Friday, October 31, 2008



10/19/89 - The Grateful Dead @ The Spectrum - Philly, PA

My 17th Dead show in just over a year.

Philly loves them some Grateful Dead. This show started slow. The first 5 songs were either from their mega-hit record In The Dark or from their forthcoming Built To Last record. They sounded ok, but we were ready for some of the classics. "Victim" in the first set was always a drag. I really hated this song at the time - even though the Hampton version had given me a glimmer of hope. Let's get this party started already. Things picked up with "Cumberland" and we were on our way. Love love love that song.

Steve and I decided that for the second set we would just hang out in on the concourse and dance. The Spectrum's floor was perfect for dancing. I guess there were so many years of muck built-in to them that after a while they just became slippery as hell. You had to be careful when walking around, but it was great for spinning around and dancing.

The lights went down and they started tuning. There it was again..."chunk chunka-chunk chunka-chunk...BAM!" "Help On The Way!" The place went nuts. We couldn't believe our luck getting this song yet again. We certainly picked the right time to dance in the hallway. We were quickly joined by dozens of others. The party had started. A typically wonderful 1989 second set. "Estimated," "Eyes," "The Wheel"...awesome. After the "Fantasy>Jude" combo we expected "Lovelight" or "Sugar Mag" to close the set, but Jerry hit a riff that sounded vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place it. Then he starts the opening verse of "Death Don't Have No Mercy" an ancient blues tune that the Dead used to play a lot circa 1969. Everyone ran back inside to listen. This was only the 3rd time they've played it since 1970. The guys traded off verses and pulled it off great. It was one of those "not a chance in hell" songs. They would only play it one more time before retiring it forever. Typically great 1989 evening with the boys.

Hell In A Bucket
West LA Fadeaway
Victim Or The Crime
Built To Last
Blow Away
When I Paint My Masterpiece
Cumberland Blues
Don't Ease Me In

Help On The Way
Franklin's Tower
Estimated Prophet
Eyes of The World
The Wheel
Dear Mr. Fantasy
Hey Jude (finale)
Death Don't Have No Mercy

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

10/19/97 - Ratdog @ The Ballroom - Washington, DC

For those of you that don't know - The Ballroom later became Nation.

This was a good era to see Ratdog. We were starving for anything Dead related and Ratdog was a nice mix of the classics and some new stuff. Rob Wasserman was still in the band at the time. He added a lot that was sorely missed in the later (read: current) incarnations of the band. There were still enough of the Family around that made these shows feel like a homecoming of sorts. I don't remember anything specific about the music from this night, but I always loved seeing The Dog back then.

10/19/2004 - The Libertines @ 9:30

I can't remember if I even had Up The Bracket yet, but there was so much hype around this band, I wasn't going to miss it. I remember having a really good time, but they definitely didn't like up to the hype. They were good - just not OMG-they're-the-best-thing-since-the-Clash good, like they were being hyped. I really do like this band though. I vaguely remember there being lots of room at this show. I thought for sure this one would sellout, but it didn't. I'd love to see them with train-wreck-Pete, but somehow I doubt that's gonna happen.

I somehow managed to lose my copy of Up The Bracket. I have the case, but no disc. I'll bet it's just doubled-up with another disc somewhere. I'll probably find it a week after I finally breakdown and buy another one.



10/18/95 - R.E.M. @ Nissan Pavilion - East Bumf--k, VA

14th row center. Not bad for getting the ticket at the box office the night of the show.

Nobody plays both DC AND Nissan. Well, Jimmy Buffet plays both Merriweather and Nissan, but he's really the only one. But for some reason R.E.M. decided to follow 2 nights in DC with a show in Virginia - about 30 miles away. I was thrilled, but the nearly-empty lawn showed that this was probably not a very good idea.

They gave us a few treats, but it was pretty much the same stuff they've been playing all year. I seem to recall Stipe apologizing for forgetting to play "Country Feedback" the night before. We got "Welcome To The Occupation," which I hadn't seen in a while. Other than that the only real interesting thing about this one was the fact that we got "Zither," an instrumental from the yet-to-be-released Hi-Fi record. A nice little ditty, but not terribly exciting - especially since none of us knew it. I remember being kind of excited that we got not one, but TWO songs from Lifes Rich Pageant. I was pretty desperate for old songs by this point. I had seen them 7 times on this tour. As much as I loved it - that was enough. I was Monstered-out. If nothing else, I had become a master at running to the bathroom and back during the 5:00 of "Everybody Hurts." Mad skillz I've got.

Grant Lee Buffalo opened again. All I remember about them is that they covered the Stones' "Moonlight Mile."

I coincidentally ended up sitting right next to a girl I knew from the early days of She was going to UofMD and recounted the horrible ride she had to the show with some fratboy she found on a ride-board. UofMD was pretty much right on my way home, so I offered her a ride back. We spent the hour geeking-out on the shows we had seen and the bootlegs we were listening to. Always reassuring to know that I'm not alone in my obsessions.

10/18/2000 - John Waters @ Lisner Auditorium - Washington, DC

Front row. I just remember thinking "Please don't come over and talk to me." He was incredibly funny though. I vaguely remember a story about the gay strip clubs in Baltimore. Not that I could relate to that - since I've never been to them. Nope. Not me. ahem. Quote of the evening, "Oh, Christ, I'm bloated." I'm not sure why I remember that.

10/18/2005 - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @ The Black Cat - Washington, DC

Whatever. Tick. Tick. Tick. Time's up.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008



10/17/95 - R.E.M. @ USAir Arena - Landover, MD

Like I said - This one blends together with the previous night. I was on the same side of the floor, but about 15 rows closer, in the back of Section 1. Right on the aisle though, which gave me plenty of room to jump around. Nothing radically different from the night before. Tonight we got "Half A World Away" and "So. Central Rain" - one of the very few early songs played on this tour. One thing we didn't get tonight was "Country Feedback." Bummer. One of my all-time faves. This was one of the only times (if not the only time) they didn't play this song on this our. We also got a brief version of America's "Horse With No Name." Really. I never did track down copies of these Landover shows. I should probably do that someday. I tried to get a setlist from the soundboard guy. Denied.

10/17/2006 - Joan Jett/Eagles Of Death Metal @ 9:30

I louurrve me some Joan Jett. This show rocked from start to finish.

My only exposure to the Eagles Of Death Metal was their appearance on one of those late-night shows - Conan maybe? - but they were impressive enough that I made a note to check them out when I got the chance. Well, this was my chance, so I made sure to get there super early. Best. decision. ever. They were f--king amazing. Rock and Roll presented with crunchy riffs, lots of attitude and swagger, bad-ass through and through. So much so that it's kind of hard to tell if they're making fun of the genre, or they're heralding the comeback of good old rock and roll. Who cares. Either way they're pulling it off. And you can't help but shake your ass to it. They're coming back to to the 9:30 Club in December. I already have my ticket. You really, really need to go. Let's rock.

