Rock Music has been important to me for as long as I can remember. I used to listen to my brothers' LP's and 45's when I was a little boy. They were both more than ten years older than me.
The first LP I ever bought was Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". Great album. Still a great album. I am sad that albums are going away and I-Tunes is taking over. We are becoming a "greatest hits" people. When the album goes all the way away, we will lose what was great about them, the deep cuts. Almost all the albums I have, I start spinning the hits first, and then find my way deeper in the collection. That's where I find some of the richest music, some of the most meaningful. The deep cuts become more important to me than the hits.
I also remember saving money as a boy because every now and then I'd have enough to go to a record store. I loved going to the record stores. They always smelled like patchouli. Seemingly endless racks of vinyl records in wooden crates, arranged alphabetically by artist. The stores were dimly lit and there was always good music playing. Only cool people worked at record stores. There were always "cut-out" bins in the record stores as well. Cut-outs were surplus albums that the labels weren't pushing anymore, didn't sell very well the first time around, so they would put a saw cut through about an eighth of an inch of the cover to mar it and sell it at a deep discount. You couldn't go wrong with a cut-out because they were so cheap, and often you'd find a real good album. I bought Heart's album "Magazine" in a cut-out bin. I've always loved that album. I recently re-bought it as a cut-out CD.
When I was in the sixth grade, The Carpenters were a very big deal. They had a song called, "Sing" that had a children's chorus. Their production manager contacted the local music teachers in every town they were to play in and arranged the best sixth grade class to sing onstage with them. My sixth grade class was picked so I got to sing with Karen and Richard Carptenter. I was the shortest kid in the class, so I was at the end and Karen put her arm around me and sang to me, looked in my eyes and smiled. She had big teeth. Steve Martin openened for them before he was big.
When I was in high school, Pocatello, Idaho was a stop along the concert way. I never went to shows there for some reason or another. A couple of the shows I missed and lived to regret missing were Fleetwood Mac and Van Halen in the late 1970's.
When I was in college, my favorite band was The Cars. They had scheduled a North American tour and were scheduled to play at the University I was attending. On the day the tickets went on sale, my friend and I were on our way to purchase ours and the announcement on the radio said that The Cars had disbanded. Arrgh!
Then life happened. I finished college, went to grad school and in my last year there, Sir Paul McCartney did a North American tour and played Ames Iowa which was just a few hours south of Mankato, Minnesota where I was living. I bought tickets for my wife and I and we went to see him.
July 18, 1990-Ames Iowa
This was the tour when Paul finally acknowledged that yes, indeed he was a Beatle. From the time The Beatles broke up until the 1989 tour, McCartney had avoided playing The Beatles catalog in his concerts, instead playing solo material and Wings material. This concert blew my mind. It was incredible. I was really into The Beatles during graduate school, so this concert was very timely. The concert consisted of about half old Beatles songs, and the other half was solo material and Wings. He also covered John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance." The concert ended with an eleven minute version of "Hey Jude" and we all sang along from the beginning. Then the band left the stage and the lights came on. We screamed for another ten minutes demanding an encore, and finally the lights went down and a pin spot picked up McCartney as he rose up on an elevator in the middle of the stage. Just him and an acoustic guitar, and he played "Yesterday". When he was done, he bowed and left the stage. We all left because we knew that if he played anything else it would ruin the feeling we had right then. It was almost sacred.
The Rolling Stones
February 1st, 2003-Denver, Colorado
My best friend is the world's greatest Rolling Stones fan. For twenty years he had been trying to get me to see a show with him. I had put him off because of money or location, or any other reason I could think of. Finally, in July of 2002, I got a fairly terse phone call from him that went like this, "Gary, The Stones are going to be in Denver on February 1st. I just bought you a ticket. You owe me a hundred dollars!" So I went. And I had a great time. The show was fantastic. I told him after that he'd never have to sell me on a Stones show again. During the "Forty Licks" tour, they featured a classic Stones album each night. The night we saw them they hit "Let it Bleed" which at the time was my favorite Stones album. Highlights of that show were, Can't You Hear Me Knockin', Gimme Shelter, Monkey Man, and Street Fighting Man. The whole show was tight though. It was awesome. After the first couple of songs, though, a guy who looked surprisingly like Charles Manson was dragged kicking and squirming from the concert. I asked the guy next to me what happened. He said the dude was smoking pot. That was interesting to me, because a girl on the other side of me was smoking it all night and the guards didn't kick her out. She was pretty and blonde, and had her shirt tied up in a knot just below her perfect ladieberries so her belly was bare. I wonder if that had anything to do with it?
