Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ramble on Roseland: The Dead, Roseland Ballroom, NYC, 3/30/09

Live Dead, Free the Dead, Waking the Dead...call it what you want, THE DEAD ARE BACK. Frankly, I'm a little hungover and still jittery from last night's high, so forgive me if I tend to jump around a bit. To begin, the karma was great -- markedly different from recent Phil or Ratdog shows. Everyone was cheery, strangers were mingling, beers were flowing, there were no attitudes or angry hippies. Even my fellow Weightstaffer was blessed with a free ticket(!) inside the venue when his original connection fell through. I've been to at least 20 Phil/Ratdog shows in the past few years and that NEVER HAPPENS. At that instant, we knew it was going to be a special night. Let me take a step back. I'm sure there are a few who are reading this and wondering, The Dead played Roseland?!? WTF?!? How did I not know about this?!? I'll explain. This past Friday, those registered on the Dead's website were given "secret" access to a lottery for free tickets to one of three shows: 1) an acoustic set at the Angel Orensanz Center featuring Phil, Bobby and Warren, 2) a mini-set by the band at the Gramercy Theater and 3) a finale at Roseland Ballroom. I was lucky enough to score a ticket to the Roseland show.

Naturally, my high began the minute I heard the opening notes to "Althea." Everyone's did. We all started dancing and didn't stop until we were out in the streets 90 minutes later searching for a cab home. "Cassidy" was next and I was starting to wonder if we were gonna get a recreation of the classic Without a Net. Coincidentally, just an hour before the show, we were discussing the Dead albums that changed our lives; Without a Net was on all of our lists. More on that in a minute. The band sounded great. Just watching Bobby with his stoic stance and signature head tilt, Phil with his illuminating bass, and Mickey and Billy playing in the greatest drum circle of all time, I felt like I was at the 80's Dead show I was never at. Really though, Mickey and Billy were fantastic. They were the reason it didn't sound like just another Phil or Bobby show. Some might curse me for saying this, but it felt and sounded like the Dead -- or at least as close as we're gonna get. Even Warren used some Jerry-inspired effects on guitar and Jeff Chimenti sounded VERY Godchaux-esqe at times. I have to assume that Donna will join for a few shows on their upcoming tour. Everyone was impressed.

Anyway, just when I thought it couldn't get any better, the band broke into an anthemic "Uncle John's Band" and the entire audience sang along in unison. Classic. Now, just a moment ago, I mentioned Without a Net. Anyone who is familiar with that album (and every Deadhead is), knows you can't mention it without ogling over perhaps the greatest "Eyes" ever (think Branford Marsalis). Well, last night, despite no cameo from Branford, the band pulled off an epic "Eyes" and the place erupted. Everyone was dancing. Guys were "air guitaring" and the girls were twirling around in a dream-like trance. It was very moving.

The band then launched into a killer St. Stephen> Dark Star> Sugar Magnolia. In a moment of euphoric bliss, I turned to my fellow Weightstaffer (and long-time concert buddy) and said, "I feel like we're at the Winterland!" He agreed. Well, at least we closed our eyes and imagined that much. No one wanted the night to end, no one wanted to leave. We could have watched them play for hours. But as all things must pass, the band left us on an optimistic high note with a Mickey/Billy inspired "Not Fade Away." Normally, I can do without this tune, but watching those guys hammering away at the notorious percussive heartbeat was spellbinding. What a great show; what a great night.

So the 3-show evening came to a close. Call it a slick marketing move or just a good-will tip of the hat to the fans who have supported the band through the thick and thin, it really didn't matter. It was the right move and all had a good time. I think Jerry would have approved.

The Dead, Roseland Ballroom, NYC, 3/3/0/09:
Uncle John's Band
Eyes of the World

St. Stephen >
Darkstar >
Sugar Magnolia

Encore: Not Fade Away

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Allman Brothers: Live Dead

The Allman Brothers Band closed out their 15-night 40th anniversary Beacon Theater run by once again inviting out a few guests, including one-time band member and piano player Chuck Leavell and Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir. Leavell's contributions to the show included a first set take of Jessica, a song he recorded with the band on their 1973 Brothers and Sisters album.

03/28/09, 15th night of the run

Set 1
Little Martha
Done Somebody Wrong
Trouble No More

Rockin' Horse
I Walk On Guilded Splinters

Who To Believe
Born Under A Bad Sign (Floyd Miles)
Stormy Monday (Floyd Miles,
Check Leavell)
Come & Go Blues (Chuck Leavell)
Jessica (Chuck Leavell, Paul Riddle)

Set 2
Sugaree (Phil Lesh, Bob Weir)
I Know You Rider
(Phil Lesh, Bob Weir)
Franklins Tower (Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Chuck Leavell)
Black Hearted Woman
Mountain Jam (Chuck Leavell)

Encore: Statesboro Blues (Chuck Leavell)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Allman Brothers: Back Where It All Begins

On the true 40th anniversary of the Allman Brothers Band's formation in Jacksonville, FL, the boys are paying the ultimate tribute to their legacy and Brother Duane by performing the group's first two studio albums in their entirety. The first set tonight (and their first album) is the self-titled The Allman Brothers Band, released in 1969. The second set tonight (and their second album) is Idlewild South, released in 1970. This evening's encore, Statesboro Blues, is the first track off of their third album, the concert recording At Fillmore East.