Joan Jett was her typical kick-ass rock and roll self. A hit-laden set, but plenty of songs from Sinner, too. Not a bad record by any stretch. Go buy it. One of the highlights of this show was her cover of the Replacements' "Androgynous." How awesome is that?

I'll go see Joan every time she makes it to DC-proper, or even in Baltimore. I just wish she'd stop making her DC tour stop those lame summer town-fest things, like Celebrate Fairfax. I just can't bring myself to go to those things. Joan needs to be seen in a dark, dirty crowded bar. Yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah.

My old review of this one is here.

10/17/2007 - The Hives @ The Black Cat - Washington, DC

I got tired of people telling me that The Hives were the greatest live band on the planet. I finally broke down and decided to go - ready to be disappointed. But I wasn't disappointed. They were pretty rocktastic. The singer totally has a Mick Jagger thing going, if Mick played punky-garagey (post-garage?) stuff. Short, tight songs that had the crowd jumping, dancing and generally rocking-out. I didn't know a single song, but it was hard to not get caught up in it. Super fun stuff. I definitely wouldn't say they're the greatest live band on the planet - although on some nights, I wouldn't doubt it. And snappy dressers to boot. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008



10/16/95 - R.E.M. @ USAir Arena - Landover, MD

This show and the next night blur together. 2 nights in a row. Same venue. Similar seats. Similar setlists. And it was 13 years ago.

Anyhoo...Nearing the end of the Monster tour. My 5th R.E.M. show of the year. I never really liked "I Took Your Name" as an opener. It wasn't powerful enough. The real show started with "What's The Frequency, Kenneth?" and it took off from there. Typical Monster setlist. A good chunk of that record...a few songs from the yet-to-be-released New Adventures In Hi-Fi..."Revolution" (another unreleased track)...The setlist was almost exclusively Warner Bros.-era tracks, with the exception of "The One I Love, "Begin The Begin" and "ITEOTWAWKI(AIFF)". The good news on this tour was that they were rocking again. The bad news was they were completely ignoring the I.R.S. years. That's not all bad though. "Country Feedback" is just mesmerizing live. "Drive" is totally rocked-up, giving it a nice hard groove. "Star 69" f--king slayed.

I remember being near the back of the floor, directly to the right of the soundboard. Plenty of room and great sound.

I Took Your Name / What's The Frequency, Kenneth? / Crush With Eyeliner / Drive / Wake-Up Bomb / Binky The Doormat / Losing My Religion / Begin The Begin / Undertow / Bang And Blame / Strange Currencies / Revolution / Tongue / Man On The Moon / Country Feedback / The One I Love / Pop Song 89 / Get Up / Star 69

encore: Let Me In / Everybody Hurts / Java - Band Intro / Orange Crush / Departure / Stars N Stripes / It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

According to the R.E.M. Timeline (where I got the setlist), "Stars N Stripes" is a Grant Lee Buffalo song. OK. (shrug)

10/16/2005 - Henry Rollins (Spoken Word) @ The Black Cat - Washington, DC

Yeah...well...I didn't actually go to this one. I ended up going to see the Foo Fighters instead. w00t!

10/16/2005 - Foo Fighters @ 9:30 Club - Washington, DC

Oh, hell yeah!

I have a talent for getting tickets to tough shows. I'm really good at working the ticket system to my advantage...I know lots of people who are avid concert goers...I basically know how the ticket game is played. That's all worthless, though, when the tickets are only given away via a radio station. Ugh. I was forced to listen to DC101 for a week, trying to get tickets for this one. I failed miserably. I got through exactly once and was the wrong caller. Dammit.

Anyway - long story short - a friend called in a favor from someone and managed to get me a ticket. Dumb luck - all at the very, very last minute. Whew. My friends rule.

Another all-time favorite show. The setlist was perfect. The crowd was rockin'. Dave was totally charming and ...dare I say it...kinda hot. Seeing him playing guitar while standing on the bar and doing a shot is one of those moments I'll never forget. I f--king love this band.

My full review is here. A bunch of pics, too.

Sunday, October 26, 2008



10/15/89 - Grateful Dead @ Brendan Byrne Arena (The Meadowlands) - East Rutherford, NJ

This was the 4th of 5 nights (our 2nd) at The Meadowlands. Surely tonight we'd get the "Dark Star" or "Attics" or even "And We Bid You Goodnight" that everyone was hoping for. Nope. If there's one thing you could always count on with The Grateful Dead, it was the fact that they never did what you'd expect. A very mixed-blessing that was. We got none of those songs tonight, but we got yet another expectedly solid, if not wonderful show.

I always love hearing "Iko Iko" and this time was no different. We got a rare (for me, anyway) "Far From Me". "Victim" is slowly changing from a complete downer to an interesting jamming vehicle. I'm still not sure I actually like it, but it's becoming more and more interesting. They closed the first set with "Standing On The Moon". An odd choice to close with a Jerry ballad, but whatever. It's a really nice song. Always welcome.

5 songs pre-drums was nice - after getting 6 songs total the previous night. I could hear "Eyes of the World" every night and I wouldn't complain. The second set ended with "Not Fade Away." The crowd kept the chant going throughout the set break - not even stopping when the band came back on stage. The band picked it up again, giving us a sort of "Not Fade Away (Reprise)." Fun. From there Phil jumped into "Box Of Rain" for the real encore. Nice way to send us off. Very, very nice show.

Of course, the next night had it all and rivaled the Warlocks show that we missed as one of the greates shows ever. They played all of the other breakout songs we wanted to see - "Dark Star", "Attics", "And We Bid You Goodnight". Dammit. It was after we learned this news, Steve invoked the "500-mile" rule. "We will never miss another show within a 500-mile radius of home." Of course, that would be impossible to do without quitting our jobs, so we added "on Saturdays" to the rule. I'm not sure how well we stuck to that, but I think we came pretty close.

10/15/2006 Pet Shop Boys @ DAR Constitution Hall - Washington, DC

When I pulled up tickets for this I thought they said Row A - front row. It wasn't until I re-read my confirmation email that I realized it was Row AA - not Row A. oops. These seats didn't exactly suck though. No regrets.

Hell of a show. Lots of hits. Lots of theatrics. Lots of 80s/90s flashbacks. Lots of gay gay gay going on. And I mean that in a good way.

Dinger had seen PSB years ago and insisted that we go to this. It didn't take much convincing - I was all for it. I'm not sure I need to see them again, but I'm VERY glad I went. Everybody should see them at least once.

Old review here.



