Saturday, July 7, 2007

He's The Greatest....

...and you better believe it, baby!

Happy 67th b-day to our good friend Richard Starkey, better known to most Earthlings as Ringo Starr, MBE, and known to other Earthlings as Zac Starkey's dad.  As Charlie Daniels might say, Ringo "ain't good-looking, but he sure can play..."

Oddly enough, even though he's hardly the greatest singer in the world, it was Ringo Starr who had the most consistent solo career success early on after the breakup of The Beatles.  Apart from a handful of hit singles, Paul McCartney's solo career didn't really kick into high gear until late 1973's Band On The Run album.  John Lennon was at times brilliant ("Instant Karma", "Imagine") and at times ignorant ("Woman Is The Nigger Of The World"), and George Harrison was pretty hit-and-miss—although "What Is Life?" is a classic, and acoustic guitars have never sounded better to me than they do on the intro to "My Sweet Lord".  Meantime, it was Ringo (with a little help from his friends) churning out the hits, beginning with 1971's "It Don't Come Easy" and culminating with his classic 1973 album Ringo, which was the closest we ever came to a true Beatles reunion, as John, George and Paul all wrote songs for the album and played on it (just not all at the same time).  Sadly, Ringo wasn't able to sustain a consistent solo career over time, but later had fun staging his All-Starr Band tours during the '80s and '90s with folks like Joe Walsh, Dave Edmunds, John Entwistle and Sheila E (?!?).

As much as I enjoy Ringo's drumming prowess, I have to say that his little boy, Zac Starkey of The Who, blows his old man away.  It took The Who about 20 years to find a proper replacement for the late Keith Moon in young master Zac, who is both a basher and a timekeeper.  Of course, it didn't hurt that Zac learned from Moon himself, as well as his dad, and even Peter Criss of Kiss, whom Zac was/is a huge fan of.  And just like other Beatle offspring like Julian Lennon and Dhani Harrison, Zac bears a striking resemblance to dear ol' dad.  I just wish he'd stop wasting his time (and talent) playing with those impudent Oasis pussies!

My All-Time Ringo Top 10:
10) "Only You (And You Alone)" (1974)  Nice remake of the Platters' timeless classic.
9) "I'm The Greatest" (1973)  Song I referenced in the above title line.  J. Lennon wrote this one about himself initially, but thought it would come off sounding a tad arrogant coming from him if he sang it, so he handed it off to the ever-humble Ringo, and it worked out quite well.
8) "No No Song" (1974)  A Hoyt Axton classic that may well be the funniest smoking/drinking/snorting song of all-time.
7) "Back Off Boogaloo" (1972)  G. Harrison produced this one and plays guitar on it and a then-unknown Gary "Dream Weaver" Wright plays keyboards here too.
6) "Snookeroo" (1974)  Written for Mr. Starkey by E. John and B. Taupin. E. John can be heard doing the count-in at the start, and get this—he plays piano on it, too.  Imagine that!
5) "(It's All Down To) Goodnight Vienna" (1974)  Lennon wrote this one for Ringo too, and plays some dandy pianny on it.  I don't have a clue what the lyrics mean, but what the fuck...
4) "You're Sixteen" (1973)  One of my favorite cover songs of all-time, featuring P. McCartney and the late Harry Nilsson on those dreaded "mouth saxes", better known as "kazoos" to us Americans.
3) "Oh My My" (1973)  Ringo does disco before disco was even cool!  I love those bass farts on this one during the chrouses, and I still swear that lyric went "This parakeet should keep you alive..."
2) "Photograph" (1973)  Arguably the high point of Ringo's solo career.  Outstanding "Wall of Sound" production by Richard Perry too.
1) "It Don't Come Easy" (1971)  Another favorite of mine off the AM dial in the summer of '71.  We'll forgive Ringo for flubbing the words to it (twice) during the Concert for Bangladesh too...

