The Moody Blues: 9/28/1986

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this show. It was part of the “Other Side of Life” tour. I’ve seen the Moodys numerous times, and it is hard to differentiate most of the shows. I suspect I may have gone with my former room mate Mike, since he was also into the Moody Blues, but I can’t confirm that.

Anyway, I did find the setlist online, and I’m sure it was a great show. Wish I had more to share. Rock on!

Setlist:

  • Gemini Dream
  • The Voice
  • Rock ‘N’ Roll Over You
  • Tuesday Afternoon
  • Your Wildest Dreams
  • Isn’t Life Strange
  • The Story in Your Eyes
  • Painted Smile
  • Reflective Smile
  • Veteran Cosmic Rocker
  • The Other Side of Life
  • I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)
  • Nights in White Satin
  • Legend of a Mind
  • Question
  • Ride My See-Saw
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John Fogerty: 10/22/1986

This was one of those embarrassing memories. I was pretty psyched to see John Fogerty, but unfortunately, none of my friends shared my enthusiasm, so I ended up going by myself. Since I was alone and bored before the show, I spent a little more money at the beverage booth than I probably should have. The first act came on, and I became very aware of that certain unease in my stomach, so I made a rapid dash to the bathroom and actually made it into a stall (which thankfully was clean). After getting quite sick, I made it back to my seat and sat there alone, not feeling all that well.

Fogerty came out, and he sounded good. I remember hearing about five songs, and then the next thing I knew, I was being awoken by a man with a broom, the harsh lights jarring my brain: “Time to go home. Concert’s over.” I looked around and I was the last person there, except for the staff cleaning up. I dragged myself out of the venue and went to the bus stop. I tried to console myself with the fact that I did get to see a few songs, but honestly, I was feeling pretty depressed about the whole affair.

Oh well, these things happened at concerts back in the day.

Don Henley with Katrina and the Waves: 8/2/1985

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In the 1980’s, before “Hell froze over” and the Eagles reunited, Don Henley had a pretty successful solo career. Despite his popularity, I wasn’t a huge fan of his music. It was OK, but a little on the pop-side for me. I probably would have passed on this show, but my girlfriend wanted to see him and I liked Katrina and the Waves (the opening act), so I figured why not.

Katrina was so fun. I really enjoyed her set. She was cute, cheerful, and energetic, just like in the “Walking on Sunshine” video which was playing on MTV about every hour. Her set alone was worth the price of admission.

Don Henley’s set was good. It was about what I expected. He played mostly his solo stuff with a few Eagles’ tunes tossed in (Witchy Woman, Desperado, Hotel California). It wasn’t great, but it didn’t suck either. It was OK. Basically, a fun date-night with the girlfriend.

When The Eagles reunited and I was the outrageous amount of money they were charging, I was disgusted and refused to go out of principle. At the time, concerts were still pretty cheap (hey, $15.75 for this show), so the idea that a band would charge over $100 for a ticket was insane for me. Unfortunately, once the bar was raised, it became the norm. Personally, I still can’t bring myself to pay that much money for a single band—a festival, ok—but not a single act.

Anyway, rant over. Have a rockin’ day and enjoy some music.

Emerson, Lake & Powell: 10/5/1986

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Keith Emerson was my favorite keyboardist of all time, and sadly, he died yesterday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. So, I figured it was appropriate to write about one of the times I saw him perform.

I was never fortunate enough to see Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but this show was pretty close. For the tour, Cozy Powell replaced Carl Palmer on drums. Powell is no slouch on the drum kit, and he was probably the best person to fill in.

The concert was nothing short of spectacular. The set included a nice mix of pieces spanning ELP’s career. Some of the high points were “Pirates,” “Pictures at an Exhibition,” and “Fanfare for the Common Man.” But the pinnacle of the show for me was the encore, which included “Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression Part 2.”

“Karn Evil 9” is from the Brain Salad Surgery album, which is one of my all-time favorite album. Throughout the years, I’ve owned multiple vinyl copies, CD, cassette, and have even owned it on 8-track. It is just a phenomenal album. So how can I convey what it was like to see Keith Emerson perform this?

The band rocked through “Karn Evil 9,” and then Emerson went into a wild solo on the keyboards. He was like a madman! He was soloing, and then turned around and continued playing backwards, not missing a beat. He then extracted a pair of daggers from his belt and stabbed them into the keys, holding and sustaining notes while playing over the sustained notes. Then he hoisted the keyboard onto his back and began running around the stage playing the keys backwards and over his shoulder. I was floored! I had never seen anything like it, and I have never seen anything like it since. It was almost beyond belief.

Keith Emerson will be sorely missed. He was a virtuoso musician who pushed the boundaries of rock music. Here is a video of him performing. Be inspired!

