Saturday, July 31, 2010

Repeal the MTA Tax

NY state has taxed the areas around NYC to support the MTA. This is an unfair and repressive tax on all citizens, businesses, and local government entities (including school districts) to help subsidize a transit system that many do not ever use. I say let those who use the system pay for it. Raise the fares and cut service if needed. If your ridership can't support the cost then perhaps you are not charging enough...

Oh yeah, and Gov. Patterson can't leave office any time too soon...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Willie Nelson & Levon Helm at Radio City

Two albums that were big influences on how I looked at and appreciated different music were The Band's "The Last Waltz" and Willie Nelson & Family "Live". Way back in the mid 70's I was the typical 14 year old...a card carrying member of the KISS Army. Then around 1977 at the ripe old age of 15 things changed. Bye-bye theatrics, hello music.

I've seen Willie a bunch of times over the years (more on him in a bit) but I was too young to ever see the Band. The Last Waltz was my entry into something more varied, more mature, more...special. I remember watching it over and over on HBO at one point. I bought the triple album set and played it incessantly. Then I began to branch out. First with Music from Big Pink and The Band, then Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, Paul Butterfield, and Van Morrison. Off I went and I have never looked back. The music of the Band will always hold a special place in my heart.

I have loved Levon's two most recent albums. In fact my son went nuts for Electric Dirt. When the needle drops on his version of Tennessee Jed the whole house seems to smile at once. It was so great to hear that voice, older and more rough as a result of his bout with throat cancer, but no less engaging. You can almost feel the south pouring out of him as he sings. Levon has had a rough time with his throat of late (no cancer thank God) and he doesn't get to sing as much but when he does it is no less wonderful. Rough, scratchy, but pure Levon. The rest of the band is excellent including his daughter Amy (from Ollabelle) and Larry Campbell. Last night we also got Donald Fagen who took lead on King Harvest. Great set, great songs. I am looking forward to a Midnight Ramble in the near future. Oh yeah, Levon and Larry on Tennessee Jed was a hoot.

Willie Nelson is a national treasure in the vein of Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley at this point. At once instantly recognizable and familiar. At the same time he takes those songs and always slightly re-works them in the Willie Way. A short set but hey he is pushing 80! The band is small now just sister Bobbi on piano, Mickey Raphael on harp, Bee Spears on Base and the brothers English switching off on drums (Paul recently had a stroke). It's calmer than back in the 70's but no less engaging. Willie sounds great and can still played that old beat up Martin.

All told, a great night of music. It's a sad commentary on much of today's music that the old guard still can teach the new kids a thing or two. Thanks Willie & Levon, for everything.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Steve Earle - Westbury

Here's a few shots from the Steve Earle show on July 17th at the Theater at Westbury. As I said in an earlier post the show was good, if a bit standard. Steve is in good voice and is looking actually fairly healthy. I was at his last show at Westbury ay back in 1986 opening for Waylon Jennings. The purple haired old ladies were a bit shocked by the Dukes! Bring Back The Dukes!
Posted by Picasa

Rush - Jones Beach

I was really looking forward to the Time Machine Tour. Moving Pictures was to be played in its entirety and this is one of my favorites from way back when. My son loves the band so grabbing tickets was a no brainer. The show was good, actually very good, but it missed being amazing. I really love the old Rush, up to Signals. There was quite a bit of material that was newer and some deep cuts that were played at the expense of some better known songs. Not that this mattered to the faithful in attendance. As I said, really good show that wasn't quite great.

