Archive for January, 2009

Justin Timberlake with Pink

Posted in 2000-2007, Teaching at LE on January 27, 2009 by concertproject

timberlakemainnotuneingy71Bands: Justin Timberlake with Pink

Venue: HP Pavilion, San Jose, CA

Date: January 2007

I have taken a lot of shit for admitting that I enjoy listening to the music of Justin Timberlake. The figurative flying feces has been flung by my hard rock friends, my heavy metal friends, my alt-country friends, my jazz friends, my classic rock friends, and my hip-hop friends. Even my sports talk radio friends have piled on. And it’s not even as if I can defend myself and my perceived musical integrity by claiming my love of JT’s music as a guilty pleasure. Oh no. I enjoy his Futuresexlovesounds cd so much that if I were to rewrite my top 10 favorite album of all time list, it would easily crack the top seven, at least.

114694510482239e02e8hr2So, it was a complete no-brainer that I would be attending Timberlake’s show when it came around. In fact, I even pre-ordered my front row seat tickets from his website weeks before they were available to the general public. Umm, well, actually, that’s not entirely true. The truth is that my wife Fehmeen has been a major JT fan since his days in N Sync and when she purchased his new cd and played it over and over and over in our car for months on end, I learned to like, I mean love, most of the songs on it. In fact, I dug them so much that I thought it would be cool to see them performed live. Plus, Fehmeen wanted to go, so we bought tickets and went.

justin-timberlake-timbaland-335a032707I remember it being chilly that evening in January because I vividly recall the serpentine line slithering around the entire outside of the HP Pavilion before they opened the doors. Once inside, we found our way to our assigned seats in the upper nosebleed region and prepared ourselves for the show to start by engaging ourselves in a serious game of people watching. We determined quite quickly that I was easily the oldest, non-parent in attendance. Before I could even begin to process that tidbit of information, the lights went down and the show began.

Opening act Pink was blaringly loud and generally unremarkable, save for the circe de soleil-esque acrobatic rope from the rafters trick. JT performed the way one would expect: lots of singing, solo and synchronized dancing, and even some piano playing. Every thing was rolling just fine until about the fifty minute mark when artist/producer Timbaland came out and played records for almost half an hour. It totally killed the show which unfortunately, never regained it’s momentum.

Living Colour

Posted in 1986-1992, Late HS to College on January 22, 2009 by concertproject

rs590-rs1Band: Living Colour

Venue: Freeborn Hall, UC Davis campus, Davis, CA

Date: Early 1989

I vividly (get it?) recall the hype surrounding this show as being immense and the collective anticipation of the on the cutting edge of the college music scene hipsters as being downright palpable. I mean, who wouldn’t be, right? Not only was the new vanguard of the not yet mainstream hard rock/funk acts coming to town, they were going to be playing on campus. What’s your favorite color, baby? Living Colour!!!

So we partied like it was 1989. A bunch of us had gathered at my friend Martin Taxera’s apartment to drink cheap and bitter beer and smoke slightly more expensive yet harsh on the lungs weed from a four foot water bong. Having achieved the appropriate (for a concert) level of intoxication and inebriation, we headed off, on foot, to the center of campus to catch the show.

50786610vernon-reid-living-colour-1991-sizedBecause the band had only their debut album’s material to draw from, I remember the concert being relatively short in length. They even included, as a part of their repertoire, covers of popular Tracy Chapman and Talking Heads tunes. Vocalist Corey Glover bounded about the stage in his signature Body Glove wetsuit and guitarist Vernon Reid positively shredded it up on all of his mind-blowing leads.

As the lights turned on and people began filtering towards the exits, I was stopped in the lobby by a friend. Apparently, the word had been circulating that I was looking to score a bootleg vinyl copy of Prince’s legendary and unreleased Black Album and he knew someone who had one for sale. My friend then introduced me to the owner of a downtown record store and I quickly made arrangements to secure my copy the next day.

Twelve hours and twenty-five bucks later, the album was mine. (I still have it, too).

prince-the-black-album-37436-9911

Loverboy with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts

Posted in 1981-1985, Middle School to Early HS on January 20, 2009 by concertproject

Bands: Loverboy with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts

Venue: The Cow Palace, San Francisco, CA

Date: September 1983

cow_palace_front1

This Loverboy/Joan Jett show back in 1983 was personally historically significant to me for a number of different reasons. I believe the title of Loverboy’s hit song, “Turn Me Loose”, adequately describes the sense of freedom I was feeling that night at the Cow Palace for this concert marked the first show I attended sans chaperones. Up until this point in my concert-attending history, I was deemed too young to see a band perform live without the maternal and/or paternal parental unit in tow. But this time was different, I was in high school now. Granted, my friend Matt Berry and I were dropped off to and picked up from the Cow Palace that night by the mom and dad taxi service but at least the time spent in between the arriving and departing was ours alone.

loverboy A second reason why this show carries the weight of personal and historical significance for me is because this show marked the first time that I was more excited to see the opening act as opposed to the headliner. Sure, Loverboy was a bigger band at the time (they had just released their third record and had a string of relatively big hits) but I had already seen them open for Journey a year ago. I was way more interested in checking out Joan Jett and The Blackhearts instead. At the time, she only had two records out but her song “I Love Rock n Roll” was blowing up the airwaves and there is always just that something special about being into a band before they get too big and sell out, man. Plus, Joan Jett was a former member of the female rock band called The Runaways so she had that tidbit of notoriety going for her as well.

joan-jett1The third and final reason as to why this show is memorable to me is because of what happened after the show. Since we were too young to drive ourselves, my mom had dropped us off at the concert and Matt’s mom was going to pick us up and drive us back home. Earlier that afternoon we had arranged with Matt’s mom to meet us a few blocks away from the Cow Palace on Geneva Avenue in order to avoid any potential traffic nightmares of her having to enter an all cars are exiting parking lot. Being the geniuses that we were (and still are), Matt and I decided to avoid the traditional parking lot exit, coincidentally marked exit I might add, and forge another pathway out of there: we tried to hop the six foot tall cyclone fence.

