway)
  • Just Like A Woman (w/ John Bell)
  • Walk on Guilded Splinters (w/ Dirty Dozen Band and John Bell)
  • Melissa (w/ Warren Haynes)
  • Lost Highway (w/ Steve Miller)

Dirty Dozen Brass Band:

  • Ain’t Nothing By A Part
  • Papa Was A Rolling Stone (w/ Warren Haynes)
  • Thats What Love Will Make You Do (w/ Ron Johnson and Warren Haynes)
  • Spanish Moon (w/ Warren Haynes, Ron Johnson, Ivan Neville, and Artimus Pyle)
  • Superstitious (w/ John Bell and Ron Holloway)
  • Use Me (w/ Warren Haynes, John Bell, and Ron Holloway)

Neil Young and the International Harvesters: 9/15/1985

I remember this performance clearly; the only thing I don’t remember about this concert was who I went with. Obviously, I was focused on Neil.

The International Harvesters were a country band backing up Neil on this tour, which was cool because they played a lot of acoustic tunes that went over really well, such as “Heart of Gold,” “Old Man” and “Helpless.” And even the more intense Crazy Horse tunes, like “Down by the River” and “Powderfinger” actually sounded really good with the country flavor.

I am a huge Neil Young fan and would see him multiple times after this with Crazy Horse, but I have to confess that it was very cool seeing him with this configuration. There is something about Neil’s country-style music that just soothes my soul.

Here is the setlist. Long may Mr. Young keep playing music for us.

Setlist:

  • Country Home
  • Comes a Time
  • Lookin’ for a Love
  • Heart of Gold
  • This Old House
  • Southern Pacific
  • Interstate
  • Sugar Mountain
  • Helpless
  • California Sunset
  • Nothing Is Perfect
  • Field of Opportunity
  • Down by the River
  • Old Man
  • Powderfinger

Encore:

  • Get Back to the Country
  • Grey Riders

Alice Cooper and Vinnie Vincent Invasion: 12/31/1986

I had basically seen this exact same show three days earlier at the West Palm Beach Auditorium, but I could not pass up a chance to see the Coop again, especially on New Year’s Eve.

I went with a woman I was dating at the time, Christine, and I painted my face up as Alice. Figured I would get my full fan-boy on. I knew a lot of people who were going this night, including my brother and our friend Jon.

Vinnie Vincent was kind of a joke the second time around. I literally burst out laughing at one point when he did his best Karate Kid kick and knocked over the same dummy amp from the other night. Oh well, at least he tried.

During intermission, Christine and I went and met up with my brother and Jon in the lobby area. Now there was this one section in the lobby where some stairs were above, and the headroom as not that high. A basketball player would have to duck, for sure. Well, we were hanging out there, and Jon decided to have a little fun with some inebriated headbangers. “Hey,” Jon said, “I bet you can’t jump high enough to touch the ceiling there with your head.” They would not walk away from a dare, and proceeded to jump up and down, clonking their heads on the cement above them. It was humorous, and I suspect they woke with a splitting headache the following morning.

After a long intermission, Alice took the stage. The show was exactly the same as the WPB show, which, if I am being honest, I had hoped he would have at least thrown one or two treats in there for NYE, but still, it was a great show, even if it was the same.

Here is the setlist, in case you missed it from my last post. Rock on!

Setlist:

  • Welcome to My Nightmare
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Be My Lover
  • I’m Eighteen
  • The World Needs Guts
  • Give It Up
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Go to Hell
  • Ballad of Dwight Fry
  • Teenage Frankenstein
  • Sick Things
  • I Love the Dead
  • School’s Out

Encore:

  • Elected
  • Under My Wheels

Alice Cooper and Vinnie Vincent Invasion: 12/28/1986

This stub is from Alice’s “The Nightmare Returns” tour. My memory of this show is a little spotty, mainly because I would see the same show again a few days afterwards on New Year’s Eve (that stub and memory to come soon). I can’t remember with whom I went to this show, but I have some recollections about the performances.

The Vinnie Vincent Invasion opened the show. Vincent was the guitarist for KISS prior to striking out on this solo venture. They were very much an embodiment of 80’s glam metal, and mildly entertaining. But I had to chuckle to myself, because at the end of the set, Vincent kicked over one of his amplifiers, but since I was close to the stage I noticed there were no cords or wires connected to it, and it did not seem to have speakers inside the cabinet, so I deduced it was a dummy amp (my assumption was confirmed on NYE when he kicked over the same “amp”). Anyway, not the best opening act I had seen, but not the worst either.

After a break, the Coop took the stage, opening with “Welcome to My Nightmare,” a great opener and right up there with “Hello Hurray,” which in my humble opinion is the best opening song ever.

Anyway, the rest of the show was all killer and no filler, as is evident from the setlist below. Rock on, and be sure to check back soon for my memories of the New Year’s show.

Setlist:

  • Welcome to My Nightmare
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Be My Lover
  • I’m Eighteen
  • The World Needs Guts
  • Give It Up
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Go to Hell
  • Ballad of Dwight Fry
  • Teenage Frankenstein
  • Sick Things
  • I Love the Dead
  • School’s Out

Encore:

  • Elected
  • Under My Wheels

Cheap Trick: 10/28/1984

It’s been a long time since I posted. Life has gotten in the way. It happens. But here we go.

I think this was the first time that I saw Cheap Trick in concert. I know the first time I saw them was at the Sunrise Musical Theatre, and I am pretty sure I only saw them there once, but memories get foggier the father back you go.

