Guns n’ Roses with Soundgarden: 12/31/1991

I was never a huge GnR fan, but I like some of their stuff. When I heard they were holding a big New Year’s Eve concert with Soundgarden, and some of my good friends were going, I figured this would be the time to check them out and scratch them off the list of bands to be seen.

The concert was being held at Joe Robbie Stadium, which kind of sucked. I’m not a fan of stadium shows, but such is life. One thing that made me chuckle, though, upon getting my ticket, was the statement *Showtime Approximate*. Axl was notorious for showing up late for performances (or not showing up at all), so the audience was duly warned.

We got there and our seats were straight back, lower section. Soundgarden came out and started their set, and some asshole in the upper deck started tossing down M-80s, one of which exploded at my feet. I was beyond pissed and stormed upstairs, seeking out the jerk with every intention of having an altercation, but alas, I could not find him. He either moved on or ran out of ammunition.

After what seemed like an unusually long time, GnR took the stage and kicked right into “Welcome to the Jungle.” I have to say, I was pretty impressed by the energy with which they opened the show. Reminded me of how I felt when I saw The Clash and they exploded on stage with “London Calling.” Even sitting at the back of Joe Robbie Stadium, I felt the power of the music emanating from the stage.

The band played a long time, and the show was killer. I gained a new level of respect for the band, and understood why people liked them so much. I still don’t own any Guns n’ Roses albums, but I have good memories of seeing them live and tend to turn the volume up a bit when one of their songs comes on the radio.

Here’s the setlist.

  • Welcome to the Jungle
  • Mr. Brownstone
  • Live and Let Die
  • Attitude
  • Nightrain
  • Bad Obsession
  • Double Talkin’ Jive
  • Civil War
  • It’s So Easy
  • Patience (w Wild Horses intro)
  • Rocket Queen
  • November Rain
  • You Could Be Mine
  • Matt Sorum Drum Solo
  • Slash Guitar Solo
  • Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather)
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine (with Sail Away Sweet Sister… more )
  • Don’t Cry
  • Move to the City
  • Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door  (w Only Women Bleed intro)
  • Estranged
  • Paradise City
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Goblin: 10/3/2013

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the band Goblin (which I will assume most people are), I will provide a little background info. Goblin is an Italian prog rock band that has been around since the early 1970s. They are best known for their film soundtrack work, particularly Dario Argento’s horror films (including  “Suspiria,” “Tenebre,” and “Profondo Rosso”). They also composed and performed the soundtrack music for George Romero’s classic “Dawn of the Dead.” So as a horror film buff, I was familiar with the band, even though they remained under the US music radar. Additionally, they had never performed in the United States. So when I saw they were coming to my little city in the mountains, there was no question about going. I immediately got a ticket and convinced my friend Greg (a big prog rock fan) that he should do the same.

The show at the Orange Peel was the second stop on the tour, which opened in Atlanta. Greg and I got there early and were interested in seeing the opening act: Secret Chiefs 3. Greg had heard good things about this band from another musician friend of ours, so we felt compelled to check them out. Really glad we did. They sounded great and were the perfect opening act, wearing ritualistic hooded cloaks while performing intricate and darkly mystical music.

Afterwards, Goblin took the stage and launched into an intense performance of some of the most spine-tingling progressive music you can imagine. And if that was not enough, they had a big screen behind the band where they were showing very graphic scenes from the various horror films that featured their music in the soundtracks. And while the band performed “Zombi” as scenes from “Dawn of the Dead” were splattered across the screen, it reminded me of just how much the music added to the overall experience of watching that film for the first time.

After the concert, I went to the merchandise table and bought a blood-red vinyl record, which included some of their more well-known pieces and was only being sold on the tour. I figured it would be a great keepsake.

I’m not sure if the band will tour the States again. I did see on their website that they are playing the Psycho Festival in Las Vegas on August 18, 2018, but that is their only date worldwide. They did do a full tour in 2017, so it is possible they will tour again. If you are into prog rock and/or horror films, I highly recommend going to see them if you have a chance.

I could not find the Asheville setlist, but here is one from the same tour, so I assume it is the same.

Setlist:

  • Magic Thriller
  • Mad Puppet
  • Dr. Frankenstein
  • Roller
  • E Suono Rock
  • Aquaman
  • Non Ho Sonno
  • Death Farm
  • Goblin
  • L’Alba Dei Morti Viventi
  • Zombi
  • Tenebre
  • Suspiria
  • School at Night
  • Profundo Rosso
  • Zaratozom

Camera Obscura: 6/3/2010

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Camera Obscura is an indie band from Scotland. I had some friends who listened to them and the stuff I heard I liked, so when they booked a show in Asheville, I convinced my friend Joe to go along with me.

The bad sounded good, but they seemed a little tired on stage. It’s possible that travelling had taken its toll, or maybe they had overindulged. Whatever the case, they were not that energetic. But musically, they were tight and the songs sounded solid. It could also have been that they were a low-energy band on stage. Some bands are like that—great on recordings and less so live. Anyway, I enjoyed the show overall and bought a vinyl copy of “My Maudlin Career” from the concession stand, which was their most-recent album at the time. It’s a good album and I still listen to it occasionally.

Not much else to say about this show. If you’re into the indie stuff, like Belle and Sebastian, then you should check this band out too.

Cheers!

The Outlaws and Wet Willie: 5/26/1978

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This is quite an old ticket stub, and it was torn in a way that I could not make out the date. So I did a quick Google search for The Outlaws at the Suffolk Forum, and discovered that this was actually a concert that was made into an album! Here’s a link to Amazon where you can purchase the album online or just read some reviews.

Anyway, let me share what I remember about this concert.

