Robert Plant: 7/1/1985

So if you are paying attention, you will notice that the date on the stub and the date of this show do not match up. That’s because, even though this was an indoor concert, it was postponed due to rain. If you grew up in South Florida in the 70s and 80s, you would remember the barn of a venue that was the infamous Hollywood Sportatorium, which was such a shithole that when it rained, water threatened to pour down on the stage.

The Sportatorium roof was infamous for occasionally leaking over the stage (and performers) or the audience during heavy rainfalls. Robert Plant postponed a 1985 concert for one day due to leaks in the roof, and remarked to the crowd the following night, “This is the first gig I’ve ever done that was rained out inside the building.”

(Source: Wikipedia)

We had driven out to Pembroke Pines on the Sunday, since we hadn’t heard the news about the postponement, and we were turned away along with a bunch of other concertgoers (read Sun Sentinel article about cancellation). Thankfully, there were no conflicts preventing us from returning the following night. Since this was my first time seeing Robert Plant, I would have been devastated if I had to return my ticket.

Anyway, the next day, we made the trek (again) out to the Sport-hole, and this time we were treated to an awesome performance by Plant. He was touring in support of the Shaken and Stirred album, but he also included a short Honeydrippers set, which was very cool. I was slightly disappointed that he didn’t play any Zeppelin tunes on this tour, but I guess he was trying to establish himself apart from his past. I can respect that, but it would have been cool to toss in one or two songs. But the quality of what he did play certainly made up for it, and I would see Plant perform Zep stuff at future shows, particularly when he performed with Jimmy Page.

Here’s the setlist—there was good rockin’ at midnight!

Setlist

Robert Plant

  • In the Mood
  • Pledge Pin
  • Pink and Black
  • Little by Little
  • Burning Down One Side
  • Too Loud
  • Thru’ With the Two Step
  • Other Arms
  • Messin’ With the Mekon
  • Slow Dancer

Honeydrippers

  • Rockin’ at Midnight
  • Young Boy Blues
  • Sea of Love
  • (Every Time I Hear) That Mellow Saxophone

Robert Plant

  • Like I’ve Never Been Gone
  • Easily Lead

Encore:

  • Big Log
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Warren Haynes Christmas Jam – Night Two: 12/13/2008

This was the second night of the 20th Anniversary Christmas Jam. While the first night was long and epic, the second night proved to be even longer and more jam packed.

I basically went solo this night. My wife could only handle one night of jams, but I had friends who were there so I was able to hang out with them for most of the night (although they did leave early, and I stayed to the very end, which was around 4:30 am). The headliners for this night were Steve Earle, Johnny Winter, Coheed and Cambria, Michael Franti, Ben Harper and the Relentless 7, John Paul Jones, and Gov’t Mule. In addition, there was a plethora of guest musicians forming impromptu groups and sitting in with the other bands.

When Warren opened the show, playing an acoustic number with Ruthie Foster, he informed the crowd that there would be something special at the end of the night, and to make sure to stay. I did not need much convincing.

After that, the “Xmas Jam Band” played for a while, playing some great songs and bring up lots of special guests.

Steve Earle played next. He was really good and I gained a whole new level of appreciation for his music.

Not long after Earle, Johnny Winter took the stage. I had seen him once years ago, and it was not his best night, but it felt kind of special to see him this time. He was pretty sickly, and was literally assisted out on the stage and placed in a chair. Then his classic Gibson Firebird was brought out and placed in his hands, and he proceeded to wail. This would be my last time seeing the legendary bluesman, may he rest in peace.

Next up was Coheed & Cambria. I was kind of looking forward to seeing these guys because I’d heard great things about them, but I have to say, I was disappointed. Maybe they were having an off night, but they just didn’t do it for me.

Michael Franti followed, and he got the place on their feet and dancing. John Paul Jones (the great Led Zeppelin bassist), played with him for almost the entire set. While the friends I was did not care for his set, I personally really enjoyed it. Hey, to each their own.

