King Crimson: 2/28/2003

For me, King Crimson sort of holds a mythical place in the world of rock music. They were definitely at the forefront of the prog movement, so when I saw they were coming to town, and playing a very small venue, I didn’t hesitate to grab tickets. My brother also wanted to go, so I grabbed a ticket for him and made plans for him to come to town for the concert.

This show was part of the Power To Believe tour. The album and tour featured some incredible musicians:

  • Robert Fripp – guitar, mastering, production
  • Adrian Belew – guitar, vocals, lyrics
  • Pat Mastelotto – electronic drumming, hybrid acoustic
  • Trey Gunn – Warr guitar

I had seen Adrian Belew perform with David Bowie, and he was amazing, so I was looking forward to seeing him again. And as a guitarist, I was really psyched to see the legendary Robert Fripp.

The concert was somewhat short, but the quality of the music made up for that. Technically, they were as impressive as I expected them to be. Fripp was a little strange, and occasionally would walk off stage for reasons unknown, but he always returned and stoically ripped through his scales.

The only thing that was a little disappointing for me was that the song choice was limited to three albums:   The Power to Believe, The ConstruKction of Light, and THRAK. I really thought they would do at least one song from Discipline, and I would have loved to see them play “21st Century Schizoid Man,” but alas—Fripp plays what Fripp wants to play. Anyway, it was still a killer show. Here’s the setlist.

Setlist:

  • The ConstruKction of Light
  • ProzaKc Blues
  • The Power to Believe I: A Cappella
  • Level Five
  • Eyes Wide Open
  • EleKtriK
  • Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With
  • The Power to Believe II: Power Circle
  • Facts of Life
  • The World’s My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum
  • Dangerous Curves
  • Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (Part IV)

Encore:

  • The Power to Believe III: Deception of the Thrush
  • VROOOM
  • Dinosaur

Leftover Salmon and Snake Oil Medicine Show: 4/20/2004

I have only a vague recollection of this show. At the time, I had my own business, which required me to work an average of 60 to 70 hours per week, and I was in a constant state of exhaustion. But someone gave me a free ticket, and far be it from me to pass on free music, no matter how tired I am. So I went by myself to the show.

I had seen Leftover Salmon before at one of the H.O.R.D.E. Festivals, and I remember thinking it was better seeing them in a small venue. I had not seen Snake Oil Medicine Show, and what I remember about them, they were cool. But I was really beat. I ended up leaving early, not because of the music, but because I could barely stand on my feet.

It was not long afterwards that I closed my business.

Goblin: 10/3/2013

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the band Goblin (which I will assume most people are), I will provide a little background info. Goblin is an Italian prog rock band that has been around since the early 1970s. They are best known for their film soundtrack work, particularly Dario Argento’s horror films (including  “Suspiria,” “Tenebre,” and “Profondo Rosso”). They also composed and performed the soundtrack music for George Romero’s classic “Dawn of the Dead.” So as a horror film buff, I was familiar with the band, even though they remained under the US music radar. Additionally, they had never performed in the United States. So when I saw they were coming to my little city in the mountains, there was no question about going. I immediately got a ticket and convinced my friend Greg (a big prog rock fan) that he should do the same.

The show at the Orange Peel was the second stop on the tour, which opened in Atlanta. Greg and I got there early and were interested in seeing the opening act: Secret Chiefs 3. Greg had heard good things about this band from another musician friend of ours, so we felt compelled to check them out. Really glad we did. They sounded great and were the perfect opening act, wearing ritualistic hooded cloaks while performing intricate and darkly mystical music.

Afterwards, Goblin took the stage and launched into an intense performance of some of the most spine-tingling progressive music you can imagine. And if that was not enough, they had a big screen behind the band where they were showing very graphic scenes from the various horror films that featured their music in the soundtracks. And while the band performed “Zombi” as scenes from “Dawn of the Dead” were splattered across the screen, it reminded me of just how much the music added to the overall experience of watching that film for the first time.

After the concert, I went to the merchandise table and bought a blood-red vinyl record, which included some of their more well-known pieces and was only being sold on the tour. I figured it would be a great keepsake.

I’m not sure if the band will tour the States again. I did see on their website that they are playing the Psycho Festival in Las Vegas on August 18, 2018, but that is their only date worldwide. They did do a full tour in 2017, so it is possible they will tour again. If you are into prog rock and/or horror films, I highly recommend going to see them if you have a chance.

I could not find the Asheville setlist, but here is one from the same tour, so I assume it is the same.

