Filthy Friends @ the Midpoint Music Festival (9/23/17)

[NOTE: This is the fifth post in my Forgotten Concerts of 2017 series.  As I’ve done with the other posts in this series, I’ve basically just typed in my pen and paper journal entry from the day in question.  I’ve done some editing on this one, though, as I wrote some particularly mean things about the New Pornographers and felt the need to temper that rage a bit for public consumption.  This post was published on February 1st, 2018, but I have altered the date so that it fits in chronologically.  Let’s pick up mid-sentence.]

…we began planning our trip to and from the Midpoint Music Festival.  It’s downtown tonight and I really didn’t feel like driving down and trying to find parking.  After much consideration and a lot of back-and-forth, we decided to take the bus down.  We caught one at the corner of Paxton and Linwood.  It wasn’t a direct trip, but we didn’t have to concern ourselves with any transfers.  We got down with plenty of time and even got off a few stops early for drinks at the downtown Coffee Emporium.  We heard a great song in there called “Couldn’t Spend Another Day” by the Ministry of Sound.  Gotta remember that one.

We then walked through downtown to the festival site, which basically consisted of the Taft Theatre and the Masonic Lodge next-door (where I’d seen Luluc).  Both buildings featured two stages and I was happy to see that they were connected by an interior door.  Still, the festival was very poorly designed and it was difficult to figure out which stage was which and who was performing where at any particular time.  It was a mess.

We wandered around and looked at the booths and browsed at the Shake It Records pop-up store.  We bought three books between the two of us.

We made our way to the bigger stage in the Masonic Lodge to see Filthy Friends at 7:00.  The band–which features (from left to right) Kurt Bloch, Scott McCaughey, Linda Pitmon, Corin Tucker, and Peter Buck–were the festival’s big draw for us, and I started to get really excited just watching them set up their equipment.  And I was drinking a Bubbles.

Beth and I stood down in front for the entire 45 minute set.  I can honestly say it was the most fun I’ve had at a concert in ages.  We danced, shouted, screamed, and blew-out our ears to a dozen songs we’d never even heard before.  Kurt mugged for anyone with a camera.  Scott hopped up and down.  Linda beat the hell out of the drums.  Corin belted out the words.  Peter just stood there with all the confidence that comes from knowing he’s the coolest, richest, and best-dressed guy in the entire room.

I kept a setlist, of course, but it was hard to do with all the jumping around.  Also, it was very loud…so loud I had trouble making out the lyrics.  Still, here’s the setlist (songs marked with an asterick were new):

Filthy Friends setlist: The Arrival / Despierta / Windmill / Only Lovers Are Broken* / No Forgotten Son / Second Life / Love in the Time of Resistance* / Come Back Shelley / Any Kind of Crowd / Ides (of) October* (described as “a climate change party song”) / Brother / Makers

The whole thing ended with a big grin on my face and tears in my eyes.  Filthy Friends were so fun that they basically ruined the rest of the festival for us (although the festival’s poor organization and terrible sound had at least as much to do with it.)  We watched a couple songs by Valerie June, tried to see something called Frightened Rabbit, and eventually gave up due to boredom and disorganization.  We headed back to the Masonic Lodge to wait for the New Pornographers at 9:00.  I got a dubious Filthy Friends poster on the way.

The New Pornographers started up.  Although they were once one of my favorite bands and I’ve enjoyed them live before, I was ready to leave their Midpoint performance within 45 seconds.  We managed to hold out for a while against terrible sound, screeching feedback, a truly awful Neko Case placeholder who was clearly in the wrong band, and waves of disappointment emanating from the stage.  It eventually got to be too much.  We left after six songs.

We ditched the band and the entire festival (skipping out on Broken Social Scene) and caught an early bus back home.  We spent the rest of the night eating cake and watching Endeavour.