Ben Harper performed next, and he was great. This was my first time seeing him, and he totally lived up to my expectations. The fact that I was still rockin’ in the early morning hours is a testament to his set.

Finally, the closing event of the night: Gov’t Mule’s set. They played a few cover tunes with some guest musicians, and then brought out John Paul Jones to do a mini Zeppelin set to close the night. Totally rocked the house!

It took me a couple days to recover from all that music, but it was well worth the lack of sleep. Here is the full setlist from the night’s multiple performances.

WARREN HAYNES & RUTHIE FOSTER:

  • Grinnin’ In Your Face

XMAS JAM BAND (Audley Freed, Jen Gunderman, Buddy Cage, Kevn Kinney, Fiddle Dave, Robert Kearns, Edwin McCain, Mickey Raphael):

  • Blues on Top of Blues
  • Straight To Hell
  • Free Fallin (w/ Patterson Hood)
  • Dreams To Remember (w/ Joan Osborne & Horns*)
  • TCB (w/ Robben Ford, Joan Osborne, Eric Krasno & Horns*)
  • Chain of Fools (w/ Ruthie Foster, Robben Ford, Joan Osborne, Karl Denson, Ron Holloway, Eric Krasno)
  • When Something Is Wrong With My Baby (w/ Joan Osborne, Warren Haynes & Horns*)
  • Tumblin’ Dice (w/ Ruthie Foster)

* Karl Denson, Ron Holloway, Derrick Johnson, Craig Sorrells

STEVE EARLE:

  • Copperhead Road
  • Christmas In Washington
  • My Old Friend The Blues
  • Guitar Town (w/ Warren Haynes)
  • Gotta Serve Somebody (w/ Warren Haynes, Steve Earle, Joan Osborne, Travis Tritt & Ruthie Foster)
  • Brand New Companion (w/ Mickey Raphael & Warren Haynes)

GROUP SONG:

  • Serve Somebody

JOHNNY WINTER:

  • Paul Nelson Jam (Intro)
  • Hideaway
  • Blackjack
  • I Used To Love Her But It’s All Over Now (w/ Warren Haynes)
  • Mojo Boogie

COHEED AND CAMBIRA:

  • No World For Tomorrow
  • Gravemakers & Gunslingers
  • Mother Superior
  • Favor House Atlantic (acoustic)
  • I Shall Be Released (w/ Warren Haynes)
  • Welcome Home (w/ Warren Haynes)

MICHAEL FRANTI & JAY BOWMAN (FRED ELTRINGHAM ON DRUMS):

  • Love Don’t Wait (w/ John Paul Jones, Robben Ford & Mickey Raphael)
  • Sweet Little Lies (w/ John Paul Jones, Robben Ford & Mickey Raphael)
  • All I Want Is You (w/ John Paul Jones, Robben Ford, Mickey Raphael & Eric Krasno)
  • Hey World (w/ John Paul Jones, Robben Ford, Mickey Raphael & Eric Krasno)
  • I Got Love For You (w/ John Paul Jones, Robben Ford, Mickey Raphael & Ron Holloway)
  • Say Hey

BEN HARPER & RELENTLESS 7:

  • Number No Name
  • Shimmer
  • Lay There
  • Better Way
  • Fly 1 Time
  • Keep It Together
  • Dressed In Black
  • Boots
  • Up To You Now
  • Good Times, Bad Times (w/ John Paul Jones)

GOV’T MULE:

  • Southern Man (w/ Patterson Hood)
  • Lively Up Yourself (w/ Karl Denson & Robben Ford)
  • Simple Man (w/ Travis Tritt)
  • Livin’ Lovin’ Maid (w/ John Paul Jones)
  • Since I’ve Been Loving You (w/ John Paul Jones)
  • No Quarter (w/ John Paul Jones on keys & Audley Freed)
  • The Ocean (w/ John Paul Jones on bass, Ben Harper & Mike Barnes)
  • When The Levee Breaks (w/ Ben Harper & John Paul Jones on bass)

