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

Dweezil Zappa: 10/31/2018

I had seen Dweezil a couple times before, and I had seen his dad, Frank Zappa. Which was why the last few times he came to town, I opted to pass. But this time—Halloween Night! That was something I could not pass up on.

I had bought tickets for me and my friend Dan to go. The Diana Wortham Theatre is a very small venue, so I bought tickets way in advance. We had good seats, second row balcony center, which affords a great view of the stage and excellent sound.

Halloween rolls around, and I get a text from Dan that he is at the hospital with his mom and not sure if he will be able to make it. Of course, I told him no worries, take care of what you need to do. Thankfully, his mom was alright and released after a few hours, so Dan texted me that he was still in and we would meet up before the show.

Since it was Halloween, I sported my Captain Kirk costume. Most of the crowd was also in costume, which added to the general freakiness. We got our seats, chatted for a bit, and then the lights went down and the band took the stage. All the band members except Dweezil were in costume, which was fun. They definitely were having a blast on stage, hamming it up, and of course, playing some incredible music. They played a loooooong time, a solid three hours. And the song selection was definitely worthy of the “Choice Cuts” tour name. They really dug deep into Frank’s vast musical repertoire. Definitely got my money’s worth.

Here’s a few pictures from the show, along with the setlist.

Setlist:

  • The Purple Lagoon (Intro)
  • Andy
  • Honey, Don’t You Want a Man Like Me?
  • Fifty-Fifty
  • Call Any Vegetable
  • Tell Me You Love Me
  • Absolutely Free
  • T’Mershi Duween
  • Dog Breath
  • Dog Meat
  • Sleep Napkins
  • The Black Page Drum Solo
  • The Black Page
  • Halloween – Movie Theme Music (John Carpenter cover)
  • The Torture Never Stops
  • Valley Girl
  • Pygmy Twylyte
  • King Kong
  • Suzy Creamcheese
  • Cocaine Decisions
  • Drowning Witch
  • Sleeping in a Jar
  • Florentine Pogen
  • Zoot Allures
  • Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow
  • Uncle Remus
  • This Town Is a Sealed Tuna Sandwich
  • Keep It Greasey
  • Joe’s Garage

Encore:

  • Oh, In the Sky
  • Cheepnis
  • Return of the Son of Orange County
  • Funky OC
  • Trouble Every Day

Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians: 3/23/1991

Edie Brickell was one of those artists that I liked right off the bat. She had that cool hippie chic vibe, and her guitarist was obviously influenced by Jerry Garcia. So I jumped at the opportunity to see her and her band at the Button South, which was one of the better music clubs in South Florida at the time.

There is not much to say about this show, other than it was really, really good. Edie’s vocals were so sweet, and the band was tight and energetic. They also tossed in some cool cover tunes by Bob Dylan and David Bowie. I guess if you are going to pick artists to cover, those are solid choices.

Which I had more to share, but it was just a good, fun concert, and I was glad that I got to see them in their prime.

Here’s the setlist.

Setlist:

  • Woyaho
  • Mama Help Me
  • Little Miss S.
  • Nothing
  • Carmelito
  • Strings of Love
  • Picture Perfect Morning
  • Do It Again
  • He Said
  • Jackrabbit
  • Stwisted
  • Oak Cliff Bra
  • Air of December
  • What I Am
  • A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
  • Forgiven
  • This Eye
  • Circle
  • Moonage Daydream

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: 9/10/1985

Springsteen on the Born in the U.S.A. tour. He was definitely one of the top touring acts in 1985. I had not seen Bruce but had heard about his epic concerts, so I figured I had to go and check him out. He lived up to the hype, that’s for sure.

I went to this show with my concert buddy Jim. He drove, and we parked in some sketchy lot near the Miami Orange Bowl, then made our way to the stadium. At this time, I was already losing interest in stadium shows. Shitty acoustics, too many people, risk of bad weather, there are myriad reasons to avoid stadium shows. But there was no other place that could hold the crowd that Springsteen would draw, so the Orange Bowl it was. At least we had decent seats.

