Sarah McLachlan: 9/22/2018

Sarah McLachlan is not someone I usually listen to, but we have her first cd and I have listened to it a bit. I can appreciate her piano playing and her vocals are amazing, without question. When I saw she was coming to town, I looked at ticket prices, but they were a little out of my price range. But when I got an email announcing that a non-profit to which I belong was giving out free tickets, I put my name in, and my wife and I each got a freebie to the show.

This was a benefit concert to raise money for the pediatric cancer center, so it was a good cause. There were some speakers and a couple opening musical acts, one of which was quite good. His name was Andrew Reed, and he’s a local Asheville musician who I understand is actually on the Billboard charts now. I guess I’m a little out-of-touch. Anyway, he was good, and after he played Sarah came out.

What can I say about her? She was awesome! Her voice was as clear and powerful as it was 25 years ago. Even in the US Cellular Center, which has pretty crappy acoustics, her voice was crisp, vibrant, and unwavering. My wife had seen her years ago at the Lilith Fair, and she agreed that Sarah sounded just as great today as she did back then.

For whatever reason, the setlist for this particular night is not online, although the shows before and afterwards are available. The two I found are almost identical, and seem to match what I remember about the performance, so here is the setlist from Charleston on the 24th, which should be the about the same as the Asheville show.

Setlist:

  • Possession
  • I Will Remember You
  • Adia
  • Building a Mystery
  • Good Enough
  • Answer
  • Fallen
  • Beautiful Girl
  • In Your Shoes
  • Elsewhere
  • Rivers of Love
  • World on Fire
  • Sweet Surrender
  • Loving You Is Easy
  • Angel

Encore:

  • Untitled/unreleased song (“Into Your Wilderness”)
  • Song for My Father
  • Ice Cream
  • The Sound That Love Makes

3 (Emerson, Palmer & Berry): 5/21/1988

I was (and still am) a huge ELP fan, so when I heard that the band 3, featuring Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer, were playing a nightclub in Fort Lauderdale, I immediately scored a ticket.

I don’t remember with whom I went with, but I remember the scene and the show itself most vividly. City Limits nightclub was jam packed, almost to the point of being really uncomfortable. But I was not to be deterred. I squeezed myself into a space where I had a good view of the stage, and especially Keith’s infamous Moog synthesizer.

I had seen Emerson, Lake & Powell a couple years prior, but seeing Carl Palmer pounding away was a treat indeed. And Keith’s playing was mind-blowing. I can still see him twisting knobs and pulling and inserting plugs during “Hoedown,” and laying on top of his grand piano, playing classical piano backwards. All the while, Carl pounding away with a precision that is unrivaled. I was not familiar with Robert Berry, but he was no slouch.

The band broke up after this tour (the only tour they did, I believe). I feel pretty fortunate to have been able to see them. Here’s the setlist.

Setlist:

  • Fanfare for the Common Man
  • Desde la vida
  • Lover to Lover
  • Hoedown
  • You Do or You Don’t
  • Talkin’ ’bout
  • The Fugue
  • Creole Dance
  • On My Way Home
  • Runaway
  • Standing in the Shadows of Love
  • America
  • Blue Rondo à la Turk
  • Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
  • Drum Solo
  • Flight of the Bumblebee
  • Eight Miles High

Van Halen: 4/7/1986

This concert is filed under the “Why the Hell Did I Pay to See Van Halen Again” category. This was like the fifth time I went to see them, and other than when they opened for Black Sabbath in 1978, I thought they sucked every time. (Note: Two of those five times they also opened for the Stones.) Anyway, I had hopes that with Sammy Hagar singing they would be less goofy than when David Lee Roth was the frontman, and they were, but still, I got bored pretty quickly. Honestly, having seen Sammy solo a few times, I thought he was better on his own than with Van Halen. Bottom line is I left early. I could not justify battling the horrific Sportatorium traffic to stay until the end of what, to me, was a mediocre show at best.

Anyway, here’s the setlist, courtesy of the internet.

Setlist:

  • You Really Got Me
  • There’s Only One Way to Rock
  • Summer Nights
  • Get Up
  • Drum Solo
  • Why Can’t This Be Love
  • 5150
  • Bass Solo
  • Panama
  • Best of Both Worlds
  • Love Walks In
  • Good Enough
  • Guitar Solo (Eruption, Cathedral & Spanish Fly)
  • I Can’t Drive 55
  • Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love

Encore:

  • Jump
  • (Unknown)
  • Rock and Roll

Elton John: 10/14/1984

This was my first time seeing Elton John, and I was pretty psyched. Elton was one of those artists I grew up listening to as a kid and was definitely an influence on me musically. He was touring in support of his “Breaking Hearts” album, which did quite well if my memory serves me correctly. Elton had Davey Johnstone, Dee Murray, and Nigel Olsson supporting him, which was great seeing them all on stage together.

I went with my brother Mike, and our seats were behind the stage. But since the Sportatorium was essentially a free-for-all, we went and found some seats on the side about halfway back.

