Sunday, May 20, 2018

U2!


Why U2 took a big left turn on the Experience + Innocence and came to Omaha is something I cannot answer (Warren Buffett maybe). But thank the rock gods they did because last night was another U2 experience 15,000 people will never forget. The last time the Irish supergroup came thru town was on the Vertigo tour back in 2005 and I scored a ticket on the floor and came within 5 feet of Bono and within a foot of slapping his hand. I was old then yet felt so overcome with emotion at that concert I was like a teenager idolizing another human being. So unlike me.

This time Max was with me and again on the floor (damn Im even older and my feet hurt) and U2 did not fail to turn a concert into a life event you cannot ever erase from your mind.

U2 opened with 3 songs from its latest album, Songs of Experience, and hey my friends, its a damn fine album. If you want an oldies show go someplace else and watch a U2 tribute band because these guys are still relevant and can still rock. Then came 3 oldies, I Will Follow, Gloria and Beautiful Day satisfying virtually everyone.

Then came U2 telling its story. With a gigantic big screen stretching the length of the arena, you saw old home movies of Bono's mum, Iris, as he sang the song called Iris, launched into Cedarwood Road, the story of the road Bono grew up on, and finally into a slowed down version of Sunday Bloody Sunday which ended the first half of the show (including a short improv of Alabama Song which Max said Bono did cuz he saw me with my Doors shirt on and I choose to believe that fake news). Did I mention we were perhaps 30 feet from greatness?

The second half of the show included Vertigo, my favorite U2 song Elevation complete with a bunch of oldsters like me pumping their fists at a close up Bono, Larry, Adam and the Edge, Desire, Acrobat complete with a devil Bono staring into a vanity mirror expressing the devil's delight in Charlottesville and the President being distracted by "stormy weather", acoustic versions of You're the Best Thing About Me and Staring at The Sun complete with megaphone and scenes of Nazis and Klansmen MAGAing and Bono yelling "This is not America" before launching into Pride where under scenes of MLK Jr he hollered "This is America".

Back to the main stage for two new songs (sorry casual fans) including American Soul with a gigantic American flag unfurled behind the stage. And then it ended with City of Blinding Lights (wait THAT is my fave U2 song).

The encore had One and then it became so claustrophobic on that floor that I couldnt take it any longer and I had to leave dragging Max with me. Floors are war zones at concerts. You are squished together, you have drunks falling into you, you have people holding their phones up taping the entire goddamned concert, and you sweat like Donald Trump tweeting on his gold toilet. Its not fun after about 2 or so hours. At least for old people like myself.

But about U2. Bono is Bono. He's a legend and I believe to be a genuine saint. The Edge is a unique guitar player. His sound is his own and it never can be duplicated (sorry Coldplay). Larry Mullen is a great drummer. I enjoyed watching him up close. But Adam Clayton and his bass is the glue to this whole band. Like Charlie Watts with the Stones, without Adam Clayton U2 does not exist. His bass on City of Blinding Lights is unforgettable. His bass lines on anything are unforgettable. I dig Adam Clayton a lot, and I am not a bass guy.

Im sure there are some who dont like political at their concerts. This concert was political in the same way true religions are political. Its all about doing what is righteous.

U2 is righteous.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Arturo Sandoval!


There are trumpet players who changed music forever. Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Wynton Marsalis to name a few. I am in awe of each of them as the trumpet is the jazz instrument that I love more than anything. Yeah, you have your sax enthusiasts, your keyboard enthusiasts your percussion fans and there may be a bass fan out there but the trumpet is the man to me. From the first time I heard a recording of Louis Armstrong not being a clown I was hooked. Ive seen Dizzy live. It was a religious experience. Ive seen Dizzy deal with a heckler (who the hell heckles Dizzy?) with a well timed 'Yo mama". Ive seen Wynton Marsalis numerous times and again it was like being in a church that means something.

I dont that much about Arturo Sandoval. I know he's a legend. I know he has a Presidential Medal of Freedom which because Obama presented it may be rescinded by the current Traitor In Chief. I know he's from Cuba. I know he plays my favorite instrument. Thats about it.

Arturo Sandoval and his band graced us with his presence last night here in the heartland. Sandoval, at 69 years old, idolized Dizzy Gillespie, and his latest tour makes sure we all know that. Called the Dear Diz tour, Sandoval plays Dizzy tunes with a love only he can know. That love entered me as soon as I heard Sandoval blow that trumpet. Oh my god, what a talent.

