Pictures from our week long cruise in the Galapagos are here.

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Live
2013-10-05
House Of Blues
Atlantic City, NJ

I’m finally getting around to gathering my thoughts, pictures, memorabilia and recordings. I got sick on the flight home and spent Sunday night in the ER, I’m all better now, but work and life has been crazy busy since we got home from AC.

Thanks to OutToDry for arranging the hotel block. After reading online reviews I had pretty low expectations for the hotel room, but ours was nice. Large, clean and comfy, but the wifi was a joke.

We’d never been to Atlantic City, so we made sure we got there on Friday with plenty of time to explore on Friday night and Saturday during the day. But, I have to say I’ll be perfectly happy if I never go back to AC. We wandered the boardwalk Friday night and Saturday and never really found anything that peaked our interest. We hit a few casinos here and there to play some roulette, or more precisely so I could watch my wife play roulette.

Saturday afternoon rolled around and we headed back to the hotel/casino/venue. We ran into Pat and Gracey as they were headed to sound check, we said hi and wished them a good show. They seemed to be in good spirits. We saw a lot of AC/TC shirts and Jimmy in the House of Blues bar so we stopped by to catch up with Jimmy for a few moments. He mentioned that if you eat in the bar you can get a pass to “skip the line” into the venue. So that made our decision for dinner an easy one. We headed up to our room to relax for a bit before dinner and the show. We came back down a bit later, grabbed dinner and chatted with Jimmy and Renata for a bit.

We got into the venue and were able to get our preferred spot, dead center right in front of the soundboard. We had a good view of the entire stage and the recording should have the best sound in the room there. A couple of friends that grew up in PA and are old Live fans (saw them before Mental Jewelry’s release) were able to come down to the show and we caught up before the opener, The Shackletons took the stage. I won’t spend too much time on The Shackletons but I’ve never seen a crowd dislike an opener so much. The band was good, but the lead singer wasn’t my thing. I got the feeling he was ad-libbing the words, he really didn’t sing, it was more like a poetry slam with a backing band and props (american flags, a telephone, a suitcase, fake flowers, etc.) The set change allowed the crowd to cleanse The Shackletons from their system and get ready for the main course.

The lights finally dimmed and the first strains of The Dam At Otter Creek brought the crowd into a frenzy. Chris definitely has front man chops and persona. He was really in a difficult position, learn lyrics that he didn’t write and perform an album that is most cherished by the die hard fans, which there were a lot of in the audience, and perform an album that is one of the most recognizable in the 90’s Alternative Rock era. On the whole Chris did a great job, he missed some lyrics here and there, which is completely understandable, every lead singer trips over lyrics. However, he completely dropped the ball on t.b.d., granted this is probably the wordiest song in the Live catalog and has a completely different tempo. He was visibly distraught that he lost his place in the lyrics, but, it was still really disappointing to me. However, he came right back with the next song, Stage, and completely nailed it. Next up was Waitress, which brought one of the evenings head scratchers, Chris wasn’t doing the whistling parts? I assumed they were playing back an earlier recording of him, but later in the show Taylor introduced the “Copper Choir”, who he, jokingly I assume, said were doing the backing vocals all night. Maybe one of them did the whistling.

They finished out the Throwing Copper set with White, Discussion. There was a lot of talk before the show if they would play the hidden final track, Horse, but it appeared they weren’t going to, even though they had performed it during rehearsals. After a quick encore break they came back on stage. Everyone was wondering if they would treat the crowd to a few new tracks, but instead the iconic maracas of Pain Lies On The Riverside rang out, the light show shifted into high gear and the crowd exploded with gratitude for revisiting one of the highlights of the debut album Mental Jewelry. They moved into The Dolphin’s Cry and Lakini’s Juice. I began to think maybe they’d end the show with the singles from the rest of their catalog, but as soon as the encore got cranked up with Lakini’s Juice, it started the ramp down to the end of the night with some heartfelt thank yous from Taylor to the crowd, the fans and the special guests in attendance. For the finale of the show they brought out Chris Thorn on slide guitar and Dana Alexandra on accompanying vocals for the Throwing Copper hidden track (and real final track) Horse. Dana’s vocals were a great addition.