What the #$&@ Were They Thinking?--Vol. II

Pretty self-explanatory here—just kick back and enjoy what is quite possibly the ultimate career-killing music video and witness ‘80s guitarist/Eddie Van Halen wanna-be Billy Squier morph into a Richard Simmons look-a-like and inadvertently out himself all in one fell swoop!  Truth be told, "Rock Me Tonite" wasn’t really all that bad a song, but I can’t hear it anymore without thinking of that embarrassing "Sir Prance-A-Lot" act in that damn video, in which Squier somehow managed to make Boy George and Prince seem like he-men by comparison!  This video's just plain awful, period.  Squier himself freely acknowledges it was a major tactical error on his part from which his career never recovered, even though he did put out some decent stuff afterward.  Too bad too, because he wasn’t a bad guitar player.

For what it’s worth, my All-Time Billy Squier Top 5:
1) "Whaddya Want From Me?" (1981)
2) "Keep Me Satisfied" (1982)
3) "Everybody Wants You" (1982)
4) "Too Daze Gone" (1981)
5) "My Kinda Lover" (1981)

Glory Days

This is the current pre-game show video being used by the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.  Pretty slick, but it's too bad they have to reach back so far into the past to find those happier times...

Friday, July 6, 2007

July 6, 1982

Was somewhat alarmed to realize this morning that it was exactly 25 years ago tonight that my friend Tom and I attended one of the finest concerts I’ve ever witnessed, Elton John at Starlight Theater.  Good moogly-woogly, where has the last quarter century gone?  Oh well, I have very fond memories of that night, so I might as well share them…

Starlight is an 8,000-seat outdoor theater located in Kansas City’s Swope Park.  Built in 1950, Starlight had been mostly used for summer musicals that appealed to the Geritol Generation featuring the likes of Julie Andrews, Juliet Prowse and Jim Nabors (who once swallowed a moth while singing onstage there, according to urban legend).  Rock concerts were a rarity at Starlight, although we did see Paul Revere & The Raiders there in the Summer of ’71 when I was a wee lad of seven, and Starlight was undergoing a resurgence of sorts in the early ‘80s when new owners decided to stage fewer musicals and more concerts.  I think Heart was the first Rock band to play there under the new regime in 1981 as sort of an "acid test", and it went well enough that a whole slew of Rock shows were scheduled there, including four during the first week of July, 1982.  Tom and I caught the Charlie Daniels Band on a hot Saturday afternoon, and Asia played there on the 4th (we passed), then that "cat named Hercules" came in for two nights on the 6th and 7th.

Sir Elton was undergoing his own little resurgence at the time after spending about five years in the musical wilderness following his mid-‘70s heyday when he could do little or no wrong.  He had just released his second album on his new label, Geffen Records, the very underrated Jump Up, and more importantly, he righted his own wrong by reuniting with his classic band lineup of drummer Nigel Olsson, bassist Dee Murray and guitarist Davey Johnstone.  Still, this was my first Elton John concert, and given the dearth of truly decent material from EJ, as well as his lack of enthusiasm for performing at times during the prior five years, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from him.  I needn’t have worried…

Tuesday night turned out to be surprisingly gorgeous for early July in K.C., and it was a most welcome change for me as I recovered from the sunburn I got at the C.D.B. show on Saturday.  Quarterflash (of "Harden Your Heart" fame) was the opening act, and this was our second time with them, as they played a free concert the previous Thanksgiving Eve at the Lyric Theater in K.C.  Too bad that band never went anywhere, because they weren’t too shabby live in concert.  Then Elton hit the stage just before dark, opening with "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding", and for the next two hours, he rocked the house with a nice mix of his classics, some new stuff and a few surprises along the way.  Of the new stuff, the high point was the poignant "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)"—easily the best of all the John Lennon tribute songs—and another new one called "Dear John" (not about Lennon) got a pretty good reaction, as did "Chloe" from his 1981 album The Fox.

One of the things I love most about Elton John is how he’s not afraid to pick out obscure tracks from his earlier albums—some of which he’d rarely (if ever) played live before—and dust them off and give them a go in concert instead of just playing the same tired old set list every tour.  On this night, Elton’s "B-stuff" sounded every bit as good as his "A-stuff"—songs like "Better Off Dead" from Captain Fantastic, "All The Young Girls Love Alice" from Yellow Brick Road, "Teacher I Need You" from Don’t Shoot Me, "Ticking" from Caribou and a song that really grew on me after this show, "Where To Now, St. Peter?" from Tumbleweed Connection.

