Friday, June 29, 2007

Levon Helm Band: In the Park

"ev'rything that dies someday comes back..."

Levon Helm Band
Atlantic City
Central Park Summerstage
New York, NY
June 28, 2007

View the video

A full review and more videos to come . . .

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Newsflash: The Beatles Were Good

Surviving Beatles Paul and Ringo took part in a rare joint interview on last night's "Larry King Live." The former "moptops" discussed topics such as Cirque du Soleil's Love, the deaths of John and George and their rise to fame from Hamburg to the U.S.

Although we've heard these stories countless times, listening to these guys speak "live" never gets old. Makes me feel kinda bad for bashing Paul's "Freedom..."

Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono were also present for portions of the interview.

For clips from last night's interview, click here

10 Questions With Mark West

Every big city has its little secrets. New York City, is no exception. One of those secrets hides out in the grittier part of town. Although he wouldn't disclose where he lives, he considers Manhattan's West Village his real home. Ironically (or not), his name is Mark West.

If you've ever hung out in the W. Village, chances are you've brushed shoulders with him. If lucky enough, maybe you've caught a glimpse of him on stage at the famed Back Fence doing sick renditions of Bill Withers or Wilson Pickett. He is the Rick Danko of Bleecker Street; a gifted unknown just trying to make a living; a true jack of all trades.

Last night, after three pints of Sierra Nevada, I finally mustered up enough courage to approach Mr. West and request a short question/answer session. Somewhat suspicious, I promised West that The Weight was a "website for people who like good music, really." So, after some minor prodding on my part, he finally agreed. Now this was no Scorsese on Robbie Robertson, but it'll have to do...

Ten Questions with Mark West:

Q: Where were you born/raised?
A: New York City and Dutchess County.

Q: What instruments do you play?
A: Bass, guitar, piano, but I mainly consider myself a vocalist.

Q: How did you get started playing music?
A: Definitely from my family. I came from a very musical family.

Q: What type of music did you listen to growing up?
A: Rock, soul, jazz and old country.

Q: Influences (obligatory question)?
A: George Jones, Lefty Frizzell, and old Kenny Rogers.

Q: What are you listening to these days?
A: Stevie Wonder and Al Green.

Q: If you could request one song from Vinnie Ferrone, what would it be?
A: "Ballad of a Thin Man" or anything by The Monkees.

Q: Best and worst part about playing in the W. Village?
A: Best part is definitely the nice people that hang out around here. Worst part is being secluded from the rest of society.

Q: Where can I find you on any given night in the City?
A: Playing with Vinnie Ferrone, Tom Riccobono, Greg Aulden and/or
Anthony Raffa.

Q: If I could buy you a drink (which he declined), what would it be?
A: Bourbon -- straight.

Old clip of Mark West (right) @ Kenny's Castaways in NYC

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Verve to Reunite!

I'm a lucky man. Today, it has been annouced that UK rockers The Verve, fronted by leadman Richard Ashcroft, are getting back together. If you don't know them at all, or only know them from their mega-smash Bittersweet Symphony, you should absolutely listen to the rest of their catalog. And fortuntely for us, this is a REAL reunion of all of the original members. Take that Billy Corgan. I hope they're coming to the States.

The Verve Reunite For Tour

Richard Ashcroft and co write new songs. The Verve are set to reunite for a winter tour. The original band of Richard Ashcroft, Nick McCabe,Simon Jones and Pete Sailsbury have got together for the first time in almost a decade. In a statement, the band have announced they were: "Getting back together for the joy of the music." It is believed they will take a summer break and then return to the studio to complete their next album. The band broke up in 1999, with the tumultuous relationship between Ashcroft and McCabe being well documented with the two exiting the band repeatedly since they began in 1993. The band are set to play:

Glasgow Academy (November 2,3)
Blackpool Empress Ballroom (5,6)
London Roundhouse (8,9)

Tickets are set to go on sale on July 6.

Source: NME

Lucky Man

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Cool Colorado Rain

I returned to Rocky Mountain National Park this past weekend, almost two years since I'd last trekked to the great state of Colorado for 2 nights of Phil and Friends featuring Ryan Adams. I didn't see any live music on this trip, except for an impressively talented wedding band that put forth its take on tunes by The Beatles, Bill Withers, The Meters, P-Funk, and others. Returning to the Rockies brought back many memories of the "Phil Shows" I'd seen in 2005 at the Denver Fillmore and Red Rocks. Despite the controversial reviews that followed those shows, I found them to be excellent concerts, with Ryan Adams helping to take the songs in directions that Phil and his rotating cast of friends hadn't gone in before (or since). Ryan has clearly impacted Phil more than any other artist out there in the last few years, given the astonishing number of times Phil has chosen to cover his songs, both with and without Mr. Adams in attendance.

I highly recommend taking some time to listen to this 7/15/05 set from Phil Lesh, Ryan Adams, Jimmy Herring, Rob Barraco, Barry Sless, and Jeff Sipe at Red Rocks. It was a beautiful night and featured some beautiful music.