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Chris Robinson & Neal Casal @ the Silver Platters SoDo (8/1/17)

[NOTE: This is the fourth post in my Forgotten Concerts of 2017 series. This one tells the story of that time last summer when I walked four miles in the surprisingly hot Seattle sun to see one of my all-time favorite musicians (Neal Casal) sing harmonies and play guitar with that guy who used to be in the Black Crowes (Chris Robinson).  This post was published on January 27th, 2018, but I have altered the date so that it fits in chronologically.  We’ll pick this one up mid-sentence.]

…but it certainly was hot out when I eventually packed up and headed off for my walk to see Chris Robinson and Neal Casal perform an in-store at the Silver Platters in SoDo.  The show was scheduled for 6:00, but I left early as it’s over a four mile walk and I wanted to make a couple stops along the way and still have some browse time in the record store.

My first stop was at Beth’s office.  We went over and had coffee and donuts at Top Pot.  She went back to the office afterwards and I continued on my journey.  I walked a couple miles through downtown and Pioneer Square and eventually stopped off at the Macrina Bakery in SoDo.  I got a mini bing cherry pie and a San Pellegrino.  (Gotta stay hydrated and stuffed with baked treats).  I also used the last pristine convenience I’d see for hours.  Then I continued on to Silver Platters.

I got there at 5:00.  Chris Robinson and Neal Casal were both browsing.  I saw Chris pose with a silly poster and buy $80 worth of records.  I couldn’t see the titles, though.  Neal mostly hung around chatting.  The duo went up on stage at 5:30 and did a soundcheck.  They played a song called “Blonde Light of Morning”.  It really sounded good when Neal joined in on harmonies.  He’s got a much better voice than his boss.

Beth showed up in the half hour between the soundcheck and the main performance.  She was browsing in the classical section when things got underway.  Chris and Neal made their way back on stage, kicked off their shoes, and proceeded to play a six song acoustic set.  Their first official song was the one they’d soundchecked, so the full setlist looked like this:

Chris Robinson & Neal Casal setlist: Blonde Light of Morning (soundcheck) / Blonde Light of Morning / Glow / Hark, The Herald Hermit Speaks / If You Had a Heart to Break / High Is Not the Top / Blue Star Woman

All six of those songs are from the new Chris Robinson Brotherhood album, Barefoot in the Head.  I enjoyed the songs but didn’t feel like I needed to buy the record and then wait around to have it signed.  It was hot in Silver Platters and the whole place smelled like weed and sweat.  Beth and I wanted out of there as soon as possible.  We got in line and made our non-CRB purchases just as the last song was wrapping up.

We took a bus to Veggie Grill, ate dinner, and then took another bus back home.

[NOTE: And that is the story of how I finally marked Neal Casal off my old, Vox-era Top Ten Concerts to See list.  I would’ve preferred to see Neal on his own, but he’s a member of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood and not doing many (if any) solo shows these days.  I’ll take what I can get.  I thought the show was a bit too hippie dippy at the time, but I’ve recently found a recording of it online.  It turns out the songs are quite enjoyable when listened to in fresh air and cooler temperatures.]

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Le Butcherettes @ the Taft Theatre Ballroom (6/22/17)

[NOTE: This is the third post in my Forgotten Concerts of 2017 series.  These shows took place last year, so I’ve been relying on the handwritten journal entries I wrote at the time.  This one has a couple additions, but it’s basically what I wrote in red ink last June.  This post was published on January 22nd, 2018, but I have altered the date so that it fits in chronologically.]

The big event for today was the Le Butcherettes concert down at the Taft Theatre.  Crankypants sent me an email a couple weeks ago suggesting that I go if I didn’t have anything else going on.  I’d never heard any of the band’s songs–although I think I remember once watching a couple minutes of an acoustic Tiny Desk Concert performed by the band’s singer, Teri Gender Bender–and I successfully fought the urge to check out their music before the show.  I ended up going to tonight’s concert never having heard even a single song by the band.

I drove down to the Taft Theatre at a little after 8:00.  It was raining and my car sounded terrible.

