Wednesday, June 14, 2017
This would be the first time they went out as the “8-Headed Beast” with three drummers, and though I’d heard a couple of previous live releases with the 7-piece band, it would be no comparison to what they actually sounded like live.
They came on at 7:45, preceded by Robert Fripp’s announcement that everyone should put away their cellphone/cameras and just take it all in and enjoy the moment. Then the band came out to thunderous applause. Just as they were settling down to play, one guy off to left asked out loudly, “Can we take pictures now?”, which got a laugh.
Well! They went straight into “Neurotica”, followed by “Pictures Of A City”, and wended their way through things I never thought I would hear live, such as “Cirkus”, “Fracture”, “Dawn Song > Battle Of Glass Tears > Prince Rupert’s Lament”, and even “Islands”.
I was very impressed with everyone up there. I couldn’t see Fripp very well, due to being way up in the balcony (and thanks to a hanging PA-speaker stack), but I could see that he was playing a lot of keyboard when he wasn’t playing his guitar. Mel Collins was their secret weapon, and he shone just as well as his gold-colored saxophone. I was very impressed with new drummer Jeremy Stacey, who also doubled on keyboards when not playing drums, but when he was, he was definitely a powerhouse on them. Jakko Jakszyk was in fine voice throughout the whole show.
After a twenty-minute intermission, the three drummers did an instrumental piece on their own, and--launching into “Level Five”--preceded to tear the place up. I’ve never heard them play so loud and so hard, even surpassing the Double Trio lineup. After a while, it was pretty much a John Wetton tribute, playing “Easy Money”, “Exiles:”, “Red”, “Fallen Angels” and “Starless”. The latter was crowned at the end by bathing the band in deep, dark red light. What a nice touch!
After a short break, they came back on and did “Larks’ Two”, “In The Court Of The Crimson King”, David Bowie’s “Heroes”, and closed it with “Schizoid Man”. Wow! There was no light show, no dry-ice fog, no lasers, no props, no boring stories/announcements, and no rear-screen video images...just eight sharply-dressed gentlemen up there kicking ass for nearly three hours. That, to me, is how you get up there and do it.
Set One 1. Walk On: Islands coda pre-recording 2. Neurotica 3. Pictures of a City 4. Radical Action III (new) 5. Cirkus 6. The Battle of Glass Tears (full, from Dawn Song to Prince Rupert's Lament) 7. The Letters 8. Fracture 9. Islands
Set Two 1. Hell Hounds of Krim 2. Meltdown/Radical Action 2/Level Five 3. Easy Money 4. Exiles 5. Red 6. Fallen Angel 7. Starless
Set Three (encores) 1. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two 2. In the Court of the Crimson King 3. Heroes 4. 21st Century Schizoid Man/Gavin Solo/Drum Trio/Schizoid Man (Coda)
Friday, June 2, 2017
After she was gone, Dad loaded the cassette into the tape deck on his stereo, and hit the "play" button. What was on this tape seemed to be some kind of collage of things that he had put together from various things in his album collection, strung together rather roughly, and perhaps after he'd had a few beers (and--perhaps!--a few bong hits), but it was obvious that he was definitely having fun making it.
Then the recording cut to a sound effect from Chilling, Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House, where a guy is crossing a bridge, which collapses, and you hear him yelling Yarrrggghhhh! as he falls down into water, far down below. Then, the tape switched to yet another sound effect from the same album; this time, it was of a dripping-water noise, but Dad had gotten onto the microphone and had added some grunting and groaning noises of his own, as if he were sitting on the toilet. Pure insanity. Also, somewhere on the same side of the tape, I remember hearing "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?" from the Beatles' White Album, with Dad singing along to it. Oh, boy...again, pure insanity, but whenever he had recorded this tape, he definitely had that crazy sense of humor even before I came along!