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

The Firm: 3/15/1986

Those of you who missed the 80’s (or just have a cloudy memory) may need a little info on The Firm. They were a supergroup comprised of some very notable musicians:

  • Paul Rodgers on lead vocals (from Free and Bad Company)
  • Jimmy Page on guitar (from The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin)
  • Chris Slade on drums (from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Uriah Heep, and AC/DC)
  • Tony Franklin on bass (from Roy Harper, John Sykes’ Blue Murder, David Gilmour, Kate Bush, and Whitesnake)

I went to this show with my friend Mike. Since we were both young guitarists, we were pretty psyched to see the legendary Jimmy Page.

What I remember about the performance was that they were awesome. I personally would have liked to have seen them do a Led Zeppelin tune, but alas. Page did do a really cool guitar solo, though, using the violin bow, with a pyramid of lasers encasing him, reminiscent of the solo featured in “The Song Remains the Same” movie. That was the high point for me.

After the show, we were making the long drive back from the Sportatorium along the two-lane road that took you out of the boonies and back to civilization. We saw two young women hitchhiking, so we picked them up. Mike immediately began chatting them up, clearly hoping to get lucky. When he asked them what they were into, one of them replied, “We’re into each other,” and began making out in the back seat. We could respect that. We drove them as far as we could and dropped them off, then headed home to recover from the killer night of rock and roll.

Here is the setlist, courtesy of the internet.

Setlist

  • Fortune Hunter
  • Closer
  • Someone to Love
  • Make or Break
  • Prelude (Chopin)
  • Money Can’t Buy
  • Satisfaction Guaranteed
  • Radioactive
  • Live in Peace
  • All the King’s Horses
  • The Chase
  • Cadillac
  • Midnight Moonlight
  • You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

Robert Plant & the Band of Joy: 1/18/2011

Robert Plant is one of those musicians that I just have to see any time I have the opportunity, so when he announced a show at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium—a small, intimate venue—I made sure I got tickets right away.

The Band of Joy included some amazing musicians backing Plant:

  • Marco Giovino – drums, percussion, vocals
  • Patty Griffin – vocals, guitar
  • Byron House – bass
  • Buddy Miller – guitar, vocals
  • Darrell Scott – vocals, mandolin, guitar, accordion, pedals, lap steel guitar, banjo

Anyway, I went with my wife to this show, and we had pretty good seats: orchestra center. The North Mississippi Allstars opened the show, and they were good. These days, it’s always a bonus when you have a solid opening act.

Finally, Plant came out, and not surprising, he sounded great. He just has a presence about him (pun intended). He played a great mix of Zep tunes, solo stuff, and some covers. The band was tight and it was just an all-around great show.

There was a strange incident, though. As the band was finishing up, and they were all standing together in a row on stage, ready to take the collective bow, some jackass jumped up on stage to get his picture taken with Plant and the band. Plant gracefully played it down and asked if they got the picture, but I  thought it was kind of uncool. I will say that since then (now seven years), Plant has not come back to Asheville. I can only hope that it is coincidence and that he is not pissed at the city. I do hope he comes back. I would definitely go see him again.

Here is the full setlist from the show.

Setlist

  • Down to the Sea
  • House of Cards
  • Angel Dance
  • Please Read the Letter
  • Monkey
  • Twelve Gates to the City / Wade in the Water / In My Time of Dying
  • Tangerine
  • Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go
  • A Satisfied Mind
  • Move Up
  • Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down
  • Central Two-O-Nine
  • Houses of the Holy
  • Tall Cool One
  • You Can’t Buy My Love
  • Ramble On
  • Gallows Pole

Encore:

  • Harm’s Swift Way
  • Rock and Roll
  • And We Bid You Goodnight

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)

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!”