03/26/09, 13th night of the Beacon run

Set 1
[The Allman Brothers Band]
Don't Want You No More
It's Not My Cross to Bear
Black Hearted Woman
Trouble No More
Every Hungry Woman
Whipping Post

Set 2
[Idlewild South]
Don't Keep Me Wonderin'
Midnight Rider
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man
Please Call Home
Leave My Blues at Home

E: Statesboro Blues

Monday, March 23, 2009

Back To The Garden?

With this year being the 40th anniversary of the legendary Woodstock festival, it's not surprising that talk is surfacing of a concert to celebrate the occasion. But, what is surprising is the rumored bands. London's Times Online is reporting the following as it relates to the event:
Central Park and various other outdoor spaces in New York City have been scouted and talks have been opened with a distinctly retro line-up of bands, including The Who, Santana, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Joe Cocker, the Dave Matthews Band and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Read the full article here

Dylan Debuts 36-Year Old Song

From RollingStone.com:

Bob Dylan has certainly pulled out many forgotten gems from his back catalog onstage over the years, but last night at a club in Stockholm he took it to the next level by playing “Billy” from the Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid soundtrack. He hadn’t played it since the original recording in 1973. A remarkably clear bootleg has already surfaced on YouTube, which you can watch above. The moment is up there with other shocking Never Ending Tour one-offs, such as 2003’s “Yeah, Heavy and a Bottle of Bread,” “Romance In Durango” from the same year and 2000’s “We Better Talk This Over.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd Will Never Die

Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd, arguably the most tragic band of all time, lost another longtime member in January with the death of piano player Billy Powell. Billy's death follows a long string of ill-fated events that started with the infamous 1977 plane crash that killed band members Ronnie Van Zandt, Steve Gaines, and Cassie Gaines.

Plane crash survivor/guitarist Allen Collins was paralyzed from the waist down due to a 1986 car accident that killed his girlfriend, in which Collins was found to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Collins would never play guitar on stage again following the accident, but he did tour with the band as a musical director during their 1987 reunion tour. He died in 1990 from pneumonia, resulting from complications following the car accident.

Bassist Leon Wilkeson also survived the plane crash but his left arm was so badly broken that he had to play bass in a more upright position because he couldn't fully extend his arm. In another near death experience Leon was found sleeping with his throat cut and bleeding profusely, an incident he survived and which there is still mystery surrounding. He was found dead in a hotel room in 2001, with his passing attributed to natural causes.

Following Wilkeson's death the band remained with only two longtime members participating: piano player Billy Powell and guitar player Gary Rossington. Despite a pact with Ronnie Van Zant's widow that at least three longtime members would have to participate for the band to use the name 'Lynyrd Skynyrd,' the band continued on with the name anyway.

With the now recent death of Billy Powell in January, the band still shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, they have just announced their signing with Roadrunner Records, plans of their first new studio album in six years, and a summer cross-country tour with Kid Rock. The album will contain six songs which Powell already recorded before his death.

At this time, the only longtime band member still part of the group is Gary Rossington. If I were him, I would sleep with one eye open. Other surviving early members Artimus Pyle (drums) and Ed King (guitar) have not played with the band in many years (Pyle in 1991 and King in 1996).

Despite all the tragedy I mentioned here and honestly many more incidents that I did not include, Lynyrd Skynyrd as a band just keeps on truckin'. In honor of Skynyrd and the late Billy Powell, take a listen to one of my favorite tracks of theirs, live from the 1976 Knebworth festival, "Searchin."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Repeat Incident

Colorado electronic-psychedelic-jamgrass-rockers String Cheese Incident will reform after breaking up less than 2 years ago (with a final show at Red Rocks in August 2007) to play the Rothbury festival over July 4th weekend somewhere in Michigan. SCI will be joining fellow headliners Bob Dylan and The Dead (not appearing together) at the four day festival.

Relatedly, with Bruce Hornsby joining the Allman Brothers Band last night for a rendition of Bill Withers' "Grandma's Hands" I did some googling to find information on the song. As it turns out, Bruce perfomed the same song with String Cheese on 2/15/01 at Denver's Fillmore Auditorium (where I saw Phil Lesh and Friends perform with Ryan Adams the night before I saw them perform at the aforementioned Red Rocks).

Also at that February concert with Bruce and SCI, they performed a cover of The Beatles' "I've Just Seen A Face" from possibly my favorite Beatles album, "Help!", which is said to have been influenced by the aforementioned Bob Dylan.

Click here to listen to excellent, rollicking "I've Just Seen A Face" by String Cheese Incident with Bruce Hornsby from February 15, 2001 (courtesy of archive.org)

Also appearing at Rothbury this summer will be Allman Brothers' guitarist Warren Haynes with both Gov't Mule and the aforementioned The Dead.

Neil Young: Journey Through The Past

The Neil Young camp has yet again set a release date for his oft-pushed back Archive set. Speaking at South By Southwest last week, Neil's manager set forth a release date of June 2nd. The 10 disc set, featuring released and unrelased material, will be available in DVD, Blu Ray, and CD formats.

