Temple of the Dog 11/14/16

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The one and only Temple of the Dog album was made 25 years ago and because they never toured for the album they thought it would be cool to do a 5 city/7 date “tour.” 7 dates!!! Well one of them was L.A. so this was one of those rare moments that you would look back on and either say “I was there” or “I wish I would have gone.” I thought I would end up in the latter category when I tried to buy tickets only to find they were “sold out”…even though I was online right when the presale started. Bob to the rescue. I’m not sure whose balls he tickled to get tickets but he got 2 and I was the lucky recipient of ticket #2. The show was on a Monday but I guess you can’t have everything go your way.

After making the drive from San Diego, checking into our hotel and walking a short distance from a local bar we were once again at the Forum (see Epicenter 3/14/15). We immediately hit up the atrocious drink line and of course right as we were near the front of the line we started hearing the piano intro of “Man of Golden Words,” the Mother Love Bone song that the name “Temple of the Dog” was lifted from. Just as we escaped the drink line and began to find our way to our seats we were bathed in the familiar sounds of the arpeggio riff that opens “Say Hello 2 Heaven.” After that we were treated to all other 9 songs from the eponymous album along with 15 cover songs, 5 of which were Mother Love Bone songs. The stage setup was simple and stark without so much as a backdrop. It was clear that the band wanted to focus on the music and pay tribute to their friend Andrew Wood. They succeeded in spades and ended up paying tribute to what were surely some of the band members’ favorite artists as well. It is not often that I get to see a band from my teenage years for the first time 25 years later. This was worth the wait.

SETLIST: Say Hello 2 Heaven, Wooden Jesus, Call Me a Dog, Your Saviour, Stardog Champion (Mother Love Bone), Stargazer (Mother Love Bone), Seasons (Chris Cornell), Jump Into the Fire (Harry Nilsson), Four Walled World, I’m a Mover (Free), Pushin Forward Back, Hunger Strike, Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)-(Jimi Hendrix), Heartshine (Mother Love Bone), River of Deceit (Mad Season), Holy Roller (Mother Love Bone), Reach Down, Man of Golden Words (Mother Love Bone), Baby Lemonade (Syd Barrett), Times of Trouble, Achilles Last Stand (Led Zeppelin), Holy Holy (David Bowie), Fascination Street (The Cure), War Pigs (Black Sabbath), All Night Thing

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The Rolling Stones 5/3/13

Rolling Stones

Legendary comedian Bill Hicks was joking about Keith Richards and cockroaches being the only ones to survive a nuclear war as early as 1990. Here we were 23 years later and despite all the hard living, the indestructible Keith was still touring with The Rolling Stones to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. That was not a typo. 50 years! As in five-oh. Of course The Rolling Stones cemented their place in rock and roll history long before Keith Richards became the punch line of jokes and I was not about to miss my opportunity to see them. I was a late bloomer when it came to the Stones as I did not really start getting into them and appreciating them until Lucinda introduced me to the Hot Rocks double CD with some of their early hits.

Through many online attempts I was able to secure a ticket for me, Ingrid, her dad and her youngest sister to the closest date of the tour in Los Angeles, which also happened to be the opening night of the tour.

The show started with the UCLA Marching Band walking around the perimeter of the floor section while performing “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” then the legendary band took the stage for “Get Off of My Cloud” and never let up. Mick Jagger was bouncing around the custom stage that resembled the famous tongue logo with the space just under the upper lip acting as a video screen and the middle of the tongue housing some very lucky guests. In all the concerts I have seen I have seriously never seen a singer with more energy than Mick and here he was pushing 70! He was there to make sure you had a good time and did a damn good job doing it. These guys were giving everything that was left in the tank and apparently that tank was not even close to empty.

There were different special guests slated for each stop of the tour. Our first guest was when Gwen Stefani came out and joined the performance of “Wild Horses.” Keith Urban was next when he joined the band for “Respectable.” I am not a fan of Keith Urban’s music but he shredded on the guitar. Later in the show Keith Richards took over vocal duties for “Before They Make Me Run” and “Happy” before they brought out the guitar player from the Exile on Main St. era Mick Taylor for a raucous/extended version of “Midnight Rambler.”