Elton opened with “Tiny Dancer,” which was beautiful. He came on stage wearing a long purple coat, which was elegantly glam-boyant. He then started ramping things up and eventually had the crowd totally rockin’, kicking the piano stool backwards and standing at the keys, pounding away like a madman. But the frenzy peaked about halfway through the show, when Elton took off his sleek purple jacket and flung it into the crowd.

Now from my vantage point, I could see the melee that ensued. Crazed rock fanatics clawed and punched each other, while they tore and shredded the jacket. I can’t recall just how long the tug-of-war lasted, but I feel like I heard a couple songs as my eyes shifted from the stage to the crowd and back to the stage again.

While there were a few songs I would have liked to have heard that he didn’t play, the show was pretty solid and he played most of his big hits. He certainly had a formidable body of work to choose from. Anyway, here’s the full setlist.

Setlist:

  • Tiny Dancer
  • Levon
  • Li’l ‘Frigerator
  • Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)
  • Daniel
  • Restless
  • Candle in the Wind
  • The Bitch Is Back
  • Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me
  • Who Wears These Shoes?
  • Sad Songs (Say So Much)
  • Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
  • Bennie and the Jets
  • Philadelphia Freedom
  • I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
  • Kiss the Bride
  • I’m Still Standing
  • Your Song
  • Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  • Crocodile Rock

Warren Haynes’ 28th Christmas Jam: 12/10/2016

christmasjam_12-10-16

Warren Haynes, former guitarist with the Allman Brothers and currently with Gov’t Mule, has been hosting the Christmas Jam in Asheville for 28 years now. The Jam is a benefit concert that raises money for Habitat for Humanity and Warren invites a slew of artists to participate in the marathon event. This year, my youngest daughter came to the concert with me, and I also had some friends come in from out of town for the show, so it was quite the party.

This year’s show featured the following headline acts:

  • Gov’t Mule
  • Bob Weir
  • Michael McDonald
  • Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss
  • The Last Waltz Band

In addition, the show also included a plethora of guest musicians, too numerous to list them all, but some of the ones that deserve note are Branford Marsalis, John Medeski, Bob Margolin, Steve Kimock, Duane Trucks, and George Porter Jr.

I was out of town for work the day the tickets went on sale. Thankfully, my good friend Robert waited in line and bought tickets for me. THAT is a true friend! The show sold out in one day, so I was really grateful that he picked them up for me.

My friend Dana from Florida came up for the concert, along with her friend Jackie. We went out for lunch the day before and discovered that they were also friends with two of my Asheville friends, Craig and Dara, with whom I was going to the show, so we all got seats together. It’s a small world in rock and roll.

The show this year was amazing. My wife said it was probably the best Christmas Jam she has attended. So many high points, but probably the top two for me were Alison Krauss joining Bob Weir to perform “Peggy-O” and also Branford Marsalis and Warren Haynes joining Weir and Co to play an amazing rendition of “Eyes of the World.” Words cannot adequately convey the energy that was released during that performance.

The concert went on until about 3:00 in the morning. I left during the second-to-last song (“Dreams”), but that was fine. I definitely got my fill of great music.

Here are the set lists:


Holly Bowling
Cryptical Envelopment >
The Other One >
Cryptical Envelopment >
Taste
The Inlaw Josie Wales

Warren Haynes
The Real Thing
And It Stoned Me

Jamey Johnson & Alison Krauss
High Cost Of Living
Make The World Go Away
I Ain’t The One
John Deere Tractor
Heartache
Even The Skies Are Blue
Dreaming My Dreams With You
Lay Down Beside Me
My Dixie Darling
When You Say Nothing At All
In Color with Howard Johnson

Holly Bowling
Help On The Way >
Slipknot! >
Cassidy >
Bird Song

George Porter Jr., Eric Krasno, Terence Higgins, Branford Marsalis & John Medeski
I Need More Time
Just Kissed My Baby > with Marcus King
He Bite Me (The Dragon) with Marcus King
Sugaree with Bob Weir
Iko Iko with Bob Weir

Michael McDonald & Friends (Audley Freed, Don Was, Terence Higgins & John Medeski)
Freedom Highway
Sweet Freedom
I Keep Forgettin’ with Branford Marsalis
What A Fool Believes
Takin’ It To The Streets

Holly Bowling
A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing >
Crazy Fingers >
The Other One >
A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing

Bob Weir & Friends (Steve Kimock, Don Was & Duane Trucks)
Easy To Slip (Bob Weir Solo)
Peggy-O (Bob Weir with Alison Krauss)
Ghost Towns
Only A River
He’s Gone > with Warren Haynes, Holly Bowling & Branford Marsalis
Eyes Of The World > with Warren Haynes, Holly Bowling & Branford Marsalis
Truckin’ with Warren Haynes, Holly Bowling & Branford Marsalis
Ripple with Warren Haynes, Holly Bowling & Branford Marsalis