10/14/89 - Grateful Dead - Brendan Byrne Arena (The Meadowlands) - East Rutherford, NJ

I remember being disappointed with this show at the time. I think that's just another example of how spoiled we were back then. They were consistently very, very good and we were going to A LOT of shows. The slightest dip in anything seemed disappointing. That being said...I can't really find much at fault with this show at all. It stands on its own quite well. I would have killed for a show like this in the last few years.

A few shows had passed since the Warlocks shows and they hadn't played any of the breakout songs again. That could mean 2 things. 1) They were due to pull them out again, or 2) They were just one-offs and we'd never see them again. The first set was played well - but everything was played well in 1989, so it didn't seem terribly special That is, until the end of the set. They were tuning and you could hear that "chunk chunka-chunk chunka-chunk" again. All of a sudden BAM! "Help On The Way" - the song we saw them break out last week in Hampton. In the first set? They never did that - even back when they played this song a lot. And a fine version it was. The crowd was pretty electric during the break. We now knew that the "new" songs were not only a possibility - they could turn up anywhere in the show. That was always one of my favorite things about Dead shows. Anything could happen.

But, of course, that never came to be. The second set was really good, but there were no more surprises to be had. It was also incredibly short - only 6 songs plus drums/space. I think that was the basis for my initial disappointment. But the first half was quite the dance-fest. "Scarlet" and "Foolish Heart" were tons of fun. "China Doll" was excellent. This success of this song depends on Jerry hitting the high notes at the end and he nailed it. I always loved "Black Muddy River," too. Nice closer.

I went to this show with a few friends from college and stayed with one of them in Jersey. Shows are always better when surrounded by a bunch of friends.

10/14/04 - Mission Of Burma/Channels @ The Black Cat - Washington, DC

I guess I lost my stub for this one. :(

I had seen Mission of Burma's big return at the 9:30 Club in 2003. I remember thinking they were really good, but it wasn't the OMG! show I was hoping for. This show, however, was IT. They were just on fire. They blasted through song after song like it was going to be their last show ever. I finally "got it" with them. Pure guitar craziness. They could have gone on all night, as far as I was concerned. My very similar thoughts on my original review here.

J. Robbins' latest band Channels opened. Impressive. I'd love to see them again, but I don't think they play many shows. Check out Waiting For The Next End Of The World. It's totally Dumbek approved.

Saturday, October 25, 2008



10/13/04 - PJ Harvey @ 9:30 Club - Washington, DC

You'd think I'd be a huge PJ Harvey fan. You know I love me some rock chicks. She's angry, kind of dark and a little disturbing. Right up my alley. But for some reason she never clicked with me. I haven't really made an effort though. I'll admit that. I did pick up To Bring You My Love just before this show. I do like it, but I didn't give it enough to settle-in. So I ended up going into this show pretty cold.

I thought she was really good, but not quite the goddess some of her fans seem to think. My friends seemed to think she was having a slightly off-night. My old review is here. I'd gladly go see her again but this show was kind of pricey. $35. Ouch. Maybe I'll dig into her catalog more before making that decision.

10/13/2008 - Change Rocks (The Dead and The Allman Brothers Band) - Bryce Jordan Center - Penn State

Like the 10/11/87 R.E.M. show, this was the perfect storm of events. The Dead are reuniting. The Allman Brothers are opening. It's at Penn State. It's on a holiday weekend. It's a benefit for Obama. The only way this could get any better would be if they gave out free beer. (They didn't.)

My old college roommate/Dead touring buddy drove up from NC for this. We got in town mid-day Sunday. Spent the afternoon wandering around campus. Perfect day - unseasonably warm and sunny. As with most visits to PSU, our evening ended at Zeno's. We were surprised to see that it wasn't very crowded. Sunday used to be a big night there. No live entertainment either. Oh well. We met some people that came down from Canada for the show and had a fun night.

Doors for the show were at 5:30, so we got to the parking lot early - like just before noon, I think. Early enough that I decided to head to The Creamery for coffee, rather than getting the party started immediately. We got a great parking spot on the edge of the lot in the shade, with a clear view of Mt. Nittany. As luck would have it, we parked a few cars away from Uncle Sam.

The lot was fun. Nothing nearly like it was in the old days, but a very familiar vibe. Hung out in a drum circle for a while. Talked with our neighbors who had come from Vermont. Found myself a spiffy Penn State Stealie shirt. Nice, relaxing, sunny afternoon, filled with good beer, music and fun.

We didn't want to miss the Allmans, so we headed in a little before 5:00. We stood in line for our wristbands and learned that we had to go to the exact opposite side of the arena to get to the floor. Good planning. Luckily, that single stairwell was really tight and crowded, too. You may want to re-think that one. Anyway, we were walking across the floor as the lights went down for the Allmans. Most people stayed outside and we easily secured a spot about 10 feet back on the right. Excellent.

The Allman Brothers played for about 2 hours, I guess. Mostly a greatest-hits set, which was fine by me. Susan Tedeschi (Derek's wife, I think) came out and sang a few songs, too, including a cover of Dylan's "Don't Think Twice..." The Allman Brothers sounded fine, but I still have a hard time watching them without Dickey. Warren is great. Derek is great. It just seems incomplete though. They're never anything less than fun these days, but it ain't like it used to be. Not for me anyway. Oddly, the highight of the set for me may have been Warren covering Van Morrison's "And It Stoned Me." Anyway - They were fun, sounded good and the 2 hours flew by.

Setlist: Revival, Statesboro, Who's Been Talking, Midnight Rider, One Way Out, And It Stoned Me (Warren), Dreams, Don't Think Twice (Susan), Any Day (Susan), Melissa, Trouble No More, Ain't Wasting Time No More, Jessica Encore: Whipping Post.

A lengthy set break, then we got some of the local "Get out the vote" folks up there talking to us for a bit. Jaypa came out with a few guys from the team and they pretty much did the same. Everyone seemed pretty generic with their messages. It was mostly "Go Vote" rather than "Go Vote For Obama." Finally, we got a video from Obama thanking The Dead and the Allmans for their support. He threw in a line about having a "touch of grey" (a Dead reference) and how he hopes we're not "wasting time no more" (an Allman reference), which got lots of applause. Nice gesture on his part. Getting a raving endorsement from The Grateful Dead can be a mixed blessing for a political candidate.

On came The Dead. They played one long 2+ hour set. The setlist was a deadhead's dream. They pretty much ignored anything that might be considered a 1st set song and just hit the jamming songs all night. Warren filled-in on guitar. Here's the setlist:

US Blues
Help On The Way
Franklin's Tower
Playin' in the Band
Dark Star
St. Stephen
Unbroken Chain
The Other One
Throwing Stones
Playin' Reprise

Touch Of Grey
Not Fade Away

Unfortunately, I don't think the playing held up to the killer setlist. At times they were amazing, but there were also plenty of times that they weren't. "Truckin'" went on about 5 minutes too long. The jam kind of fell apart before the end. Rather than rolling into the next song, it's like they started a completely unrelated jam and went on for about another 5 minutes. That jam also fell apart. "US Blues" was expected, but nothing special. It sounds like it's been demoted from "fun, bouncy rock-song" to "lazy shuffle." One of my pet peeves: If you don't remember the first line, don't start the song. That was the case when Bobby jumped up for the opening line of "Help On The Way." Like the "Truckin'" jam, "Slipknot" seemed to fall apart - to the point the when it was time to wind-up the jam section, they came to a complete stop and Bobby had to count them off to pick it up again.

