Archive for March, 2009

Edgar Winter Group

Posted in 1993-1999, Post College (pre teaching) on March 25, 2009 by concertproject

edgar-winter-pictures-1974-ds-3067-016-lBand: Edgar Winter Group

Venue: The Gift Center, San Francisco, CA

Date: Oct 31, 1994

This show marks the first and, to date, only time I have ever attended the Exotic Erotic Ball. A venerable San Francisco tradition, the EEB was an event I had always heard (and wondered) about growing up but it wasn’t until I was living in The City during the mid-nineties that I mustered up the courage and motivation to get my Halloween freak on at the annual event. And to be completely honest with you, seeing the Edgar Winter Group perform that night was akin to eating an appetizer in a steak house. Sure, those potato skins may be tasty but you know you came for the porterhouse. And for the record, I think I remember the band played “Frankenstein” that night and that’s about it for them.

carnivalofsinAs for the rest of the spectacle known as the Exotic Erotic Ball, it’s one of those events that looks better in pictures than in person. For every scantily clad and sexily attired male or female “hottie” in attendance, there were easily three times as many similarly dressed “notties” slithering around the Gift Center that night. And that’s not to say that I was much better off: I recall dressing up as a super obscure literary anti-hero named Bernard Mickey Rangle from the Tom Robbins book Still Life with Woodpecker and being annoyed that no one knew who the hell I was. Props to my friends Traci and John who dressed up as Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain, complete with exit wound.

Other assorted and unpurgable memories from that night nearly fifteen years ago: An endless river of alcohol (more than I’d seen in five years as a frat boy). Girl on boy, girl on girl, boy on boy make-out sessions as far as the eye could see. More men with (pre-digital era) cameras than a paparazzi convention. A naked man on roller skates being dragged around the venue like a pull toy. (Process that one for a while, I still haven’t shaken it loose from my brain).

Umm, sorry. Lost focus. That’s all for this one.


Hot for Teacher with Generation Swine

Posted in 2000-2007, Teaching at LE on March 17, 2009 by concertproject

l_3dd7cfc78d6124d1e59e359e40e65834Bands: Hot For Teacher with Generation Swine

Venue: Little Fox Theatre, Redwood City, CA

Date: Sept 2007

Before I bit the proverbial bullet and saw these two bands perform live, I had never personally attended a tribute band show before. Sure, I was aware of the tribute band phenomenon (Super Diamond, AC/DShe, and Blood Pollution from the movie Rock Star), I just never visualized myself being in the audience for the aforementioned spectacle. But as I was about to find out for myself, sometimes the audience is just as interesting a part of the whole concert experience as the band.

11To their credit, the boys in Generation Swine really had the look and swagger of Motley Crue in their heyday. Right down to the clothes, the wigs, and the original band’s individual performance postures, these guys did their homework. The only area that I recall being less than spot on was the actual playing of the music. Granted, Vince Neil’s voice is a bit difficult to effectively emulate and some of Mick Mars’ guitar solos may be tough to pull off in a live setting, but come on, I didn’t show up wearing earplugs!

hot_for_teacher-bandBy the time Hot For Teacher hit the stage, I was ready for some good ol’ David Lee Roth era Van Halen rock n roll. And that’s exactly what I got, right down to the last musical, nuanced detail. In fact, the band was so musically accurate that they probably didn’t move as many cds as they imagined they would on this cd release party because all the songs sounded exactly the same as the Van Halen originals and I would assume that a vast majority of the crowd owned their own copies or else they wouldn’t be here. Hell, most of the songs even appeared in the order on the actual disc.

hft_cd-smlBut as I alluded to before, the most memorable aspect of the evening was the audience. The only way I can think to describe it is in this fashion: Since there were a couple of bands going through the motions and rocking out to the best of their ability like the real deal, so, too, must the audience perform their role in this macabre masquerade. There was the drunk before the show guy, the old and awkward out of place guy, the just hooking up for the first time so forgive us our inebriated primal urges as we tongue each other the whole night couple, and the tall, scary guy that dressed up like Gene Simmons in full demon make-up and costume. Just like the performers on stage, the members of the crowd were caricatures of who they not-so-secretly wished to be.

