Saturday, September 14, 2013

FORTY YEARS OF COLLECTING DAREDEVIL: 1966-2006

 

So as a new month is upon us, I thought I'd weave a little Daredevil
tale for everyone.
 
The year is 1966, the place is the borough of The Bronx in NYC.  On
March 8, the second Tuesday of the month, a 12-year-old boy is on
his way to Hebrew school for his daily bar mitzvah lesson.  He stops
at the candy store around the corner from the school and checks out
the new comic books on the shelf.
 
One comic catches his eye.  It's called Daredevil The Man Without
Fear.  The cover shows Daredevil and Spider-Man over the New York
City skyline.  The boy remembers reading one issue of Daredevil in
the summer of '65...it was about Daredevil being in a European
country and something about possibly regaining his eyesight.  He
remembers that he liked the writing and thought the character was
kinda cool.  And he knows about Spider-Man and that Marvel Comics is
kicking up the dirt around long-time giant DC.
 
The Bronx boy is tall for his age, and has red hair, so he feels a
certain allegiance to this Daredevil character.  He buys the new
issue ...and the next one...and the next one...and he becomes a
loyal follower of the Man Without Fear.  Back in those days it was a
bit easier -- and a lot cheaper! -- to buy back issues, so he's able
to get issues 1 through 15 and keep the collection intact.
 
The boy is so loyal, in fact, that this month he is marking the 40th
anniversary of buying issue #16 and being a lifetime collector of
Daredevil.
 
As you might've guessed, that 12 year old boy was me -- now 52 years
old, with a wife and 3 kids, and I'm still going to my local comics
shop every month to pick up the latest issue.  Even when we moved to
London I managed to find a shop near where I worked so that I could
stay current.
 
It seems very fitting to me that this anniversary hits just as
Bendis and Maleev end their amazing run on the title, because I
think it ranks in the highest levels of the comic book pantheon with
the first Miller run and Stan Lee's amazing first burst of
creativity on the title -- not to mention the indelible mark that
Gene Colan left on the book.
 
For me, the original Colan issues were truly a high water mark in
artistic style and creativity.  This is no knock on the writers who
followed Stan and the artists who preceded or followed Gene, but
over 40 years, there are moments that stick in my mind, and these
runs are the ones that do it for me.
 
I've seen this comic teeter on the edge of extinction more than
once, and I think it's a testament to the loyalty and love that fans
have had for DD over the years that the book has stayed alive and
continues to thrive.
 
So yeah, even after 40 years, I'm in it for the long haul, and can't
wait to see where Brubaker and Lark take our favorite blind attorney
at law.
 
So my thanks go to all those who've worked on Daredevil over the
decades for providing me -- and all of you -- 40 years of great
comic book reading.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

WHLC THEMES

Because I still make sets of music 40 years later (!), I've had this one on my iPod for quite a while now.  It's a limited list, in that these are only the ones I can recall with any clarity, and they cover only my time at the station.  

But in any case, these all bring back really good memories for me, and I hope they do for you too... 


 
"JUST YOU, JUST ME" - BRIAN AUGER'S OBLIVION EXPRESS
STATION SIGN-ON / DENNIS GLEASON V/O


"CARLY & CAROLE" - DEODATO
THEME FOR "AROUND TOWN" / JACKIE FAMA, WENDY WOLFSON


"FIVE PERCENT FOR NOTHING" - YES
NEWS THEME


"TO BE FREE" - CHICAGO
THEME FOR "SPORTS IN DEPTH" - AT 0:23 AFTER THE DRUM SOLO


"IN MEMORY OF ELIZABETH REED" - THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND
STATION ID, STARTS AT 1:30 - VOICED BY LAURIE RICHMAN (RIP)


"SOMETHING TO MAKE YOU HAPPY" - DAVE MASON & CASS ELLIOTT
STATION ID

"A GOOD FEELIN' TO KNOW" - POCO
STATION ID


"NUBIAN LADY" - YUSEF LATEEF
STATION SIGN-OFF / JOE HAYES V/O

"KARN EVIL 9" - EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
NEWS THEME - STARTS AT 3:42

Friday, June 7, 2013

Music - 1970


I graduated high school in 1970, and when I look back, it was a pretty good year for music.  After doing a music show for a couple of years in college I continue to put together sets of music.  This set -- which I grant you is VERY selective and subjective, is a sample of what was released that year.  I'm sure many of you can come up with your own sets for 1970 or whatever year you got out off high school, but this one is mine.  The song sequence is how I programmed it at home.  Enjoy the trip back...