The "Playin'" and "Dark Star" were quite nice, with the latter having a nice, long, drippy intro and each member taking a couple lines from the verses. The jamming here was very, very nice. My favorite of the night was probably "Unbroken Chain." It's one of the few songs that Phil sings that actually sounds good. I thought they nailed it. The rest of the songs were quite good. No Drums though, which was a little disappointing.

Maybe I just needed to adjust my expectations. Maybe I was hoping for too much. But to me it just seemed like they hadn't rehearsed enough. Maybe they didn't, because of Bob's bus accident. The jamming was pretty unfocused. The transitions between songs were sloppy or non-existent. Don't get me wrong. I had a great time. It was wonderful to hear those songs again. And when they were on, they were on. I think my review paints a more negative picture than what I really think. Overall, they were really good. There were just some rough spots. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

There are rumors of a Spring Tour. I'd be up for hitting a few shows. With a little more rehearsal, they could be amazing.

Great weekend. Great cause. Good show.

I reserve the right to completely change my mind about everything after I go back and listen to the show. :)



10/12/97 - David Bowie - Capitol Ballroom - Washington, DC

I'll admit this one blurs together with the 1996 show at the same location. This was the Earthling tour. Still not playing many real hits, but enough to keep things interesting. "I'm Afraid of Americans," "Panic In Detroit," "Stay," "Hallo Spaceboy," "All The Young Dudes" and a bunch more. Nice covers of "White Light, White Heat" and "O Superman." There are bootlegs of both of these shows floating around. I should really try to track them down.

David Bowie is one of my musical heroes (no pun intended.) I thought seeing him in a club would be a once in a lifetime chance. To get a second chance just one year after the last time was pretty f--king awesome. This was my last Bowie show until 2004.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008



Wow - Another really busy day.

10/11/87 - R.E.M./10,000 Maniacs @ Rec Hall - Penn State University

My all-time favorite R.E.M. show.

I actually had a ticket to see R.E.M. on 10/10/87 at The Patriot Center, but I ended up giving that ticket to a friend of mine instead. I had just graduated from college in the Spring of '87. I was torn between seeing R.E.M. at The Patriot Center and returning to PSU for my first Homecoming as an alumni. That dilemma was solved when they announced that R.E.M. would be playing at PSU for Homecoming. And lucky me - I didn't even have to do anything. My friends who were still in school had already bought me a ticket before I even knew about the show. My friends rule.

Not only do they rule - but they're also R.E.M. freaks. About 10 of them camped-out in line for tickets. Between them all, we pretty much occupied the entire 4th-5th rows. (The first few rows were always reserved for the concert committee, special guests, etc.) Excellent.

10K Maniacs hadn't quite broken yet, but a bunch of us had the new record and were pretty much the only people dancing throughout their set. Stipe came out and sang on "A Campfire Song." It didn't suck.

The lights came down for R.E.M. and we all immediately rushed the stage. I found myself pressed right against the barrier, just between Michael and Peter. So here I am - as close to the stage as physically possible, literally surrounded by about 30 of my best friends, watching my favorite band on the planet. It doesn't get much better than that.

No big surprise - I loved the show. I don't remember the setlist (and this is oddly one of the 3-4 from 1987 missing from the R.E.M. Timeline), but I remember a few things. They opened with "Finest Worksong" and went right into "These Days." That's a helluva 1-2 opening punch. "Feeling Gravitys Pull," "King of Birds," a silly cover of Lou Gramm's "Midnight Blue" and a raucous cover of Television's "See No Evil." "Begin The Begin" and, of course, "It's The End of the World As We Know It...". I don't think that had been released as a single yet. We thought we were so clever screaming out "Leonard Bernstein!" I remember everyone along the barrier doing the "Superman" move - where you slowly raise your arms over your head like you're about to take off, while Mills sings "I am, I am Superman." I wish they'd bring that song back. I remember them playing a song that none of us knew. Being right against the stage we asked Peter what the name of it was. Turns out it was "Orange Crush".

Somewhere near the end (maybe during ITEOTWAWKI) Stipe came down front and started shaking hands. He eventually got to me, grabbed my hand and HE didn't let go for a good 10-15 seconds. I swear to God it wasn't me holding on. I didn't want to be "that guy," but Stipe was hanging on to my hand. All my friends were jealous. sigh.... Before the show was done I'd end up shaking Mike's and Peter's hands too. I don't think Bill ever came to the front. It seems pretty corny now, but I was thrilled at the time.

So that was my favorite R.E.M. show. More about the people and setting than the actual show - although that didn't suck either. Potentially my favorite concert ever.

10/11/94 - The Grateful Dead @ USAir Arena - Landover, MD

The last show of the final Cap Centre run. I will call this place the Capital Centre until the day I die, so don't bother correcting me on that. Great seat - The first row off the floor, halfway back, right on the aisle.

I liked this one better than the night before. They picked up the pace a bit and played a bunch of stuff I didn't get to see a lot - "High Time," "It's All Over Now," "If The Shoe Fits," "Lucy In The Sky," "China Doll"... Not necessarily my favorite songs, but they were always welcome. The second set opened with "Eyes of The World". My aisle seat in the front row of the section gave me tons of dancing room and I took full advantage of that. I caught the usher kind of making fun of my dancing, but I didn't care. I walked over and started dancing with him. He got a good chuckle out of that. "China Doll" was nice, but seemed a little rushed, like the "Comes A Time" from a couple nights ago. It was ok, but you could tell Jerry wasn't putting all that much into it. The ballads made it easy to tell he was starting to fade. I think that's why he sometimes rushed through them. At least he got all the words right and hit all the high notes. It ended up being the last time they'd ever play that song.

This was my last Dead show of 1994. My last Dead shows at the Cap Centre. I saw them there 19 times. More than anywhere else - though not by much.