I'm not sure why we should believe that the release is actually going to take place on June 2nd, but something tells me it will happen as stated. We shall see.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Allman Brothers: Hornsby and The Horns

Beacon Theatre - NYC, 10th night

Set 1
Little Martha (Warren, Derek, Oteil)
One Way Out
Statesboro Blues
Black Hearted Woman > The Other One jam
The Same Thing (Juke Horns)
Soulshine (Juke Horns)
Little By Little (Southside Johnny, Susan Tedeschi, Juke Horns)
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright (Susan Tedeschi)
Lost Lover Blues (Susan Tedeschi)
Stand back (Susan Tedeschi, Juke Horns)

Set 2
Grandma's Hands [Bill Withers cover] (Bruce Hornsby, Susan Tedeschi, no Greg)
In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Bruce Hornsby)
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Bruce Hornsby, Juke Horns)
Jessica (Bruce Hornsby)

Encore: Southbound (Bruce Hornsby, Juke Horns)

Butch Trucks Talks Clapton Appearance

There will be no interviews with Eric. I had a long talk with him yesterday and he is absolutely having a ball just being here and having fun playing music that he loves with us and for Duane. He has asked that he not have to do any extra "work" such as any interviews or a lot of people wanting to get close to hm. I will not ask him to do any more than he is. If anyone alive has paid his dues along these lines it is Mr. Clapton. We will of course not press the issue and let him enjoy himself with any distractions from us. --ButchTrucks (Moogis forum)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Allman Brothers: Eric Clapton Returns

Images Captured from Moogis webcast
Beacon Theatre - NYC, 9th night

Set 2
Melissa (Greg on acoustic)
Leave My Blues at Home
No One Left To Run With
Key To The Highway (Eric Clapton)
Stormy Monday (Eric Clapton)
Dreams (Eric Clapton)
Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad (Eric Clapton)
Little Wing (Eric Clapton)
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed !!! (Eric Clapton)

Encore: Layla (Eric Clapton, Danny Louis)

- Clapton is really hitting the solos hard tonight. He sounds more comfortable. Maybe repeating a few songs from last night isn't such a bad idea.
- Greg's vocals sound incredibly strong tonight. Even he is motivated by their special guest.
- Derek and Eric dueling guitar leads in Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad is the highlight of the night for me.
- Warren and Eric share vocals and smiles during Little Wing. Beautiful solo from Warren on this one.
- Monster solos all around on Liz Reed. Warren closed it out huge.

Allman Brothers: I Can't Stand It

The Allman Brothers are out on stage for the first set of their ninth show (out of 15) at the Beacon Theater. Tonight's reappearance of Eric Clapton is all but inevitable, with his guitar rig already setup on stage, but we're left waiting for it to actually happen again. And don't get me wrong, the Brothers sound fantastic. They're clearly feeding off of the anticipatory energy in the room. But, if last night's sit in was any indication of what we're in store for, everyone has EC on their minds.

The majority of songs that one would expect the Brothers and Sir Eric to collaborate on were already played last night, so there is really no telling what we could be in store for in terms of setlist tonight.

The first set went as follows:

Beacon Theatre - NYC, 9th night

Set 1
Little Martha (Oteil alone on bass)
Mountain Jam*
Trouble No More
Midnight Rider
44 Blues (w/ Danny Louis)
Wasted Words
Gambler's Roll
Ain't Wastin' Time No More
Mountain Jam

* w/ Little Martha teases

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Allman Brothers: Eric Clapton Sits In!!

Images Captured from Moogis webcast

As rumored, Sir Eric Clapton sat in with the Allman Brothers Band tonight during their second set at the Beacon Theater to play a number of songs that he recorded with the late Duane Allman during the legendary Layla sessions in 1970 as Derek and the Dominos.

Once ABB guitarist Derek Trucks, named for that very same band, joined Clapton's touring band in 2006, the conversations started about whether Eric would ever sit in with the Allmans. Tonight, that dream is finally a reality. This was truly a historic night of music.

Beacon Theatre - NYC, 8th night

Set 2

Oncoming Traffic (Greg solo at piano)
Come and Go Blues
Good Morning Little School Girl (Danny Louis)
Key To The Highway (Eric Clapton)
Dreams (Eric Clapton)
Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad (Eric Clapton)
Little Wing (Eric Clapton)
Anyday (Eric Clapton, Susan Tedeschi)

Encore: Layla (Eric Clapton, Danny Louis)

Thank you Moogis! Thank you Butch! Thank you Eric!

Allman Brothers: Where's Eric?

Rumors have been rampant of a 3/19 appearance by Eric Clapton with the Allman Brothers at the Beacon. So far, there has been no sign from Slowhand. There has been though an excellent, heavily jammed out, guest-free first set with an unusually early placement of Whipping Post. Feels like something is going down. Here is the setlist so far:

Beacon Theatre - NYC, 8th night

Set 1
Little Martha (Oteil, Derek, Warren)
Statesboro blues
Done Somebody Wrong
Woman Across the River
Don't Keep Me Wonderin'
Whipping Post

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Please Don't Take Her Just Because You Can [AI Spoiler]

Wow. The American Idol judges "save" of the season was very much in play on tonight's elimination episode. With a bottom 3 of Alexis (who Randy incorrectly called Allison!!), the real Allison, and Michael Sarver, these were solid contestants that should in theory have all made the Top 10 and the Idol cheese fest they call a tour.

