Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Special Edition: Crazy on You

     As much as I love concerts, I have not been able to go to all that I wanted to. I got tickets to Heart and Jason Bonham's Zepplin experience, and was so excited. $15 to see an interesting concept AND a band I loved as a kid? Why not? Unfortunately, Erik got sick and decided it was best not to go, and as the planets aligned, as they sometimes do, and I got to take a date to the concert. Now she knows music, but is a Country fan. I thought this would be perfect, a way to show what I like.

      So as the Led Zepplin experience took the stage, they were playing, and I thought "not only did we arrive JUST in time, but they sound pretty damn good!" I'm sure if I closed my eyes, it would have been what I would have imagined what Zepplin sounded like back in the day. Though they only played 30 minutes, I thought it was an amazing venture into rock history, hearing Jason's story, listening to the official backing drum track his dad laid down years ago, and getting to experience what it was like, I think the only thing that was more classic than this was seeing Black Sabbath with Bill Ward, ya know, before the screw job contract.

     As the opening band left the stage, the mood was set, it was getting dark,and it was exciting. Then all of a sudden, Nancy comes on and plays the riff to Barracuda... I think that was a gutsy move. Usually bands save their most popular or best work for later. As the concert went on, going on the recordings and word I have heard from people, I have heard Heart sucks live. Well the recording studio must have messed with the sound, and people must be hard critics. Nothing was farther from the truth! From Nancy's solos and her lead on "These Dreams," to Ann's always fantastic vocals, this is a concert to see! I like that they played Alone, and a few songs I haven't heard before. Nancy even sang an Elton John song (I Need You to Turn to.) As Ann said, "I am going to turn the microphone over now." (and she did just that and turned the mic backwards... Very funny...) I hope they come back. I would LOVE Erik to see them, after his selfless action, and it was nice to see Heart gain a new fan. We had to leave early before the big group finally (plus Jiffy Lube Live is a pain to get out of anyway.) I heard the final songs as we left, but I don't know how I would have felt about it if I stayed... I am a music snob, and need my covers to be great (maybe that will be a next blog?) Anyway, I hope this isn't a lackluster post, it is late and I could not sleep... I figured I would get this out of the way. Thanks for listening, and oh yeah... OOH BARRACUDA!

Keep hitting the HIGH NOTES everyone!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Special Edition: What Time is it?

     So to start this, I have to go back to the beginning. That's a good place to start, OK, so when the album Pocket Full of Kryptonite came out, it was 1991. In 1991 I was 8, and my brother Erik and I went to private school. Now they didn't have bus service, so someone had to drive us. While my dad liked oldies on 94.7 WARW (I believe...hey, I'm not a professional blog yet, I don't have to have ALL my ducks in a row.) When mom drove us though, it was Q107.3 (they later went off the air, and became Mix 107.3. The ones who sponsor the Fairfax fair concerts.) Anyway, one of my favorite songs to come on was Two Princes (when it made it as a single.) Yes, at an early age, after I got out of the New Kids on the Block phase (hey, I was young. It happens... shut up!) I had gotten more into bands like The Beatles, U2, INXS, Genesis and the like. However the Spin Doctors always hit me as just a "cool" band. Almost the epitome of cool. The flow, the meanings (what I could understand of the meanings anyway) of their songs, were just awesome.

     So to present day (I wanted to do that transition as boring as possible. Moving 22 years forward too fast might make a great law suit for you, but trust me... you won't get much.) I always look to see who is playing Fairfax Fair. I have seen the likes of Sugar Ray, The Smithereens, Rick Springfield, Collective Soul, Cheap Trick, and a few others. Now one year Blues Traveler came and I missed them, when I found out the Spin Doctors were coming, I was not going to miss this one. As soon as I heard they were going to be there at 4:30, it was obvious what they were going to open with (and it's my favorite song of theirs, so I am not complaining.) I was pumped, they sounded great, had a fantastic energy to them, and were totally on point (unlike Smash Mouth.) then they did Nice Talking to Me right after which was nice, considering I thought they were going to do something I didn't know. Now one thing I get upset with at concerts (Steve Winwood) is when they only play new stuff. Spin Doctors played a lot of new stuff, and it was great. The trick is to mix it in with the old stuff to keep interest, and Spin Doctors did just the perfect blend of that. The new songs are really unique, without sounding like they sold out. When they did an old song, it was like meeting an old friend again after a long time (either being away from the friend or you were too drunk to remember you saw them recently.) But yes, I suggest seeing them because of the energy, and the full on sound all together. Even with the very talented Eric Schenkman singing, I think that was one of the best performances I have seen, and the tickets were cheap, double positive!