I read somewhere that this was the first time they ever performed “Emotional Rescue.” I fell in love with that song the first time I ever heard it so first time for the Stones performing it or not I was loving Mick’s falsetto. They came full circle to close out the show with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and I left feeling like I had just been run over by a freight train. Younger bands could learn a thing or two million from this band.

SETLIST: Get Off of My Cloud, The Last Time, It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It), Paint It Black, Gimme Shelter, Wild Horses, Factory Girl, Emotional Rescue, Respectable, Doom and Gloom, One More Shot, Honky Tonk Women, Before They Make Me Run, Happy, Midnight Rambler, Miss You, Start Me Up, Tumbling Dice, Brown Sugar, Sympathy for the Devil, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

 

Ministry 6/21/12

Ministry LA

Al Jourgensen broke up Ministry in 2008 and said that a reunion would never happen…well apparently four years later he changed his mind, decided to record an album called Relapse and then tour behind it. The only North American dates for the tour were to take place in Denver, Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago so my buddy Joe from Portland decided to meet me in L.A. with his girlfriend at the time Shaina. After all, this was kind of the rock equivalent of Jesus rising from the dead.

Once the dust settled I learned that Joe’s flight would be coming into L.A. early in the morning. The plan was for me to meet up late afternoon in downtown L.A. at the roach coach of a motel that was secured fairly close to the venue. There was nothing inherently wrong with this plan except Joe with nothing in particular to do all day on vacation equals drinking. I warned him to just stay away from hard liquor if he intended on drinking all day. He decided to not heed the warning and was pretty sauced by the time I showed up. This ultimately resulted in Joe being denied entry into the concert…after he flew all the way down from Portland to see Ministry! This put Shaina (who I literally had known for about 2 hours) and I into an awkward predicament. I felt bad for Joe but still wanted to see the show. Joe insisted that we go in without him but then kept texting Shaina once we were inside which made her feel like she should go meet up with him. I was not going to let her walk through downtown L.A. in the middle of the night by herself so if she had decided to leave I would have left too. Thankfully she decided to stay.

Opening band Blackburner looked like the bunny character from Donnie Darko and put on a pretty good show but everyone was there to see Al. I had not seen Ministry since the C U LaTour four years before this and I am glad I got to see this because they kicked ass as per usual. It was a very balanced setlist from the “newer” Ministry albums and the brand new songs fit right in. Shaina did not really know their music so that was interesting hanging out with a complete stranger that was not really a fan. Nothing a little alcohol could not cure.

SETLIST: Ghouldiggers, No W, Rio Grande Blood, Senor Peligro, LiesLiesLies, 99 Percenters, Watch Yourself, Life Is Good, Waiting, Worthless, Relapse, The Last Sucker, Khyber Pass, Psalm 69, N.W.O., Just One Fix, Thieves

 

Chevelle 4/25/12

Chevelle LA

Bob, Tom and I just saw Chevelle 7 months earlier when the speaker caught fire during the show but we all decided to make the jaunt to L.A. to see them again at Club Nokia, which is part of the Staples Center complex. No hotel plus a “school night” meant somebody had to say sober to drive us home in the rain and on this night that lucky person was me. Hats Off to the Bull was now officially out but on this particular night Chevelle was blown off stage by the opening band Dead Sara. I had never even heard of Dead Sara but they brought their A game. Bob and Tom felt the exact same way and apparently we were not the only faction in attendance that felt this way as evidenced by this write up:

https://music.mxdwn.com/2012/05/08/reviews/chevelle-and-dead-sara-live-at-club-nokia-42512/

SETLIST: The Clincher, Letter From a Thief, Another Know It All, Vitamin R (Leading Us Along), Hats Off to the Bull, Same Old Trip, Sleep Apnea, Closure, Jars, The Meddler, Still Running, I Get It, Envy, Send the Pain Below, The Red, Face to the Floor

Hats Off to the Bull

Roger Waters 12/5/10

Roger Waters

My proper introduction to Pink Floyd did not come until one night in high school at a friend’s house when he thought it would be a good idea to take a large amount of Dramamine and watch “The Wall.” I decided to forgo the Dramamine but “The Wall” stuck with me not just for the acid trip that the movie was but also because of the music. This lead me to the double album and then I worked my way backwards through their earlier catalog. As of the time of this writing I still haven’t brought myself to work my way forward through the albums that came afterwards.