This was a pretty wild concert. New Yorkers who were into the Southern rock scene were rowdy, to put it mildly. I went with my friend Ola and two of Ola’s friends, Frank and Rick. Wet Willie opened the show, and I was not that impressed. In fact, the only thing I remember about them is the crowd, which was throwing a lot of projectiles around the venue. I was happy to be higher up in the stands away from the insanity of the open floor.

The Outlaws came out and I remember really liking the show, but the only detail that stands out clearly in my memory is the encore, which was “Green Grass and High Tides.” I can still picture the crowd going nuts as the band ripped through a three-guitar solo that seemed to go on forever. The review of the album states that this was an epic 26-minute version of the song. Yeah, 26 minutes of screaming Southern rock guitar solo was something that makes a lasting impression. But what I remember most about this concert is what happened afterwards.

We did not have a ride home, since we were all too young to drive. So in our infinite teenage wisdom decided we would hitchhike home. After some discussion, we figured we would have more luck getting rides if we split into two groups of two. So Ola and I were a pair and Frank and Rick were a pair. The others were a few blocks down the road, which meant Ola and I had first dibs on cars coming past. After a little while, a car pulled to the side, about 20 feet past where we were standing. The door opened and we cautiously approached, but stopped as we saw a cowboy boot emerge from the passenger side. A drunken maniac leaped from the car and charged at us, screaming curses and threats about how he was going to kick the shit out of us. We ran towards the woods and the dude tried to kick us but fell on his ass. We made it to the safety of the woods and looked back as he staggered to the car, cursing, and got back in. The car pulled back onto the road and we watched the taillights moving away, and then pulling off again further down the road, where we assumed Frank and Rick were. We hoped they had enough common sense to stay safe. We found out later, that was not the case.

The next time I saw Frank, his eye was swollen shut and his face was badly bruised. The story we heard was that the car pulled over and the door opened, but no one came out this time. Rick, being cautious, hung back a little, but Frank went right up to the car, leaned over, and cheerfully said “Hey guys! How far are you going?” At which point cowboy boots kicked him in the face as he was bent over. He got kicked a few more times before they left him there, satisfied that they got to whoop some ass after the show.

I learned an important lesson that day: Don’t hitchhike home from a Southern rock concert, for any reason! Sleep in the woods if you must. You extend your thumb at your own risk.

Black Sabbath and Van Halen: 11/5/1978

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Since this concert was back in the 70’s, the details have become a little foggy. What I remember the most about this was the sheer excitement of seeing Black Sabbath in concert. I remember going to a yard sale with my mom as a young kid and looking through a bin of albums, then discovering Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” which I bought for a quarter and wore out on my turntable. I would sit with the album cover opened, staring at the black and white photo of the band inside, and thinking how cool they were. So getting to see Sabbath, as a young teenager, was a big deal for me.

Van Halen was the opening act. I would see Van Halen other times afterwards, and they were never as good as this time. I remember being impressed with their energy on stage. They were young, hot, and bursting with rock and roll vibrancy.

As far as Sabbath goes, I recall the eerie effects of the stage bathed in rich hues of lighting. I remember Ozzy, summoning the crowd with his vocals while Tony Iommi unleashed thunderous sounds on his SG. I also, sadly, remember someone falling from the rafters. At the Sporto, people would climb across the metal beams on the ceiling to attempt to get a better view. One unfortunate soul lost his grip that night.

I wish I could recall more details, but alas, all I have is the ticket stub and the deep feeling that I had a really great time at this concert. And hey, music is all about the feeling, right?

Rock on!

Paul McCartney: 4/15/1990

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I’m bummed that this ticket has faded! What was it Neil Young said: “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away.” Still, here is the stub in all its faded glory.

I went to this concert with my good friend Lowell. It was a huge stadium show at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, and it was amazing.

First off, I should say that seeing a Beatle in concert was a really moving experience for me. My mom turned me on to The Beatles at a young age. To this day, I still have some of her old vinyl Beatles’ albums and listen to them with my kids (thanks to my brother for saving those and passing them on to me).

The concert was a solid mix of Beatles, Wings, and McCartney solo material. When you see McCartney live and start singing along with all his songs, you realize just how prolific he was and how much music he created that impacted our world.

High points of this concert? There were too many to list. Consider it one long high point. But the songs that really stand out in my memory are “Let It Be,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (with a great liquid light show), and “Golden Slumbers Medley” as the final encore.

I was fortunate enough to see McCartney again with my daughters, many years later. But that’s another stub and another story.

“And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make.”

Rush: 3/10/1979

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I’ve seen Rush several times in my life, but here is the ticket stub from the first time I saw them, back in the late 70’s at the infamous Hollywood Sportatorium. The scanned image does not do the ticket justice. There is glitter mixed in with the ink, which at the time I thought was the coolest thing I had ever seen done with a concert ticket.

What can I say about Rush that hasn’t already been said. They are amazing in concert, and as a teenager, seeing them live was a big deal for me. I remember when I had bought “All the World’s a Stage,” Rush’s double live album years before I finally got to see them. That album stayed on my turntable for weeks. I played air guitar along with it, dreaming of becoming a guitarist.

UFO was the opening act for this show, and they were excellent. At the time, I had not heard of them, but I quickly came to appreciate how great they were.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Rush timeline, this was the Hemispheres tour and they had an impressive stage setup which included a video screen, which is common now but back then was pretty cool. Some of the songs that really stood out for me were “Cygnus X-1,” “2112,” and “Working Man.” But the whole show was great. I remember being really impressed by how three musicians were able to create so much music.

If you’ve also seen Rush in concert, feel free to share your memories in the comment section below. Thanks for stopping by, and have a rockin’ day!