And yes, it did rain a bit this weekend...and it was cool.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sir Wilbury

You got to love the Brits. From

The Traveling Wilburys' "Collection" (Rhino/Warner Bros.), a compilation of the erstwhile supergroup's two original studio albums and other material, enters at No. (freaking) 1 in the U.K.

The Wilburys' albums had been unavailable for many years, and the chart-topping debut is aided by a deluxe edition featuring a DVD with videos and a documentary. The achievement is all the more remarkable considering the band's "Volume 1" album only reached No. 16 in 1988, while "Volume 3" hit No. 14 in 1990.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ryan Adams Talks of Addictions

Why is it that the most talented ones are the most vulnerable to drugs? Here's to hoping that creative genius Ryan Adams doesn't become a headline in the vein of Elliot Smith and Shannon Hoon.

The singer, who is set to release his new album 'Easy Tiger' on June 25, has said that he was regularly taking a combination of lethal drugs before he got clean last year.

He said: "I snorted heroin a lot - with coke. I did speedballs every day for years. And took pills. And then drank. And I don't mean a little bit. I always outdid everybody...It's a miracle I did not die.

"I was running the risk of becoming one of those people who talks to himself all the time. I was about to walk over this line that there was no coming back from, and I could feel it. I was seeing ghosts and hearing stuff. Having horrible nightmares.

"I was creating as much distance from people as possible so that, in the event that something terrible happened, it wouldn't hurt them."

Adams did not enter a rehab facility - instead he went cold turkey and now occasionally attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, reports New York Times.

Source: NME

Bonnaroo 2007 - Day 3

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bonnaroo Superjam 2007

We waited almost two hours under The Other Tent, after leaving Tool's set early, for the midnight Superjam featuring former Led Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones, Roots drummer ?uestlove, and lap steel extraordinaire Ben Harper. Within seconds of the power trio starting their set, the crowd, spilling well outside of the covered structure, knew that their long wait had paid off handsomely. They came out firing and never let down until the final notes were played. Songs performed included 'When the Levee Breaks', 'Good Times Bad Times', 'Dazed and Confused' and Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition', with a Cissy Strut (The Meters) tease thrown in for good measure. Numbers were extended, with each member of this one-off supergroup taking solos and improvising throughout these well known classics. Smiles were traded all around on stage, with Ben, John, and ? clearly having a blast.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Getting Worse All The Time

Always outspoken Oasis co-frontman, Noel Gallagher recently criticized Razorlight and Kaiser Chiefs for their "embarassing" renditions of the Sgt. Pepper's tunes they covered for an upcoming Radio 2 special.

According to Gallagher, "it [watching them perform] was embarassing. I was embarassed for them." Harsh as it may sound, I suppose if anyone were to judge the quality of Beatles' cover songs, Noel and/or Liam are probably the best candidates for the job.

As for Noel and the boys, they opted for George Harrison's "Within You Without You." I can't help but wonder which member will be manning the tabla...

The tribute will air on Radio 2 on June 16th.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Unsteady Eddie

After a sad turn of events, long time Baltimore Oriole and L.A. Dodger Eddie Murray, was fired today as the Dodger's hitting coach. Perhaps Peter Angelos can find a spot on the O's roster for the 8-time All-Star and Hall of Famer...

In the meantime, maybe Eddie should look for work in Vegas starring in a Billy Preston revival act...

For the full article, click here

Billy Preston w/ Ringo Starr (left); Eddie Murray w/ Gary Carter (right)

In The Spotlight

The Last Waltz Ensemble
State Theatre
Falls Church, VA
June 10, 2007

On November 25, 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, Martin Scorsese directed the filming of the last concert by the original members of The Band. Known as The Last Waltz, he captured their now legendary performance with seven state of the art 35 mm cameras manned by some of the best cinematographers in film. On June 10, 2007 at the State Theatre in Falls Church, VA, I attended a performance by The Last Waltz Ensemble, armed with a four year old Canon 3.2 mega pixel digital camera, paper and pen, and an increasing excitement to witness some of my favorite songs performed live in concert.

On that fateful Thanksgiving night, Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, and Richard Manuel were joined on stage by some of the greatest musicians and singers in rock n’ roll history, many of whom they had befriended over the course of their short historic career, including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, and Joni Mitchell. The ensuing live album and concert movie, which were recorded that night in San Francisco, have gone on, along with the studio album ‘Music From Big Pink’, to become the standout artifacts from The Band’s musical output. It has amassed and inspired countless fans and musicians. This includes the members of Atlanta-based, The Last Waltz Ensemble. Much like Dark Star Orchestra has done for The Grateful Dead, The Machine for Pink Floyd, and The Fab Faux for The Beatles, performing the songs of another artist without the stereotypical “tribute band” baggage, these musicians prove on a regular basis that they have the talent to bring in fans both for the songs they interpret and the tremendous musical talent they bring to the table themselves. The Last Waltz Ensemble does this for The Band. And their formation is highly welcome by me and, once word spreads about how good their live show is, countless other Band fans who will soon be lining up for the same opportunity.

