I See Good Shows. I See Bad Shows.

Aaaaah Spring. Well, spring-ish. And a boys thoughts turn to two things: Live music and when is Halloween.

In the rush of excitement and prep for the Klekolo show, I was thinking on the shows I’ve seen, the heroes who left it all on the stage or phoned it in. A sketch of a life spent in the bleachers or pressed against the stage:


Bad: Stevie Winwood. It wasn’t his fault. It was the 80’s. Two shows went on sale the same day: Winwood and Peter Gabriel. And I chose poorly. Consider….being a fan of Traffic, and having spent some time in deep commune with ‘The Low Spark Of High Heel Boys’ record and lo and behold…. Stevie. I had a plan for the show….I would bring one bowl of seedy pot into the Coliseum and whenever he starts the song ‘The Low Spark Of High Heel Boys’ , that slow piano intro, I apply lighter to the bowl and then the sky.  It was a good plan. Except the lights go down….the crowd roars…and the slow, deliberate melody creeps in ‘dum dum dum dumdeddum….dum dum dumdeddum….’ Stevie at the piano, solo….and I apply the lighter to the bowl and hold it to the sky. But fucking Stevie. He plays the opening line and then LEAPS up from the piano bench in a white linen suit and the band starts ‘Higher Love’ … and I’m left with a slowly fading high and the worst record of the 80’s played live. Meanwhile I heard Jesus himself showed up at Peter Gabriel.


Good: Hall & Oates. Sure, I couldn’t care less about Hall & Oates. I went to see Joan Jett. New Haven Coliseum. It was the ‘Bad Reputation’ tour. Sadly, Joan was a yawn. Just …… not. And I considered splitting at that point. As I was considering this, the lights went down. Oh shit….I’m now actually watching Hall and Oates. This can’t stand. What I dint count on was who the Hall and Oates band was, which was the GE Smith version of the SNL band. They were incredible, deep and raw white boy R&B, brilliant singing and harmony and the knowledge that somehow I knew every word to every song. Like you do. If your over 40.


Bad:  Frank Zappa. I know. I’m a philistine. I do wish I knew more of his music before I went. I’m not convinced it would have made a difference.


Good; Metallica. 12 people in the room in Bridgeport. Pre ‘Kill Em All’. My head smashed into Cliff Burton’s.


Bad: Deep Purple. The rare occasion I actually ‘toured’ with a band. Bought tickets for 6 shows in 4 states. I was a huge fan as were most of my friends. I remember Vic and I walking to Trumbull Mall (that was like a 10 mile walk, one way) to get the brand new ‘Perfect Strangers’. And I remember after listening to it, Vic was so offended at its dullness that he pissed on the copy we just bought and threw it out. It was a fine and true bit of rock journalism. Despite that….6 shows in 4 states. The very last show I took a combo of mescaline and pcp and had to be carried all around Worcester. That was likely the best show.


Good: The Kinks. This was in the heyday of the first Who reunion tour (wait…did thy ever break up? Ah who cares? Get it???) and though I missed the tour, I caught the HBO special. And it was….lack luster. I love The Who. I understand their greatness. But when they came back for their endless breakup tours, they were clearly selling a legacy versus being what The Who always was: bold and innovative. Alas, too much Tommy makes Pete a dull boy. With this in mind, I bought Kinks tickets…it was the ‘Give The People What They Want’ tour. I went cause I was always a bigger Kinks fan than the Who so figured ‘might as well donate to the elderly of my choice…’. Whatta ass I am. The Kinks ripped that place up, more intense than the punks, better songs than the Who, just aggressive with a brilliant use of cocaine.


Bad…Then Good: Jethro Tull. The ‘Under Wraps’ tour, an album I have never and will never listen too. Based on what I hear that night. They opened with a weird stage set up based on plastic bags in flight or some shite and completely ruined every one’s night in 2 songs. I mean….if nothing else, if you see Jethro Tull, you don’t expect minimalist synth garbage. It was seeing Santa and having him sing ‘It’s A Grand Old Flag’. Just dull and devoid of melody. Then…at ong 5…the stage goes dark and from that blackness comes ‘Let me briiiiing you Songs From The Wood….’. And the place exploded and it was prime 70’s Tull, with the synths pushed to the back.


Good: I saw Tom Waits. I saw Steve Buscemi and Aiden Quinn talking in the lobby. I saw Elvis Costello sitting 2 rows away. None of which mattered the second Tom hit the stage,


Good show? Bad Show? Share with me.


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