10/11/2003 - R.E.M. @ Philips Arena - Atlanta, GA

Still high on that Bill Berry guest appearance the night before - we headed down to Atlanta for the last show of the US tour. Hopes were high that Bill might make another appearance - or even play the whole show - but neither of those happened. Really, really fun show though. We got the first "You Are The Everything" in over 12 years. Pete Yorn came out and sang Patti Smith's part on "E-Bow The Letter." The highlight of this one had to be the encore. First of all - it was 10 friggin' songs long. Yowza. But the killer part was the batch of songs in the middle of the encore:

Gardening At Night/Wolves, Lower/Sitting Still/Radio Free Europe/Permanent Vacation

Holy Crap. That's just sick. 5 of the oldest songs in their catalog. I thought my head was going to explode. Did I really just see "Radio Free Europe" two nights in a row, after seeing it only one other time in the last 18 years? I was smiling the whole 12-hour drive home. And by "smiling" I mean "sleeping while Dinger drove." He was a real trooper for this trip.

Finest Worksong / Begin The Begin / So Fast, So Numb / Drive / Animal / Fall On Me / You Are The Everything / Bad Day / The One I Love / Electrolite / E-Bow The Letter / (Don't Go Back To) Rockville / Find The River / Losing My Religion / At My Most Beautiful / She Just Wants To Be / Walk Unafraid / Man On The Moon

encore: Life And How To Live It / Nightswimming / Final Straw / Gardening At Night / Wolves, Lower / Sitting Still / Radio Free Europe / Permanent Vacation / Imitation Of Life / It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

10/11/07 - Mickey Hart's Global Drum Project @ Lisner Auditorium - Washington, DC

I hadn't been terribly thrilled with Mickey's more recent percussive efforts. They just left me cold. But when I saw the lineup for this one - I know there was no possible way it could be anything other than amazing. I was right.

Mickey Hart (all sorts of things)
Zakir Hussain (tabla and all sorts of things)
Giovanni Hidalgo (congas, timbales and the like)
Sikiru Adepoju (talking drum)

It's like a stripped-down version of the original "Planet Drum" tour. Amazing doesn't begin to describe it. They opened the show with Mickey and Zakir making this mind-boggling music by hammering on this old, dead tree they wheeled onto the middle of the stage. The tree was heavily miked (sp?) and they threw a few weird effects into the mix, creating this bizarro mix of percussion and electronics. All coming out of a big tree. I guess after that it got a bit more "traditional". At least as traditional as you can get with such a weird mix of instruments. They added a bit more electronic trickery to sample and twist the sounds in different ways. That's usually the kind of thing that bugs me about some of Mickey's efforts, but this time they managed to do it without taking away from the organic feeling of the music created by the actual performers and instruments.

These four musicians are each fantastic on their own. Putting them all together is just magic.

Easily one of my favorite shows of 2007. Did I mention we were in the front row?

10/11/2008 - Wire @ 9:30

Another band I know more by reputation than by actual music. I've had Pink Flag for years, but that's really all I know by them. My college roommate had The Ideal Copy back in the day, but I never really listened to it much. I remember liking "Ahead," but that's about it.

So I didn't really know much of what they played this night. It all sounded really good, but nothing revolutionary. To be honest, they were kind of boring to watch. At times they sounded great. Other times I was looking at my watch. The very small crowd (the curse of the early show?) made it easy to wander around and catch them from different angles - which I love. I ended up on the side, looking straight down at the band. Great view.

I'm sure people that know Wire far better than me probably thought it was a fantastic show. Maybe it was. I'm glad I went, but I doubt I'll go out of my way to see them again.

Sunday, October 19, 2008



Very busy day in Dumbek's concert history.

10/10/94 - The Grateful Dead - USAir Arena - Landover, MD

I can't remember anything in particular about this one. Looking at the setlist, it doesn't surprise me that I forgot about it. BOOORING. I haven't listened to this one in years, and I'm not about to dig out the tapes. Quite possibly the dullest 1st set ever. Other than the opening "Iko Iko" and "Althea," every other song could be considered a "bathroom song". At least it was ridiculously short at only six songs. Even the 2nd set looks dull. I know you can't always judge a show by the setlist, but given that this is 1994 my hopes aren't terribly high that they came through. Short show - 15 songs. And the encore was "I Fought The Law." That's possibly the 2nd most reviled live Dead song - 2nd only to "Day Job." At least it was close to home.

1: Iko Iko, Walkin' Blues, Althea, Desolation Row, Loose Lucy, Eternity
2: Help>Slip>Franklin's, Estimated Prophet, Terrapin>Drumz>Watchtower>Stella Blue>NFA
E: I Fought The Law

10/10/03 - R.E.M. @ Alltel Pavilion - Raleigh, NC

A handful of different songs from the previous night made this a fun one. They sounded great and appeared to be having a great time. None of that really matters though. What matters is that this show goes into the books as marking the return of Mr. Bill Berry. Bill Berry came out about halfway into the encore and joined-in on backing vocals for "Radio Free Europe". When that was finished they had a little band meeting on stage (during the thunderous applause) and within a few minutes Bill was sitting behind the drum kit. Bill counted them off and they jumped into "Permanent Vacation" - that song that dates back to the pre-Chronic Town days. This was Bill's first appearance with the band since the Monster tour in 1995. I can absolutely guarantee that I was jumping around and screaming like a little girl the whole time. One of my all-time favorite concert moments. Probably my favorite R.E.M. moment.

Finest Worksong / So Fast, So Numb / Driver 8 / Drive / Animal / Disturbance At the Heron House / So. Central Rain / Bad Day / The One I Love / Electrolite / Begin The Begin / World Leader Pretend / I've Been High / Losing My Religion / Find The River / She Just Wants To Be / Walk Unafraid / Man On The Moon

encore: Life And How To Live It / Nightswimming / Sweetness Follows / Imitation Of Life / Radio Free Europe / Permanent Vacation / It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

setlist from the awesome remtimeline

10/10/2005 Foo Fighters @ Patriot Center - Fairfax, VA

Weezer opened. We opted for the beer garden instead.

This was my first big Foo show. I had seen them twice before, but in clubs. This was the first time we got to see them in full rock-star mode. They did not disappoint. Our seats were 2 rows off the floor, but way in the back. That was fine by us. We decided to skip the GA floor. We're too old for that.

Fantastic show. I'll stand by my statement that the Foos are one of the best flat-out rock and roll bands out there today. Grohl is a terrific front-man and they always put on a helluva show.

I wish they did more regular shows around here. It seems like they play festivals, club shows, or just skip DC altogether. The club shows have been great and I know I've been very lucky to get into those, but just come to DC and put on another big rock show already.

10/10/2006 - Eric Clapton @ Verizon Center - Washington, DC

Clapton is one of those people I always forget about, but I'm always impressed when I hear him. I hadn't seen him in about 14 years. I figured it was time to check him out again. This was one of those "I'll go if I can get a great seat with minimal effort" shows. It took about 20 seconds to secure a seat on the front half of the floor. Good enough.

Robert Cray opened. In any other company I'd be gushing about how wonderful Cray was. But c'mon - I'm waiting for Clapton to come onstage. I had no idea Derek Trucks was sitting in as Eric's "other" guitarist. Holy crap. Derek is a fantastic slide player. His current gig is with the Allman Brothers. For still being in his 20's - he's keeping pretty good company.