Speaking of sounding terrible, the opening act was a local duo called Lung.  They made too much noise with a cello and drums.  I sort of liked the first song I heard by them, but the second song sounded exactly the same and the third one sounded just like the second.  On and on.  I balled up some damp paper towels and stuck them in my ears.

The homemade earplugs turned out to be a good idea as they later allowed me to get up close to Le Butcherettes, who were fascinating to watch.  And also very loud.

Teri Gender Bender was engaging and theatrical and a magnet for the eyes.  It seemed like everyone in the audience was staring at her for the entire show.  The drummer could’ve been a wind-up cymbal monkey and the bassist a coat rack with a guitar hanging off it, and I doubt anybody would’ve even noticed.  Teri was perhaps the most charismatic performer I’ve ever seen on stage.  She sounded a bit like Polly Jean Harvey on some of the songs, but the singer she reminded me of most was Tim Taylor of Brainiac.  They both juggle back and forth between guitar and keyboards and appear to have been born on other planets.

Le Butcherettes played for an hour and I was hooked from the very beginning, despite the fact that I was unfamiliar with everything.  I would’ve gladly taken a second hour.  Here’s the setlist:

Le Butcherettes setlist: Burn the Scab / Spider Waves / I’m Getting Sick of You / (madre monologue in Spanish) / Dress Off / Boulders Love Over Layers of Rock / Bang! / The Leibniz Language / Shave the Pride / Witchless C Spot / Stab My Back / “I feel real…oooooh” / Sold Less Than Gold / La Uva / Henry Don’t Got Love

Teri sang “take a piece of me with you” at the end of the last song and then hopped off the stage and began hugging members of the audience.  I hung around for ten minutes hoping a merch table would develop, but it remained a sweaty hug session.  I eventually gave up.  I drove on home a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to buy some records, but very happy that I’d taken Cranky’s recommendation.

[NOTE: That setlist up there took me about six hours to put together.  Even with my extensive notes and a lot of online research, there’s still one song that I’ve been unable to identify.  That’s the one with the lyrics in quotes.  My notes for that one were particularly unhelpful.  Like I’d be able to identify a song by a mere “oooooh”; Teri Gender Bender screams that in a third of the songs!  I should also mention that “The Leibniz Language” and “Henry Don’t Got Love” both featured lyrics at the end that weren’t on the original studio recordings.  I have no reason to believe that these additional lyrics were separate songs, but I suppose there’s a chance they were.]

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Ric Hickey & Bam Powell (aka Smidgeon) @ the Oakley Pub (6/11/17)

[NOTE: This is the second post in my Forgotten Concerts of 2017 series.  Instead of trying to remember what I did last summer, I have once again copied the handwritten journal entry I wrote on the day of the show.  I didn’t edit anything out, so you’ll get to read the mundane things I did both before and after the concert in question.  This post was published on January 20th, 2018, but I have altered the date so that it fits in chronologically.]

For the second morning in a row, I was not awakened by a roach crawling up my arm.  This time I was awakened by sunlight and the sound of Matthew mowing his lawn far too damn early.  I got up, took a shower, and then went downstairs to have a cup of coffee and set up a load of laundry.  I took my coffee out on the front porch where I wrote in here and listened to the Velvet Crush coming through the front room window.  It’s quite nice out but I’ve heard it’s supposed to get into the 90s pretty soon…possibly as early as this afternoon.  It’s 10:35.

I hung around the house and talked with Beth on the phone for a bit.  Then I packed my things and walked up to the Oakley Pub to see Ric from Everybody’s Records perform a duo set with Bam Powell as an outfit called Smidgeon.  He’d given me the details last Wednesday when I was in the store.  They were playing out on the back porch.  I picked a shady spot and ordered a burger and a Rhinegeist Bubbles (rosé ale).  I ended up getting two of the Bubbles.