And oh yeah, the big hits sounded pretty sweet too.  "The Bitch Is Back", "Pinball Wizard" and "Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting" and "Bennie & The Jets" never sounded better, and the band was very tight throughout—damn, it was great having these guys back together again!  The highlight of the night may well have been a very trippy extended version of "Rocket Man" which featured some appropriately spacey guitar work from Johnstone.  Elton closed the show with "Crocodile Rock" followed by a medley of old Rock ‘N’ Roll favorites ("Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On"/"I Saw Her Standing There"/"Twist And Shout"), and it was just an awesome fucking show.  Out of the over 100 concerts I’ve attended since 1979, this one certainly ranks in my top two or three.

One reason why my memory of this show is so utterly sharp is because we had the good fortune of getting to hear Elton in concert all over again the next night, as the July 7th show was broadcast live on a few hundred radio stations nationally, and locally on the old KY-102.  Tom and I both had tape rolling, and between the two of us, we were able to piece together the entire concert on cassette, so it’s like having a souvenir of the show we attended, since the set lists were identical both nights, and I still listen to it often—it’s far better than any official live album Elton’s ever put out, with the possible exception of the expanded double-CD release of 1976’s Here And There.

There was some funny stuff in that second night’s show, like after a song when Elton says, "Thank you, Kansas!" and after the applause dies down a bit, you can clearly hear some guy who was none too pleased with the omission of "City" scream out, "YOU’RE IN MISSOURI!!"  Elton forgets a lyric in the middle of "Ticking", and his band introductions are rather humorous too, like when he refers to Davey Johnstone as "a guy who’s rejoined us after a while playing with other biggies—like Meat Loaf…"  EJ also was very classy to give props to the venue itself by telling the nation, "If anybody ever wants to see a beautiful theater, come to Kansas City and see the Starlight Theater—it’s beautiful!"  About the only downside to the recording is ever-pompous radio personality George Taylor Morris talking over the proceedings during the encores.  Still, one of these days I’m going to transfer this sucker onto CDs.

Here’s the complete set list, btw:

Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
All The Young Girls Love Alice
Someone Saved My Life Tonight
Better Off Dead
Ball And Chain
Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
The Bitch Is Back
Pinball Wizard
Elton's Song
Where To Now, St. Peter?
Where Have All The Good Times Gone?
Rocket Man
Bennie & The Jets
Teacher I Need You

Dear John
Your Song
Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
Crocodile Rock

Medley:  Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On/I Saw Her Standing There/Twist and Shout

Thursday, July 5, 2007

What's Yer Rush?

No, not the blowhard radio host/big fat idiot.  I'm referring to that Little ol' Band from Toronto who plays loud rhythmic music.  My Rush is actually the early 80’s version, but many fans are partial to the 1970’s model (pictured here), and some folks even prefer the ‘90s-and-beyond Rush, but all are good in one way or another.  If nothing else, you have to admire this classy band’s longevity and consistency, as well as their top-flight musicianship.

Rush was just another average Hard Rock band until their original drummer John Rutsey was dismissed because of health concerns (diabetes, namely) after their first album in 1974, and Messers. Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson lucked into finding a very talented drummer who also just happened to have a knack for writing intelligent lyrics, one young Neil Peart, and the rest is history.

I was rather resistant to Rush at first, despite my older sister’s encouragement to check them out in the late ‘70s.  I was rather intimidated by their album-side-length Sci-Fi epics that I didn’t relate all that well to, plus Lee’s shrieky banshee vocals grated on me at times.  But once Geddy got control of his voice and truly learned how to sing (long about the time of 1981’s Moving Pictures), I began to take notice of the band, and I loved their next album Signals, which helped get me through my first semester in college in the fall of 1982.  I actually found it refreshing to hear a band singing about space shuttles, pleasure domes and quarrelling trees, etc., instead of the usual "suck-and-fuck" Rock ‘N’ Roll subject matter, which renders Rush’s early classic (before Peart's arrival), "Hey baby, it's-a quarter-to-eight, I feel I'm In The Mood..." rather comical to listen to now.