Setlist:

  • Magic Thriller
  • Mad Puppet
  • Dr. Frankenstein
  • Roller
  • E Suono Rock
  • Aquaman
  • Non Ho Sonno
  • Death Farm
  • Goblin
  • L’Alba Dei Morti Viventi
  • Zombi
  • Tenebre
  • Suspiria
  • School at Night
  • Profundo Rosso
  • Zaratozom

They Might Be Giants: 9/28/2011

They Might Be Giants is the ultimate nerd band. I first heard them on a college radio station and initially did not know what to make of their music. But I soon became a fan, and their album “Flood” dominated my CD player for a long time in the 90’s. So when my daughter expressed a desire to go see them, I went out and got us tickets, figuring it would be a fun father/daughter night out.

We got to the Orange Peel and found a spot amid the other music geeks. The band opened with “Asheville,” a song they wrote about the city we were in, which was very cool. They continued playing a great show full of quirky songs that made my geek-heart flutter. “Particle Man” and “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” were particularly fun for me. The crowd was psyched, jumping up and down in rhythm to the music. It was just a fun, fun night.

I can’t express just how much time like this mean to me. Live music is such a bonding experience, and sharing this night with my daughter is a memory that I will treasure. If you haven’t listened to this band, I suggest checking them out. They are unique and not like any “popular” music you will have heard before. Here is the setlist from the show.

Setlist:

  • Asheville
  • Can’t Keep Johnny Down
  • We Live in a Dump
  • Canajoharie
  • Judy Is Your Viet Nam
  • Particle Man
  • Meet James Ensor
  • Los Angeles
  • Turn Around
  • Celebration
  • Birdhouse in Your Soul
  • Clap Your Hands
  • Withered Hope
  • Battle for the Planet of the Apes
  • Cloisonné
  • Spoiler Alert
  • lder
  • Don’t Let’s Start
  • Your Racist Friend
  • Alphabet of Nations
  • Old Pine Box
  • Ana Ng
  • When Will You Die
  • The Mesopotamians

Encore:

  • Careful What You Pack
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Encore 2:

  • Lie Still, Little Bottle
  • Nothing’s Gonna Change My Clothes

Donavon Frankenreiter: 11/23/2010

So I knew absolutely nothing about this dude when I bought tickets for this show. In fact, the only reason I bought tickets was our friend Erin was visiting from Miami and my wife and I wanted to take her to a show at the Orange Peel (Asheville’s coolest music venue). This was the only show happening while she was visiting, so we went by default. We were pleasantly surprised.

First off, the artist was giving away free copies of his latest CD to all attendees, which I thought was very cool. Additionally, attendees were given fake moustaches to wear, since Donavon I guess is known for his stache. We all donned our upper-lip wigs and found a spot.

While I did not know any of the songs he played, he sounded good and he was a lot of fun on stage. We all enjoyed ourselves, which is a testament to his performance. We all left the show in a great mood, and I was really happy that our friend got to experience the Asheville music scene.

Not much else to share about this one. Keep on enjoying live music!

Taylor Hicks: 3/4/2007

For those of you who don’t know, Taylor Hicks won the American Idol competition in 2006. My kids watched the show, so I would watch it too. It was a good family thing. Anyway, I actually thought Hicks was talented, so I was glad that he won.

The following year, Taylor Hicks booked a performance at the Orange Peel in Asheville. It was an all-ages show and my older daughter was dying to go, so my wife and I got tickets for the three of us to attend.

The club was jam packed, and it was standing room only. Unfortunately, my daughter was shorter than most of the people there, so all she was seeing was the backs of those in front of her. But then one of the coolest things happened: the crew invited the younger fans up on the side of the stage where the mixing board was, and let them sit there and watch the show. My daughter was so excited to be up there, watching without obstruction. My wife and I smiled, happy that we lived in such a cool place.

We ended up leaving a little early. It was late and my daughter was getting tired. I was OK with that. I had gone there mainly for her. I feel like I have done my parental duty, exposing my kids to live music.

Rock on!

Chris Robinson Brotherhood: 8/10/2017

I had seen The Black Crowes several times and enjoyed them, so every time that I saw Chris Robinson performing with a solo project, I was tempted to go, but ended up missing them for one reason or another. This time, I got tickets for my wife and I, and I’m glad I did.

As much as I like The Black Crowes, I have to say that I thought the Brotherhood was better live, even though I was unfamiliar with their music. They had a definite energy that was lacking the times I saw the Crowes, and it also seemed that Chris had matured musically. I found the songs more complex and interesting. Not that I have a problem with straight 3-chord rock and roll, but it was refreshing to see an artist exploring new musical realms, and not just rehashing the same crap with some different musicians.