I hung around the pub for a couple hours drinking, eating a (decent) burger and (amazing) fries, and listening to the guy who’s given me dozens of Eydie Gormé records and Sub Pop promos over the years play guitar and sing.  I’d always heard he was good live, and I’m happy to say it’s true.  It wasn’t all Ric, though.  Bam sang half the songs and had a surprisingly soulful voice.  I say “surprisingly”, but that’s just because I’d never heard of him until last Wednesday.  It turns out he was the singing drummer in the Raisins, a legendary power pop-ish sort of band that was top-of-the-heap on the Cincinnati scene back in the 80s.

[NOTE: I have since tracked down a copy of the self-titled Raisins record from 1983 (picked up used at Everybody’s, of course).  It’s quite good, and I’m a little ashamed it took me this long to get to it.  Look up “the raisins” and “fear is never boring” on YouTube to check out the slightly demented video they made for one of their best songs.  It’s the purple one.]

I kept a setlist.  I wasn’t planning on doing anything with it, but now that I’m writing this, I think I should go ahead and write down the titles.  At least the ones I recognize.  Here they are:

Smidgeon’s first set (that I saw): …”toe to toe” (Bam Powell) / Little Sister (Elvis Presley) / Reminds Me of You (Van Morrison) / Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young) / Ain’t No Free (NRBQ) / Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain (Willie Nelson) / “special teams” (mystery song sung by Bam) / Oh Well (Fleetwood Mac)

Ric invited me over to his table between sets and I met his friend and later his girlfriend.  Greg and Michelle, I believe.  I was partially drunk on Bubbles, so I was a bit more social than I normally would’ve been.

Smidgeon’s second set: Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash) / Movin’ Again (the Raisins) / “we’re going public with our love” (Ric Hickey) / I Like Skin (Bam Powell) / I’m Comin’ Home (Robert Earl Keen) / Walk Away (Tom Waits) / Trust Your Papa (Sparrow Bellows) / Big Bone Lick (Bucket) / Move It on Over (Hank Williams) / Home Sweet Home (Bam Powell)

I eventually decided it was time to go home.  Had I stuck around much longer, I would’ve felt obligated to order a third Bubbles (and that would’ve led me astray, of course).  I shook hands with Bam, said my goodbyes, and headed off.  It was quite hot by the time I got back, so I closed the windows and turned on the A/C.  I took a cold shower and then settled in to revisit parts of the Endeavour episode I watched last night.

After that, I watched the second Thor movie.  I’ve put the entire Marvel Comics series on reserve at the library, but they’ve been coming in out of order.  I’ve been watching them that way.  It’s only slightly confusing.

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Teenage Fanclub @ the Neptune Theatre (3/24/17)

[NOTE: This is the first post in my new Forgotten Concerts of 2017 series.  As the show took place last March, I have relied heavily on the handwritten journal entry I wrote back then.  In fact, I have pretty much copied it word-for-word.  This post was published on January 12th, 2018, but I have altered the date so that it fits in chronologically.]

Tonight’s the night Teenage Fanclub plays at the Neptune Theatre.  It’s a rainy morning and I’ve been up for about an hour.  Coffee, madeleines, puffins, etc.  I’m listening to Patty Duke.  Nothing gets me ready for a rock concert like Patty Duke.  It’s 8:32.

Beth got home at around 6:00.  We ate junk food for dinner and got ready for the show.  We headed off at 7:30, but stopped to get some cough drops on the way.  The Neptune’s doors opened at 8:00 and we arrived ten or fifteen minutes after that.  We still got front row balcony seats, though.

The opening act was Britta Phillips of the groups Dean & Britta and Luna.  She played a 9-song set mixing covers with original songs from her new solo album, Luck or Magic.  I thought she sounded a bit like Susanna Hoffs fronting the Velvet Underground.  Her husband Dean Wareham played guitar in her 3-piece band.  He helped out with some vocals, too.  They’re a very attractive older rock-n-roll couple.  I don’t know who I had a bigger crush on.  Probably Dean…he’s got amazing hair.  Either way, here’s the setlist:

Britta Phillips setlist: One Fine Summer Morning (Evie Sands) / Daydream / Fallin’ in Love (Dennis Wilson) / Million Dollar Doll / Ingrid Superstar / Night Nurse (Dean & Britta) / Tugboat (Galaxie 500) / I’ll Keep It With Mine (Bob Dylan) / Drive (the Cars)

The whole set was good.  I was especially happy to hear Dean Wareham sing my favorite Galaxie 500 song.  I also like how Britta Phillips started and ended her set with a ba-ba song.  That’s how you do it.