 PSYCHEDELIC SHACK - THE TEMPTATIONS - PSYCHEDELIC SHACK

SUMMERTIME BLUES - THE WHO - LIVE AT LEEDS

IT'S ALL OVER NOW - ROD STEWART - BEST OF ROD STEWART

IMMIGRANT SONG - LED ZEPPELIN - LED ZEPPELIN III

ON THE ROAD TO FIND OUT - CAT STEVENS - TEA FOR THE TILLERMAN

RED EYE EXPRESS - JOHN SEBASTIAN - JOHN B. SEBASTIAN

NO TIME  - GUESS WHO - GREATEST HITS

I CAN'T HEAR YOU NO MORE - CAROLE KING - WRITER

IT COULD BE THE FIRST DAY - RICHIE HAVENS - ALARM CLOCK

CAROLINA DAY - LIVINGSTON TAYLOR - LIV

SO LONG, FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT - SIMON & GARFUNKEL 
BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER

INSTANT KARMA - JOHN LENNON

IN THE COUNTRY - CHICAGO - CHICAGO

SUITE FOR 20G - JAMES TAYLOR - SWEET BABY JANES

SILVER PAPER - MOUNTAIN - CLIMBING!

INSIDE - JETHRO TULL - BENEFIT

CARRY ON - CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG - DEJA VU

EVERY NIGHT - PAUL MCCARTNEY - MCCARTNEY

BORDER SONG - ELTON JOHN - ELTON JOHN

I'VE GOT A FEELING - THE BEATLES - LET IT BE

NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE - THE GRATEFUL DEAD
WORKINGMAN'S DEAD

SWEET DREAMS - YES - TIME AND A WORD

STRANGER TO HIMSELF - TRAFFIC
JOHN BARLEYCORN MUST DIE

CALICO GIRLFRIEND - MICHAEL NESMITH & THE FIRST NATIONAL BAND MAGNETIC SOUTH 

LOOKING OUT MY BACK DOOR 
CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL - COSMO'S FACTORY

LONESOME AND A LONG WAY FROM HOME - ERIC CLAPTON - ERIC CLAPTON

IT'S UP TO YOU - THE MOODY BLUES - A QUESTION OF BALANCE

FOR FREE - JONI MITCHELL - LADIES OF THE CANYON

THE SHAPE I'M IN (LIVE) - THE BAND - ROCK OF AGES

LOOK AT YOU LOOK AT ME - DAVE MASON - ALONE TOGETHER

WHEN YOU DANCE I CAN REALLY LOVE - NEIL YOUNG - AFTER THE GOLDRUSH

NEW MORNING - BOB DYLAN - NEW MORNING

KEEP ON GROWIN' - DEREK AND THE DOMINOS 
 LAYLA AND OTHER ASSORTED LOVE SONGS

OLD TIMES GOOD TIMES - STEPHEN STILLS (WITH JIMI HENDRIX) 
STEPHEN STILLS

WHAT IS LIFE - GEORGE HARRISON - ALL THINGS MUST PASS

LEAVE MY BLUES AT HOME - THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND 
IDLEWILD SOUTH




Tuesday, May 1, 2012

CONCERTS - 2000 to ______

FEBRUARY 12, 2000: SARA HICKMAN - EDDIE'S ATTIC, DECATUR, GA
And now Melanie was 8 months old, her brother and sister were 10, and there we were at Eddie's.  Unfortunately, we hadn't booked a table, so we were sitting in the back of the room on bleacher-type seats.  But it was a wonderful show, and when it was over, I stood up and raised Mel over my head.  Sara caught that and shot a big smile our way!

MARCH 16, 2000: CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG (CSNY2K) – CHARLOTTE COLISEUM, CHARLOTTE, NC
The first time I ever saw the four of them together. I was originally going to see them in Atlanta, but the Super Tuesday primary was the same night as the Atlanta show, so instead I decided to make the 3 hour drive to Charlotte two days later.  It was well worth it, as I saw a blistering show from start to finish. It was great to see them getting along with each other, and they just blew me away.

