Aplscruf's Music Blog

Supernova: Ray LaMontagne Brings Psychedelic Pop to Marymoor Park 8.13.14

Ray LaMontagne at Marymoor Park

Ray LaMontagne at Marymoor Park

Another beautiful summer sunset at Marymoor Park set the mood for the fans of  Ray LaMontagne. A mixed crowd of young and youthful happily lazed on the grassy field, chatted in the food and drink lines and hung out in the reserved section.  My friend and I were looking forward to a girls’ night out together; the setting and music made for a perfect evening.

We arrived a little late after enjoying a relaxing dinner in Redmond first.  Our 6th-row seats were waiting for us when we strolled into the park and followed the path to the tree-lined venue.

The Belle Brigade

The Belle Brigade

The Belle Brigade were onstage playing their hearts out when we quietly took our seats.  Most prominent was drummer/frontwoman Barbara Gruska, whom we really enjoyed watching.  Her drum style reminded me of the enthusiastic Aimee Zoe of Jackrabbit.  Her brother Ethan Gruska played electric guitar and both also backed Ray LaMontagne later that evening.  They have a new album out called Just Because.  Their poppy music is underscored with beautiful harmonies from the siblings.

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Soon after, Ray LaMontagne entered the stage as the rest of the crew found their places.  The crowd cheered, and stragglers quickly found their seats.

Ray dove right in and hardly spoke to audience during the first half of the set except to say a brief thank you here and there. He might have been quiet, but on this night, he was definitely the frontman.  He gave it all to us, and seemed very focused and intense as he belted out one song after the next. By the end of the night, the sweat was pouring off him.  That voice–so unusual and raspy, high and sensual, just rang out over the rest of the skilled band. His music was a mix of energetic, psychedelic pop and a few low-key beautiful folk songs and some old soul.  Ray played just about every song off his new album, Supernova before exploring the rest of his catalog.

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He finally warmed up to the crowd and asked if they felt alright tonight, and if they wanted to get up and dance.  Loud cheers erupted, followed by a rush of mostly females to the foot of the stage.  The lucky dozens (including my friend and I) that pushed to the front experienced a more intimate show.  Lots of bouncing and dancing ensued.  The faithful fans sang along and cheered.  Ray’s searing vocals gave me goosebumps when he tilted his head back and hit the high notes of the chorus in “Trouble”. Oh, Lord! The audience went crazy during this, his signature song from a decade ago.  Ahh, just perfect.

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September 13, 2014 Posted by | aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Marymoor Park, Music | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heart Heats Up Marymoor Park July 1, 2014

Nancy and Ann Wilson Heating Up the Stage

Nancy and Ann Wilson Heating Up the Stage

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.

 

Michael Grimm opens the Heart show at Marymoor Park, Redmond, WA

Michael Grimm opens the Heart show on the massive stage at Marymoor Park, Redmond, WA

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.  

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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 starts off the rockin' night with "Crazy on You"

Nancy Wilson starts off the rockin’ night with “Crazy on You”

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.

Ann Wilson, Queen of Heart

Ann Wilson, Queen of Heart

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.

The Setlist:

  • Crazy On You
  • Heartless
  • 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
  • Straight On
  • Little Queen
  • 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
  • Alone
  • Mashallah – from their new Fanatic album
  • Magic Man
  • Barracuda
  • Encore:
  • 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!

 

July 10, 2014 Posted by | Ann Wilson, Concert Season 2014, Heart, Marymoor Park, Music, Nancy Wilson | 1 Comment

Concert Season 2013 Wrap-up

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Concert Season 2013 is winding down.  I thought I’d get a head start and list some highlights of the year in music.  I still have a few shows I’m hoping to see before the year is up, but my busy schedule might prevent me from posting anything until 2014.  I went to a few shows in the spring and summer that I never blogged about but deserve some mention here.  There are also a few bands mentioned below that I didn’t get to see this year, but I’m hoping will show up in 2014.  Some have new albums out, too.  I’ll keep it short and will give you the basic information.  It will be up to you, dear reader, to click on the links and look up these terrific bands, explore their music and purchase some CD’s for the gift-giving season.  Most importantly, GET OUT THERE AND SEE A SHOW!

Local Seattle-Area Bands: (Mind you, this is an incomplete list of the enormously talented bands in Seattle)

Jackrabbit – One of our favorite little bands in Seattle. We kicked off the year seeing them at The Tractor in January.  The threesome kicks ass on stage.  Never a disappointment. They add new songs to the setlist quite frequently.

Massy Ferguson – A Seattle Rock-n-Roll/Country Rock Darling.  We went to their CD Release Party for Victory and Ruins at The Triple Door.  My Plus 1 and I had a fantastic time sitting in the front row for this performance which was also broadcast live for kids struggling with various illnesses in a local hospital.  Frontman Ethan Anderson gave his all, as usual.  It was the best performance by the band so far, in my opinion, and I’ve seen them play many shows over the years.  We also saw them on a rainy summer evening in Duvall at an outdoor performance.  They jinxed our perfect rain-free summer! A hearty group of fans braved the showers and were treated with another fine show by the boys.  We picked up a cool t-shirt after the show.  Massy Ferguson also frequent some of the wineries in Eastern Washington, so check ’em out in Wenatchee, Tri-Cities and Walla Walla sometime.  Here’s a blog I wrote last year for No Depression.

The Swearengens – Their motto is “The Seattle alt-country band your mama warned you about.”  We try to see this band as often as possible.  I love their big sound.  You never know what will happen at one of their shows: dancing, drinking, special guests and lots of friends joining in on the fun. Oh, and never have a whiskey drinkin’ contest with frontman Fredd Luongo.  You will lose. Their latest album, Waiting on the Sunrise is a treat.  Check out their link and listen or purchase some merch.

Davidson Hart Kingsbery – His self-titled new album is getting some positive, nation-wide press.  We saw part of his show in January, and dug it.

The Rainieros – Another tight country band with a Western swing kicker. Their latest album, Last Call received critical acclaim and was one of the top Americana albums of 2012. We saw them open for Big Sandy in August.

The Ganges River Band – We saw them for the first time at The Sunset this summer.  They opened for Shinyribs and blasted through a clean set of country.  Country Dave Harmonson helped out on pedal steel and electric guitar.  Always a treat.

Ole Tinder – Ole timey country.  We saw them open for Massy Ferguson at Barboza and at The Tractor with Jackrabbit.  Mike Giacolino also has a solo project while Nils Peterson plays in another band called Rose Windows.  JB Kardong also sits in with other bands including Jackrabbit and Sera Cahoone.