While I’m here writing out song titles, I guess I’ll write out Teenage Fanclub’s setlist.  Here it is:

Teenage Fanclub setlist: Start Again / Don’t Look Back / Hold On / I Don’t Want Control of You / Thin Air / Verisimilitude / It’s All in My Mind / The First Sight / About You / I Need Direction / The Darkest Part of the Night / Can’t Feel My Soul / Ain’t That Enough / I’m in Love / Sparky’s Dream / The Concept

Teenage Fanclub encore: I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive / Star Sign / Everything Flows

I’ll just get this out of the way: although Britta Phillips and her band sounded terrific, Teenage Fanclub’s sound was a bit murky in places with the vocals kind of overwhelmed by the guitars.  Still, this didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment.  Even with the sound issue, this was a great rock show.  It combined many of Teenage Fanclub’s biggest songs with a half dozen tunes from their latest release, last year’s Here.  It’s a tribute to the band’s consistency and the high quality of their songs that I really couldn’t tell what was new and what was old.  And Beth seemed to like it a lot, too.

The highlight for me, of course, was “I Need Direction”.  It’s my favorite Teenage Fanclub song and one of the quintessential ba-ba songs.  It was great to hear it live.  I was so jealous of the drummer who got to sing the ba-ba chorus.  I wanted to be that guy for those four minutes.  Other highlights included “The Concept”, “Start Again”, “Sparky’s Dream”, and “Star Sign”.  I’d never really noticed until tonight, but most of my favorite Teenage Fanclub songs are sung by the bassist, Gerard Love.  I always think of Norman Blake as the singer, but the songs are pretty evenly split between the three songwriters.

I should also mention “Can’t Feel My Soul” as a highlight.  I’m not all that familiar with the song, but the fifth guy, the keyboardist, took a break on that song and that really helped the sound issues I mentioned earlier.  The band sounded much better as a 4-piece.

The only song I didn’t care for was “I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive”.  It was the first song Teenage Fanclub played during the encore and it was a complete mood killer.  The song livened up at the end with the repeated “what are you gonna do about it?” part, but I noticed a lot of people checking their phones during the first few minutes of the song.  Not a good choice for an encore.

[NOTE: My journal entry ends rather abruptly with a mangled sentence that I’m not going to include here.  Instead, I’ll just say that this was a great show even if I did have a couple minor issues with the sound and song selection.  I consider myself lucky any time I’m able to catch up with one of my Scottish bands.  I never thought I’d get to see Teenage Fanclub in concert and I’m happy to be able to mark them off my list.  I was also impressed with Britta Phillips and need to track down that album of hers.]

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Nick Lowe & Josh Rouse @ the 20th Century Theatre (10/19/16)

Last night I went to see Nick Lowe and Josh Rouse at the 20th Century Theatre.  Both musicians performed solo acoustic sets; Josh served as the opening act.

lowe-rouseI’ve been a fan of Josh Rouse’s music since I first heard “Suburban Sweetheart” on the Sounds of the New West compilation in 1998.  I saw him open for the Cowboy Junkies a couple years after that, and then lost track of him as a live performer.  I still bought each of his new studio albums, but didn’t manage to catch up with him again for 16 years.  What I mostly remember about Josh’s live show back then was how dull it was.  If you’re less interesting than the Cowboy Junkies, then there’s definitely something wrong.