The Last Waltz Band (Warren Haynes, Don Was, Terence Higgins, Michael McDonald, John Medeski, Jamey Johnson, Mark Mullins & Levee Horns)
Up On Cripple Creek
The Shape I’m In
Stage Fright
Georgia On My Mind
The Weight with Bob Weir & Alison Krauss
Ophelia
It Makes No Difference
Helpless with Alison Krauss
Mannish Boy with Bob Margolin & Smoky Greenwell
Further On Up The Road with Bob Margolin & Smoky Greenwell
King Harvest
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Holly Bowling
Terrapin Station Suite >
Slipknot! >
Franklin’s Tower

Gov’t Mule & Friends (without Matt Abts) 
Mule with Rocky Lindsley
32/20 Blues with Rocky Lindsley, Mike Barnes, Marcus King & Smoky Greenwell
Sco-Mule with Rocky Lindsley, Jeff Sipe & Branford Marsalis
Dreams with Paul Riddle, Duane Trucks, Steve Kimock & Branford Marsalis
Mountain Jam with Paul Riddle, Duane Trucks, Steve Kimock, Branford Marsalis & Tony Coleman

Bob Dylan: 11/12/2016

bobdylan_11-12-16

So yes, this is one of those crappy print-at-home ticket stubs, but I am psyched to have it.

I had not intended to go to this show. It was expensive and I had seen Dylan multiple times already. I thought it would be nice to take my daughter to see Dylan, but not for $300 (figure about $100 per ticket). So I passed, and Dylan won the Nobel Prize, and the concert sold out. Oh well.

On November 12, my wife and I were shopping at the mall. I was trying on clothes at Old Navy when she texted me: “A friend of a friend has three tickets to Bob Dylan tonight that she is giving away for free. Should we take them?” Of course, my response was: “Ummm… YEAH!” So the person transferred the electronic tickets to us, we printed them out when we got home, and my wife, daughter, and I were heading to see Bob Dylan… for free!

This was a very different show than any of the other times I had seen Dylan. He played no guitar at all. He played piano, or else he stood at a microphone and just sang. He did play harmonica on one song, “Tangled Up in Blue,” which was awesome. He also played “Highway 61 Revisited,” which is probably my all-time favorite Dylan tune.

Performance wise, Dylan sounded better than any other time I had seen him. I expected him to sound wretched at best, but he was actually in key and you could make out the lyrics. It was kind of strange, but in a good way. He also played longer than any other time I had seen him. I expected maybe an hour and 15 minutes, based on prior experience, but he played a good two hours. All in all, a great show, and I was really happy that I was able to take my daughter to see the legend himself.

Here is the entire setlist from the show.


Things Have Changed

Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

Highway 61 Revisited

Beyond Here Lies Nothin’

Full Moon and Empty Arms

Pay In Blood

Melancholy Mood

Duquesne Whistle

Love Sick

Tangled Up In Blue

High Water (For Charley Patton)

Why Try To Change Me Now

Early Roman Kings

I Could Have Told You

Desolation Row

Soon After Midnight

All Or Nothing At All

Long And Wasted Years

Autumn Leaves

ENCORE:

Blowin’ In The Wind

Stay With Me

Brian Wilson: 8/18/2016

BrianWilson_8-18-16

The Beach Boys were responsible for the soundtrack to some of my more memorable summers growing up. We would have pool parties at this girl Wendy’s house and play spin the bottle and truth or dare while the Beach Boys constantly crooned through the stereo. And while I had seen the Beach Boys twice before this show, neither time had Brian Wilson, so this concert was a real treat and more than just a trip down memory lane.

This tour marked the 50th anniversary of the release of the album Pet Sounds, which is an amazing work of art. For the tour, Wilson also recruited two other Beach Boys: Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin. In addition, nine other musicians shared the stage, bringing the total to twelve that I was able to count. One of them, Al Jardine’s son, was an incredible vocalist and soared on all the high harmony parts.

I went with my wife and we had decent seats in the balcony to the left of the stage, so we could see quite well. The sound was balanced and clear, and the band was very tight. They started promptly around 8:00, no opening act, and played a nice set that included standard surf and car songs (California Girls, Surfer Girl, Shut Down, etc.). Then they took a break before coming back to play Pet Sounds in its entirety.

Before playing “God Only Knows” (one of my favorite Beach Boys’ songs), Brian told the audience that it was the best song he’d ever written. Almost brought a tear to my eye, because it was always a moving song, but knowing that the artist must have poured his soul into it makes it all the more special.

After Pet Sounds, the band played a nice long encore of about six songs, including “Good Vibrations,” “Help Me Rhonda,” “Fun Fun Fun,” and “Surfin’ USA.” By the time they took their final bow together, I was so moved and musically satisfied, I could not think of a single other song I would have wanted to hear.

I think that the most inspiring part of the concert was the fact that Brian Wilson, despite his personal issues, was able to get on stage and perform, and that his friends who joined him were totally supportive of him. You could sense it. Brian had his moments, where he sat at the piano and looked around, or obsessively checked his watch over and over and over, but no one minded and he was still able to pour out his emotion through the music. It affirmed what I have always known, that music has the power to heal and inspire.

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I’ll make you so sure about it

God only knows what I’d be without you