Long story short, Matt made it over the fence and I didn’t. Unfortunately for me, the back of my newly purchased grey and black Joan Jett jersey style t-shirt got snagged on the top of the fence and I was left with my feet dangling a good foot above the ground. After a few minutes of panicking at my affixed to the fence state, we figured out a way to reunite my shoes with the earth and we were on our merry way home. I proudly wore my battle-scarred and ripped concert t-shirt to school the next day and whenever I run into my friend Matt, we always share a laugh about the time I got stuck on the fence after Joan Jett and Loverboy.

Sha Na Na

Posted in 1969-1980, Pre-Birth to Elem on January 13, 2009 by concertproject

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Band: Sha Na Na

Venue: Unknown but somewhere in CA

Date: Mid to late 1970s

For as long as I can remember, I’ve known that Danny and the Juniors performed “At the Hop” and that Martha and the Vandellas played “Heatwave”. I’ve also always had the implicit knowledge that Dion and the Belmonts sang “Runaround Sue” and that The Big Bopper sang “Chantilly Lace”. It was a great source of personal pride that I, at the tender age of seven or eight years old, knew all the words to songs by Jerry Lee Lewis, Ritchie Valens, and Buddy Holly. Hell, I even knew the story of ‘The Day the Music Died’ before I had ever even heard the Don McLean tune.

I have to give all the credit to my dad for his role in filling my pre-adolescent head with a teeming abundance of early rock and roll trivia and otherwise useful knowledge. You see, when I grew up in the seventies, my dad had a jukebox (hey kids, imagine a four foot tall ipod with internal speakers) and the only music he allowed on it was American rock and roll recorded from 1955 to 1965. I have no idea how many countless hours I spent listening and grooving to those 45s (visualize a black, double sized and double sided cd, kids), but I do know it was a lot.

Then one day, I remember my dad turning me on to this band that played nothing but 50s and 60s covers. The band was called Sha Na Na (named after some choice lyrics in the Silhouettes hit, “Get a Job”) and from the second he told me about them, I became obsessed with them. He even bought me a few of their albums (just like 45s, kids, but bigger; and yes, there will be a test later on all this stuff). So now, whenever I needed my rock and roll fix, I could cue it on up right in the comforts of the record player in my own bedroom, as opposed to firing up the old jukebox in the family room.

snn14It wasn’t too long after my introduction to all things Sha Na Na that my parents took me to see them in concert. Next to my yearly pilgrimage of seeing the Ringling Brothers Circus at the COW Palace, going to see Sha Na Na live was a cultural and entertainment high water mark of mine for at least a few years. All of my favorite performers from the band were there: Denny, Johnny, and Santini on lead vocals and matching shiny gold suits, Jocko on drums, Lennie on saxophone (whom I would recognize at a blackjack table in Harrah’s Tahoe many years later), and, of course, Bowzer on bass vocals.

As I recall it, the band performed to the level of my expectation, weaving a spirited and lighthearted musical and comedic tapestry for all in attendance to snuggle up to and get comfy with for a few hours. Although I cannot guarantee it, the band most certainly ended the evening with their signature cover of The Spaniels’ “Goodnight Sweetheart.”

The Ramones

Posted in 1986-1992, Late HS to College on January 7, 2009 by concertproject

ramones_cbgbs_oct3019771Band: The Ramones

Venue: The Stone, San Francisco, CA

Date: September 1987

I had no idea until I’d arrived at the show that night that The Ramones were playing at The Stone. At the time, I was spending most of my weekend evenings up on Broadway checking out punk and glam shows at any of the three or four rock clubs that were in the same two block area of North Beach. In those days, it didn’t matter who was playing as long as there was a mosh pit and a loud band rocking out, I was cool.

So essentially, it was just business as usual for me and a few friends to head up to the City and take in any show that caught our fancy. This particular evening was more momentous than most because, for me, this night was slated to be an end of an era in my life. You see, this was going to be the last time that I would be hanging on Broadway because I was shipping off to college the next morning. So, deep down inside of me, I knew that this night was destined to be special, just not The Ramones playing at The Stone special.

Now just imagine a name on the marque and people milling around.

The not-so-crowded entrance of The Stone

As I mentioned earlier, I had no idea that arguably the greatest punk band on the planet was playing that night at one of my favorite clubs. When my friend Mike Xavier and I arrived that night and saw what was happening, we were both downright giddy with excitement. There were so many people congregating around the front of the club, it was difficult to tell where the entrance was, which in hindsight, worked out quite nicely for me.

As a matter of protocol and club policy, people purchased their tickets from a little box office window on the left side of the entryway and then bought their drink tickets at the door to the right as they entered the club. Amidst the chaos and confusion with so many people gathered out front that night, I completely “forgot” to buy my ticket at the window and instead purchased a $2 drink ticket at the door. I was admitted in to the show at that point without ever once being asked to see my real ($18) ticket.

Once inside, my friend was beyond pissed at me because he had paid twice, like almost everyone else. But his hurt feelings didn’t last long once the lights were dimmed and the show began. For the next two hours, we were treated to The Ramones signature song beginning, “One, two, three, four,” about thirty to forty times. Not only was it a great show full of songs that everyone knew and loved, I had an incredibly awesome story to tell anyone who would listen to me the next day at my new school.ramones

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Posted in Information on January 2, 2009 by concertproject

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