Weird Al Yankovic is ordering us to have Mandatory Fun. The fun has already started this week, with the release of one music video a day to promote his new album. Here’s the first one, guaranteed to make you happy:
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any hotter on this record-breaking scorcher of a Tuesday, Heart lit the stage on fire.
Pat and I have lived near Seattle our entire lives and we’ve never seen Heart in concert. Looking back, it seems like a sin. Last spring, we witnessed Ann Wilson as a surprise guest at PettyFest. She belted out Tom Petty’s songs with such rockin’ fury, we knew we had to see her with a full band sometime. We didn’t have to wait long; soon after, Heart tickets for Marymoor Park went on sale. They were overpriced, but we decided to go for it.
* * *
I knew with the July heat and weekday traffic, that this night would either be hit or miss. We planned our route, left a little early from work and were surprised at how quickly we entered the park and found good parking.
Now the wait began. A huge line was already forming, yards away from the gate. Of course, the line was situated directly in the 95-degree sun, so we hunkered down as best we could. I brought an umbrella, but we chose to just bear it and turn away from the sun as long as possible (I know I’ll miss that sun come November). I finally gave up and found a shady spot while Pat dealt with the heat and the line. It started moving fairly quickly in about 20 minutes, and I re-joined him when it turned a corner into the shade. We got in after a quick bag search.
Our eighth-row seats were stage left, just right of center. Nice. We could handle this spot. The seats were at a triangular configuration, so it was easy to get in and out of there without having to crawl over too many people. We made our way back over to the beer and food trucks. Luckily, we entered the food line fairly quickly because I’m sure the people last in line behind us had an hour wait. We settled on a Surf Infusion truck and ordered yummy tacos and a pulled pork sandwich. They held us over for the rest of the night. Alright, the logistical details are finished. All went well, and better than expected. We were looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the show.
As we were finishing our food, Michael Grimm took the stage. He was the winner on Season 5 (2010) of “America’s Got Talent” and played a nice solo acoustic set. His smooth voice had just a touch of grit. Grimm and Ann Wilson sang a duet for his debut, self-titled album, but we weren’t blessed with a duet tonight.
We found our seats as he finished up his last two songs. We gave him a hearty applause, but there were still rows of people who hadn’t shown up yet. Lots of them were stuck in the enormous food lines. I don’t think the show was sold out, either, which surprised me.
I was always a Heart fan, but in a “Well, they’re from Seattle, so of course I like them,” sort of way. I listened to Heart throughout my adolescence, but only own one vinyl album (Dog and Butterfly) and a more recent Greatest Hits CD. They made an hourly appearance on our classic rock radio stations for decades. I guess I took them for granted, even though they’ve sold over 35 million albums and keep making more, including the most recent album, Fanatic.
What I didn’t expect is to be completely blown away by Heart. I knew it would be a good show, but I was kind of expecting to just hang out in the summer heat and enjoy the music. I did not realize the magnitude of their talents and the impact they would have on me.
Nancy Wilson entered the stage to growing cheers as the crowd hurriedly found their seats. We all stood and hushed up as Ms. Wilson strapped on a gorgeous acoustic guitar and played the intro to “Crazy On You” with such power and emotion. Oh, I had chills on this 90-degree evening! I showed Pat my goose-pimpled arm. She threw her golden tresses around with a toss of her head, posed, postured, and thrust the guitar up and down as she worked her magic on the strings with ease. She is truly a guitar goddess; and I must admit, by the end of the night, I had a serious girl-crush on her. Pat didn’t seem to mind that one bit. Her lacy leg kicked high as she finished the intro, and Ann Wilson joined her on stage with a roar from the crowd.
Ann Wilson, the raven-haired rock diva, hasn’t lost her vocal prowess. Her legendary female Voice of Rock is known throughout the world. She belted out “Crazy On You” with the same gusto as she did in the 1970′s, and nailed the high notes in the chorus.
