Wednesday, February 3, 2010

July 1999 - 12/31/2009, best musical multi-night runs...

I have managed to see some epic musical performances. Sometimes it was just one night, other times it was 2 or 3 consecutive nights; and on rare occasion, a bit longer... Anyway, below is my list of the most memorable multi-night musical runs I have experienced these last 11 years, in chronological order. I chose summer 1999 as the starting point because there were some stand-outs then and the preceding couple years hadn't been as huge... While the majority of live music performances I have attended in my lifetime has been great, these multi-night runs stood out. Why, might some of you be asking, is there no mention of Widespread Panic's 1999 European Tour? Because I only caught 1 night (Paradiso/Amsterdam). As for the Beacon Runs, if I am going to list every one I've been to, whats the point of making a list here? That is why I was selective in which runs I chose (Allman or other bands). If my next 11 years on this planet are even half as interesting, from a music fan perspective, then consider me a damn lucky mofo :-)

* 6/12/99, 6/13/1999 - The Allman Brothers Band @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre (Morrison, CO)
I came from another continent to be there that weekend; from Reading, Berkshire (UK)... The fact I crossed an ocean from Allman deprived Europe gave this weekend an extra double or triple dose of sweetness. There was a large tribe of Disreputables, we were all staying at the Marriott in Golden, and we took it over. It was a crazy couple of nights. This particular weekend, these 2 shows were the first with Derek Trucks as a full time permanent member of the band (replacing Jack Pearson). It was this weekend that really launched my "traveling obsession/fanaticism" of my favorite bands.

* 12/30/1999, 12/31/1999 - Phish @ Big Cypress Seminole Indian reservation (The Everglades in South Florida)
Another major effort to be there... This time I traveled from Brussels, Belgium. Millennium weekend. I was there with my best friend since junior high school (early 80's), Mike, and although he had initially turned me on to Phish 8 years before, these were the first shows we caught together... 2 nights of solid music, on NYE they played from approximately 11:30 PM until sunrise the next morning.

* 3/23/2001, 3/24/2001, 3/25/2001 - The Allman Brothers Band @ The Beacon Theatre (NYC)
Another major effort to be there... This time I traveled from Santa Catarina, Brazil, which I had been calling home for the previous 5 months. The day before my flight, I was hiking in some woods and got bitten by mosquito's... By the time my plane landed in NY approximately 20 hours later, both my ankles were swollen to the point I could have used some crutches. Anyway, I had excellent seats with very close friends for 3 consecutive nights (3/23, 3/24, and 3/25); and these were the final 3 nights of the extended Beacon Run... It was after this run they announced that Warren Haynes had rejoined the band on a permanent basis (He was "guest guitarist" for the run, replacing "interim guitarist" Jimmy Herring who had initially stepped in when Dickey Betts left the band)... Regarding the vibe that weekend: The energy in the air, being generated both on stage and from the audience, and back and forth, was incredible... This was my first Beacon experience too. All the familiar faces I saw in the theatre and/or neighborhood, and the huge tribe staying at the Beacon Hotel made it even more special... By the end of the weekend, I lost my voice. To this day this might be the best 3 nights, overall, of live music I have experienced, period. Not that the rest of this list wasn't as good, they were; but this weekend was the perfect overall vibe that will never be recaptured.

* 12/30/2003, 12/31/2003 - Gov't Mule @ The Beacon Theatre (NYC)
This was a last moment deal... I found out a couple weeks before the shows that a friend was holding some extra's if I wanted them, and worked this weekend into my NYE plans. I stayed at the Beacon Hotel, more quality time with Disreputables; and since this was a present to myself because I had just annulled my marriage, after enduring a very unrewarding few months of marital non-bliss, I followed this weekend with a short week in Amsterdam ;-) If I remember correctly, on 12/31, Warren teased 20th Century Schizoid Man AND Hocus Pocus (I am such a prog geek).

* 10/22/2004, 10/21/2004, 10/24/2004 - MagnoliaFest @ Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (Live Oak, Fl)
A sh*tload of bands over a 3 day period... The one though, that influenced me to pull the trigger on a ticket and be there was a Colonel Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit reunion show. Aside from this zambirrific band, other highlights were Peter Rowan's Crucial Reggae (with the Burning Spears Horns), The Codetalkers, Oteil & the Peacemakers, Derek Trucks Band, Railroad Earth, Blueground Undergrass, and Donna the Buffalo. Great music, a beautiful venue, and easy low stress not-too-crowded primitive camping.

* 4/15/2005, 4/16/2005 - Wannee Festival @ Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (Live Oak, Fl)
This was the first annual Allman Brothers Band extended family musical orgy. Lineup was the Allman Bros, Derek Trucks Band, Gov't Mule, Oteil & the Peacemakers, Robert Randolph, Galactic; plus a few more. Another big showing of Disreputables from the tribe made this extra special; plus it wasn't too crowded, and we knew some people who had a cabin with warm water and AC if we needed a brief reprise from the weather and elements. The fact I got so drunk one mid day, almost passed out during Derek Truck's late afternoon daylight set, then recovered enough to the point I could communicate and be comprehended later that night; is the kind of tale of which legend is born :-) I also wound up backstage one night, and although it wasn't the first time back there, it was the first and only time I was introduced to Gregg Allman and got to personally thank him, for so much great music and memories over the years. We also had a crazy Matt Abts moment in a trailer I can't go into detail about here... The music wasn't bad either...

