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

Pink Floyd: 11/1/1987

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Yes, I paid $20 to see Pink Floyd, row 38. How times have changed in regard to ticket prices.

When it was announced that Pink Floyd had reunited and would be playing at the Miami Orange Bowl, you can imagine that it was a big deal for concertgoers, even if it was Pink Floyd sans Roger Waters. My brother Mike and I made plans to get tickets and go to the show together. Now, this was back before there was the internet to buy tickets and such, so if you wanted to get tickets, you had to go wait in line outside the record store, which for us was Record Land near the 163rd Street Mall. My brother secured a spot a couple days before the tickets went on sale and we stayed there in shifts, watching as the line grew and grew.

It was the night before the tickets went on sale, and the crowd had swelled exponentially. The line snaked along the sidewalk and I could not see the end, but we were close to the front, so I was psyched, knowing we would get good seats. For the home stretch, it was my brother, his friend Roger, and myself, and we were having fun taking part in the revelry that night. But then it started to rain, that heavy subtropical Miami rain. A torrential downpour. But we were OK because we were under an overhang, so we watched people scrambling and running about in the storm. Now Roger, my brother’s friend, was quite the prankster. One might even say he was a smart-ass. So this poor girl was making a dash to her car and Roger yelled: “Hey! You dropped something!” She stopped in the midst of the deluge and started looking around on the ground. “Where?” she asked. “Right there!” More looking. “Where?” “Right there!” We could not help starting to laugh and she finally realized what was happening. She glared at Roger and said, “You think you’re really fuckin’ funny, huh?” Sadly to say, that only made us laugh more.

Anyway, the next morning we got our tickets. We were going to see the Floyd!

The day of the concert arrived and we went to the Orange Bowl early and got our seat. Unfortunately, we would be paying our karmic debt. It rained, and it rained. So we stood out there with the thousands of others and got drenched while the band played. Thankfully, it was not that cold, and the rain had the bonus of making the lasers all the more visually stunning, as the rain caused the lasers to glimmer like little diamonds that were floating like cosmic stardust within the waves of light. It definitely added to the surreal experience of seeing Pink Floyd.

The show opened with “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” which was great. The band played two sets, performing a nice balance of old classic tunes and new material from the “Momentary Lapse of Reason” album. They ended the show with “Run Like Hell.”

But the adventure did not end when the lights came up. We still had to drive home, and I was the one who had to drive, in the rain, and feeling dazed from the show. So we piled into the car and started out. It was dark, raining hard, and very few streetlights. I was driving carefully when all of a sudden I saw someone standing in the middle of the road, right in front of me! I hit the brakes and skidded to a stop, maybe a foot away from the police officer standing in the middle of the intersection trying to direct traffic. He stepped forward and slammed his fist on the hood of my car, screaming things at me that I could not understand. My heart raced as I sat there. Still, I could not help but wonder at the logic of this officer standing in the middle of the intersection, at night, in the rain, with no flashlight or reflective clothing. I waited, trying to calm my nerves, and then witnessed another vehicle driving on the cross street fly through the intersection and almost hit the cop. The officer literally had to dive out of the way of the vehicle. I really felt scared for the officer, but still wondered why he did not use his flashlight. Finally, he waved us through and I carefully navigated us home without any further incident.

While this was the first time I saw Pink Floyd, it would not be the last. I ended up seeing them two more times, and each time it was an experience. But those are other stubs and other stories, which I will share in the future.

Shine on!

Warren Haynes’ Christmas Jam: 12/12/2015

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Warren Haynes, former guitarist with the Allman Brothers and currently with Gov’t Mule, has been hosting the Christmas Jam in Asheville for 27 years now. The Jam is a benefit concert that raises money for Habitat for Humanity and Warren invites a slew of artists to participate in the marathon event. I’ve been attending this show every year since moving to Asheville, so if my fuzzy math serves me well, that makes 13 years that I have been going to the Jam.

This year’s show sold out fast, boasting a solid lineup. Unfortunately, one of the performers who I was REALLY looking forward to seeing—Joe Bonamassa—had to cancel. In spite of that, it was a great show.

I went with my wife and we met a group of friends (Perry, Philip, Devorah, Mike, and Bob) and we secured a row for ourselves on the left side of the stage, which afforded us a great view.

The show began promptly at 6:45 with Love Canon, a fun bluegrass act who plays bluegrass versions of 80’s pop hits. They played between acts while the crew was setting up and breaking down equipment. After a few songs, Warren came out and played a great acoustic version of George Harrison’s “Give Me Love.”

After Warren, we had an electric set from Hot Tuna, one of my favorite bands. Hot Tuna was formed by Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, the guitarist and bass player from the Jefferson Airplane. They were great, but too short, playing a mere five songs if memory serves me well.

After Hot Tuna, Bruce Hornsby played an acoustic set. It was good, but strange. I had seen Hornsby several times and this was the first time I had seen him that he did not play any piano, playing dulcimer for the entire set. It was not what I expected, but I feel like I got to see something that most people will never have the opportunity to experience.

Next up was the Tedeschi Trucks Band, who were the highlight of the evening in my opinion. They were incredible! The energy was so high and the musicianship was so impressive, I was kind of dumbstruck. If you have never seen this band and have the opportunity, do not pass it up.

Following TTB was Dawes. I was not too familiar with them, but I knew they were somewhat popular. They were OK in my opinion, but not great. They also seemed less interesting following such an outstanding performance. They did a nice version of Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” to close their set, which was fun.

The next act to perform was Blackberry Smoke. Personally, I was not impressed with this band, at all. I know they are very popular, but they were not my thing and their sound was wretched, which did not make things any better. My friend Bill texted me during their performance and called them Black Pickup Exhaust, which caused a chuckle.

It was now getting late in the evening, and the Doobie Brothers took the stage. They opened with “Jesus is Just Alright” and played one hit after another. I loved their show! You knew every song and the crowd was singing along. It was fun and brought back lots of memories for me. The Doobies were huge when I was growing up, and I listened to “Black Water” over and over as a kid. They were a close second to Tedeschi Trucks, in my humble opinion.

The Doobies finished about 1:30 am. Warren’s band was still scheduled to play, but by this time I was tired. Since I have seen Warren more times than I can count, I decided to skip the last set and get some much-needed sleep. I heard it was good, but looking at the set list, I could tell I didn’t miss anything special.

Just to give you all a taste of the Christmas Jam, here is a video that my good friend Robert made: Tedeschi Trucks Band with Warren Haynes joining them on guitar. Enjoy!