JUNE 4, 2000: RINGO STARR & HIS ALL STARR BAND - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE, ATLANTA
This was the tour that included Jack Bruce, and the crowd went wild when he played songs from his days with Cream.

JULY 9, 2000: THE MOODY BLUES - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
Another orchestral show, and as always, a good one.

MARCH 6, 2001: THE MONKEES - CENTER STAGE, ATLANTA
Without Mike this time. But Micky, Peter and Davy did an acoustic set during the show, and they were all Nesmith-penned tunes!

APRIL 14, 2001: THE MOODY BLUES - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
Another year, another great show.

MAY 29, 2001: THE CORRS - GEORGIA WORLD CONGRESS CENTER, ATLANTA
We'd first become aware of The Corrs when we were living in London and saw one of the videos on VH1 Europe.  Beautiful voices, great sound.  This show was a corporate appearance for employees only; I worked for CNN, part of the Time Warner conglomerate, and they recorded for Atlantic, also part of the corporation.  Unfortunately, because the band wasn't very well known in the States, there was not a huge turnout for the show, which disappointed me.  But as a result, my daughter Kayleigh and I were able to get up to the foot of the stage and watch the show from there.  I do believe they took note of the blonde girl and her dad grooving to their music!

APRIL 17, 2002: CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG TOUR OF AMERICA - PHILIPS ARENA, ATLANTA
In the wake of 9/11, given the history of this band always speaking out on political issues, this was a helluva show.

MAY 12, 2002: PAUL MCCARTNEY - PHILIPS ARENA
His first concert tour of the U.S. in 9 years, and it was well worth the wait.  From the opening song "Hello Goodbye" to "The End," an amazing night of memories, goose bumps and singalongs.  The goose bumps were most noticeable when Paul introduced his beautiful song for John, "Here Today," and when he talked about going to George's house and playing ukeleles after dinner, and how he once told George he played a song of his on the ukelele, and then played a lovely version of "Something."  A very memorable night, and on that top five list for sure.

OCTOBER 19, 2002: THE MOODY BLUES - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
Although we didn't know it at the time, this was the last U.S. tour for founding member/flutist Ray Thomas, who decided to retire because of health issues.

NOVEMBER 29, 2002: CONCERT FOR GEORGE - THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, LONDON
The single greatest concert I've been to.  The final entry (for now) in that top five list, although I think it's now at six, but who's counting?  I am forever indebted to my friend Todd who lives in London, who e-mailed me one day to say that if I could swing the airfare, he had a ticket for this show with my name on it.  The concert was on a Friday night, which meant I had to fly out of Atlanta on Thanksgiving night.  Fortunately, my wife knew how important this show was to me, and said go for it.  I found a relatively cheap flight on BA, and after Thanksgiving lunch with the family, I headed to the airport for the overnight flight to London.  I crashed at Todd's place during the day, and that night me, Todd and his wife Anna made our way to the Albert Hall.  If I thought our tickets for the Moody Blues were excellent in 1997, they paled in comparison to these.  We were on the floor, house left, Row 19.  We could see EVERYONE.  The Eastern music portion of the show was quite good, and Anoushka Shankar was as mesmerizing on sitar as her father was.  The Pythons - without John Cleese, but including the almost-undetected cameo by Tom Hanks - were wonderfully hysterical and appropriately irreverent.  And then the main part of the show.  Where to begin?  Who to single out?  It's just about impossible.  However, this was the night I was introduced to the amazing talent of Sam Brown, who blazed through George's "Horse to the Water" and brought the house down!  Unfortunately, her performance is not on the Concert for George CD, although it is on the concert DVD.  Of course, the cheers, love and affection for Ringo and Paul were palpable, as were their love and affection for George.  A truly beautiful and historic night of music.

JULY 19, 2003: ART GARFUNKEL, with MAIA SHARP & BUDDY MONDLOCK - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
I had two reasons for going to this show.  First, I had bought Art's new CD "Everything Waits To Be Noticed," which featured Maia and Buddy, and enjoyed it.  Second, I was completely taken with Maia's voice, and bought her self-titled second CD.  And that album just knocked me over.  Maia is a multi-instrumentalist and a great writer, and I was hoping she'd get to do a couple of songs at this show.  Fortunately, she got to play a mini-set, and she was simply fantastic.  I was able to get a seat pretty close to the stage, so I was really able to watch her play.  I have been a Maia fan ever since.  Oh, and Art was pretty terrific too!

