Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros: 7/24/2021

Yes! Live music is here again. This marks my first concert since Patti Smith at the Fillmore in March of 2020.

Earlier this week I was having breakfast with my wife, and she was reading the newspaper and asked me, “Did you know that Bob Weir is playing this weekend in Berkeley? Says tickets are $75.” I said I wasn’t aware and asked if she wanted to go with me, and she said yes, so I promptly went online and ordered two tickets to pick up at will call. Being a long-time Grateful Dead fan, it seemed appropriate that this would be my first post-pandemic concert. And I was particularly excited to go to the Greek Theatre. This is one of those legendary concert venues, so that just made the event all the more special.

When I ordered the tickets, I was notified about Covid restrictions. All concert attendees must present either proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test. I had been procrastinating getting my official “Covid Passport” through the State of California, even though I am vaccinated. So I got that, and had a picture of my vaccine card on my phone, just in case.

Berkeley is a good hour’s drive for us, so we left early, since it was a general admission show, we had to deal with will call, and we wanted to grab some dinner before the concert. We got there and there were lines of Deadheads extending from both the north and south gates, two hours before show time. I wasn’t really worried, though. We went and got the tickets easily enough, then walked about a half a mile to a Mexican restaurant called Celia’s. The service was quick and the food was good. My wife and I both had combo fajitas.

After dinner, we went and got in line. Gates were open at this time, and entry was seamless. We did have to show our vaccine record, but that was easy and in no time, we were in the Greek. I have to say, just the stage itself was impressive.

The show started at just a few minutes past 7:00, and they opened with “Not Fade Away,” a Crickets’ cover which was a standard Dead song but I had never seen it played as an opener. The band sounded really good, and we particularly liked the horn and string ensemble that was supporting them.

About halfway through the first set, Bobby announced that a guest would be joining them for a song, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. For those of you who are not familiar, Ramblin’ Jack is an American country/folk icon. At 89, it is amazing that he was able to join the band on stage. They performed a cool version of “Mule Skinner Blues,” which I really enjoyed.

While the rest of the first set was solid, I have the say that the second set was amazing. It was like Bobby was playing to the fans, connected on a spiritual level, and each song seemed to have some poignant meaning. The lights were amazing, and we were on our feet dancing almost the entire show.

If I had to pick a high point, I would have to go with “Standing on the Moon.” I love that song, and they did it so beautifully, I felt truly moved.

The show concluded with “Ripple” as an encore, segueing into a reprise of “Not Fade Away,” bringing the musical experience full circle.

Again, I cannot emphasize enough how much I have missed going to live music performances. I’m glad they are back.

Here is the full setlist from the show. Stay safe, and rock on!

Set 1:

  • Not Fade Away >
  • Cassidy
  • She Says
  • Friend of the Devil
  • Black-Throated Wind
  • Tennessee Jed
  • Mule Skinner Blues (with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott)
  • Weather Report Suite >
  • Let It Grow

Set 2 :

  • You Win Again >
  • Scarlet Begonias >
  • Playing in the Band (with ‘So What’ by Miles Davis snippet) >
  • Uncle John’s Band >
  • Playing in the Band (reprise) >
  • Estimated Prophet >
  • The Other One (with ‘So What’ by Miles Davis snippet)
  • Standing on the Moon
  • One More Saturday Night

Encore:

  • Ripple >
  • Not Fade Away (reprise)

Crosby and Nash: 9/30/2007

I recently watched the David Crosby documentary, which was sad because it showed how messed up he was and how he burned bridges and lost all his musical friends. I did get to see Crosby, Stills and Nash before this show, but I don’t have a stub (it was an outside festival gig and I just payed my admission at the gate).

I went with my wife to this concert and we saw friends of ours there, which was nice, even if we were not sitting together.

The show was very good, and David and Graham harmonized beautifully together. The selection of songs was also great, spanning their long career together. As I reflect back on this show, I again feel sad knowing that these two will never perform together again, that the animosity is too great to overcome. But at least we have the wealth of music they created together.

