Monday, June 30, 2008

LeRoi Moore Injured, Dave Matthews Band To Continue Tour

In an evening post on Dave Matthews Band fansite, it was announced that longtime saxophone player Leroi Moore was hospitalized for injuries sustained during an all-terrain vehicle accident at his home in Charlottesville. Moore was transported to the UVA Hospital and listed as in serious condition. A call to the UVA Health System was not immediately answered.

Information about Moore's injury was originally posted on longtime DMB website The Warehouse. Moore's injury occurred during a two-day break between performances, following a June 28 gig at the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia. According to AntsMarching, the band announced that Jeff Coffin, sax player for Béla Fleck, would replace Moore while he was recovering.

C-Ville, Charlottesville News and Arts

The WeightStaff are all Dave Matthews Band fans from a long time ago (1994-?) and eventhough we've lost touch with the band (not literally), this news still strikes a chord. I remember seeing LeRoi join Phish on stage on 7/21/97 in Virginia Beach. The liner notes from that show read, "The jam out of Theme, as well as Funky Bitch, featured LeRoi Moore on saxophone. The jam with LeRoi included a segment where he played two saxes, Trey played three guitars, Mike played two basses and the Cracklin' Rosie cymbals, Fish had four drumsticks and Page was lying across his keyboards playing as many as possible. It was an insane visual experience that can't be explained either in words or on tape." That about sums it up. It's been a long time since I'd thought about that show.

Here's to a speedy recovery for LeRoi Moore and I hope that he's soon back on the road with the band.

Just two nights ago, on 6/28, LeRoi and the boys debuted a cover of Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer at the Nissan Pavillion in Bristow, VA:

Sunday, June 29, 2008

John Mayer Wins Over Glastonbury Crowd

After playing the Hard Rock Calling event in London's Hyde Park on Saturday, on a bill that also featured Sheryl Crow, Eric Clapton, and Robert Randolph and the Family Band, John Mayer brought his band to the Glastonbury festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset to play on Sunday. According to the NME, the amassed crowd grew between each song played. His set included covers by George Harrison, Cream, and fellow Glastonbury 2008 act Duffy. John Mayer really seems to be playing his career smart in pulling out appropriate covers for the audience he's playing to. I don't think there is one other act on the Glasto bill, and I haven't even seen the full lineup, who would have the balls to tackle a George Harrison tune.

I've been listening to my advance copy of "John Mayer: Where the Light Is - Live in Los Angeles," coming out on Tuesday, July 1st, and I have to say that this guy can really play the guitar and write a solid song. Say what you want about his appearances on celebrity gossip websites, but you cannot deny his skills as a musician. Also released on Tuesday is a DVD version of the same concert from December 2007, which is directed by famed concert photographer and friend of Phish, Danny Clinch.

His full set at Glastonbury was:
'I Don't Trust Myself With Loving You'
'My Sweet Lord'
'Waiting On The World To Change'
'Stitched Up'

Since I don't have the Glastonbury footage yet, take a look at John performing My Sweet Lord last week, 6/22/08, in The Netherlands:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Jay-Z Gets It Right At Glastonbury

Last year, tickets to the Glastonbury festival sold out in just 90 minutes, but this year they were still available up until a few days ago. Some blamed bad weather in recent years for keeping punters away and others blamed the booking of Jay-Z, a hip-hop artist, in place of the traditional rock act as a headliner. In completing his set on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival in England tonight, Jay-Z proved the critics wrong by performing what is already considered to be a historic set. Weeks ago, Oasis' Noel Gallagher garnered significant press after making negative statements about the selection of a hip-hop artist to headline. Following the publication of Noel's thoughts, farm owner and festival founder Michael Eavis staunchly defended his booking of Jay-Z and offered to personally introduce the artist on stage, implying that this is something he hardly ever does. As a response to Gallagher's heavily publicized opinion, Jay cheekily started his set with the opening verses from Oasis' own Wonderwall, quickly gaining favor with the enormous crowd. [Note: Oasis headlined the Pyramid stage in 2004]. The proper opener was his own '99 Problems'. He went on to incorporate snippets from other British rock bands throughout his set including AC/DC, U2, and The Prodigy.