When it was announced that Roger Waters would be embarking on a tour playing The Wall live from front to back I knew this was a monumental concert I had to get to. The tour was not coming to San Diego but lucky for me Los Angeles is a mere 100 miles away. As if I needed another reason to love Ingrid she surprised me with tickets as an early Christmas present.

Before the show started while the house lights were on it was hard not to notice what appeared to be a homeless man pushing around a shopping cart through the floor section. He was wearing a sign that had things written on the front and back and was talking with people as he walked around. It soon became clear that the homeless man was Roger Waters and the show had actually started. The stage was as wide as Staples Center and prominently featured a partially built wall made of giant white bricks that doubled as projector screens. As Waters neared the stage he threw a pink doll that was in the shopping cart onto the stage, which triggered fireworks and the beginning of “In the Flesh?”

For roughly the next hour everyone in the audience was transfixed on the spectacle at hand as Waters and his band tore through every song on the first half of The Wall in sequence. My favorite moment was when Waters played “Mother” as video of him playing the song live back in 1980 was projected behind him. There were two other songs played during this half as well: “What Shall We Do Now” that was originally intended to be included on the album but omitted at the last minute due to the time constraints of vinyl and “The Last Few Bricks,” an instrumental added to allow the roadies to more time to finish erecting the wall. The last brick went into place during the closing notes of “Goodbye Cruel World” and with that the show paused for an intermission.

With the exception of a couple instances the band performed the second half of the show from behind the wall. One brick was removed during “Is There Anybody Out There” to show the guitarists playing and then for the next song “Nobody Home” I remember a portion of the wall folded away to reveal a hotel room where Waters sang from a Lazy Boy. The guitar solo section of “Comfortably Numb” was performed from atop the wall. All of this of course culminated in the wall coming down at the end of the show in grand fashion.

The Wall is arguably Pink Floyd’s greatest masterpiece and the production was equally a masterpiece. The sound was fantastic and the technical wizardry gave the audience no choice but to succumb to the immersive experience. I have been to a lot of concerts and can hands down say this was the best “production” I have ever seen.

Pink Floyd The Wall

Marilyn Manson 12/19/04

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I had not seen Marilyn Manson since the previous summer at Ozzfest and had only been to Los Angeles one time since moving to San Diego 8 months prior. I did not learn about this show until the 11th hour, but never miss a chance to see one of my favorite bands, which was touring for their Lest We Forget – The Best Of album that had been released on September 28th. This was back when stealing music for someone without a good computer seemed like much more of a pain in the ass then just buying the album, even though there was only one song on the album I did not already have, a cover of “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode. I hated when bands did that but at least this album came with a nice booklet and a DVD of several of their music videos.

I ended up being the winning bidder on a pair of tickets from eBay and lightly twisted Marvin’s arm into driving us up to L.A. for this, the second of a three night stand for Manson. The Wiltern is a cool little theater in the Koreatown area of L.A. that holds 2,300 people when it is configured for a standing room only crowd such as this show. I get really excited when concerts are general admission because of the freedom you have to move about where you want. One thing I was not excited about was the departure of guitarist John5 since the last time I saw Marilyn Manson. Filling in was a guy named Mark Chaussee, who joined for this tour. I liked the experience of going to see Marilyn Manson in L.A. at the last minute but rank this as one of my least favorite times seeing the band and I think Mark had a lot to do with it. He is a great guitar player that played the songs well from a technical standpoint but his playing just seemed to lack that “it” factor. Maybe that had something to do with his departure from the band after this tour…

MMa