The Dusty 45’s – I’ll try to finish up a blog I started of this energetic show.  Billy Joe Huels is THE Frontman.  No one can light a trumpet ablaze, stand on a bass and blow the way he can! We went to a benefit concert supporting the DESC and were thoroughly entertained.

Star Anna  – Opened solo for The Dusty 45’s.  We’ve seen her shows several times.  Her voice will grab your heart and rip it out.  She has a new album out right now called Go To Hell, so pick it up and prepare to be mesmerized by her haunting vocals.

Not-So-Local Bands:

Tom Petty (DUH.) And here’s the latest, if you didn’t check out our trip to Hollywood earlier this year. BEST SHOW OF THE YEAR.

The Gourds – If Tom Petty is my musical Jesus, then The Gourds are my Church.  Always a religious experience.  My soul runneth over at every show, including the latest in August at The Tractor.  One of my Best Weekends Ever.

Shinyribs – Kevin Russell’s solo project.  He has so much creative energy that one band (The Gourds) isn’t enough for him.  If you’re lucky, he’ll open for The Gourds and you’ll get double the fun.  Check out his bandcamp site for a little booty shakin’ music.  We saw him again just two weeks after his stint at The Tractor.  He came back and played at The Sunset!

Willie Nelson – Hurry up if you haven’t seen him already.  He’s 80, but can still put on a class act for 90 solid minutes.  We saw him in August at Marymoor Park.  Tears in eyes.

The Wild Feathers – This big band opened for Willie Nelson at Marymoor and we fell in love with them.  Besides their original tunes, they managed to cover Tom Petty’s “Listen To Her Heart” with my approval.

Big Sandy – Roots rock, rockabilly and Western swing.  Big Sandy’s a ball of energy and the king of smooth.  He plays in Southern Cal most of the year, but tours around the country and Europe, too.  If he shows up with Los Straitjackets (see below), it’s a Must-See show.  We saw him in August at The Tractor.

Los Straitjackets – Eddie Angel’s lucha libre mask-wearing band of psycho surf musicians and one of Marshall Chapman’s (see Marshall below) favorite bands.  Angel was actually the guitarist in Marshall’s band back in the 80’s.  They’re known world-wide for their onstage antics and surf guitar mastery.  I had the pleasure of meeting them at a local show a couple of years ago.  They’re currently touring the East Coast.  Hoping to see them again in 2014.

Greg Townson – Solo artist, Hi-Riser (Meet the Hi-Risers Here!) and Gregorio El Grande of Los Straitjackets.  He can sing a swoon-worthy love song (buy his latest album, On Your Side) or perform a face-melting guitar solo.  Check him out in Rochester, NY or on the current Los Straitjackets tour.  He also joins the bands overseas to Italy, Spain and other countries.

Marshall Chapman – A Nashville treasure and my musical hero.  Rodney Crowell calls her “The Goddess of Tall”.  The first time I saw her was in 2011 at The Station Inn , a Nashville mecca for  singer/songwriters of country, Americana and bluegrass.  All my preconceived notions of Nashville flew out the window that night.  She was REAL.  She was CANDID.  She had bare feet.  And she wore basketball shorts to the performance.  I liked her before she ever sang a note.  Here is my blog of that show (scroll down a bit to find the Nashville section).  She has a new album and a couple of books that are Must-Reads for music lovers.  Check her website for more info and purchase some merch!

My husband, who travels to the Nashville area often, had a chance to see her play again this year at The Bluebird Cafe, another very famous yet tiny Nashville hangout.  Will Kimbrough (see below) accompanied her on guitar once again to promote her new album, Blaze of Glory, which is getting rave reviews.  I was so jealous that my husband attended the show without me, but I knew he would return with her signed CD.  What I missed most were the stories that accompanied the songs.  My husband recounted a few stories to me when he returned.  She also told the audience that this album is meant to be shared with the one you love. Play it in the bedroom with the curtains drawn and the lights low.  By the fifth song, you should be ripping each other’s clothes off.

My sweet husband did bring home a signed copy of Marshall’s CD.  Throughout the album, the instruments stay firmly put in the background, allowing Marshall’s vocals and lyrics to shine.  Occasionally, Mr. Mike Utley, one of  Jimmy Buffet’s cohorts and co-producer of this album, drops in for a visit with an organ accompaniment.  The first two songs offer some good ol’ rock and roll, and one includes The Reverend Todd Snider on vocals.   After that, she pulls in for a sexy slow dance.  A new genre is born, says Marshall: “Torch-song Americana”.  Hear some tunes here.

Will Kimbrough – Another Nashville hero whom I found through Jimmy Buffett.  We’ve seen him perform several times in various locations solo, with Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Todd Snider and with Marshall Chapman in Nashville.  He just released a solo album, Sideshow Love, and will perform in the Seattle-Bellingham area in early January 2014!  More info soon!! A MUST-SEE EVENT!!!

Willie Sugarcapps – An Americana supergroup starring Will Kimbrough- also with new album out this year.  They are getting outstanding press and are currently enjoying a Gulf Shores Shrimp Fest weekend in Alabama.

Todd Snider – Now, The Reverend Todd Snider.  He received his license to officiate in support of gay marriage.  Part folk/Americana, part country, and part rock-n-roll.  He can make a political statement in a song before you know what hit you.  His live shows are a stand-up comedy act with some music thrown in.  He makes you think, laugh and generally just have fun.  He said he isn’t trying to preach to you, either.  He tells these stories because they rhyme.  We also saw him at The Triple Door last year, and I wrote a review for Randomvile.  We saw him at The Zoo this summer on a perfect Sunday evening.  He brought along Hayes Carll, whom I coined Todd Jr. by the end of his set.  He was also a storyteller, and had funny songs that accompanied the backstories.  His voice was a little more country than Todd’s, more akin to Jack Ingraham.  Carll also had some inappropriate songs that he couldn’t sing because of “the children” in attendance.  On his website, he had a ton of videos.  Shawn Mullins, , of the notorious talk-sing “Rockabye” song, was a very pleasant surprise.  His guitar playing was superb, and his other songs rich and interesting.  Sarah Jarosz opened Todd’s show.  I really enjoyed her clear folk vocals accompanied by a fiddler and a cellist, who plucked his instrument like a bass.  She did a Bob Dylan cover of “Ring Them Bells” and it was wonderful.  She only played about a half-hour set, but kept the audience’s attention the entire time.

