Friday, December 05, 2008



whoa - busy day.

11/8/99 - Bob Dylan/Phil Lesh And Friends @ Baltimore Arena - Baltimore, MD

Dylan was the headliner, but the main draw for me was Phil. I don't think I had seen his solo band yet. Looking back, this was probably my favorite Phil-incarnation - with both Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes on guitar. We had seen Bobby play with Ratdog and those various versions of "The Other Ones," but this was PHIL's band. A different beast altogether. Musically, they were great. They were hitting the improvisational peaks that Bobby's bands never could, yet they didn't have the pressure of being the "remains of the Dead" that The Other Ones had thrust upon them. However - the one thing that hasn't changed over the years....Phil can't sing. At all. He's horrible. My only real memory of this show was the opening "Morning Dew." The music was beautiful, but Phil's singing....ugh. We were still missing Jerry pretty bad. Hearing the opening notes of this song brought up all kinds of emotions. But then he started singing and it was just cringe-worthy. The notes...The phrasing....Please stop. Listening to the rest of the show (at the link above) pretty much reinforces the above. The playing is wonderful - as long as Phil isn't singing.

Jam > Morning Dew > The Wheel > Playing In The Band > Just A Little Light > Playin' Jam > Get Together > Cold Rain & Snow

I recall Dylan being quite good. He played lots of hits, along with a few songs the Dead used to play, which made all the heads happy. I wasn't used to Dylan's new sound yet, but once I got into it, he was great. He was still playing guitar then, which made him a little more mobile and fun to watch. This was the first time I had seen Dylan in quite a while. He had gotten about 1000x better than before. I wish he had played more from Time Out Of Mind though.

I Am The Man, Thomas/Visions Of Johanna/Ring Them Bells/Tangled Up In Blue/Big River/Joey/Down Along The Cove/Man In The Long Black Coat/Tombstone Blues/Like A Rolling Stone/Love Sick/Rainy Day Women #12 and 35/Friend Of The Devil/Not Fade Away

Here's a vid from the show.

11/8/03 Washington Social Club/Paper Doll/??? @ The Fleming Center - Washington, DC

About a week after our first WSC show, they were playing a benefit gig for Positive Force DC at their activity center. It was kind of like seeing a bunch of bands playing of your office's break room. VERY small. Only a handful of people there. There were different tables setup with different types of political action literature, books, clothes and records. Did I mention the records? I walked out with an armful of them. The biggest score of the day was an early pressing of the Rites Of Spring LP. Sweet.

Anyway - I walked in on a band who's name I didn't catch. It was either The Delorean or 4-Chamber Heart. Not sure. Paper Doll was next. I liked them a lot. I think they may have been an all-girl band, but I'm too lazy to go dig up my CD and I can't find anything about them online. I think there are other bands with the same name. Anyway - They were good. Never heard from them again though.

WSC was a blast, of course, playing to about 15 people in Positive Force's office space. No stage - they just setup in a corner. I remember one of them (Marty?) saying they'd rather play a ton of these gigs than shows at the Black Cat. Of course within a couple years they'd be packing them in at The Cat. This may have been the show that made them one of my "can't miss" bands.

11/8/2004 - Muse @ 9:30 - Washington, DC

My original review of this one is over here.

I had seen Muse earlier that summer and thought they were awesome. I jumped at the chance to see them at the club. I was kind of surprised that they sold out 9:30. Just 3 months earlier they played at the side-stage at Curiosa - The Cure's traveling festival - to a rather sparse, semi-interested crowd. I had no problem walking right up to the front for that one. The club was packed tonight though.

I had mixed feelings about this one. I really liked what I heard, but it all started to sound the same after a while. I haven't seen them since, but that's mostly because they've gotten huge and I don't want to deal with the bigger venues. They're a good band. They just outgrew me too fast. I hear they play arenas in Europe. sheesh. Good for them.

11/8/2007 - Partyline/Fierce Perm/Mess Up The Mess @ Velvet Lounge - Washington, DC

One of my favorite shows of 2007. This show was just one non-stop party. The crowd seemed to consist of whatever two bands weren't on stage at the time, a bunch of their friends and me. It was Alison's birthday and silliness all around. Silly String, a pinata and lots of drunken mayhem. And all 3 bands just f--king rocked. I highly recommend all of them. Especially Partyline. They play every once in a while, but it usually seems to be tiny benefit gigs in out-of-the-way places. I wish they would advertise them better. I'd show up more often if I had a little advanced notice. Partyline will rock your world. Or make you laugh. Either way - you'll love 'em.

11/8/2008 Elton John "The Red Piano" @ The Colosseum at Caesars Palace - Las Vegas, NV

That's right. VEGAS, BABY! Don is a HUGE Elton fan. For years we kept saying that as soon as his job situation stabilized we'd head to Vegas and see Elton. Well, his job situation is pretty damn good now and they announced that Elton was going to end his Vegas run soon. If we're gonna do this - now is the time.

I had never been to Vegas before. We stayed at The Venetian, which was so over-the-top swanky it was almost cheesy. That's what Vegas is all about though. Elton's show was a lot of fun. He knows what the crowd wants. Hit after hit after hit. None of that Lion King business. Oh yeah - lots of inflatable things resembling penises and a giant inflatable set of boobs. Oddly, I would be seeing an even larger set of inflatable boobs within about a week. More on that later. Elton was much more talkative than I expected - telling jokes about Celine Dion, stories about the songs, etc. I think he's a little afraid of Bette Midler. "She'll hit me." He played for like 2 hours and it went by in a flash. To be honest - It was a good, fun show - but not really great. Even Don admits that, so I don't feel bad saying it. Definitely worth the trip though.

Vegas was fun. Too many people though. I don't like crowds like that. We were just there for the weekend, so we didn't go out to the Hoover Dam or to the Grand Canyon. We did make it out to the old part of town though. I think they called it "Glitter Gulch." That's where U2 filmed "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." I had fun, but I don't know if I'd go back without a good reason.

If you ever want to go gambling, call me. If I sit at your table, I guarantee I'll suck all the bad luck in my direction, leaving the good luck for everyone around me to share.

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