Goodbye, Blue Sky

Some images from the Tuesday in the Park show by The Machine at Artpark. I took my british rock loving son up to hear/see the Machine. Artpark is a beautiful place to see a show. If I had my druthers, I’d be heading up to see Buddy Guy and Robert Randolph to cap the week, but my wallet had other ideas. It was a nice sized crowd that into the music in a great setting. The changes from the free days of a few years ago caught me off a bit, but we had a good time




The Machine does a real good job aping the Floyd sound, so if you are into Pink Floyd at all, and apparently about 8000 of us were, it’s worth taking the jaunt up. Something about the laser show by the gorge and good sounding music, along with the festival of people watching (apparently a lot of us got our Pink Floyd shirts from Amazon or Target).


The guy with the yellow sign was condemning us all to eternal damnation with scripture, still not sure what the offense was, but the folks in front of me stumped him with some quotes of their own. It’s sort of reassuring that uddering the “Devil made me do it” can befuddle our sign waver. He’s condemned me at enough events that I should get frequent flier miles on my way to damnation.


Nice night….


Clap for the Soundman

My son has a thing for old british rock, queen, beatles, etc. And that is pretty cool. To hear some live, through the generosity of a good friend, we took in the show the Buffalo Philharmonic did last year with a rock band celebrating Pink Floyd and it was a lot of fun. Later, we checked in on their collaboration on music of the Who. I think this is a little sneaky for me. He gets to hear some radio hits, (me, too, who we kidding) but a little exposure to just how great the BPO is as well. I know some of these pieces can’t be tremendously challenging for the Orchestra members. There are a number of instances with other orchestras where the music reduced the orchestra to back ups or the sound wasn’t done well enough to hear all parties. A collaboration between the actual Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony had some patrons running for the exit.

But the BPO and the music of Led Zeppelin was a treat. Like any kid of the 70s, I’ve always like them, and to my surprise, the lad did too. The nice part of this is given the number of elements in the Zeppelin records, there was room for a very real collaboration between the rock combo doing the job and the orchestra. In my mind, the real star after the great performances was that of the sound crew at Kleinhans. Mixing all those elements can be a tall order, but the folks at the board last night did nice work.

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It was a nice view, great sound, and no “bustle in your hedgerow”, so I wasn’t alarmed. The son? He thinks the orchestra rocks and if they do Queen, we’re there.

Mother, did it need to be so high?

Let me be upfront. I like beer just fine, beer before a concert, especially on a day like yesterday, hells yeah, a pint or two is fine thing. But when you are paying at minimum of $100 for a seat at Roger Waters‘ performance of “The Wall” I think I’d be less enarmored of the $8.00 cans of whatever to see more of the show. Maybe I’m just jealous as a lot of these folks seems really well financed. Jeff Miers of the Buffalo News wrote about the show here and I got to agree, it is astounding production of one of the last big albums that rock fans think of as a whole. It’s just too bad most folks didn’t see the first few songs as people were still streaming in during the big hit “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II.” Now, Mr. Waters’ team comes with an announcer beckoning people to take their seats, but much like the Sabres’ intermission bell, it didn’t get taken overly serious (these folks learned for the intermission).

(from the Buffalo News)

I was ushering last night and foolishly suspected that both at the price point and the fact the Wall came out 33 years ago, things might be on the sedate side. A few young hipsters prove that wrong, unleashing a technicolor yawn over some poor folks. After reconciling that customer service problem, I was a little more able to take in the spectacle. If you have the means, by all means, take it in. That album chocked with alienation referenced that we all had a copy of lends its music to a number of messages from current events all these years later.

While watching Waters and the show command the bulk of the attention, it amused me to see that despite the price tag, despite the attempts at musical profundity on stage, despite the high costs (let’s be honest) of things in the arena, a lot of folks at during the show wanderlust. I’m figuring for those bucks for tickets, convenience fees, etc, I’m seeing the damn thing. It’s interesting to me that there is a population that will be lots of $ to “be there.”

Wish I had that kind of money.

It was a great concert, you should have seen it.