Reading the positive press about the success of this hip-hop headlining festival performance couldn't be further from reading the negative stories that emerged from this month's Bonnaroo festival and its disasterous experience with rapper Kanye West on its What Stage. Well done Jay and well done Michael Eavis.

Watch Jay-Z perform the opening verses of Wonderwall and the full '99 Problems':

Watch Jay-Z perform a live mash-up of his own 'Aint No Love In The Heart of the City' with U2's 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' into another mash-up of 'Encore', his single with Linkin Park:


99 problems (Back In Black samples)
Is That Your Chick
Rehab (Amy Winehouse remix)
I Know
A Billie (A Millie Freestyle)
Blue Magic
Minority Report
Dirt Off Your Shoulders
Jigga What, Jigga Who
Izzo (H.O.V.A)
Can I Get A
Beware Of The Boys
Give It To Me (I Just Wanna Love You)
Show Me What You Got
Excuse Me Miss
Song Cry
Girls, Girls, Girls
American Boy Remix
Big Pimpin
Hard Knock Life
Heart Of The City (Sunday Bloody Sunday samples)

UPDATE: Videos, Video, Videos!!! The Hip Hop Chronicle has posted numerous videos from Jay-Z's set, which they're labeling as "Jay-Z Glastonbury Performance (FULL VIDEO)". Check it' out!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mike Weighs Options, Page Hopes to Ride With Companions

I seem to be the last one to know about this news because Rolling Stone, Hidden Track, and have all already posted the latest quotes from Mike and Page about the impending Phish reunion. So I'll just let you see how each of them have presented the news:

Rolling Stone -Phish Reunion? Mike Gordon Is “Optimistic,” Says Band Met With Lillywhite

Hidden Track - Mike and Page Feed The Phish Reunion Fire - Page Comments on Phish Reunion

Better Men, Day 2: Pearl Jam, New York City, 6/25/08

Can't find a better show.

I'm seriously at a loss for words. Maybe it's writer's block or maybe I'm still in awe from what I experienced last night. I've never felt the floors at The Garden shake like they did yesterday. It would have probably registered a 4 or 5 on the Richter Scale. The crowd was deafening. The camaraderie amongst the audience was inexpressible. PJ fans are unquestionably amongst the most devout fans in the world; and yes, I'm including the Dead and Phish in that category. The songs: they played "State of Love and Trust," one of my all-time favorites. They played "Corduroy," "Daughter," "Alive," "Evenflow," "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town", "Leash," "Better Man," "Garden," "Yellow Ledbetter," "Last Kiss" (which was played facing the back of the arena for the obstructed view folks), and "Why Go." The legendary Ace Frehley joined the band for Kiss's "Black Diamond." C.J. Ramone made a reappearance as well. There were dedications to George Carlin and the troops abroad. The band made mistakes, lyrics were bungled, songs were re-started. It didn't matter. They were flawless.

The show ended with Mike McCready nailing the Star-Spangled Banner/Taps a la Jimi Hendrix - I will never forget this. And then, it was over.

Pearl Jam
Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY

First Set: Release, World Wide Suicide, Severed Hand, Corduroy, All Night, Cropduster, Garden, Marker In The Sand, I'm Open, Wishlist, State Of Love And Trust, Even Flow, Who You Are, Rats, Given To Fly, Do The Evolution, Go

Encore #1: Inside Job, W.M.A., Lukin, I Believe In Miracles (w/ C.J. Ramone), Better Man (Save it for Later), Rearviewmirror

Encore #2: No More, Last Kiss, Why Go, Black Diamond (w/ Ace Frehley on lead guitar, Matt Cameron on lead vocals), Alive, Yellow Ledbetter, Star-Spangled Banner/Taps (Mike McCready guitar solo)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Better Men: Pearl Jam, New York City, 6/24/08

With all due respect to the Dolan family, Pearl Jam owned The Garden last night. The band, whose members are a collective 216 years old (scary), graced the audience with their usual 2 1/2 + hours of fan favorites, assorted rarities and obscure covers. I really can't describe in words the energy level I experienced last night - it simply wouldn't do justice. You would have thought it was their last show ever.