Tommy Womack – Another favorite Nashville/Kentucky solo artist, a Daddy with Will Kimbrough, and collaborator with many others including Todd Snider.  He has an album out (several, actually), and plays regularly at The Station Inn with Will and Marshall.  He also wrote a humorous and heartbreaking tell-all about his life in the band Government Cheese called Cheese Chronicles.  A very entertaining read.  Visit with him on YouTube every Monday Morning for a cup of coffee (see his website or FB for more info) and pick up your own coffee mug on his website.  “Don’t let the bastards get you down!” I have yet to meet Tommy, but P got to meet him at The Station Inn last year.  I’m hoping to make it back to Nashville in 2014.

Have I missed anyone here?  I’m sure I have.  It’s been a tough year to find time to get out there, so we’ve been very picky about our show dates.  We try to see our regulars first and foremost.  Once in a blue moon we see a new band or enjoy an opening set;  it’s always a nice surprise to add one to our “favorite band” list,

October 11, 2013 Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Barboza, Big Sandy, Concert Season 2013, Davidson Hart Kingsbery, Dusty 45's, Gimme Shelter, Jackrabbit, Los Straitjackets, Marshall Chapman, Marymoor Park, Massy Ferguson, Music, Ole Tinder, Randomville, Roots Rock, Seattle, Shinyribs, Star Anna, Tagaris Winery, The Fonda Theatre, The Gourds, The Hi-Risers, The Rainieros, The Sunset Tavern, The Swearengens, The Tractor Tavern, The Triple Door, The Wild Feathers, Todd Snider, Tom Petty, Will Kimbrough, Willie Nelson | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Two Big Nights: Big Sandy, Willie Nelson and The Gourds 8.22-8.23.13

The Holy Trinity: Roots Rock with Big Sandy, Country with Willie Nelson and Americana with The Gourds.  Two glorious, consecutive nights of live music rank in my Top 5 Best Weekends of All Time.  I’m not sure where they rank in the Top 5; I am sure I’ll post it when I figure that out.

Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys

Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys

On Thursday the 22nd I came home from a hot and brutal workout, and P was grilling two beautiful salmon tails along with bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and basil from our garden. YUM.  We ate leisurely at the table, and then P asked me a very important question.  Did I want to go to Big Sandy tonight?  DID I want to go to Big Sandy?? WELL!  I’d been thinking about that show all week.  I knew we were going to Willie Nelson on Friday, but we purposely took Friday off to relax and not feel rushed to get to the show.  Thursday evening would be optional for relaxing or going out.  I did not take long to decide; I got ready in record time.

We arrived at The Tractor early enough to get our favorite table (really, we should have our names etched in brass and attached to that little table), right up front, Stage Right.  I recognized some of my FB musician buddies wandering around, but I felt shy.  I wasn’t planning to write an official review this time, so it was hard for me to approach them without a business card or direct questions about the upcoming show.  Then I recognized a woman named Gaby in the audience.  She happens to work at our local grocery store.  I mentioned to her that I have a pic of her from last year’s show and that I wrote a blog.  She then went on to say she is also in a country/western band and gave me her card.  Not only that, but she is German, and we then had more to talk about because our boy was on an exchange trip in Hamburg at that moment.  I enjoyed getting to know her “other self” beyond her job at the grocery store.  I love to learn about people’s passions.  We’ll be sure to check out their show sometime, too.

Before the show began, I worked my way over to Big S to say hello, and see if he remembered my writing about his show last year (check out the link for a more detailed review of his show!).  He said, “Oh, yeah, yeah, thank you for spreading the word about us!” Or something like that.  I had a feeling he really didn’t remember me or my review.  That was ok, I was just happy to be there again, because I knew he would tear it up on stage.

The Rainieros with Liam Fitzgerald and Nickolas Streeter

The Rainieros with Liam Fitzgerald and Nickolas Streeter

The Rainieros (check out their link for a taste of their awesome honky tonk sound!) opened the show and played a nice set of Country/Western Swing, and the crowd filled in.  They left a semi-circle of dance space where a handful of two-steppers twirled around.  We enjoyed their country twang fronted by Liam Fitzgerald and tight sound with Nick Streeter on guitar.  I was so glad I decided to go and that P offered in the first place.  My place is in the audience.  My soul is only satisfied there, looking up at that stage.

Big Sandy was on next and the crowd once again crushed in around us.  I only wished I had my good camera, but knew it was in our boy’s capable hands as he toured as an exchange student in Germany this month.  My old camera worked, but the pics were grainy and blurry, unless I took flash pics; I hated to do that too often.

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Big Sandy had new Fly-Rite Boys along for the ride.  He had his left-hand man Ashley Kingman on guitar, a 20-yr vet, but the drummer and bass player, Kevin Stewart were new to us.  Big Sandy brings such a keyed-up set of in-your-face roots rock.  I just love it.  His smooth voice never falters.  I was in heaven!  I love the energy on the stage and in the crowd.  We share the yin and the yang.  In electrical terms, think of it as completing a circuit–the electrons flow in a circular motion (stage to audience, back to stage, etc.) until the circuit is broken (the music stops and the fans disperse).

Ashley Kingman

Ashley Kingman

Just as I remembered from last year, Big Sandy and his band poured their souls into each song.  Some songs started out with a quieter tone, showcasing Big Sandy’s buttery voice; but then he’d raise a hand, snap his arm out, and  the rest of the band would jump in and explode on the chorus.  My favorite song of the night was one I remembered from last year called “Jumping From Six to Six” which just rocked in that old Bill Haley style. 

He has a new album out now, celebrating 25 years of Big Sandy and Co. called What A Dream It’s Been, an all-acoustic record.  The album includes remixes, remakes and original tunes.  He’s currently touring the Northeast, and will make his way down the East Coast.  Check out his tour dates on his website and go, go, go!

We were starving by the time the show ended, so we drove to Dick’s for a late-night burger.  Always a mistake; I came home with a gut-bomb in the belly and had a rough time getting to sleep.  P wanted to stay up and watch a Seahawks football game, too; so when we finally went out, it was after 2:30.  Ugh.  At six am, the cats were up.  I finally crawled out about 8:00, not being able to fall back to sleep.

At least we had most of Friday to recover.  I stayed horizontal most of the day and just tried to relax.  We had to get ready around 4 or so for Willie Nelson and make sure we had time to eat before the big show.