I had seen a poster just outside the entrance to the venue on our way in that I thought would be a nice addition to my collection. And low and behold it was still there by the time I left the venue. So I took that poster up to the room and started thinking about how I was going to get a 30″x40″ poster home. Then I hurried back down to the venue with a print I had brought with us, Lucia’s photo of Chad stomping at last years Strand show. I poked around the Foundation Room to see if I could track down Taylor to sign it for me, he hadn’t arrived yet, so I headed back out to the venue and ran into him in the hallway, where he was nice enough to sign it for me. And now it has a prominent place in our collection. (If your wondering how we got the poster home. We found a FedEx office on the way to the Philly airport and shipped it home. I just need to find a home for it now!)

Iris, Stage, and Pain Lies on the Riverside were the highlights of the evening for me. Taylor looked like he was having a great time. And I’ve never heard Pat play his bass like he did that night, he was in the zone and looked to be having a great time. I overheard Taylor talking with someone, who I can only assume is one of the band member’s mother, and she was saying the same thing she hadn’t seen Pat this happy in a very long time. I wavered between ridiculously high expectations for the show (Chris will nail it all, they will play a second set with all new material, etc.) to more reasonable expectations (the band hasn’t played most of these songs in nearly 20 years) and the show landed somewhere near the higher end of my expectations. It was a great show, the energy from the band and the crowd was amazing, Chris is a good front man, he brings his own style and energy to the band and he seems to fit with where the band is wanting to go next in their career. But, he was put in an untenable situation, sing one of most beloved albums in front of a die hard crowd who knows EVERY word and nuance. I’m excited to see what is up next for them, I think the next tour supporting an album that Chris was an integral part of will help the band coalesce even more and show the fans what this new formulation of the band has to offer.

What’s next for the band… I overheard the lady that was running merch, that the guys are heading back into their new studio for two weeks of final recording of the new material, then it is off to mastering and hopefully the album will be out in spring 2014. From all accounts, this info seem to be corroborated by the recent interviews and pictures on the band’s Facebook page.

A few of our photos over here: https://plus.google.com/photos/116546640208855049251/albums/5933938662539637761

My audience recording of the show is available in two places. A torrent on Dime A Dozen here: http://www.dimeadozen.org/torrents-details.php?id=468666 You will need an account to access the site. The files are also available for direct download here: http://www.mediafire.com/folder/k0pelanql1ppq/live2013-10-05 You will need to merge the 3 ZIP files, I used 7-zip (http://www.7-zip.org/) to create the ZIP files. It looked like the band recorded the show too, but probably for their own achieve. There were two condenser mics and two shotgun mics on the front edge of the stage and two more condenser mics at the rear corners of the soundboard cage.

Ed Kowalczyk (Full Band)
2010-06-12
Civic Center Park
Ft. Collins, CO

We weathered the cold and drizzle to see Ed and the band’s first US date (8th date ever?). We arrived at Civic Center Park about an hour before show time, there were probably only 25 people there waiting for the show. We made our way to the barracade just left of center. As show time got closer more people showed up, there we’re about 500 people there by the time they took the stage, given the weather that’s not too bad.