Here is the setlist, and thanks David and Graham for the great music that you brought to us through the years.

Set 1:

  • Military Madness
  • Marrakesh Express
  • Long Time Gone
  • Lay Me Down
  • Immigration Man
  • In My Dreams
  • I Used to Be a King
  • Carry Me
  • Cathedral
  • Déjà Vu

Set 2:

  • Guinnevere
  • Milky Way Tonight
  • Just a Song Before I Go
  • Naked in the Rain
  • Wasted on the Way
  • Jesus of Rio
  • To the Last Whale…A. Critical Mass B. Wind on the Water
  • Almost Cut My Hair
  • Wooden Ships

Encore:

  • Our House
  • Teach Your Children

Neil Young and the International Harvesters: 9/15/1985

I remember this performance clearly; the only thing I don’t remember about this concert was who I went with. Obviously, I was focused on Neil.

The International Harvesters were a country band backing up Neil on this tour, which was cool because they played a lot of acoustic tunes that went over really well, such as “Heart of Gold,” “Old Man” and “Helpless.” And even the more intense Crazy Horse tunes, like “Down by the River” and “Powderfinger” actually sounded really good with the country flavor.

I am a huge Neil Young fan and would see him multiple times after this with Crazy Horse, but I have to confess that it was very cool seeing him with this configuration. There is something about Neil’s country-style music that just soothes my soul.

Here is the setlist. Long may Mr. Young keep playing music for us.

Setlist:

  • Country Home
  • Comes a Time
  • Lookin’ for a Love
  • Heart of Gold
  • This Old House
  • Southern Pacific
  • Interstate
  • Sugar Mountain
  • Helpless
  • California Sunset
  • Nothing Is Perfect
  • Field of Opportunity
  • Down by the River
  • Old Man
  • Powderfinger

Encore:

  • Get Back to the Country
  • Grey Riders

Alice Cooper and Vinnie Vincent Invasion: 12/31/1986

I had basically seen this exact same show three days earlier at the West Palm Beach Auditorium, but I could not pass up a chance to see the Coop again, especially on New Year’s Eve.

I went with a woman I was dating at the time, Christine, and I painted my face up as Alice. Figured I would get my full fan-boy on. I knew a lot of people who were going this night, including my brother and our friend Jon.

Vinnie Vincent was kind of a joke the second time around. I literally burst out laughing at one point when he did his best Karate Kid kick and knocked over the same dummy amp from the other night. Oh well, at least he tried.

During intermission, Christine and I went and met up with my brother and Jon in the lobby area. Now there was this one section in the lobby where some stairs were above, and the headroom as not that high. A basketball player would have to duck, for sure. Well, we were hanging out there, and Jon decided to have a little fun with some inebriated headbangers. “Hey,” Jon said, “I bet you can’t jump high enough to touch the ceiling there with your head.” They would not walk away from a dare, and proceeded to jump up and down, clonking their heads on the cement above them. It was humorous, and I suspect they woke with a splitting headache the following morning.

After a long intermission, Alice took the stage. The show was exactly the same as the WPB show, which, if I am being honest, I had hoped he would have at least thrown one or two treats in there for NYE, but still, it was a great show, even if it was the same.

Here is the setlist, in case you missed it from my last post. Rock on!

Setlist:

  • Welcome to My Nightmare
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Be My Lover
  • I’m Eighteen
  • The World Needs Guts
  • Give It Up
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Go to Hell
  • Ballad of Dwight Fry
  • Teenage Frankenstein
  • Sick Things
  • I Love the Dead
  • School’s Out

Encore:

  • Elected
  • Under My Wheels

Alice Cooper and Vinnie Vincent Invasion: 12/28/1986

This stub is from Alice’s “The Nightmare Returns” tour. My memory of this show is a little spotty, mainly because I would see the same show again a few days afterwards on New Year’s Eve (that stub and memory to come soon). I can’t remember with whom I went to this show, but I have some recollections about the performances.