As someone who never got to see The Band live, I was more than excited to read that The Last Waltz Ensemble was coming to the State Theatre. Having discovered The Last Waltz film upon viewing it for the first time on VHS in 1997, and at this point after many viewings, I would consider myself to be more than a fan and more than knowledgeable about its songs and history. I arrived last Sunday night ready to be critical of this band’s performance, but more so, I was ready to enjoy these songs that I’ve heard so many times performed in front of me for the first time.

With the pre-show music of Dr. John fading down and a crowd of people anticipating the start of the concert, the Last Waltz Ensemble walked out to their places, introduced themselves as being from Atlanta and introduced the first song as being by Bob Dylan. They began this first set with his “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” and I was instantly smiling, tapping my foot, and nodding my head in approval. For those of you scoring at home, this song was not performed at The Last Waltz. Despite their moniker, they do not only perform songs from The Last Waltz (although it is their primary pool of songs to choose from) and they do not perform every song from The Last Waltz each night. According to their website, they do have the entire night’s songs in their repertoire, but they pick and choose for each of their performances, which for me is just fine since I was not able to predict what their next song would be. On this night, featuring three guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and a keyboardist, it was quickly evident that The Last Waltz Ensemble was highly proficient musicians and great fans of the music they were playing. They were enjoying being on stage just as much as we were enjoying the concert from our tables in the crowd. I got the feeling that they would have had just as much fun and played with just as much passion if they were playing for each other in a garage. Highlights from the first set include Dr. John’s “Such A Night,” featuring keyboardist Jason Fuller’s spot on vocal impression of the Doctor’s raspy Cajun drawl, The Band’s own “The Weight” featuring four-part harmony from the Ensemble, and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” featuring a passionate solo by guitarist Benji Shanks.

After a short set break, the band returned to the stage and nailed one of my Last Waltz favorites, “Stage Fright.” Ensemble leader Kris “Jelly Roll” Gloer, in the Rick Danko role, sang this number eliciting the same vocal passion that is the song’s trademark. Jason aided with some nice piano fills and Benji stepped up again for a searing Robbie Robertson-like solo. This set also included a Last Waltz Ensemble original number that was surprisingly not out of place amongst the well known hits. It featured an organ-led intro, a well executed wah-wah guitar solo, and a catchy sing along chorus that was certainly inspired by Dylan and The Band. This set also contained the highlight of the show in “King Harvest.” Not featured in The Last Waltz movie, this song is one of my favorites in The Band’s catalog. Benji pulled out the slide for this tune, channeling Warren Haynes throughout, and the group closed out the song with an Allman Brothers-worthy climax and outro. The second set was completed with The Band’s best love song, “It Makes No Difference” and Little Richard’s “Slippin’ and Slidin'.”

While the group left the stage prior to the encore, the now raucous crowd was cheering, hollering, and calling out requests for those songs that we all knew were not yet played. “Mystery Train” got the most shout outs, but it would be “Don’t Do It” and “Caravan” that would get the nod. Guitarist Mark Kramer took lead vocals on this closing Van Morrison number, put in the needed energy, instructed us on turn up our radio, but inexcusably left out Van’s famous punctuating kicks! However minor, I consider this to be one of the lone faults of the entire performance. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Last Waltz Ensemble’s fully capable rhythm section in bassist Eric Reed and drummer Kevin Rutschman.

All in all, this ensemble met my expectations and then some.

Set 1:
Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You
Time To Kill
You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
Further On Up The Road
Such A Night
The Weight

Set 2:
Stage Fright
Caledonia Mission
The Shape I’m In
?? (Last Waltz Ensemble Original)
Up On Cripple Creek
King Harvest
It Makes No Difference
Slippin’ and Slidin’

Don’t Do It

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bill Simmons

I love Bill Simmons. He is the self-titled 'Sports Guy' on But this is no boring sports-only writer. He mixes his sports musings and analysis up with pop culture, what he ate for breakfast, what his dad and wife think about a variety of topics, and mixes in references to his buddies and all of their juvenile nicknames for each other.

The best thing Simmons does is take and answer mail from his readers and hold chats. Here is a classic from the latest online chat:

Heath (NY): No one has mentioned the one thing that bothered me most about Sopranos last night. The loser AJ destroys his SUV, and winds up with a brand new BMW M3. How does he wind up with that car? Tony should have at LEAST punished him by giving him a 1989 Hyundai or something, as a penalty for burning down the SUV and for being an all-around bum.

Bill Simmons: See, I loved that - AJ sold out his "principles" as soon as they offered him a movie job and a car. I'm gonna miss him. That reminds me, was there a bigger TV upset of this decade than Robert Iler turning into a competent actor and a pivotal member of the final season? This was like watching Craig Ehlo suddenly playing 2-guard on a potential Finals team.

The full chat is here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Weight Newsreel

Paul McCartney to play secret show tomorrow night (6/13) at NYC's Highline Ballroom. A limited number of free bracelets will be made available. I have a question, how the hell is it secret if I know about it. (NME)

The Beastie Boys will be playing their first ever show in Brooklyn this summer. I hope they drink lots of coffee. Oh come on, you know you get it. (NME)

Journey singer insisted on knowing 'Sopranos' finale before allowing song use. David Chase should have told him, gotten his permission, and then whacked him. (MTV News)

One In A Million...