We got to Marymoor about 6:00, found our seats (4th Row, Stage Right!), dropped off our sweatshirt bag and headed back to the food trucks.  We settled on the “Off the Rez” food truck for tacos and frybread.  The tacos were so delicious, made with a frybread base.  The seasoned meat, light sauce and cabbage rested on it like a tostada.  The frybread dessert included a cinnamon/sugar topping.  That hit the SPOT.

We saw our Bellingham friend L and her family atop the grassy knoll, with blankets, lawn chairs and lots of goodies.  It was great to see her again.  Her high energy and love for living every moment to its fullest is infectious.

I read that Marymoor can accommodate up to 5,000 people.  The venue filled up quickly as we finished the tacos and drinks.  I was glad we paid extra for seats so close to the stage; I wanted to absorb the band’s energy and soak in Willie’s vibe.

The Wild Feathers

The Wild Feathers

The opener was The Wild Feathers, a Nashville quintuplet.  Their country music rocked with three electric guitars, bass and drums.  The four guitarists lined up across the stage and nailed beautiful harmonies, akin to the old country boy bands, only with much more rock.   They seemed honored to open for Willie, too, and thanked him many times during their performance.  Pat purchased their debut album after the show, and we listened to it the rest of the week.  Their clear harmonies shone throughout the CD.  A cool marketing tool they used was to perforate the CD jacket and duplicate the CD on the other side. The song list and liner notes were the same on each side, except at the top left, it said “To Keep”, and on the top right, “To Share”.  After I got home, I carefully tore the jacket in half and shared the other CD with my friend.

After a relatively short break, the canned music stopped abruptly; I knew Willie Nelson was about to come out.  He walked on stage from a back curtain and I jumped up.  “Willie’s here!” I yelled.  He was joined by his “little sister”, 82-year-old Bobbie on piano, his buddy Paul on drums, Paul’s brother helping on other percussion, a bass player and the same harmonica player he had when Mom and I saw him at Puyallup Fair a few years ago, named Mickey Raphael.

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I cannot believe I was lucky enough to see Willie for the 3rd time in the last 6 years.  Although his vocals were more of a low, sing/talk style (I’m guessing he is preserving his vocal chords from the constant touring), his guitar playing was pure brilliance.  He played ninety solid minutes, non-stop, except to let his sister Bobbie play one song on piano.  Willie still stayed on stage during her song, and gently strummed his guitar after getting a sip of water.  He switched out his bandannas throughout the show and threw the sweaty ones into the audience.  I was just two rows back from catching a bandanna and a fan’s hat that Willie wore during one song near the end.  He played his classics: “Georgia”, “Crazy”, “On The Road Again”, a Hank song, “Of All The Girls…”, “Angel Falling Too Close to the Ground”, and a few newer ones—a funny one about not being Superman anymore, and his latest “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die”.  He finished the night with some gospel numbers and brought The Wild Feathers back along with his daughter to round out the chorus.

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Throughout the night, he pointed and smiled directly at people in the audience, blew a kiss (my way, but I think it was meant for the girl in front of me recording a song on her phone), waved, pointed to the sky, and just connected with us.  The man still has it.  I’m afraid if he ever stops touring, he’ll die.  Keep touring, Willie!  What a night. Gene Stout, Seattle Times music journalist, had nothing but love to share about Willie: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/soundposts/2013/08/24/willie-nelson-still-showing-brilliance-late-in-career/

Willie's Big Finish

Willie’s Big Finish

BUT, the night was still young.  Pat wanted to leave a little early to beat the horrendous traffic out of the Marymoor parking lot, but I insisted we stay to the very end.  Who knows if I’d see Willie again, and I wanted to remember him walking off the stage for the last time.

Well, I felt badly when we finally found the car and had to sit there parked for almost a half hour before people finally started moving out toward the road.  What a mess.  There are only two exits out, so the cars just pile up.  I apologized profusely to P, who absolutely hates sitting in traffic, especially since we wanted to try to make The Gourds show at The Tractor.

Once we got on the road, though, the traffic cleared out.  We made it across the bridge and to Ballard in less than ½ hour.  It was now about 10:45, and I knew The Gourds were on stage.   We found easy parking and quickly walked to the Tractor, after changing from flip-flops to cowboy boots and putting on my new Willie “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” T-shirt.   I threw my arms up in triumph when we reached the ticket table and The Gourds were playing their hearts out on stage.  We did it!  Two shows in one night!!  Pat quickly withdrew some more cash while I told our story to the ticket guy who was very impressed that we got to see Willie and THEN came to The Gourds show.  I felt more accomplished than after finishing a triathlon, I swear!  The triathlon of music!  Three shows in two days!  The Holy Trinity of Roots Rock, Country, and Americana!

Blurry Kevin Russell of The Gourds on Mandolin

Blurry Kevin Russell of The Gourds on Mandolin

We tried to move to our little table next to the stage, but alas, it was taken.  We got the evil eye from a girl (my double for the evening) when I tried to stay grounded near the table.  We gave up and worked our way to the other side of the stage by the brick wall.  They added a new sturdy bench along the wall, so we were able to stand on that and look over the crowd.  No one complained, so we stayed put.  We had a great view of the whole band, but my camera just could not capture the view that far away.  Blurry.  The flash did not reach that far, either.  That was ok, I just decided to enjoy the music.

Mr. Kevin Russell and Mr. Jimmy Smith played lots of covers and new stuff from their latest album, Old Mad Joy, but also played their greatest hits, including “Mr. Betty”, “Ants on The Melon”, “Shake the Chandelier”, “Burn the Honeysuckle” and finished the night with “Gin and Juice” on crazy mandolin while Max made the rosin fly off his fiddle.  Their accordion player Claude played a few, too, including lead vocals and keys for “Werewolves of London” during the encore.  Every Gourds show is a frenzied, religious experience.  Even though we couldn’t be up front with the sweat and glory, we still felt those musical electrons flow through us.

The Gourds: Max Johnston, Kevin Russell, Jimmy Smith, Keith Langford, and Claude Bernard

The Gourds: Max Johnston, Kevin Russell, Jimmy Smith, Keith Langford, and Claude Bernard

After the show we got to meet the drummer Keith for the first time.  Keith was very nice and personable.  I told him they sounded fantastic, but he said they were sloppy.  Of course, that’s what I like about them.  They’re REAL. They’re only sloppy because they are so caught up in the moment, improvising, picking, shouting, gyrating, and spilling their souls all over that stage.   Minimally processed.  All Natural.  Organic.  Their latest album is entitled Old Mad Joy and their music is exactly that.  Keith also told us about opening a couple of times for Willie Nelson, and how Willie told him a story of Paul and a drumming incident.  Keith already knew the story, but he felt honored to hear it from Willie himself.   We then briefly spoke with Kevin while P took a pic.  Kev’s such a sweetheart, although the pic of us scared my mom.  They have a busy touring schedule ahead of them.  They were headed to Oregon the next day for a festival in Helix.

