Friday, July 13, 2012

"The Smell Of The Crowd" : THE WEEKEND MIX

30 years ago this August. I saw Rickie Lee Jones at Pier 82 in N.Y.C. reduce thousands of people to mush with her heartbreaking version of "My Funny Valentine." That moment became my favorite live moment for a long time.  Then, it was Elvis Costello for 5 nights on Broadway in 1986 which to this day, might still be the greatest live experiences of my concert-going life. I won't ever forget the Black Crowes just 10 days after 9/11, where a packed house at the Beacon Theatre just didn't know if it was alright to be there. (It was.) Or Wilco, just a few days after that at Town Hall, with Jeff Tweedy fighting back tears but still delivering a powerhouse show. But what about Bruce's performance of "The River" in its entirety just a few years ago? Holy moly!

Nothing will take the place of being there, but I thought I'd put together a baker's dozen of my favorite live performances anyway. Three have been featured before and one has been featured a few times. (I spared all of you the live version of "Celebration Day" from a 1971 concert by Led Zeppelin. I think I've posted that a Burning Wood record of 7 times. I do love it.)


Yeah, the Steely Dan kicks ass, but it's all about the intro, courtesy of the band's completely blotto tour bus driver.

The Beatles track from Stockholm, 1964, usually shuts up the annoying snobs who think Ringo wasn't a good drummer.

Bag Of Soup was a one-off, or possibly a three or four-off, that featured Jules Shear, Marshall Crenshaw, and Graham Maby. This cover is from the Victoria Williams Benefit that took place at Tramps in N.Y.C., 1997.

Clapton's track is from MSG, 2007. I have a vivid memory of some friends giving me the asshole because I was excited about seeing Eric live. They had been bored by this point. I was too, but with his records, not his concerts and especially not his guitar playing. I played this for them, and they shut up for a little bit.

The Jeff Buckley cover of one of Elton John's best ballads, might be from a WFMU broadcast. I don't remember.

Bowie is from the BBC, with the great Earl Slick.

"Kitty's Back" is from the historic ESB performance on Conan O'Brien.

Booker is from Montreux. (Truly, my favorite thing ever.)

"Just One Victory" closed out every Todd/Utopia concert from 1973 through 1982 or 1983. It's an anthem and it's big.

Sound quality varies. Sorry. Call Eddie Offord if you can't deal.

At press time, I realized I left out one very important song, "Cumberland Blues" by the Grateful Dead, recorded at Harpur College on 5/2/70. For years I resisted the Dead, partly due to the FM radio onslaught of studio songs like "Casey Jones," "Truckin'," and "Shakedown Street," which even the truest Dead fans will admit, do not represent what this band can do. It also wasn't helpful to be force fed 30 minute long versions of "Dark Star" on cassette tapes that needed to be rewound with a pencil by some of the most obnoxious music fans I have ever come across in my lifetime.  It was only after I heard the acoustic, bluegrass showdown of "Cumberland Blues" that I understood the genius of Garcia's playing. That one song was enough to turn me around. And now I can say, I am a fan.  Here it is. I know most won't even bother to listen, and that's okay. But I feel better that it is here.

You have a fave live moment?


Bodhisattva- Steely Dan
Roll Over Beethoven- The Beatles
She May Call You Up Tonight- Richard Thompson
Carrie Anne- The Hollies
The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore- Bag Of Soup
I Shot The Sheriff- Eric Clapton
We All Fall In Love Sometimes- Jeff Buckley
Poor Elijah/Tribute To Robert Johnson- The Black Crowes
You've Got A Friend- Donny Hathaway
Stay- David Bowie
Kitty's Back- Bruce & The ESB
True- James Booker
Just One Victory- Todd Rundgren's Utopia



iggy said...

Thanks Sal. The weekend just got much more attractive. Nice selection.


Eric said...

Excited to hear this. Jeff Buckley also covered "Curtains" on a separate occasion. Someone a while back joined the two songs. Transcendent. Thanks for the Mix.

jeff k said...

great list, thanks so much. Favorite live moments? Hmm, I'm sure a bunch will come to mind later. The first is one I've only seen on TV: James Brown at the TAMI show. But the second two I remember vividly. A whole row of folks reduced to tears by Clarence's solo on "Jungleland," (Madison Square Garden, Thanksgiving night 1980) and sitting in Central Park for the Simon and Garfunkel show and Paul Simon playing "The Late Great Johnny Ace" for the first time. What were there 100,000 people there? And there was absolute silence at least all around us.

jeff k said...

See? I'm an idiot. One more. In 1970, the Uniondale Mini-Cinema on Long Island began showing the Marx Brothers movies regularly. As far as I can recall, that began the great Marx revival, and my friends and I saw all of them many times over.

It all culminated with Groucho appearing for a solo at Carnegie Hall, I think in February 1972. All the hotshots were there. I, only a high school senior and not the hotshot I am today, was there too, way up in one of the highest balconies. But it was a very very sad evening. It was as if everyone in the audience had come to say goodbye. He was just so old, and mostly he read from his book "Groucho and Me."