Well, I’m happy to report that Josh Rouse has made great strides as a live performer.  He’s quite engaging now.  He seems comfortable up there, tells stories, and blows a mean harmonica.  It also helps that he’s got so many more quality songs to choose from (originally recorded in different styles).  Josh mixed it up and played a selection from his entire career.  He performed the title track off his debut album, a few songs off the incredibly poppy 1972, an assortment of songs from his Yep Roc years, and even a new tune called “Sad MF”.  I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.  Here’s the setlist:

Setlist: It’s the Nighttime / JR Worried Blues / A Lot Like Magic / New Young / 1972 / Time / Sad MF / Dressed Up Like Nebraska / Comeback (Light Therapy) / Crystal Falls / Love Vibration / The Ocean

Josh Rouse closed out his set with a version of “The Ocean” that had the audience singing the “sinking down slow, sinking down slowly” line over and over again as he walked off stage.  I’m usually not into audience participation, but it was quite lovely.

Nick Lowe is my second favorite 67-year-old British musician and he hardly ever makes it out to Cincinnati.  This was actually my first time seeing him live.  It was perfect timing, too.  I found a used copy of his 1999 box set, The Doings: The Solo Years, a few months ago and have been playing it in my car non-stop since then.  I’ve heard “American Squirm” about 40 times.  I can honestly say that I’m more of a Nick Lowe fan in October of 2016 than I’ve ever been before.  I consider myself lucky that he scheduled a show a mile from my house right in the middle of my Nick Lowe Phase.  That kind of timing rarely happens.

Want to know what I think?  Nick Lowe is a brilliant performer and you should check him out if he ever comes anywhere near where you live.  Even if you only know the hits like “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?” and “Cruel to Be Kind”, it would definitely be worth the money.  He’s charming and dapper and has so many good songs beyond the famous ones.  I was just as happy to hear songs from 2011’s The Old Magic like “House For Sale” and “Stoplight Roses” as I was to hear the classics.  I don’t even own The Old Magic.  Never heard those songs before in my life.

Here’s Nick Lowe’s setlist:

Main set: People Change / Stoplight Roses / Long Limbed Girl / Ragin’ Eyes / What’s Shakin’ on the Hill / “Crying Inside” / ‘Til the Real Thing Comes Along / “The Shoes I Used to Wear” / Has She Got a Friend? / I Trained Her to Love Me / I Live on a Battlefield / Failed Christian (Henry McCullough) / Cruel to Be Kind / Sensitive Man / Somebody Cares For Me / House For Sale / Lonely Just Like Me (Arthur Alexander) / (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding? / I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock ‘n’ Roll)

Encore: When I Write the Book (Rockpile) / Knock Knock Rattle (Rex Allen) / Alison (Elvis Costello)

Finally, here are a few of my usual concert-related scans and photos.  In addition to the setlist notes and marquee shot, I’ve included a picture of my copy of Josh Rouse’s Bedroom Classics, Vol. 4.  I picked it up at the merch table on my way out.  I didn’t even know it had been released.

One last thing.  I should probably mention that this show took place at the exact same time as the third presidential debate.  I would’ve watched that train wreck if it hadn’t been for the concert.  My life is better for choosing the music.  It almost always is.

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Richard Buckner @ MOTR Pub (8/6/16)

Probably the less said about last night’s Richard Buckner show down in Over-the-Rhine the better.  I arrived late to find him playing to a decent-sized crowd of people, but I soon realized that only about a dozen of them were paying any attention to what he was doing onstage.  The rest were drinking and chatting and ignoring him.  They were loud and disrespectful.  The situation made me grumpy and embarrassed for my town.  It made Richard Buckner angry.

Richard had just finished “When You Tell Me How It Is” and was starting in on “Before” when I guess he reached his limit.  He stopped the song a few lines in, stood up, and began packing his equipment.  He looked furious.  An oblivious man from the audience made the mistake of going up on stage to talk to him.  Richard yelled at him to “get off the fucking stage.”  I believe that may have been the last thing he said in MOTR Pub.  He packed his minivan in a barely-contained rage and was gone five minutes later.

blurry buckner with boxes

(blurry Buckner with boxes)

This was a rough concert to witness.  I don’t blame Richard Buckner at all, though.  I’m actually surprised he lasted as long as he did.  The audience was obnoxious and showed a complete lack of respect.  Still, I’m glad I went.  If nothing else, it’ll explain why Richard skips over Cincinnati the next time he tours the Midwest.