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Here’s The Gourds setlist, reprinted from D Three Gourds’ FB Page:

The Gourds
Tractor Tavern
Seattle, WA
8/23/13

01. Trampled by the Sun
02. I Want it so Bad
03. Mister Betty
04. Right in the Head
05. Jesus Christ with Signs Following
06. Stab
07. Honduras >
08. Ringing Dark & True
09. Shake the Chandelier
10. Illegal Oyster
11. County Orange
12. Everybody’s Missing the Sun (Nils Lofgren)
13. Ants on the Melon
14. I Like Drinking > Lady (Little River Band) > ILD
15. Grievin’ & Smokin’ > When the Saints Go Marching In (trad.) > If 6 was 9 (Jimi Hendrix) > I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink (Merle Haggard)
16. “Smoke a little dope, do a little laundry” (???) > LGO
17. Burn the Honeysuckle > Black Water (Doobie Bros)
18. Gin & Juice (Snoop/Dre) > Cupid (Sam Cooke) > Surrender (Cheap Trick) > Up on Cripple Creek (The Band)
E:
19. All the Labor tease
20. Werewolves of London (Warren Zevon)
21. All the Labor > You ain’t Goin’ Nowhere

Kevin Shinyribs Russell will be playing a solo show with Keith supporting on drums Sept. 5 for $10 at The Sunset, so we’re GOING.  We’re taking the 6th off to recover.  Check out the Shinyribs Bandcamp site here: http://shinyribs.bandcamp.com/ to listen to both albums and make a purchase or two. [Since this writing, we DID go to the Shinyribs show!  I will blog about that show asap.  Another fantastic night!]

After the show, we went to Hatties Hat next door.  It was ten till one, and we begged for food.  We quickly ordered the best BLT I’ve ever had, with buttered, toasted bread, fresh lettuce and tomato, thick-cut bacon and avocado.  We scarfed it down with some water and headed home.  In bed by 2:00.

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Big Sandy, Concert Season 2013, Marymoor Park, Music, Shinyribs, The Gourds, The Rainieros, The Tractor Tavern, The Wild Feathers, Willie Nelson | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Concert Season 2006

Concert Season 2006
I gauge how good of a year I’ve had based on the quantity and quality of concerts I have attended during the spring/summer/fall months. This year [2006] has been the best ever! Usually in February, I start hunting band websites, venue websites and Ticketmaster looking for Seattle tour dates. I get so excited for Concert Season to roll around! The winter months are usually quite boring, with hardly any acts. That is the time for vacations or just spending downtime with family in the gray gloom. But then late in the winter, the dates start showing up in the newspaper, Ticketmaster sends emails, and I get a rush of excitement!

The following is a summary of concerts we saw, the experiences we had, and the music played. It’s been such a good season! I’m hoping it’s not quite over, even though it is September 9 [2006] today. The one regret is not booking tickets to Nashville for the Americana Music Awards, but how can I complain. I might see Todd Snider in October, if I can find someone to go with me. We’ll see…

June

Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville. Saw Elvis Costello with his latest collaborator, Allen Toussaint, a New Orleans R&B vet. They have an album out together, and I need to pick it up! Lots of boogie-woogie R&B sounds. Elvis played songs from that album along with his classic new wave stuff like: Watching the Detectives, Allison, Pump it Up, What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love, and Understanding…

Hot night, about 85 degrees. Went with H and C. Purchased a nice bottle of 2003 Syrah and some cheese, salami and crackers at the winery gift shop. Had a great little picnic before the show. It was such a beautiful setting, a nice crowd. It was fun to people-watch as the show progressed, to see the middle-aged businessmen getting a little tipsy from the wine and trying to stumble across the uneven grass back to their seats. Unfortunately, the one time C and I went to the bathroom, the line was out the door, and only two stalls were available. This was exactly the point where Elvis kicked it up a notch and played his old favorites. I was crabby, but we still had fun.

Also in June, we saw John Hiatt and the North Mississippi All Stars. Wow what a show! They played at Marymoor Park in Redmond. P and I arrived early and got some dinner. Then we got some wine and beer, and some more wine and beer. I was quite tipsy by the time the show got started! P was up to the bathrooms about every 10 minutes! No more beer for him at concerts! We had 4th row seats, a little to the right of center. Perfect!

N. Mississippi consists of two brothers, Luther and (I don’t remember) Dickinson. They are sons of Jim Dickinson [who recently passed away in 2009], who produced John Eddie’s “Who the Hell Is John Eddie” album as well as John Hiatt‘s, and lots of other folks. Luther can play the guitar like no one I have seen before. At one point, he played a one-string guitar that looked like a box with a stick in it and a rubber band for a string! He made that thing moan. Unreal. And he looks like he’s 20, although I believe he’s in his 30’s. The bass player looked like Fat Albert, and played the bass real high up under his chest. His last name was Chew, which I thought was fitting, but man could he play! He also added a little rap/hip-hop style to their very southern rock. A real nice mix, which has garnered them a broad, young following. They played a good ½ hour set, mostly from their new album, “Electric Blue Watermelon,“ then took a break before being joined by John Hiatt.

I have only recently started listening to John Hiatt. I knew of him, and The Mountain radio station brings him to town every year, but I didn’t know his range of music. He has done country, rock, has written scores of songs that other artists like Bonnie Raitt (Thing Called Love) and Suzy Bogguss (Drive South) have made famous. He is famous in his own right as well. He has a very unique voice, like that of Randy “Short People” Newman. He is skinny, wiry, with a face worn by a hard life, but kind, appreciative of the audience, and totally against the Bush administration! Yay! P was impressed.

John sang a slew of songs, a Greatest Hits night, plus many from his new album, “Master of Disaster.” Set list included: Master of Disaster, Cry Love, Love’s Not Where We Thought We Left It, Ain’t Ever Goin’ Back, Slow Turning, Thing Called Love, Thunderbird, Old School, Child of the Wild Blue Yonder, Buffalo River Home, Riding With the King…many others. He was very entertaining, and surrounded by a talented band.

