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.

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Pigeons Playing Ping Pong: 2/1/2019

I was recently at a party at my friend Ilene’s house, and she asked me if I was familiar with this band. I told her I had never heard of them, and she told me they were really good, and that her and her husband had gotten some comp VIP passes and that they could get me one if I was interested. Far be it from me to turn down an opportunity to see a show for free. So they secured me a freebie and I listened to some of their stuff to familiarize myself with their music.

How to describe them? They are definitely a jam band, but they have a bit of a funk sound too. Their stuff is upbeat and danceable. I figured it would be a good time, and when I saw that the show was sold out, I suspected it would be pretty high-energy too.

I met Ilene and her husband Jonathan outside the venue. They got us the VIP wristbands, which allowed us to sit in the reserved section on the side of the stage. Not that it was really reserved. It was still pretty much open season for the freaks who chose to wedge themselves in there.

The opening act was a band called The Fritz. They are local, but very good. I had remembered a friend telling me about them. They were better than your average opener.

PPPP came on around 10ish, and they were pumped. Definitely feeding off the energy from the audience. And they played a looooooong time—finishing up about 1:00 am. Two solid sets and an encore. I was definitely feeling tired toward the end, but forced myself to stay until the end, which is a testament to how good they were.

In between sets, I ran into my friend Andy. I had not seen him in years, so it was a nice surprise. He had come into town specifically to see the band and was planning to see them the following night in Raleigh. I didn’t realize that following Pigeons was a thing, but I guess it is.

After the show, as I exited the venue to walk to my car, I was surprised to find people selling balloons full of nitrous oxide. Nitrous?! People still do that shit? I suppose some things never change in the jam-band scene. It made me think of a quote from the Netflix show, “Big Mouth”: “They’re jam bands. They’re the tools of Big Nitrous.”

Anyway, here’s the setlist, followed by a few pictures I snapped at the show. Rock on!

Set 1

  • Melting Lights >
  • Whirled
  • Penguins >
  • Funkijam >
  • Funk E. Zekiel
  • Fortress
  • Yo Soy Fiesta
  • J-Town
  • Poseidon >
  • Jessica >
  • Poseidon

Set 2

  • Live Life / Upfunk
  • Snake Eyes
  • Horizon >
  • I Wanna Be Like You >
  • Bare Necessities >
  • I Wanna Be Like You >
  • Horizon
  • Drunk People
  • Walk Outside
  • Ocean Flows

Encore:

  • Doc

 

The Fritz

 

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

 

PPPP w/ Jamar Woods from Fritz on keys

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

Def Leppard and Ratt: 5/20/1983

I had seen Def Leppard open for Ozzy on the Blizzard of Ozz tour, which was cool. But “Pyromania” was the band’s mega-album, so this was a tour worth seeing.

My girlfriend at the time really wanted to go to the show, and I was totally down for it, especially for $10. I thought “Pyromania” was a great album, even though I could tell the band was going down the commercial pathway. And I was right, and to date, this would be my last time seeing them live.

I had no recollection of the opening act, but according to what I found online, Ratt was the opener. Hah! I went most of my life thinking I had avoided seeing Ratt in concert. I suppose it’s another band I can now check off the list.

Def Leppard definitely rocked. This show was a long time ago, so many of the details are gone, but I remember parts of it vividly, including the kick-ass version of Creedence’s “Travelin’ Band.” Glad I got to see them at their peak. Rock on!!

Setlist:

  • Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)
  • Rock Brigade
  • High & Dry (Saturday Night)
  • Another Hit and Run
  • Billy’s Got a Gun
  • Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)
  • Foolin’
  • Photograph
  • Rock of Ages
  • Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
  • Switch 625
  • Guitar Solo
  • Let It Go
  • Guitar Solo
  • Wasted
  • Stagefright
  • Travelin’ Band

The Neville Brothers: 3/17/1989

I don’t have a clear memory of this show. I’ve seen the Nevilles several times, and they were always great.

The Neville Brothers were actually four brothers: Art, Charles, Aaron, and Cyril. For me, they embodied the New Orleans sound. Their music was fun and funky, and it was always a dance party when they performed. Sadly, they officially broke up in 2012

I have vague memories of seeing them at Woody’s, which was Ron Wood’s music club on Miami Beach. I remember the place being packed, and people groovin’ and dancing. But the details of this show are lost in the haze of memory.

I wish I had more to share on this one. The Neville Brothers were awesome, and I’m sure I danced my ass off.

For those of you who have not heard the Nevilles, here’s a cool YouTube video clip from them performing at Tipitina’s in New Orleans.

 

Alice Cooper: 12/31/1998

What better way to rock in the New Year than with Alice Cooper, right? But wait – it gets even better. So the ticket says Row 2, which I have to say, I was pretty psyched about. But when my friend Jim and I arrived at the show, lo and behold, Row 2 was actually front row! So even though we were off on the side, we were still deep in the madness and mayhem, and we were graced by Alice’s presence when he slunk over to our side of the stage.

The theme of this show was kind of a psycho-circus motif. There were demented clowns providing Alice with his various implements of destruction, and just grinning menacingly like something out of a Stephen King novel.

There were some nice surprises in this show, notably “Public Animal #9,” a classic from the School’s Out album, and “Unfinished Sweet,” where the clowns shoved Alice into an Egyptian sarcophagus and skewered him with swords. Also, Alice made a nod to Elvis, one of his influences, by playing “Jailhouse Rock” for an encore, decked out in a sequined jacket and some fly shades.

There were so many high points at this show, it was basically just one long high point. From the first chords of “Hello Hooray” until the last note of “Under My Wheels,” it was all Killer and no filler.

Here’s the full setlist. Rock on!

Setlistlowns

  • Hello Hooray
  • Sideshow
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Public Animal #9
  • Be My Lover
  • Lost in America
  • I’m Eighteen
  • From the Inside
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Steven
  • Halo of Flies
  • Nothing’s Free
  • Cleansed by Fire
  • Poison
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Unfinished Sweet
  • School’s Out

Encore:

  • Jailhouse Rock
  • Under My Wheels

Blues Traveler with The Derek Trucks Band: 7/30/2005

Bele Chere was an annual street fair that used to happen in downtown Asheville (the city stopped having it in 2013). They would close off the streets, and have artists, vendors, and stages set up for musicians. Generally, all the music was free, and over the years I saw some cool acts, like Cracker, Grace Potter, the Old 97s, and Southern Culture on the Skids.

Anyway, in 2005, the powers that be decided to try adding a “paid” performance to the festival. This pissed off a lot of purists who felt that all the music should be free, but I didn’t mind paying the $15. I figured it was worth it to see two bands, and I have never seen Blues Traveler before, so I figured it would be worth checking them off the list.

Derek Trucks Band opened the show, and as always, he was tremendous on the guitar. He played a nice long set that included Count M’Butu sitting in on the congas, and Susan Tedeschi joined him on stage for a song, which was cool.

Afterwards, Blues Traveler took the stage. I really wanted to like them, because I like their studio stuff, but they were just not that interesting live. Even with Count M’Butu and Derek Trucks joining them on stage, it was just… OK. Maybe it was that Derek Trucks is a tough act to follow. God knows I wouldn’t want to get up on stage following his slide guitar playing. Bottom line, Blues Traveler didn’t suck, they were just not as good as I had hoped they would be. A little bit of a let-down, but glad I got to see them and check them off the list.

Here are the setlists from each act.

Derek Trucks Setlist:

(Count M’Butu  on congas for entire show)

  • Volunteered Slavery
  • I’ll Find My Way
  • Crow Jane
  • Sahib Teri Bandi >
  • Maki Madni
  • Leavin’ Trunk
  • I Wish I Knew (with Susan Tedeschi)
  • Kam-ma-lay
  • Joyful Noise
  • Going Down Slow
  • Feel So Bad
  • Gonna Move
  • My Favorite Things

Blues Traveler Setlist:

  • Carolina Blues
  • Back in the Day (with Count M’Butu)
  • Hook (with Count M’Butu)
  • No Woman, No Cry (with Count M’Butu and Derek Trucks)
  • Partner in Crime
  • Nail
  • Thinnest of Air
  • Amber Awaits
  • Stand
  • Manhattan Bridge
  • The Mountains Win Again
  • Run-Around
  • NY Prophesie

Encore:

  • Can’t Win True Love
  • Brother John