A few years ago, the remaining members of Led Zeppelin got together for a one-off show in London. All sounded great and greedy tour promoters started guestimating about the crapload of potential profits (and yes, crapload is a unit of measure….for the moment).

I can imagine the other band capable of causing a caniption across Live Nation would be Pink Floyd. I saw Roger Waters perform the Wall in 2010 when it first came to Buffalo and amazingly, it and he return Thursday Night. It is an astounding show, not a conventional rock concert. If you have the means, I recommend it. Of Course, if you have the means to swing these tickets, I just want to be your friend as I think the lower bowl is close to $200 a pop.

Glad I’m getting paid to be there

We Got to Get Out of this Place

It’s funny. We don’t agree on much. That seems to extend on to music and something occurred to me while listening to Bruce Springsteen’s address to the Austin SXSW Music Conference last week. He quoted Lester Bangs‘ writing about how Elvis might have been the last thing for rock fans to agree on as things splintered. This came to mind as a college radio colleague of mine posted some thoughts on “Wrecking Ball,” the latest Springsteen record and thoughtfully spoke on the great moments on the album, but the album wasn’t an “album” in the sense we old farts are used to seeing.

Now, longtime readers, all both of you, might notice Bruce is a favorite of mine. With the ipod being a standard home appliance, I wonder if the album has been replaced by the collection. I have to temper this thought with the idea that artists change. It’s not realistic to expect a 62 year old Springsteen to create a Born to Run once more. That moment of capturing light in a bottle is what makes those records so special in the first place. It’s great that he and the E Streeters play so well, but things get different with time. I didn’t particularly care for his last record and it was sort of a collection of songs. That isn’t a bad thing, but it felt like a bad snack. There were a couple of moments, a few songs I liked and a few, I flipping hated. “Queen of the Supermarket,” Boss? Really?

Anyway, the truimphs trump the flops and that’s about all you can ask for. I don’t know how I feel about his new album as a whole. I agree with my friend Dave in that I’ve found some nice moments, don’t know if they are part of a larger context. Through the generousity of a friend, I took my son to hear the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra tackle the music of Pink Floyd. That show opened with a complete retelling of the Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon.” That was telling because I think given how many of us have record collections that fit in our pockets now, I wonder how many performances like that are out there waiting to happen. The more Ipods we’ve got, the more we listen like we’re still collecting 45s

Anyway, here’s the master class:

“So rumble, young musicians, rumble. Open your ears and open your hearts. Don’t take yourself too seriously, and take yourself as seriously as death itself. Don’t worry. Worry your ass off. Have unclad confidence, but doubt. It keeps you awake and alert. Believe you are the baddest ass in town — and you suck! It keeps you honest. Be able to keep two completely contradictory ideals alive and well inside of your heart and head at all times. If it doesn’t drive you crazy, it will make you strong. And stay hard, stay hungry and stay alive. And when you walk on stage tonight to bring the noise, treat it like it’s all we have — and then remember it’s only rock ‘n’ roll.”

Great Gig in the Sky

So, if you are into music at all, there are some recordings we all seemed to have. You might not remember how they appeared, you just know you had them, in a variety of formats. Growing up in the suburbs in the late 70s, regular forays to the Twin Fair record racks, Cavages, and even the old Record Theater (remember the apples?) were part of the fabric.

It seems like some recordings just popped up with my crowd: Hotel California, Led Zeppelin ll and IV, One for the Road, Who’s Next, Rumours, among others all seemed to set the foundation for everybody’s record collection. And then there was Dark Side of the Moon. I wasn’t really into Pink Floyd too much as a teenager. They were always pretty omnipresent on rock radio. It took me a while to acquire the taste. I dutifully got my copies of Dark Side and the Wall, and eventually Animals and Wish You Were Here, but they didn’t seem to go into heavy rotation in terms of stuff I listened to alot. But they did seemingly get repurchased.

In 1987, I acquired my first cd player and responded to this acquisition by running out to get a copy of Sgt. Pepper‘s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Dark side of the Moon. As my stereo equipment improved over the years, I can occasionally hear something, but I’ve never been one to purchase remasterings, new editions, what have you unless there was something especially compelling.