My first experience with Rush in concert was not a terribly good one, though.  They played Kemper Arena for two nights, April 23-24, 1981 on the Moving Pictures tour.  We had tickets (10 bucks a pop!) for the second night, and all day long at school on the 24th, people who attended the first night were just raving about what a kick-ass show they saw, so I looked forward to something special, but the show we witnessed turned out to be a huge disappointment.  First off, it wasn't very loud, and Geddy Lee hardly said two words to the audience between songs all night other than "Thank you" (a BIG pet peeve of mine at any concert).  The band seemed to be going through the motions at times and the show left me really flatAbout ten years ago, I attended a much better Rush show at Sandblown Amphitheater with my sister, and they redeemed themselves mightily in my eyes.  I also highly recommend their DVD release R30 which features a 2004 concert from Germany that was quite good, plus the animated video featuring the Rush bobbleheads that they used during the concert's intermission is a total hoot.  The DVD set also includes some vintage concert footage and interviews.

One thing I've always marveled at is how Geddy Lee multi-tasks during concerts.  First off, he's the greatest living bass player on the planet (second only to the late John Entwistle in my book), and he also doubles on his phalanx of keyboards and bass pedals and such, all the while singing some fairly complex lyrics—something a little more complicated and thought-provoking than "I was born in a small town/And I live in a small town/Gonna die in a small town...".  Neil Peart is also a treat to watch hammering away on his gi-normous drum set—the damn thing needs its own ZIP code!  It's also been nice to see him rebound from the horrible double-whammy tragedy of losing his only daughter in a car accident and his first wife to breast cancer within less than a year of each other in 1997-98.

Another thing I always found refreshing about Rush is that they didn't exhibit your stereotypical Rock star behavior, and seemed like the kind of guys you'd love to just sit down and have a few beers with and talk about life and such.  Although guitarist Alex Lifeson's New Year's Eve drunken fisticuffs incident involving his son jamming (or trying to) with a house band at a Florida hotel a few years back did somewhat "shatter the illusion of integrity", they all still seem like really cool guys.

Getting back to the music, I've always been ironically partial to Rush's synthesizer period that lasted from Moving Pictures through 1987's Hold Your Fire, where the synths were more prominently featured on their records than the guitars.  I say ironic because I'm normally not all that big a fan of synthesizers, but when used in moderation, they can actually benefit a good band.  Power Windows from 1985 is my personal favorite Rush album of all-time, and 1984's Grace Under Pressure has also grown on me big-time over the years.  Roll The Bones and Counterparts from the early '90s aren't too shabby, either, as the band re-emphasized Lifeson's heavier guitar work.  And irony of all ironies, Rush fell prey in 2004 to the current trend of bands doing full albums of cover songs—this coming from a band who up to that point had released nothing but all-original material, apart from "borrowing" the riff from Cheech & Chong's "Earache My Eye" at the tail end of the live version of "Big Money" on A Show of Hands.  At least Rush has the good taste to do a couple Who covers ("Summertime Blues" and "The Seeker") as well as The Yardbirds' "Shapes of Things".

A little trivia for you: Geddy's Lee's given name is Gary Lee Weinrib, and his parents were Nazi concentration camp survivors in WWII.  His grandmother had a thick Hungarian accent and whenever she said his first name, it sounded like "Geddy", so it stuck.

Good day, eh?—My All-Time Rush Top 10:
10) "The Enemy Within" (1984)  Totally overlooked song that sounds very '80s, and that's not always a such bad thing...