Then two things happened. He made a crack about Nixon, and some asshole yelled out, "Well, why don't you stop the war." And suddenly there was the old Groucho, and he snapped right back, "I am. I'm voting for McGovern." The audience roared with delight. A few minutes later, and I suppose this is why it is relevant to a music site, Marvin Hamlisch played the opening lines to "Lydia the Tattooed Lady," and Groucho started to sing which was great but at the end he started to do what little of the swiveling dance he did in "At the Circus" he could, just like the old vaudeville performer he was. While he did it, his face lit up. Maybe it was just for five seconds but I can still picture it perfectly, and that little bit turned a sorrowful evening into a delight.

Jeff Matthews said...

The Clash, 1979, Harvard Square Theater, opening with "I'm So Bored with the USA". Bo Diddley was the opening act.

Robin said...

One concert moment came to mind for whatever reason. I went to see Linda Ronstadt and the Neville Bros at Jones Beach, this was when Linda had done the record w/Aaron featured prominently. We were a bit late, Neville's were on first (as always they were fantastic, and Linda's voice is really impressive live, I believe there was a full moon too, it was perfect). We walked in to the the stunning sounds of Aaron Neville singing "Tell It Like It Is", he was in amazing voice that night, and to hear him first on such a beautiful evening, outdoors, with a gorgeous south shore breeze carrying it along was just heaven, the beauty took me by surprise, hit me like a tidal wave. I'll always cherish hearing that voice, that song, at that moment, that way. Tks for the mix.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, great stuff!

Anonymous said...

Mckenna Mendelson Mainline supporting Frijid Pink. mainline were sensational and Frijik Pink were booes off the stage and Mainline dropped from the bill for being too good.



Jerry Lee said...

Dave Alvin with The Skeletons as his band and the opening act at JC Dobbs in Philly, early '80's. Dave's usually pretty serious, but he really lightened up with The Skeletons. Great rock 'n roll show.

Eric said...

1- the clash@Worchester, Mass.."complete london calling" opening side..81'
2)placemats@Fillmore san fran w/Bob Stinson playing Tim album in diapers for both sets 86'
3)boss-red rocks, 78'
4)blondie-hurrah's...X@danceteria 78'

#1-B--- pfunk,80'@apollo
elvis c... 1st usa tour, boulder, colorado 78

smashing pumps, Hollywood palladium 93'

jesus and mary chain ventura 90's... and

stones@MSG 1/20/2006

A walk in the woods said...

GREAT idea for a post. I can't believe I haven't ever made myself a mix on this topic before... OK, I'm starting on that this morning.

Looking forward to hearing your mix. OK, for me, here are some of my very favorite concert memories - focused mostly on individual songs that just blew me away. (Rather than whole shows, per se)

- Throwing Muses, 1987, Athens Ga: opened with "Garoux Des Larmes," aMAZing

- Alex Chilton, 2000, Atlanta: opened with "Never Found A Girl Like You"

- Television, 1993, Atlanta: when they played "Marquee Moon" it was one of my best concert experiences

- War, 1995, Atlanta: they played "Deliver The Word," could not believe it

- Iggy Pop & Janes Addiction, 1988, Atlanta - still my best single concert ever. Steve Jones on guitar.

- Paul Simon - 1987, Atlanta, Graceland tour. The most musical show I've ever seen - as far as high-level musicians.

- Kidd Jordan - 2002, Jazz Fest, New Orleans - some guy painted a painting while Kidd played, and my friend Steve & I still swear that the time-space continuum was breached during that performance. Trancendent.

- Aretha Franklin, 1993, Atlanta - when she played "Day Dreaming" it was a dream come true.

- Warren Zevon, 1992, Atlana - "Lawyers Guns & Money" - possibly the best single rock performance I've ever heard.

- Charlie Louvin, 2009, Atlanta - got to meet him. Hearing him and his band harmonize on "You're Runnin' Wild" still gives chills.

- Abbey Lincoln, 2002, Atlanta Jazz Fest - she opened with "Another World" and I still get chills thinking about it. Probably my favorite non-rock live performance ever.

richeye said...

Best live moment on record for me... Small Faces covering If I Were A Carpenter on Autumn Stone. Best live moment in person? Very tough to call, but I would have to give it to a private day spent in early autumn 1975 listening to Bob Dylan run through almost every song had ever written over about 14 hours. Only a handful of people present... all in preparation for what became the Rolling Thunder Revue.

Virginia Ormerod said...

Great post and thank you for all the effort on your blog.
True by Booker is fantastic. I. too saw alot of Todd/Utopia shows in the late 70s and love Just One Victory as well.
My fave live moment on record must be Intro/Sweet Jane from RocknRoll Animal. I still remember a buddy playing it from his big brothers collection and not telling me who it was. I may have bought it since in every configuration it has been out.
My fave moment live in person has to be 2000 Light Years From Home from the Steel Wheels tour before the internet so I did not know the setlist and being blown away by them playing such a deep track. Chills still... cheers

Todd said...

My moment...
Butch Walker's encore during the "Letters" tour at HoB at Disneyland. After an incredible show, Butch had everyone sit down on the floor in a circle. He jumped off the stage with his guitar, stood in the midst of the audience and did an incredible, almost hymn-like, version of his "One Day at a Time." It was literally hair-raising.