Just to set the record straight, despite having seen PJ four times (they don't tour all that often), I'm hardly an authority on the band. Like most everyone who owned a radio and cd player in the 90's, I know the standards. But after Vitalogy, I never really kept up with the newer material. In my defense however, I'd like to think that I was an original. I donned the obligatory flannel shirt and Chuck Taylors in the early days of the grunge movement in tribute to the Seattle rockers (in fact, "Alive" was one of the first songs I learned on guitar). It was one of the few upsides to being a teen in the early 90's.

So, still on the PJ high from Bonnaroo (which will never be topped), I made my way over to MSG right before 9:00, strategically missing Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - no disrespect to the band. My seats were in section 300 something, which after standing a mere 100 feet away from the band at Bonnaroo, was somewhat of a buzzkill. But the second the lights went down, all that mattered was the music. The entire arena was filled to the brim, literally. Even the very top rows BEHIND the stage were packed. I have NEVER seen this before at any indoor concert. From the first song onward, the word from the die-hards in my area was that it was the "best first set ever." True or not true, who was I to doubt them.

The audience was unreal. The call and response between Vedder and the crowd would have made Muddy Waters jealous. They knew EVERY word to EVERY song. Every nuance, variation, inflection, grunt, and mumble was mimicked back precisely. Eddie was pouring wine into cups for the lucky front-rowers and was kicking around the stage in ways that eerily resembled Jim Morrison. It was surreal.

Encore #1 started with The Who's classic, "Love, Reign o'er Me", which
features Kenneth "Boom" Gaspar on the keys. I heard this for the first time at Bonnaroo and it was just as moving this time around as it was then. Later, during the 2nd encore, C.J. Ramone came out and played the Ramones song, "I Believe in Miracles." I didn't even know there was a C.J. Ramone in The Ramones! It was classic. The whole evening was classic. Strike that. It was historic.

So, I'm going back tonight -- alone. My seat sucks. The beer is expensive. My ears are still ringing from last night. I'm sleep-deprived. Yet, I have no doubt that Pearl Jam will make it all better.

Pearl Jam
Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
June 24, 2008

Set 1: Hard To Imagine, Save You, Why Go, All Night, Corduroy, Faithfull, Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town, Down, Unemployable, Given To Fly, Who You Are, Whipping, 1/2 Full, Even Flow, Present Tense, Daughter, Do The Evolution

Encore 1: Love Reign O'er Me, W.M.A., Leash, Spin The Black Circle, Wasted Reprise, Porch

Encore 2: No More, Crazy Mary, Comatose, I Believe In Miracles w/ C.J. Ramone, Alive

Encore 3: All Along The Watchtower, Indifference

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

MMJ Killed the Radio Hall, 6/20/08

Jim James may have stated he was in awe of standing on the same stage where Aretha once stood, but JJ and My Morning Jacket owned Radio City Music Hall on Friday night and not many fans in attendance would have preferred the Queen of Soul. With a level of energy and buzz in the air normally reserved for the four boys from Vermont, My Morning Jacket brought back full force why I love live music because this wasn't a was an experience. The lights were stellar, the sound in RCMH was rich, the guitars soared, Jim was like a kid on Red Bull, all fans were grooving from the opening notes, and the band played like they had something to prove. If Phish comes back, and I sure as hell hope they do, they truly have competition from these five boys from Kentucky.

Opening with 'Evil Urges' from that same titled disc, the group played the full spectrum of styles that their fans have come to appreciate. From the surprisingly sublime Prince/Beck funk falsetto off of the new album to the more expected Crazy Horse guitar wailing, white-boy reggae sounds, and Gram Parsons-style county, every song took the crowd for a ride. There were more "stare at your friends with jaws dropped' moments than should be legal.

And after all of that love, I'm not an MMJ fanatic (at least not before this show). I have seen snippets of sets from them at Bonnaroo each time they play and even ruined my friends' night by making them check out SuperJam rather than MMJ this year. That mistake will never be made again and may never get lived down.