Funny thing happened on my way back from Binghamton. As I neared the island of Manhattan and merged onto the Jersey Turnpike, I turned off my Ipod and flipped on the radio. The song that came on: "Don't Stop Believin'." It was eerie -- the ultimate coincidence. Or as Alabama 3 famously sang, one in a million. Keep in mind, it was less than 48 hours since Tony picked up that greasy onion ring and our tv screens unexepectedly turned black. Naturally, "Don't Stop" is now forever branded in our heads as our last cherished memory of The Sopranos (sorry Long Islanders -- it's moved up in the ranks from a cheesey karaoke standard). Not to mention, it was the first time I got chills from a Journey song. But it wasn't just Steve Perry and Neal Schon who haunted me -- it was the whole experience of being pissed off on the Turnpike, heading home, just like Tony had done every Sunday at 9:01 p.m. for the past eight years.

So I know I promised I wouldn't editorialize, but I will say one thing -- the more I watch "the episode," the more it grows on me. After a second viewing, I've decided that I like it more than ever. I mean, what did I really expect to happen? This is The Sopranos for God's Sake! Since when did anything on The Sopranos make you feel all warm inside? Never! That is why it was so great, so respected. Week after week, it challenged us to think outside the box; and the last episode was no different. Kudos to David Chase for not selling out to those who wanted everything tidied up neatly like it was the last episode of Dharma & Greg. And to think, people actually cancelled their HBO subscriptions over this -- are you kidding?? These must be the same folks who tune in weekly to "Deal, Or No Deal..." More the reason why HBO is sittin' on top of the world.


Mr. Wizard: Off to the Dry Ice Factory in the Sky

Pour a 'lil formaldehyde out. Mr. Wizard, who's last name apparently wasn't Wizard, passed away today. He will be missed.

Don Herbert, who as television's "Mr. Wizard" introduced generations of young viewers to the joys of science, died Tuesday. He was 89. Herbert, who had bone cancer, died at his suburban Bell Canyon home. (Associated Press)

David Chase Squeals from his Safe House

David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, hid out in France with his wife in order to avoid the media attention (and known public backlash, I think) of the end to his beloved series. In true Sopranos honor, with a nod to NJ which is also where Chase grew up, he granted one interview to the Newark Star Ledger.

Some excerpts:

"I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there," he says of the final scene.

"No one was trying to be audacious, honest to God," he added. "We did what we thought we had to do. No one was trying to blow people's minds or thinking, 'Wow, this'll (tick) them off.'

"People get the impression that you're trying to (mess) with them, and it's not true. You're trying to entertain them."

Some fans have assumed the ambiguous ending was Chase setting up the oft-rumored "Sopranos" movie.

"I don't think about (a movie) much," he said. "I never say never. An idea could pop into my head where I would go, 'Wow, that would make a great movie,' but I doubt it.

"I'm not being coy," he added. "If something appeared that really made a good 'Sopranos' movie and you could invest in it and everybody else wanted to do it, I would do it. But I think we've kind of said it and done it."

Link to the interview (NJ - Star Ledger)

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue...

I'm not going to waste everyone's time editorializing last night's episode. After all, it doesn't really matter what I think -- it's over. Nonetheless, few will argue that The Sopranos was perhaps the greatest television drama EVER. It changed our attitudes, exploited our biases, altered our speech, and kept us wanting more. To that end, I'm having a hard time picturing life without it. So, I thought I'd mention a few things that kept me entertained over the past eight years. Feel free to mention yours.

The Soprano house, Paulie's cancer references, Sil's taste in suits, watching AJ grow from an immature child into an immature adult, Artie Bucco, Tony eating prosciutto, the opening music, the closing music, Corrado's glasses, Bobby's train fetish, drug use, Johnnycakes, Vinnie Delpino -- i mean, Benny Fazio, tracksuits, subtle NYC references, AJ crying, SUVs, Paulie's mother, malapropisms, dream sequences, rearranging my entire Sunday plans to ensure I'd be home at 9:00, The Stugats, nude mistresses, Cleaver, Adriana in her underwear, the Bing, gnocchi, Christopher and Paulie stuck in the woods together, the fact that Carmela reminds me of my own mother, profanity, the wads of cash, Dr. Melfi's office, Ginny Sacrimoni jokes, the way Paulie says "Chrissy," the way Sil says "T," waste management, timing my dinner delivery to arrive at 8:50, not wanting last night's episode to end, and of course, Tony.

So, if anyone wants to grab a drink next Sunday night, I'm around...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ryan Adams: Down In a Hole

If Ryan Adams and the Cardinals get any better, my head is going to explode. Thank you to 'Who's Driving The Bus' for this link to Ryan's cover of Alice In Chains "Down In a Hole" from Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston, NY on May 16, 2007.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

American Idols - Use Me

Warning: American Idol chatter and enthusiasm. Do not read if this turns your stomach.