July

Ahhh, Tom Petty time. Finally. We saw him last year at the Gorge, but I was looking forward to a new venue, Clark County Amphitheatre, in Ridgefield, WA, near Vancouver. Tom has a new album out entitled “Highway Companion,” so I was excited to see how the new songs would sound live. Also we had 4th row seats, so I was very anxious to see how close we we would sit to the stage.

Tom is my musical hero. His album, “Damn the Torpedoes” was one of my first album purchases as a young teenager. I wore that record out on my sister’s very nice stereo system. She almost killed me when she found out I was using it when she was gone! I used to play “Here Comes My Girl” and “Even the Losers” over and over.

I had a feeling I would cry when he came on stage. There was my hero, up close. He also announced he probably would not be doing any major tours anymore; this may be his last one.

I did cry.  I was blown away being 15 feet from my hero, and having him come out with the first song being “Listen to Her Heart,” one of my all-time favorites!

Set list included: Handle With Care (Traveling Wilburys), Free Fallin’, Down South (Highway Companion), Square One, and I think one other off the new album, Refugee, You Wreck Me, then with Stevie Nicks (guest singer) Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, Insider, and one other of Tom’s songs that Stevie sang alone with the band. The last song of the ovation was American Girl, another favorite of mine.

I cried at least two other times when he played my favorite songs. I just love him, and I’m so glad we got to sit so close.

September

Saturday the 2nd, we went to American Idol with S and D. The guys were not thrilled about going, but it was in Tacoma, and we thought the drive would give them a chance to bond a little! They did, and we went to a nice dinner at a brew pub near the Tacoma Dome by the old train station. That area of Tacoma is pretty nice.

We had fun teasing them about us wanting to act like little teenagers at the concert. We even had Hicks Chicks pink t-shirts on! The guys just rolled their eyes. It was pretty warm that night, too, which made the concert even warmer than expected. Luckily, I wore shorts.

The Idol show was very cheesy. The 10 people performed based on the order they were kicked off. Mandisa went first, followed by Lisa, then Ace, Paris, Bucky, Pickler, etc. Finally, Taylor Hicks came on and rocked everyone with Jailhouse Rock. He was the best, even though his dancing was even weirder than on TV. He did play the harmonica, which was awesome. I kept telling S how much fun it would have been to see him in some shithole bar with his band. Much more fun than this stinking heat dome with a bunch of screaming 12-year-olds. Chris and Elliott also did well, but only sang about 2 songs apiece. That’s ok, we vowed to see any of those guys separately, once they’re done with their AI contract.

Then, a long shot…I had written to Will Kimbrough to see if he was playing Seattle anytime soon. He said no, but he was playing Coos Bay with Rodney Crowell. It was a long shot, but I told my son if we can find someone to go with, we could drive to Coos Bay to see them. It was a free outdoor concert, so hard to beat! P couldn’t go because he’d eaten all his vacation time this summer. I had recently sent Will’s Americanitis CD to our friend R, who loved it. I called him and asked if it was possible for him to go with us to Coos Bay. He wanted to talk it over with K first, then get back to me.

He finally gave us the “ok” to go! I got the time off approved in advance, thank God. The boy had been talking about going since mid-August. He even made cute little foam visors with their names on each one that he insisted we wear at the concert!

So, on Tuesday, Sept. 5 [2006], we started our long trek down South. Just R, the boy and me. I didn’t think I’d have the guts to do it, but I was determined not to let an opportunity pass me by. Plus, I owed it to the boy [then 10 years old] to take him to his first “real” concert. It was a good opportunity to bond with him, and also R was really excited to spend some time with the boy (he’s like an uncle to him) and see Will. I took my iPod, and R was impressed with the quality of the sound and all the music it held. I played lots of Will and Rodney for him, so he would be more familiar with them. He didn’t realize Rodney was actually the headliner, so once he heard his music, he was impressed and excited to see him, too.

I drove to Eugene, then R took over. The driving wasn’t as bad as I thought. I usually don’t drive for that long of a time, but I did ok. R enjoyed not having to drive, since he always has to drive with K. The traffic was bad through Portland and Salem, but it was moving, at least. We had a real pretty drive through the hills from Eugene to Florence. R’s hands were shaking because he wanted to fish the rivers we passed! Lots of cute little towns and storefronts along the way

Florence was gorgeous, with the massive yellow sand dunes surrounding us. We took a little side trip to see if we could get close to the ocean. We finally parked and the boy and I climbed up a dune and looked out to the ocean. It was about a quarter mile from us, so not enough time to run down to see it. R had to wait by the car due to his prosthetic leg; he wasn’t able to climb up the dunes. The wind was blowing at least 20 knots, so we didn’t stay long. It was also cold, about 58 degrees! It was in the 80’s the whole way down until we got there! It was foggy, too.

We continued our trek, closer now to our final destination! We got to Coos Bay and the Red Lion Inn about 4:00. We checked in, dropped off R in his handicapped-accessible room, and then headed across the parking lot to ours. We slowly drove up to our door on the first floor.

As we were driving, we had a brush with fame! A man, who I’m almost positive was Rodney Crowell himself, had just checked in and was standing outside his door, just 5 doors down from ours! He was thin, short and had scraggly hair under a baseball cap. I’m pretty sure it was him, and the boy was too, after I showed him a picture of Rodney on a CD cover! That town is so small; the only two hotels are the Red Lion and the Best Western. There were also big tour buses in the parking lot that night.

Anyway, that was enough to get my knees shaking! Wow, that’s cool to be staying in the same hotel as the band! I kept peeking out to see if he would come out again, or if any other band members were out there. But it was getting late, and I needed to take a shower still and get ready for the show.

We met R for dinner at 5:00-ish, then hung out and waited for our friend, who used to coach with R, to show up. G and his wife live near Florence and were excited to spend some time with R. This was perfect, because they sat up in the grassy terraced area in chairs, while the boy and I parked our blanket about 4 blankets back from the stage, front and center! Cool!

Will Kimbrough

We were all set to go, and I could see Will behind the stage (it was basically open, with some sheer black curtains behind it) with his acoustic guitar warming up. I wanted to go say hi, but refrained. I know from his blogs he was in his warm-up mode that he does before his shows to loosen up. The boy was excited. He insisted we wear our hats, too! So cute.

Will opened the show with “Piece of Work” and also played the following: Made Your Bed You Got to Lay in it, Grownup Now, Black/White [not sure of the exact title], Another Train, Life, Everyone’s in Love (boy’s favorite, and he sang along with a smile on his face, sweet baby), Modern World, and I think a few more.