Clapton sounded great - as expected. Seeing him and Derek go at it was incredible. Having Robert Cray sit in with both of them for a few songs was just ridiculous. I don't know much of Clapton's catalog, but he played enough hits to keep me happy - "Cocaine," "Pretending," "Wonderful Tonight," "Crossroads" and a bunch more. The highlight was probably "Layla," featuring Derek on slide guitar. Wow. He's no Duane, but that was pretty f--king sweet.

10/10/2008 - Shudder To Think - 9:30 Club - Washington, DC

For some reason I never really got into Shudder To Think. I started listening to them after-the-fact, when I was trying to catch up on all the local music I had missed in the early 90's when I was chasing The Dead around. I liked most of their records - especially the Dischord ones, but there was never enough there to keep me going back. I figured if I was going to check them out - this was my chance.

I was kind of surprised to hear they were playing 9:30. I didn't realize they were that popular. Turns out my first instinct was correct. The club wasn't even half-full. That makes for a great experience for me, but that's gotta suck for the band, I'd think. Maybe people stayed away because it was an early show. Dunno. Anyway - I watched a few songs from the main floor, then moved up to the balcony where I could sit and had a fantastic view.

I was surprised how much I liked them. They brought the rock, for sure. "Rock" is a bit of a misnomer, I guess. Their music is definitely rock-based, but there's something about it that's just slightly off-kilter. It's totally accessible, but kind of quirky at the same time. It's a bit odd. I like it. At times Craig reminded me a bit of Scott Weiland. I'm not sure exactly why, but that's who kept popping up in my head as I watched. Very entertaining to watch. Despite owning a bunch of their records, I don't actually know a single song, so I have no idea what they played. I liked it all though. Enough that I'm making a conscious effort to go back and re-listen to everything.

The early time slot brought an early end. They didn't even have time to do an encore. Too bad. I wouldn't have minded a little more.



10/9/94 - The Grateful Dead - USAir Arena - Landover, MD

The Dead pretty much sucked in 94 and I was almost ready to throw in the towel. Spring '94 was fun, but more for the journey than the music. The music pretty much sucked. I refused to travel for Summer Tour (hitting only RFK) and I would have skipped the Fall Tour altogether, had they not played within a few miles of where I lived.

But they did play nearby and, as usual, they pretty much came through. There's something about the Cap Centre that usually lit a fire under them. This show had possibly the best "Stagger Lee" I got to see. It practically had a jam at the end of it. Nice. "Broken Arrow" - one of the few songs that Phil actually sang well - sounded terrific. I wish they had played that one more. The highlight came post-"Miracle" when Jerry went into "Comes A Time". I had seen them 90-or-so times by this point and had never managed to catch this song. I was thrilled to get it, but to be honest, I thought they rushed through it. "Comes A Time" is one of those songs that should be played reeaaallly slow. I won't say I was disappointed by it, but I think they could have done better. Turns out they would never play it again.

10/9/95 - Blues Traveler @ Nissan Pavilion

I'm not sure exactly why we went to this one. My friend was an intern at WHFS and said he had a bunch of free tickets, but we had to leave NOW. So we all piled into his car and headed to BF Virginia. I remember we were all pretty much trashed by the time we got there. We got there after they already started and left before they finished. We probably saw them for less than an hour.

I don't even like Blues Traveler.

Saturday, October 18, 2008



10/8/89 The Warlocks (aka The Grateful Dead) @ Hampton Coliseum - Hampton, VA

This was a big one. The Grateful Dead had been banned from playing in Hampton. That was a fairly common occurrence in the '80s. The thousands of ticketless people coming in, the influx of drugs and the bad press were too much for some places to handle. As a result the Dead were often told to never come back.

But they made some kind of special deal with Hampton. The town agreed they could come back, but only under certain conditions. They had to play under a fake name. (They chose "The Warlocks" - the name they used before choosing The Grateful Dead.) There could be no mail-order tickets. In fact - they could use no ticket agencies at all. No TicketMaster. All tickets had to be sold locally - in person. They couldn't officially announce the show anywhere. Not even on the official Grateful Dead hotline. Not in the press. And the show couldn't even be announced locally until a few days before it happened.

Nice try.

I found out about the show the evening before tickets went on sale. I called a few people and found out that there was a record store in Norfolk selling tickets. I called the store and confirmed. I had to work the next day, but I was able to skip-out at noon. I called the record store again to confirm they hadn't sold out yet. I was assured sales were slow, but steady. If I wanted tickets, I needed to get there fast. So I hopped in the car and made the 3-hour trek to Norfolk - fingers-crossed, hoping it wouldn't sellout before I got there. Turns out I made it in plenty of time. There were only a couple people in line in front of me. I picked up the 10/8 tickets with no problem. Whew. This was mid-week - maybe Tuesday or Wednesday. The show was the following Sunday.

Then I made the biggest mistake of my Dead career. There were two shows at Hampton. 10/8-10/9. "Do you want tickets for the second night?" hmmm... I thought about it for a minute. I had enough cash in my pocket. I could easily do it.

"No thanks - I'm already hitting 5 other shows on Fall Tour. This makes 6. That's enough."

Why, oh why couldn't one of my enabler-type friends have been there? What a mistake that was. More on that later.

Anyway - The show itself was phenomenal. Easily the best show I had seen to date and still probably one of my top 5. Everything about this show was special. Hampton is the only general admission arena on the east coast. It's the smallest venue I ever saw the Dead play. I was there with a mix of friends from home, college and work. Even the weather was perfect.

And the band was ON. The first set was well-played - including a nice "Stagger Lee" - a song I never got to see much - and a long, trippy-sweet "Bird Song". I had already gotten my money's worth.

But then came the second set. It was the first show of the tour, so they could open with anything, but nothing had prepared us for the opening notes of "Help On The Way." One of their greatest songs that never got a ton of play. They did it a bunch of times in 76-77, then again from 83-84, but they hadn't played it in over 4 years. After hearing the opening notes everyone was just kind of looking at each other like "Are you sh-tting me?!" Then everyone just exploded. You could barely hear the opening of the song. When Jerry started singing the place just erupted again. They always follow "Help" with "Slipknot" - a long, jazzy-trippy instrumental that inevitably falls into the super-dance-fest that is "Franklin's Tower". I had never seen so many ecstatic people in my life. This is what it's all about, folks. This is why I kept going back time and time again.

The rest of the show was pretty stellar, as well. A scary "Victim" and a nice, rollicking "Eyes of the World" had everyone dancing up a storm again. "I Need A Miracle" and "Gimme Some Lovin'" kept the party going post-drums.