There is something about the live performance of Taylor Hicks and Elliot Yamin on this clip that just feels so right. First of all, it is nice to see the two cross collaborating "Jam Band-style" on this live version of Bill Wither's 'Use Me' at a live concert in Alabama. Second of all, singing a song called 'Use Me', after being subjected to the contractual handcuffs and goofy Ford commercial confines of America's favorite reality talent competition just screams perfection.

"Oh you just keep on using me until you use me up
Until you use me up"

In all reality (no pun intended) the best part of the clip is the tremendous vocal chops of Hicks and Yamin. Their voices suit this song perfectly and they seem so much more laid back in this environment seemingly in front of hundreds rather than millions. Plus, the band is really, really solid.

I'm really happy for these two as they seem to be able to separate themselves from the Clive Davis/Pop world much more so than many of the other late-round finalists whose voices and personalities are too thin to do anything else. I hope they are able to make music on their own terms for a long time.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Lesh Almost Rambles

Phil Lesh nearly made an appearance at Levon Helm Studios to participate in one of Levon's regular midnight rambles in Woodstock. What a historic night that would have been. Something tells me that this collaboration will happen sooner than later. One can only hope it will happen when I attend Levon's show at Summerstage in Central Park this month.

From Levon's messageboard:

Good morning, all! Another Ramble under our belt - I believe we're close to 100 of them to date. The show opened at about 7:45 with The Alexis P Suter Band. Following Alexis was another Levon Helm studios family-band, Ollabelle. Next on stage were our surprise guests, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings who gave a stellar performance. Finally, The Levon Helm Band entered the room and the electricity was inviggorating. The momentum built and the set included electric and accoustic favorites including: White Dove, Back to Memphis, Chest Fever, Tears of Rage, WS Walcott's Medicine Show, I Want To Know, Ophelia, Rain Down Tears, I Got Me A Woman and many, many more. Levon's guardian angel watched over the studio and even though a raging thunderstorm pounded our area, with over 2000 residents losing power throughout the night - the lights remained on at Levon Helm Studios! Unfortunately (for him), Phil Lesh wasn't able to make an appearance, but we forgive him and understand that his west coast to east coast flight, following by a full day of recording at Utopia Studios left him pretty well worn out and he opted out of the Ramble. His road crew came though and enjoyed the night on his behalf! Thank you for coming and we welcome you all back any time. I thank you ALL for braving the wicked summer storm - nothing stops Levon's fans from being at the "barn" for a show.

Bonnaroo Countdown: 7 Days

So here we are. One week until I leave yet again for the 'Roo. With these few days in between me and my annual trip to Manchester, I'd like to provide you with my Top 5 Bonnaroo sets that I've attended (I only missed 2005).

In reverse order:

5. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - 2006

Running through one of the finest Greatest Hits sets that any band in the world is capable of performing, TP+H executed their classics to perfection. Tom was clearly soaking in the massive crowd going bananas in front of him and put that energy back onto the crowd. I can't imagine that anyone walked away from this set without a huge grin and a sore throat from singing every word. Highlights included a duet with the ageless Stevie Nicks on "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" and a slowed-down "Learning To Fly."

4. Widespread Panic - 2002

With both a surprise appearance by Steve Winwood and an encore of my (since that night) favorite tune perfomed by WSP, "City of Dreams", this was a historic two night run to close out the never to be replicated first Bonnaroo. None of us knew what to expect out of this festival and it was evident from the first notes of the Big Wu to the last notes of Panic that we were participaing in something truly special. A city of dreams indeed.

3. Drive By Truckers - 2003

With increasing critical praise of their two-disc masterpiece 'Southern Rock Opera' circulating in the music press, a still virtually unknown band of southern rockers took to the stage for an afternoon set and converted an increasingly packed tent into rabid fans. The highlight was the set closing "Let There Be Rock" anchored by the group's now defunct three guitar attack of Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and Jason Isbell.

2. Dave Matthews and Friends - 2004

With a band of Friends featuring guitarists Trey Anastasio and Tim Reynolds and armed with a solo disc that was one of my favorite albums of the year, this set by Dave and company was one of most anticipated of the festival. It met my high exepectations and then some. Just two months shy of the musically messy Coventry, Trey appeared and sounded great on covers "Up On Cripple Creek", "Hey Bulldog," and the 20-minute set closing funk freakout, Sly Stone's "Thank You."

1. Neil Young - 2004

Serving as both my favorite Bonnaroo set out of all five years I've attended the festival and my favorite concert of all time, this rock show from Neil Young and Crazy Horse was epic from the opening "Love to Burn" to the closing "Down By The River." Coming into Tennessee mid-Greendale rock opera tour, in which Neil was playing few hits, I expected to see a run through of the musical with only a couple of the favorites. After all, Neil does whatever he wants. Neil played nothing from the Greendale album and instead played a no-nonsense psychedelic ear-splitting set extending his best songs upwards of 30 minutes each. Different from Tom Petty, it didn't even matter what song the band was playing because they were just on fire for three straight hours. Neil turned this short setlist of 12 songs into 180 minutes of the best show this young concert veteran has ever witnessed:

Love to Burn
Sedan Delivery
Hey Hey My My
Cortex the Killer
Fuckin' Up
Like a Hurricaine
Be the Rain
Cinnamon Girl
Rockin' in the Free World
Roll Another Number
Down By the River

Honarable Mention: Flaming Lips (2003) and Radiohead (2006)

Have you been to Bonnaroo? What are your Top 5?