The Rolling Stones
November 22nd, 2005-Salt Lake City, Utah
Okay, first of all, the concert was pretty decent, although it was right after Keith had fallen from a Coconut tree in the Carribean and had sustained some brain damage. I think the brain damage was buffered by the copius amounts of drugs he had taken over the years. The high points of this show were You Got Me Rockin' and Sympathy For the Devil. I have to say that the Salt Lake crowd is terrible. They were lethargic for almost all of the show. It was as if they wanted to be seen seeing The Stones rather than just seeing The Stones. When they finally did Satisfaction toward the end, the crowd finally got into it, demanded encores and didn't realize they'd already had two. Were I Mick Jagger, I'd not play Salt Lake again.
The Best Two Days Ever
The Who and The Rolling Stones
November 13th and 14th, 2006-Salt Lake City, Utah and Nampa, Idaho
I've covered this in great detail in another post called "The Best Two Days Ever..." Suffice it to say, The Who were inspired, and the Stones were incredible also. Highlights of The Who show were all the hits, of course, but Eminence Front was astonishing, and the encore was a mini version of Tommy. Then Roger and Pete came out with an accoustic guitar and played "Tea and Theatre" from the new album. That's another of those deep cuts I was talking about earlier. The Stones were in great form as well, and the highlight of that show was Keith singing, "You Got the Silver" with Ronnie playing slide guitar.
March 8th, 2007-Salt Lake City, Utah
Eric Clapton was incredible. The show was my birthday present to me. First he had Robert Cray as the opening act, and as soon as the concert was over I went out and bought Robert Cray's "Live From Across the Pond" CD. I've never done that before with an opening act. He had two young turks with him, Derek Trucks from the Allman Brother's Band, and Doyle Bramhall III from his own band. The way the three of them would solo was a clinic in great guitar playing. Clapton always batted clean-up and blew the other two out of the water. In the end, Clapton invited Robert Cray on the stage and they did an epic version of "Crossroads". Unreal.
3 Dog Night
Idaho Falls, Idaho (don't remember the date)
This highlight of this show was the fact that I was able to go with my two daughters. We had a "Daddy/Daughter's" date. The three of us have always like 3 Dog Night, and we had a great time together. The band really looked as if they should be playing Branson, Missouri, though. I think they were all playing to a click track. The vocals may have been live, but comparing them to The Stones, The Who, McCartney or Eric Clapton, it seems that time has passed them by. The music was good, the set list was good, but the band really consisted of a bunch of old men. The big highlight of the show musically was an inspired version of "You Can Leave Your Hat On."
Idaho Falls, Idaho (don't remember the date)
One of my buddies from church called me up and said he had a ticket to see Alice Cooper in Idaho Falls that night, and he couldn't make it. He'd been called into work at the last minute and did I want his ticket. Of course I said "Yes!" I got out of the tub, got dressed and drove down to Idaho Falls and saw Alice. Okay, it was the darkest concert I've ever seen. In fact it's the darkest anything I've ever seen. I want to see it again! At no point did Alice ever call good evil or evil good, however. The end of the show saw Alice hanging from a gallows. Great shock rock. I don't know why he's not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's a travesty.
Up and Coming
I have a ticket to see Roger Waters perform "The Wall" in November
I hope to see Al Green open for Buddy Guy who will then open for BB King at Red Rocks.
The next night, Heart is playing the Paramount in Denver. We hope to see these back to back.
Kiss is playing Salt Lake City, I hope to see them
Bob Dylan is playing Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I hope to see him as well.
I don't know how many of these shows I really will see, but I already have the ticket for Roger Waters.
A Few Country Shows
I've been to a few country shows because I love my wife and she loves country. I don't.
I took her to see Reba Macintyre in Buffalo, New York. Reba had a bunch of line dancers in front of her stage and I realized that country line dancing is just disco dancing with tight jeans and cowboy boots.
I have taken her to see Keith Urban twice in Salt Lake City, Utah. What I've found about Keith Urban is that 75% of the audience is female. The other 25% is male who are there because their wives are there. He is a very good guitar player though.
I took her also to see Montgomery Gentry in Salt Lake City. The audience there is so hit and miss. For some shows they are loud and wonderful, but others they are lethargic and dead. Montgomery Gentry was one of those. The dude in the big hat couldn't work the audience up for anything. Jeff Foxworthy opened for them.