They Might Be Giants: 9/28/2011

They Might Be Giants is the ultimate nerd band. I first heard them on a college radio station and initially did not know what to make of their music. But I soon became a fan, and their album “Flood” dominated my CD player for a long time in the 90’s. So when my daughter expressed a desire to go see them, I went out and got us tickets, figuring it would be a fun father/daughter night out.

We got to the Orange Peel and found a spot amid the other music geeks. The band opened with “Asheville,” a song they wrote about the city we were in, which was very cool. They continued playing a great show full of quirky songs that made my geek-heart flutter. “Particle Man” and “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” were particularly fun for me. The crowd was psyched, jumping up and down in rhythm to the music. It was just a fun, fun night.

I can’t express just how much time like this mean to me. Live music is such a bonding experience, and sharing this night with my daughter is a memory that I will treasure. If you haven’t listened to this band, I suggest checking them out. They are unique and not like any “popular” music you will have heard before. Here is the setlist from the show.

Setlist:

  • Asheville
  • Can’t Keep Johnny Down
  • We Live in a Dump
  • Canajoharie
  • Judy Is Your Viet Nam
  • Particle Man
  • Meet James Ensor
  • Los Angeles
  • Turn Around
  • Celebration
  • Birdhouse in Your Soul
  • Clap Your Hands
  • Withered Hope
  • Battle for the Planet of the Apes
  • Cloisonné
  • Spoiler Alert
  • lder
  • Don’t Let’s Start
  • Your Racist Friend
  • Alphabet of Nations
  • Old Pine Box
  • Ana Ng
  • When Will You Die
  • The Mesopotamians

Encore:

  • Careful What You Pack
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Encore 2:

  • Lie Still, Little Bottle
  • Nothing’s Gonna Change My Clothes

Donavon Frankenreiter: 11/23/2010

So I knew absolutely nothing about this dude when I bought tickets for this show. In fact, the only reason I bought tickets was our friend Erin was visiting from Miami and my wife and I wanted to take her to a show at the Orange Peel (Asheville’s coolest music venue). This was the only show happening while she was visiting, so we went by default. We were pleasantly surprised.

First off, the artist was giving away free copies of his latest CD to all attendees, which I thought was very cool. Additionally, attendees were given fake moustaches to wear, since Donavon I guess is known for his stache. We all donned our upper-lip wigs and found a spot.

While I did not know any of the songs he played, he sounded good and he was a lot of fun on stage. We all enjoyed ourselves, which is a testament to his performance. We all left the show in a great mood, and I was really happy that our friend got to experience the Asheville music scene.

Not much else to share about this one. Keep on enjoying live music!

Cowboy Junkies: 3/2/2018

Cowboy Junkies are one of those bands that occupy a special place in my past. During the early years of our marriage, my wife and I would listen to them quite a bit. So when I saw they were coming in concert and playing the Diana Wortham Theater (a wonderful, intimate venue), I did not hesitate getting tickets for my wife and I.

I went with our eldest daughter (who was in town for the holidays) to purchase the tickets. Because I was buying well in advance, there were plenty of seats to choose from. I picked first row balcony right in the center, which proved to be amazing seats.

My wife and I got there shortly before showtime, and found our seats. Right next to us was a taper, so we talked with him a bit and he let us know that he would be uploading the show to archive.org. I found the show there, but have not listened to it (yet).

The lights went down and the show started, pretty much right on time. The band sounded great, and the acoustics were so perfect, you could hear everything beautifully. And Margo Timmins’ voice—as lovely as it was 30 years ago.

They played two solid sets and an encore. The songs were interspersed with some great stories. When the show was over, I left feeling uplifted, inspired, and happily nostalgic. Here are the set lists.

Set One:

  • I Don’t Get It
  • ‘Cause Cheap Is How I Feel
  • Mountain Stream
  • Missing Children
  • Southern Rain
  • 3rd Crusade
  • Sun Comes Up, It’s Tuesday Morning
  • Escape Is So Simple
  • We Are The Selfish Ones

Set Two:

  • He Will Call You Baby
  • A Common Disaster
  • 200 More Miles
  • Lay It Down
  • Something More Besides You
  • Black Eyed Man
  • Lungs
  • Misguided Angel
  • I’m So Open
  • Sweet Jane
  • Blue Moon Revisited (Song For Elvis)

Encore:

  • Postcard Blues
  • Good Friday

Pat Benatar: 9/25/1981

Back in 1981, Pat Benatar was definitely one of the top women of rock. Not only did her songs rock, but they were really empowering for young women, which was a great thing in my opinion.

