Archive for the ‘concerts’ Category
Make no bones about, I f’n love The Rolling Stones. I’m not shy about my Stones fanboyness ever. They are as big of a part of my early rock and roll makeup as KISS. I saw them 10 years ago for the first time in Charlottesville, VA where a bomb threat interrupted the show.
The Stones are on their 15 date North American Zip Code Tour and booked a show in Arlington, TX and there was really no way I’d miss it. I was able to score a floor ticket near the back of Cowboys Stadium. Not the best viewing but not bad and a bit cheaper than most floor tickets.
Pablo and I drove up from Austin, grabbed some dinner in Arlington then made our way to our reserved lot. We grabbed some merch and made out way to the floor. He had a seat closer to the front. Grace Potter was the opener and we spent most of her set in the downstairs lounge. My foot has been bothering me lately so getting some sitting time was essential. After her set we just stood in the back of the floor area and people watched for a bit until about ten minutes before the Stones’, then we went to our respective seats.
The stadium roof was open, the lights went down and the Stones hit the stage with Jumpin’ Jack Flash and followed it up with It’s Only Rock and Roll. The crowd was electric and I was loving it. Mick sounded great. No surprise, he was all over the stage the whole night. I had seen previous setlists from the tour and they had been mixing it up a bit. The list remained pretty consistent until just after Moonlight Mile where they played a snippet of All My Exes Live In Texas then rolled into Rocks Off from Exile on Main Street marking the first time they’ve played it on this tour. Honky Tonk Women was next which included band intros. Mick left the stage after and Keith took over for Before They Make Run and Happy. He’s got this childish grin that just cracks me up. His voice sounded pretty good, as good as expected. For as old as he looks, he still retains some teenage boyishness about him. Ronnie and Charlie were both great. Charlie’s unorthodox drumming style is difficult to watch, but he gets it done.
The whole band sounded great, just like I expected them to. Look, The Stones aren’t the tightest band in the world, but they never were. But they’re great. They did a heavy rocking version of Miss You that was just great. The whole show was a blast. Surprisingly, I don’t think it was sold out though. It was close. I hope it’s not the last time I get to see them. I would love to have seen Monkey Man and a handful of others, but I’m not complaining. The Stones truly appear to enjoy playing live even after 50+ years of doing it. I can’t speak highly enough about Mick’s voice. There were some high notes that he hit that just blew me away. I honestly didn’t want the show to end. It was a blast. The 4 hour ride home was rough, but we made it.
Long live The Stones.
To call me a punk fan would be the overstatement of the decade but there are a few bands in the genre that I’ve always liked including Circle Jerks, Black Flag, JFA, Dead Kennedys, Reagan Youth, some Sex Pistols and GBH…especially GBH. Not sure how I became a fan but it was probably through a roommate I had in the 90s. I’ve always wanted to see them and that last few times they came to town I just happened to be out of town. That changed last night.
Opening the show was L.A.’s Total Chaos. I had heard a lot of people slagging them prior to the show as being generic. They didn’t do anything for me but the crowd seemed to enjoy them. I caught half of their set and went to another bar for a bit. Local punks Krum Bums came on next and I’ve seen them a few times before. They were solid and are definitely a local favorite. I only caught the tail end of their set.
We got back to Red 7 right before GBH went on and I secured my spot with a decent view of the stage and away from the pit. They came on at full power with original singer Colin Abrahall saying, “We are GBH from Birmingham, England” and went right into their set with a newer song (2010) called Unique then went back to the Leather, Bristles, Studs, And Acne album with Race Against Time. GBH still has original guitarist Colin “Jock” Blyth and the whole band was killer. The show was sold out by the time GBH came on and they rolled through their set with only minor banter between songs. I got to hear all of my favorites and they played most of City Baby Attacked By Rats and the Leather album and a few from the follow up, City Baby’s Revenge. They were solid and I had a great time. Glad I finally got to see them live.
Tonight marked the third time in as many decades that I’ve seen RUSH. First time was in Chapel Hill, NC on the Counterparts Tour. My main takeaway from that show was that RUSH was having an off night. They didn’t sound tight and I can remember seeing Peart dropping a stick a few times. Not helping was that Candlebox opened. I also caught the R30 Tour in Virginia Beach, VA. The main thing I remember from that show is how utterly bored I was overall. It was cool that they played By-Tor and the Snow Dog and some other classics, but I just couldn’t get into it. I was supposed to catch them on The Power Windows Tour but my grades were bad and I had to sell my ticket. Bummer.
I hadn’t planned on seeing tonight’s show but after a decent poker game last night, the show ended up being free. I scored a ticket mid-day and rode with some friends to the show. I had spied the current setlists before buying my ticket and the selection looked pretty good.
They opened the show with 3 songs from Clockwork Angels, all of which I was not familiar. They then went into Far Cry, which I like, and The Main Monkey Business from Snakes and Arrows, another that I wasn’t familiar with. They continued with one each from Vapor Trails, Counterparts and the title track from Roll the Bones. As a new song from each album was played, the “crew” from Moving Pictures would change stage props matching what the stage looked like on each respective tour. The setlists from the last 4 shows showed them playing either Distant Early Warning or Between the Wheels from Grace Under Pressure. Sadly for me, we got Between the Wheels. That was pretty much the only letdown for me. They finished their first set with Subdivisions and that finally got the crowd going.