After letting the real Allison return to her seat, we were down to Sarver and Alexis. And after prodding from Seacrest, Simon stated that he would potentially consider saving one of the two. Well, our friend from the oil rig was never a serious threat to win the show so he must have meant the 'lil lady, Alexis. When her number was called as the one with the lowest vote count, she was allowed to sing her choice for the week, Jolene by Dolly Parton, for her life line. And boy were the lyrics fitting. The White Stripes did it better but Alexis gave it her all...

Check out the lyrics (just replace Jolene with Simon, Randy, Paula, and Kara and 'him' with her dream):

Jolene, jolene, jolene, jolene
Im begging of you please dont take my man
Jolene, jolene, jolene, jolene
Please dont take him just because you can

I had to have this talk with you
My happiness depends on you
And whatever you decide to do, jolene

And I can easily understand
How you could easily take my man
But you dont know what he means to me, jolene

You could have your choice of men
But I could never love again
Hes the only one for me, jolene

End result: End of the Line, Allison (oops, sorry...Alexis)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Midnight Reader

Greg briefly sports some specs during a run through of The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" with Scott Boyer and Brian Mitchell [screen capture taken from my Moogis webcast]

Random Thoughts

I'm going to keep this short: Derek Trucks is fucking amazing.

I'm watching the Allmans webcast right now on Moogis. It's the second set and Sheryl Crow is out singing Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home" with the boys. And I just felt the need to share what I'm thinking at the moment. I could honestly listen to him play my least favorite songs all day and I would undoubtedly love every minute of it. He is the unsung hero of this band of very talented musicians. The tone...the notes....the quiet confidence....the effortlessness.....

...back to the show.........

Monday, March 16, 2009

If TheWeight Had a Twitter Account

I would be typing:

- Did you know that Alabama State has a player named Chief Kickingstallionsims?

[Seriously. Root for him against Morehead State in the NCAA Tournament play-in game tonight. That's the best name since The Band called themselves The Band. Or maybe since Mr. Mister? Or is it Was (Not Was)?]

- Damn, this is embarassing to type [deep breath]. I don't...hate...Lady GaGa. There I said it. I like that she is at least trying to be creative and edgy when the country is very anxious and could use a distraction. And she is what Madonna WISHES she could still be like.

- Rothbury lineup is impressive. The Dead, Bob Dylan, String Cheese, The Black Crowes and Willie Nelson, etc. Wait, this lineup looks familiar. Oh right, it's from Bonnaroo I - IV. And that's not a bad thing.

- Moogis for Phish tour? Please? Pretty Please Mr. Trucks!

- Chris Cornell working with Timbaland is just embarrassing for so many reasons. You not rich enough Chris? You want to ruin the small semblance of credibility you have left? Just get Soundgarden back together and headline Lollapalooza already.

- Is Michael Jackson going to pull off all 50 shows at the O2 arena? This is the same guy whose face is melting, serves Jesus Juice, hangs his kids off of balconies, and spends millions on worthless garbage. Signs point to no. I'd be much happier with tickets to the 3rd show than the 41st. Good luck!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Legendary producer Glyn Johns leaves retirement to remix and remaster 1977 Thin Lizzy live album

Incubus returns to the road to promote a new greatest hits album

Jack White to play drums in new band

The Hartford Courant reviews a recent Fleetwood Mac concert

Why Spotify may spell the end of music ownership

Allman Brothers: Jazz at Beacon Theater

I've been reading about the concept of live concert webcasts for as long as I've been using the Internet (about 15 years). Throughout that time, I've always been fascinated with the concept; being able to listen to or watch a show as it happens from the comforts of my own home. It seems that every year a new service comes along promising an improved experience and I've tried many of them. Listening to Phish's 1998 Halloween concert from my room in college, the night they performed the Velvet Underground's Loaded in its entirety, is one of the earliest instances that I can remember.

Based on the positive reviews I'd been reading in the last week, tonight, I bought my subscription to Moogis and watched the live webcast of the 5th night of the Allman Brothers Band's Beacon Theater run. Within 10 minutes of watching on my laptop, I knew the price was worth it. As I'd been reading, the sound and picture quality is excellent. But what is so surprising is the high quality of the production. It seems that there are cameras everywhere, both on and in front of the stage. You get to see incredible closeups of all of the players on stage. You get to see the emotion on their faces and the way they react to each others' playing. You get to see Derek and Warren's fretwork. You get to see Greg's fingers on the keys. Quite simply, Moogis provides an experience that you cannot get from inside the venue. And since I can't be there on the Upper West Side, this is without a doubt very close to being there in person. In fact, I've been in the balcony at the Beacon Theater, and the view I have from my sofa is so much better.

As I'd hoped, the night was heavy on Allman's classics and special guests. I'm very much looking forward to watching the remainder of the run.