I don’t recall with whom I went to this concert, but I do have a clear memory of her on stage. The first thing that struck me was that she was quite short. For some reason, she seemed taller in the MTV videos. But regardless of stature, she was pure energy on stage. I recall being amazed at the level of power which she projected.

I wish I had more to share about this show. I looked at a few setlists from that tour, and this was pretty much the standard one. As I read it, I recalled “Helter Skelter,” which I had forgotten. It’s great when memories are rekindled.

Rock on!

Setlist (generic from tour):

  • You Better Run
  • Treat Me Right
  • Fire and Ice
  • Out-A-Touch
  • I Need a Lover
  • Promises in the Dark
  • Hit Me With Your Best Shot
  • Hell Is for Children
  • Heartbreaker
  • Precious Time
  • In the Heat of the Night
  • We Live for Love
  • Helter Skelter
  • Just Like Me
  • I’m Gonna Follow You
  • It’s a Tuff Life

Santana: 1/27/2018

This show was on our first full day in Las Vegas. My wife and I had arrived the night before and managed to squeeze in seeing Cher at the Park Theater, but Santana was the show we had tickets for well in advance and we were both really looking forward to seeing Carlos in a small venue.

The House of Blues is located in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, which is on the other side of the Strip from where we were staying. Since we had the entire day to kill, we decided to walk the Strip, stop in to a couple casinos, and take in the sights. We did the Venetian, Caesar’s Palace, the Bellagio, and the MGM. There was no shortage of interesting people-watching. We played some games–won a little and lost a little. We were even informed by some caring individuals that we were all going to Hell.

We got to the Mandalay Bay well before showtime, so we decided to eat at the buffet. What a waste! It was mediocre at best, and certainly not worth the price they were charging. For all the talk about the amazing buffets in Vegas, I’m thinking people must be really drunk when they go there, because honestly, it was pretty weak.

Anyway, after dinner, we walked through the veil of tobacco smoke that hung in the casino and got to the House of Blues. We had general admission tickets, which put us in a small pit at the front, very close to the stage. I could have paid more for seats, but Santana is dancing music, and why spend more to sit farther back when I can be closer and able to dance. It was a no-brainer.

The band came out a little after 8:00 and kicked the show off with “Soul Sacrifice.” A perfect opener, in my humble opinion. Then they went right into “Jingo,” and it was just one great jam after another for the rest of the night. At 70 years old, Carlos looked healthy and his guitar playing was as tasteful as ever. And his band was really tight—three drummers and two singers who also played hand percussion instruments, so the rhythms were incredible.

Even after being on my feet for the entire day, I was totally energized by the music and had no problem dancing for the entire show. What a treat to see Carlos up close in such an intimate setting.

Here is the full setlist.

Setlist:

  • Soul Sacrifice
  • Jingo
  • Evil Ways
  • A Love Supreme
  • Watoto Nyada
  • Primavera
  • Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen
  • Oye Como Va
  • Samba Pa Ti
  • Wishing It Was
  • Taboo
  •  Total Destruction
  •  Then Came You
  • Maria Maria
  • Corazon Espinado
  • Foo Foo
  • Carlos Jam > Cindy Solo
  • Smooth
  • Love, Peace and Happiness
  • For the Highest Good

Ian Anderson: 9/28/2012

I’m a long-time Jethro Tull fan, and grew up listening to Tull, so when I saw that Ian Anderson was coming to town to perform “Thick as a Brick: Parts 1 and 2” in their entirety, there was not even a question of whether I would go or not. I purchased tickets for my wife and I, and began to familiarize myself with the new “Thick as a Brick: Pt 2” that had just been released. It is good, but alas, not as good as the first one—it’s tough to match a masterpiece.

We had good seats, orchestra center, and the venue was nice and intimate. Ian came out with his band and broke right into the classic first album of TaaB. I was basically mesmerized. Ian did not sing the whole time; he had a young singer with him who filled in on the more challenging vocal parts. I thought this was a good move on Ian’s part. I’m pretty sure he suffers from hearing loss and struggles with some of the vocal parts.

But his flute playing, still phenomenal! He was flamboyant and animated every time he raised that flute to his chin. There is no one in the world who rocks the flute like he does.

After part 1, there was an intermission before part 2. During the intermission, there was a humorous shadow performance which served as a Public Service Announcement, encouraging men to get checked for prostate cancer. Something us old rockers gotta do!

Part 2 was great, but again, I love the original TaaB, so it was not quite as moving for me as the first half.

For an encore, they performed “Locomotive Breath.” Perfect song to close the night!

Overall, this was a great show, better in fact than the last time I saw Tull, in my humble opinion. The only thing lacking was it would have been cool if Martin Barre was on guitar (I do love Martin’s playing). But the guitarist Ian had was no slouch. Left totally happy.