The 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees worked the entire stage, moved close to the edge and bent down for a closer view of their audience, waved to the crowd, smiled, grimaced and used their entire bodies to convey the music. Their stage presence was one of the best I’ve seen in years. Their backing band was great, too, but they held back and let Ann and Nancy shine. Current members include: Ben Smith, Debbie Shair, Craig Bartock, and Dan Rothchild.
Crazy On You
What About Love – After this massive hit, Nancy exclaimed that Marymoor Park is very special to them because back in the day, they used to come to the Park with a 6-pack and a guitar and hang out.
Dreamboat Annie – featured Ann on flute
Let Me Roll It – Ann wanted to dedicate this Wings cover to Sir Paul McCartney, since he was sick recently. They held nothing back, and I stomped along to the intro, in total heaven.
Heaven – a psychedelic tune, not quite accepted by the Music Industry execs, but one of their favorites. Nancy played her guitar like a cello, upright and with a bow.
These Dreams – Dedicated to Marymoor Park
Mashallah – from their new Fanatic album
No Quarter(Led Zeppelin cover)
The Ocean(Led Zeppelin cover)
Immigrant Song(Led Zeppelin cover)
Kashmir(Led Zeppelin cover)
The Rain Song(Led Zeppelin cover)
Stairway to Heaven – Ann was a little raspy near the end of the long set, but was forgiven as she belted out Robert Plant’s falsetto vocals on “Stairway to Heaven” The Total Experience Gospel Choir joined them on stage for a couple of the Zeppelin tunes! Amazing.
The crowd was super-polite, which was yet another treat for this fantastic night. We didn’t see any drunks or rude behavior, other than a few people trying to work their way to the large gap between the front row and tall stage. We actually ended up at the front during the encore, due to ‘blind’ security officials. They just smiled and gave up trying to stop people; everyone was so well-behaved, it wasn’t a problem. I actually rested my arm on the stage! It was fantastic. I was in heaven. My soul smiled once again, and I turned back to show Pat—he smiled back. He knew!
*Note: My pictures are horrible due to lighting and using my phone as a shabby excuse for a camera. See Heart’s Facebook page for some incredible shots of the band from some amazing local photographers!
I just finished a blog for No Depression regarding our fantastic trip to California which ended with a fabulous show at Slim’s in San Francisco to see Will Kimbrough, Rodney Crowell and Jedd Hughes. We then followed the boys to Seattle where they tore it up at The Triple Door. Spectacular. Here’s the link to my blog:
I normally write about the music scene, but I’m crossing over this time into the world of independent film. We had the pleasure of attending the opening night of SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) Short Films at The Uptown cinema on Queene Anne. Tony Fulgham, the lead singer of Seattle’s Jackrabbit, is a renaissance guy. He not only plays kick-ass country rock, but is a creative director of World Famous Inc. He wrote and directed a short called Box Walk that was featured at the SIFF Opening Night, directed a second movie called Secret which will play May 26, and directed the official SIFF trailer (see video, above).
Seven films were presented on Opening night. The audience was encouraged to vote, using tear-away ballots, numbered 1-5 (5 being awesome) for each movie. Our favorites were, of course, Box Walk and another called The Phone Call, both of which were gripping, poignant and brought me to tears. All seven films were memorable, creative and very different from each other.
I would recommend the Shorts for anyone who wants a taste of some creative independent films, but doesn’t necessarily want to sit through a full-length feature.
Flight to Mars, Seattle’s star-studded UFO tribute band, is going to Rawk the Showbox tonight. We saw their high-octane show in 2011 and loved every minute of it. You never know who is going to show up on that stage! Plus, the show benefits Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.
Here is my review of the 2011 show:
Also, see my sister-in-law’s awesome pics of that night here:
Old 97′s have been kicking around over 20 years now. They are one of the best live shows around and appeal to rockers, country lovers and punkers alike. Their genre-bending, full-throttle tunes move the crowd into a frenzy.