AUGUST 8, 2003: THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND - HIFI BUYS AMPHITHEATER (formerly Lakewood)

AUGUST 13, 2003: RINGO STARR & HIS ALL STARR BAND - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE

SEPTEMBER 19, 2003: CROSBY, STILLS & NASH - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
Touring as a trio again.  This tour came after the Iraq War, and the band had what to say about it this night.  However, they made it clear that while they weren't in favor of going to war with Iraq, they love this country.  To that end, they sang an a cappella version of "My Country, 'Tis Of Thee."  It was a stirring moment.  And a great show all around.

NOVEMBER 6, 2003: THE MOODY BLUES - THE TABERNACLE, ATLANTA
This was the first Moodies show we saw with new flutist Norda Mullen.  She also played acoustic guitar and sang backup vocals, and has been a welcome addition to the band.  The Tabernacle is a small theater venue; in fact, most shows are with younger bands and the tickets are general admission.  This show had seats on the floor, and we were about five rows back from the stage, which gave us a great view of everyone.  The band has gone to playing without an orchestra, so they're able to rock out a little more than they have in a while.  The absolute highlight was when Graeme Edge came down from his drum kit to do "Higher and Higher," which kicks off the "To Our Children's Children's Children" album. Graeme was having a grand time being out in front, and his gyrations brought the house down!  A great night.

NOVEMBER 15, 2003: THE DEREK TRUCKS BAND – TOWN HALL, MANHATTAN
My friends Errol, Steve and I all turned 50 in 2003 and we were looking for a way to celebrate that fact.  I discovered that the Derek Trucks Band was playing in Manhattan between Steve's birthday and mine, so I proposed we catch the show.  We hooked up on Long Island, took the LIRR into Manhattan, walked up to Times Square for a great dinner and then saw a terrific show.  This was the first time any of us had seen Derek fronting his band, and not playing with The Allman Brothers Band.

DECEMBER 20, 2003: SIMON & GARFUNKEL - PHILIPS ARENA
Seats on the floor, 10th row. Kara had never seen them together.  The words and music were as emotional and powerful as ever, and the vibes in the arena were fantastic.  And to see them perform with their boyhood idols, The Everly Brothers...fantastic.  A truly memorable evening.  The "Old Friends - On Stage" DVD captures the evening quite well.

SEPTEMBER 24, 2004: THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND - FOX THEATRE
Something happened at this show.  I realized that I was not as jazzed about seeing the Allmans as I used to be, and I'm pretty sure I know why.  Although much of the music since the 1990s has been made with Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks on guitars, and as excellent as they are, there is simply something missing for me when the sole surviving original guitarist is not out in front.  I understand there were issues with Dickey Betts, but for me the vibes just aren't the same now.

JUNE 21, 2005: THE MOODY BLUES - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
For some reason the Moodies skipped Atlanta in 2004, and have not been back since this concert.  It was much the same show we saw at The Tabernacle in 2003.  Come back, please!


JUNE 27, 2005: STEVE WINWOOD - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
A truly excellent show. Winwood did a lot of Traffic and Blind Faith material as well as solo stuff, and he played keyboards and guitar all night.  And I think people tend to forget that Winwood is a fantastic guitar player in his own right!

JULY 20, 2005: CAROLE KING - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
One of the hazards of going to Chastain Park shows is that Atlanta is notorious for summer thunderstorms.  Amazingly I got nailed with them twice in two weeks: first this show and then the next entry.  That said, Carole's "Living Room Tour" show was incredible.  She was really touched by how the audience hung in despite the rain, and she played her heart out all night.  Given her musical history, Carole is truly a national treasure.

JULY 31, 2005: LOGGINS & MESSINA - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
Eleven days later, and yes, it poured all night on this show too. But like Carole King, Kenny and Jim held up their end of the bargain and played a great show.  I hadn't seen them in over 30 years, but they played and sounded magnificent.  The CD & DVD truly capture the spirit of the show.

