AC/DC: 11/25/1983

Pretty sure I went to this show with my then girlfriend Enid, but I am not sure. This was the “Flick of the Switch” tour, and Fastway was the opening act (a most forgettable band; only when I saw the name online when looking up the setlist did I have a glimmer of recollection).

Anyway, not much I need to say about this show. It was AC/DC in the early 80’s. They were loud, high-energy, and totally kicked ass. I’ll let the setlist speak for itself.

Setlist:

  • Guns for Hire
  • Shoot to Thrill
  • Sin City
  • This House Is on Fire
  • Back in Black
  • Bad Boy Boogie
  • Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution
  • Flick of the Switch
  • Hells Bells
  • The Jack
  • Highway to Hell
  • Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
  • Whole Lotta Rosie
  • Let There Be Rock

Encore:

  • T.N.T.
  • For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant: 3/6/1995

Seeing Plant and Page performing together is about as close as you can get to seeing Led Zeppelin without actually seeing Zep. This tour was booked after the rock gods appeared on MTV Unplugged. When they booked a show at the Miami Arena, I immediately got tickets for my wife and I to go. And not surprising, a good number of my friends also got tickets.

The Miami Arena was fairly small as far as arenas go, so getting to see Plant and Page here was great. We had seats straight back in the lower section, but could still see really well, and the sound was good.

Rusted Root was the opening act for this show. At the time, I had not heard of them, but I was immediately impressed by their music and stage presence. They totally had the place rockin’ and did not draw any wrath from the usually intolerant South Florida music crazies.

After a break, Plant and Page took the stage. It was awesome! They totally kicked ass from the first crushing notes to the very end. They had a solid band backing them up, which included Porl Thompson from The Cure.

  • Porl Thompson — guitar, banjo
  • Nigel Eaton — hurdy-gurdy
  • Charlie Jones — bass, percussion
  • Michael Lee — drums, percussion
  • Ed Shearmur — orchestral arrangements, organ
  • Jim Sutherland — mandolin, bodhran

What can I say about seeing Plant and Page together on stage? The image was so iconic, like they stepped right out of a poster from my teenage wall and exploded into reality. The energy was tangible, and I think half the crowd was hoarse by the end of the night. They played a great mix of hard-rockin’ Zep tunes, some acoustic stuff, and even a couple covers. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to choose songs from such an amazing catalog of music. If you think about it, there is no such thing as a bad Zeppelin song. Everything that they wrote was amazing.

It’s impossible for me to pick out high points from this show. It was all one big high point. That said, “Song Remains the Same” with Page on the double-neck guitar was amazing, and “Kashmir” to end the night was perfect. Here’s the full setlist, forged from the Hammer of the Gods.

Setlist

  • Tales of Bron
  • The Wanton Song
  • Bring It On Home
  • Celebration Day
  • Thank You
  • Dancing Days
  • Shake My Tree
  • Lullaby (The Cure cover)
  • No Quarter
  • Wonderful One
  • Hey Hey What Can I Do
  • Gallows Pole
  • Hurdy-Gurdy Solo
  • Nobody’s Fault but Mine
  • The Song Remains the Same
  • Since I’ve Been Loving You
  • Friends
  • Calling to You (w Dazed And Confused / The Hunter excerpts)
  • Four Sticks
  • In the Evening
  • Black Dog
  • Kashmir

AC/DC: 3/18/2001

After I heard that the great Malcolm Young passed away at the age of 64, I figured I needed to shuffle through the pile of stubs and locate an AC/DC stub (I’ve seen them several times). As fate would have it, I came upon the stub from the last time I saw the band, which was in 2001 on the Stiff Upper Lip tour.

I went to this show with my friend Jim, who was a die-hard AC/DC fan. We went to the National Car Rental Center which was in the Fort Lauderdale area. It was your typical arena.

Honestly, I was expecting a mediocre show, some old dudes wheezing through a set, trying to recapture their earlier energy—but I was pleasantly surprised. The band exploded on stage and ripped right into “You Shook Me” and just kept tearing it up for the entire show. I kept worrying that Angus was going to hurt himself as he flung himself around the stage, but he was like the rock and roll Energizer Bunny… he just kept going and going and going…

The band played all the standard hits, and broke out some unusual tunes which I really got into, particularly “Shot Down in Flames” and “Get it Hot.” Even my die-hard buddy was impressed when they played those.