Beacon Theatre - NYC, 5th night

Set 1
Little Martha (Warren, Derek, Oteil)
Ain't Waistin' Time No More
Walk On Guilded Splinters (Dr. John cover)
Rocking Horse
Gambler's Roll
Woman Across The River
Dreams w/Randy Brecker (trumpet) and Lenny White (Miles Davis/Return To Forever/drums)

Set 2
Melissa (Gregg on acoustic guitar)
Lovelight w/ Robert Randolph
One Way Out w/ Robert Randolph
In A Silent Way (Miles Davis) w/ Randy Brecker
Liz Reed > w/Randy Brecker and Lenny White
Drums > (Butch/Marc/Lenny White)
Bass Jam> w/ Stanley Clark (Return To Forever/bass)
Liz Reed w/ Stanley Clark

Mountain Jam>
Dazed & Confused>
Mountain Jam

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Imitation Of Life: Tribute to REM

R.E.M. made a surprise appearance last Wednesday night at the famed Carnegie Hall, for a concert that was billed as a tribute to R.E.M. themselves. Put together by Knitting Factory owner Michael Dorf, and in support music eduction for underprivileged youth in New York, the show featured a wide array of artists covering songs from throughout R.E.M.'s career. Just about all of the songs chosen by the artists fall in the obscure category far away from the band's greatest hits.

The setlist ran as follows:

Set List:
The dB’s – “Fall On Me”
Fink – “The Apologist”
Keren Ann – “Man On The Moon”
Calexico – “Wendell Gee”
Rachael Yamagata – “The Great Beyond”
Bob Mould – “Sitting Still”
The Feelies – “Carnival Of Sorts (Boxcars)”
Ingrid Michaelson – “Nightswimming”
Glen Hansard – “Hairshirt”
The Apples In Stereo – “So. Central Rain”
Guster – “Shaking Through”
Marshall Crenshaw – “Supernatural Superserious”
Rhett Miller – “Driver 8″
Kimya Dawson – “World Leader Pretend”
Vic Chesnutt And Elf Power – “Everybody Hurts”
Kristin Hersh And Throwing Muses – “Perfect Circle”
Dar Williams – “At My Most Beautiful”
Jolie Holland – “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” (featuring Kyp Malone of TV On The Radio)
Darius Rucker (from Hootie and the Blowfish) – “I Believe”
Patti Smith – “New Test Leper”
R.E.M. – “E-Bow The Letter” (featuring Patti Smith)

March Winds Blow

Videos courtesy of LazyLightning66

Trey, Page, and the Allmans playing 'I Know You Rider'

Buddy Guy, Trey, Page, and the Allmans playing 'Southbound'

The Brothers Bring Out The Horns

The reviews of this show are stating that it was the best night of the run so far. The horns took to show up to another level.

Check out Swampland.com's review here to find some context around the show's guests and see some pictures.

NYC The Beacon, 4th night

Set 1

Midnight Rider
Don't Keep Me Wonderin
Done Somebody Wrong
New Instrumental
Into The Mystic w/The Juke Horns
One Way Out w/Bruce Willis
Smokestack Lightning w/Bruce Willis
Southbound w/The Juke Horns

Set 2

It's Takes A Lot To Laugh (It Takes A Train To Cry) w/Boz Scaggs
Sick & Tired w/ Boz Scaggs and The Juke Horns (Ronnie Hawkins song)
Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City w/Boz Scaggs and The Juke Horns
Loan Me A Dime w/Boz Scaggs and The Juke Horns
The Same Thing w/The Juke Horns
Wasted Words
No One To Run With

E: Whipping Post

Friday, March 13, 2009

You Too?

Time Out New York magazine is not exactly considered the "go to" source for music reviews. However in the latest issue, the one with the naked people on the cover, their reviewer has joined the bandwagon of U2 haters based on their latest less than stellar effort entitled 'No Line on the Horizon'. It certainly looks like the masses are working to bring down perhaps the biggest band of the last decade (maybe two decades). Is it warranted?

Here is their (IMHO, very good) review:

U2 is at a rather strange point in its evolution, a bit like a woman who was really, really sexy in her twenties but has now reached her forties—and has a choice. Either carry on wearing the same makeup, thigh boots and whatever—or embrace a new way of being. It could be equally sexy, but it will be different. And that’s the risk.

To judge by No Line on the Horizon, U2’s 12th album, the band is torn between those routes (Ivana Trump and Julianne Moore, perhaps?). No question this was once a genuinely fiery, inspiring band; just cock an ear to the teary polemics of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” or the ludicrous, dazzling romance of “With or Without You” if you need reminding. But the things that stoke our brains and hearts change over the years; consequently, the least convincing tracks here are the ones that mine that same old territory—the yet-another-Batman-theme-song grind of “Get on Your Boots,” for example, or the ploddy “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.”

No Line on the Horizon is at its most intriguing and beguiling on those understated, stranger tracks where the music is jointly credited to U2 and producers Brian Eno and Danny Lanois: the longing sweetness of “Magnificent,” which recalls Talk Talk, or the gently soaring “Moment of Surrender.” Overall, you can’t help but feel that when U2 stops trying to deliver what it thinks people love it for, the band may be a really sexy proposition again.

Taken without permission from the writer, Sophie Harris

Cramer vs. Cra..Stewart

“How weird is our world that Jim Cramer is on TV baking pie and Martha Stewart is the one who went to jail for securities fraud?”

--Jon Stewart on Jim Cramer's recent appearance on The Martha Stewart Show

Did anyone else watch Jon Stewart rip Jim Cramer a new one on last night's The Daily Show? The real American idol Stewart went on a rampage last night against Cramer and his backer, CNBC, and all he could do was cower and take it like a man. Now, while I certainly don't condone Cramer, and on a wider scale, CNBC, for "cheerleading" the market when they had information to the contrary, I think it's a bit unfair that Cramer has become a whipping boy during this recent economic meltdown. I mean, the guy is a television personality for God's sake! Can you really accept anything he says at more than face value? To that end, I thought he was a good sport, he acknowledged his missteps, and didn't come off as a defensive prick which he easily could have done.

