general fuzz

Musing from a obsessive computer music composer with hippie-ish tendencies.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Top 10

As I was jamming out to a recording of the Phil and Friends show on the way home from work, I started thinking about some of the stellar concerts I've been to. Now that I have this sweet personal outlet to the world (aka blog), I figured this would be an excellent time to attempt to write a top ten concert list. So, without further ado:

10. Crystal Method @ the Warfield, maybe '01. I didn't really 'get it' until I saw them live. It wasn't so much about the live show - I mean how cool do you look triggering samples? - but about the energy of their music. Excessive yelling and sweat dripping with Pat McCartin (my old concert buddy). I miss you Pat.

9. Jon Butler Trio @ the Fillmore '06, exactly one week before my 30th birthday. It was a beautiful set by an incredibly talented performer. I find that I often do a lot of thinking at concerts. At this one I ended up having a bunch of surprisingly powerful insights which totally primed myself for turning 30. I'm still dwelling on some of those thoughts.

8. Spin Doctors and Phish @ the Boston Garden '92. The first concert I ever attended. Dave Patry was responsible for this one. Having never heard of the Spin Doctors before (this was just before they really blew up), they came out and totally annihilated the Garden. It was amazing. I was hooked - concerts for life. Phish was not memorable at all, except for the long congo line with all the ladies. Hey, I was 16. Ironically I would go on to see Phish probably another 80 times, and I only recently saw the Spin Doctors for the 2nd time at a small club in SF called the independent. There were maybe 200 people there, but it was still really fun. I told the Bass player that story and he smiled - "The Garden - That was a good show!"

7. Trey shows @ the Warfield '03. Trey was feeling good during his Phish hiatus. These shows were ridiculously high energy. The second night Santana stopped by to play almost the entire show with him. It was unreal. The first night they played their instruments off the stage and through the audience. Trey stopped to talk with the people standing immediately infront of me. It was a nice ending to the evening.

6. Galactic @ the Warfield '00. They really brought the heat this night. I was floored. The second set Jon Harper (from Blues traveler) came out and played most of the set with them. The set ended around 1:30, and then the sax dude came out to say that there were going to play a third set with the dirty dozen brass band. The show got out at 3:30. I was going to collapse. Then Ian played Chicane (Beyond the Sun) on the car ride home and changed my life forever.

5. Tea Leaf Green @ our engagement party '04. I really wanted to have a live band play our wedding. Stina said it would alienate too many people. We compromised by having a blow out engagement party at a space called the Werepad. We came early to set up. We put out all the food we brought and two plates of pot brownies. Before any guests showed up, one plate was empty. All the staff and band hit the brownies hard. It was hysterical. The person running the door had no idea how many people came. One lady bartender ended up sitting down and let people go back behind the bar to make their own drinks. Tea Leaf Green brought the heat even though it was a private party. I got to sit in for a song, as did Andy Hatch. I later drunkenly beat boxed on stage, which was embarrassing to hear on the tape. Of note - General Fuzz made his first public performance opening for TLG.

4. Poison @ Shoreline '02. Yes, Poison, in '02 no less. It was a Thursday and I was at work. Kelly called to let me know Kerry Jo just inherited 15 free tickets to Poison. I was in. I called Stina to inform her what we were doing that evening. Kelly and Kerry Jo had a couple female friends in town and they all took the Cal Train to Mountain View. Stiners and I drove, and got a frantic call from the Cal Train - they had no way to get from the Cal Train stop to the venue. No problem. We swing by the Cal Train stop, everyone crams in the car and off we go. The ushers show off the huge stacks of tickets they have to give away. We get up on the lawn, and have it entirely to ourselves. We had waaaay too much fun that night. Ceci Deville played a song called "I Hate Every Bone In Your Body But Mine". It was like listening to a greatest hits cd, only with huge columns of flames.

3. Vegas Phish, many years. There's nothing like seeing Phish in Vegas. The entire city gets overrun by hippies. All the little hotel bars where any kind of live music is occurring is filled with dreadlocked crunchy people trying to soak in the free entertainment. The hotels are less then pleased. You walk down the strip, and you hear passerbys say "buds." Buffet after Buffet. The limo rides to the Thomas and Mack center. The first time I ever went was with Matty, and its was just ridiculous. We stayed at the Stardust, which was at the farthest end of the strip away from the venue. After the 3 set Halloween show (where 2nd set was the entirety of Velvet Underground's Loaded) we walked back to our hotel, probably 6-8 miles. We totally fell apart at 4am in a cafe when a drunk lady came up to me and demanded that I take off my crazy afro wig. Then there was the time that Kid Rock came out to sing a bunch of songs. A lot of those shows kinda blur together as just an over the top party. The energy level in Vegas was unlike anything I've ever experienced at a Phish show.

2. Orbital @ the Avalon '96. Sharon (my girl friend at the time, who now runs live sound for huge rock stars) took me. Electronic music never seemed that interesting, mostly because all I ever heard was techno. Thump thump thump thump. This show split my mind open. Their music was revolutionary to me, and inspired me to become the musician that I am today. I was completely sober but hallucinating. These guys had lasers coming out of their glasses, so as then nodded along to their music, lasers moved to the beat. They did their famous remix where they play "shot through the heart" and "ooh heaven is a place on earth" ontop of "Halcyon + On + On". I was forever changed from that show.

1. The Phil and Friends run @ the Warfield '99. Phil had just recovered from having his liver transplant, and wanted to celebrate with a short run of shows. His friends: Trey and Page from Phish, Steve Kimock, and John Molo. Fortunately, Seth was working at Ticketmaster at the time, and was able to get everyone tickets. It was the first time the Dead/Phish gap had ever been bridged and everyone was up in arms about it. They practiced for two days, then played three shows where they didn't repeat a single song. The shows were unbelievable. Sure, there were flubs and miscues, but the music was unlike anything I've ever experienced. Everyone wanted to rise to the occasion, and they totally did. I still get chills thinking about those shows. I still think Trey took one of the best solos I've ever heard when they played "Down with Disease". These tapes are widely circulated - I'd bet you can download them off, and I'd actively encourage you to do so.

Shows that almost made the list: Oysterhead @ the Greek '01, Chevelle @ the Fillmore '05, Def Lepord @ Greatwoods '96, Aerosmith @ Boston Garden '93, Black Crows '93, and Particle @ High Sierra Music Fest '01. Surely some others that I'm not recalling. That's what happens when you go to a lot of concerts.

Also, Greatest rock and roll moment: A tie between Scorpions @ Concord Pavilion '02 and Ten Mile Tide (opening for Tea Leaf Green on my birthday) @ Great American Music Hall '02. The drummer for the Scorpions is the closest I've ever seen to an actual incarnation of the muppet Animal. He was all over that set. At one point, the band gave him space to take a massive drum solo. As he brought the solo to a close, he picked up his bottle of beer and smashed it over his head. It was epic. Similarly, as Ten Mile Tide played the last note of their opening set, the fiddle player took his fiddle and smashed it over his knee. There was a shocked silence after that followed by massive cheering. ROCK AND FUCKING ROLL!


Blogger PVision said...

A) I'm impressed you could remember that many shows. I'd be hard pressed to rate my top 10.

B) Go #8

C) Rock & Fucking Roll

6:59 PM  
Blogger jordan said...

i concur with patry's A.

that particle show couldn't have been high sierra '01, as i was standing next to you for that set (which was, i agree, absolutely superb) and we didn't meet until late '01. musta been '02.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Seth said...

Great list, Jimmy K. Glad I could help you out with the Warfield tix - those shows would definitely be pretty darn near the top of my list as well...

4:47 PM  

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