The next day, after school, I had the tape-recorder up in the bedroom, and I was listening back to the cassette again, but about a third of the way through it, the tape snarled in between the capstan and pinch-roller, ruining the tape, and rendering it unplayable. The tape was, sadly, tossed in the trash. If only I'd had the knowledge to have repaired and saved the tape then, I would have done that, but...I didn't, and I can only wonder what the rest of the tape had on it. Dad would occasionally make weird tape collages such as that, but nowhere near as weird and wacky as "The Fun Factory".
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
This is another one that I'd heard at the Blue House for the first time. Angie and I were running around and climbing underneath the pool table while the grown-ups played, drank beer, and were listening to the stereo playing. There was an album cover that was mostly brown, with some people standing around while a large, white thing was pointing up in the sky, emerging from colorful clouds of smoke. I liked the big, golden blimp that was on the inside, although I had no idea what the object really was supposed to be. One thing that struck me as odd was one song where the singer sang something that (to me) sounded like "You need Kool-Aid!".
Next thing I know, it's bedtime, and we were sent off to bed...and the music played on. It was dark in the room, and I could still hear through the wall what was being played. Dad had put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV, but I had no idea what it was, what the cover looked like, and wasn't even sure if it was the same band. When "Black Dog" was playing, I remember being a little weirded out when the music would stop and the singer was going "Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ahhhhhhh.....!".
Sometime after that was one that was starting out kind of quietly, and I was hearing what sounded like was about someone "borrowing" a stairway to heaven...whatever that was. The song went on, getting a little louder, more electric, and then rocking out really hard, coming to a sudden stop, with the final line about borrowing that stairway again, and then...silence. I lay there in the dark, completely blown away at what I'd just heard.
It wasn't until we'd moved into the Green House that we really started playing them a little more, and more often. They were one of Red Fred's favorite bands, and you could count on Zeppelin being played whenever he was around.
Not long after we'd moved into the house, Grandma had come to the house, and brought over some stuff that was down in the basement, and needed a new home. Most of what she'd brought over was a small cache of ultra-cool blacklight posters that Dad had put up on the walls of the basement...the way he would talk about it, he made it sound as if it were quite the Party Central spot! Among these posters were ones of Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, a massive coiled-up cobra...and Led Zeppelin!
This one was really cool, all done in blue, yellow and green, against a black background, with a peace-sign, and even a little blimp flying overhead in the back. The old black-light was dutifully attached to the wall, and this one was placed right underneath it. Somewhere, in one of the photo albums, is a picture of the family in the living room, and this poster is fully visible on the wall behind us.
They were one of Dad's favorite bands throughout the '70s, and he even got to see them in Seattle in late 1972 or so. He said it was a great show, almost four hours long. He would always tell me about making his way down to the front of the stage, looking right up at Jimmy Page in front of him. Joints were being passed around all over, and he suddenly found himself with one in each hand. Decisions, decisions!
Saturday, April 25, 2015
I had never heard anything from Mussorgsky's Pictures At An Exhibition, and this was my first introduction to a major piece of classical music. Although the music was written by a Russian composer, it was like a little trip to Europe, as listening to the music filled my head with images of castles and cathedrals. The sounds coming from the synthesizers and Hammond C-3 organ hooked me in, and I couldn't believe that it was just three guys making all of that sound. I loved the entire album, and it was soon one of my most-played and well-loved albums.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
He put the album on the turntable. The first thing I noticed was that the album had a piece missing out of it on the outer part, as if it had been dropped, or something hard fell on it, and so the opening song on either side was permanently (and literally) cut out. "Bus Rider" played, a two-and-a-half-minute perfect explosion of Rock & Roll, great hooks, great chorus, and fun lyrics. A hit single, if there ever was one.
That did it, and I was hooked.
Dad also had the 8-Track tape of this album, and I began to play it on the stereo on days that I was at home from school, and he was at work. I could not get enough of it. Awesome songs all the way through it, and I loved Burton Cummings' bluesy rasp. When Angie saw the cover, she thought the guys were standing around in a sewer. The songs played through my head as Mitchell, Angie and myself played at Wright Park throughout that school year, and well into that summer.