Investing is gambling. Period. No one crucifies the CEOs of Harrah's or The Borgata when morons gamble their kids' college funds away. Nor do we indict the heads of companies (who make millions of dollars) for peddling flim-flam products like those ridiculous Japanese foot pads, Airborne, and other purported "health remedies." And seriously, if you're naive enough to buy stocks based on the recommendations of a guy who throws rubber animals around on a program backed by a self-interested, profiteering financial network, then you need to get your head checked anyway!!!

That being said, Jon Stewart is still my hero.

Click here to watch the full interview

Trey and Page Join Allmans

For those of you insisting that Trey and Page would never share the stage with Buddy Guy and the Allman Brothers Band, tonight on the third show of the Beacon run, you were proven wrong. Tonight's second set just looks phenomenal. I might need to buy a Moogis subscription just to watch what went down.

NYC The Beacon, 3rd night

Set 1
Little Martha
Trouble No More
Leave My Blues at Home
Who's Been Talking
Black Hearted Woman
You Can't Lose What You Never Had
The Sky Is Crying (with Buddy Guy)
You Don't Love Me (with Buddy Guy)
Southbound (Buddy Guy/Page/Trey)

Set 2
I know You Rider w/Trey & Page
Liz Reed w/Trey & Page
Encore: Statesboro Blues

Second set was only 4 songs but went for an hour and a half

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

American Idol Chatter - Round of 13

I'm an Idol addict. I wear it on my sleeve and am not shy about it. However, I do want to say that this is my favorite show for reasons that may not be obvious. I don't tune in to watch the "bad" contestants get trashed, I don't vote, and I certainly don't get the breathy charm of David Archuletta. I'm basically not in the target demographic. But what brings me back to watching every damn show is the pure humanity of it all. These people, who are plucked from obscurity, should in theory be completely out of their element. Yes, some have failed record deals, but the majority of the contestants do not. They were sitting on the couch in Nowheresville, USA last season and now they have their chance. And what I find so fascinating is watching someone "ordinary" get on stage in front of millions of people and either shine like they have been there a million times before or fall back to earth like a led zeppelin. Exultation or embarrassment. All for us to watch live.

This season is an interesting one. There are singers in the competition who maybe shouldn't be there except for some interesting qualities to their life story. And I think this was the first show this season that begin to separate the wheat from the chaff. One thing I will say, is that some contestants may have shined a bit brighter than normal tonight because it was Michael Jackson week and his tunes happen to be in their wheelhouse (Adam, cough, Lambert). But that being said, some people nailed it and some people were named Anoop.

'Lil Rounds - It's easy to say this was Mary J. Blige lite. But for this performance, Lil Rounds vocal was a lil too thin. She needed to bring some blues and soul into it the song to make it work and it didn't for me. I did like her "The day you give up on your dreams is the day you give up your life" line from her opening montage. Probably will stay.

Scott MacIntyre - I really like Scott...as an artist and singer, not just as a "story". But Scott's problem is that he has too much of a a James Taylor vibe. His voice has emotion and he would be a great story teller in that Kenny Loggins vein. But AI thrives on a singer "hitting the note" to steal a line from the Allman Brothers and Scott may have too delicate of a vocal for this show. And was that really a Michael Jackson song?? I've never heard of it. Will definitely stay.

Danny Gokey - Could the hype be getting too big for this guy? He hasn't sung in three weeks and I still think he is overexposed. I liked his performance but nowhere near as much as the judges. Michael Jackson is not in the sweet spot for his Michael McDonald vocals but he will definitely be back and will be in the competition for a long time. Let's hope there is a Doobie Brothers episode for him to really shine.

Michael Sarver - Michael is the Josh Gracin of this season. I guess there weren't any Iraq War veterans that tried out this year to take instead of him. Michael is the guy the producers were dying for because he gets the Middle America/Republican/ Grandma vote. I heard Bristol Palin has been calling IDOL 04 nonstop since the show ended. His vocal was okay. But dude, you are WAY out of your league. Sweet guy but he'll be rocking the oil rig again in no time. Only problem is that the oil guys may not let him come back after the "sissy" singing. Kind of like when a baby bird falls out of the nest, the mother won't bring them back in. He may not be voted back on but the Red States will probably keep him one more week.

Jasmine - Very cute girl, looks great on camera, and can definitely sing. I actually liked it better than the judges did. Her youthful voice worked great on a Jackson 5 number and she was very poised for her age. Its hard to not root for her. Will be back next week.

Kris Allen - Two words. All American. Three more words. Didn't sing great. Will he be around next week? See first two words and Michael Sarver write up. Just replace Republicans with every girl that voted for David Archuletta. Dude, acoustic guitar on Remember the Time? Really? Forgettable. The comments from Simon that Kris should have kept his wife hidden so that the girls would like him more was amazing. I love this show.