I can still picture Malcolm at this show, hair hanging over his face, steadfast and pounding out the relentless rhythm amid the rock and roll chaos. Rock on, Malcolm, and thanks for all the kick-ass music.

Here is the setlist from the show.

  • You Shook Me All Night Long
  • Stiff Upper Lip
  • Shot Down in Flames
  • Thunderstruck
  • Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be
  • Hard as a Rock
  • Shoot to Thrill
  • Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution
  • Sin City
  • Bad Boy Boogie
  • Hells Bells
  • Get It Hot
  • The Jack
  • Back in Black
  • Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
  • Highway to Hell
  • Whole Lotta Rosie
  • Let There Be Rock
  • T.N.T.
  • For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

Roger Waters: 11/18/2010

RogerWaters_11-18-10

My older daughter is a huge Pink Floyd fan, so when I saw that Roger Waters was going on tour and performing The Wall in its entirety, I knew I had to make the effort to take her to see it. The closest performance was in Atlanta, about a three-and-a-half hour drive, so I ordered tickets for her and my brother (also a huge Floyd fan) and we made plans to go.

My brother picked us up and we started the trek down to Atlanta. We were very excited, listening to music, and talking. Then my brother got a call which changed the mood. His wife had gotten some test results back from the doctor and they were not good (thankfully, she is OK now!!). Anyway, I was ready to accept that we would miss the concert. I asked my brother if he wanted to turn around and go home. Ever the pragmatist, he said there is nothing he can do tonight, that we should just go to the concert, and he would drive home through the evening and be home by the morning.

We got to Atlanta and the area around the Philips Arena was swarming with music fans. We went to the Hard Rock Café for dinner, which seemed appropriate. I know the Hard Rock is dubbed TGI Fridays with guitars on the walls, but still, I like it. There’s something cool about being surrounded by rock memorabilia.

We went into the arena, purchased some shirts, and found our seats. Looking down at the floor, there was what looked like a homeless person pushing a shopping cart around and getting hugs and high-fives from people up front. We discovered that he had been a plant outside the venue, begging for money, and that concert goers who were generous with him got upgraded to the front. Nice! Never underestimate the power of being charitable to strangers in need.

The concert started and it was visually stunning. The band sounded fantastic, high-definition images were projected onto the huge wall constructed on the stage, huge inflatable characters came to life, it was everything I expected. Even though I was concerned about my sister-in-law, I managed to enjoy the show. My only criticism is that I wish they would have done an encore, something not on The Wall (Brain Damage/Eclipse would have been perfect). But no, the wall collapsed, debris over the stage, and the show was over.

The drive home was long, especially that late at night, but my brother fueled himself with Red Bull, got me and my daughter home safely, then continued on back to his house.

The other day, I found my shirt from this concert buried in the bottom of my tee shirt drawer. I shook out the wrinkles and wore it. I remembered the concert and how much it meant to me to be sharing the experience of taking my daughter to see one of her favorite musicians. I hope she treasures the memory as much as I do.

Deep Purple: 3/16/1985

DeepPurple_3-16-85

Growing up, Deep Purple was one of my favorite bands. They were the epitome of hard rock and I had heard stories of how they were in the Guinness Book of World Records for the loudest concert, something I found most impressive. When I saw Deep Purple, it was a big reunion thing featuring the classic lineup: Ian Gillan (vocals), Jon Lord (organ), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Paice (drums), and Ritchie Blackmore (guitar). The band had been split up for years and Ritchie Blackmore had his solo band, Rainbow. But then the band got back together and released the album “Perfect Strangers,” which did quite well. So when they booked a show at the infamous Hollywood Sportatorium, I grabbed some tickets.

I went to this concert with my brother Mike. On the drive out to Pembroke Pines, we discussed what song they might open with (a typical discussion of ours before a show). Mike felt certain they would open with “Highway Star,” a pick that I discounted saying it was too popular and would be closer to the end. Well, my brother was right… “Highway Star” was the opening song!

The concert was impressive and everything I expected from Deep Purple. It was loud, energetic, and visually thrilling. The band had a great laser show that totally added to the overall experience. Some of the high points of the concert for me were “Lazy,” “Child in Time,” “Strange Kind of Woman,” and “Speed King.” And of course, the last song of the encore to close the show: “Smoke on the Water.”

Since then, there have been other incarnations of Deep Purple, but none with the classic lineup of members, so I could never bring myself to see them again. This show was perfect and I could not imagine a reconfigured version being anywhere close. So I will maintain the integrity of this concert memory.

Rock and Roll!!