Warren Haynes’ 29th Christmas Jam: 12/9/2017

The Warren Haynes Christmas Jam has become a holiday tradition for me. I have gone every year since 2002, so this makes 16 years in a row that I have attended.

This year’s lineup was solid right from the initial announcement. That coupled with the fact that the Jam has gained national publicity over the years made getting tickets this year a bit of a challenge. Additionally, almost all of the seats were reserved this year, meaning that general admission was standing room on the floor, or obstructed view behind the stage. Since I am too old now to stand up for an 8-hour concert, I decided to get in line early and purchase reserved seats.

I got to the box office about 9:00 am on the day the tickets were going on sale (on-sale time was noon). I was the first in line, which pretty much ensured I would get seats. The next person in line, who showed up not long afterwards, would not stop talking to me. Now I’m a bit of an introvert, so after 15 minutes of listening to this guy blabber I was starting to feel uncomfortable. After 30 minutes, I was ready to lose it. Thankfully, my friend Robert showed up and took a shift in line, allowing me time to go home, do a little work, and then return as it was closer to on-sale time.

The box office started selling tickets about 15 minutes prior to when they went on sale to people via the internet, which was great. Even so, there was a lot of tension in the line and tempers flared because the line was not moving fast enough. Robert and I were glad to get our tickets quickly, and then we walked to a nearby vegetarian restaurant for some lunch.

The concert sold out that day, and the reserved seats were gone within minutes. What really sucked was that reserved seats immediately became available through “third-party vendors” for over $300 per ticket, four times the cost of the $75 seat. I really despise scalpers!

On the day of the show, I went with my wife and daughter, and it was quite nice to not have to stand in line for hours to get a seat, which I had to do in the past when it was all general admission. We showed up 30 minutes before showtime, walked right in, got our seats, and started enjoying the music.

As I expected, there was a lot of Allman Brothers music performed. Warren was a long-time member of the Allman Brothers Band, and I knew that Gregg’s passing would inspire a tribute. All the music was excellent, although I thought Margo Price was a little weak. Her vocals were powerful, but her songs were just not that interesting. The high points for me were Jake Shimabukuro on ukulele (mindblowing!); Les Bros performing an Allman Brothers tribute; and Ann Wilson from Heart singing with Gov’t Mule (heavy on the Led Zeppelin). Trey Anastasio and The Avett Brothers were also outstanding, so all in all, a great night of music.

My wife and daughter got tired around midnight, so they left at that point. I stayed until 3:00 am, to the very end. After my family left, I went and sat with my friend Robert, who was kind enough to give me a ride home after the show. I could have walked, but it was bitter cold and I was very grateful not to be dealing with icy winds in the early morning hours.

Anyway, here is the full setlist from the evening’s marathon musical event. Rock on, and have a rockin’ New Year!

Setlist

Holly Bowling (pre-show)

  • St. Stephen >
  • Free
  • Proxima B
  • Cassidy
  • Little Martha

Warren Haynes & Jake Shimabukuro

  • Melissa
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Jake solo)
  • Dragon (Jake solo)

Margo Price

  • Nowhere Fast
  • Tennessee Song
  • Wild Women
  • Hurtin’ (On the Bottle)
  • Learning to Lose
  • All American Made
  • Paper Cowboy

Holly Bowling & Jake Shimabukuro

  • Bird Song >
  • 6/8
  • Hallelujah

Blackberry Smoke

  • Fire in the Hole
  • Let It Burn
  • Waiting for the Thunder
  • Free on the Wing (w/Benji Shanks, guitar)
  • Ain’t Got the Blues (w/Benji Shanks, guitar)
  • Will the Circle Be Unbroken Intro >
  • Ain’t Much Left of Me

The Avett Brothers

  • Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
  • Cigarettes
  • Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women
  • Country Blues
  • Laundry Room
  • Paranoia in B Flat
  • No Hard Feelings

Warren Haynes

  • If We Make It Through December (w/The Avett Brothers)
  • You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (w/The Avett Brothers)
  • Southern Accents (w/Ann Wilson)
  • I Am the Highway (w/Ann Wilson and Jake Shimabukuro)

 

Trey Anastasio

  • Gotta Jibboo
  • Burn That Bridge
  • Everything’s Right
  • Aqui Como Alla
  • Sand
  • Dark and Down
  • Set Your Soul Free
  • First Tube

Warren Haynes

  • Miss You (w/Trey Anastasio)
  • Midnight Rider (w/Trey Anastasio)
  • Morning Dew (w/Holly Bowling)

Les Bros (Marc Quinones, Warren Haynes, Paul Riddle, Lamar Williams Jr., Bruce Katz, Jorgen Carlsson)

  • Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More
  • In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (w/Mike Barnes, guitar)
  • Southbound (w/Mike Barnes, guitar; Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, guitar; and Craig Sorrels, trumpet)
  • Blue Sky (w/Charlie Starr, guitar)
  • Dreams (w/Marcus King, guitar)
  • Whipping Post (w/Marcus King, guitar)

Marcus King

  • Remember
  • Jealous Man (w/ Stephen Campbell)
  • Where I’m Headed (w/Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, guitar and Stephen Campbell)
  • Rita Is Gone (w/ Stephen Campbell, Dean Mitchell, Kyle Snuffer & Craig Sorrels)
  • Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out (w/Craig Sorrels, trumpet, Stephen Campbell, Dean Mitchell, Kyle Snuffer, Charlie Starr)

