Liberals treat dogs like people, Conservatives treat people like dogs

Saturday, June 11

Van Morrison at Red Rocks

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I went to see the legendary Van Morrison tonight. Having long been a fan of Van, I knew I would never get to see him. See, Van is known for not touring. The reason is (or was) that he had horrible stage fright, and would only get onstage if he was drunk. Now, that seems like an awful generalization... but I have bourn witness. Not personally of course, because Van hasn't been to Colorado in 28 years. Van is also very well known for his rock star temperament. It was well described by Mark Brown of the Rocky Mountain News. He said that Van was in his top 5 concerts ever, and this is a guy who goes to rock concerts for a living. He also said that Van was in his worst 5 concert experiences.

That being said, I plunked down my $100 (for the cheat seats, in fact I had to stand in the aisle all night) and got ready to see the man. He gave the radio stations fair warning and told all that 'Van will play promptly at 7:30 pm with no opening band and will be offstage at 8:45 pm.

So the band enters at 7:35 and does some jazz. I should emphasize the jazz point. His band was a jazz band, and a terrific one at that. He had about a 6 piece band, horn section and all. Everyone was in suits, and played their asses off. After the intro jam piece, Van saunters out looking like he does in those pictures you see, suit, sunglasses, and pork pie hat. It was off to a classic Van start when he berated the drummer to play harder. Trust me, this was not a 'let's kick it up a notch', but a firm scolding. I think Van forgot he had the mike in his hand. The first few songs were terribly bland. Keep in mind that Van's voice was in amazing top form... flawless... but there was little passion felt. As I told my buddy, I wanted more Van and less band. He did a couple of epic classics in this early part, which to me totally fell flat. There was 'Have I told you lately' which he reconfigured to be a shitty mid tempo lounge song.

Then, the band kicks into 'Moondance'. Let's be honest, this is the moment we were all waiting for. It was a craptacular phoned in formula piece. I was getting really disappointed at this point, fearing just an hour of Van going through the motions and picking up a paycheck. I think somehow Van felt our complacency, because he went to an audible. He turned to the band and said 'Brown eyed girl'. I know this wasn't the setlist because the dudes all dropped their instruments and scrambled to compensate. With 'Brown eyed girl' Van tore the sold out house apart. It was a powerful and (most importantly) rendered just the way we remember it from the radio. After that, everything got better. His song choices seemed more interesting, and his passion was fully there. Here are some highlights of the setlist as I remember them: back on top, days like this, moondance, have I told you lately, gloria, jackie wilson said, and certainly a few from his terrific new disc 'Magic Time'.

The show ended after about 90 minutes of music when Van wandered off stage at the end of a song... but still playing harmonica the whole time. I should note that Van is an amazing musician. Though the show he played sax, guitar, and harmonica fluidly. It was clear there would be an encore because the band stayed put. The band kicked in the distorted guitar chords of 'Gloria', and the crowd went apeshit. Van cruised out and just nailed it.

Overall it was an amazing show, with a terribly boring beginning. Van delivered though, he is the best jazz singer in the business for good reason. By the end of the night, all was forgetten about the first half hour. Tangent alarm > a cool experience was that I ran into Denver's most excellent Mayor Hickenlooper. He was very cool and gracious. He had no posse or security, and was in the cheap seats with us.

In summation, the show was everything I expected. I mean, I got to see the stand offish rock star who never once acknowledged the crowd with even a 'hello'. I got to see him berate his drummer in front of 10,000 people on a cold Colorado night. I got to see the best singer alive, and I got to hear the hits I came for. It was a well rounded Van Morrison experience. Van is only doing four dates in America on this tour, the last being tomorrow night in Jersey. If you get the chance, see him. But, you won't. Dude is more reclusive President Bush' ethics team. It might also be noted that Van sold the show out in three minutes. According to the promoter, that was 'faster than even U2'. Miraculously these tickets somehow went to actual fans. I didn't see a single scalper or here a even one ticket for sale in the many hours we drank in the lot.

Friday, June 10

Friday Fives

1. How old were you when you got your driver's license? Learned to drive a stick shift?

15 years and 7 months old. That was when you could file for a learners permit in Arizona and I think I was there that day. As for stick shift, much much later. I was probably mid 20's before I ever got the hang of it.

Funny story about that. When I was about 20 I went back East to do a Summer tour with the Dead and my big brother Johnny. It was a phenomenal tour, and sadly Brent's last. Anyhow, at the end of the Dead show we realized we were in NO shape to drive... probably for a few days. So, we left our car at RFK stadium in Washington DC over night. You see where this is going, right? Bad idea, needless to say. It was broken into and all of our shit was stolen out of it. Anyhow, the reason for this tale is that I was sent alone to retrieve the car at get back to the hotel in Chevy Chase (a suburb outside DC). Well, I got lost and it took me 4 hours to get back to the hotel. Funny thing was, I totally had a Chevy Chase moment. I passed the White House like 6 times that day. It was like 'Hey kids, Big Ben... Parliament'. Plus, I was in a stick and didn't know how to drive stick (I figured it out by the end of the trip though). Also, this being way before the advent of cell phones... I had no way to phone ahead to the hotel to say "help, I am terribly lost", or "help, I can't drive stick", or "help, the car has been broken into and they broke all the windows and stole our shit." Regardless, it was the best trip ever.