SEPTEMBER 20, 2005: PAUL MCCARTNEY - PHILIPS ARENA
Kara wasn't able to come to the 2002 McCartney concert, but she was determined to go to this one.  A great touch: as we're walking from the parking lot to the arena, we saw a guy dressed in full Sgt. Pepper regalia.  These days it's hard not to have a good time at a McCartney concert, and this certainly lived up to that expectation.

AUGUST 10, 2006: CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG - PHILIPS ARENA
Well.  If the 2002 concert wasn't incendiary enough, this one certainly brought that point home loud and clear.  Neil had just put out his "Living With War" album, and they played a lot of songs from it all night.  To say the guys sounded angry throughout the night would be a massive understatement.  And really, it's what CSNY has always done best...write and play great music and make their views known loud and clear.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2006: MAIA SHARP, RANDY SHARP & GENE NELSON – THE SWALLOW AT THE HOLLOW, ROSWELL, GA
The Swallow is a small venue in the northern Atlanta suburbs, about 15 minutes from where we lived.  They specialize in shows in the round, which is what this was.  Randy is Maia's dad, and Gene is someone Randy and Maia have worked with over the years.  They essentially took turns doing songs, with the others either providing backup vocals or second guitar.  We were right at the foot of the stage.

NOVEMBER 18, 2006: JAMES TAYLOR/ONE MAN BAND - FOX THEATRE
A nice change of pace from James' summertime shows.  Just James, his guitar, and a pianist. Well, not quite just that.  James had a slide show going throughout the evening to talk a bit about his life and some of the influences on his writing.  Oh, and his VERY unique drum machine.  It was a cool evening, which you can see and hear on the "One Man Band" DVD and CD.

FEBRUARY 17, 2007: SARA HICKMAN, with TRUCKSTOP SOUVENIR and CORINNE WEST opening - EDDIE'S ATTIC
We'd not seen Sara perform in 7 years, not since Melanie was a baby.  This time it was just Kara and I, sitting less than 10 feet from the stage.  Both opening acts were quite good, but Sara was magnificent.  Funny, serious, touching and heartfelt all night.  The highlight was getting to talk to her after the show.  BIG hugs and kisses for both of us.  Kara took a couple of pix of me and Sara together.  And she wrote a sweet message and signed one of the flyers which had an image from her new double-CD "Motherlode."  Folks, Sara Hickman NEVER disappoints!


APRIL 28, 2007: STEPHEN STILLS - THE ROXY, ATLANTA
This was the first time I'd seen any member of the CSNY family in a solo show.  Stephen seemed much looser on stage than when he's with the band, but maybe that was just me.  In any case, he gave a fantastic show.  His guitar playing - both acoustic and electric - was superb, and his voice was strong all night.  A terrific evening.


 


AUGUST 25, 2007: MAIA SHARP, RANDY SHARP & PAMELA ROSE - THE SWALLOW AT THE HOLLOW
The set-up was simple: three stools on the stage, three acoustic guitars and three amazing voices.  From left to right it was Maia, Randy, then Pam.  And the format was simple: Maia kicked off the night with one of her songs, then Randy took a song, then Pam.  There'd usually be a good story setting up each song as well.  And it kept going 'round like that for two solid hours.  Each would play second guitar or take harmony vocals on the others' songs, so it was full participation all around.

In the end, they played 21 songs, and these are the seven from Maia:
Whole Flat World, Something Wild, Standing Out in a Crowd, You Can't Lose Them All (one of my favorites), Long Way Home, A Home and Red Dress.

FEBRUARY 4, 2008: SARA HICKMAN - JAMMIN' JAVA - VIENNA, VA
FEBRUARY 15, 2008: SARA HICKMAN - EDDIE'S ATTIC - DECATUR, GA

I guess you can all this a Sara Hickman double play.  I think it's become pretty clear from these blogs that I'm a pretty big fan of Ms. Hickman.  Well, I was in DC on business in January and February, and discovered on Sunday 2/3 (Super Bowl Sunday) that she was appearing at the Jammin' Java coffeehouse in Vienna, VA on Monday night.  So I did a super-quick online ticket purchase and waited patiently (more or less) for Monday night.

It was a great evening.  We had Sara declaring her new-found love for Eli Manning while declaring herself a Giants fan -- which warmed the heart of this long-time fan.