The Vinnie Vincent Invasion opened the show. Vincent was the guitarist for KISS prior to striking out on this solo venture. They were very much an embodiment of 80’s glam metal, and mildly entertaining. But I had to chuckle to myself, because at the end of the set, Vincent kicked over one of his amplifiers, but since I was close to the stage I noticed there were no cords or wires connected to it, and it did not seem to have speakers inside the cabinet, so I deduced it was a dummy amp (my assumption was confirmed on NYE when he kicked over the same “amp”). Anyway, not the best opening act I had seen, but not the worst either.

After a break, the Coop took the stage, opening with “Welcome to My Nightmare,” a great opener and right up there with “Hello Hurray,” which in my humble opinion is the best opening song ever.

Anyway, the rest of the show was all killer and no filler, as is evident from the setlist below. Rock on, and be sure to check back soon for my memories of the New Year’s show.

Setlist:

  • Welcome to My Nightmare
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Be My Lover
  • I’m Eighteen
  • The World Needs Guts
  • Give It Up
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Go to Hell
  • Ballad of Dwight Fry
  • Teenage Frankenstein
  • Sick Things
  • I Love the Dead
  • School’s Out

Encore:

  • Elected
  • Under My Wheels

Cheap Trick: 10/28/1984

It’s been a long time since I posted. Life has gotten in the way. It happens. But here we go.

I think this was the first time that I saw Cheap Trick in concert. I know the first time I saw them was at the Sunrise Musical Theatre, and I am pretty sure I only saw them there once, but memories get foggier the father back you go.

Anyway, if this is indeed the concert I was thinking about, I went with my friend Jim who was a big Cheap Trick fan. He was telling me about the plethora of guitar picks that Rick Nielsen would toss into the crowd, and some of the other rock and roll antics. And they did not disappoint in this area. I was amazed at how far Nielsen could flick a pick. And yes, when they played “Surrender” as an encore, they sailed a KISS record out into the crowd too!

I looked online and the following is an average setlist from 1984. It seems to be about right from what I remember. Rock on!

  • Hello There
  • California Man
  • Reach Out
  • I Want You to Want Me
  • I Want Be Man
  • The Ballad of T.V. Violence (I’m Not the Only Boy)
  • If You Want My Love
  • Baby Loves to Rock
  • Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
  • I Can’t Take It
  • Up the Creek
  • Dream Police
  • She’s Tight
  • Stop This Game
  • Surrender

Jethro Tull: 11/17/1993

So I have to confess that this concert was a little disappointing. I am a big Jethro Tull fan, and the first time I saw them they were AWESOME. For this reason, I had very high expectations, especially seeing them in a smaller venue like the Sunrise Musical Theatre, as opposed to an arena like when I first saw Tull.

My wife and I went to this show with my friend Stewart and his girlfriend. We had fairly good seats, although there were no bad seats in the Sunrise.

I was pumped when Tull took the stage, but my excitement waned, and then I found myself thinking that I should be enjoying the show much more than I was, and finally realizing that they were just dragging through the performance. The contrast to seeing Jethro Tull in the 70’s was stark. As I watched them plod through their songs, I was forced to remember a scathing review I had read about the band in a rock magazine, where the writer referred to them as “Jethro Dull.” Sadly, that about summed up this concert for me.

Stewart seemed to have enjoyed the show, so I played along and said I thought it was good. I didn’t want to spoil someone else’s musical experience. And honestly, there were a couple songs that got me pumped, particularly “Living in the Past” and “The Whistler.” But mostly, it was weak. Even “Locomotive Breath” lacked steam.