Not surprising, he opened the show with “Born in the U.S.A.” It was a great anthem song to kick things off, and I was kind of glad he got it out of the way early. Not that it is a bad song, it was just way overplayed on the radio in those days. Then he tore right into “Badlands,” which was cool.

Miami in September can be brutally hot, and Bruce is known to sweat a lot during his performances. Anyway, the band had tubing set up on the stage that blasted a steady stream of cool air onto the musicians. I was somewhat impressed with this, and assumed that they were enjoying some air conditioning while still playing outside.

As was expected, the band played a long time (I want to say it was about 4 hours). They did two solid sets, and an encore that was so long, it was essentially a third set in my opinion. I have to say, after seeing Bruce live, I had a whole new level of appreciation for him as a musician. The man can rock. Period.

After the show, Jim and I started looking for the car. Unfortunately, we had forgotten where we parked, and as we wandered the dark and seedy streets of downtown Miami in the 80’s, I was somewhat concerned. But thankfully, we had no issues, and after almost an hour, we stumbled upon the lot where Jim’s car was parked.

Here is the setlist.

Set 1:

  • Born in the U.S.A.
  • Badlands
  • Out in the Street
  • Johnny 99
  • Seeds
  • Darkness on the Edge of Town
  • The River
  • Working on the Highway
  • Trapped
  • Darlington County
  • Glory Days
  • The Promised Land
  • My Hometown
  • Thunder Road

Set 2:

  • Cover Me
  • Dancing in the Dark
  • Hungry Heart
  • Cadillac Ranch
  • No Surrender
  • I’m on Fire
  • Pink Cadillac
  • Bobby Jean

Encore:

  • Can’t Help Falling in Love
  • Born to Run
  • Ramrod
  • Twist and Shout
  • Do You Love Me?
  • Stand on It

Bob Dylan and Paul Simon: 9/2/1999

I had seen both of these musical icons before this show, but it was impossible for a music fanatic like me to pass up the opportunity to see them both together.

I got tickets for my wife and I to go to the show, and we made the long drive from Miami up to Coral Sky Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach. We had lawn “seats,” so we were pretty far back. But that was fine. Like I said, I’d seen them both before and didn’t feel the need to be up close.

The details of this show are a little hazy. I have impressions of each of them performing, and I vividly remember the two of them performing together at during Dylan’s encore. I’m pretty sure that Paul Simon played first. Since the two played together during Dylan’s encore, it seems to support my recollection. Also, my wife agrees that she remembers Paul Simon playing first. I know for certain that I enjoyed the show, and thought that both artists played well.

Here are each of their setlists.

Paul Simon Setlist:

  • Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • Can’t Run But
  • The Boy in the Bubble
  • The Coast
  • Trailways Bus
  • Mrs. Robinson
  • Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
  • Further to Fly
  • Graceland
  • The Cool, Cool River
  • Slip Slidin’ Away
  • Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
  • You Can Call Me Al

Encore:

  • Late in the Evening
  • Still Crazy After All These Years

Encore 2:

  • Proof
  • The Sound of Silence

Bob Dylan Setlist:

  • Somebody Touched Me
  • My Back Pages
  • Masters of War
  • Love Minus Zero/No Limit
  • Tangled Up in Blue
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Just Like a Woman
  • Silvio
  • The Heart That You Own
  • Highway 61 Revisited

Encore:

  • Like a Rolling Stone
  • It Ain’t Me, Babe
  • The Boxer (with Paul Simon)
  • That’ll Be the Day / The Wanderer (with Paul Simon)
  • Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (with Paul Simon)

Julian Lennon: 4/2/1985

Julian Lennon had a brief moment in the sun in the mid 1980’s. He had some videos on MTV, and of course, he had a somewhat famous dad. His music was pretty good, but a little on the poppy side for my personal tastes. That said, when he booked a couple of shows nearby, I decided go and check one out, figuring he would likely do a couple of his dad’s songs too.

I went with my girlfriend, and we had decent seats. The Sunrise was a nice small venue, so anywhere you sat was good, but we were fairly close to the stage on the side.

The show was pretty much what I had expected. He focused on his own material, but then tossed in a Beatles song as well as a couple other covers at the end that John would have approved of. In fact, John had also recorded a great cover version of “Stand By Me.”

