Warren Haynes 30th Anniversary Christmas Jam – First Night: 12/7/2018

The Christmas Jam has become a holiday tradition for me. Every year since I moved to Asheville, NC, I have attended the Jam, and it is always great. This year, Warren held the Jam over two nights, which was consistent with the 20th and 25th. I, of course, planned on going both nights.

Ticket purchasing has become a challenge, even in the small city of Asheville. Scalpers and bots scoop up tickets and resell them through TicketMaster and scalper sites like Stub Hub, making it tough for fans to acquire tickets. For that reason, I went down early in the morning to the box office and was first in line. This proved advantageous, since the box office opened the window 5 minutes prior to when TicketMaster opened the online sales. I got reserved seats for both nights, and then found to my dismay that many of my friends who tried to buy online got shut out, all reserved seats gone in less than 2 minutes. The bots strike again! Now for my quick PSA—Scalpers are scum. No matter how much you want to see a show, don’t ever buy from a “verified reseller” for more than face value. As long as you do, these bottom feeders will continue to ruin music for all of us.

OK, stepping down from the soapbox and getting on with the show.

First night I went with my wife and daughter. The lineup was pretty solid. The headliners included:

  • Dark Side of the Mule
  • Grace Potter
  • Mike Gordon
  • Jamey Johnson
  • Marco Benevento

In addition, there were a bunch of guest musicians, including: Audley Freed, Jen Gunderman, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Jimmy Vivino, Kevn Kinney, Mike Barnes, Robert Kearns, Ron Holloway, and Tyler Ramsey. There were others who were not announced. Sorry, but don’t remember them all.

The show went on until after 2:00 am, and I think this was the first time my wife made it to the very end. While the entire show was great, Dark Side of the Mule was by far the highlight. Gov’t Mule performed a long Pink Floyd set, complete with lasers and an incredible light show. It was a great way to end a marathon night of music.

The only negative about this night was Jamey Johnson. He was good, and I liked the music he played, but he was painfully loud. Now I am not one to shy away from loud music, so if I consider a band to be too loud, they are probably too loud. He obviously missed the memo that when playing country music, you do not need to turn the amps up to 11. Leave that setting for Spinal Tap.

I could not find all the setlists, but I found a few. I will add others if I find them. Also, I’m including a few pictures that I snapped. And for those who are interested, here is a video of Dark Side of the Mule, with the full on lasers.

Rock on, and check back soon for my post on the second night.

Setlists:

Marco Benevento

  • The Story Of Fred Short (Intro) >
  • Seven Twenty Two >
  • Walking With Tyrone
  • Live A Certain Life
  • Stay In Line
  • I Can’t See The Light >
  • Follow The Arrow
  • Band Introductions/Banter
  • Greenpoint
  • Pepper

Mike Gordon

  • Say Something
  • Whirlwind
  • Peel
  • Victim > Sweet Emotion
  • Pendulum
  • Wild and Blue
  • Do You Still Drink About Me
  • Crazy Sometimes

Grace Potter

  • Gold Dust Woman (w Warren Haynes and Jim James)
  • Medicine
  • Empty Heart
  • Not Fade Away > Stars
  • The Lion the Beast the Beat
  • Paris (Ooh La La)
  • I Shall Be Released

Dark Side of the Mule:

  • Pigs on the Wing 2
  • Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)
  • Have a Cigar
  • Breathe
  • On the Run
  • Time
  • Breathe (Reprise)
  • The Great Gig in the Sky
  • Money
  • Us and Them
  • (with Jim James on lead vocals)
  • Any Colour You Like
  • Welcome to the Machine
  • One of These Days
  • Fearless
  • Echoes, Part 1
  • Comfortably Numb

Encore:

  • Wish You Were Here

 

Warren kicking off the show

 

Mike Gordon
Grace Potter
Dark Side of the Mule

REO Speedwagon, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, and The Godz: 6/10/1978

ReoRainbow_6-10-78

This is one of my earliest ticket stubs, possibly my oldest. I was very young when I went to this show and it was pretty crazy.

My mom drove my friends and me to the Suffolk Forum in Commack, Long Island, NY. We got there early and waited in line since it was general admission. I was with two of my friends: Tommy and Schnook. We went in and found seats in the stands for the first act, The Godz.

The Godz may be the archetype for bad 70’s hard rock. Years later, when I saw the film “This is Spinal Tap,” the mock metal band featured in the film reminded me of The Godz. They were so bad and so cheesy that they were actually good, if that makes any sense. I still have a vinyl copy of The Godz’s album, if you can believe that.

Next up was Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. This was actually the band I was interested in seeing and the reason I went to this concert. At a young age, I was a big Deep Purple fan, so seeing the legendary guitarist’s new band was huge for me. At this time, Ronnie James Dio was the lead singer for Rainbow. Dio later went on to sing with Black Sabbath and after that he had a successful solo career.

My friends and I decided to go down onto the floor for Rainbow. It was insane, but we managed to get fairly close to the stage. Toward the middle of the set, Ritchie Blackmore took hold of the body of his Stratocaster and started smashing the neck of the guitar against the edge of the amplifier stacks. Soon pieces of guitar neck were sailing out into the crowd. Then, a piece flew toward us. I watched as the piece of guitar travelled through the air in slow motion and landed right in Schnook’s outstretched hand. He looked at me with a huge smile on his face, which lasted just a moment. Immediately, a fist came out of nowhere and punched Schnook in the face, and his rock and roll prize was snatched from his hand. We went back to the stands and Tommy and I watched as Schnook’s eye blackened and swelled shut. He told me that he actually saw stars when the guy punched him. I felt bad for him.

REO Speedwagon played next. I can’t tell you much about them other than they were OK. But I kept wondering why Ritchie Blackmore was opening for this band, which I had never heard of before. Of course, a few years later, REO would become super popular.

I learned an important lesson that day—concert’s were dangerous and if something sails into the audience from the stage, best to move out of the way.

Rock on!