Anyway, if this is indeed the concert I was thinking about, I went with my friend Jim who was a big Cheap Trick fan. He was telling me about the plethora of guitar picks that Rick Nielsen would toss into the crowd, and some of the other rock and roll antics. And they did not disappoint in this area. I was amazed at how far Nielsen could flick a pick. And yes, when they played “Surrender” as an encore, they sailed a KISS record out into the crowd too!

I looked online and the following is an average setlist from 1984. It seems to be about right from what I remember. Rock on!

  • Hello There
  • California Man
  • Reach Out
  • I Want You to Want Me
  • I Want Be Man
  • The Ballad of T.V. Violence (I’m Not the Only Boy)
  • If You Want My Love
  • Baby Loves to Rock
  • Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
  • I Can’t Take It
  • Up the Creek
  • Dream Police
  • She’s Tight
  • Stop This Game
  • Surrender

Jethro Tull: 11/17/1993

So I have to confess that this concert was a little disappointing. I am a big Jethro Tull fan, and the first time I saw them they were AWESOME. For this reason, I had very high expectations, especially seeing them in a smaller venue like the Sunrise Musical Theatre, as opposed to an arena like when I first saw Tull.

My wife and I went to this show with my friend Stewart and his girlfriend. We had fairly good seats, although there were no bad seats in the Sunrise.

I was pumped when Tull took the stage, but my excitement waned, and then I found myself thinking that I should be enjoying the show much more than I was, and finally realizing that they were just dragging through the performance. The contrast to seeing Jethro Tull in the 70’s was stark. As I watched them plod through their songs, I was forced to remember a scathing review I had read about the band in a rock magazine, where the writer referred to them as “Jethro Dull.” Sadly, that about summed up this concert for me.

Stewart seemed to have enjoyed the show, so I played along and said I thought it was good. I didn’t want to spoil someone else’s musical experience. And honestly, there were a couple songs that got me pumped, particularly “Living in the Past” and “The Whistler.” But mostly, it was weak. Even “Locomotive Breath” lacked steam.

Anyway, that’s the thing with a live performance—sometimes it’s great, and sometimes not so much. Here’s the setlist…

Setlist:

  • My Sunday Feeling
  • For a Thousand Mothers
  • Living in the Past
  • Bourrée in E minor
  • So Much Trouble
  • With You There to Help Me
  • The Whistler
  • Farm on the Freeway
  • Thick as a Brick
  • Sossity; You’re a Woman / Reasons for Waiting
  • Songs From the Wood / Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll, Too Young to Die / Heavy Horses / Songs From the Wood
  • Later, That Same Evening
  • Budapest
  • Andy Gidding’s Parrot
  • Passion Jig / Seal Driver
  • A New Day Yesterday
  • Aqualung
  • Locomotive Breath

Encore:

  • Cross-Eyed Mary
  • Dharma for One

Warren Haynes 18th Christmas Jam: 12/16/2006

This Christmas Jam was a strange one, with some highs and some lows. Also, things on a personal level were very unsettled at the time, so that affected the overall experience.

The lineup was pretty solid:

  • Dave Matthews
  • Gov’t Mule
  • The John Popper Project Featuring DJ Logic
  • Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives
  • New Orleans Social Club (featuring Henry Butler, Leo Nocentelli, Ivan Neville, George Porter & Raymond Weber)
  • Taj Mahal Trio
  • Special Guests: Mike Barnes, Brendan Bayliss, Randall Bramblett, Audley Freed, Col. Bruce Hampton, Taylor Hicks, Kevn Kinney, Branford Marsalis, Mickey Raphael, Dave Schools

I was really psyched to see Branford Marsalis. He is a virtuoso on the saxophone, and I had really high expectations of him jamming with various groups.

I guess I should address the low points first. John Popper’s group was pretty boring. He is a great harmonica player, but something about him as a frontman just doesn’t spark excitement for me. The other weakness in this show was Dave Matthews. Although I like Matthews, he was totally sick at this show, obviously fighting the flu. He was struggling to sing, and actually had to stop midsong once to get a drink and catch his breath. I give him a lot of credit for getting up there in such condition, but it did not make for a great performance.

As far as the high points, Branford and Taylor Hicks jamming with New Orleans Social Club was mind-blowing. Hicks, the American Idol winner, played harmonica alongside Marsalis, and the look of admiration and awe on Taylor’s face of getting to jam with Branford was priceless. Branford also performed a killer sax solo on “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.”

The last thing I want to say is that Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives were awesome. I had seen Marty solo at the Christmas Jam, just sitting in on mandolin, but to see him with his full band was really great. They were really top notch musicians and their entire set was flawless.

I was only able to locate the setlists for Dave Matthews and Gov’t Mule, so here they are. If anyone has any other setlists from this show, feel free to post them in the comments section.

Dave Matthews:

  • Bartender
  • Grace Is Gone
  • #40
  • Save Me
  • So Damn Lucky
  • Smooth Rider (aborted)
  • Gravedigger
  • Crush
  • Long Black Veil

 

Gov’t Mule:

Set I

  • Cortez the Killer (w Dave Matthews)
  • All Along the Watchtower (w Dave Matthews)
  • Reggae Soulshine
  • Brand New Angel
  • Unring the Bell
  • Leaving Trunk

Set II

  • Sco-Mule
  • Mule
  • Sugaree
  • I Shall Be Released
  • Time to Confess
  • 3 String George
  • Child of the Earth
  • Devil Likes It Slow
  • The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
  • I Shall Be Released

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

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