Hole: 5/4/1999

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I have to say that seeing Hole live gave me a real appreciation for Courtney Love’s insanity. I remember thinking that I was really glad I got to see them, because I couldn’t imagine the band holding together much longer. While they were great—and yes, they were great—you could sense things starting to come apart at the seams.

I had originally had tickets to see Hole with Marilyn Manson, but Hole canceled because Courtney and Marilyn got into some kind of nasty tiff. So when they rescheduled as a headline, we grabbed some tickets.

I went with my wife and a couple of our friends, Erin and Jim. We had pretty decent seats. Can’t tell you anything about the opening act (they were forgettable), but I do remember the painfully long wait before Hole came out. They said it was because Courtney’s flight was delayed, a not uncommon occurrence, but when she finally staggered out on stage, obviously stoned out of her mind, I had my doubts.

Despite being clearly wasted, belligerent, and obnoxious, they really were great. The energy level was high, the band was rockin’, and it was only the moments between songs when Courtney ranted about how she just played some huge festival and was now playing this little place, blah blah, that she became annoying.

One thing she did that was amusing was she gave her guitar to a young woman in the front. Not sure what became of that, whether she got to keep it or some roadie came and collected it later. Regardless, it was entertaining.

Ya know, stars burn their brightest just before they fizzle out. Hole definitely fizzled after this tour, and Courtney struggled with addiction and recovery. I’m really glad I got to see them when I did. I felt like they had just reached the top of the rollercoaster, and then began the plummet.

“It’s better to burn out, than to fade away…” – Neil Young

Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard of Ozz: 9/11-12/1981

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I decided to put both of these stubs into one post, mainly because the distinction between the two shows is not that clear for me. But the overall experience is still vivid.

I went both nights with my friend Jim. I was pretty psyched. I’d always loved Black Sabbath and now Ozzy was back with a hot young guitarist, Randy Rhoads. The Blizzard of Ozz tour was Ozzy’s first solo tour since leaving Black Sabbath, and they also had a great up-and-coming opening act: Def Leppard. So for less than $10 a ticket, I was definitely going to catch both nights.

Def Leppard was great as an opener. They were young and energetic, and this was pre-Pyromania so they had not started down the mainstream road yet.

Ozzy was incredible! The first night we stayed in our seats, but the second night we went up front along with all the head-banging crazies. And Randy Rhoads was mind-blowing on the guitar. I remember leaving the concert, ears ringing, and thinking that they were as good if not better than when I had seen Black Sabbath.

Unfortunately, Randy Rhoads would die tragically way too soon.

Thanks to Wikipedia, I was able to get the setlist from this show. It was the same both nights, but that was not a problem. Hell, I’d pay to see the same set again today. Anyway, here’s the setlist.

“O Fortuna” (Carl Orff – Audio Introduction)

  1. “I Don’t Know”
  2. “Crazy Train”
  3. “Believer”
  4. “Mr. Crowley”
  5. “Flying High Again”
  6. “Revelation Mother Earth”
  7. “Steal Away the Night”
  8. “Tommy Aldridge drum solo”
  9. “No Bone Movies”
  10. “Suicide Solution” [+ “Randy Rhoads guitar solo”]
  11. “Iron Man”
  12. “Children of the Grave”
  13. “Paranoid”  [Encore]

The Clash: 3/31/1984

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As you probably know by now, I have seen a lot of concerts, but only a few bands totally blew me away the moment they took the stage. The Clash was one of those few.

I was really into The Clash at this time. In my opinion, they were one of the best punk bands ever. I was really psyched to be seeing them, even without Mick Jones.

They opened with “London Calling,” and like I said, I was blown away from the first note. It was like an explosion of energy shot from the stage and shattered every cell in my body. And I could tell it wasn’t just me. The entire Sunrise Musical Theater erupted. I doubt there was a single person in their seats.

As was to be expected at a punk concert, people were climbing onto the stage and diving into the crowd. I suspect that the security was not prepared for this. Police and Sunrise concert security decided to stop it and seized a kid who had clambered onto the stage. Joe Strummer, ever the anarchist, stopped and got in the faces of the security and began yelling and gesticulating at them. I wish I knew what he said. Regardless, they released the kid who ran and did a swan-dive into the crowd. Everyone cheered, and then Joe stepped up to the microphone and said, “I don’t know what you all are doing, but you have the police really nervous.” At which point they broke into “The Guns of Brixton.” It was pandemonium!

As far as the rest of the show goes, there were no weak spots. It was kick-ass right up to the last note of “White Riot.” For those of you who are interested, here is the full set list from the show.

Forces have been looting
My humanity
Curfews have been curbing
The end of liberty

Hands of law have sorted through
My identity
But now this sound is brave
And wants to be free – anyway to be free

(Excerpt from “This is Radio Clash”)

Jon Anderson: 8/21/1982

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This was an amazing concert! I love Yes and seeing Jon Anderson solo in a small venue like the Sunrise Musical Theater was a real treat. I went to this show with my friend Bob and we had great seats: first row center in the balcony. This gave us a clear view of the stage and the sound was crisp.