Then there was the "Dew". One of my all-time-favorite Dead moments. Absolutely beautiful from start to finish. Gentle when it needed to be. Powerful when it needed to be. Jerry's voice...the guitar solos...the emotion....absolutely perfect. The perfect way to end the show. We started gathering everyone, figuring the encore would be a throwaway. But no - wrong again. They pulled out "And We Bid You Goodnight" - an a capella gospel tune - one of their oldest songs - played for only the 6th time since 1974. Ho-ly Crap.

I've probably listened to this show more than any other in my collection. I wore out at least 3 different tapes of that 2nd set. I know every single note of it.

So we drove back to DC completely elated...knowing we had just seen something really, really special. We didn't even feel bad about missing the next night, because there was no way it could come close to matching this one. The next night they broke out "Dark Star," the quintessential Grateful Dead song. The ultimate jamming vehicle. The one nobody thought they'd ever play again. The one that they had only played 5 times since 1974. And remember how excited I was for the "Bid You Goodnight" encore? This show got "Attics of My Life." A song that hadn't been played in about 17 years. Oh well...

10/8/2003 R.E.M. @ Patriot Center - Fairfax, VA

For the Monster and Up tours R.E.M. pretty much focused on those records and their other Warner Bros. releases. There were a few IRS nuggets thrown in, but they were pretty sparse. In 2003 they were touring for In Time - a greatest hits compilation. They went way back into the catalog for this tour - thank God. My old band was back - proving they could still pull off the old tunes the way they used to. We got songs from nearly every album (tracks from Murmur a glaring omission) and they all sounded great. This was the band I fell in love with. Good to have them back. Even better from the 3rd row.

The big surprise for this tour was the return of "Permanent Vacation". This song is so old they dumped it before they even recorded their first single. It never even made it onto an actual record. I would have bet they'd play in my backyard before they pulled out something like this. Wrong again - although the backyard show would be pretty sweet.

Finest Worksong / Begin The Begin / Exhuming McCarthy / Drive / Animal / Fall On Me / Daysleeper / Bad Day / The One I Love / (Don't Go Back To) Rockville / Orange Crush / World Leader Pretend / I Believe / Losing My Religion / Find The River / She Just Wants To Be / Walk Unafraid / Man On The Moon

encore: Life And How To Live It / Nightswimming / Final Straw / Imitation Of Life / Permanent Vacation / It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

setlist from the awesome remtimeline

10/8/07 - Klaxons/Washington Social Club @ 9:30.

We went to this one just to see WSC. We didn't know jack about the Klaxons. It was pretty damn crowded though, so I guess they were pretty popular at the time. We stayed for a few songs and just didn't get it. A little too much on the dance side of dance-rock for me. Some people were going nutso for them though. Good for them. shrug. I'll chalk this one up to us being old.

WSC was kickin' though.

10/8/2008 - Against Me!/Ted Leo and the Pharmacists/Future Of The Left @ The Black Cat

I went to this one just to see Ted at the Black Cat again. Ted never disappoints. I kind of liked Future Of The Left - although they were too loud. Hints of No Wave and occasional bursts of power-rock. Nice. Ted was great - as always. No nonsense tonight. He just blasted through 10 or so songs without a break. Old and new. I never get tired of Ted. He brought up a special guest to sing the last song, but I have no idea who the guest was, or what the song was. Was that James Canty of French Toast playing guitar? I didn't know he was touring with Ted. Yep. Wikipedia says so, so it much be true. Excellent.

Mark Anderson of Positive Force came out and talked about one of the projects he's currently working on - We Are Family. It kind of evolved into a general "get involved - it's the punk rock thing to do" sort of speech. Unfortunately - most people just kind of ignored him. I thought it was pretty inspiring at first, but I'll admit he may have gone on a little long. But this guy does great things for the community and was putting on punk rock benefit shows before half of that crowd was even born. Show a little respect, kids. He's one of the good guys. His book Dance Of Days should be required reading.

I didn't know anything about Against Me! The kids loved 'em. I probably would have liked them better if it wasn't already late on a school night. I left after a few songs. I have 5 shows this week. I need sleep.



10/7/05 - Bob Mould @ 9:30 - Washington, DC

I think this was Bob's first big rock show since moving to DC. All the boys were there. Interesting mix of people. Lots of indie types that seemed a little confused by all the gays. Lots of the Blowoff crowd that seemed a little surprised by how hard Bob rocked. Fantastic show. He definitely bumped things up a notch from the previous night in Philly. This was the gig used for the highly-recommended Circle of Friends dvd. More details at my original post here.

10/7/07 - Two Gallants/Blitzen Trapper/Songs For Moms @ Rock And Roll Hotel - Washington, DC

I didn't know anything about any of these bands. I was just in a pissy mood that night - fighting with Dinger and I needed to get out of the house. I don't remember being terribly impressed with any of them, but I also stuck around for all of them - so they had to be entertaining. Otherwise I would have left. I vaguely recall thinking Blitzen Trapper was the best of the bunch, but I probably wasn't the best audience that night. shrug. No stub. Paid at the door.

10/7/08 - The Redsidents @ 9:30

Back when I was in college, whenever I wanted to scare people I'd put on The Residents. It's a great way to clear the room fast.

The Residents recently made their way through town on their Bunny Boy tour. To be honest - I was a little disappointed. For the first half of the show the band was setup in some sort of shell on the right side of the stage, while the narrator - looking like a homeless guy wrapped in a blanket - ran back and forth telling the story and singing a few songs. They're show a few videos periodically, helping along the story of the narrator's brother getting lost and the ongoing search for clues, but that was pretty much it. The second half of the show was pretty much the same, except now the narrator was dressed in a bunny suit - still running back and forth - and there was a cot on the left side of the stage, where he'd take a nap when some more videos played. The End.

Here's a picture of the band in the shell. Note that the shell was pretty much completely dark for most of the show. It was never lit up like this, so you could rarely see the band.

The story wasn't terribly interesting and I got lost about 15 minutes from the end. The show was visually uninteresting and the songs all sounded pretty much the same after a while. meh.

I love The Residents and always look forward to seeing them. I loved them the last couple times I saw them. Bunny Boy just left me cold.

photo taken from

Friday, October 17, 2008



10/6/96 - KISS @ USAir Arena

Yeah - You read that right. The hottest band in the world is back! Mother-f---ing KISS, b-tches! All four original members touring together for the first time in years. No way in hell I was gonna miss this. 4th row right in front of Ace. Suddenly I'm 14 again. Only this time I'm drunk.

KISS puts on the best show in rock. There. I said it. Fire, blood, smoke, costumes (I think from the Love Gun era) and hit after hit after hit. What's not to love? Killer show. I was in heaven.

I couldn't find the exact setlist online , but the basic tour set included everything you'd expect: "Calling Dr. Love," Firehouse," "Rock and Roll All Nite," "Detroit Rock City, "Love Gun" and a bazillion others. A-May-Zing.