9) "Red Barchetta" (1981)  Car songs always rule, and this one features some very Who-like power chords in it during the "wind in my hair/shifting and drifting" section.
8) "Xanadu" (1977)  A little longer than I'd normally like, but very sonic at times, and it holds one's attention throughout.
7) "Countdown" (1982)  Very cool account of a space shuttle launch, complete with actual NASA transmissions that Rush was very privileged to use—the space agency doesn't loan them out to just anybody.
6) "Working Man" (1974)  Far and away the best Rush song from that first album prior to Neil Peart's arrival.  And who among us doesn't like to "take a sip of an ice cold beer" after a long hard day?
5) "Face Up" (1991)  Cool song that gave me a little dose of inspiration during a down period in my life to get my shit together and lose some weight with the line "Still time to turn this game around..."  Guess I should listen to it more often, eh?
4) "2112" ["Overture/Temples Of Syrinx"] (1976)  The tune that really put Rush on the map, radio-wise.
3) "Turn The Page" (1987)  Song that more or less marked the end of the synthesizer era for Rush, but very cool stuff.  Interesting use of overlapping vocals from Sir Geddy here.
2) "Subdivisions" (1982)  Includes one of the three greatest synthesizer solos of all-time here, right up there with the one at the end of the Sniff 'N' The Tears underrated 1979 classic "Driver's Seat" and Del Shannon's "Runaway".
1) "Marathon" (1985)  Awesome headphone song that I nearly wore out the cassette I had of on my Walkman.  One of Geddy's best vocal performances ever, too.

What The &%#@ Were They Thinking?—Vol. I

First of an occasional series on major FUBARs in music history…

I stumbled across Gimme Shelter on the tube last night and watched it for like the 85th time.  It’s the documentary film about the infamous 1969 Rolling Stones Altamont concert debacle, and I came away with the same thought I always have when I watch that movie—what the fuck were the Stones thinking?!?  Sure, it was a nice gesture on their part to try to stage a free concert, but the band was very na├»ve to think that it would be like "Woodstock West" or "Monterey Pop, The Sequel".  First off, Woodstock wasn’t as peachy as people make it out to be—the organizers there really pushed their luck and were damn lucky it didn’t turn into an epic catastrophe, and The Stones were just about as lucky that Altamont didn’t turn out worse than it actually was.

The show was destined to be a disaster from the start because they kept changing the location for it.  Two or three different sites were considered, including Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, but the concert got moved around for various reasons, and at the last minute one Dick Carter offered up his Altamont Speedway, located about 40 miles east of the Bay Area, in exchange for the free publicity, although I have no idea what the hell for—the speedway was dormant, and NASCAR wasn't a terribly big sensation at the time.  Anyway, with less than 48 hours’ notice, the show was moved to a hill outside this racetrack with totally inadequate toilet and electrical facilities, not to mention inadequate accessibility by car for 100,000 people, and it appeared to be every bit the clusterfuck to get to that Woodstock was.

Okay, I have a couple questions.  First off, why would you schedule on outdoor concert in Northern California in December?!?  The Bay Area is frigid enough in summertime—why in blue blazes would you do an outdoor show during the holiday season?  Seems to me that L.A. or sunny San Diego might’ve been a tad more comfy for this one.  Secondly, how fucking dumb do you gotta be to hire the Hell’s Angels to provide "security"?  Ever hear of that "inmates running the asylum" analogy?  Good rule of thumb:  Avoid hiring anyone who wants to be paid in beer, but if you do so, do not pay them until after they’ve done the job, not while they're doing it!!!

The concert was just a total disaster, of course.  The sound system was totally inadequate for the size of the crowd, and food, water and toilets were an afterthought.  Patience became just as scarce as the food, water and toilets not long after the show began, and fights broke out all over, many of them involving the "security people."  In addition to the Stones, the bill included Santana, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, the Flying Burrito Brothers and Jefferson Airplane, but only the latter two acts (plus the Stones) are shown during the film.  The Grateful Dead was also scheduled to play between JA and the Stones on the bill, but when Jerry Garcia got word of the fisticuffs between the Airplane’s Marty Balin and the "security people" (see film) and the nasty vibe of the whole thing in general, the Dead high-tailed it outta there.  Oh, did I mention that drugs played a part in all this? Drugs are bad, mmm-kay?