It was a while back, so a lot of the finer details have faded, but there are some things that stand out for me. His solo material was great, but he also performed a plethora of Yes songs, including “Close to the Edge,” “Wonderous Stories,” “And You And I,” “Perpetual Change,” and “Heart of the Sunrise,” which seemed all the more magical being performed in the Sunrise Musical Theater.

I experienced something really strange at this concert, one of those transcendent musical experiences. As Jon was singing, he would extend his hands out in front of him, and his hands seemed like they were reaching across time and space, right up to where I was sitting in the balcony. It was like the music shifted my consciousness and opened my mind.

The show concluded with an encore that included “Roundabout.” I left feeling changed. Prior to this show, I had not seen Yes live (I would see them for the first time the following year on the 90125 tour), so this was a really moving concert experience for me.

I listened hard but could not see
Life tempo change out and inside me
The preacher trained in all to lose his name
The teacher travels, asking to be shown the same
In the end we’ll agree, we’ll accept, we’ll immortalize
That the truth of man maturing in his eyes
All complete in the sight of seeds of life with you

Coming quickly to terms of all expression laid
As a moment regained and regarded both the same
Emotion revealed as the ocean maid
A clearer future, morning, evening, nights with you

And you and I climb, crossing the shapes of the morning
And you and I reach over the sun for the river
And you and I climb, clearer towards the movement
And you and I called over valleys of endless seas

(Excerpt from “And You And I” by Yes)

Aerosmith: 12/18/1984

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Aerosmith was playing two nights at the Sunrise Musical Theater, and I had gone the first night, which was awesome (click here for my memories of that show). I was expecting another great show, but was surprised by what I witnessed at this evening’s performance.

I had taken a woman I worked with, Lisa, to this show. I was interested in her and this was like our “first date.” I’d seen the show the night before, knew what to expect, and figured the way to a woman’s heart is through good music. What could possible go wrong?

The show started pretty much the same as the previous night, but that changed once the band started playing “Big Ten Inch Record.” This evening, Steven Tyler brought a stage prop along with him—a 3-foot dildo. During the song, he held it to his crotch and dangled it off the edge of the stage. At that point, two young women in the front decided to demonstrate their oral capabilities on the big rubber phallus. My first thought was: “That’s one way to get invited back stage.” I glanced over at my date; she did not look amused. The rest of the show and the seemingly long drive home felt awkward. Needless to say, we never went out again after that.

While this was not the most outrageous thing I have seen on stage, it was up there. I guess rock and roll is supposed to be outrageous, right?

Aerosmith: 12/17/1984

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I had seen Aerosmith once before, but it was during their low point. Joe Perry was not with them and Steven Tyler was pretty messed up. But then the original lineup got back together and they were all clean and sober, and they booked the “Back in the Saddle” tour. They booked two nights at the Sunrise Musical Theater, a small venue, so I figured I would have to see both shows. This stub is from the first night.

The concert was awesome! They opened with “Rats in the Cellar,” which totally rocked. Joe Perry had his guitar slung low while Steven Tyler pranced around the stage, screaming into the microphone. It was exactly what I expected from an Aerosmith concert and light-years better than the first time I had seen them.

The band dug deep into their song catalog, playing some choice songs that I was surprised to hear, such as “Movin’ Out” and “Lord of the Thighs.” They also played the hits you expected: “Walk This Way,” “Sweet Emotion,” and “Dream On.” It was a totally satisfying rock and roll concert.

Now, I have to say that the second night was a little wilder. I have the stub ready and a juicy story to share about that show, so be sure to check back for that one.

I’ll leave you with a taste of the opening song from this show. Rock and Roll!

Joe Cocker: 9/28/1989

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I feel very fortunate to have gotten to see the late Joe Cocker. He was an amazing performer and someone who poured his entire soul into his vocals.

Going to this show was sort of a surprise. It was not on my agenda of concerts to attend. But a close friend of mine, Lydia, was working in the record business at the time. She called me up and said she could get some free tickets to see Joe Cocker and would I like to go with her. I could not pass up on that offer.

The seats were great—third row! And the Sunrise Musical Theater was a small venue to begin with, so regardless of where you sat, it was still great. But being up close, seeing the facial expressions as Joe reached deep inside to tap into the heart of his emotion as he sang was something I remember to this day.

He performed all his hits, as well as songs that I was not familiar with. When the show was over, I could not think of a single song that I had wanted to hear that he had not played. It was a totally satisfying and enjoyable concert that left nothing to be desired.

I want to say thanks again to Lydia, who I am still friends with. Thanks for treating me to a concert that I will always remember.

Rock on!