Steve Miller Band

Posted in 1986-1992, Late HS to College on March 10, 2009 by concertproject

steve-miller-bandBand: Steve Miller Band

Venue: Cal Expo Amphitheater, Sacramento, CA

Date: Summer 1990

Whenever I hear a Steve Miller song on the radio, I think about my college days at UC Davis. Bike circles, the Coffee House, the Grad, and Chem 194. But if I was to listen to Steve Miller’s Greatest Hits cd, a more specific, yet certainly less wholesome vision of my past filters into my hazy memory. Fraternity brothers, sticky green bud, bong hits, high. Ah, to be young and wasted. And with our stoner soundtrack dutifully playing in the background of each group gathering, the hits, both musically and inhaled, kept on coming.

steve_miller_act_300xWhen the fellas and I heard that the Steve Miller Band was coming to town over the summer, those of us who were still in Davis decided to attend the show. As cruel fate would have it, we were completely out of weed the day of the concert so we decided to pair up and scour the rapidly filling Cal Expo parking lot in hopes of finding anyone willing to sell us a bag, a joint, a bud, anything. All we were able to score was a pathetic excuse of a roach, which when we tried to smoke it, yielded barely one miniscule toke before turning into ash.

steve-miller-band1So, here we were, at arguably the summer’s biggest party this side of a Dead show, and my buddies and I were stone cold sober. But by the time Steve Miller hit the stage, my state of mind became a mere afterthought. As the band churned through hit after hit after hit, I began to take notice of the people singing and dancing around me. Men and women and children of all ages were grooving along to the music that warm summer evening, having the time of their lives. It was only then did I realize that I didn’t need to smoke anything to get high that night. All I needed was the music.

A joint would have been nice, too.

Willie Nelson

Posted in 1969-1980, Pre-Birth to Elem on March 4, 2009 by concertproject

willie-flores1969-lrgBand: Willie Nelson

Venue: unknown

Date: late 1968 to early 1969

I have always had an inexplicable affinity for the music of Willie Nelson. Sure, my dad used to play his records for me all the time when I was growing up, but my love for Willie’s songs seemed to run deeper than merely in my ears and into my brain. It almost felt like I connected to the music on a near cellular level. And although it wasn’t a necessarily pressing question as to why that was, it always bugged me a little.

Well, several years ago, I got my answer.

Apparently, at some time several months before my birth, my mom attended a Willie Nelson concert with my dad while she was pregnant with me.  No wonder I’ve always felt the amber current of a whiskey river flowing through my mind. It’s because Willie Nelson was my first ever concert.

Earliest photo of me, circa 1969

Earliest photo of me, circa 1969

Scorpions with Bon Jovi

Posted in 1981-1985, Middle School to Early HS on March 2, 2009 by concertproject


hband32Bands: Scorpions with Bon Jovi

Venue: The Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA

Date: April 1984

The Scorpions were really the first band that I remember getting obsessive about. And before you get to thinking that I had built a shrine to lead singer Klaus Meine or that I had wall to wall posters of lead guitarist Mathias Jabs adorning my room or that I owned drummer Herman Rarebell’s solo album, allow me to clarify what I mean by the word obsessive. Starting with Blackout and Love at First Sting, I began collecting every Scorpions album that existed. I picked up Animal Magnetism and Lovedrive (both the American version and the naughty and gummy original European release), as well as all the half dozen or so earlier albums. I was so into the band that my friend Roger Arbelbide bought me Lonesome Crow, the available as an import only debut album, for my birthday one year. And yes, I did, and still do, own Herman Ze German’s solo album.

So, needless to say, when I read in the Sunday Pink section (of the SF Chronicle) that the Scorpions were coming to town with some band called Bon Jovi, I was so going to that show.

16144All I knew about Bon Jovi at the time was what I vividly recall hearing some random caller to a local radio station say about how they should change their name to Bon Gerbil because the singer looked like a small rodent. All appearances aside, I was impressed enough by their short set to go out and purchase their debut album the very next day.

hband2I remember the Scorpions played nearly every song that I wanted to hear that night. In fact, if you give their World Wide Live album a spin, you would have a very good idea of the quality of the show I witnessed.

As much as I enjoyed both bands that evening, the real action happened on the ride home. Since my mom had dropped Roger and I off at the Cow Palace earlier, Roger’s dad, Pascal, picked us up to drive us home. Apparently, Pascal had been hitting the wine a little bit hard that night because he drove us the ten miles or so home on the freeway at a slow and steady rate of twenty-five miles per hour. To make matters worse, he kept turning around to face me and ask me how it was that I was able to get good grades when Roger couldn’t. Over and over again. I will never forget saying, “I don’t know, sir,” repeatedly to his question as cars whizzed past us on the left.