Just to make things worse, the Stones’ set was delayed because bassist Bill Wyman was unable to get to the venue in a timely manner, thus, it was dark and even colder by the time Mick and the boys hit the stage, and the already-agitated crowd and "security people" were downright rabid.  As documented in the film, the Stones’ set was marred with constant interruptions caused by fights breaking out right and left in front of the stage.  Jagger tried to quell the violence by pleading with the crowd to chill out, but it did little good.  The girl right at the edge of the stage staring at Mick with tears in her eyes pretty much reflected the ugliness that went on that night, culminating in the stabbing death (caught on camera) of 18-year-old Meredith Hunter at the hands of one of the "security people".  A tragedy, to be sure, but it wasn’t totally unjustified, either.  Hunter brandished a handgun—not a particularly bright move for a black guy dressed like a leprechaun pimp in the middle of a huge crowd of predominately white people.  Still, I think Hunter could’ve been properly subdued with a proper security force instead of a flotilla of drunken redneck bikers.  The film also didn’t mention that there were three other deaths at Altamont—two people were run over by a car, and another person drowned in a nearby drainage ditch (probably that bozo who kept crowd-surfing during the Burrito Brothers' set).  Just an ugly, ugly event, as well as a black eye for Rock ‘N’ Roll—so much for all that tree-hugging hippie utopia crap, eh?

Still, the Altamont concert seemed strangely appropriate as more or less the closing chapter of such a turbulent and violent decade.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

'Dis, 'Dat an' d'Other

...and go fuck your Rose Garden, Mr. Bush!  Let's review here:  Scooter Libby was convicted by a jury of betraying his country, big-time (treason charges, anyone?), yet with the stroke of a pen, Dubya lets him off the hook.  All I gotta say is "Buck Fush!"  Need I say more?

JIMMY WALKER, 1944-2007
Sad news in the sports world with the death of former NBA player Jimmy Walker (no, NOT the arsehole from "Good Times"), who lost his battle with lung cancer last night.  J. Walker was one of my favorite players in the early years of the Kansas City and/or Omaha Kings back in the '70s, and prior to his arrival here, he was the #1 overall draft pick in 1967 out of Providence, and an All-Star in 1970 and 1972 with Detroit.  I wasn't even aware until today that he is also the father of current NBA star Jalen Rose.  R.I.P., JW...

Who, you say?  Well, if you're a fan of "The Benny Hill Show", you know of this man's work.  He was a saxophone player who scored with a major hit in 1963 called "Yakety Sax", which became even more famous as the theme music for the "lad himself"'s show in the '70s and '80s.  He was also a session musician and played on Elvis Presley's "Return To Sender", among others.  Mr. Randolph died of subdural hematoma today.  R.I.P., Boots...

Lots of hubbub this week about Barry Bonds making the National League All-Star team as a starter, following a mysterious last-minute surge in the voting that would put the Diebold people who manipulated the 2000 Presidential election to shame.  That don't confront me (as long as I get my money next Friday), seeing's how Bonds is actually having a decent season, and there's no one else on the San Francisco roster worth putting on the All-Star team, anyway (as per the Major League mandate of each team being represented by at least one player).

Bonds also hit career HR #751 tonight, putting him just four shy of tying Hank Aaron (thus putting ESPN in a tizzy once again), but I couldn't care less, really.  I was nine years old when Hammerin' Hank was chasing Babe Ruth for #715, and I remember how exciting it was to watch him break the record live on TV on April 8, 1974, but when (or if) Bonds gets #756, I'm not sure how I will react.  Maybe I'll yawn, fart or scratch my balls—honestly, I haven't decided, yet—but I'm pretty nonplussed about it at this point.  And it's not a racial thing—Hank Aaron is black, and I want him to KEEP the record that I rooted for him to attain 33 years ago.  It's not even about the steroids thing, really—who are we kidding? Bonds isn't the only one who's used this shit.  No, I think my indifference might have something to do with Barry Bonds being a total fucking prick!  He's such an arrogant douche that it's damn near impossible for me to root for him to do anything but fall on his ass...