I have to say that when tickets went on sale in January for this show, and it sold out in minutes, this was clearly to be MMJ's most important show to date. And at the time it should have been. But the band appears to be on a much faster and steeper upward trajectory than anybody could have imagined considering their upcoming New Year's Eve date with destiny at Madison Square Garden. And it is well deserved. Even as big of a show as Radio City fucking Music Hall must be for the band, this was just one stop on the MMJ ride to the top.

For a great example of how quickly this band can turn on fans, check out this clip of the group playing 'One Big Holiday' on Conan way back in 2003, pre-Jim James haircut. If you're impatient, fast forward until the end when Conan shows his obvious new found love. Made me smile.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My Thoughts on Bonnaroo

I wrote a few words for our friends at Hidden Track about my trip to this year's Bonnaroo festival. Check it out here.

Forbin 500

The following information provides some insight into recent business dealings with Phish, DMB, and Coran Capshaw (content borrowed from PT):

coran capshaw manages DMB. he also manages trey. they also moved all the archives and biz materials from VT to VA (where coran works out of) a few months ago. coran will manage phish. coran also puts on b'roo (or his $ does) and he is the co-producer of the denver aeg fest as well as the outside lands fest in SF. he also owns charlottesville brewery and the charlotteville pavillion. and starr hill music hall. and red light management company. red light manages tons of acts. red light and madison house (SCI mgmt) and now the same company. SCI and phish are managed then, or will be, by the same company. worlds collide.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kanye Is Lollapalooza's Problem Now

The schedule for Lollapalooza has been released and our friend Kanye West is headlining the AT&T stage on Day 3, Sunday August 3rd. He is scheduled to begin at 8:30 PM following Gnarls Barkley's set, which runs from 6:15 - 7:15. So that gives his crew 75 minutes to setup his elaborate Glow In The Dark production. That is 30 minutes LESS setup time than he was given at Bonnaroo even with Pearl Jam's extended set. Pearl Jam ended around 1 AM and Kanye was supposed to go on 105 minutes later. He actually went on around 210 minutes after Pearl Jam's set ended. I'm no mathematician, but I'm pretty sure this isn't goint to work out so well for the Chicago festival. If you're headed there, I would highly recommend making your way over to Nine Inch Nails set at 8:15. Something tells me that you'll still be able to catch the beginning of Mr. West's set after NIN is done at 10 PM. On second thought, after you're rocked by Trent Reznor, just go home happy.

Editorial: Maybe So And Maybe Not

Part-time WeightStaffer Brian was kind enough to take a moment from his day, wrap up some things to say, and mail it off to our address. He shares his thoughts on the pending (?) Phish reunion and also drops a hint at some upcoming Trey activity in Baltimore. He is a longtime Phishhead and longtime friend:

Nearly four years after their break-up, the four members of Phish may have some unfinished business together. In an interview with Rolling Stone last week, Trey Anastasio didn’t exactly say the band has talked about a reunion, but he did drop some heavy hints. “When Phish broke up, I made some comment about how I’m not gonna go around playing ‘You Enjoy Myself’ for the rest of my life,” Anastasio said with a laugh. “And it’s so funny because Fish and Mike and Page have been talking to each other a lot lately and now — it’s not that I can’t believe that I said that, but its symbolic of how much I lost my mind or how much I lost my bearings or something. Because at this point in time I would give my left nut to play that song five times in a row every day until I die. I certainly thought about that while I was in jail.”

Ok, so maybe just maybe we will see a the Phish reunion tour sooner than later. I am still not holding my breath. Mike Gordon just announced a solo tour with his band that will be making its way throughout the US this summer and Trey, like always, is working on several projects too. Without giving anything away, all of you Trey fans in Baltimore keep your eyes and ears posted for something amazing in the near future. I have been sworn to secrecy on the details, but I can promise you that my source of information is legitimate. Rest assured you will not be disappointed when the details are released...I'll leave it at that.

As far as the Phish reunion tour goes, I tend to cringe a little bit when I think about it. Don't get me wrong, I love the band and anyone that knows me would tell you that I will be first in line to buy tickets if it ever happens. I started seeing Phish in 1996 just as their career began to explode. In fact, the first time I saw the band was with two members of The WeightStaff, oh what a day it was, huh guys? Through the next 8 years I managed to catch them where I could and ended up seeing 45 shows if my foggy memory serves me well.