Until last night, I opened up the Itunes store to see the house that Jobs built trumpeting the Pink Floyd immersion series. These are expansively detail repackages of all the best known Floyd material with a lot of surplus extras.

It is the extras that intrigue me. I didn’t go for buying yet another copy of Dark Side, but hearing the guys who made the record perform it in a 1974 was too intriguing to pass up.

Fun to hear such familiar songs performed mostly live while the band was still together and before “Money” “Time” and the rest became such staples, and before the band imploded.

It’s the little things like that make you reach “Behind the Music” and realize that there is some good stuff there. I’m glad Itunes didn’t go all “album only” for once to make it easier to hear some true oddities.

“Oh Me, Oh My”

So, summer is winding down. I hate that. I guess all seasons have to, but for whatever reason, Winter seems like to loiter like a bad party guest, rummaging for more dip in the fridge when you just want to go up to bed. My informal exercise program this summer has included laps of the Erie Basin Marina and the Central Wharf. It was interesting to note the stage for the concerts was away for a time before returning for the last stand this weekend. I’ve partaken in the local outdoor shows with greater abandon this year and I’ve had a lot of fun doing it. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword. Some arrive for the music, some arrive to just be there, and some just arrive.

While there are already a couple of nice indoor shows coming up for this music buff, the Great Big Sea show is something I’ve been looking forward to since June and somewhat of a curtain closer as well.

I like a good fun band outside, but the idea that one last trip to Artpark for the Machine’s Pink Floyd tribute show might need a jacket is an idea that I’m not quite adjusted to yet.

I know, anticipation of fall is a beautiful thing, but I just want one more beach trip or two in, before we call it a season.

Run Like Hell

Roger Waters is a freaking genius. His current tour of The Wall is a sight. I was in the audience for the Buffalo stop and it was a a complete show, literally, flawless sound, the erection and destruction of the Wall, complete with updated graphics from the old Pink Floyd animator. The first view of the model airplane crashing into the “Wall” served notice that this wasn’t just any rock concert. This wasn’t a rock concert in the traditional sense as the performance was of just the entirety of The Wall, the legendary Pink Floyd album created by Waters. It was one of those albums that we all had, but there was no sense of nostalgia in the playing of the 30 year old album as a performance piece.

The show was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

From waiting for the “Construction” to the performances of songs that are so familar

Comfortably Numb

In the end, the Wall did come down, but it was a glorious end. Even my Iphone had a good time.

This video is from Boston a few nights ago, but it gives you an idea

Great show, catch the tour if you can.

Musical Comfort Food

One of the more interesting games for me floating around facebook was to see what your Ipod reveals about your tastes when left to its own devices. It’s made the rounds a few times and a good friend of mine with considerable musical acumen posted it again, I gave it a go. You let your Ipod shuffle and see what the first 10 stops are. Here’s what I got:

10) Code of Silence – Bruce Springsteen
9) Don’t Drink the Water — Dave Matthews Band
8) Tore Down a la Rimbaud — Van Morrison
7) Breakfast at Tiffany’s — Deep Blue Something
6) Good-Bye — Frank Sinatra… See More
5) Drive My Car — Beatles
4) Exquisitely Bored — Pete Townshend
3) Beautiful Day — U2
2) Quarter to Three — Bruce Springsteen
1) My Sweet Lord — Billy Preston

I don’t think that really says much of anything, but it did get me thinking about musical comfort food. Your Ipod is sentient. Hence the title, here. Your favorites are your favorites for no definable reason. They just “do it” for you. I mused about that in an early blog, but the opposite side of that is rediscovering stuff that you may have taken for granted since some stations never stopped playing them.

Never been a huge Pink Floyd fan, but I went on a pretty serious Itunes bender not too long ago, thinking what a great guitar solo at the end of “Money.”

Got a Crowded House ticket and it made me wax poetic for some of the fixtures of my college radio station, well, not too much, as we really didn’t need the actual safety dance to come back.