I haven’t seen Old 97′s since their floor-shuddering show at The Showbox in the fall of 2012. See that review here on Randomville: http://randomville.com/concert-review-old-97s-at-the-showbox-seattle-942012/
The foursome shook the Showbox again Monday, in another amped-up performance. They are on tour once more to support a brand new album called Most Messed Up which is getting rave reviews, including a four-star review in Rolling Stone: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/most-messed-up-20140429
And how ’bout this fiery-hot review from Paste Magazine: http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2014/04/old-97s-most-messed-up-review.html
Opening for Old 97′s was Nikki Lane, a Nashville chart-climbing songstress. Her appealing retro looks and country songs with biting lyrics are getting national attention, from Americana Radio (charting at #5 last week for her new album, All or Nothin’) to Vogue Magazine. Her voice has been compared to Tammy Wynette, Amy Winehouse and Wanda Jackson. She’s touring the nation, so check her out or pick up her album.
Rodney Crowell, who is currently touring the country, just received an Americana Music Association nomination for Artist of the Year! See the list of all nominess here: http://americanamusic.org/americana-announces-2014-award-nominees-cash-ellis-isbell-lead-nominations
He is also listed in the #1 spot for his new album, Tarpaper Sky on the Americana Music Association Radio Chart: http://americanaradio.org/ama/displaychart_beforetracks.asp?mode=lw&dtkey=
Mr. Crowell is coming to the West Coast in June. Check out his website above for tour details.
Check out my post on Rodney’s last visit to Seattle here: http://aplscruf.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/rodney-crowell-at-silver-platters-seattle-wa-3-31-14/ I also posted the article on No Depression: http://www.nodepression.com/profiles/blogs/rodney-crowell-s-solo-performance-in-seattle-to-promote-tarpaper
UPDATE: HERE’S MY BLOG OF THE SHOW I POSTED FOR NO DEPRESSION:
I’m looking forward to a night with Jackrabbit at The Tractor–and a Saturday night to boot. Lately, it seems our favorite shows have been during the week, which makes for an exhausting night and a fuzzy work morning. Saturday gives us a little time to relax and be prepared for a late show. Yes, I am old.
Jackrabbit hasn’t played publicly since late last year. We went to their private final show on a chilly winter’s eve, and it was a fantastic night of music and celebration. The band was surrounded by their close friends and family. Early this year, the girls, Moe Provencher and Aimee Zoe, took a sabbatical from Jackrabbit and cycled across New Zealand and Australia for three months. What an adventure! Not only did they travel on bicycles, but they played gigs at many stops along the way.
Jackrabbit’s frontman Tony Fulgham had his share of traveling around the globe for World Famous Inc. He wrote and directed a movie called Box Walk which is now showing at independent film festivals (most recently in Nashville). Check out World Famous. The man is prolific. How he has time to raise his adorable family is a mystery.
Deception Past is celebrating the release of another album Saturday night. We saw them destroy it at The Green Frog in Bellingham last month. We’re anxious to hear some more great foot stompin’ country from them and to see how many people they can fit on their stage by the end of the night.
Colt Kraft Band is also dropping a new EP. We haven’t see them before, and new music is always good for the soul.
Hope to see you Saturday!
After a busy day at work, “Operation Rodney Crowell” commenced. I left a little early for our home in the ‘burbs, with the hope of beating some of Seattle’s rush-hour traffic on this Monday afternoon. My son Jacob–my handler and navigator–texted that he was on his way home from the high school. I sent a note to his track coach excusing him early, stating that Jacob had a “family event” to attend in the afternoon. I wasn’t lying. Jacob and I are family, and we were going to an event.
On Saturday, just two days earlier, I happened to see a Facebook post on Rodney Crowell’s page that mentioned he was performing free solo shows in Seattle and Portland to promote his new album, Tarpaper Sky. He was scheduled to perform at Silver Platters at 6:00 Monday, March 31.