While definitely not the greatest show I had seen, it was enjoyable and I am glad that I got to see him. Here’s the setlist.

Setlist:

  • Well I Don’t Know
  • O.K. for You
  • On the Phone
  • Lonely
  • Say You’re Wrong
  • Let Me Be
  • Valotte
  • Jesse
  • Space
  • Big Mama
  • Too Late for Goodbyes
  • Stand by Me
  • Day Tripper
  • Slippin’ and Slidin’

The Beach Boys: 5/9/1981

Growing up, The Beach Boys held a key slot on my summer soundtracks. During pool parties, hanging at the beach, it was typical to hear Beach Boys’ tunes rippling over the sounds of splashing and summer fun. So when my friend Jim called me up and said he bought me a ticket to go with him to see the band, I was pretty psyched.

We were in the back row of the lower level at the Sunrise Musical Theatre, which was perfect because we were on our feet, rockin’ and partying and having a blast, unlike the rest of the crowd who were significantly older and more reserved than we were. I would occasionally catch a surreptitious glance from a person nearby, but didn’t care all that much until security showed up and politely asked us to dial thing back a bit. So we did, but still stayed on our feet and had a great time.

I wasn’t able to find the setlist from this particular show, but I found one from the same tour, and it seems consistent with what I remember, so here it is.

Setlist from 1981 tour:

  • California Girls
  • Sloop John B
  • Do It Again
  • School Days
  • In My Room
  • Surfin’
  • Surfin’ Safari
  • Catch a Wave
  • Surfer Girl
  • Long Tall Texan
  • Lady Lynda
  • God Only Knows
  • Don’t Worry Baby
  • 409
  • Shut Down
  • The Little Old Lady From Pasadena
  • Little Deuce Coupe
  • Sail On, Sailor
  • Help Me, Rhonda
  • Be True to Your School
  • Wouldn’t It Be Nice
  • Rock and Roll Music
  • I Get Around
  • Surfin’ U.S.A.

Encore:

  • Good Vibrations
  • Barbara Ann
  • Back in the U.S.S.R.
  • Fun, Fun, Fun

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

Rolling Stones: 11/15/1989

This was the first of two nights that the Stones were performing at the Orange Bowl in Miami, and I had tickets to both shows. Living Colour was opening for both shows, so I was really psyched. I really liked Living Colour a lot, so was pumped to see them, almost as much so as I was to see the Stones again.

This particular tour was the Steel Wheels tour. There was a lot of criticism about the band’s age, and the jokes that were going around were referring to it as the “Steel Wheelchairs Tour,” or the “Steal Your Dollars Tour.” The irony is the face value of the ticket was still only $29.50. Try seeing the Stones or anyone for that price anymore.

For this first night, we had amazing seats—13th row! We got there early, engaged in some pre-show festivities, then got our seats. Actually, being a little bit back was perfect. Any closer to the massive stage and it would have been difficult to see.

Living Colour came out first and kicked ass! Vernon Reid was incredible on the guitar, I almost felt like giving up as a guitarist. The energy was so high, I remember thinking after their set: “I’ve seen the Stones before, and I’m not sure they will be able to top this.” Thankfully, I was mistaken.

After a long break, the Stones took the stage and launched in to “Start Me Up.” Perfect opener! After that they went right into “Bitch,” and it was nothing but awesome rock and roll for the rest of the night. When they finished, I marveled at how great they sounded, and how much better they were than when I saw them back in 1981. There were so many great moments, I can’t pick out any high points, though I will say that “Dead Flowers,” “2000 Light Years From Home“ and “Happy” were most welcome surprises.

Here is the full setlist. Check back soon for my thoughts on the second night (hint – some different songs).

Setlist:

  • Start Me Up
  • Bitch
  • Sad Sad Sad
  • Undercover of the Night
  • One Hit (To the Body)
  • Tumbling Dice
  • Miss You
  • Ruby Tuesday
  • Play With Fire
  • Dead Flowers
  • Rock and a Hard Place
  • Mixed Emotions
  • Honky Tonk Women
  • Midnight Rambler
  • You Can’t Always Get What You Want
  • Before They Make Me Run (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