They took a little break, so I took the boy with me to see if we could talk to them, and he asked if Will would sign his hat. Will did, then I turned to him and introduced myself. He shook my hand, and thanked me for coming. I then introduced him to the boy, and he shook his hand. He got a big thrill over that. I let him go, as other people were waiting to get autographs.

Then we could see Rodney behind the purchase table tuning up his guitar. He looked busy, so we didn’t ask for autographs yet. We found our seats and waited. It wasn’t long before Rodney came on. Yep, that was him at the Red Lion!

Rodney Crowell

He played many songs, some from his new album, The Outsider, then others from previous albums including:

Ain’t Livin’ Long Like This, Fate’s Right Hand, Still Learning How to Fly, Say You Love Me, Dancin’ Circles Round the Sun, a song Keith Urban sang to Nicole Kidman on their wedding day that Rodney wrote and sang, I Walk the Line (Revisited) and Will sang Johnny’s part in his lowest range! Ended with Like a Rolling Stone with the audience helping out! He did one more slow song at the end, and we all stood up near the front of the stage. It was awesome! The boy was thoroughly impressed, although a little antsy during Rodney’s long set, since he didn’t know all of the songs. It was a little chilly out, too.

After the show, we found Rodney and he signed my hat with both our names on it. I thanked him for coming, told him this was boy’s first concert. He seemed a little tired, and had other people waiting. Not real talkative, but nice. He has great cheekbones! His face was lined vertically and was a little pale. Lots of travel and life have creased him.

We hung around a few minutes, then the boy said he wanted Will to sign his polo shirt! So we found Will packing up guitars on the stage. I yelled, “Hey, Will!” He said, “Yeah?” “My son wants you to sign his shirt!” So Will jumped down off the stage and had his pen ready in his pocket. He gladly signed the back of his shirt.

I can’t remember the whole conversation. I was trying to soak it all in, but at the same time felt very self-conscious for bugging him again. It went something like this: I think I told him that was a great show, and this is the boy’s first concert. He asked boy how old he was, and he said 10. Will asked if he was in 5th grade, and then said his daughter is in 6th grade this year. I then asked if his other daughter was in kindergarten, I remembered from reading one of his blogs. He said yes, she was. He said he was heading to San Diego to go to a wedding and maybe do some surfing! He also wanted to take his kids to Sea World. He also thanked us for making the “long haul” down from Seattle. I said it took us about 8 hours! I don’t think I said a whole lot after that, just thanked him and shook his hand again. Well, it was good to finally meet him.

We found R, got the truck and headed back to the hotel. It was soooo worth the drive. And R was thrilled to meet up with his friend and his wife. They enjoyed the concert, too, so I feel my musical evangelism paid off. I did my part to spread the Rodney and Will Word!

October

On October 12, P and I went to see Todd Snider at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get anyone to go with us. Their loss, it was a great show! I told P to see if anyone from work wanted to go. He didn’t seem to believe me how big this was going to be. He never thinks anyone else but me likes these bands! [After a few years, he now knows better!] Well, the place was packed, probably 250 people there!

We got to Ballard around 7:00 after dropping the boy off at Mom and Dad’s. Then we were hungry, but decided we’d better find a place to park first. It took us about 15-20 minutes to find a place to park! [the usual pain in Ballard] Then we went directly to the Tractor to see what was up. The opening act, Joy Mills, was doing a sound check and there were a few people milling about. I noticed they had chairs set up, so then we got to thinking we’d better get in early and reserve our seats up close. So we went across the street first and grabbed ale and ate some peanuts to sustain us for a little bit! No one had food! Tractor only had TV dinners, they said. But the guy at the door did say to try Hattie’s Hat, which was 2 doors down, and then bring it in the Tractor! Cool!

So I got our seats in the second row while Pat picked up the most amazing salmon BLT and fries from Hattie’s! Yum! Then the show started. Joy Mills was good, but it was just her and her acoustic guitar. She was a little slow, but the songs were ok. The audience was pretty silent and polite, until the last couple of songs when more people showed up and more people were on their second or third drink.

There was a short break, in which I was hoping they’d bring out the piano, drum set, extra guitars, etc. But, alas, Todd was solo that night. We saw him walk in with his road guy, Elvis (I guess that’s his real name) and a couple other people.

You can’t miss Todd. He wears this big floppy felt hat all the time now.

He had on a baseball type shirt with black sleeves, with a vest over it, rolled up jeans and Converse tennis shoes that he immediately took off when he stepped onto the stage. Barefoot, he looks like a hobo.

He started playing immediately–I think he started with the song Old Times. He also played the following:

Horseshoe Lake (one of my favorites)

Tension

I Can’t Complain

You Got Away With It

Looking for a Job

Carla

Easy Money

Tillamook County Jail

Iron Mike

Kingsmen Ballad

The Devil You Know

Conservative Christian Right Wing Republican….

Play a Train Song

He was like a comedian/singer. He had little anecdotes about each song–many were the same as what he wrote in liner notes in the CD’s, but that’s ok, it clued people in on the humor/point of the songs. He also said something about going through the Multnomah tunnel by his old hometown near Portland. He said everyone used to paint graffiti in there, and all of it would end in the word “rules” such as Portland High School Rules! Etc. So after a show, he decided he’d write “Todd Snider Rules” in big letters. It was so full of graffiti, that you’d actually have to clean the wall by using white paint to paint over the other graffiti. He said his tour manager that he thought was a guy for years but that’s another story, was supposed to stop him from doing stupid things like that! As they were passing through the tunnel the next day, one of the road crew said, “Oh, the kids must have liked your show last night, Todd!”

I don’t know– he can spin a yarn with much more humor in person than I can possibly convey here. The audience was real receptive to his little jokes and remarks as well as his very funny lyrics. P was very attentive and really enjoyed him, too. I took about 10 pictures [disposable camera], so we’ll see if they turn out. I tried to get his bare feet in a couple of them.

The bummer was he also wasn’t feeling well after partying in Portland the night before, so he was not in the mood to do a meet’n’greet afterward. So we waited for about ½ hour to see if he’d come out. Finally, this couple from Juneau, AK asked Elvis if he was coming, and Elvis said he’d already left. Darn! We were upset. One girl had her tree huggin’ hippie shirt on, had her two CD liner notes out in her hand ready for him to sign. She was bummed. I told her to also listen to Will Kimbrough, and she hadn’t heard of him. Hopefully she’ll remember he’s on the liner notes.