I’m not sure if it was the physical stage set-up (the side fills were taking up most of the front corners of the stage) or if it Ed’s new stage set-up, but Ed is right up front by himself and the the rest of the band are all lined up together about 15′ behind him, kinda strange after seeing Live for the past 18 years with Ed, Chad and Pat (and sometimes Adam) lined up front together. Ed took the stage all in black, black pants, shirt and beanie and the band dove into Drive, a song from the upcoming Alive release from Ed. From all of the new songs played, this was my favorite, good hooks, interesting guitar parts and heavy drums. The other new songs didn’t do much for me, I enjoy the studio of Grace, but after hearing it live, it is apparent that there is a lot of post production on the studio version, the guitars sound HUGE, but live they weren’t that captivating. It was very strange seeing Live songs, especially AOY, LJ, BoG, IA and STD, without the rest of the band. I kept wanting to see Chad pounding on the drums or Chad stomping, but the new guys (especially the guitar and bass players) look like they are trying really hard to remember their parts. The drummer is the best musician of the bunch. And the guitarist tryied to add his own touches to a few songs, AOY and LC were particularly bad. It may have been the weather, but Ed’s falsetto sounded pretty rough, otherwise he sounded pretty good and looked to be having a good time. He didn’t interact with the crowd too much, but he never has. I was a little disappointed that he only played 4 new songs, out of a total of 15. I know he’s trying to please the fans, and hopefully after the album drops he will add more Ed solo songs to the setlist and take away some of the heavier Live songs (they just don’t fit very well with his solo sound and the new band just doesn’t measure up to the Chads and Pat).

We stuck around afterwards to see if Ed and the band would come out to meet the fans. Ed came out afterward to meet with a few fans that stuck around in the cold drizzle. He was the most personable I have seen him in a long, long time. He chatted with people, took picts and signed stuff for everyone that was there.

I read on FB that he (and maybe a few other band members) played a few songs at a bar after the show. My wife and I were a few doors down eating dinner and had no idea it was going on. Bummer.

This review may seem a pretty negative, but I enjoyed seeing Ed, glad I went and will see him when/if he comes back through town. But it just isn’t Live, the vibe is very different, not bad, just different. It should be different, if it did sound like Live, Ed would be doing himself a disservice, he needs to go out and make a name for himself and his sound.

Set list:

01. Drive
02. All Over You
03. The Distance
04. Just In Time
05. The Great Beyond
06. Selling The Drama
07. The Dolphins Cry
08. Drink (Everlasting Love)
09. Lakini’s Juice
10. I Alone
11. Grace
12. Heaven
13. Lightning Crashes
14. The Beauty Of Grey
15. Dance With You

ACC Football Championship Game
5 Nov, 2009
Tampa, FL

Go Jackets!

Ingrid Michaelson
2009-10-19
Gothic Theater
Denver, CO

Nine Inch Nails
2008-08-29
Aragon Ballroom
Chicago, IL
w/ suprise guest Peter Murphy

I think we’ve figured out that this was our fourth NIN show of the past 12 months, with each show being in a different U.S. city. Not a bad effort on our part, I think, for the aptly named “Wave Goodbye Tour” for NIN. (Though, to confess, the other 3 dates were just NIN related dates – NIN|JA tour, etc. Only this one date in Chicago was technically on the “Wave Goodbye” tour.) With Trent apparently changing gears from NIN, at least for a while, we decided to catch him while we could and headed to Chicago for a long weekend to catch the show.

We weren’t disappointed.

The lighting for NIN shows has been astounding this past year – and on “Wave Goodbye” they change gears from the LED curtains to “intense” (their words!) strobe effects which are as visually intense as NIN’s songs. At this show we were standing near the soundboard (the nickname for the venue is the “Aragon Brawlroom” – and we’re headed on vacation in a week… with no broken bones…) – and it was almost as entertaining to watch the NIN lighting guy thrashing while working his board as it was to watch the show up on stage. (No kidding – he was practically moshing with the board. Shirtless & all. Impressive!)

The set list was terrific, with lots of “classic” early NIN songs. And – a TOTAL treat (for me anyway!) a special appearance – “the 5th member of NIN” per Trent – Peter Murphy. WOW – as a huge Bauhaus, Peter Murphy and even Love & Rockets fan from back in the day – I was thrilled! (We’d heard he’d been at the dates in NYC – but didn’t know he was doing the Chicago dates too – lucky us!) Murphy sang along on NIN’s “Reptile,” then Murphy and NIN did a version of “Strange Kind of Love” that morphed toward the end into “Bella Lugosi’s Dead,” then they did a cover of “Final Solution” by Pere Ubu. The sound guy didn’t quite get the mics coordinated on Reptile – but seemed to have it figured out by “Strange Kind of Love” (thank goodness!) … I was in dark/goth heaven. (Brian was faintly amused.)