     This is where I would usually end the blog, but there's more! During the concert Chris said they were going to be at the tent and to come say hi. The thing is, you didn't even have to buy anything! Of course that came with the guilt trip of their kids having to eat cardboard... But I digress. I got in line right during the encore because I knew the line was going to be long, because I have met bands (Hootie and the Blowfish, Disturbed, Otep, Strapping Young Lad) before, and as they showed up and I looked back, yup... long line. As I headed up all I really had was a free hat I received from the government that said "Recycle" and had the Fairfax website on it. I asked if they would autograph it, and there was no problem at all. In fact, Chris wrote the band logo on it and said "there, now it's a spin doctors hat!" I asked for a pic, and Eric said "ask the man in the tie. His name is Bob." Yes, I'm a music nerd and knew for a fact that Chris Barron's name isn't Bob. I got the picture and left on cloud 9.

     So for some of the meet and greets, I had to pay $20, Spin Doctors and Hootie and the Blowfish are the 2 I have done that were the nicest and most down to Earth groups I have met. As dad said, they treated their fans like they were human. Anyway, great energy, nice style, and just plain fun. When people were leaving because it was raining, I laughed. I threw my "Spin Doctors" hat in the closet on a top shelf so nothing ruins it, and posted the picture on Facebook (I want to print it out to frame it) and all is well. So until next idea or concert (I will try to post more...) I will see you next time, until then... Keep hitting the HIGH NOTES!
(now where are those damn ducks?)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Greatest Hits

     Who doesn't love a greatest hits? (Other than bands who think it means "we're done.") All the best songs from that band/artist all on one CD, or 2 or 3...or volumes (lookin' at you Eagles...) Anyway, have you ever thought a band or artist shouldn't have a greatest hits, or they have 60 of them? It becomes preposterous, yet for some reason you can't help but buy it.

     I had many conversations with people, and they would tell me "I hate it when a band puts a new song on the greatest hits album. It's kind of arrogant and overzealous, thinking it's going to be a hit..." Well look at Boston, they went through the 70's and 80's, and fell apart, and when Brad went to other bands, and Fran Cosmo took over in the 90's when Tom decided to do his own thing. When Brad came back to the band, they had 2 singers. Well, they weren't done and wanted to show they were recording more music, so instead of the fans losing interest in what would be a record in 6 years, they added Tell Me (a song that would have been a good fit to close Walk On) and Higher Power, a soulful new outlook on what was to come out of Brad's and Fran's and Tom's think tank of music and show they weren't down for the count. Some bands refuse to put out a greatest hits, they feel it's a death sentence.

     Now when a band makes a ton of greatest hits, and super hits, and whatever, and suckers (me) will buy it. "Chicago and Beach Boys have a new greatest hits? Who would buy that?'s only $5? OK." I mean I have 2 copies of Boston's greatest hits because for one I thought I lost it, and it had the songs from Corporate America, But it's better to buy the collection for some bands. I could not imagine a Metallica or Beatles greatest hits ("1" does not count.) Look at Led Zepplin, they have a 4 disk greatest hits (not talking box set.) Kiss has a box set, but they also have double platinum and a few greatest hits, but it just doesn't feel right. The Eagles can get away with it because they had a career, broke up and got back together, and they had time to mature. If you listen to the two volumes, you can see it. One band I could see doing this is Pink Floyd. Their songs are long and intricate that they could do so, but they didn't. Now one greatest hits I saw that irked me was Notorious B.I.G. I think the fans would be better off getting the entire series of albums.

     So think of greatest hits as you will, sometimes it cheapens a band, or just isn't right, but sometimes there are some good ones. Now compilations are another thing, so maybe we can get into those next time, until then, keep hitting the HIGH NOTES.