Gov’t Mule

  • Traveling Tune
  • Thorns of Life
  • No Quarter (w/Ann Wilson, vocals)
  • Black Dog (w/Ann Wilson, vocals)
  • Cry Baby (w/Ann Wilson, vocals)
  • Mother Earth (w/Ann Wilson, vocals) >
  • You Shook Me (w/Ann Wilson, vocals
  • Immigrant Song (w/Ann Wilson, vocals)
  • Magic Man (w/Ann Wilson, vocals)
  • Mule (w/Craig Sorrels, trumpet)
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The Decemberists: 9/25/2009

People often tell me that bands today are just not as good as the bands of yore, but The Decemberists demonstrate that this is just not the case. They are ever innovative, unique, and inspiring.

This concert was a true family outing. My wife and I brought both our daughters, which was so much fun. The girls were very excited, and the feeling was infectious. I had that sense of rock and roll energy that I felt when I was younger. I guess it’s true that live music keeps you feeling young.

The band was excellent.  For the first set, they performed The Hazards of Love in its entirety. Then they took a break, came back, and played a really solid second set, which included a super-energetic cover version of Heart’s “Crazy on You.” I left the show with an even greater appreciation for the band. They demonstrated that they are not only superb studio musicians, but they are also outstanding live performers.

Here is the set list…

Set 1 (The Hazards of Love)

  • Prelude
  • The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone)
  • A Bower Scene
  • Won’t Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)
  • The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All)
  • The Queen’s Approach
  • Isn’t It a Lovely Night?
  • The Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid
  • An Interlude
  • The Rake’s Song
  • The Abduction of Margaret
  • The Queen’s Rebuke / The Crossing
  • Annan Water
  • Margaret in Captivity
  • The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!)
  • The Wanting Comes in Waves (Reprise)
  • The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)

Set 2

  • Angel, Won’t You Call Me?
  • Leslie Anne Levine
  • The Crane Wife 3
  • Down by the Water
  • Shankill Butchers
  • The Chimbley Sweep
  • Dracula’s Daughter
  • Valencia!
  • Crazy on You

Encore:

  • Raincoat Song
  • Sons & Daughters

Heart, Joan Jett, and Cheap Trick: 9/16/2016

heart_jj_ct_9-16-16

This show was booked as the “Rock Hall Three-for-All,” three bands from the same time period who are inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I had seen all three bands before, Joan Jett and Cheap Trick multiple times, but it was still fun. My wife had never seen any of them, so she was really excited, and my brother and his wife met us at the show, so it was great hanging together.

The bands were all good, although Cheap Trick was a little too loud, which distorted their sound, and Joan Jett seemed a little tired. Heart, in my humble opinion, was the best and deserved the headliner slot, but some people I know who also attended the show did not share my opinion. That’s the thing with music—it’s very subjective.

The high point of the night for me was the Led Zeppelin encore that Heart played. They performed “Immigrant Song” and “Stairway to Heaven.” Not many bands can pull off Zeppelin, but Heart is one that can.

The downer about this show was the crowd. It seemed like every trailer park within a hundred miles was emptied out and the residents hoarded in. Also, I was not crazy about the venue. The big amphitheater just doesn’t do it for me. I don’t see myself going to many more shows there. It’s just not worth it to me.

Well, that’s all I have to share about this concert. “I love rock and roll, so put another dime in the jukebox baby!”

Heart and Blue Oyster Cult: 4/19/1981

HeartBOC_4-19-81

While the stub only lists Heart and Blue Oyster Cult, there were several other bands at this all-day rock fest:

  • Firefall (don’t ask me how they managed to get on the bill)
  • Motorhead (they were cool)
  • Freewheel (a most forgettable act)

So a little bit about the Miami Baseball Stadium. Back then, Miami had no professional baseball team. The stadium was a dump that was used by northern teams for spring training. And occasionally, they would book a large show there. Since I was a huge BOC fan and I also really liked Heart a lot, going to this concert was a no-brainer.

As I mentioned, Freewheel was completely forgettable, and if it wasn’t for the wonders of the internet, I would never have even been able to tell you who was the first band that played. But Motorhead was very good. They rocked and got the crowd riled up. Unfortunately, Firefall sucked all the energy out of the crowd. It was kind of like being on a musical rollercoaster.

Finally, BOC came out. This was right before they released Fire of Unknown Origin, so they were still a powerful force in rock music. I had seen the Cult before, so I knew what to expect, and they delivered, tearing through a set of hits like “Cities on Flame,” “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” and “Godzilla.” During “Godzilla,” a huge Godzilla monster emerged from behind the stage, shooting menacing red lights from its eyes and breathing clouds of smoke. It was impressive.

Heart took the stage and proved that they deserved the headliner slot. They totally rocked! I was in the stands at that point, having spent most of the day on the open field and desperately needing a break. I remember feeling the stands trembling under the concerted stomping of feet as Ann and Nancy Wilson kept the crowd rockin’ after a long day of music.

It’s kind of weird to think back on this show, which was almost 35 years ago. Makes me feel old. But, one good thing about being old is that I was able to go to see great shows like this for less than what TicketMaster now charges as a “convenience fee.”

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to go out and see some live music!