Here’s to happier times and better audiences:

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Richard Buckner @ the Columbia City Theater (7/24/16)

Although I’m always looking for an excuse to come out to Seattle, I usually plan my trips around a specific event like a concert or music festival.  I planned this trip around Richard Buckner’s show at the Columbia City Theater.  Not only is the theater one of my favorite local venues, but Richard Buckner is one of my favorite musicians (and has been for 19 years).  So it seemed like a good excuse for a visit.

Beth and I were the first people through the theater doors, so we ended up snagging two seats right in the middle of the front row.  That gave me an even better view than I’d had when Richard played a show in my house a couple years ago.  We listened to Hayden over the sound system while we waited for the concert to begin; I drank a beer and Beth drew a drawing of the stage.  I’d post it here, but it’s not mine to share.

The show eventually started at a little after 8:00.  Richard was great as usual, but I’m not going to go into the specific details as I’ve already done that three times in the Vox/WP era.  You should probably just go back and read those.  Sorry, I’m lazy.

Although I make setlist notes in a pocket-sized Moleskine during shows, I always clean them up and write them in the back pages of my proper journal.  I recently ran out of those pages for this year, so I had to write the corrected setlist in the rarely-used calendar at the front of the book.  I like the way it looks, so I’ve taken a picture and am posting it here instead of typing it all out as I usually do.  Here’s the setlist:


(27 days, 27 songs)

I did a bit of investigating and noticed that Richard Buckner played at least one song from each of his nine solo albums…going all the way back to 1994’s Bloomed.

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Mark Pickerel @ Sea-Tac Airport (7/21/16)

I swear I don’t plan my trips to and from Seattle around Mark Pickerel’s appearances at the airport, but I ran into the man there again yesterday.  He was performing as part of Sea-Tac’s City of Music program which features local musicians playing live music throughout the airport.  This was the second time that our schedules have overlapped.  This time I found him singing in the middle of the Central Terminal food court to an audience of travelers eating Qdoba burritos and something that might’ve been Chinese food.  I pulled up a chair and watched the rest of his set.

Here he is:


And here are the songs he played while I was there:

Setlist: … / Sway (Dean Martin) / Waiting on a Friend (Rolling Stones) / Solitary Man (Neil Diamond) / Forest Fire / Your Avenue / You’ll Be Mine / Mother of Earth (Gun Club) / One More Cup of Coffee (Bob Dylan) / Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone (Willie Nelson & others)

Much like last time, he played an interesting mix of covers and originals.  The highlights for me included a song I associate with Dean Martin called “Sway” and a cover of Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man.”  As far as the original songs go, I particularly enjoyed “Forest Fire” and “You’ll Be Mine.”  I was happy to find both of these songs on the Snake in the Radio CD I bought as Mark was packing up after the show.  It’s an album Beth tried to give me years ago.  I refused the offer back then by saying,

I don’t want a CD by some guy you gotta crush on!

As you can see, I eventually came around.

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Paul McCartney @ U.S. Bank Arena (7/10/16)

After three days of searching, I finally found my Paul McCartney ticket just 212 hours before the doors opened.  It turned out that one of my cousins had an extra and was willing to sell it to me for face value.  Once I knew I had a ticket, I felt a great relief at no longer having to deal with the scalpers on StubHub or the psychopaths on Craigslist.  I started geeking out.  I went so far as to dig out my old red JOHN PAUL GEORGE RINGO t-shirt.  Yes, I decided to dismiss concert etiquette and wear a Paul McCartney shirt to a Paul McCartney show.