The good news is that the Giants are in last place and bound to stay that way, thus meaning there should be a ticket or two available during the final week of the regular season at AT&T Park (or whatever it's called this week) when yours truly invades the Bay Area for the first time in the history of the world...

Most intriguing maneuver by Seattle Mariners manager Mike Hargrove, who resigned on Sunday during an 8-game winning streak.  Now, that's what I call quitting while you're ahead! Just as well—the M's got hammered by two touchdowns at the hands of the lowly Royals tonight, 17-3...

"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone"—PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS (1966) "You've been awful careful 'bout the friends you choose/But you won't find my name in your book of Who's Who, I said..."  To my three-year-old ears, it sounded like "You won't find my name in your boogaloo's who's this?"  Yes, I know The Monkees had the big hit with this song (written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart), but PR&TR recorded it first, and their version is far superior—it's punchier, Mark Lindsay's vocals are grittier than Mickey Dolenz' wimpy rendition, and the Raiders were a real band to begin with—end of discussion!!

After checking out my newly-acquired Johnny Cash CD box set, I was a taken aback a tad by the true meaning of a song called "The One On The Right Was On The Left".  My brother Earnie used to have an 8-track tape with that song on it when I was a kid, and back then I thought the song was some sort of musical chairs thing—little did my eight-year-old mind realize that this song was actually a precursor to the current conservative vs. liberal conflict!  Talk about your childhood delusions.  Still and all, the Man In Black rules...

If I'd been properly motivated, I could have driven 30 miles tonight (one-way) out to what used to be called Sandstone Amphitheater to watch three (count 'em), three has-been bands in concert—Def Leppard and (what's left of) Styx and Foreigner.  Somehow, I couldn't get properly motivated...

My friend Tom and I caught all three bands in happier times when it was real.  We saw Def Lep on their first U.S. tour in 1980 at Kemper Arena, opening for Fred Nugent and Scorpions.  Great show, as I recall, but over the years I've come to realize the limitations of Joe Elliot's voice—he sounds like some 15-year-old kid trying to sound cool in an amateur garage band at times.  We also loved Foreigner in the rain at Arrowhead in 1982, but I'm so sorry—Mick Jones alone today is not a big draw—at least give me Lou Gramm on the vocals instead of some nobody posing as Brother Lou.  Meantime, Styx drops by here every five months or so anyway (along with REO Speedwagon every other time, it seems), and minus Dennis DeYoung, there's something missing, so I'll just reflect back on the night of March 16, 1981 when (thanks to a nasty stomach virus) I was as sick as a child pornographer at Kemper Arena when Styx hit town on the Paradise Theater tour, and they still managed to blow me (and Tom) away, anyhow.  Even that silly Kilroy thing in '83 was mildly amusing from the top row of Kemper (whilst watching some doofus to our left puking his guts out all over his newly-bought Styx t-shirt), but I can really do without this current nostalgia act crappola...

I'd rather fondly remember the above concerts instead of driving 60 miles round trip for some half-assed re-hash, thank you...

Monday, July 2, 2007

Classic Misheard Lyric #37

"Pride (In The Name of Love)"--U2 (1984) "Early morning, April 4shot rings out in the Memphis sky..."  Mea culpa on my part—I'm surprised no one caught my brain fart on my Travelblog, Pt. 2 entry last month regarding the Lorraine Motel where I subtitled it "Sunday morning, April 4."  Come on, where were all you Youse2 fans out there?!?

Hey, I'm willing to admit a mistake now and then, and there are two goofs in regards to this, one being mine and the other being Bono's.  I don't know where I got Sunday from—confusing it with "Sunday, Bloody Sunday", perhaps?—and on top of that, April 4, 1968 was a Thursday.  Bono gets a few points off his American History grade, and the lyric should have gone "early evening, April 4" because Martin Luther King was shot a 6:01PM and died about an hour later—I wonder if anyone's ever pointed out this error to young Mr. Hewson.  Anyway, I caught this FUBAR last night while reading my Soulsville, U.S.A. book on the history of Stax Records (which was subsequently impacted by King's death in numerous ways).

I stand corrected, even if that Bono dude doesn't...