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Posted by on Aug 27, 2012 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews, Personal | 0 comments

Music To My Ears (Part 3) — The Worst Pop-Rock Shows I’ve Ever Seen

 

Writer’s Note:  This is the conclusion of a three-part series.  What follows are the two WORST pop-rock performances I have ever seen.

 

Bob Dylan Photo

 

SECOND WORST ROCK PERFORMANCE OF ALL-TIME — BOB DYLAN AT PLANET HOLLYWOOD IN LAS VEGAS — 2006:

It’s hard to believe, but Bob Dylan actually won a Grammy for “Album of the Year” for the rubbish that was piled onto the stage during the first and only time I ever saw him perform live in concert.

He was FUCKING AWFUL.

For the 90 or so minutes I had the misfortune of being in his presence, Dylan was disinterested.  Disconnected.  Arrogant.  Thoroughly unprofessional in every sense.  There is not one positive thing I can say about this dismal experience, except seeing the EXIT sign on my way out.  That’s right.  I walked out.  It was a maddening waste of time and money.

The venue was Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas — an almost-perfect arena to see one of America’s last true musical icons.

Mike Paulle (the great poker writer) got us two premium seats in advance.  Right before the lights when down and the show was to begin, Mike leaned over to me and revealed how special this moment was in his life — that he just wanted to be there as if completing some kind of pilgrimage.  Mike was there to pray to the Zimmerman god, raise his hands high into the air, and say “thank you” to the great Dylan for all the magical music that had been given to him, his generation, and the world over five decades.

Indeed.  This wasn’t so much a rock concert as it was a pagen moment of worship.

As things turned out, we ultimately discovered that we’d been worshiping a false god all along.

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Posted by on Aug 26, 2012 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews, Personal | 6 comments

Music To My Ears (Part 2) — The Worst Pop-Rock Shows I’ve Ever Seen

sex-pistols-photo

 

I’m a changed man.

Moments ago, I thought I knew what to write today.

I thought I knew what to say, and how to say it.

Then, via Facebook, my longtime friend Scott Byron tuned me onto Lee Jones’ personal website and his narrative remembrance of seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert for the very first time. Whatever illusions I had about writing amatuerish music commentary and reviewing concerts has now been shattered.

Check out Lee Jones’ very moving and heartfelt reflections after seeing Bruce Springsteen perform in London a few months ago.  It’s an awesome recollection and just as good a written report of the experience.  Perhaps I identified with his review more than others, since (like Lee) I’ve never actually seen Springsteen perform live — which I’m told automatically disqualifies me from even thinking about creating a “best of” list.  LINK:  LEE JONES’ REVIEW OF BRUCE SPINRGSTEEN CONCERT IN LONDON (2012)

Admitedly humbled by Lee’s impressions of that seemingly legendary performance, allow me now to launch into something completely different.  As pomised, today I’ll be sharing my most disappointing concert experiences.  This list applies exclusively to pop/rock acts.  I shall cover lesser-known performers, international music, and Las Vegas shows at another time.  You won’t want to miss my “best and worst” of the Las Vegas shows.  In fact, I can’t write to write that one.

But first — before proceeding, I’d like to ammend yesterday’s “BEST SHOWS” list with a few additions.  That list was created in a few hours.  Inevitably, I knew I’d forget at least a show or two when I looked at the list again the next day — which is precisely what happened.

Overlooked from that list was Stevie Ray Vaughn, the late blues guitarist from Dallas.  I’ve seen Vaughn perform with his band Double Trouble on three occasions — twice at the Wintergarten in Dallas and once in Washington, D.C.  That show in the nation’s capital was special.  In 1986, he played at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Hall located on Constitution Avenue, right next to the monuments.  Perhaps it was the surreal backdrop — the venue where all the military bands perform.  But Stevie Ray took the stage and put on a set that was magical.  One image comes to mind.  You know how every concert there are police officers working security.  I had bad seats to that show and was situated next to a crowd of D.C. police officers (needless to say, given the setting, this was probably the only drug-free rock concert ever).  The cops couldn’t help themselves — they were jamming to the music.  I’ve never seen that before — not for U2, not for The Who.  But D.C.’s finest were enjoying that performance every bit as much as the crowd.  If you love blues guitar as I do, this was one of the best concerts ever made even more memorable by the intimate setting.