Alison - Looks like a younger Jenny Lewis. She has a hell of a sultry sound for a young girl. Very advanced for her age. I love her vibe and her voice. But is this chick smoking a pack a day or have a whiskey problem? Greg Allman even envies her growl. She is one of my favorites. She doesn't need this show and as Kara says...she could be on the radio with a hit tomorrow. Just please never, ever, ever sing Black Velvet. I would take back everything positive I ever said about you. No Melissa Ethridge either! One flaw: work on your exit interview skills, girl. See you on the show for a long time.

Anoop - Sang 'Bad'. Nothing else needed to say. I want to like you buddy but the a capella skills just don't translate. Is Anoop gonna make it to next week? It is written. Will he make it much longer. I doubt it.

Jorge - Completely forgettable. My guess is he is headed back to Puerto Rico tomorrow.

Megan - Wow. She looked very, um, womanly tonight. This could keep me watching by itself. I can't take my eyes off of her because I'm not sure if she is going to fold under the pressure, shine, or try to steal Seacrest's wallet. I get a Bonnie and Clyde danger vibe from this girl and I love it. Horrible song choice with 'Rockin' Robin' but I could have watched this performance on mute. Check that, I SHOULD have watched it on mute.

Adam Lambert - I want to believe this guy is a star. He is right on that thin line between edgy superstar and Hot Topic sales guy at the mall. He couldn't have had a better "theme" than Michael Jackson to start out the competition which will help him. Adam is over the top, shrieky, and would be fronting Buckcherry if they had the next RockStar Supernova INXS type show. Maybe he thought he was trying out for that. I don't think this show is right for him but I'm excited to see how he handles the next couple of weeks.

Matt Giraud - Had to unfortunately follow Adam. Not exactly where I would want to be. Not much more to say. I actually really like Matt and want him to do well. I just don't think he has that internal innate sparkle translating on camera that is so necessary to move forward in this show. His falsetto at the end was amazing. But this might be the end for him. Too bad because if I ever voted I might vote to try to save Matt.

Alexis Grace - This girl is all legs. It looked like Bambi vamping it up on stage. I think her body may actually be 74% legs. And this song performance was sexy. I mean SEXY. I don't know whether I should stare at her or call the police on myself. How old is this girl? I think I saw she has kids so she must be older than 18. I hope. Excellent performance. I liked it alot more than the judges did. She owned that song. Will be around for a long long time.

My guesses to go home: Jorge definitely. I think Matt may be the second one to go. Should be Anoop and Michael but I think they are both safe...for now. My prediction for the winner? Allison. You heard it hear first.

Rock'n Folk'n Roll: Cover Lay Down

Now that we're back in the blogging game, I've spent some time tonight visiting a number of the sites that I used to read regularly when I was looking for inspiration for my own posts on The Weight. One of those blogs, that I frequented frequently, features, by their own description, "folk covers of familiar songs" and "reimagined versions of folk songs."

I am absolutely the target market for this site. I have a passion for cover versions and folk songs, and thanks to Cover Lay Down, I get to listen to a wealth of folk'n covers. The site also happens to be one of the best written music blogs on the Internet. The mp3s shared always come along with insightful information about both the coverer and the coveree and it's evident that the author has a wealth of knowledge about mainstream pop/rock and the present and past of bluegrass and folk.

I'll share a few of my favorites that I found perusing Cover Lay Down tonight. You may not be famliar with the performer, but you'll certainly be familiar with the material.

Jeffrey Foucault: Lodi (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Mary McCaslin: Things We Said Today (The Beatles)

Brianna Lane: Learn To Fly (Foo Fighters)

John Martyn: Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright (Bob Dylan)

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Allmans March Into The Beacon

The Allman Brothers Band got their nearly annual spring Beacon Theater residency off to a running start with special guests Taj Mahal and Levon Helm. With rampant speculation about who would be sitting in with the band during this 40th anniversary string of gigs, showing their cards with Taj and Levon on the first night bodes very well for what may be on the horizon. Despite confirmed(?) rumors of appearances by Eric Clapton and Aretha Franklin, could a Dickey Betts reunion be the real highlight? We'll know in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to The Weight for continued coverage of setlists from the run . . .

NYC The Beacon, 1st night

Set I:
Little Martha
Don't Want You No More > Not My Cross To Bear
Walk On Gilded Splinters
The Same Thing
Midnight Rider
Leave My Blues At Home
Leavin' Trunk (w/ Taj Mahal)
44 Blues (w/ Taj Mahal)
Statesboro Blues (w/ Taj Mahal - all lead vocals)

Set II:
Ophelia (w/ Levon Helm, Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, and Brian Mitchell)
I Shall Be Released (w/ Levon Helm, Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, and Brian Mitchell)
The Weight (w/ Taj Mahal, Levon Helm, Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, and Brian Mitchell)
Black Hearted Woman > Other One jam (w/ Purple Haze tease by WH ) > Black Hearted Woman
Stormy Monday
Mountain Jam

E: Southbound

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Two worlds colliding. Bob Lefsetz and Phish. Its kind of like when your home friends start hanging out with your camp friends. Weren't these two groups supposed to exist on different planes. And with the different turfs merging, it gets a bit awkward. But ultimately your interested to see how the assimilation works.

