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Category: music

04/16/12 11:30 - ID#56361

Shackled and Drawn

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A discussion after the joyful noise that was Friday's Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band show let to a friend asking me what does it for me? Why do I keep coming back? Why I have I seen upteen many shows? Still beaming like an idiot from the 3 hours we just witnesses, part dance party, part political convention, part tent revival, part depraved abandoned, part baptism, all I could say was"All of that." Early on in the show, Bruce promised our feet might hurt, our backs might shake, and you might still grin about it. One of my favorite television characters once said about great oratory "can lift whole houses off the ground." I feel the same about performance of all kinds, but especially about Mr. Springsteen.

He delivered again.

It's always great to hear songs you've always loved when they are performed with such conviction. The 19,000 voice singalong for "Thunder Road" is still in my head two days later, but the new songs and additional musicians that came to bring them alive were equally essential. I was a little worried about that after not really liking the Bruce record. I remember watching one of the televised Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies some years ago and the Mamas and the Papas were being inducted. They had so lost a step that 8 singers were needed to help back them up. Springsteen and the E Street Band don't need the help. The horn section, extra singers, percussion added to the fact that something new was being said, and despite it all "the rich guitar player being given a pass" was still a man of the people. And this people was still all too eager to be a part of something larger than himself. Collectively, we've all be at it awhile, and it was nice that the folks on stage haven't lost a step.

There were a few presents for us long time kooli-aid drinkers: "Point Blank" appeared and the last time I heard it live was in 1980 at the Aud, "Rendezvous", which has only be heard on my Ipod and "Mountain of Love", which might have been on the first bootleg I ever purchased. It was fun to see young fans enjoying the new material and the mix of other songs was pleasing to this old pro. Apparently, we nearly got an "E Street Shuffle" according to a set list making the rounds. But, it's all good. It's embarrassing to want so much from music (as the man himself once noted), but when you get "it" there are no words to adequately describe that happy, buzzing sensation of your soul getting a musical feast. And to be a part of a 19,000 voice strong chorus on "10th ave Freezeout" just seals the deal.

Back to my friend's question, it's the music and the way it's performed that gets you, gives your soul a stern talking to, and takes you to places you can't give directions back from and a night on E Street is a sure a bet as you can get.

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Category: music

01/29/12 12:44 - ID#56002

Ticketbastard

I went to my first rock concert in 1978. The tickets were bought over the counter by standing in line. This dawned on me on how simple it was watching how getting access to a major event is something the internet hasn't made easier. In fact it might be a little more messed up. If you were a kid of the burbs, you could walk up to the National Record Mart (remember them?) and get tickets from somebody who acted like a rock star because he worked in record store, making minimum wage.

Inflation does what it does. Remember when a souvenir t-shirt was under $10? but the idea of if you can get through the Ticketmaster, Tickets.com, or Live Nation sites when a major show is announced, order your two seats and pay a "Convenience" fee tantamount to buying a third ticket? That is a little nutty, when the convenience means your printer at home, your toner, their lack of an actual person aiding your purchase. Who they paying with that fee? The electric bill? The good folks over at Kleinhans Music Hall have been hosting concerts of all colors once again and that is a great thing as the place is perfect. I had to laugh a little when a poster on twitter lamented how they were just using their box office staff instead of a "robust ticket selling website like Ticketmaster." The same robust site that crapped out on numerous Springsteen and Roger Waters hopefuls earlier this week.

Give me a robust busy signal for a few minutes or a short line to wait in for the real deal over the computer freezing anytime. The net ain't there yet.

Got my seat though.
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Category: music

01/29/12 12:43 - ID#56001

Tramps Like Us

Procured tickets for the umpteenth time to see Bruce Springsteen (yeah, I know, old guy tunage) tomorrow. Since the first time I've done that, the world has certainly changed.