2. Who taught you how to drive?

My older brothers mostly. Also, we paid for a supplemental high school after school class called 'behind the wheel'. This was where a teacher with clearly low ambition took us around town as an instructor a few times. The beauty of that was, when I went to the DMV as I was 16... I just handed them my 'behind the wheel' certificate and I passed! I didn't have to do the written or driving test. But mostly, it was my wonderful and tolerant brothers who I love more than anything and raised me themselves. That being said, my lawyer has advised me not to speak about them or the case until it is settled.

That reminds me, remember the movies they used to show to get us to wear seatbelts? 'Blood on the Highway', 'The Streets run Red', 'Steve loses an arm again'. I would bet they don't show stuff like that anymore. I bet the kids are protected from such totally disturbing imagery. Oh well, it worked. I always wear my seatbelt.

3. Cars: first, current and pie-in-the-sky future?

First was a 1977 Toyota Celica (the year was about 1988). I had saved up the requisite $1200 from working at fast food. I worked at Jack in the Box and KFC. - Current - I just bought a truck last weekend, believe it or not. For years I had Toyota Tacomas, but in order to drag our horsey around I needed a much bigger truck. I got a Ford F250 Turbo Diesel Superduty. Pie in the sky future car? The Moller Skycar, duh! *sidenote - that is not a photoshop job. This is a real life flying car you can buy.

4. Napster/Kazaa/Filesharing: A crime or the Best Thing Ever?

A good deal of both. When I was younger (about four years ago) I had this noble defense about downloading. It was about stickin' to the man and teaching the industry a lesson. Artists only make about 40 to 50 cents per CD sold. The rest goes to lawyers and suits and stuff. I figured it was OK to steal from them since they were stealing from the artists.

That being said, I have wisened up, and I know it is just stealing. There is no sense rationalizing it, we are stealing the hard work and creative love of the artists. That being said, I still totally do it. I just feel worse about it when I do. Specifically, I use Kazaa lite. I don't do it much though. In total I have probably downloaded about 100 songs I'd say. Mostly, I use Kazaa to steal software and download p0rn (again, only when necessary). It is wonderful, and at this very second I am listening to 'Killer of Giants' from Ozzy Osbourne. It was downloaded just minutes ago, I have been on an Ozzy kick the last week or so. This is such a complex issue though, I could bore you way more than I already have.

5. You've just inherited $35 million dollars. Show me how you'd spend it.

Normally I'd make a joke about hookers and blow here. However, to be totally honest I am in a different and more secure place in life. After volunteering with the Red Cross and watching them struggle to make ends meet, I see where the money can really do some good. Also, our President called Amnesty International 'annoying' for calling out the numerous human rights violations. Also, I know Parker is struggling to replace... yeah - it would be hookers and blow. Don't give me that look, you know I totally share.

Tuesday, June 7

Radio, the way you want

Just kidding, you robots.

There is a new trend in radio being reported. They say the widespread use of iPod's has changed the way people listen to music. Only just weeks ago, apparently all Americans like one very specific type of music and were dead loyal to it. However, apparently American's went out and got iPods and realized they could listen to different types and genres of music and still somehow enjoy each. Now, as someone who freely skips between Megadeth and James Taylor... I might have told you this years ago. However, it appears I was the only one for sometime.

So the radio industry has heard your calls (or, lack of) and decided to tell you they are going to mix up that corporate staid rock model and change the rules. This is akin to when your boss takes off his tie in some effort to pretend he is a regular guy with regular concerns... just like you.

It's lies and bullshit, my friends.... and everything you would expect from Clear Channel. Gee, a random mix of suckitude all the way from Phil Collins to Billy Joel. These assclowns who have been jamming Good Charlotte and Hootie down your face don't care what you want to listen to at all. It's an image game. Watch, I can do it too!

Here is my new radio station promo:
New slogan "dude, here at KRCT* we're fuckin' nuts! Seriously, bro. We locked the old man in the basement and now it's just crazy Larry and me on the mike all day. I think I am gonna say Booger. There it is, I did it, bro... because this is your station now." Get it? It's crap, the same crap that every single morning zoo has been feeding you for 30 years. I loved it when I was young. Dave Pratt woke up with me every day and Mary McCann was there when I went to bed. They were friends... well, better friends than you anyway. My point being, it will be the same old shit, just slightly repackaged. Amazingly, the radio industry is one business that has never seemed to be customer focused... and never paid the price.

* KRCT - did you catch that? It phonetically spells 'Correct', just like the site name. Oh, really? Well, since you are SO great and SO clever why don't you just start your own site and be the envy of three guys I know like I am!

for example

Today I was shopping with Renee and saw 'Coke, Zero. It is some diet Coke, with zero calories. I hadn't seen it before, and thanks to my DVR I haven;t watched a commercial in months. Anyhow, in order to respond to the diet and low carb craze we now have on the market:

coke diet coke diet coke w/ Splenda C2 (half the cabs of reg Coke) Coke Zero

That is indeed pretty responsive to market trends. Frankly, I am impressed. Here is what the geniuses behind the new programming for radio offer instead:

Our slogan is `Playing What We Want,' so there is no off-limits artists," he said. The station won't, however, be taking requests

Dig that, they won't be taking requests. Finally a radio station is willing to listen to my needs and desires as a consumer and not take my calls?

Seriously, was that a typo? This is how Clear Channel and Inifinty apologize to me for Loverboy and the Spin Doctors? Hmmm, they are right about one thing... that iPod sure is sounding like a better idea every minute.