Concertsdebby -- Sunday, June 08, 2003 -- 03:27:16 PM
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We saw Lou Reed at the Orpheum last night.
I went with a great deal of trepidation because though I've never seen him live, going by his albums I thought it would either be absolutely sublime or unbearably hideous.
The stage was simple to the point of bare. The band walked out and picked up their instruments. I perked up as soon as I saw a cello because that meant they had to be planning to do "Street Hassle" which is in my own personal top ten of best songs ever written.
Lou Reed looked amazingly young and fit, which started me doing the in head math of "so how old was he when The Velvet Underground started anyway, my God, he must be in his 60's, I should look so good by then...
And then they launched into "Sweet Jane." Ahhh bliss, but just as the chords washed over us he stopped the fucking song and launched into a little "All it takes is these three chords and that's why the rock and roll animal persists..." So he mucked around deconstructing the chords, the bass line, introducing the band. It was all a very nice intro, but the intro was too long and the song was too short. When he was done I wanted him to do the whole song over without the talking. And when he started chatting in the next song too I was sympathetic to whoever it was that yelled out "Shut up and play some fucking music!"
But finally he stopped with all the chit chat and put on a sublime show. When they did get to "Street Hassle" and the cello cut loose it was one of the finest concert going moments I have ever experienced. The band was tight, the bassist did a song of his own that was sweet and aching. I was still wondering why they had brought the soloist who sat in the back and sang a few background vocals, until the first encore when he stood up, bit his lip, awkwardly played with his shirt cuffs looking like a little kid and sang the most heart stoppingly beautiful version of "Candy Says" ever imagined.
I saw Lou Reed about six years ago. He was fantastic. Glad you had a good time.
I rently saw Blur and Electric Six. Both concerts were immensely entertaining.
I went to, of all things, a Merle Haggard concert. He can barely walk and he looked like he was wearing a diaper, but his voice was still good. The crowd was fun (who knew that there were so many cowboys in northeast Illinois?) but the constant hawking of items from Merle's Country Store got old right quick.
I saw them at The Astoria in London which holds about 1400 people I think. They played five nights straight, and I caught the first show.
It was a fantastic show. Although Blur is promoting a new album, they provided a healthy dollop of their big hits. Damon Alburn was charming throughout and established a good rapport with the enthusiastic and energetic crowd. All in all it was a fantastic show. The highlight was the hit Boys and Girls which had the crowd (or, at least the younger members) jumping up and down in unison doing the whole pogo-jumping dance thing that the Brits seem to so enjoy.
I just saw Flaming Lips/Liz Phair/Starlight Mints. THe Starlight Mints were good, quirky pop, but there was too much going on. Liz Phair played an acoustic set, 5 or 6 songs. She played a couple things off Exile in Guyville, one from Whipsmart, something from GirlySounds, and her new single. The new song just plain sucked. The set would have been better with a full band so I'm glad it was a short set.
Then there was the Flaming Lips. I've seen them three other times and this time blew the other ones out of the water. The crowd was great, the band was energetic, and the 15 or so people dressed up in animal costumes waving balloons and dancing on stage were great. The show was just fucking amazing, good mix of old and new stuff. You couldn't help but smile and dance and sing along. I wish I had pictures.
Thanks, Tabouli! Blur is one of my favorite bands (listening to Parklife right now) so I'm definitely going to try to catch them in Chicago next month.
I saw the reformed "It's a Beautiful Day" the other night at a folk club in Denver. Totally blowaway. Rather than acting as though "White Bird" was their reason for being, David downplayed it, giving it the night's only uninspired performance. Linda LaFlamme, who has to be in her sixties, was dressed up in a miniskirt slit on the side with a low-cut fringy top, and she LOOKED GREAT (and since I was in the second row, I'd be able to tell). Her legs rival Tina Turner's. My only regret was that I didn't think to bring one of my three copies of the rare first album to be autographed. David LaFlamme ROCKED on the violin and told lots of self-deprecating stories. The group was tight.
Sigh. Last concert I went to was The The, here in Ventura. Great old stuff, tiny tiny crowd. Felt bad for the guy. That was about a year ago.
Greg, I'm trying to remember my last concert. Too long ago. My boyfriend is not a concert-going guy. Do Make Say Think, the New Pornographers and Yo La Tengo are all playing here in the next week. I'm thinking of dragging him to the New Pornographers, but if I were evil I'd just get us tickets to all three for his upcoming birthday.
I'm loving the New Pornographers right now. What does Do Make Think Say sound like? I know I've heard the name.
They make atmospheric instrumental chill-out post-rock. Frequently compared to Tortoise, I think. I saw them in Montreal opening for Godspeed You Black Emperor! in 98, in this ridiculously smoky loft in the middle of nowhere. I loved them right away for having two drummers. It would have been one of my top concerts, but the smoke triggered my asthma and we had to leave before GYBE started.