Highlights? Everything. The seats. The songs. We made it on the Jumbotron. At one point I remember Gene walking to the front of the stage and telling the people in the first few rows to "Get the f--k up!" But the best part was when they came out for the encore. Ace was drinking something as he walked back onstage and he threw the cup out into the crowd. As Dinger describes it, I "dove for it like a desperate bridesmaid going for the bouquet." Oh really?

Jealous? I thought so.

10/6/05 - Bob Mould @ The Trocadero in Philly.

We're always looking for a good reason to head up to Philly. This one was a no-brainer. For some reason this was the first time I had ever seen Bob with a full band. Waiting that long was a big mistake on my part. I had kind of lost track after Husker Du broke up. Shortly after that happened, I ignored pretty much everything except The Grateful Dead. My loss.

The show was terrific. Old post about it here. The crowd wasn't as packed as the next night in DC. That made it easy to get up close and focus on the music. Perfect. Bob rocks.

10/6/06 - Medications @ The Black Cat

hmmm - I don't remember anything about this one in particular. For a while I was trying to see Medications every chance I got. One of my DC faves. I think technically they're still around, although they're kind of busy being Faraquet right now. They may still be looking for a drummer. If they pop-up again, definitely go see them. You may not get another chance. That reminds me - I need to pick up that new Faraquet comp. No stub. I just paid at the door.



10/5/86 - Robin Williams @ Rec Hall - Penn State

I had never seen a comedian in concert before. Robin Williams was pretty huge at the time. There was no Comedy Central back then - showing stand-up comics every hour. It was a pretty unique experience for the time. I just remember him being really dirty and very much out of his mind and sweaty. The only topics I remember him talking about were how huge Penn State was and being amazed that we have our own nuclear reactor. That seemed to freak him out a bit.

10/5/04 - WEDrock @ 9:30

Bob put together this benefit for Freedom To Marry - a group fighting for gay marriage rights. It was hosted by Henry Rollins and performers included Bob, Morel (the band - not just Rich), Sandra Bernhard, John Cameron Mitchell and a few others. Great night for a good cause. And I got to meet Henry, who I'm not-so-secretly hot for. Technically it was the second time I'd met Henry. The first time nearly 20-years prior at a Black Flag show. He was quite scary at the time. I think he said "Hi guys." and I ran away.

Anyway - My original, more detailed review is here.

10/5/08 - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds @ 9:30

Speaking of Henry Rollins - I'm still reading Fanatic, Vol. 2 (Vol. 3 was just released!) and one of the bands that comes up on a regular basis is Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. Henry consistently raves about them - almost enough to give me serious doubt that they were that good. I know who Nick Cave is, but I never really got into The Birthday Party for some reason. I have 2 records - Best and Rarest (an LP that I bought in the 80's and listened to maybe 5 times) and Junkyard, which I bought along with 50 other cds when Tower went out of business. I don't think I even got through all of those.

So everyone I know was raving about Nick coming to town and Henry's book got me interested. I figured I'd go. I considered listening to the records I have so I could catch up a little, but I figured at this point I might as well go in completely cold.

Holy friggin' cow. This show was fantastic. So powerful. Dark, but not morbid or morose. The band comes off with such conviction it seemed like...I don't could just tell they really meant it and it was hard not to get wrapped-up in how good they were. It was one of those shows where you just felt kind of emotionally drained when you were done. That rarely happens to me with a band I don't really know. Here's a short clip from the show. It doesn't quite show how intense the show was, but it's a decent indication. They don't tour often, but I'll be back next time, for sure.

Thursday, October 09, 2008



10/4/2002 - The Rolling Stones/The Strokes @ FedEx Field - Landover, MD

$25 to park? Dan Snyder can go f--- himself.

Dinger had never seen The Stones before and I felt the need to rectify that. I went for the semi-cheap seats on the field, but near the back. Excellent. The Strokes sounded fine, but nobody really cared.

The Stones put on a typically amazing show. The video screens were huge and crystal-clear. Very impressive. It turned out they had a tiny stage near the back of the field, where they came out and played a few songs. Our seats were maybe 15-20 feet away from them at that point. Yowza that was nice.

You always know what you're going to get with The Stones - hit after hit after hit. They didn't disappoint. My favorite songs of the night were probably "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'," a cover of Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" (on the small stage in the back) and "Monkey Man" - a song I never expected to hear. They had such a great, extended groove going during "Monkey Man" that a bunch of us ended up in the big open area behind the field seats, dancing our asses off. What a great time. Oh yeah - Keith singing "Happy" was another great moment. More Keith!

Scoff all you want, but nobody puts on a big rock show like The Stones. If they keep playing - I'll keep coming back. Dinger still considers this one of his all-time favorite concerts.

This was the tour where the band would roll into town and sometimes play a few shows. One in a stadium, one in an arena and one in a tiny theater. For some reason DC only got the stadium gig. Figures. I tried to get tickets to see them at The Tower in Philly. I was online with TM at 10:00am. I couldn't believe my luck when I actually managed to pull up tickets in the balcony! I entered all of my info and hit "Submit Order" only to get a message that said I lived outside the geographic area to be eligible to purchase tickets to the show. Dammit! I was pissed for weeks over that.

Anyway - Here's the FedEx setlist.

Brown Sugar
It's Only Rock And Roll
Start Me Up
Tumbling Dice
Don't Stop
Monkey Man
You Can't Always Get What You Want
Can't You Hear Me Knocking
Love Train
Slipping Away
Sympathy For The Devil
You Got Me Rocking
Little Red Rooster
Like A Rolling Stone
Gimme Shelter
Honky Tonk Women
Street Fighting Man
Jumping Jack Flash




10/3/2004 - The Killers/Ambulance Ltd. @ 9:30 Club - Washington, DC

I was pretty enamored with Ambulance Ltd. in the mid-00's. That silky smooth sound was quite endearing, while making me feel that something wasn't quite right beneath the surface. The fact that they reminded me of The Velvet Underground finally made sense when I realize Ocean was a VU cover.

Unfortunately, their only area appearance was a slot opening for The Killers - a band I hated at the time. That "Somebody Told Me" song was seriously getting on my nerves. Ambulance put on a fine show. I wish they had played longer, but they were just the opener, so I couldn't really complain. The Killers were ok, but I quickly grew tired of the sold-out crowd. If you're not really into being there, sold-out 9:30 shows can be a bit unbearable. I left about halfway through The Killers' set.

Full disclosure - I no longer hate The Killers and I totally love "Mr. Brightside" now. My loss for not giving them a bigger chance earlier. Oh well. Meanwhile - Ambulance seems to be on permanent haitus - or else they're just extremely lazy. But who knows - Maybe they're working on another way to release "Heavy Lifting" for the 4th time. hrmph.

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