Monterey Pop on VH1

The original documentary "Monterey 40" Premieres Saturday, June 16 AT 9 PM ET/PT. The film is set to premiere on VH1 Classic and will be simulcast on VH1. The Monterey International Pop Festival was nothing short of a defining moment in rock and roll history. The three-day event, held June 16-18, 1967, ushered in the Summer of Love and featured an unprecedented bill of racially, musically diverse acts that showed rock's power to change the world.

"Monterey 40" will tell the story of this historic event from conception to event to aftermath to lasting impact from the perspective of musicians, organizers, audience members and visual documentarians. The film will include new interviews with Paul McCartney, David Crosby, Michelle Phillips, Pete Townshend, Grace Slick, Bob Weir, Micky Dolenz, Ravi Shankar, Clive Davis, Jann Wenner and Paul Kantner among others.

Source: Starpulse
Take a look at this historic lineup (courtesty of Wikipedia). That Sunday lineup is unbelievable.

Friday, June 16
The Association
The Paupers
Lou Rawls
Johnny Rivers
The Animals
Simon and Garfunkel

Saturday, June 17
Canned Heat
Big Brother & The Holding Company
Country Joe and The Fish
Al Kooper
The Butterfield Blues Band
Quicksilver Messenger Service
Steve Miller Band
The Electric Flag
Moby Grape
Hugh Masekela
The Byrds
Laura Nyro
Jefferson Airplane
Booker T and The MG's
Otis Redding

Sunday, June 18
Ravi Shankar
The Blues Project
Big Brother & The Holding Company
The Group With No Name
Buffalo Springfield
The Who
Grateful Dead
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Scott McKenzie
The Mamas & The Papas

Paul Gets Back

Paul McCartney is to play a 'secret' show in London tonight, it has been announced.

Details of the last-minute concert were confirmed today, with the legendary former Beatle set to appear at the Electric Ballroom in Camden.

Tickets for the show, which will have a capacity of just a few hundred, can be won in a number of competitions running online today.

There is also an allocation at the venue. Tickets are available to personal callers from the box office from 12.30pm today. Photo ID is required.

McCartney released his acclaimed new album, "Memory Almost Full", on Monday.


Whether or not you're opposed to Paul and his deal with Starbucks or you agree with The Weight that "Freedom" was an abomination of a song or you think that Paul broke up the Beatles, you have to admit that you would go see Paul in a tiny venue if given the chance. I don't care what Paul has done since the Beatles broke up, he's still the man who wrote many many songs for the greatest band of all time. Word on the street is that Paul will be playing some "secret" shows in the States soon too. I was able to find online that the Electric Ballroom holds a mere 800 people. I wonder how many people the Cavern Club held??

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

U2: In The Studio

According to
U2 are recording new material in Morocco with long time collaborator Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. Their website says the band have set up a studio in Morocco's medieval city of Fez where they have been holed up until the wee hours of the morning writing and recording for the past couple of weeks.

A report from someone with the band in Fez says "they're on a roll and the ideas are coming thick and fast."

Glasto Lineup Revealed

I keep telling myself that one day I am going to make it to the mother of all music festivals, Glastonbury. It's not going to happen this time around, but one day I'll make it there. This year's lineup of the British festival features headliners The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, and The Who. It takes place on June 22 - 24.

Check out the full lineup, which was announced this week.

Richie Havens is playing in The Acoustic Tent on Saturday.

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TPIR: Thanks for the Memories

As a kid, was there anything more enjoyable than watching The Price Is Right? It meant that you were home on a school day. Whether you were sick (at least that's what you told your mom), school was cancelled due to snow, or it was a holiday, watching Bob Barker on the game show of all game shows was a rare and celebrated treat. I never paid attention to any pricing in supermarkets back then, so most games were a challenge for me, but I played along nonetheless. I think my favorite game may have been the one where the little climber ascends the mountain while yodelling is played. There were other favorites like Plinko, The Golden Road, and Clock Game too. Thinking back is making me very nostalgic for that time of innocence. What was your favorite game on the show?

So this week Bob is taping his final episode of TPIR. This article from Starpulse describes the scene as fans line up for the final taping.

Also, if you've got the free time, this clip from CBS' How I Met Your Mother does an exceptional job celebrating The Price Is Right, as Neil Patrick Harris' character makes it onto the show as a contestant so that he can meet Bob, the man that his mother told him was his biological father. It's well worth the time investment.