Jacob’s first concert was in Coos Bay, Oregon in 2006 where Rodney and The Outsiders (including Will Kimbrough on guitar) played at an outdoor music festival. Jacob got to meet both Rodney and Will after the show. At ten years old, this left quite an impression on the boy. It was time to see Mr. Crowell again.
After topping off the tank, Jacob and I headed down the road to I-405. Slow traffic in Bellevue was expected, but we soon found ourselves speeding over the I-90 bridge across Lake Washington, cruising by Safeco Field into the fray of Opening Night (sorry, Officer, I was in the wrong lane, and no, I don’t want to park here, I just need to pass through!), and continuing several blocks down First Avenue South, also known as the SoDo district of Seattle. Jacob’s eagle eyes spotted the Silver Platters sign.
I parked near front of the record store and I felt my nerves set in. Jacob, donning his “handler” cap, told me to calm down. I told him I wanted to be sure to tell Mr. Crowell everything I’d rehearsed. “What’s the problem?” he said, “Just tell him we’re big fans, we saw him in Coos Bay, we know Will, and you’re going to write a blog about the show tonight.” Sure, I’ve got it down. I can do this! Sometimes, though, my shyness has paralyzing effects.
We walked into Silver Platters and I expected to see a big crowd, especially since Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris just won a GRAMMY for their Americana album Old Yellow Moon. Both Rodney and Emmylou have churned out country hits for almost 40 years. Although there wasn’t much of an advanced notice about the show, I believed the true fans would get their fannies down to SoDo to see him up close. Surprisingly, the store was almost empty except for rows and rows of new and vintage vinyl. About a dozen people strolled the aisles, and a few more gathered near the little stage in the back. I was almost relieved it wasn’t packed because I knew we’d have a great view of the stage and a greater chance to meet him afterward. Selfish, yes. Out of respect for Mr. Crowell, though, fans should have been lined up around the block. Where were they? I felt privileged to be one of the few to witness this intimate solo performance, and I was a little indignant that more people didn’t make the drive to the show.
With our successful scheduling and navigation, we had enough time before the show to purchase an advance copy of Tarpaper Sky and receive a free poster. I fidgeted for several minutes and pulled out my camera, checked my phone, assigned Jacob to book and poster duty and readied my journal and pen.
Just after 6 pm, Rodney sauntered up to the stage and strapped on his guitar amid hearty claps and whoops from the sparse crowd. I noticed more people pushed in a little later. I’m sure the increasing Seattle traffic hindered many people from attending the show on time.
Mr. Crowell’s a little shy, too, I suspect. He acknowledged the audience, and with head bowed down toward the mic, quietly mentioned he wanted to play a few other songs first before diving in to Tarpaper Sky. He started with two songs from Townes Van Zandt, including a tender version of “Pancho and Lefty”, also famously covered by Emmylou Harris and the Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard duo. With eyes closed, he tilted his head back to hit the higher notes.
He loosened up and and smiled as he started a third song that he said will be on his next album, as he’s trying to stay ahead of the curve. I believe the upbeat song was called “Miss Claudia”.
A train horn sighed in the background. SoDo is an industrial area, and the tracks nearby run to and from the shipping docks, north and south to parts unknown. “I feel like I should play a freight train song,” Rodney chuckled, and the audience followed suit. In fact, he said he just recorded a train song with Emmylou two weeks ago. “Let’s see if I can remember it.” He plunked away at a soft melody for a few seconds, then sang “The Weight of The World” as the train blew past. I’m looking forward to another album from the legendary pair.
He then moved on to a handful of Tarpaper Sky songs.