We had great stories, sing-a-longs, whistle-a-longs, hugs and kisses during the break and after the show.  Oh yeah, the show -- it was incredible.  Between the two sets, Sara played about an hour and 40 minutes and she was in such a great mood (no surprise, right?) that she couldn't help but take us along on the ride.  Even after apologizing for her sinus infection, there was no real hint that that was affecting her.

I was sitting literally at the foot of the stage, and from my vantage point I took advantage of watching her guitar playing.  Sara is a great lyricist and a great singer, but she is an AMAZING guitarist, and she just blew everyone away.

I wish could tell you all the songs she played, but I will tell you that I could hear people singing along on Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again...hmmmmmmm.

Also (but not a complete list and not in order): My Mama's Hands, Simply, The Train Song, Too Fast, In The Fields, Time Will Tell, I Wear the Crown, Two Kinds of Laughter, Last Man In The Water, Everything's Red.

After the show, as she always does, Sara came out to the audience to chat with folks.  As always, I introduced myself as Steve from the Yahoo group, and she immediately said: "Steve...dbronx!"  I can't tell you how that made me feel, that she remembers my screen name!  So we chatted for a while, and I told her that Kara and I would be seeing her in 11 days' time in Georgia at Eddie's Attic...her usual stop in the Atlanta area.  As it would be the day after Valentine's Day, I asked if she would play "Claim On My Heart," which is one of my five all-time favorite Sara songs.  She said she would.

Fast forward to Friday, February 15. Kara and I are sitting right at the stage.  And "Claim On My Heart" was the second song of the night.  I was so touched...one, that Sara played it, and two, that I was seeing Sara singing it while I was holding my wonderful wife's hand.  The rest of the evening was great fun, full of great music as always. For this show Sara was joined by Tisha Simeral on upright bass/vocals and Brian Ashley Jones on guitar/vocals. Brian, Tisha and Mark Van Allen (dobro) played a set before Sara, and they were terrific, so it was a treat to have Brian and Tisha join Sara on stage.  Brian's an excellent guitarist, and it was great to see him and Sara trading licks with each other.

After the show, it was hugs and hellos with Sara as always, and as always, another great night. Ms. Hickman just never disappoints!




APRIL 18, 2008 - THE MOODY BLUES - CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE, ATLANTA
I'll start straight up with this: Kara and I have seen the Moodies 10 times in the last 13 years; the only reason we missed them was that there have been three years when they didn't come through Atlanta on tour.  In any case, it's safe to say that we've heard "Nights In White Satin" performed live many times, and it always gets the loudest and longest applause of the night. But without a doubt, this night the band got a nearly 5-minute standing ovation from the Chastain crowd at the end of the song.  To the point that Justin Hayward looked almost embarrassed by it all.  It was a truly sublime moment.

The Moodies haven't been in Atlanta since 2005, so maybe that was part of it.  But whatever the reason, the band was in great form last night, and played a hell of a show.  Justin was in fine voice all night, and his guitar playing was outstanding, as usual.  Norda Mullen, who replaced Ray Thomas on flute in 2003, is simply amazing, and garnered a lot of cheers for her playing throughout the night.

They've added a song to the set this year: "One More Time To Live," which kicks off side 2 of the album "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour."  It's an interesting song, and works well on the album, but we thought it fell a bit flat in live performance.  Other than that, a great show, nearly 2 hours, and definitely high up there in our list of great Moody Blues shows.


MAY 13, 2008 - THE SWELL SEASON - COBB ENERGY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER - ATLANTA
I fell in love with the movie "Once" from the moment I first saw it.  My then-18-year-old daughter Kayleigh loves it too, so when we saw that Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (aka The Swell Season) were going to be playing in Atlanta, we just had to go.  I spent a few extra dollars, and we wound up with third row seats, dead center.  It was money well spent, because the show was simply fantastic.  Glen came out solo to start things off...he stepped to the foot of the stage with his battered acoustic guitar...without an amplifier or a microphone, he did a killer version of "Say It To Me Now." From there the show just kept building to one crescendo after another.  "When Your Mind's Made Up" was as passionate as it was in the film, and their performance of "Falling Slowly" just about brought tears to my eyes.  The band supporting them was fantastic as well.  Oh, and Glen is an absolute chatterbox between songs.  He said that he and Marketa made a bet that he couldn't go between songs without yapping away.  He lost.  The set lasted more than 2 hours, and I wouldn't have minded if they'd played all night.  This was one of the best concerts I've been to in recent years.

