Moody Blues: 6/9/1993

I had seen the Moody Blues multiple times prior to this show, but this one was special to me on a couple levels.

First, it was the Moody Blues performing with a symphony orchestra, which may make some rock fans cringe, but I found really cool. The symphony started with an overture, and then the band took the stage and the rest was magical. As a musician, I can appreciate the complexity of orchestral arrangements, and the combination of strings, wind instruments, and rock and roll, elevated the musical experience for me and took me to new heights.

The second thing that made this show special for me was that I went with my soon-to-be wife. We were engaged to be married later that year, and somehow, the songs for me reflected the love I felt at the time (and still feel to this day). In particular, “For My Lady” made my whole being swell with emotion, and then “New Horizons,” which would be our wedding song.

So those two things alone made this a memorable concert experience. Nothing else needs to be added, except the setlist.

Setlist

  • Overture
  • Late Lament
  • Tuesday Afternoon
  • For My Lady
  • New Horizons
  • Lean on Me (Tonight)
  • Voices in the Sky
  • Say It With Love
  • Emily’s Song
  • I Know You’re Out There Somewhere
  • The Story in Your Eyes
  • Lovely to See You
  • Your Wildest Dreams
  • Isn’t Life Strange
  • 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

Encore:

  • Ride My See-Saw

New Riders of the Purple Sage: 6/16/1989

Pretty sure I went to this show with my friends Crispy Craig and/or Joe the Mailman, but not 100% sure about that. What I am sure about is that was that I got the late John Dawson (aka Marmaduke) to sign my copy of the NRPS’s first album (see below). THAT was way cool.

So Musician’s Exchange Café was a small venue in Fort Lauderdale, and there were tables so you could sit around and watch the musicians perform. We got there early (not that difficult for a concert starting at midnight), and secured a table in the front. That was how I was able to slip my album up to Marmaduke and have him sign it.

John Dawson made his final ride into the psychedelic sunset on July 21, 2009. I still treasure this album.

Sorry, could not find the setlist for this show, but it was a damn good performance, and they played “Sutter’s Mill,” which made my night.

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

Rolling Stones: 11/16/1989

This was the second night of a two-night stand in Miami. The first night, we had great seats close to the front; this night, we were off on the side, which was fine. Different perspective of the massive stage show.

At the time, I was working as a chef and this particular week was extremely busy, so in addition to two Stones concerts, I was also working 60+ hours. That said, after a late night of rock and roll the night before, and then working early in the morning, when we got to the Orange Bowl, I discovered to my dismay that I had forgotten the tickets at home. UGH! Something I am usually very anal about. Thankfully, I had enough time to drive home, get the tickets, and still catch Living Colour, who again opened this show.

During the break between bands, my friend Lydia and I were hanging out and talking, when a young woman in the row in front of us turned around to face us, holding a big magnifying glass in her hand like she was Sherlock Holmes or something. She leaned toward me and proceeded to examine my crotch with her magnifying glass. I was somewhat taken aback. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or offended. So I responded in a way that felt right—I laughed, and so did everyone else around us. Hey, no harm, no foul.

The Stones hit the stage and opened pretty much the same as they did the first night, but they swapped out a few songs, which made it nice. The songs they did this evening and not the first which stood out for me were “Angie” and “Little Red Rooster.” Both total surprises and most welcome. Also, I have to say that the liquid light show that accompanied “2000 Light Years From Home” looked much better from where we were sitting. You need to have a little distance to appreciate that kind of psychedelic imagery.

Anyway, here’s the setlist from the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band…

Setlist:

  • Start Me Up
  • Bitch
  • Sad Sad Sad
  • Undercover of the Night
  • Harlem Shuffle
  • Tumbling Dice
  • Miss You
  • Ruby Tuesday
  • Angie
  • Rock and a Hard Place
  • Mixed Emotions
  • Honky Tonk Women
  • Midnight Rambler
  • You Can’t Always Get What You Want
  • Little Red Rooster
  • Can’t Be Seen (Keith Richards on lead vocals)
  • Happy (Keith Richards on lead vocals)
  • Paint It Black
  • 2000 Light Years From Home
  • Sympathy for the Devil
  • Gimme Shelter
  • It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)
  • Brown Sugar
  • (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Encore:

  • Jumpin’ Jack Flash

The Moody Blues: 11/26/1986

The details of this show are a little fuzzy. I remember going with a group of friends and having a really good time. The Broward County Fair would always have a bunch of musical acts of varying genres, everything from country to new wave to classic rock. I was definitely psyched to see the Moodys again, and for only $8 plus fair admission, it was quite the deal.