“Famous Last Words of a Fool in Love” was prefaced with the unseemly custom of older men trading in their spouses for younger women. Rodney also quipped that his second wife left him for a younger man and a better producer, although he said he is a better producer in other ways. Love is love, and he’s not here to judge, he disclaimed; he’s just here to observe and write songs:
Younger woman/Older man/Can we make this work?/Ah, you know we can/Famous last words of a fool in love
“God I’m Missing You”- Rodney shares writing credits on this song with his collaborator Mary Karr. I found myself shaking my head in awe as the ache in his voice and mournful lyrics grabbed my heart:
You’re every curled rosebud/Enchanting my eye/Each turned up coat collar/And your gaze slides by/There’s a sanded down moon/In a tarpaper sky/God I’m missing you
“Frankie Please”- Rodney switched gears to roots rock. Lord, have mercy! I loved the playful rasp and yelp in his voice. I want to see him perform this with a full band sometime and include that rollicking Jerry Lee Lewis piano style so prominent on the album’s version:
You tore through my life like a tornado looking for a trailer park/And your white trash mishmash short of cash culture clash hit the mark
“Fever on the Bayou” -Collaborating with Will Jennings (of Titanic’s “My Heart Will Go On” fame), this song was twenty years in the making. Jennings gave him the chord progression and melody, but Rodney struggled with the last verse. He didn’t want the song to become some “Cajun cliche shit”. Instead, he added some Cajun French lyrics in his own way, and finally produced this lively mixed-breed love song, which I cannot remove from my head.
“The Flyboy and The Kid”-A tender dedication to Guy (Clark, perhaps?) on the album:
May the wind be at your back/And the world sit at your feet/May you waltz across Wyoming/With a rose clutched in your teeth/May the answers to your questions/Fall like raindrops right on queue/May you set up shop in heaven/’Fore the devil knows you’re due
The store manager gave Rodney the signal, or “the hook”, as Rodney said teasingly, and it was time to put the guitar down. I was disappointed the show didn’t last longer. I wanted to hear some more songs from the album, and maybe a couple of my favorites from the past, such as “This Too Will Pass”, his ode to George Harrison.
We then formed an organized line while the manager told the fans he would set up a table next to the stage so Rodney could sign autographs on our advance copy of Tarpaper Sky. Well, Mr. Crowell was ready to go right now, no table necessary. Clickety-clickety, he shook up his silver liquid Sharpie pen. One couple stood in front of us. He signed their CD while I fumbled around, trying to get my CD out of my purse and out of the plastic wrapper. I looked up. My musical hero stood in front of me and smiled. My mind went blank.
I did manage to tell Mr. Crowell my name is Lisa (after he asked, so he could sign the CD), and I then told him the last time we saw him was at Coos Bay in 2006. He remembered the lovely outdoor setting. I failed to mention that we knew Will Kimbrough, and how our family befriended him and hosted him at our home during his tour in January. Will’s backing vocals, guitar and accordion make a guest appearance on Tarpaper Sky. Good Lord. I couldn’t find my words.
I also brought Marshall Chapman‘s book, They Came to Nashville. In one of the chapters, Marshall interviews Rodney about his journey to Nashville, his struggles, and eventual rise to fame. I marked the chapter for him to sign with my blogger business card. I clumsily switched out the CD for the book, turned to the marked page (and stuffed my card in my purse instead of handing it to him) and watched as he fiddled with his pen, trying to get it to work on the coarse paper. I whispered, “Good ol’ Marshall…” That’s it, Lisa? That’s all you’re going to say?
He then looked over my head at Jacob who towered behind me while Rodney reached for our poster. “And you are…?”
Jacob also smiled sheepishly and searched for words (See, Jacob? I told you it was not going to be easy!). I interjected with, “Oh, this is Jacob.” I turned around and looked up at him when I said his name. Rodney, half-hearing the name, wrote, “To Jay” on the poster. Too late to turn back now!
“Thank you for coming, Jay!” smiled Rodney. Jacob nodded and smiled back. He will forever be known as Jay to Mr. Crowell. Who are we to correct him? We giggled about that later.
I glanced back and noticed the line was probably 40 people deep. Our time was up. Other people were waiting impatiently for their turn to meet this legendary artist. We said a quick goodbye, and I hoped I remembered to thank him for signing our things.