Rock on!!

Taylor Hicks: 3/4/2007

For those of you who don’t know, Taylor Hicks won the American Idol competition in 2006. My kids watched the show, so I would watch it too. It was a good family thing. Anyway, I actually thought Hicks was talented, so I was glad that he won.

The following year, Taylor Hicks booked a performance at the Orange Peel in Asheville. It was an all-ages show and my older daughter was dying to go, so my wife and I got tickets for the three of us to attend.

The club was jam packed, and it was standing room only. Unfortunately, my daughter was shorter than most of the people there, so all she was seeing was the backs of those in front of her. But then one of the coolest things happened: the crew invited the younger fans up on the side of the stage where the mixing board was, and let them sit there and watch the show. My daughter was so excited to be up there, watching without obstruction. My wife and I smiled, happy that we lived in such a cool place.

We ended up leaving a little early. It was late and my daughter was getting tired. I was OK with that. I had gone there mainly for her. I feel like I have done my parental duty, exposing my kids to live music.

Rock on!

Joni Mitchell: 5/17/2000

At the time, this was the most expensive concert ticket I had purchased to date; but I have always loved Joni’s music and my wife is a huge Joni Mitchell fan, so I had no qualms about buying tickets for this show and spending a little extra for good seats.

What can I say about this show? She was magical on stage, and even though her voice had the smoky quality to it, she was enchanting for the entire performance. When I picture in my mind’s eye an image of a creative, intelligent, and inspiring woman, it’s someone like Joni Mitchell that I see. She’s a cultural icon who, in my humble opinion, has made a tremendous impact on our society and the world as a whole. Thank you, Joni, for all you do!

I noticed that on Joni’s website she has the setlist from the concert, as well as some great pictures. Please visit the site and enjoy the images. Here is the setlist from the concert. By the way, “Both Sides Now” had me on the verge of tears.

Setlist:

  • Orchestral Overture
  • You’re My Thrill
  • At Last
  • Comes Love
  • You’ve Changed
  • Answer Me, My Love
  • A Case Of You
  • Don’t Go To Strangers
  • Sometimes I’m Happy
  • Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me
  • Stormy Weather
  • I Wish I Were In Love Again
  • Both Sides Now
  • Be Cool
  • Judgement Of The Moon And Stars (Ludwig’s Tune)
  • Hejira
  • For The Roses
  • Trouble Man

Tom Petty: 7/25/1987

When I heard that the great Tom Petty passed away today (10/2/2017), while we were all still reeling from the massacre at the concert in Las Vegas the night before, all I could do was shuffle through some old stubs until I found one from Petty. I saw him a couple times, and he was great each time. This particular show was a triple bill, with Tom Petty, the Georgia Satellites, and the Del Fuegos. I have fuzzy memories of this show, but I recall distinctly how much I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I could not find a setlist online. After 30 years, the details are gone, but I know I was happy with the set.

Tom was a great musician and songwriter. He will be sorely missed. I am certain he has briskly ascended to Rock and Roll Heaven.

RIP Tom!

Santana with Ozomatli: 10/17/1999

Santana is always great in concert, but this concert was especially nice since he had Ozomatli opening, and members of Ozomatli joined Carlos and his band during their set.

My wife and I went to this show with some acquaintances, another couple who we sort of knew but were not really friends with. The concert was at Coral Sky Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, which is your typical amphitheatre. There are seats in the front half and an open field in the back. We had seats, which was nice.

I was not very familiar with Ozomatli at this time, but they came out and totally rocked. I was really impressed with their sound and energy, and during their last song, they all picked up percussion instruments and walked out among the audience, jamming like a conga line. It was the perfect opener for Santana.

Santana was, as I said, amazing. His tone and the clarity of his guitar work are the signs of a musical virtuoso. He played a great mix of his classic music, as well as songs from his then new album, “Supernatural,” which I think is an incredible album and one I was listening to quite a bit at that time. The only down side about this show was the drive home. We lived in Miami at the time, so it was a bit of a long trek back from West Palm.

Anyway, here’s the setlist. Rock and roll!

  • Spiritual / (Da Le) Yaleo / Hannibal (with Ozomatli)
  • Migra (with Ozomatli)
  • Put Your Lights On (with Ozomatli)
  • Santana Sandwich
  • Day of Celebration
  • Victory Is Won
  • Maria Maria (with Ozomatli)
  • Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile)
  • Smooth
  • Bacalao con pan (with Ozomatli)
  • Make Somebody Happy / Get It in Your Soul
  • Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen
  • Oye como va
  • Everybody’s Everything
  • Love of My Life
  • Jin-go-lo-ba