The Orange Peel, for those of you have never been there, is standing room only. Both my wife and I had been working a lot leading up to this show, and we were getting ready to take a vacation to Spain in two days. So we were both tired. We rallied and rocked out for the first set, but then the band took a really long break, and I felt my energy level dropping. About halfway through the second set, my wife suggested we cut out. I was totally OK with that. I felt like I had gotten a good sense of what Chris’ band was like, and I really wanted to get some rest before the long trip.

I did find the full set list online, so here it is. Rock on!

Set 1:

  • Forever as the Moon
  • High Is Not the Top
  • Hark, The Herald Hermit Speaks
  • Wheel Don’t Roll
  • Blue Star Woman
  • Boppin’ the Blues
  • Blonde Light of Morning
  • Clear Blue Sky & The Good Doctor
  • Sunday Sound

Set 2:

  • Good to Know
  • Little Lizzie Mae
  • Can You Hear Me
  • If You Had a Heart to Break
  • Try It Baby
  • Vibration & Light Suite
  • Ride
  • Star or Stone
  • Behold the Seer

Encore:

  • There Won’t Be Anymore

Psychedelic Furs with The Lemonheads: 10/24/2012

This was pretty much a fun nostalgia show for me. The Psychedelic Furs were definitely a big part of the 1980’s pop culture. Songs like “Pretty in Pink” and “Love My Way” instantly transport me back to those carefree days. Thankfully, the band was not just a bunch of lame dudes milking their prior success. They really sounded good, projected a vibrant energy, and had the audience dancing. It was just a really fun time and no disappointments at all.

The Lemonheads were a solid opening act. They were high energy and got the crowd riled. Personally, my favorite song of theirs is their cover version of “Mrs. Robinson,” which they didn’t play. But that’s OK. I was really there to see the Furs; the Lemonheads were just a bonus.

I could not find the setlist from the Orange Peel show, but this one was from St. Petersburg, FL a couple days afterwards. I think the shows were pretty similar, if not the same.

  • Only You and I
  • Love My Way
  • Mr. Jones
  • Heartbreak Beat
  • The Ghost in You
  • No Easy Street
  • She Is Mine
  • Little Miss World
  • All of This and Nothing
  • Believe
  • Danger
  • Pretty in Pink
  • Highwire Days
  • Heaven

Encore:

  • President Gas
  • India

Camera Obscura: 6/3/2010

cameraobscura_6-3-10

Camera Obscura is an indie band from Scotland. I had some friends who listened to them and the stuff I heard I liked, so when they booked a show in Asheville, I convinced my friend Joe to go along with me.

The bad sounded good, but they seemed a little tired on stage. It’s possible that travelling had taken its toll, or maybe they had overindulged. Whatever the case, they were not that energetic. But musically, they were tight and the songs sounded solid. It could also have been that they were a low-energy band on stage. Some bands are like that—great on recordings and less so live. Anyway, I enjoyed the show overall and bought a vinyl copy of “My Maudlin Career” from the concession stand, which was their most-recent album at the time. It’s a good album and I still listen to it occasionally.

Not much else to say about this show. If you’re into the indie stuff, like Belle and Sebastian, then you should check this band out too.

Cheers!

Aimee Mann: 2/4/2003

aimeemann_2-4-03

I went to this show with my wife, who is a big Aimee Mann fan. I had seen Aimee years back with Til Tuesday and I also really liked her music, so I was pretty psyched to go too. In fact, around this time, the soundtrack to “Magnolia,” which is comprised of mostly Aimee Mann tunes, was getting a lot of play on the CD player in the car.

We went to the Orange Peel and ran into people we knew there. It’s always cool to see friends at a concert. It just makes it more fun.

Aimee is the epitome of cool on stage. In fact, she seemed way cooler than I remember her back with Til Tuesday. She just had the total hip vibe, and she sounded amazing. The high points for me were definitely “Driving Sideways” and “Save Me.”

One big surprise was when they performed a cover version of Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” with the guitarist handling the lead vocals. Having spent many years in South Florida, my tolerance for Lynyrd Skynyrd is pretty low, but I have to confess, they did a rousing version and it was fun singing along with everyone in the crowd. Definitely one of the rare instances when I actually enjoyed a Skynyrd cover tune.

Anyway, that’s about all I have to share. If you get a chance to see Aimee in concert, I recommend doing so. She’s very, very good live.

Rock on!