Monte (August 2012)
This is the story of a man I barely know and how that man changed my life.
It is the story of someone I rarely see. It is the story of a person I converse with perhaps no more than once or twice per year. It is the story of a man who is probably more of an acquaintance than a close freind.
Yet it’s also the story of how a seemingly insignificant encounter in our lives can inspire us to change ourselves and motivate us toward self-improvement. It’s also revealing that such inspiration has no expiration date — proving that something which truly impacts us can instigate changes which may manifest themselves many years later.
Yes, this really happened. It happened to me. I would like to tell you this story.
Today is my one-month anniversay.
That’s right. This website has been live for exactly thirty days.
The time has come to give thanks where it’s due. I want to thank several people who have been instrumental in creating my personal website.
As you glance at this list of names, by no means complete, the prevailing message that should come to you is how important people are to other people, and especially how certain people are so vital to me and my own happiness. I would not be who I am without these extraordinary friends and colleagues.
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.
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.
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.
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.