Here is my concern. When the band broke up, Trey said on the Phish website that "We don't want to become caricatures of ourselves, or worse yet, a nostalgia act." I'm not worried that Phish will become a nostalgia act because anyone that has followed the band knows that the four guys in that group don't operate this way. What I mean by this is that the band, (especially Trey) is always looking for ways to evolve as musicians. They are always looking for ways to re-invent themselves and expand their playing from a musical perspective. The last thing they want to do is get up on stage and play Punch You in the Eye, AC/DC Bag, and Fluffhead over and over again just to make the crowd feel good about themselves. If they got back together, I wouldn't be surprised if they came out with an entire new repertoire and didn't even play the old stuff. Granted, I'm sure they would throw in a classic song here and there but I guarantee that most of the show would be new material. The problem is, that a lot of phans don't want to see this. They want to show up and hear the great songs that made Phish famous. Unfortunately, as I said before, the band in my opinion, would want to bring out new ideas with new songs and keep evolving. I think it would cause a "great divide" amongst critics and phans of the band. I think this is what may be keeping the band from getting back together. They ended on a high note and don't want to spoil that.

So it will be interesting to see what happens over the next few years and we will continue to speculate on this growing story. But I said before, if the band does decide to get back together, you can bet that myself and the guys from The WeightStaff will be right there ready to get our groove on.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bonnaroo 2008 Tease

The WeightStaff is at at Bonnaroo this year and we'll be preparing a report upon our return. In the meantime, here are a couple pics from the festival so far.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Weight Hits The Links

Guitarist Steve Lukather has made the announcement via his official website that, after 31 years, Toto has finished. He also insists that this is not a hiatus, it is a break-up. "I really can't go out and play 'Hold the Line' with a straight face anymore," he says. "I was 19 when we cut the record. I am 50 now". []

British rockers Oasis are to be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the annual Silver Clef Awards in London next month. [Starpulse]

Girl Talk to release new album in a pay-what-you want format. [Billboard]

In 1965, The Byrds' wrote the song that created psychedelic rock, Eight Miles High, about their plane trip to England, and two years later they returned to London to capture the story behind the song and added Eight Miles High as the soundtrack. After spending nearly 40 years in a drawer in Roger McGuinn’s home, it has found its way to the Internet. [Layla's Classic Rock Faves]

Stereogum presents their "Premature Evaluation" of Coldplay's new Brian Eno-produced album. [Stereogum]

'Phish Is Getting Back Together' Quote of the Day

Today's 'Phish Is Getting Back Together' quote of the Day comes from Oysterhead drummer Stewart Copeland. The quote comes to us via Phantasy Tour poster 'faketrey':
I was flipping through "Drumhead" magazine in the bookstore today and there was an interview with Copeland. He said he wants to do oysterhead as soon as the police stop touring, but that might be delayed because he "thinks trey has a phish tour to do"

Foo Fighters Play Historic Gig on Second Sold Out Night at Wembley

The Brits have a love affair with Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters. This has been evident for a while now with the band playing many festivals across the pond, selling loads of albums in the UK, and receiving a large amount of airplay on BBC Radio.

On 7/7/07, following their Live Earth set at the massive Wembley Stadium in northwest London, Dave Grohl annouced from the stage, “you know we’ll come back and play here … eventually”. Eleven months later to the day, last night, Foo Fighters played the second of two consecutive sold out shows, fulfulling his promise of returning to the venue. Selling out Wembley elevates the Foo Fighters to rock god status and puts them on the shortlist of bands who have completed the feat. The venue holds around 85,000 in concert format, so over the two nights 170,000 tickets were sold. They are only the fourth musical act to play the new Wembley on their own (Concert for Diana and Live Earth not included) and the second act to sell it out. George Michael and Metallica didn't manage to sell all of their tickets, but reportedly Muse was able to sell out the venue on two nights in June 2007. Muse had the added benefit of performing the first proper gig at the new site.