That's The Way God Planned It

It was one year ago today that we lost one of the most important sidemen in the history of music. I can confidently say that no one else has performed along with more of the most significant figures in rock n' roll history that the one and only Billy Preston. He has played with artists ranging from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Little Richard, Ray Charles, George Harrison, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis Jr., Sly Stone, Aretha Franklin, the Jackson 5, Quincy Jones, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Unless you've read his Wikipedia profile, I bet you didn't know that he was invited to become a member of The Band in 1991, after the death of their piano player, Stan Szelest. He completed a tour, but legal problems put an end to the collaboration before they had a chance to record together in the studio. Preston's final contributions were the Gospel-tinged organ on the Neil Diamond album 12 Songs, and his keyboard work on The Road to Escondido by Eric Clapton and J.J. Cale.

Please take a moment to honor the fifth Beatle by watching his performance of 'That's The Way God Planned It' on Later with Jools Holland from June 2005, five months before he slipped into a coma that he would never come out of.

Rest In Peace Billy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Paul Broke Up The Beatles

This is one story to illustrate the reason for the demise of The Beatles. To be fair, many other explanations have been given, possibly all with some validity.

From Fox News via The New Yorker:

It was McCartney, and not the always reviled Yoko Ono or the easily fingered Allen Klein, who brought about the end of the Beatles. At a meeting among all the parties in 1969, it was revealed that McCartney had violated a long-held agreement between him and John Lennon. The pair had a tacit understanding that neither of them would ever buy more shares than the other in the music publisher that owned their songs at the time. Steven Gaines and Peter Brown describe the meeting in the very good Beatles biography, "The Love You Make."

Brown was the Beatles' longtime publicist and present at every important event. At the meeting, it was revealed that Paul and his lawyer/father-in-law Lee Eastman had been buying extra shares by the handful. Brown reveals in the book that at that point Paul had 751,000 shares of Northern Songs; John had 644,000. Upon learning this, Lennon, enraged, exited the meeting. Brown says he called Paul a "bastard." It was all over. The Beatles were done.

I asked Paul about this for a feature profile I wrote about him and Linda in 1989. Knowing Lennon would get so angry, would he do it again, I wondered? Paul did not hesitate. "Absolutely," he replied. "I was investing in myself." It was almost the same answer Paul had given John at that meeting. In that sense, it was a smart move. McCartney today, with the help of Eastman, is a billionaire. And whether you like his solo work or not, McCartney became even richer following the Beatles' break-up thanks to a wildly successful career. But let's not allow history to be rewritten. Avarice broke up the Beatles, not a wife or a girlfriend.

Source: Fox News via The New Yorker

Wikipedia 's Article on the break up of The Beatles.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Asheville Music Jamboree: Chapter 1

My trip to Asheville, NC this past weekend for the Asheville Music Jamboree was a series of firsts for me. My first time camping at a festival (I've been to many, yet always stayed comfortably in hotels), my first concert in North Carolina (I've probably seen shows in about 20 states), my first time eating at Waffle House (driven past them on countless road trips), my first time seeing just about all of the artists that played (I've seen The Bridge and Keller Williams before), my first time eating boiled peanuts (never even heard of 'em), my first time hearing the term bluegrastafarians (heard it more than once over the weekend without any hint of irony) and my first time really getting to know people at a concert that I didn't know before I got there (shout out to our neighbors!).

It was just a few weeks ago that I decided I would be attending this festival, and the only catch was that I would have to do it a tent. You see, I have a bit of an aversion to camping at concerts. It was my ill-fated experience in Noblesville, IN for Phish's three-night run at Deer Creek in 2000 that fully turned me off to the idea. The shows themselves were great but it was the brutal sunburn on my face, the countless mosquito bites on my ankles, and the cramped, miniature, sauna-of-a-tent I "slept" in that sealed my distaste for this means of concert accommodations. It was probably around 6 AM on the third morning in that field in Indiana, while staring up at the sagging fabric of our poorly assembled red tent, which was falling to within inches of my severely sun burnt cheeks, that I vowed never to camp at another show again. That was four Bonnaroos and seven years ago.

Fast forward to Thursday night>>>Locked and loaded with my $30 tent and $20 air mattress from Target, an over-packed bag of clothes, a handy flashlight that doesn’t require batteries, a few other supplies, and a sack full of McDonald's snack wraps for my dinner, I was picked up in a pick-up truck and we were off on our journey to North Carolina. It would be nine hours of driving, a hotel stopover in Wytheville, VA, hours of Jam_ON satellite radio listening, a visit to the Handy Mart in Winchester, WV, and a liquor/beer run on Airport Road before we pulled into the gates of our home away from home, Deerfields, a 940 acre tract of unspoiled mountain wilderness in the Appalachians near Asheville, NC on Friday afternoon.