* 10/14/2005, 10/15/2005, 10/16/2005 - Steelin' & Slidin' (The Netherlands)
The Derek Trucks Band's 1st ever 3 European shows, with Sonny Landreth, Buddy Cage, Dan Tyack, and Dutch musicians Johan Jansen and René van Barneveld... The 14th was in Groningen, the 15th in Eindhoven, and the 16th @ Paradiso in Amsterdam. All 3 nights were small venues but very nice rooms, with very enthusiastic fans. I made some great friends on that tour, hung out with DTB a bit, met Derek's grandfather; and I had the honor of buying Sonny Landreth a pint of Guinness late one night ;-) The music was awesome, seeing Sonny and Derek on stage together was pretty incendiary, and unknown (to me, at that time) Dan Tyack was killing it on pedal steel. The overall energy, although smaller scale due to smaller crowds, was comparable to the ABB's 2001 Beacon run mentioned above. Sadly, I haven't been back to Europe since this run of shows... I hope to remedy this situation sometime in 2010.

* 1/20/2006, 1/21/2006 - Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit @ Fox Theatre (Boulder, CO)
A couple more Col. Bruce Bruce reunion shows with Jimmy, Oteil, and Sipe; always something to get extremely excited about. I was in the beautiful town of Boulder, I was seeing ARU twice, and I was with a couple very close friends who were ARU virgins. What more needs to be said?

* 4/19/2006, 4/20/2006 - David Gilmour (Los Angeles)
I caught the show 4/19 @ Kodak Theater, and 4/20 @ the Gibson Theatre. I enjoyed the 4/20 show just a tad more because our seats were better. But, being a long time Pink Floyd FREAK and David Gilmour FREAK, I thought both of these shows were off the hook. Band included Phil Manzarek of Roxy Music on 2nd guitar, and Floyd alumni Richard Wright on keys; and for these 2 LA shows we also got David Crosby and Graham Nash doing back up vocals... Not too shabby.

* 3/19/2009, 3/20/2009, 3/21/2009 - The Allman Brothers Band @ The Beacon Theatre (NYC)
Another ABB Beacon run... This one was extra special for a few reasons. I was able to book my bro Scott's band "Go There" at Sullivan Hall, in the Village, on 3/18. This was the first "Go There" show w/Oteil Burbridge on bass, since Scott had released his "Go There" cd the year before which did feature Oteil along with his bro Kofi. I was pretty damn proud of myself for helping to make that happen. Secondly, Eric Clapton sat in 2 nights for a full set, those were my first ever live EC experiences... To see him playing Layla with Derek Trucks playing the Duane parts, it was MAGIC. Thirdly, I was able to gift brother Scott with a 2nd row seat for the 3/19 show... It was his 1st ever live Derek Trucks sighting, his first time seeing the Allman Bros since the 70's, and I don't know if he had ever seen Clapton before that night. So, aside from the awesome music I heard 4 nights in a row, it was pretty rewarding to turn my bro onto this wonderful scene I am a part of.

* 4/15/2009, 5/8/2009, 5/9/2009 - Derek Trucks Band (NorCal)
I have seen the Derek Trucks Band a sh*tload of times since my 1st show in January of 2000... As good as every one has been, the next one is always just a little bit better. I pretty much try to catch whatever shows are reasonably nearby as often as they come through; and these 3 were the last ones I saw - Thus they are included on this list. 4/15 was at Regency Center in San Fran. Carlos Santana sat in. At one point he and Derek were soloing and trading licks, and while Derek was going off Carlos just kind of quit playing and was laughing at Derek, watching him play and point at him; it was obvious he was as mesmerized as the rest of us. Fast forward a couple weeks later - 5/8, the Crest Theatre in Sacramento. A nice old room I had never been in before. 5/9 was the Fountain Blues Fest on San Jose State Campus. Sacramento was fun (like every DTB show), good crowd, the band feeding off the crowd, an out version of My Favorite Things... You know the drill... San Jose was more a blues set, which DTB doesn't give you too often (it was a blues fest). There were a lot of Derek Trucks newbies at this festival, and it's always a lot of fun seeing their reactions and expressions when seeing the Derek Trucks band for the first time. This band is on a prolonged hiatus now; and while I am sad I won't get to see this particular group of artists on stage together for a year or longer, I am very excited about all the other possibilities this hiatus opens up for them

* 10/30/2009, 10/31/2009, 11/1/2009 - Phish @ Festival 8 (Indio, CA)
This was another spontaneous last minute deal for me... I had seen them the previous August here in the Bay Area; and a couple weeks before this festival I saw some cheap tickets for sale on craigslist. I asked for and was given a couple days of paid time off at work; so I snagged the ticket, booked a cheapo hotel room, and drove down to the Palm Springs desert. The music was exceptional, the festival was a trip, Halloween was particularly wacky. The album they covered was Rolling Stones "Exile on Main Street" and they had Sharon Jones of the Dap Kings doing backup vocals. We were also treated to Phish'es 1st ever acoustic set. It was a great time, a very well organized festival, and I hope they do it again in 2010.