The second started with Tom Sawyer and then into The Camera Eye. Some stops on the tour were getting Red Barchetta. I was a-ok without it as The Camera Eye is probably my favorite song from Moving Pictures. This set was great containing Jacob’s Ladder, Cygnus X-1, much of 2112, Spirit of Radio, Closer to the Heart and Xanadu.
The encore was really good and consisted of Lakeside Park from my favorite RUSH album, Caress of Steel. They then went into Anthem and 2 from the debut to close the show, What You’re Doing and Working Man.
It was an enjoyable show and easily the best of the 3 times I had seen them. Geddy’s playing was superb. He also botched a few lyrics here and there and it was good to see him be a human even though he had a teleprompter on his keyboard. His voice sounded pretty good and he didn’t reach too hard to hit notes he knew he couldn’t hit. Peart was on his game as was Lifeson. It was noticeable, however, that many of the songs were played slower than their original album speed. That was no surprise as those guys aren’t getting any younger.
My brother, Robert (RIP), had one favorite band and that was The Who. While he was the one who got me in to KISS, Alice Cooper, RUSH etc in the 70s, The Who was always top of his list. Through the constant record spinning in the 70s and 80s, I became and remained a fan. Anytime I hear one of their songs, it just punches me in the gut with his memory more so than any of the other bands that he influenced me with. He absolutely loved them and I am pretty sure he never got to see them. I had never seen them before last night either.
Typically when a ticketed show comes to town, I’ll buy 2 as seeing a show with a friend is typically a fun thing to do, but for this show, I wanted to see it alone.
In 10th grade we had to do a book report, written and oral presentation, and I had chosen Full Moon: The Amazing Rock and Roll Life of Keith Moon as a I was a big fan of his frenetic drumming. During the oral presentation, I hung my brother’s Live at Leeds poster behind me and had the tape of that show playing in the background. At the end of the report I quoted one of the last lines in the book which said (paraphrased), “To sum up Keith’s life, he basically upped and fucking died.” Take into consideration that this was a Catholic high school. Ms. Collins, who only lasted on year there, was pretty mousey and was appalled that I had “used such language” and sent me to the principal’s office. I didn’t go. I went to the library and listened to a cassette until the bell rang. The next day I ran into the principal, Sister Ethelreda, in the hall and she immediately had me follow her to her office. I took a pretty good tongue lashing from her about foul language in the classroom etc. I didn’t care. I hated that place and Ms. Collins, who pretty much only spoke to me when she had to for the rest of that year. haha. I ran into her at a mall a few years after high school and spoke to her for a few minutes. I think she was terrified of me.
I’m a pretty big Who fan and prefer their 70s and 80s material more than the 60s stuff. Face Dances, Who’s Next, By Numbers and It’s Hard are my faves.
So here we are at show day. After work I get a ride downtown, grab a happy hour beer then make my way to the venue. I had a pretty decent seat with a side view of the stage, which was perfect as I really wanted to watch their drummer, Zak Starkey. Zak is the son of Ringo Starr, but I couldn’t care less about that and I’m not a Beatles fan at all. BUT…Zak played drums on ASAP’s Silver and Gold album. ASAP stands for Adrian Smith and Project. Yes, THAT Adrian Smith. This is the album he released after leaving Iron Maiden and I think it’s an amazing record from front to back. Great rock album with Adrian on vocals and Zak’s incredible drum work. I highly recommend it.
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts were the openers and while I’m not much of a fan, she put on a really good show and opened with my favorite song of hers, Bad Reputation. She pretty much played everything you’d expect to hear plus a couple of new songs. Her voice sounded great and her band was solid. And before last night, I never noticed how gorgeous her eyes are. Looking at the closeups on the big screen monitors just had me captivated for a bit.
After about a 40 minute set change, The Who come on stage and open with I Can’t Explain and The Seeker. Either before or after the next song, Who Are You, they have to change out one of Pete’s amps. While they’re doing that, he mentions that Jeff Beck was in attendance. He quipped that there was at least one guitar player at the show better than him. It was pretty funny and his delivery was right on. They carried on with their playing through mostly familiar hits sprinkling in a few deeper ones like I’m One, Amazing Journey and Sparks. Eminence Front is one of my fave songs by them and they played it. It was great.
The whole show was great in general. Roger’s and Pete’s voices are still very clear and full of range and I was pleasantly surprised by that. They rolled through 22 songs in about 2 hours and no encore. Impressive for a band of their age. Pino Palladino was on bass. He’s a monster player overall but didn’t do all of The Ox’s runs which I thought was odd. Zak’s drumming was solid. Beastly even. He did a lot of cool stuff but I was surprised and maybe a little let down that he didn’t really do any of Moon’s signature licks. It was most noticeable to me in My Generation. Moon plays a mean shuffle on the ride cymbal in that song but it was nowhere to be found last night. But just getting to finally watch him play was a treat. He did do a few buzz rolls reminiscent of that ASAP album that were awesome.
I’ll admit to getting emotional a few times during the set thinking about my brother. I probably missed him more last night than I have since he died.
Click photos to enlarge.