With tree-lined camping lots, two lakes that were clean enough for swimming, and two stages within mere yards of each other, this was an ideal setting for a music festival. Upon arrival, we setup our tents on what seemed like an innocent incline and unpacked our bags. We then made our way over to our first set of the concert. Playing on the second stage was Charleston, South Carolina's Sol Driven Train. With an afternoon set on Friday, offering up a great show to a fresh and clean (for the time being), receptive crowd of early arrivers, SDT introduced us to their brand of rock, reggae, and world music. Driven by acoustic/electric guitars, bass, saxophone, trombone, and a lot of drums, their songs varied distinctly in style and instrumentation. What stood out most for me was their evident attention to lyrics. I found myself paying attention as much to the words as I did to their playing. They were an unexpected treat, and even though they were the first band we saw, they continued to stand out in my mind throughout the festival.

Stay tuned for more observations from AMJAM 2007, including reviews of a reformed Acoustic Syndicate, a time-slot busting Michael Franti and Spearhead, a rain-soaked Donna The Buffalo, the third ever concert by Keller Williams and the WMD’s . . . the Wisdom tree, a runaway baby, a runaway watermelon, a massage therapist, $1 grilled cheese, a life-size Scooby Doo cutout, and a Bo Bice calendar.

Give Peace a Second Chance

"Imagine all the people, living life in peace." -- John Lennon

For many years, the peace movement was so deeply embedded in American culture that it virtually dominated an entire decade. But in a generation admittedly obsessed with Paulie Walnuts, Google and Blackberrys, we've completely become out of touch with the bigger picture. Believe it or not, there was a time when John Lennon was the source for current events; now it's Anderson Cooper. Have musicians completely given up on peace? Has the peace movement become unfashionable? Okay, so I'm not out in the picket lines either, but I kinda miss the good 'ole "peace song." Think back to the 1960's and 1970's when songs about peace and love were, well, cool. Marvin Gaye was asking what's going on, George Harrison wanted peace on earth, The Youngbloods were telling us to smile on our brother, Cat Stevens was riding the peace train and Bob Marley was preaching one love. Sure, there was Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement and the Cold War, but are we much better off today (Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorism, Darfur, etc.)? We're arguably worse off -- and sadly, no one really seems to care. No one wears peace signs anymore (unless your name is Wavy Gravy), tye-dyes are for summer camp and over-the-hill hippies, and attending protests cuts into our TiVo time.

Although on the one hand, I agree that picturing Fall Out Boy singing a song about peace, love and understanding would be a trainwreck, it's a shame that some of the younger singer-songwriters, few that they are, don't re-embrace the peace movement. I could totally see Noel Gallagher or Ryan Adams pulling it off masterfully. I suppose we're smart enough to realize that a utopian world of rainbows and daisies just ain't gonna happen. But at least singing about it has a somewhat therapeutic effect. So, pick up your acoustic guitar, put on your rose-tinted spectacles and join around the camp fire. Let's make the summer of '07 the new summer of love.

Reader Interactive: The Albums That Changed Your Life

To the Weight faithful from all over the world, leave a comment with the Top 5 albums that changed your life. Anyone reading this site knows full well that music certainly can change your life, either through opening your ears to new musicians and tunes by association or by being a soundtrack to an important time in your life. After all, even through life's turmoils, turbulence, highs and lows, the songs remain the same.

I'll start the comment thread. Think back and share your 5.


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Before the Music Dies

Watch the trailer:

According to Don McLean it already happened. But the producers of this film want to make sure there is no day that that the music dies. This movie is for anyone who is embarrassed about the current state of the music business, or as ?uestlove says in the movie, for people who know how to separate the art from the commerce in the music industry. Lefsetz would be proud.

I had never even heard of this film until I came across it on The filmmakers are using a grassroots marketing campaign by staging screenings in cities throughout the country rather than one major theatrical release. Sounds a bit like how true artists are discovered these days. One show at a time.

To find an upcoming screening, click here.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Sgt. Hendrix's Lonely Hearts Club Band

One of my favorite rock stories and picked up from

The Night Jimi Hendrix Played Tribute to The Beatles

Jimi Hendrix made a public display of his admiration for The Beatles when the seminal classic 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' was released during the 'Summer of Love' in 1967. Purchasing the record on the day of its release, he performed the title track just two days later at the Saville Theatre in London's Shaftesbury Avenue.Unbeknown to Hendrix, some of The Beatles were actually in the audience, listening intently to his audacious performance. Speaking at a later date, Paul McCartney spoke of his honour of the tribute, calling the performance "simply incredible, perhaps the best I have ever seen him play".

There is actually a YouTube clip of this! The Beatles portion begins at the 1:10 mark and lasts for about 45 seconds but the historical significance and cool factor is huge.

Police drummer rips band's "lame" concert

The singer in the Police jumps like a "petulant pansy," the drummer is making a "complete hash," and who knows what the guitarist is doing?

Notes from a bitter critic? Actually, it's a disarmingly frank concert review from the aforementioned drummer of the newly reunited rock trio.

A philosophical Stewart Copeland unleashed his vitriol in a posting on his Web site on Thursday, a day after the band played its second show in Vancouver, the Canadian city where it began its first world tour in more than 20 years on Monday.

"This is unbelievably lame," Copeland wrote of Wednesday's show at the GM Place arena. "We are the mighty Police and we are totally at sea."

Read the Full Article from Reuters