Reviews coming out of the first night of the Foo Fighters gigs were extremely positive with reports of Dave Grohl becoming emotional while thanking the enormous crowd of supporters. On the second night, however, the band put on a show that will go down in history. Early on in the night Grohl reportedly said from the stage, "We're gonna do something we’ve never done at a Foo Fighters show and it's gonna blow your shit out the door! Tonight this is gonna be the show that we’re gonna be talking about for the next 20 years!" And he's most likely right, given that half of Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, emerged during the encore to join Dave and drummer Taylor Hawkins on Zep classics 'Rock'n'Roll' and 'Ramble On'. Taylor took lead vocals on the earlier song and Dave got behind the kit. Zep singer Robert Plant is currently on the road in the States playing much less rockin' music with Phish collaborator Alison Krauss.

The encore ended with the Foo Fighters performing "Best of You" and was preceded by Dave shouting "welcome to the greatest fucking day of my life!" I'm pretty sure many in attendance would agree with that statement. One commenter on the NME site stated,
"I'm typing this recovering from drinking Jaeger bombs all night after celebrating one of the best gigs I've ever seen. When Jimmy Page came on Wembley just went mental. What an athmosphere. That has to be the best gig I have ever seen. Dave & Taylor were jumping up and down on stage like they had just one the lottery after they finished the songs with Jimmy Page. Unbelievable"
Highlights from both nights will be replayed on BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe show from Monday at 2PM EST.

Rock N' Roll (with Dave Grohl introducing Jimmy and John):

Ramble On:

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Out of the Closet: Fan of John Mayer

I kind of have a thing for John Mayer. I'm not talking about switching teams for him. I'm just saying, for a guy who should have been a one hit, or at best a one album, wonder has managed to stay relevant in a world of overexposure and celebrity magnifying glasses using his sense of humor and a striking level of self awareness that I applaud and admire. I'm also not afraid to admit I have listened to John's Continuum album more than any other in the last 18 months.

Also, in my humble opinion JM has pulled off a career transition that should have been impossible. His 'Room for Squares' album (certainly very pop leaning) brought him into the spotlight with catchy tunes like 'No Such Thing'. And many, many artists would have faded into the distance after a rushed crappy sophomore release without realizing their potential. But John has avoided that fate and evolved into a blues music playing, guitar slinging conduit opening fan's ears to music that they never otherwise would be exposed to. I count myself as a big fan and am looking forward to the release of his new live album/DVD on July 1st entitled 'Where The Light Is'.

And he uses his blog to speak directly to his fans, which I admit I check on occasion. And he had this little observation which I think is pretty dead on:
This is about a level of self consciousness so high in my generation, that it's actually toxic.

This is about the girl in her bedroom who poses in front of the camera she's awkwardly holding in her outstretched hand. She'll take a hundred photos until coming up with one she's happy with, which inevitably looks nothing like her, and after she's done poring over images of herself, will post one on her myspace page and then write something like " I don't give a f*ck what you think about me."

This is about the person trying out for American Idol, who while going off about how confident they are that they were born ready to sing in front of the world, are trembling so badly they can hardly breathe.

This is about me, the guy who walks through a throng of photographers into a restaurant like he's Paul Newman, but who leaves a "reject" pile of clothes in his closet so high that his cleaning lady can't figure out how one man can step into so many pairs of pants in a week.
I greatly appreciate when people can be vulnerable. Too often we go through life with a facade of security and confidence when in fact we just need to breathe and be ourselves. This is one of the reasons why we keep 'The Weight' going even though we stopped measuring the number of clicks some time ago. Thanks John for speaking from the heart and we'll keep on doing the same here.

As a little bonus, here is a clip, as published on his blog, of John and drummer Steve Jordan riffing on 'Crossroads'. Gotta love John's caption: Here we are working out a version of "Crossroads", which you might remember served as the inspiration for a Britney Spears movie.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The "Real" Dark Star Orchestra

No disrespect to the grand 'ol Dead cover band extraordinaire the Dark Star Orchestra, but the DSO has a little acronym-related, Grateful Dead performing competition with Baltimore's BSO....which is actually the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. As in the Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Bach playing variety. It will be fun to see the mix of tuxes and tie-dyes.