The first instance was my best bud and I cobbling together our allowances, giving them plus the unspoken you're going to give us a ride surcharge, to his older brother for the whopping sum of $10 for two tickets. Two years later, my mom cued up at National Record Mart and got us the tickets. I had a test, so Mom came up home with two in the first row of the upper golds of the aud (she got a cool story out of it and much respect from my school crowd) We rode with his brother again and might have spent the towering sum of $20.00 for two tickets. Got a chance to tell that to the man himself during a brief exchange of hellos in 1994.

Those were the days, no service charge and the souvenir shirts that you HAD to have were all of eight bucks.

It tells you something that the economics have shifted where you look at a concert ticket and think a $75 price tag ain't terrible. But the evil ticketmaster will mess with us all to be sure. Stories of the computers freezing up between Live Nation and other shows going on leaving mostly the working folk out in the cold peering into the windows of StubHub.

And that $20, that is still around, as the "convenience charge" for printing at home.

Been at this awhile...Got a feeling this will be for my age bracket what say, the Foo Fighters show was in September for a slightly younger crowd, you start going to the Sportmen to fit in better than at the Old' Pink.
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Category: music

11/13/11 10:49 - ID#55494

Sunny Afternoon

I wish I'd thought to score a ticket for Ray Davies tonight.


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Category: music

11/13/11 10:34 - ID#55493

Met the New Boss

A few months ago, the Albright Knox took some less than good natured grief for putting on a small exhibition of Hockey photographs. It was during that Junior Hockey tourney after last christmas. A lot of pissing and moaning about the gallery compromising itself. While I not only enjoyed the exhibit, it was also brilliant as it got people to the gallery.

No small feat that. This occured to me as Number one Son and I plopped into a pair of seats at Kleinhans to hear the Buffalo Philharmonic perform the music of the Who. Always loved the Who, especially the early 70s records. There are a lot of symphonic elements to the recordings so it wasn't much of a stretch for a six piece rockband to join the orchestra. I was always curious how they staged these pop shows, keeping the rock band and the orchestra on the same page. The only guy who really had to work hard was the sound man to insure a decent mix between the two groups of musicians.

While mimicking parts originally done on synthesizers wasn't a whole lot of heavy lifting for the BPO, it was still kind of fun. It was a hits show to be sure. While the lead singer was a little smarmy, he had some good pipes for the music. He wasn't going to make anybody for Roger Daltrey, but he acquitted himself well. It was a kick to hear a guy a few rows behind me shouting out obscure Who tunes. And if they would have played "The Punk versus the Godfather" that would have been something. I remember tales of a BPO conductor some years ago stopping a show to admonish a coughing audience. The rules were lessened for us philistines.

But it was fun and it got some people to Kleinhans to hear some music, maybe even arouse a little curiosity about the orchestra and that is the cool part.

It's great to see the acoustically perfect place host a greater variety of shows, but it was also good to expose some folks to the main tenants too.

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Category: music

09/17/11 05:12 - ID#55163

A funky goo time

While us who follow the Sabres are understandably enamored with goings on orchestrated by Ted Black and Terry Pegula, I spent the afternoon basking in the efforts of another prominent Buffalonian as Robby Takac put on the latest edition of Music is Art on the Shakespeare Hill in Delaware Park.

Literally something for everybody, but if you haven't heard "We're Not Gonna Take It" or "I'm Too Sexy for my Shirt" done Polka Style then you haven't lived dear friends.

Kind of ironic to note that we're at the height of the food truck battles, one of the complaining entities pulls up their trailer next to the Roaming Buffalo, an entity you should visit.
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And as my son shows, getting VIP treatment is pretty cool too.
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Category: music

08/07/11 10:42 - ID#54893

Roam

Happily, and as per usual, made a bit of a fool of myself at the B-52s show in Lockport. They are still a lot of fun after all these years. I read a little of some band grumbling about the perfomance space and really couldn’t care less. They played a nice set of music and the majority seems to have a blast. I know I did.



I couldn’t help but laugh as there were a few folks watched the show, with an either a stonedfaced expression or a little peeved. What you see is what you get with the B52s and seeing those folks with such zombified expressions, made me laugh even more.
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Category: music

04/06/11 10:31 - ID#53993

Feel Like a Number

One of the cultural touchstones of my high school years was the weekend in 1980 when Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band played the Aud shortly after school started. They came and sold out three nights in the Aud. Nobody had ever done that before. Whenever a big concert came to town, you had to sport your souvenir t-shirt at school the next day.