OCTOBER 7, 2008 - DAVID CROSBY & GRAHAM NASH - GW LISNER AUDITORIUM - WASHINGTON, DC
I'd moved back to the DC area just a month earlier, and when I that this concert was happening I just had to get a ticket.  This show was the first time I'd seen a full concert by Crosby and Nash.  For two guys at the age of 67, they were incredible.  Their voices are so beautiful together.  They were recording the show, and we were able to sign up pre-show to get a digital copy of it.  What a great way to commemorate a fine evening of music.


JUNE 27, 2009 - SARA HICKMAN - HOUSE CONCERT, COLUMBIA, MD
I'd never been to a house concert before, so I didn't quite know what to expect.  When I got to the house, I saw that the living room had been cleared of furniture, folding chairs had been set up...and there was Sara at the front, tuning her guitar.  I stood back a few feet as I didn't want to disturb.  At one point she looked up and yelled "Steve!"  Big hugs, and we started chatting about our families, like we were the oldest of friends.  After a few minutes I let her get back to her pre-show preps.  There was an opening act, and just before she started, Sara came over and sat next to me!!  How unbelievably cool!  Finally, Sara got up to perform and she was absolutely stellar, as always...telling stories, involving the audience and singing and playing her heart out.  Now all of this would've made for a great night, but when she did her final encore, she turned to me and said, "Steve, what should I play?"  OMG!!!  She's asking me??!!!  Unbelievable.  I thought the perfect show-closer would be her a cappella version of "It's Alright," and when I suggested that, she smiled, put her hand to her heart and then sang a most beautiful version of a most beautiful song.  I was just about in heaven at that point.  More warm hugs after the show.  I don't think it can ever get any better than that.

JUNE 8, 2010 - CAROLE KING & JAMES TAYLOR/THE TROUBADOR REUNION TOUR - VERIZON CENTER, WASHINGTON, DC
What can I write about this show that hasn't already been written about all spring and summer?  Thirty-nine years after seeing them together for the first time, these two incredbile singer-songwriters once again joined forces with their classic band and delivered two and a half hours of incredible music and memories.  And Ms. King absolutely stole the show.  Carole's energy level was astounding...it was clear she was feeding off the love and the vibes from the audience.  The way she tore the house down with her gospel-like version of "Natural Woman" before the break?  Whoa.  And when she and James joined voices with his guitar for the closer of "You Can Close Your Eyes"...well, I don't think there was a dry eye in the arena at that point.  A truly memorable evening!

AUGUST 15, 2010 - CROSBY, STILLS & NASH - JIFFY LUBE LIVE - BRISTOW, VA
It was a Sunday night, they were opening for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and it was an hour's drive from our house.  So after a terrific 90-minute opener from CSN, we split.  Because really, that's who we came to see.  The boys were all in good voice, and Stills was just shredding it on electric guitar all night.  They didn't play "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" or "Carry On," but they did a great version of "Southern Cross," which became one big sing-along!  Going to see them again in two weeks' time up in Baltimore.  Stay tuned.


SEPTEMBER 15, 2010 - CROSBY, STILLS & NASH - PIER SIX PAVILION - BALTIMORE, MD
Great show on a lovely late summer evening. Some observations and program notes: Stephen Stills is 65 and can't sing anywhere near as well as he used to, but he is still one killer guitarist. Did anyone ever expect that David Crosby would live to be 69 years old??!! He is still a fantastic singer, and he and Graham have a bond that defies words. At one point Crosby mentioned how it's weird to come to Baltimore, because it was at Johns Hopkins that he was told he needed a new liver or he would die. At which point a guy yelled out, "We love you, Dave!" To which Crosby responded, "I love you guys too, but next time, could you ask your sister to shout that out? When I hear a guy yell it, it reminds me of prison." Huge laughs from the crowd! They played two 1-hour sets, mostly electric (great backing band), and a 15-minute encore. Biggest omissions from the set: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes and Carry On (a personal favorite).  The Allman Brothers' Midnight Rider was one of many covers they played. Word has been out that they're recording, or have recorded, a covers album. Those performed tonight also included: Norwegian Wood, Ruby Tuesday, Behind Blue Eyes (with Stills doing half-windmills)...and something else that I can't recall.  The second song of the night was Graham's Military Madness. Now we all know that these guys have never shied away from making political statements. The last verse of MM normally goes:
And after the wars are over
And the body count is finally filed
I hope that The Man discovers
What’s driving the people wild

This night, that last line was changed to:
I hope Obama discovers
What's driving the people wild

Can't say that was expected. In light of the recent religious controversies, Graham did a song called In Your Name; should be easy enough to figure out the theme of that one.

