Saturday, June 27, 2009

CSN Play Dead At Glastonbury

David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash took to the stage yesterday at the legendary Glastonbury festival in Somerset, UK, one day after their frequent collaborator Neil Young headlined the first night of the event. CSN used this opportunity to play two songs from their forthcoming Rick Rubin-produced covers album. Within a set of their most famous numbers, from the massive Pyramid stage, the group played the Grateful Dead's "Uncle John's Band" and the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday". I would love to know if any other band has played a Grateful Dead song at Glastonbury since it's inception in 1970. Despite some speculation (and it being a really good idea), Neil Young made no appearance with his sometimes bandmates.

Crosby, Stills, and Nash's setlist was:
'Southern Cross'
'Military Madness'
'Marrakesh Express'
'Long Time Gone'
'Rock And Roll Woman'
'Uncle John’s Band'
'Helplessly Hoping'
'Ruby Tuesday'
'Déjà Vu'
'Almost Cut My Hair'
'For What It’s Worth'
'Wooden Ships'
'Teach Your Children'

Neil Young's headlining set the previous night was:
’Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)’
’Mansion On The Hill’
'Are You Ready For The Country?'
'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere'
'Spirit Road'
'Cinnamon Girl'
'Mother Earth'
'The Needle And The Damage Done'
'Comes A Time'
'Unknown Legend'
'Heart Of Gold'
'Down By The River'
'Get Behind The Wheel'
'Rockin' In The Free World'
'A Day In The Life'

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thoughts on Michael Jackson's Death

If you've read some of my older posts, then you know that I have repeatedly cited the 80's as the decade which eternally ruined music; the so-called "powder-keg" which once lit, led to the unfortunate downfall of the music industry. However, despite my chronic disappointment of not having been a flower child, I am not ashamed to admit that one of the few high points of growing up during the Regan years was growing up with Michael Jackson (well, his music). Unlike the dreck that clogs the Hot 100 today, Jackson actually WROTE and COMPOSED many of the songs that have evolved into iconic standards. I have little doubt that his vast catalog of hits will remain exemplary models for as long as man listens to music.

Let me cite a few examples of why his music is so great: first and foremost, his style has been mimicked by Madonna, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Brittney Spears, his sister Janet, and probably by every other R&B/Pop star born after 1980; he practically invented and re-invented the music video beginning with "Beat It" and "Thriller" and continuing onward with "Black or White" and "Remember the Time;" his songs have been sampled and covered innumerable times by acts of all ages and genres ranging from Fall Out Boy to Alien Ant Farm to Chris Cornell; his music is reguarly played at the hottest Manhattan night spots and are amongst the most popular at karaoke bars all over the world (I can't help but think of the [only] funny scene in Rush Hour 2 where Chris Tucker flawlessly performs "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"); televison programs like American Idol dedicate entire episodes paying homage to his catalog; he has been famously (and reverently) parodied by Weird Al Yankovic, who notably, was personally granted permission by Michael himself to spoof his music; he started eternal fads like the Moonwalk and the ubiquitous over-sized aviator sunglasses (and you know you wanted that red leather jacket when you were in 2nd grade); and he remains a household name amongst children and octogenarians alike, from the most metropolitan cities in the U.S. to the smallest villages in the African plains. I imagine that his name falls on that list alongside Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny and McDonald's as one of the most recognizable names on Earth.

He is a legend and I hope that in years to come, all of the nonsense that plagued his life (and surely precipitated his untimely death) will be overlooked, and he will be remembered for what he did best -- make us happy. Alas, the King of Rock and the King of Pop are now united in that great kingdom in the sky, and I suppose they will compare notes and share a few laughs about the genius and drama that surrounded their lives...or so we may read about while in line at the grocery store.

DS, Weightstaff

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dave Matthews on Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon's late night talk show has pretty much been a train wreck thus far from my perspective, but seeing bits like this one give me hope for his future success.