Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Think I'm Going Back

Its been a very interesting year for me concert-wise, kind of a turn back the clock type of thing as I celebrate my fiftieth year. Most of the artists I've seen this year I saw perform in the mid seventies. Dylan, Springsteen, McCartney, Brian Wilson, Stevie Windwood and Cream - well, I had never seen Cream. All great shows with some degree of a nostalgic vibe, some more than others.

Springsteen is on an solo tour and I caught one of his rehearsal performances. While I did get swept back when he pulled out some of the early ones, Bruce is a man in the moment. Dylan, even more so. There is absolutely nothing nostalgic about a Bob Dylan show except the audience, most of whom seem to look like Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. But seeing Dylan brings me back to 1972 and The Concert For Bangladesh. Iain Morrison and I went to the afternoon show. It was a big deal, seeing all those guys on stage but the big buzz was about Dylan in a much talked about secret appearance. (Side note: Recently Tom Ryan played a side of one of Leon Russell's 70's releases after one of our band rehearals. It was killer from every angle.)

I am way to biased to talk about Brian Wilson - but Smile at Jones Beach was sublime - and although the other part of his show does run a bit like an oldies act - what oldies act do you know that can pull "God Only Knows" or "Warmth Of The Sun" out of their pocket? Seeing Smile after having to give up my Carnegie Hall tickets was the first musical gift I received this year. I hope Brian Wilson lives to be one hundred years old. Brian brings me back into the sixties, especially 1968, the year my Aunt Millie gave me a repackaged 3-LP set that Capitol put out. The set included "Pet Sounds" which sounded like the best thing in the world to me then - and as it does now.

I don't think Paul McCartney will ever be labeled an oldies act. Especially if he continues to perform the way he has on these past two tours. Incredible band who almost fade into the background as your mind just fills out the picture with John, George and Ringo. There's always the few new tunes to deal with - but "Fine Line" from the latest record is actually pretty good. With the mortality rate in the Beatles and the fact that Paul can still bring it, I always consider the chance to catch one of his shows a gift.

Seeing Cream was - I thought - the icing on the cake. Loved this band. Still listen to them - although sometimes I do shout "ENOUGH ALREADY" and lunge for the next track button. The show was great and I thought it was an awesome way to cap off my musical journey into my past.

But waiting in the wings, coming to bat and hitting it out of the park is my main guy - Bruce. The 30th Anniversary release of
"Born To Run" came out today. The re-mastered album sounds terrific and the "making of" documentary is pretty informative and funny. But the main attraction is the concert disc from his performance at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1975.

I can't go into my Bruce Springsteen experience during the 70's in too much detail as it pretty much touches on almost my entire life during those years. In the documentary Springsteen says that it was easy to spend months working on the record since he was "25 years old and had nothing to do and nowhere to go" - an almost spot-on description of me as well, but I think he worked a bit harder at changing things then I did. What I can say about seeing Bruce Springsteen in the 1970s is "I hope you saw Bruce Springsteen in the 1970s."

Seeing this concert was like teleporting back in time. Its not be the greatest Springsteen show ever filmed and you will find yourself hoping to hear a certain version or a changed lyric that stuck in your head for years. But this is the band, this is their time and yes, they have gotten better over the years, but they were never more exciting then they were then. Even with the funny hats and shiny suits.

Getting the re-mastered "Born To Run" would have been great all by itself. This concert disc - along with three incredible performances from 1973 on the documentary disc - are yet another gift. I don't think anything can top this unless its revealed that Moon and Entwistle aren't really dead, just getting out of a very long rehab.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Look! Up In The Sky!

Recently I have been spending my nights watching episodes of "The Adventures Of Superman" on the newly released first season DVD set. This has always been one of my all-time favorite shows and although it still probably being broadcast on one of the zillion cable channels, I haven't seen it in years. Its a treat to watch them in order, starting with the rarely seen origin episode which although dated still keeps the story true to its comic book beginnings. While the effects are pretty much laughable in this CGI world, there is still an undeniable sense of quality to these shows in the writing and acting, especially on the part of George Reeves. Lizz, who basically hates science fiction, has been watching and enjoying these, probably because of their retro charm. She can almost recite the opening monologue!

I can remember coming home from school and waiting to hear that exciting opening ... "Faster than a speeding bullet!" I hope that somehow Liam can watch and enjoy these before he would see them as hopelessly out-of-date.

A whole bunch of fun and a deal at under $30 for 26 episodes!