The concert was held at the racetrack, so seating was in the grandstand. I recall having a good view of the stage, and the band seemed to be enjoying themselves. My friends and I were on our feet pretty much the whole time. Other than that, all I remember are fragments and songs.

I searched for the setlist but could not find one from this specific show. I did, however, find a setlist from another show on the same tour which seems to be about right with what I remember (distinctly remember Gemini Dream > The Voice to open, and Ride My See-Saw for an encore). Anyway, here is the setlist from the Indianapolis show on June 20, 1986.

Setlist

  • Gemini Dream
  • The Voice
  • Rock ‘N’ Roll Over You
  • Tuesday Afternoon
  • Your Wildest Dreams
  • Isn’t Life Strange
  • The Story in Your Eyes
  • It May Be a Fire
  • Painted Smile
  • Reflective Smile
  • Veteran Cosmic Rocker
  • New Horizons
  • Talking Out of Turn
  • 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

Encore:

  • Ride My See-Saw

Donovan: 11/20/1987

Club Nu was a trendy nightclub on Miami’s South Beach, which seemed like an odd place for an old hippie like Donovan to be performing. But several of my musician friends and I went to see the psychedelic troubadour and made sure we were in the appropriate state of mind prior to the show. My friends included Bongo Bob, Greg, and Big Ed (RIP).

As we mingled in the strange scene which was the South Beach nightclub, the lights went down for the opening act. I stood for a bit, trying to grok exactly what it was that I was observing, because it did not make sense to me. Something was… different. Then it dawned on me: female impersonators. We were being treated to a drag show as the opening act. It was surreal, to say the least.

Later, Donovan took the stage, just himself with an acoustic guitar. My friends and I sang along and were truly engrossed in the performance. I had the strange feeling that most of the other people there had no idea who this old guy was or why he was up there singing, but I didn’t care. I was happy to see the musician whose music inspired me and my friends. After the show, we all hung out together and played Donovan songs on our acoustic guitars. It was a great night that lasted till the early morning hours.

Sadly, I could not find a set list online, and the memory of this night is a little too hazy to recall what he played; but I can say with certainty that there were not any songs that I wanted to hear that he didn’t play. “Let us rejoice and let us sing and dance and ring in the new: Hail Atlantis!”

Pink Floyd: 4/30/1988

I was living in Miami at this time, but thought nothing of taking a road trip up to Orlando to catch Pink Floyd. A group of us decided to carpool up there together, which led to a problem. I was playing music with a guy named Mitch, who was along for the ride. We stopped at a convenience store for refreshments, and unbeknownst to everyone else, Mitch got in to an argument with the cashier and walked out of the store without paying. The cashier got the license plate and filed a police report. A few weeks after the concert, police contacted the owner of the car, who contacted me, and I passed a message on to Mitch to call the officer and straighten out the dispute. He failed to do so, and after more harassment, I finally provided his name to the police. Needless to say, that ended our musical collaboration.

Anyway, back to the concert.

We made it to the Citrus Bowl, and it was pouring like it can only pour in Florida. But it was not a warm spring Florida rain. Oh no! It was bitter cold. Everyone was huddled together, wearing trash bags, trying to keep warm. I recall shivering uncontrollably, my teeth literally chattering. If it were any band other than Pink Floyd, I would have walked out. And while the lasers looked really cool slicing through the rain, after a while, I didn’t even care.

As a musician, I could not help wondering about the safety of the band members, as well as the equipment. I for one would never want to let my guitar get wet like that. But David Gilmour did not seem to mind, although he did comment about how it always seems to rain in Florida when they perform there. Richard Wright, the keyboardist, was literally covered under a tent of tarps. It was kind of silly that when he was playing a solo, the lights just shone on this brownish mound of plastic.

Having seen Pink Floyd before in Miami, I have to say I was a little disappointed with this show. The set list was shorter, and noticeably missing was “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” which was what they opened with in Miami. It felt like the band was miserable and just wanted to finish playing and get somewhere warm and dry.

After the concert, we all piled into a hotel room. There were a lot of us, so floor space and bathtub were utilized. Next morning, we headed back to Miami.

Here is the set list…

Set 1:

  • Signs of Life
  • Learning to Fly
  • Yet Another Movie
  • Round and Around
  • A New Machine (Part 1)
  • Terminal Frost
  • A New Machine (Part 2)
  • Sorrow
  • The Dogs of War
  • On the Turning Away

Set 2:

  • One of These Days
  • Time
  • On the Run
  • The Great Gig in the Sky
  • Wish You Were Here
  • Us and Them
  • Money
  • Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
  • Comfortably Numb

Encore:

  • One Slip
  • Run Like Hell

David Gilmour: 7/5/1984

Before I would have the opportunity to see Pink Floyd, I was fortunate enough to see David Gilmour solo. He played the Sunrise Musical Theater, which was a small venue in South Florida, and it was mind-blowing. Gilmour’s guitar work is totally cerebral, unlocking areas of the psyche with his rich tones. I left the concert feeling like my mind was expanded. While I wished he would have played a few more Floyd tunes, it was great seeing the legendary guitarist in an intimate setting.