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Posted by on Aug 25, 2012 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews, Personal | 5 comments

Music To My Ears (Part 1) — The Best Pop-Rock Shows I’ve Ever Seen

Prince Best Concert

 

We don’t necessarily move to great music.  To the contrary.

Great music moves us.

I think most of us – at least those of a certain generation — think of music as a sort of “soundtrack to our lives.”

I love music.  To me, music is not just heard.  It’s experienced.  It’s emotional.  Music is felt.

Indeed, the greatest music moves us.  It transforms us from one state of consciousness to another.  At certain points in my life, I’ve heard powerful pieces of music and then afterward thought of myself as a changed person after hearing the composition.  That’s the power of sound.

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Posted by on Aug 24, 2012 in Blog, General Poker, Las Vegas | 2 comments

In Suppport of the Nomination of David Sklansky into the Poker Hall of Fame — Class of 2012

David Sklansky

 

Writer’s Note:  The opinions expressed here are entirely those of Nolan Dalla.  These views do not reflect the official position of the World Series of Poker, Poker Hall of Fame, Caesars Entertainment, or its staff.

 

Nominations for the Poker Hall of Fame were opened to the public earlier this week.  Poker players and fans from all over the world over the age of 21 may visit WSOP.COM and nominate any person they wish as a candidate for the Poker Hall of Fame.

The nomination process is only the first step towards selecting who will ultimately be enshrined as the “Class of 2012.”  Usually, no more than one or two persons are inducted each year.

After nominations are accepted and closed, the top ten nominees will be placed on an official ballot.  Those ballots will then be sent to a special voting committee, comprised of all existing Poker Hall of Fame inductees (living) and established media who have demonstrated a knowledge and commitment to the game for many years.

Persons who receive the most votes from the members of the special committee will become enshrined into the Poker Hall of Fame — as the Class of 2012.  The official induction ceremony takes place on the night of the WSOP Main Event Championship finale, to be held in Las Vegas in late October.

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Posted by on Aug 23, 2012 in Blog, Book Reviews, Essays | 2 comments

Remembering “Doctor Love” — Leo Buscaglia

 

Dr. Love Photo

 

I chose to define courage differently than most.

To many, courage is associated with conflict.  The most obvious example of conflict occurs with war.  Sometimes brave acts are performed by extraordinary people in the most trying of circumstances which, no doubt, merits the badge of courage.

But courage is manifested in other ways, as well.  In more everyday settings, not by brave soldiers, but by common people.  By us and people like us.

Alas, we all have the capacity to perform courageous acts and be courageous.  Our challenge is to avoid taking the easy road in life and pursuing the paths of greatest resistance.  To do the things that are the most difficult.  To stand for the things that are least popular.  To fight for the things that are noble and good.

Indeed, courage can manifest itself in much simpler ways.  It need not be a grandiose undertaking.  It need not be associated with parades of publicity.  Rather, some of the most meaningful acts of courage begin with a simple spoken word, a phone call, a smile, or a touch.  Which is not to say these simple acts of kindness are easy.  Some are painstakingly difficult.  Which is what makes them courageous.

The man I’m writing about today spoke, wrote, and lived with passion.  Sadly, he  is no longer with us.  But his many inspirational thoughts and ideas remain with us.  They have become his legacy.  They were his gift to us.  One of the most profound things he wrote was the following:

“It’s not enough to have lived.  We should be determined to live for something.  May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.”

What a beautiful idea.

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