MoogFest: 10/26 – 27/2012

This was the final MoogFest held in Asheville, which is sad because Asheville was home to the late music innovator, Bob Moog, inventor of the famous Moog Synthesizer. The Moog factory is still here, and every Moog instrument—synthesizer, theremin, and effects pedal—is designed and manufactured right here. So even though this lineup was weak compared to the previous festivals, I went anyway, and did get to see some cool performances that I would never have seen otherwise.

MoogFest is a showcase of electronic music, and has performers from many genres, everything from prog to rap to new wave to DJs. It is really a big celebration of creativity and technology in music. In addition to performances, there were workshops and discussions and exhibits, everything to make a music-nerd’s heart skip beats.

So here are the acts that I recall seeing:

  • Santigold
  • Thomas Dolby
  • Primus (in 3-D)
  • Miike Snow
  • Morton Subotnick
  • Squarepusher
  • Divine Fits
  • Orbital
  • Four Tet

Primus was disappointing. I’m not a Primus fan, but had hoped for a cool show based upon all the hype, but they were barely mediocre. The high points were definitely Santigold, Thomas Dolby, Divine Fits, Miike Snow, and Morton Subotnick. They were all excellent.

I was only able to find a few setlists online, so here they are.

Santigold:

  • GO!
  • L.E.S. Artistes
  • Lights Out
  • Say Aha
  • Get It Up
  • Disparate Youth
  • Anne
  • The Keepers
  • Creator
  • Fame
  • Shove It
  • Freak Like Me
  • Big Mouth

Primus:

  • Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers
  • Prelude to a Crawl
  • Last Salmon Man
  • Southbound Pachyderm
  • Eternal Consumption Engine
  • Jilly’s on Smack
  • Over the Falls
  • Hello Skinny
  • Lee Van Cleef
  • Eyes of the Squirrel
  • Groundhog’s Day
  • American Life
  • Hamburger Train
  • Tommy the Cat

Orbital:

  • One Big Moment
  • Halcyon + On + On
  • Beelzedub
  • Never
  • Wonky
  • Where Is It Going?
  • Impact (The Earth Is Burning)
  • Lush 3
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Jethro Tull: 4/30/2002

I’m pretty sure this was my first concert after moving to Asheville, although I might have seen Moe Tucker from the Velvet Underground first (I don’t have a stub from that show and I can’t recall when it was). Anyway, I’ve always been a Tull fan, so I figured I had to go and see them again. I hate to say it, but I was disappointed.

Having seen Jethro Tull in the late 70s, it was tough to live up to that experience. Even so, this performance was just downright sad, in my opinion.

I went by myself, since funds were tight at that time and my wife opted to pass. So I was very focused on the band’s playing, which seemed to lack enthusiasm, especially on the standards. It was almost like, “Yeah, here’s your Cross-Eyed Mary.” There were a few exceptions, most notably was “Pibroch (Cap in Hand),” which I thought was great. Martin Barre’s guitar work on that one was phenomenal. But by the time the show was over, I was yawning. As I exited alone, I recalled an article I had read years back that criticized Tull and called them Jethro Dull. I felt a little sad that the creative and powerful prog rockers that were such a huge part of my musical upbringing had lost their edge. It happens.

I would go on to see Ian Anderson solo, and Martin Barre solo too after this, and I really enjoyed both of those. If the band reunited, I’d consider seeing them again, just on the hope that they might rekindle their earlier spark.

Here’s the setlist from the show.

Setlist:

  • Aqua-Intro
  • Living in the Past
  • Cross-Eyed Mary
  • Roots to Branches
  • Jack-in-the-Green
  • Thick as a Brick
  • Hunt by Numbers
  • Elegy
  • A Song for Jeffrey
  • The Water Carrier
  • The Secret Language of Birds
  • Wond’ring Aloud
  • Pibroch (Cap in Hand)
  • A New Day Yesterday
  • Boris Dancing
  • Budapest
  • Mayhem Jig
  • Aqualung
  • Locomotive Breath
  • Sweet Dream
  • Protect and Survive
  • Cheerio

Goblin: 11/28/2018

As a horror film buff, and someone who enjoys prog rock, it’s no surprise that I am a fan of Goblin. I saw them some years back on their first ever US tour, and they were awesome. So when I saw that they were coming back to town and would be performing the soundtrack to “Suspira” live during a screening of the film, I knew I would be going. I offered to buy my brother a ticket, since he is also a horror fan, and we were in.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Goblin, they are an Italian progressive rock band that formed in the 70s and became famous for composing the soundtrack music for films such as “Suspiria,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Tenebre,” and many others. Note: Claudio Simonetti, the keyboardist, was the only original Goblin member on this tour, but the other band members were exceptional musicians.

We got to the Orange Peel early enough to snag a decent spot, as well as one of the few bar stools so we could sit and watch the film. The band took the stage, and got ready to queue up the film.