The Juneau couple were big fans. They had flown down specifically for the show. They were also planning to go see him on New Year’s Eve somewhere back East. They were probably in their mid-20’s. The guy was good-looking, but the girl was absolutely striking, with long black hair and big, dark blue eyes. She must have stood 6’ 2”! Anyway, the guy was so funny because in the middle of Todd’s show, he came stumbling down the aisle to try to get Todd to give him a high-five! He just stood there and waited for his high-five, with his right hand poised in front of Todd. But Todd was in the middle of a guitar solo, and had his eyes closed. The guy must have stood there for 10 seconds, while the audience laughed, then “awwwed” him as he returned with head bowed to his seat. It was so funny! I didn’t think Todd noticed or cared. But then during the next song, or maybe he waited for a second one, Todd said, “Where’s that guy who wanted to give me a high-five?” And of course, the guy ran right back up and was all excited! Todd obligingly gave him the five, and then the guy wanted a knuckle pound, then another high-five! It was so funny! Todd said something after he took his seat, like, “Geez, I thought the guy was going to take over the show!”

So anyway, it was really fun, P had a great time, but we would have loved to have seen a full band show.

November

Next up…Van Morrison! November 4. P just figured out how much the tickets cost us! Ouch! But Mr. Morrison’s a once-in-a-lifetime shot. He hardly ever tours, and when he does he has been really shy, to the point of playing with his back toward the audience. This time, it sounds like he’s loosened up and is enjoying himself.

Van Morrison was well worth the price of admission (2 seats $500), but our seats sucked. He played at a new venue, called the WaMu Theater, part of the Seahawks Qwest Events Center. It looked like a big warehouse, with exposed pipes and beams in the ceiling. I was suspicious when I ordered the tickets as to where we would be sitting. Although we had Row 5, the section was E. My suspicions were correct. We were placed on the far left end of the stage, past diagonal. P couldn’t see all of the band members from his side, left of me. I couldn’t see the fiddle player, except for his fiddle. So the whole night, although Van was about 30 feet from us, was spent looking at the backsides of the vocalists and a side view of Van. I was very disappointed. The stage was also about 6 feet high, so it made it even harder to look up from that angle. The theater held maybe a couple thousand people.

The sound was great, though, and Van was in top form. He brought along a ten-piece band which included three vocalists, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, fiddle, steel guitar, organ, drums, and he played sax and harmonica. He came out swaggering to the stage pumping on that harmonica. He’s so good. Very cool in a black suit and felt fedora. He’s a stumpy, barrel-chested fellow, not real talkative with the audience, but was having a good time onstage.

He played a lot of songs I recognized, but hadn’t heard in quite awhile, and not ones I had on my Greatest Hits albums. I really liked the music, though, and he really kept it upbeat most of the time. Lots of boogie-woogie, some country (his new album, Pay the Devil does a lot of country covers), and classic Van. He ended with Moon Dance, Brown Eyed Girl and Gloria, which got everyone on their feet. P enjoyed the music, but was a little bored and disappointed in the seats.

April 3, 2010 Posted by | Americana, Concert Season 2006, Marymoor Park, Music, Rodney Crowell, The Gorge Amphitheatre, Todd Snider, Tom Petty, Van Morrison, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Counting Crows with Augustana 7.16.2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Counting Crows with Augustana

Marymoor Park, Redmond

Another great show, just one week after seeing the Gourds. Finally, I feel like we’re relaxed again and we can settle in to summer. It feels so good to be employed and have the freedom to go see shows without wondering if I’ll ever see another. We’ve never seen Counting Crows, so we were happy to hear they were playing at Marymoor Park on our anniversary. P was able to score amazing 8th row seats, just right of the stage.

I made it home from work by 4:00, and we were outta the house by 5:00. Boy refused to go to Grandma’s house, so he stayed at home. No big deal, he’s older now. We told him we’d call right after the show.

We took the back roads in to Redmond and decided to get a drink and appetizers at El Matador before the crawl into Marymoor Park. I knew it would be bad entering the park, because it was right at rush hour. So we got to take our time at the Matador and had great appetizers of ahi tuna and little southwest spring rolls with black beans and chicken. I had a mojito and P stuck to good ale. He, of course, ran into two people he knew there. They were actually two guys he went golfing with a couple of weeks before. It was weird, because he’d just met them at his friend’s golf getaway in Chelan, and there they were! I thought for sure we’d run into someone he knew at the show, too. They were really nice, but I noticed they’d checked me out when I first arrived and sat down by myself in the patio area while P had settled our drink tab at the bar. P then turned around and introduced me to them. Funny reaction. Anyway, they seemed nice.

After sitting in traffic for about ½ hour, we made it in to the park. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. We had time to go get a drink and some water, and then go find our seats. They really did start promptly at 7:15, as the email warned. We got to walk right up front of the stage to find our seats, which was cool.

Adam, the lead singer, was extremely energetic and bouncy all night. His fat, black locks bounced along with him as he jumped up and down off the front amps, jumped off his piano bench, and generally bounced around the stage.

He did something I’ve never seen an artist do before. Instead of having Augustana–a very young folk/pop band–open to a half-attending crowd, he insisted they play on stage with CC’s the whole night! It was great; the audience was ready to go at 7:15, and they were all up there together. A 12 piece band! He told the audience he’d been in Redmond for 4 days rehearsing and making sure this was going to work out. He said he didn’t sleep well, but he would tonight, as the show was a great success. He would mix in CC songs and then play on Augustana’s songs. Once in awhile he’d leave and let them play a few of their own. It made for a very lively, energetic night, with lots of great music.

Songs I recognized:

Mrs. Potter (my fave)

Mr. Jones

Rain King (with this song, he mixed in a medley of two or three other songs including Beatles’ Help From My Friends before returning to the Rain King finale

Cecilia (Simon and Garfunkel)

California Dreamin’

Stones song Sweet Virginia (got to scrape that shit right off yer shoes)

Lots of other CC songs, but I don’t remember their names, including stuff off their new album

Augustana has two songs they play regularly on the Mountain, one called Sweet and Low, I believe. They jammed together, and sounded great with Counting Crows and brought out the banjos and mandolin for some bluegrass foot-stomping. I really enjoyed Augustana and as a super group with Counting Crows.

We had to leave a little early, but they were on their last song of the evening: Pete Seeger’s This Land Is Your Land. It was a glorious finale for our anniversary night out.

February 3, 2010 Posted by | Concert Season 2009, Marymoor Park, Music | , , | Leave a comment