Later, Crosby revived a song from his first solo album, called What's Their Names. He introduced it by saying it describes his current feelings about politics in this country:
I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask

To say they've not lost their fire would be an understatement.  As their buddy Neil 
might say, Keep On Rockin' In The Free World!

This video is most of "Southern Cross"

MARCH 6, 2011: MAIA SHARP, with DONNY ANDERSON opening - COOPERSHOUSE 1790- - COLUMBIA, MD
I've mentioned in earlier posts how it would be cool to see Maia Sharp in a solo performance.  Well, on this rainy Sunday night we finally got our chance.  CoopersHouse 1790 was, as you might guess, built in 1790, and is used to stage house concerts.  The room used for the concerts was -- intimate, to say the least.  We were sitting in the second row, and we were probably 5 feet away from Maia.  The show opened with a set by a young Canadian vocalist, Donny Anderson.  He has a great voice and was a real treat.  Maia's "band" for the night consisted of another guitarist, Linda Taylor, and she was amazing on both acoustic and electric.  Maia's songs are direct and from the heart, and she was really enjoying herself this night.  She even got into a little chit-chat with Kara!  A splendid evening.  Two videos are included here: the song "Home," which she wrote with her father Randy Sharp, and which was recorded first by Dixie Chicks.  The other song is her show closer, "Red Dress," which is a straight-ahead take on maintaining one's unique identity.  Enjoy!




MAY 2, 2011: DAVID CROSBY & GRAHAM NASH - THE MUSIC CENTER AT STRATHMORE - BETHESDA, MD
Some years you just score when it comes to concerts.  But when you have a triple play like I did in May 2011, that's pretty damn good.

Two and a half years after seeing them at GW, and it's fairly amazing that as both of them turn 70, they sound even better than before!  Their vocal blend is still so pure and so amazing, especially when they perform "Guinnevere."  This was my first time at  Strathmore, and the concert hall is amazing.  Beautiful laid out, excellent sight lines and tremendous acoustics.  Their backing band, which includes David's son James Raymond on keyboards and vocals, is superb.  One thing that hasn't changed from their earliest shows as a duo: the wonderful byplay between David and Graham in between songs.  They are a hoot to listen to!  Unfortunately, no cameras allowed during the show.

MAY 11, 2011 - JAMES TAYLOR - THE HIPPODROME - BALTIMORE, MD
The second leg of the triple play...thanks to my darling wife Kara, we had SECOND ROW SEATS, DEAD CENTER!  It really doesn't get much better than that.  After 2010's Troubadour tour with Carole King, it was great to see James in a solo show again.  Although, solo is not entirely the right way to describe it.  As always, he was backed by an amazing quartet of vocalists: Kate Markowitz, Andrea Zonn, David Lasley and Arnold McCuller.  Plus a backing band that just cooked all night.  It would be hard to single out any song or group of songs from the night, but Kara captured most of "Fire and Rain" and all of "You Can Close Your Eyes" with her digital camera, so...enjoy!






MAY 25, 2011 - PAUL SIMON - DAR CONSTITUTION HALL - WASHINGTON, DC
Perhaps you've read about Paul Simon's tour supporting his new album "So Beautiful or So What," but if you haven't, let me tell you: the man is still a musical and songwriting genius!  I went with my friends Marty and Amy, and we were all knocked back on our heels by how fantastic Paul was, and how upbeat and energizing the show was.  On this night, Paul seemingly had an issue remembering the lyrics to the song "Gumboots," but he noticed someone in the crowd who was singing right along, so he called him up to the stage.  And at that point, it became Simon and Fournier, as Paul Fornier took over most of the lead vocals.  I captured some of it on video, which you'll find below.  What a great night!!