* 11/12/2009, 11/13/2009, 11/14/2009 - Widespread Panic @ Fox Theatre (Oakland, CA)
I've been catching WSP shows since '92, but was never really motivated to do multi-night runs until the Jimmy Herring era... I would have loved to have done more runs earlier on with them, but it wasn't in my budget, or my work schedule didn't allow it... I was a bit of a Mikey snob, and even though I am a HUGE Jimmy Herring advocate (I am obsessed with his 1st band, ARU), it took me quite a while to really enjoy a Panic show without comparing them to their former and different 6 headed monster jam... They are still KILLER, but a less balanced band in my opinion, with sideman extraordinaire Jimmy Herring playing lead guitar. I did an LA Orpheum run in '06 I think it was, the Oakland Paramount run in '07, and this Fox Oak run back in November last year... After 3 plus years of Jimmy being in the band, this last run makes my list. I had a blast at these 3 shows! Still, long live the memory and music of Mikey Houser.

* 12/29/2009, 12/30/2009, 12/31/2009 - Phish @ American Airlines Arena (Miami, FL)
10 years later, back in South Florida seeing Phish play some NYE shows, with my old friend and partner in crime, Mike. We caught 3 nights of a 4 night run. More excellent music, and despite the fact Miami is a very weird city (There was a fight at Shakedown Street one night post show AND I saw a cop beating up a hippie for hitting a nitrous balloon - I know its illegal and bad for you, maybe I have been in Cali too long and thus I'm jaded), that weirdness added to the weekend overall, and this run still makes my list; because musically Phish is so on top of their game at this moment.

My belated picks...Best cd's of 2009

Better late than never... Here is my list... But first, some disclaimers and notes... I stuck to cd's that are more or less commercially available in stores - I didn't include any Allman Beacon cd's, although all 6 of the ones I bought are killer, as are the other shows which I procured SBD's of... Same thing applies to the other live ABB cd's I got (Vegas and Fox) which also sound mighty fine. I also didn't include any downloads from or - I also didn't include dTb's "Already Live" because it's an EP and not a full length show,and there are many complete excellent sounding dTb recordings on the LMA. Anyway, these are my choices, with a few comments thrown in here and there, (following a **). The list is in alphabetical order.

...Like Perry Farrell says: "Everybody has their own opinion..."


Best of 2009

01- John Abercrombie Quartet - Wait Till You see Her
02- Alice in Chains - Black Gives Way To Blue ** Alice in Chains is back!
03- Pedro Arevalo - Pedro Aravelo & Friends Too ** Great cover of Jimi's "My Friend" - This cd reminds me of Hot Tuna, although I like it better than Jorma's 2009 album "River of Time"
04- Roy Buchanan - Live: Amazing Grace
05- Five Peace Band (Chick Corea & John McLaughlin) - Live ** This and the phish are my 2 favorites of the year.
06- Bill Frisell - Disfarmer
07- Gov't Mule - By a Thread
08- Ben Harper and Relentless7 - White Lies For Dark Times ** Ben Harper is so underrated as a guitar player.
09- Living Colour - The Chair in the Doorway
10- Eric McFadden - Train to Salvation ** Awesome album, not the trio; more songwriter oriented, very dark.... Comes w/a live DVD. This album is a French import, and I had to order it from Switzerland, even though we practically live in the same zip code; because I was too impatient to wait.
11- Medeski Martin & Wood - Radiolarians (II & III, or the entire box set)
12- Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel - Willie and the Wheel
13- Phish - Joy ** This and the Five Peace band are my 2 favorites of the year.
14- Porcupine Tree - The Incident ** Still IMO the best post 80's prog band.
15- Rodrigo y Gabriela - 11:11 ** This is a burning album. If you're into the McLaughlin/DeLucia/Dimeola albums, then you'll dig this too.
16- John Scofield - Piety Street
17- Mike Stern - Big Neighborhood ** Guitar geek music. Guests on this cd include Steve Vai, Medeski Martin & Wood, Randy Brecker, Dave Weckl, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Eric Johnson (where has this cat been since he released "Tones" 24 years ago??)
18- Derek Trucks Band - Already Free ** Woohoo, 2009 Grammy winner :-)
19- Umphrey's McGee - Mantis ** It took a long while for UM to grow on me, but they finally did... I had them written off as phish wannabe's, but on this album IMO they now have their own musical voice. If you dig classic prog bands you'll probably dig this album.
20- Steven Wilson - Insurgentes ** Steven Wilson is Porcupine Tree's mastermind; or dictator, depending on how you read into it. This album is more out, textured, and lush; not as heavy as what PT is doing nowadays. This is closer maybe to Pink Floyd or Radiohead.