Flash forward many years, and one of Geoffrey's favorites is "Bus Rider", followed by "Rain Dance" and "Sour Suite". Why he likes the latter song is kind of a mystery, as it's a bit melancholy, but it's one of his favorites.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Sometime toward the end of the summer of 1981, Dad came home with a page from The Seattle Times, with the headline that told about Harry Chapin's death in a car accident over in New York. I couldn't believe it. He just seemed like such a great and funny guy, as well as a wonderful songwriter.
One of my other favorite songs by him on that live album was "30,000 Pounds Of Bananas". I didn't quite catch onto the rather tragic story of a guy who jack-knifed while hauling all that fruit...I just enjoyed the chorus, the way the song sped up, and John Wallace's ultra-low voice when he was called on to sing. After reading the news, I went out for a spin on the sidewalk on my Bigwheel. I had the song going through my head, pedaling along, but as the song played faster, I began pedaling faster along with it. I was racing up and down the sidewalk like a lunatic before a neighbor lady stopped me, maybe out of genuine concern I wouldn't harm myself, but maybe she'd had enough of the noise as well. That was my tribute to Harry that day!
Friday, November 28, 2014
As I was in my final year of high school, I was teaching myself how to play the keyboards, and one of the first things I showed myself how to play was the Mellotron lines from "Nights In White Satin", whilst playing along with the album. My Casio PT-100 was no Mellotron, but it was something to play along with.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
It was October of 1983, sometime in the mid-afternoon. Dad had taken me to a dentist appointment down at Bates Technical College, and after it was over with, Dad decided we would walk downtown and go to Woolworth's, just to take a look around. We made our way down 13th for a few blocks, walking by the old Samson Apartments, making a left onto Fawcett Avenue, and then down a few more blocks down 11th Street.
As we walked down this street, with the afternoon sunlight turning gold as it was just beginning its descent, everything just felt right at that moment. We had just been through some rough seas within the last number of months; after he and mom had divorced, the family had been ripped in half as a result, and you can't forge ahead as if nothing had happened, even though we had both been doing that for a while. There would be some more rough seas ahead of us as we forged ahead in the new household situation, but for a moment, where we had been bonding together pretty good, everything just felt right at the moment, with no worries to be had.
We had just seen the Beach Boys at the Puyallup Fair the month before, and had a great time. We were having fun watching a plethora of new movies on TV, and were soon going to appear on The Rock Show. Plus, Halloween was on the way, and that (along with the subsequent holidays) was always a great time to look forward to. Down at Woolworth's, we looked through the albums section, and one of us found a copy of Richard Pryor's album That Nigger's Crazy, which went home with us.
Flash forward 27 years later to October of 2010. I found myself walking down 11th Street one golden afternoon, the sun beginning to set as I was heading to the bus transit-center, and the long-ago memory of that afternoon came to me. I was now a dad myself, and I was wondering if I was going to be walking down this hill with Geoffrey one day, with him taking it all in and enjoying the moment. As the sun was setting that afternoon, I later reflected on this moment that the sun was now setting on the final days of having Dad around, which wasn't going to be that much longer before he was taken from us. He really loved Geoffrey, perhaps thinking of the days when I was that young, and maybe it was like having me from that time back home again.
Funny how a fleeting and seemingly insignificant moment from so many years ago seems to last forever.
Friday, September 26, 2014
He played this one for me, and I found that there were some great garage-rock cuts on it. Kind of a shame you don't hear them much anymore, not even on the "oldies" stations, apart from "Kicks", the only song they seem to be remembered for these days. They rocked a little harder than they got credit for, but always got stuck in the "teen band" penalty-box.
EDIT I was shocked to hear of Paul Revere's passing not long after I originally posted this. There were loads of tributes to him by many musicians and friends of his on Facebook, which was touching. I had to go and score vinyl copies of the two original Greatest Hits collections. Geoffrey absolutely loves "Don't Take It So Hard"; I'll hear him singing it around the house, sometimes even just the middle section of it, word for word.