From the BSO's website...
Fittingly on Jerry Garcia's birthday, the BSO will delve into the psychedelic world of The Dead on Friday, August 1 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall with the world premiere performance of Lee Johnson's Dead Symphony No. 6. Dead Symphony No. 6 is the first orchestral tribute to The Grateful Dead ever composed. (The No. 6 signifies that it is Johnson's Sixth Symphony.) The symphony dedicates separate movements to Grateful Dead hits "Saint Stephen," "Here Comes Sunshine," "Mountains of the Moon," "Blues for Allah," "Sugar Magnolia," "To Lay Me Down," "If I Had the World to Give," "Stella Blue," "Bird Songs" and "China Doll." The symphony also features a symphonic jam session during the "Stella Blue" movement. In keeping with The Dead's performance style, Pro Video Group of Baltimore will recreate a psychedelic video presentation to play behind the orchestra during this performance.
A little background:

Work began on the symphony in 1995, shortly after Jerry Garcia's death, when record producer and Deadhead Mike Adams contacted Johnson with the idea for the symphony.

"I wasn't a Deadhead at the time, so I had to start at the beginning," Johnson said. "I bought everything The Dead had published and became a student of their art. I would finish a movement or two and gather up those that loved The Grateful Dead and see what happened when I played it for them. Their honest reactions told me everything. Tears, smiles, closed eyes and sometimes dancing. Any new movement that didn't create a genuine vibe in the listening room went away for good."

The culmination of Johnson's hard work paid off in 2007 when the Russian National Orchestra recorded and released Dead Symphony No. 6. The recording soon found its way into the hands of the BSO's Manager of Facility Sales, Toby Blumenthal.

"After listening to the symphony, I felt performing this 'world premiere' could take the BSO in a new and exciting direction," Blumenthal said. "There will be many new members in the audience that are passionate about the Grateful Dead, but may have never seen a live orchestra before. The BSO has the first opportunity to showcase the music of The Grateful Dead in what would be considered a 'non-traditional way.' What better time to present this concert than on Jerry Garcia's birthday?"

Johnson agreed. "American culture is rich," he said. "Our way of life is of profound fascination to much of the world; both for its strengths and weaknesses. The Grateful Dead are the real deal and it is time for the orchestral world to be able to enjoy some of the fun and some of the wonder."

Props to Toby for being the catalyst to making this happen in Baltimore. Us kids at The Weight know Toby very well from our days growing up in Baltimore with him. I'm actually hoping for a Terrapin Station bustout with Univ. of Maryland only about 30 miles away!

Also, check out this .mp3 clip of the BSO getting their freak on with St. Stephen!

Classic TAB to Return in August

Phish frontman Trey Anastasio will be playing the All Points West Fest at Liberty State Park outside NYC on Sunday, August 10th with the "classic" incarnation of the Trey Anastasio Band (aka TAB). Joining Trey will be Strangefolk drummer Russ Lawton, Unknown Blues Band bassist Tony Markellis, and Viperhouse keyboardist Ray Paczkowski. Trey, Russ and Tony first played together as part of the five piece Vermont supergroup Eight Foot Fluorescent Tubes on April 17, 1998. As the band that ripped monster versions of Sand and First Tube, I loved seeing these guys live over the years. Trey Band was always at their most rockin' stripped down as a trio without the horns. Ray will be a nice compliment and Trey certainly seems to enjoy playing with the guy.

Trey seems to be coming back together like that McFly family photograph in Back To the Future. This should be fun!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Bo Diddley: Not Fade Away (1928-2008)

Otha Ellas Bates, aka Bo Diddley, has passed away at the age of 79 in Jacksonville, FL while recovering from a stroke that he suffered last year. The legendary Bo Diddley may not have written the Buddy Holly classic "Not Fade Away", but he certainly inspired it, and the impact of that beat and that song was massive on rock n' roll:
The Rolling Stones' bluesy remake of that Holly song gave them their first chart single in the United States, in 1964. The following year, another British band, the Yardbirds, had a Top 20 hit in the U.S. with their version of "I'm a Man."

Diddley was also one of the pioneers of the electric guitar, adding reverb and tremelo effects. He even rigged some of his guitars himself.

"He treats it like it was a drum, very rhythmic," E. Michael Harrington, professor of music theory and composition at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., said in 2006.

Many other artists, including the Who, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello copied aspects of Diddley's style. AP