My parents and I went downtown and met up with my cousin.  I gave her a check in exchange for the ticket.  It was the most expensive concert ticket I’ve ever purchased, even more expensive than the prime seat I accidentally bought for the Eagles’ Hell Freezes Over tour back in 1994.  (I’m not kidding.  It really was an accident.)  Here’s the Paul McCartney ticket:

paul mccartney ticketThere was no time for small talk.  I gave my cousin a hug and headed for one of the metal detector lines.  “I’ll see you at Christmas,” I said over my shoulder.  My parents and I split up on the other side of security, and I went off to find my seat.  It was a surprisingly excellent seat…far away from the stage, but with good sight-lines and a metal bar between me and the section in front.  The people on either side were nice, as well.  Here’s a pre-show shot:

sailor babo gets readyThe concert started about an hour later.

The next two hours and 45 minutes were probably the most joyous and magical two hours and 45 minutes I’ve ever spent in my life.  Or at least the most joyous and magical two hours and 45 minutes I’ve ever spent at a concert.  I had a big grin on for most of the show and even got a bit teary-eyed once.

view from my seatHere are the setlist notes I wrote during the show:

paul mccartney setlistAnd here’s that setlist all cleaned up with proper titles:

Main set: A Hard Day’s Night / Save Us / Can’t Buy Me Love / Letting Go / Temporary Secretary / Let Me Roll It / Foxy Lady (instrumental Jimi Hendrix cover) / I’ve Got a Feeling / My Valentine / Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five / Here, There and Everywhere / Maybe I’m Amazed / We Can Work It Out / In Spite of All the Danger (early McCartney/Harrison composition recorded by the Quarry Men in 1958) / You Won’t See Me / Love Me Do / And I Love Her / Blackbird / Here Today / Queenie Eye / New / The Fool on the Hill / Lady Madonna / FourFive Seconds (recent song recorded with Kanye West and Rihanna)/ Eleanor Rigby / Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite! / Something / Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Band on the Run / Back in the U.S.S.R. / Let It Be / Live and Let Die / Hey Jude

Encore: Yesterday / Hi Hi Hi / Birthday / Golden Slumbers–>Carry That Weight–>The End

For those of you keeping track, that’s 23 Beatles songs (if you count the Abbey Road medley that closed the show as three), 7 solo Paul McCartney songs, 6 Wings-related songs, and 3 other songs that don’t quite fit into one of those categories.  It was all great.  The only song that came anywhere near being a dud was “Temporary Secretary.”  It’s a slightly-annoying, completely weird song that Paul has, for some reason, plucked off McCartney II and started playing at shows.  The funny thing is that I was totally singing along about halfway through.  I’ve still got it in my head as I’m writing this.

What we really should be talking about here are the highlights.  There were so many.  The biggest highlight of a night full of them was a surprise performance of George Harrison’s “Something.”  I call it a surprise because it’s a song that’s so clearly associated with George.  Sure, it’s a Beatles song, but George wrote it and George sang it.  I’m still kind of shocked that I got to hear it–played on a ukulele nonetheless.  It was beautiful and I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried like a big, stupid baby.

Other highlights include “Here, There and Everywhere” and “Maybe I’m Amazed” played back-to-back, a mini Grand Old Opry-style set featuring acoustic versions of early Beatles classics, a boisterous “Live and Let Die” with explosions and fire shooting everywhere, “Ob-La-De, Ob-La-Da” and “Hey Jude” sing-alongs that I actually participated in, an unexpected ba-ba appearance in “Lady Madonna”, and the magnificent “Golden Slumbers–>Carry That Weight–>The End” medley that closed the show.

By the time we got to “The End,” I was happier than I’ve been in a while.  I felt light and clean and had to fight the urge to high-five complete strangers.  I would’ve been willing to spend a lot more money than I did to feel that way.  The way I look at it, I got a bargain.  I met up with my parents outside the venue, high-fived both of them, and then listened to my mom talk about how “awesome” Paul McCartney is, how great he looks for 74, and how she no longer regrets that my grandmother wouldn’t let her go see the Beatles when she was a little girl in 1964.  All is forgiven.

And my dad looked around all sneaky-like and told me he’d secretly recorded a dozen songs on his iPhone.  That pirate!

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