Anyway, that’s the thing with a live performance—sometimes it’s great, and sometimes not so much. Here’s the setlist…

Setlist:

  • My Sunday Feeling
  • For a Thousand Mothers
  • Living in the Past
  • Bourrée in E minor
  • So Much Trouble
  • With You There to Help Me
  • The Whistler
  • Farm on the Freeway
  • Thick as a Brick
  • Sossity; You’re a Woman / Reasons for Waiting
  • Songs From the Wood / Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll, Too Young to Die / Heavy Horses / Songs From the Wood
  • Later, That Same Evening
  • Budapest
  • Andy Gidding’s Parrot
  • Passion Jig / Seal Driver
  • A New Day Yesterday
  • Aqualung
  • Locomotive Breath

Encore:

  • Cross-Eyed Mary
  • Dharma for One

Wilco: 4/21/2009

The first time I heard Wilco was when someone turned me on to their collaboration with Billy Bragg, which is an amazing album (check it out if you are not familiar). After that, I began to explore more of Wilco’s music and gained a deep appreciation for them. Since I had not seen them before, my wife and I jumped at the opportunity to see them at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, an intimate venue.

There really isn’t a whole lot to talk about with this show. Wilco was amazing, and I had a wonderful evening with my wife. Sometimes just enjoying live music with someone you love is all you need.

Here’s the setlist.

Setlist:

  • Sunken Treasure
  • Remember the Mountain Bed
  • You Are My Face
  • I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
  • Pot Kettle Black
  • Handshake Drugs
  • She’s a Jar
  • Impossible Germany
  • At My Window Sad and Lonely
  • Forget the Flowers
  • Jesus, Etc.
  • I’m Always in Love
  • A Shot in the Arm
  • Box Full of Letters
  • Heavy Metal Drummer
  • Hummingbird (with Lilac Rain – vocals)

Encore:

  • The Late Greats
  • Candyfloss
  • Hate It Here
  • Walken
  • I’m the Man Who Loves You

Encore 2:

  • Misunderstood
  • Hoodoo Voodoo
  • I’m a Wheel

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

Blue Oyster Cult, Foghat, and Whitford/St. Holmes: 10/9/1981

Here is why it was so cool growing up in the 70s and 80s. A great triple bill for a whopping $9.00! Even though I had seen Blue Oyster Cult earlier in 1981 with Heart, I could not pass up on this one.

First to play was Whitford/St. Holmes, a band comprised of Brad Whitford from Aerosmith and Derek St. Holmes from Ted Nugent’s band. This was one of those moments in rock history, where I had the chance to see a band that really was not around very long, but was very cool.

Next up was Foghat, and if memory serves me well, this was the first time I saw them. I admit I was into Foghat as a teenager, so seeing them live was a big deal for me (I would see them more times than I care to admit afterwards). They played a short, tight set that included all their hits, and the generally intolerant Sportatorium crowd was appreciative.

Then came BOC. As always, they were nothing short of excellent. This was the Fire of Unknown Origin tour, which was definitely a high point in the band’s career. I have some distinct memories from this performance, like the amazing version of “Godzilla” and “Roadhouse Blues” for the encore, at the end of which Buck Dharma systematically popped his guitar strings one by one during the closing solo, grasping and tearing the last string as the final note decayed. It was rock and roll at its finest.

So as I was researching this show online and I found the setlists for Foghat and BOC, I discovered something ultra-cool. It seems that “The Red &The Black”, “Joan Crawford”, “Burnin’ For You”, “Godzilla”, “Veterans of the Psychic Wars” and “E.T.I (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)” were all recorded at this show and released on the Extraterrestrial Live album (here is track list on Wikipedia). Once this Shelter-in-Place restriction is lifted, I will definitely be scouring the record stores to get a copy of this.

Anyway, here are the setlists. Rock on!

Foghat Setlist:

  • Stone Blue
  • My Babe
  • Eight Days on the Road
  • Wide Boy
  • Fool for the City
  • Third Time Lucky (First Time I Was a Fool)
  • Honey Hush
  • Live Now Pay Later
  • Slow Ride
  • I Just Want to Make Love to You

Blue Oyster Cult Setlist:

  • The Red & the Black
  • E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)
  • Joan Crawford
  • Burnin’ for You
  • Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll
  • Veteran of the Psychic Wars
  • ME 262
  • Godzilla
  • Born to Be Wild

Encore:

  • (Don’t Fear) The Reaper
  • Roadhouse Blues