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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Remembering “Doctor Love” — Leo Buscaglia

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

 

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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Movie Review: “Inception”

Posted by on Aug 22, 2012 in Blog, Movie Reviews | 3 comments

christopher-nolan-dalla

 

Writer’s Note:  This is a previously unpublished movie review of INCEPTION, which was released in 2010.

 

WARNING !

WARNING !!

WARNING !!!

DO NOT SEE THIS FILM !!!

What a piece of rubbish !!!

It’s been 90 minutes since I got home and my hands are still shaking.  Seriously, I had trouble driving home.  A throbbing headache.  I just went through 2 hours and 38 minutes of sheer misery.

I just spent $30 dollars on the IMAX version of Christopher Nolan’s INCEPTION, starring Leonardo Di Caprio.  Saw it today at the Red Rock Theatre.  $15 a pop to watch it on the giant screen.  With Marieta, that’s thirty bucks.  Most we’ve ever blown on a movie.

Anyone who had anything to do with INCEPTION should be kicked in the ass, hog tied, and given a one-way Greyhound ticket out of Hollywood.

How in the fuck could they blow $100 million on production and not get someone to write a fucking script???  You know, a SCRIPT!   Some pieces of white paper with some words written on them.  A S-C-R-I-P-T.  Something that has a FUCKING PLOT!!!!!!!!!!

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Murder in Black and White

Posted by on Aug 21, 2012 in Blog, Politics, What's Left | 3 comments

 

murder-in-black-and-white

 

A few days ago, a white woman was murdered in St. Louis.

You may have heard about this tragic story.  It was posted everywhere.  The 23-year-old woman, a former college volleyball player, was attacked in the front seat of her car in a parking lot and killed.  She was shot to death.  No one knows why.  The killer is still at large.

Everyone described the young woman as a wonderful person.  She was pretty.  She was popular.  She had her whole future ahead of her – tragically cut short in an act of utter senselessness.  Her photo is posted above.

But what else happened that same day? What else happened on the very day that Megan Boken died?

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Pet Sounds

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

 

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.

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Will Those Who Praised George W. Bush For “Keeping Us Safe” Now Give the Same Credit to President OBAMA?

Posted by on Aug 18, 2012 in Blog, Politics | 3 comments

 

You remember the line of bullshit.

“Well, at least President Bush kept us safe.”

In 2004, that line pretty much summed up George W. Bush’s re-election slogan.  He ran a presidential campaign based entirely on fear — and it worked.  The slogan later became Bush’s swan song when he left office, since there wasn’t much else to brag about during eight years of crony capitalism, unless pushing the economy to the brink of depression deserves mention.

Indeed, at least President Bush could make one bold claim, which was — “he kept us safe.”

We won’t spend too much time here, citing the obvious white elephant taking a dump on simple logic.  Recall, the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor happened on President Bush’s watch.  Accordingly, for anyone to suggest the former president “kept the nation safe” brings to mind the absurd imposition hypothetically posed to Mary Todd Lincoln on the night of her husband’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre.  “Other than the gunshot blast to your husband’s temple, Mrs. Lincoln — did you enjoy the play?”

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Nolan Dalla Rants: DJ’S Earning Millions — Madness Spinning Out of Control

Posted by on Aug 17, 2012 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews, Rants and Raves | 4 comments

overpaid-dj

 

I swear — I’m not making this up.

A few days ago, a story appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal about a so-called “superstar DJ.”

I know.  I had to do a doubletake on that one, too.  “SUPERSTAR DJ.”

He reportedly earned $2 million last year.

Just in case you don’t get it — a “superstar DJ” is a personality (I cringe at the notion of celebrity) who is invited to a special event — usually a hot nightclub opening or swim party — to come in and (hold your breath) spin records.

That’s right — spin records. As in pop a few LPs on a turntable and pump up the volume.

Which begs the first question — wouldn’t it be a helluva’ lot easier to just load up a few CDs, hit the “play” button, and watch the dancing begin?  In the ecstasy-laced fantasyland of velvet ropes, VIP lines, and $22 cocktails, you think anyone in these high-priced insane asylums would know the fucking difference?

So, like I said — the “superstar DJ” shows up on a busy Friday or Saturday night and plays club music.  You know what I’m talking about — that inpenatrable thunder of batshit with the bass turned up so fucking loud your eardrums explode.  You know, that techno-jizz created by pre-programmed software. You know, that mindless industrial gunk played so goddamned loud you can’t even hear the person next to you  screaming in your ear.  Then again, maybe that’s the appeal.

I’m told these clubs are little more than meat markets.  How anyone actually picks up someone in one of these places is a complete mystery.  I mean, what’s a the typical opening line, “What a nice girl like you doing in a shithole like this?”

Stick with me.  There’s a punch line coming.

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