I was thinking about that as I’m set to check in with Mr. Seger when he plays Saturday Night at the HSBC Arena. At a little more that 30 years, it is the longest gap in seeing an act for me for the second time and made me reflect on the differences in concert going.

I went to the Saturday night Seger show after a group of friends and i pooled our money at the then outrageous price of $9.00 each and connected up at the National Record Mart in Eastern Hills Mall. You either went there or to 210 Delaware depending on who was presenting the show. As there was no online, there was no pre-sales, no fan clubs, just show up, pay your money and you take the ticket that was available. The net effect of this was it caused the minimum wage earning employees of the record store to act like it was they who were special. WE were the ones goin to the show there, biznitch!

For our troubles, we were able to park in the Aud’s main lot (where the Baseball Stadium of many names now stands), where every car top seemingly displayed a case of Miller High Life. Our seats were in the very last row of the oranges, about as high and as far away as you could be and still be in the building, but you were in the building, man!

So, a lot has changed in the intervening years, especially the cost to get in the building. Recent pictures of Bob look like a hybrid of Grizzly Adams and Kenny Rogers, but then again dark nrown is a color my own hair is not. By the same token, I’m looking forward to hearing a few things that haven’t been radio staples as Mr. Seger has never lost his place on the rock radio playlists.

It will just be nice to hear them in person, after all, it’s been a long wait. And yeah, I got a shirt, they were $8 and our history teacher was impressed.

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Category: music

10/10/10 12:55 - ID#52929

The Wall

Phenomenal show at the Arena on Friday











Absolutely amazing
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Category: music

08/10/10 07:46 - ID#52410

Who's the Old Man?

Paul McCartney first graced these shores on February 7, 1964. Not being one to miss a big thing, I arrived a day later. 46 years forward, our paths finally crossed at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Monday night. You don’t a get a chance to see history walking around too often, especially when he has been so omnipresent in your collection as Paul has been in mine. John was always the popular answer to look cool when asked your favorite Beatle, but being a sucker for a good hook, more of my favorites were Paul’s works. We all go through that transition to where your music starts to grow up a bit as early teenagers and in late 76, I got Wings Over America and the Beatles Rock and Roll Music for gifts and I was off.

Flash forward to Monday night, in the company of my oft partner in crime, my lovely son, who is getting into some eclectic musicians and whose eyes went appropriately Tex Avery-like when this seemed like a possibility. Now, the Air Canada Centre is what the HSBC Arena would like to be when it grows up. Our tickets collectively were just shy of $130 for the pair. Pretty reasonable and we were in the building.

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Okay, that’s in front of the building. Here, ya go:

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About 18,000 people, as they didn’t sell the back of the arena and we might have been Paul’s guests at a cook out. He is that good. A crack band, all the songs you would expect (“Long and Winding Road,” “Let it Be”, “Hey Jude”), new stuff (“Dance Tonight”, “Sing the Changes”), stuff that flat out thrilled me (“Venus and Mars”, “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five”, “Let’em in”, “Two of Us”) as well as stuff that if you weren’t moved you need a check up (“Here, Today” and “Mull of Kintyre”), it was a great night. Even familiar stuff like “Live and Let Die” were a wonder with great players and some pretty impressive pyrotechnics. The capper of “Sgt. Pepper” with a little of Golden Slumbers medley from Abbey Road was perfect. It’s one thing to have that great selection of songs to work through, but the band was playing them, no going through the motions. The lengthy video montage to start the show was getting on my nerves a little as it went on forever.

But by not phoning it in, I was a happy guy as was my youthful cohort, savoring his first concert.

Well, the Toronto Star got better seats, but we were in the building. Insanely great time. It falls into one of those things I really couldn’t afford it, trying to live with in means and stuff, but sometimes you just have to say screw it and go for it.

The silly grins that my son and I kept exchanging were worth it.

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