Pages Menu
TwitterFacebooklogin
Categories Menu

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Posted by on Aug 20, 2012 in Blog, Essays, Personal | 2 comments

Pet Sounds

 

Nolan Dalla Cat

Alex — Our 11-year-old stray adopted from a shelter in Washington, DC

 

A few years ago, a famous Italian winemaker came to the United States on a mission.  He was determined to open up a new restaurant in the Seattle area.

The winemaker and aspiring restauranteur was in the process of hiring his staff.  While conducting job interviews with each applicant, he made it a point to pose one rather unusual question to each of his prospective employees.  It didn’t matter if the position was for manager, cook ,waiter, or dishwasher.  The question was always asked.

“Do you own any pets?”

Pets?  This seemed like a very strange question.  Especially for a job interview at a restaurant.  After all, the applicants weren’t applying for jobs in a pet store.

But the winemaker had his personal reasons for posing such a seemingly oddball question.  Immediately after asking about their pets, he watched the eyes and monitored the expressions of all those who were sitting across the table, eagerly hoping to be part of his new restaurant.  He listened carefully to the way each applicant spoke about their pets.  Were they excited?  Were there expressions of love in their voices?  For those who did not own a pet, was there a desire to get one someday?  For those who no longer had a pet, did they grow up with dogs and cats?  If so, how did they feel about them?

Naturally, this was a curious thing.  The winemaker was asked what any of this had to do with owning and operating a successful restaurant.

“Why do you ask every applicant if they own a pet?” he was asked by the person who told me this story.  The winemaker’s answer was intriguing.

Read More

Posted by on Aug 9, 2012 in Blog, Personal, Politics | 3 comments

Meeting Richard Nixon — A Shakespearean Tragedy

 

RIchard Nion in San Clemente

 

IF WATERGATE DIDN’T HAPPEN, WOULD WE NOW HAVE UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE?

 

Thirty-eight years ago tonight, President Richard Nixon resigned from the most powerful job in the world.

August 9, 1974 was a particularly muggy night in Washington, fitting for the national tragedy that was the final tortured two years of Richard Nixon’s doomed presidency.

Everyone in America knew what Nixon was going to say on television that incredible night — announcing to the world that he would become the first and only president in American history to resign from office.  But until we actually watched it for ourselves, until we witnessed it, until we heard the President tearfully utter the fateful words, “I shall resign the presidency,” no one really contemplated the full force of gravity that was the tragedy and sorrow of that memorable night.

I was 12 years old when I watched Nixon’s resignation.  During the spring leading up to that night, in school classrooms we watched the Senate committee hearings on Watergate, which were carried live on all three major networks.  This was long before cable television, so everyone knew what was going on politically in this country, since that was all that was shown.  And what grand theater it was — the nation’s first real reality show, with an astounding cast of characters, entwined in the gravest of controversies.

By the summer of 1974, just about everyone in America loathed Nixon — even Republicans.  His job approval ratings hit an all-time low of 12 percent.  Resignation was inevitable.

Richard Nixon was a divisive figure, to be sure, and very much remains so.  He’s arguably the most vilified American political leader of the 20th Century by those on the left, and in the judgment of many.  Perhaps, even deservedly so.

Yet behind his utter disregard for the U.S. Constitution during the crisis, and the crimes which eventually became known as the Watergate scandal, was a highly-accomplished man of tremendous intellect and great potential.  Indeed, he very well might have gone down as the greatest LIBERAL since FDR, had his executive agenda not been diverted by the massive cover up and all-consuming series of events that led to his downfall.

Read More
css.php