The film started, and the band played the opening musical sequence, which was hauntingly powerful. I commented to my brother that they had an easy first half of the gig, spending a lot of time sitting and waiting for the next point in the film where music was needed. But I have to say, it was a totally unique concert experience for me, something that is rare for a veteran concertgoer as myself.

After the film ended, they paused briefly before launching into a killer second set, with lots of horror film clips and surreal visuals projected on the screen. The band was really tight, effortlessly flowing through intricate scale runs that rival any prog band. Suffice to say, I was on my feet for the entire second set.

Here is the full setlist, along with some pictures from the show. Rock on!

Set 1: “Suspiria” live screening and soundtrack accompaniment.

  • Suspiria
  • Witch
  • Opening to the Sighs
  • Sighs
  • Markos
  • Black Forest / Blind Concert
  • Death Valzer

Set 2:

  • Mater Lachrymarum
  • Demoni
  • E Suono Rock
  • Roller
  • Dawn of the Dead (L’alba dei Morti Viventi)
  • Zombi
  • Zaratozom
  • Tenebre
  • Phenomena
  • Profondo Rosso

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

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

Ian Anderson: 9/28/2012

I’m a long-time Jethro Tull fan, and grew up listening to Tull, so when I saw that Ian Anderson was coming to town to perform “Thick as a Brick: Parts 1 and 2” in their entirety, there was not even a question of whether I would go or not. I purchased tickets for my wife and I, and began to familiarize myself with the new “Thick as a Brick: Pt 2” that had just been released. It is good, but alas, not as good as the first one—it’s tough to match a masterpiece.

We had good seats, orchestra center, and the venue was nice and intimate. Ian came out with his band and broke right into the classic first album of TaaB. I was basically mesmerized. Ian did not sing the whole time; he had a young singer with him who filled in on the more challenging vocal parts. I thought this was a good move on Ian’s part. I’m pretty sure he suffers from hearing loss and struggles with some of the vocal parts.

But his flute playing, still phenomenal! He was flamboyant and animated every time he raised that flute to his chin. There is no one in the world who rocks the flute like he does.

After part 1, there was an intermission before part 2. During the intermission, there was a humorous shadow performance which served as a Public Service Announcement, encouraging men to get checked for prostate cancer. Something us old rockers gotta do!

Part 2 was great, but again, I love the original TaaB, so it was not quite as moving for me as the first half.

For an encore, they performed “Locomotive Breath.” Perfect song to close the night!

Overall, this was a great show, better in fact than the last time I saw Tull, in my humble opinion. The only thing lacking was it would have been cool if Martin Barre was on guitar (I do love Martin’s playing). But the guitarist Ian had was no slouch. Left totally happy.

Rock on!!

Martin Barre: 3/24/2017

Martin Barre is the guitarist from Jethro Tull, and since Tull is on an extended hiatus, he is performing solo with a backing band.

I had planned to go to this concert with my youngest daughter, who really likes Jethro Tull (proof I’ve raised my kids right), but she was unfortunately sick and could not muster the strength to go, so my friend Dan acquired my extra, and he and his significant other Angie joined me for the show.

First, I want to say that at 70 years old, Martin is as great of a guitarist as he was when I saw Jethro Tull for the first time in the late 70’s. His technical performance, tone, and energy were those of someone half his age. There was also a maturity in his playing, and I mean that in only the best sense of the word.

There was no opening act, and the band played two sets and an encore. Early in the first set, they played “Minstrel in the Gallery,” probably my favorite Tull song. I have seen Tull three times and the only time they played “Minstrel” was as an encore the first time I saw them, so hearing Martin and his band play it was amazing for me. After the song, I told Dan I could leave now and be happy. But I’m glad I stayed. The rest of the night was packed with incredible music, including an abundance of Tull songs and some really nice cover tunes (see setlist below).

After the show, I went out to my car and grabbed my record cover of “Minstrel in the Gallery,” which I brought with me in the hopes of getting autographed. I waited around with the other old rockers (a reference to a Tull song here) and after a short while, Martin came out to sign autographs. When it was my turn to meet him, I told him that I had attended a guitar clinic that he hosted at Ace Music in Miami many years ago. He clearly remembered the clinic and shared his memories of staying at the Fontainebleau Hotel. He was really pleasant and friendly, and I left feeling grateful to have met someone whose music was so inspiring to me throughout my life.

Here is the setlist, and remember, you’re never too old to rock and roll if you’re too young to die.

Set 1

  • Hammer
  • To Cry You a Song
  • Minstrel in the Gallery
  • Steal Your Heart Away
  • Back to Steel
  • Love Story
  • After You After Me
  • Eleanor Rigby
  • I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
  • Sweet Dream
  • Sealion
  • Thick as a Brick

Set 2

  • Blackest Eyes
  • Nothing to Say
  • Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day
  • Cross Road Blues
  • Bad Man
  • A Song for Jeffrey
  • Moment of Madness
  • Teacher
  • Fat Man
  • A New Day Yesterday

Encore:

  • Locomotive Breath