Unfortunately, most of the details have faded. I can’t even recall with whom I went to this show. But, I managed to find the setlist online, so here it is.

  • Until We Sleep
  • All Lovers Are Deranged
  • Love on the Air
  • Mihalis
  • Cruise
  • Short and Sweet
  • Money
  • Out of the Blue
  • Let’s Get Metaphysical
  • You Know I’m Right
  • Run Like Hell
  • Blue Light
  • Murder

Encore:

  • Comfortably Numb

The Police with The Fixx and Eric Burdon and the Animals: 10/28/1983

Police_10-28-83

As the ticket stub shows, this concert was originally supposed to be at the Miami Baseball Stadium. But because of the huge demand for tickets, the concert was moved to the Orange Bowl, a much larger venue. Even in the big stadium, it was a packed mob scene.

I went with my girlfriend at the time and my brother Mike. We got there plenty early, since it was general admission and I wanted to see The Animals, who were opening the show. The Animals were great and Eric Burdon’s voice was strong. The only downer song was “House of the Rising Sun.” They kind of changed the arrangement around and it felt like they were playing it half-assed. I felt like, really? I’m sure you are getting tired of the song, but if you are going to play it, at least put some energy into it and realize that it is such an iconic song that futzing with the arrangement  is akin to Led Zeppelin playing a reggae version of “Stairway to Heaven.”

The Fixx played next, and they were cool. They had some hits at the time: “Saved By Zero” and “One Thing Leads to Another.” They definitely had a good energy and light show. Plus, their style fit in well with The Police.

So I have to say that The Police were way better live than I expected. They always seemed more like a studio band than a good live act. But I was pleasantly surprised. They were really high-energy and sounded great, even in an acoustic hell hole like the Orange Bowl. My big complaint, though, was the overcrowding. It was really uncomfortable to be mashed among so many people sweating in the South Florida heat for the entire day. But other than that—good times!

Here is the Police’s setlist, courtesy of setlist.fm:

  1. Voices Inside My Head
  2. Synchronicity I
  3. Synchronicity II
  4. Walking in Your Footsteps
  5. Message in a Bottle
  6. Walking on the Moon
  7. My God
  8. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
  9. Wrapped Around Your Finger
  10. Tea in the Sahara
  11. Hole in My Life
  12. Spirits in the Material World
  13. Invisible Sun
  14. One World (Not Three)
  15. King of Pain
  16. Don’t Stand So Close to Me
  17. Every Breath You Take
  18. Murder by Numbers
  19. Roxanne
  20. (encore) Can’t Stand Losing You / Reggatta de Blanc
  21. (encore) So Lonely

Spirit: 3/31/1981

Spirit_3-31-81

Spirit was one of those bands that the first time I heard them, I was floored. I had a friend named Paul and he was excited one day because he had just bought the Best of Spirit. We listened to it and the next day I went to the record store and bought a copy of the album. It basically lived on my turntable for weeks afterwards.

The Agora Ballroom was a club in Hallandale, Florida, which is just north of Miami. The club later became the infamous Button South, but when I went to see Spirit there, it was still the Agora.

Although the band only featured two of the original members, Randy California and Ed Cassidy, they were amazing. Randy’s guitar work and vocals were stellar and the band ripped through almost everything I wanted to hear. The only song that they didn’t play which I would have loved to see them perform was “Mechanical World,” a very dark, apocalyptic anti-war song.

Spirit was one of those bands that never became as popular as they should have. I like to say that they are the best band you’ve never heard of, although you’ve probably heard their songs, like “I Got A Line On You,” “Nature’s Way,” and “Fresh Garbage.” Also, it has been asserted that Jimmy Page stole the main musical theme for “Stairway to Heaven” from Spirit’s “Taurus.” (There is a lawsuit against Page seeking to give credit to Randy California for the song.)

If you’re not familiar with Spirit’s music, I strongly encourage you to check them out. “Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus” is one of my all-time favorite albums. They were so ahead of their time and their music sounds as fresh and exciting today as it did when I first heard them back in the late 70’s.

You have the world at your fingertips
No one can make it better than you
You have the world at your fingertips
But see what you’ve done to the rain and the sun
So many changes have all just begun, to reap
I know you’re asleep
Wake up

(“Prelude” from Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus)