Neil Young: 2/6/1983

This was my first time seeing Neil Young, and I was really psyched. Neil was such a huge influence on me as a young guitarist (pun intended). He was performing two shows at the James L. Knight Center in Miami, and I don’t recall why, but I only got a ticket to see him on the second night.

The Knight Center was a great venue in downtown Miami, relatively small and with great acoustics. There was not a bad seat anywhere in the house.

This was a solo tour in support of the Trans album, which had come out the previous year. It was just Neil by himself with various guitars, harmonicas, keyboards, and a banjo. He took his time, selecting what instrument to play, and seemed 100% comfortable on stage. And he played for a long time, not shying away from songs that usually have a full band (“Powderfinger” and “Down by the River” come to mind).

I would go on to see Neil multiple times in the future, including four times with Crazy Horse, but this first time seeing him holds a magical place in my heart.

Here’s the setlist, and may Neil keep on rockin’ for many more years.

Setlist

  • Comes a Time
  • Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  • Down by the River
  • Only Love Can Break Your Heart
  • Soul of a Woman
  • Are There Any More Real Cowboys?
  • Cowgirl in the Sand
  • My Boy
  • Helpless
  • Dance, Dance, Dance
  • Southern Man
  • Don’t Be Denied
  • The Losing End
  • Cortez the Killer
  • Powderfinger
  • Ohio
  • Sail Away
  • After the Gold Rush
  • Transformer Man
  • My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
  • Mr. Soul
  • Sugar Mountain
  • I Am a Child
  • Computer Age

Hot Tuna: 1/24/1988

I’ve seen Hot Tuna a lot of times, so the shows tend to blend together in my memory, but this one stands out. I went with my friend Jon to this one, and Jon was also a huge Tuna fan, so we were pretty psyched.

The Carefree Theatre was an old movie theater in West Palm Beach that opened in 1947 and was converted to become a venue for smaller acts. It was a really cool place for a concert, because every seat was a great seat. That said, we had sixth row, so we were close to the stage.

This was the classic acoustic Hot Tuna duo, with just Jack and Jorma. They played a long time and the crowd was really into it. Great selection of songs, including “Good Shepherd,” which hearkened back to Jack and Jorma’s days with the Jefferson Airplane.

I was able to find a partial setlist on tunabase.com. Sorry I can’t fill in the blanks, but it was over 30 years ago. Rock on!

Set 1:

  • I Know You Rider
  • Hesitation Blues
  • Walkin’ Blues
  • I See The Light
  • Candy Man
  • 99 Year Blues
  • Killing Time In The Crystal City

Set 2:

  • Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning
  • Ice Age
  • Too Many Years
  • Sea Child
  • Trial By Fire
  • San Francisco Bay Blues
  • How Long Blues
  • Good Shepherd
  • I Am The Light Of This World

(missing rest of set)

RatDog: 10/13/1996

After Jerry Garcia’s death on August 9, 1995, Bob Weir’s solo project RatDog, which featured Rob Wasserman on bass, became one of the regular bands for lost Deadheads to flock to. I think this might have been my first RatDog show, since I don’t recall seeing them while Jerry was still alive, but if I discover an older stub, I will certainly amend this post.

The show was originally booked at The Edge, a club in Fort Lauderdale, FL. But the venue was changed to the Sunrise Musical Theatre, presumably because tickets were in such high demand that they needed a larger location.

According to the RadDog website, a band called Low and Sweet Orchestra opened, but I have no recollection of them. In fact, I don’t remember much about this show, although I have an impression of seeing Bobby performing “Bomb’s Away” and “Blackbird” at the Sunrise. This is a common problem when you have seen as many Dead-type shows as I have. They all tend to blend together after a while, and subtle distinctions are lost.

Anyway, here’s the setlist, courtesy of the RadDog site. Rock on!

Setlist:

  • Bombs Away >
  • Salt Lake City
  • City Girls >
  • Eternity
  • Blackbird
  • Desolation Row
  • Tanqueray
  • I Know You Rider
  • Little Red Rooster
  • Minglewood Blues
  • The Winners
  • Cassidy >
  • Bass/Drums >
  • Throwing Stones

Encore:

  • Johnny B. Goode

Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band: 3/27/1999

This was my second time seeing Ringo.  The first time was cool, but this show was light years better.

The lineup for this incarnation of the All-Starr Band was nothing short of mind-blowing.

  • Ringo Starr – drums, vocals
  • Todd Rundgren (from Nazz and Utopia) – guitar, percussion, vocals
  • Gary Brooker (from Procol Harum) – organ, keyboards, vocals
  • Jack Bruce (from Cream) – bass, keyboards, vocals
  • Simon Kirke (from Free and Bad Company) – drums, vocals
  • Timmy Cappello – saxophone, keyboards, harmonica, guitar, vocals

The band opened the show with “It Don’t Come Easy,” which is maybe my favorite Ringo solo song and one that he did not play the first time I saw him. This show also had a nice amount of Beatles tunes woven in. And the songs from the other members—WOW! Todd actually played some Utopia, Simon sang some Bad Co. and a Free song, Gary Brooker sang some classic Procol Harum stuff, including Conquistador, and Jack Bruce belted out several Cream hits. There was absolutely no weak spots anywhere in this show.

Here’s the full setlist. Rock on!

Setlist:

  • It Don’t Come Easy
  • Act Naturally
  • Whisky Train
  • I Saw the Light
  • Sunshine of Your Love
  • Shooting Star
  • Boys
  • Love Me Do
  • Yellow Submarine
  • Conquistador
  • Hammer in My Heart
  • I’m the Greatest
  • No No Song
  • I Feel Free
  • All Right Now
  • I Wanna Be Your Man
  • Bang the Drum All Day
  • White Room
  • A Whiter Shade of Pale
  • Photograph

Encore:

  • You’re Sixteen
  • With a Little Help From My Friends

The Black Crowes and Gov’t Mule: 11/29/1996

I went to this show with my friend Greg, who was also the other guitarist in a band we were in at the time called The DV8s. Greg was a little reluctant to go to this show with me, because Dike Dale was playing the same night at a dumpy little club in Miami. But after some convincing, he agreed to go with me, so we made the drive up to Broward County to see the show at the Sunrise Musical Theatre.

We had no idea that Gov’t Mule was also on the bill. In fact, although I was familiar with Warren Haynes as a guitarist, I had not even heard of this band. But we ran into a friend of mine in the lobby, and he was all stoked about the Mule, and told me it was Warren’s new band. I got excited too. Over the years, I would see Gov’t Mule many times, but this was the first time seeing them.

Anyway, we grabbed our seats and Mule opened the show. They were really really good! Powerful, a lot heavier than what I expected, having only seen Warren with the Allman’s and solo. And you can’t go wrong opening with a Zappa tune.

After a short intermission, The Black Crowes took the stage. They were great, and the crowd was psyched. But there was a moment there when Chris Robinson got pissed and stopped the show. Some asshole in the crowd had a laser pointer and was shining it at the stage, and I guess zapping Chris in the eyes. He stopped mid song and yelled at the unknown light-saber wielding jerk, cursing and making threats. I can’t blame him. The incident did not surprise me, though. South Florida concert fans were notoriously rude.

After the show, Greg was still focused on trying to see Dick Dale. He calculated that if we drove straight to Churchill’s Hideaway in Miami, we could make it in time. I was never one to pass up on some live rock and roll, and I did want to see the King of the Surf Guitar, so we went for it and made a bee-line to Churchill’s. We paid the admission at the door (so no ticket stub) and squeezed in. Dick Dale was great, but SO FUCKING LOUD! I love some loud guitar as much as the next person, but this was actually painful. I considered leaving, but like an idiot, I stayed. I do not exaggerate when I say that my ears were ringing for three days afterwards. I genuinely thought I had permanently damaged my hearing. Maybe I did. But the ringing eventually subsided.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I found the setlists for both Gov’t Mule and the Black Crowes from that night. Here they are. Rock on!

Gov’t Mule Setlist:

  • Pygmy Twylyte
  • Blind Man in the Dark
  • Mother Earth
  • Game Face
  • Birth of the Mule
  • Grinnin’ in Your Face
  • Mule

Black Crowes Setlist:

  • One Mirror Too Many
  • Sting Me
  • Evil Eye
  • High Head Blues
  • Girl From a Pawnshop
  • Wiser Time
  • Ballad In Urgency
  • Hotel Illness
  • Mr. Spaceman
  • Nothing Love Everything
  • Black Moon Jam
  • Black Moon Creeping
  • Big Time
  • Hard To Handle

Encore

  • Sometimes Salvation
  • Twice as Hard

The Who: 8/16/1997

“Quadrophenia” is one of my favorite Who albums, so when I saw they were touring and performing the album in its entirety, I didn’t even hesitate. My friend Jim also wanted to go, so we got the general admission field tickets, which were pretty cheap. We figured we would get there early and snag a decent spot, which was what we did.

Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ was the opening act. I had not seen them before, but I had heard of them. They were good; better than your average opener. But I was definitely stoked to see The Who.

How to describe the energy when the band kicked in to “The Real Me”? Words fail me. John Entwistle was all over that bass with his spider fingers. “The Real Me” was my buddy Jim’s favorite Who song, so he was instantly blown away.

The rest of the show was nothing short of excellent. They played through all of “Quadrophenia” and then returned for an encore which was actually more like a second set. They even tossed in some Who silliness and played a little bit of “It’s a Small World,” conjuring the Disney energy of being in Florida.

But what stands out the most for me about this particular show was the very end… the last note of “Who Are You.” Pete took his guitar and slammed in into the stage. While this was not the wanton guitar destruction of yore, it was the only time I saw Townsend “smash” a guitar on stage. It is one of those iconic rock images that is burned into the collective rock and roll consciousness.

I would see The Who perform Quadrophenia again years later, after Entwistle’s death. That show was great for other reasons, but this one has a warm spot in my heart.

Here is the full setlist. “Long Live Rock!”

Quadrophenia

  • I Am the Sea
  • The Real Me
  • Quadrophenia
  • Cut My Hair
  • The Punk and the Godfather
  • I’m One
  • The Dirty Jobs
  • Helpless Dancer
  • Is It in My Head?
  • I’ve Had Enough
  • 5:15
  • Sea and Sand
  • Drowned
  • Bell Boy
  • Doctor Jimmy
  • The Rock
  • Love, Reign O’er Me

Encore

  • I’m the Face
  • Won’t Get Fooled Again
  • Behind Blue Eyes
  • Substitute
  • I Can’t Explain
  • It’s a Small World ([Disney] cover) (Partial; sung by Roger)
  • The Kids Are Alright
  • Who Are You

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