I have been reading the musings and rantings of Bob Lefsetz since probably the last time I saw Phish which was around December 2003 (20th Anniversary show in Boston). Bob is a music lover first and foremost as well as a music industry insider and outsider all at the same time. His e-mail "letters" serve primarily to rail against the music industry that he perceives is running itself into the ground. But above all that, Bob understands the power of music. And he has taken the liberty over the last couple of days to discuss his thoughts on Phish and how they represent what is GOOD in music...predominantly passion, energy, creativity, and the NEED for its fans to be at the show. Some of the quotes are:

the band is cooking, it's positively alive!

A true star doesn't play to everybody, he plays to those who care and who come to care. Phish has a rabid fanbase that paid $49.50 for tickets and much more flying to the gig in this somewhat remote location, because they had to be there! People won't cross the road to go to the show of the Top Forty wonder, but they'll load up their credit card to attend what they truly believe is an event. And you've got to be in the building.

And Phish's fans believe the band can play. Rather than go on television shows, doing a promotional junket advertising their return, Phish practiced. Their audience demands excellence. That's what Phish has to deliver to insure their return. Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers have one big tour. A great act plays for the ages, it can't afford to fuck up. You follow this sound, all the way to the Hampton Coliseum, in Nowheresville, Virginia. You can't help but dance to that fine fine sound, YOUR LIFE IS SAVED BY ROCK AND ROLL!

It's got more vibrancy than all the pap made on machines and auto-tuned that comes out of the speakers of the radio stations people still listen to. Radio is dead because the music it plays has lost its exuberance.

And my favorite:

And that's what we're looking for, not robotic repetition, but live, breathing humanity. This is the way out. Pay attention. Throw out what you know about downloading, piracy, pricing...that's all history. It's about music.

Magazine Roundup - Rolling Stone, 3/16/09

One of the ways I keep up with the world is by obsessively reading magazines. I think I get about 12 or so delivered to my apartment and for fun I sit at Barnes and Noble reading more. Sure the Internet holds almost all of the same info and articles, but I guess old habits die hard. That must be the same reason why 360 million CDs were sold last year, according to SoundScan. Who the hell is buying these discs?!? The article does point out some genre stats that country and R&B appear to be leading the way of the continued sales. Let's have a show of hands, how many of you have bought more than 10 physical CDs in the last five years? Back in the day I would probably have bought 5 or 6 a month. Maybe more. I can barely remember.

Back to magazines, I was flipping through the March 19 Rolling Stone. The one with U2 on the cover with a picture of Bono in eye shadow. Um, wasn't this a bit more shocking when The Killers and Pete Wentz were doing it back in 2003. Is this really what passes for rock n roll rebellion these days? Does anybody else get the backlash vibe that people are over this band a bit?

Anyway, there were a couple of items that caught my eye in the issue that I wanted to share. I figure I might be one of the last magazine readers out there, so here is what you may have missed if you didn't pick up the issue:

Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck May Tour the States

Ben Harper's new group, the Relentless Seven, are described as Lenny Kravitz fronting Queens of the Stone Age. Cool!

'The Beatles: Rock Band' will be released on September 9th!

The E Street Band may tour without Max Weinberg due to Conan's new gig beginning June 1st

The Bob Marley Estate appears to be majorly selling out having joined up with a retail branding company named Hilco to market coffee (slogan: Stir it Up! - I'm not joking), bedsheets, and a Grand Theft Autoish video game.

Get this super group (from an interview with Billy Joel): "At a party at Jon Bon Jovi's House, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffett, and Roger Waters were all there, and we all got up and played a Pink Floyd tune, "Wish You Were Here", "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Long Tall Sally".

I know most blogs have a large amount of their content consisting of republishing links to articles that they think are newsworthy. Hear at The Weight we go a step further by doing it the old fashioned way: reading and retyping. Take that, BrooklynVegan! Oh, I'm only kidding. I love that site. It's good to be back online!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Southern Man

From the greatest of them all...

(recognize who's playing lead and sporting a handsome mustache?)

The Weight 3.0 (Hey, if Phish can do it....)

"Fluffhead was a man...."

After queuing up the Phish show from last night via Mr. Miner's web site, and I heard the crowd react to the band coming up on stage and then go absolutely wild for the opening strumming to Fluffhead, I started to cry. I was NOT expecting that. And it was brief. But damn was it cathartic.

I didn't cry because I wasn't there, although trust me I wish I was. It was because in that instant I reflected on so many things. I'd say it is embarrassing to type that, but music lovers know full well that melody, rhythm, and emotion are extremely tied together. And like Malcolm Gladwell says in 'Blink', it only takes a second for our instinctual ability to take over.

When I was in high school, Phish sparked my adventurous side, my musical side, my dangerous side, my analytical side, and so many other facets to who I am. And I was young enough to not have the drama of relationships, money, bosses, and "the future" hanging over my head. And unfortunately, those things are almost all of what has been on my mind of late. And for that split second, I was reminded of a time when NONE of that drama ruled my life. And it felt oh so good. I think the people in the audience felt it, everyone listening to the show online felt it, and the band felt it too. After all, the last five years have not been easy for them either.

I've been to the Mothership in Hampton before, and I sure as hell know I'll be there again, but for now I am content to listen to the rest of the show on my laptop, let my mind wander, and remember what is most important in life and where my priorities should be. Including bringing this web site back to where it should be: a place to bring music fans together and share our stories. And here is looking towards my first taste of live Phish in early June at Jones Beach and the epicness that should be this year's Bonnaroo.

"Divided Sky, the wind blows high..."