Set I
1. The Spirit Of Radio
2. Time Stand Still
3. Presto
...4. Stick It Out
5. Workin' Them Angels
6. Leave That Thing Alone
7. Faithless
8. BU2B
9. Freewill
10. Marathon
11. Subdivisions
Set II
12. Tom Sawyer
13. Red Barchetta
14. YYZ
15. Limelight
16. The Camera Eye
17. Witch Hunt
18. Vital Signs
19. Caravan
20. Drum Solo
21. Closer To The Heart
22. 2112: Overture/The Temples Of Syrinx
23. Far Cry
24. La Villa Strangiato Circus organ intro
25. Working Man 5-minute backstage movie featuring Paul Rudd & Jason Segel afterwards

Thanks to Larry for the pics...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Some Recent Shows I've Seen

I really like Widespread Panic and was quite excited about the show last night at Radio City Music Hall. The band was indeed on fire. It was a great night of music. The problem was the crowd. Somewhere along the way the free spirit of the 60's and 70's has evolved into the general rudeness of hippy wanna-be assholes in 2010. Just a miserable cross section of drunken, drugged up morons. I grew up in the 70's and while I do not indulge in chemicals you can have a blast if you want to. It's your life. Just stay out of my personal space. To that idiot in the Ithaca is Gorges shirt you should check out who you are annoying before acting like an asshole. You came very close to the Emergency Room last night my inebriated friend.

Tommy Emmanuel at BB Kings this past Sunday was a revelation. I have never seen anyone play an acoustic guitar like this guy. I don't think it is my cup of tea to listen to on the iPod, but live he something to see.

Steve Earle was good at Westbury on Saturday night. Not amazing but always good. He needs to change it up a bit. Those stories are at least 15 years old. As good as he is solo, I would love to see him get back on the road with the Dukes. Those shows for the El Corazon album were some of my all time favorites.

Rush on Saturday!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Phish - I may be starting to get "it"

I am a jam band fan. Whatever that means. I love the Dead, the Brothers, Gov't Mule, Panic, moe. and tons of others. I never got the Phish thing. I've tried a bunch of times and have seen them live (although it was a looooooooooooong time ago). I think I just hate Phish fans. Pretend hippies. I don't dig the uniform, the begging for tickets, the veggie burritos in the parking lot and the excess of weed. It's just not my thing. I am not opposed to a good time and love a cold one, but the Phish Phans take it a bit too far for me.

What I do love is good music, especially when it goes places. So while I am home this summer I am checking out some new sounds and I gave Phish another chance with the new album Joy. Very good. So it is back to the live stuff. I have had A Live One for years and listened to it with fresh ears. Again, not bad at all. So I did a little review scanning and decided on NYE 1995 from Madison Square Garden. Really good. I will probably stop here and go out a Phish winner but you never know. As to another live show...probably not. This OldRockr is getting a bit cranky when it comes to the kids...

Monday, July 5, 2010

moe. at The Theater at Westbury

I was at the moe. show at Westbury on Saturday night and it was really, really good. My son is starting to get into the jam bands so it was a bonus to have him there. He's gone from metal to moe. over the past couple of years. I approve! The only weirdness was the band playing in the round. I've seen tons of shows here and it always kind of bothers me. The sound can suffer a bit when you are really close (which we were). However, the sight lines are great and you are never more than 60 feet from the stage. Here's the setlist:

{8:20 PM > 9:16 PM EST}

I: Second Cousins# >(nh) Happy Hour Hero > Bearsong, One Life, New York City > Plane Crash?

{9: PM > 10:59 PM EST}

II: Water > Shoot First > Waiting For The Punchline > Brittle End? > Sensory Deprivation Bank > Seat Of My Pants

Enc: Timmy Tucker, Farmer Ben

The only downer for me was the parking lot scene. Far too many kids doing far too many substances. As the years go by this gets worse and worse. And I am too old for this bullshit. To the dealer who ran over to off me and my son selling whippets...dude I look like a cop (I am not but I do look like one) you must be the dumbest fucking dealer in the world.

Parking lot aside it was a great night. I am going to post an acoustic moe. set for those of you who want to check 'em out. This was recorded at Looney Tunes CD's in West Babylon back on February 11, 2007. This is a soundboard recorded that night. Sound is excellent.
Get the show here.
Looney Tunes CD's
West Babylon, NY
1. Blue Jeans Pizza
2. Tailspin
3. Brittle End
4. Where Does The Time Go?
5. The Road
6. Spine of a Dog