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: 10/29/1986

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I had gone to see Neil and Crazy Horse the night before (click here for my memories of that night). I don’t recall as much about this night as the first night, but there are a few things that stand out.

I had second row center for this show, so I was very close to the stage, and the Knight Center was a small venue anyway. Neil and the band played two sets, just like the first night, and mixed up the songs a bit, which was nice. But this evening, there was a special guest.

To appreciate this guest, I need to talk a little more about the stage show. The stage was set up as a garage, which is fitting since Crazy Horse is a garage band par excellence. On the first night, while the band was playing, there were mock phone calls between songs from an irate neighbor insisting that they turn down the music. This was the same during this show, but the voice was different, and familiar, but I could not place it. Even the words sounded familiar: “AHHHH!! OH! OH! Turn that shit down! I’ll come over there and kick your ass, you fucker! AHHHHHHHH!”

When the “irate neighbor” stormed into the “garage,” I immediately made the connection. It was the great comic Sam Kinison, aka the screamer. He got in Neil’s face and screamed obscenities at him while Neil responded by turning his guitar up louder. It was hysterical, and very rebelliously rock and roll.

I had brought a camera in with me (yes, this was before the days of cell phones with built-in cameras). Here is the picture I snapped of the late, great Sam Kinison getting all up in Neil’s grill.

Rock on!

NeilAndSam

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: 10/28/1986

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I love Neil Young, and while this was not the first time I saw him in concert, it was the first time that I saw him with Crazy Horse. They were scheduled to play two nights at Miami’s James L. Knight Center, so I planned on going both nights. My friend Chris decided to go with me to the first night, so we camped out in front of Record Land and got great seats. Although the ticket says Row B, it was actually front row center! I also got myself a ticket for the second night, but that’s another story.

Chris and I went to the show, along with his then wife, Helene. We took our seats front and center and were very psyched, Neil came onstage with the band and thundered into their first set. They were loud, heavy, everything I expected from Crazy Horse. I looked at Chris, who appeared to be as psyched as I was, and then I noticed his wife, slumped in the seat, asleep. And I was not the only one who noticed this. Neil Young walked up to the front of the stage, looked at her, cranked his guitar a little louder, played a bit, came back, looked at her still asnooze, shook his head, and went back to playing. It was… strange.

They took a break, at which point we tried to wake Helene, but she was out like a light. When the second set started, Neil checked on her again, shook his head, and continued to jam. I wondered how it must have felt, to be playing with all your might, rocking your heart out, and seeing someone in the first row snoring away. It did not seem to faze Neil too much though. The second set was even better than the first. He rocked right up until the final note of the encore.

When the concert was over, Chris and I had to carry his wife out. He lifted her from under the arms and I got her legs. But she decided this was the right time to wake up and started kicking at me. So I dropped her. She got to her feet and had some very unpleasant things to say. I have to say that Chris was very supportive, offing to assist his wife, but she was being pretty nasty. I guess we all have our bad days.

In spite of everything, I had a great time at this concert, and a great story to tell afterwards. But I had a ticket to see them again, the next night! Check back soon for my thoughts on the second night.

“Hey Hey, My My. Rock and roll will never die.”

Jimmy Page: 9/8/1988

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Let me start by saying, as a guitarist, I have been inspired and awed by the great Jimmy Page. He has the mystique, the skill, and the style that earns him a spot as a guitar god. So, when I saw that he was performing at the James L. Knight Center in Miami (a small venue), there wasn’t even a question as to whether or not I was going. I was there!

I went with my good friend Craig. We got to the show early since it was general admission and we had decided to get as close as possible to the stage. And close we got. But alas, there was a problem. As Page and his band came on stage, it began to get crushing up front. After being up front for a nice part of the show (which included an awesome version of “Over the Hills and Far Away”), Craig and I decided we should move back so we could enjoy the rest of the show without being squashed.

Craig looked at the mass of people and yelled into my ear: “How the fuck are we going to get through that?”

I looked at the impenetrable sea of rockers and thought for a minute. Then I had an idea. “Follow me!” I yelled back at him.

I then put my hand over my mouth and pretended to wretch, acting like I was struggling to hold back projectile vomit. The sea of people parted before me like I was Moses at the Red Sea. It was beautiful! Never underestimate how quickly people will move out of your way when they think you are going to throw up on them. We cleared the crush and laughed heartily as we found a nice relaxing spot to sit and enjoy the rest of the concert.

A couple highlights about this show that are worth mentioning. Page played an amazing version of “In My Time of Dying” which featured some really eerie slide guitar playing. Then, for the encore, Page brought out the classic double-neck guitar and played an instrumental version of “Stairway to Heaven” to which everyone in the theater sang along. It was the perfect way to close a fantastic night of rock and roll.

This was not the first time I saw Page in concert, nor would it be the last, but it was a really cool show and one that stands out in my memory of concerts.