Interesting. I'll have to check them out as I like both Tortoise and GYBE. Not that I've listened to either in a long time.
I just saw Jefferson Starship at a small club in Denver. This version is called Accoustic Explorer, which means Paul Kantner is the only original member of the Jefferson franchise. Diana Mangano, who I have seen twice before performing the songs of Grace Slick (and better than Grace based upon the two times I saw the Diva herself) kicked ass and is as foxy as ever.
This is not your typical crowd-pleasing tour, as many who turn up only know the popular Starship, with hits such as "Jane", "Ride the Tiger", and "We Built this City". Obviously Paul is as embarrassed by that period as are the rest of us (Tiger is a good song). Instead he concentrates on OLD Jefferson Airplane, with the most recent being "Good Shepherd", Jorma's song from Volunteers, and the entire original Starship album, "Blows Against the Empire", which came out in 1970. No Starship songs past "Sunfighter".
I was in heaven, but there were some who were very disappointed, including a woman who went up and told Paul personally. Early Airplane/Starship is the most romantic music ever written, to me at least, because the only time I've experienced true love in my life was with the (then) girl who turned me on to their music when I had previously felt it was "eh". Tears were streaming from my eyes as songs from the beauty of that era were played, seemingly for me and me alone.
I love it too, have heard Jorma perform it several times, and agree completely it's one of the greatest songs of all time. I've seen Jorma with:
Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship (early incarnation), Hot Tuna (with Papa John x2), Hot Tuna (hard rock x2), Hot Tuna (accoustic x2), Jorma (solo), and with The Other Ones.
I had the honor of getting stoned with Jorma and Jack back in the 70's, and the funniest thing has been his physical transformation from skinny longhair to the tattooed burly biker he is today.
The concert was great because they were all enjoying themselves and absolutely refused to play the popular Starship stuff, instead going WAY back to the beginning and playing an entire album of classic material 90% of Starship fans have never heard of.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Giants Stadium, July 18. Those looking for an unbiased opinion should go elsewhere.
To the delight of the faithful, St. Bruce brought his rally and revival meeting back to the swamps of Jersey this week. This was the first time I've seen him in a stadium, and what you give up in the suspended-animation darkness of closer quarters you gain elsewhere- in the titanic echo when that many people sing something like the "what (what) she (she) wants (wants) is (is) me" climax of "Candy's Room," or the sight of the jets crossing the circle of blue above us during the 9/11 elegy "Empty Sky." As most of the songs from The Rising were inspired or at least informed by what happened two years ago, there could not have been a more resonant place to hear them played. We saw the Chrysler Building gleaming sunstruck as we walked in and the Empire State lit red, white and blue as we filed out three hours later; it would have been impossible to forget where we were. And the lyrics of songs like "You're Missing" and "Into the Fire" took on greater power from the place.
It's the same old E Street Band with one addition, violinist Soozie Tyrell, who added tremendous warmth to the new songs in particular. Her presence also granted some of us a very old wish: to hear "Jungleland" just as it ought to sound. It wasn't expected and I think the loudest screams of the night came when we heard those first notes from Tyrell and Roy Bittan (with the possible exception of the screams for Clarence when he took the mike to sing a few lines on "Out in the Street").
Bruce sang "Jungleland" very much the way it sounds on record; in fact, if one thing distinguished this show from the others I've seen, it would be the absence of much experimentation. While in the past we've heard transfigurations like the shimmering U2-esque "Roll of the Dice" on the '92 tour or the almost a cappella "If I Should Fall Behind" that closed the '99 shows, and gotten used to departures like an acoustic "Thunder Road" or full-band "Atlantic City," for the most part this was a sing-along show. Bruce led an extended jam on "Ramrod" and put his introduction of the band into the new "Mary's Place" this time, but otherwise the renditions were familiar, though never routine.
Every Springsteen concert seems to contain at least one old album cut you never expected to hear played live, and tonight it was "Night," which the band roared into after opening with "The Rising" and "Lonesome Day." Both of those have rhythmic refrains the audience chanted back at Bruce, and of course everyone in the stadium sang "Night" full-out from the start. When "Candy's Room" and "Prove It All Night" followed, the singing was earthshaking. Bruce took us on his patented boardwalk thrill ride, slipping into low gear for the pensive songs only to slam back into full raveup mode over and over again. The second encore set that closed the show- "My City of Ruins," "Land of Hope and Dreams" (ending in a chorus of "People Get Ready"), "Rosalita" and "Dancing in the Dark"- hit what felt like an unsurpassable high, but we'll see about that next time.