Oh, for ten more minutes. I would have told him how honored we were to meet him again, how amazing the new album sounds, how dumbfounded that more people didn’t show up to this Seattle show, how I hoped he would come back to Seattle with a full band, how Jacob raved about him and how he was so glad he came with me, how I wanted to write a blog and ask him questions about the songs he sang for us and take a picture with him…I’ll save it for next time.
“Anything else to add, Jacob?” I asked, after I let him read my draft.
“He was pitch-perfect.”
That just about sums it up.
Official Release Date of Tarpaper Sky is April 15, 2014.
I was invited to be a judge tonight, March 21, for Hard Rock Cafe’s “Hard Rock Rising 2014 The Global Battle of the Bands” in Seattle. Four local bands are competing in this fourth round. The competition will eventually move on to an international arena, which includes a global online vote. The winner gets to play in front of 40,000 fans at a music festival in Rome. Not a bad gig! The show tonight is free, and all ages are welcome. Come join us!
- Alan Rickman
- Ann Wilson
- Ayron Jones and The Way
- Benjamin Doerr
- Big Daddy's Place
- Big Sandy
- Bob Dylan
- Brent Amaker and the Rodeo
- Chateau Ste Michelle
- Columbia City Theater
- Concert Season 2005
- Concert Season 2006
- Concert Season 2007
- Concert Season 2008
- Concert Season 2009
- Concert Season 2010
- Concert Season 2011
- Concert Season 2012
- Concert Season 2013
- Concert Season 2014
- Country Dave Harmonson
- Cristina Bautista
- Damian Brennan
- Darrell's Tavern
- David Bowie
- Davidson Hart Kingsbery
- Deception Past
- Dudley Taft
- Dusty 45's
- Eddie's Attic
- Emmylou Harris
- Ethan Anderson
- Flight to Mars
- Fox and The Law
- George Harrison
- Gimme Shelter
- Hard Rock Cafe
- Harry Belafonte
- High Dive
- Honky Tonk Sweethearts
- Jakob Dylan
- Jedd Hughes
- Jimmy Buffett
- John Mellencamp
- Kasey Anderson
- Langhorne Slim
- Legendary Oaks
- Lori Gras
- Los Straitjackets
- Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands
- Marshall Chapman
- Marymoor Park
- Massy Ferguson
- Murphy's Lagh
- Music in Atlanta
- Nancy Wilson
- Nectar Lounge
- New Mexico
- North Twin
- Old 97's
- Ole Tinder
- Paul McCartney
- Railroad Earth
- Randy Hansen Band
- Redhook Brewery
- Rod Stewart
- Rodney Crowell
- Rolling Stones
- Roots Rock
- Ryan Adams
- Ryan Purcell and The Last Round
- Slim's San Francisco
- Small Sur
- St. Paul de Vence
- Star Anna
- Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs
- Steve Martin
- Stevie Ray Vaughan
- Tagaris Winery
- The Avett Brothers
- The B-52's
- The Black Crabs
- The Brambles
- The Cardinals
- The Chris Eger Band
- The David Wax Museum
- The Fonda Theatre
- The Gorge Amphitheatre
- The Gourds
- The Green Frog
- The Hi-Risers
- The Juliettes
- The Outlaws
- The Paperboys
- The Paramount Theatre
- The People Now
- The Puyallup Fair
- The Rainieros
- The Royal Room
- The Satellite 4
- The Shanty Tavern
- The Showbox
- The Sunmakers
- The Sunset Tavern
- The Swearengens
- The Tractor Tavern
- The Triple Door
- The Wallflowers
- The Wild Feathers
- Todd Snider
- Tom Petty
- Toubab Krewe
- Van Morrison
- Vicci Martinez
- Weird Al Yankovic
- White River Amphitheatre
- Will Kimbrough
- Willie Nelson
- Willie Sugarcapps
- Yellowstone Country Guardians