Depeche Mode
2009-08-27
Red Rocks Amphitheater
Morrison, CO

I’ve learned to just accept this one simple fact: Brian has amazing concert ticket karma. He managed to score three seats – 2nd row, center! Just crazy good seats. (Thanks to Deb for putting up with two concert geeks for the evening.)

While the openers, Peter Bjorn & John, didn’t really knock my socks off with their european electronica – the lead singer/bassist did impress with his “Van Halen”-like antics, and electric blue pants. (Yikes!)

Depeche Mode was on their “A” game. The new stuff sounds pretty good – though I’m clearly not as familiar with their new album – and their set was a terrific mix of what I’ll call “classic” Depeche Mode. Even after their nice long set – I still wanted to pull up the Violator album on the ipod for the drive home. (Ah the dark/goth days of my youth…)

Ed Kowalczyk
2009-07-23
Boulder Theater
Boulder, CO

Fun show last night at etown, the internationally syndicated radio show. We barely made it in time due to traffic in Denver, we arrived 10 minutes before showtime, but were still able to get seats in row 5 just off center.

The Del McCoury Band had first bill, they played a few songs. I hadn’t heard of them before last night, but they are legends in the Bluegrass community, we will probably pick up a few of their CDs to add to the collection. Del McCoury has been in the biz forever, he just released a 50 year, yes 50 year retrospective of his career.

Ed came out and played I Alone and Lightening Crashes solo acoustic, then sat down with Nick Forester (the host of etown) for an interview, Nick admitted that he was not familiar with Ed or Live, but Nick had done his research and did a good interview. They talked about the “hiatus” for Live, Ed was very non committal about any specifics about Live’s future, but made a point to say that the band has not “officially” broken up. Ed mentioned that he is recording his solo album this Fall for a Spring release. After the interview Ed and the house band, the etones, played Turn My Head and The Distance. Typically, to close out an episode/recording of etown the 2 acts perform a song together, as Nick, the host said, “It’s not a collision of two worlds, it’s a seamless marriage.” Typically they play a song from the “bigger” act, however last night was a bit different, during sound check Ed and The Del McCoury Band learned Bob Dylan’s Maggie’s Farm, neither act had performed the song before. Ed voice is very well suited for this song. It was the highlight of the evening, the Bluegrass fans dug it, the Live/Ed fans dug it. I fully expect Maggie’s Farm to be added to Ed’s solo setlist. Here is a sample, more to come later.

They were selling the Hoboken boot on USB drive, Ed’s t-shirt and poster flats (for $10!) in the lobby. Ed came out to the lobby to sign autographs afterwards. I asked him if he plans on coming back to Colorado to play a full set (this is the second radio show he has done in Colorado this year), he said he plans a full US tour to support the solo album. I also asked him if he was going to play with his friend Stuart Davis at his show on Saturday, but he said he has to get home, but wished he could have stayed the weekend for the show.

The etown performance ran about 2 hours in length, it will be edited down to about an hour and played on radio stations in about 6 weeks, check out etown.org for stations in your area that have the show. etown is also available as a podcast.

All in all a fun night, Maggie’s Farm was by far the highlight.

Viki’s pictures from the show are up here.

David Byrne
2009-06-20
Red Rocks Amphitheater
Morrison, CO

David Byrne is one of those performers who – for me – blurs the line between performance and art. Very similar set list to when we saw them in Denver – and still with the band, singers & dancers all in “all white” outfits. The dancers are very much part of the musical performance…

Impressive.

Carbon Leaf
2009-06-14
Bluebird Theater
Denver, CO

Wow – the place was PACKED. Kudos to KBCO for playing Carbon Leaf’s first cut from their new album – I’m sure that air play had alot to do with the turnout. Great set – including when they came to the front of the stage and sang “a cappella”… And we snagged a setlist which we had signed by Barry and Terry!

A few photos from the show.

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