Backed by a band of talented musicians, Sandoval wore so many hats I couldnt believe what i was seeing half the time. Trumpeter, keyboards, drums, story teller, comedian, schmoozer this guy has it down. About halfway thru the show the band launched into a funk inspired jam session that was one of the finest 15 or so minutes I have ever seen on a stage. I didnt want it to stop. It was one of those WOW moments you dont expect and when it does end you just exclaim WOW, you cant even applaud yet, and when you finally do realize its over you applaud and stand up and never want that applause to end. The moment is over yet you cannot let it go.

Sandoval told Diz stories, came into the crowd to banter as well as take a break. The audience was eating out of his hand. He said how the trumpet is a killer instrument, no I mean actually kills you and why he plays it is beyond him. So he sat down and played the piano on El Manicero, another jam session that you didnt want to end. He did ballads, he had his percussion player solo, he told more stories, and then it ended and off he went to Korea.

Lucky Korea.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

National Concert Week!


Did you get your $12 or $20 concert tickets this last week during National Concert Week? I did...I'll be seeing Smashing Pumpkins, Hall & Oates and for some reason, Primus, this summer on the cheap. Bands I normally would skip, but for $20 what the hell?

Recollections:

First concert I actually paid to see:

Deep Purple: At the height of their popularity in 1973 the band came through Lincoln Nebraska's Pershing Auditorium. I think the ticket was $5. When the opening sounds of Highway Star came thru the sound system, the lights came up and Ian Gillan screeched, I was hooked. Forever. My parents were never really music people, so my concert experience was slight. That changed for me.

Loudest Show Ever:

Nine Inch Nails It was 1995. The Downward Spiral was out. NIN made my inner organs shake. I could feel my insides gyrate as the band played a two hour show. I moved from the floor to the first balcony to hopefully save my eardrums. It didnt work. I can still see a floor full of people dancing to Head Like a Hole. Were they all deaf for 3 days also?

Honorable Mention to Steppenwolf who blew out my ears my freshman year of college when we got pushed against the speaker and couldnt get out. Also The Melvins for the same thing. Getting pushed by a crowd against a speaker and not being able to escape sucks.

Worst Show I've Ever Seen:

Nothing can ever beat this shitshow I witnessed in the late 70's when Jerry Jeff Walker came out from behind a curtain with an acoustic guitar, played snippets of his well know songs all in about 2 minutes, insulted the crowd by slurring his words and stating if thats all you wanted to hear fuck off, and then proceeded to drunkenly fuck up everything else. It wasnt even funny incompetence like the stoned Dr Hook would put out each time I saw them. Jerry Jeff Walker was THE worst.

Rob Zombie spent his entire show bragging he broke some sort of attendance record in the 2500 capacity dump he played that I was standing in. BFD! Thus, he will always be an insecure Trump to me.

Pleasant Surprises From Opening Acts:

Band of Horses was a phenomenal opening act for Neil Young a few years back. I'd heard some of their songs and even had a CD of theirs. But live, this band was freaking great.

Ghost opened for Iron Maiden last year in Lincoln. Maiden, who I'd never seen, was great and energetic. Ghost's KISS like gimmick worked.

Though I hate Aerosmith with a passion, I did see them open for ZZ Top back in 1974 when even Sugarloaf was billed before them. I remember at the time thinking hey who's this guy who thinks he's Jagger?

Jo Jo Gunne opened for Black Oak Arkansas in the 2nd concert I ever saw back in 1973. In retrospect, I realize how good they were compared to the croaking and chaos that was BOA. Hey, I was a rebellious teen. Jay Ferguson was and is a fave or mine to this day.

Best Moments:

Being about 5 feet from Bono at a U2 concert. He walked to the edge of the long stage and squatted. I reached out to no avail. 5 feet is pretty far in reality. No handshake for me. It was the best.

Being about 10 feet from Bruce Springsteen. In 1984 during the Born in the USA tour I bought a ticket for $16 that was in back of the stage. It may have been one the best seats Ive ever had. The Boss constantly turned around and played to those of us back there. I was in row 2. Bruce stepped up on a platform and played a solo. I practically got sweat on me.

Being in the nosebleeds in Kansas City and seeing Paul McCartney for the first time. We were behind him but at one point at the end, he began to do A Day In The Life with his guitarist playing the John role perfectly. I am serious when I say I could have died at that moment a happy man.

Being in the mosh pit at a 1993 Nirvana show. I wasnt there on purpose, I got pushed again and got stuck. I was old then and shouldnt have been in there. But when Territorial Pissings began I got punched in the back and began a self defense posture in which I did have to push a guy as hard as I could before he belted me. I can still see his face deciding whether to take me on for real. He declined thank goodness.

Acts I Wish I Had Seen And Now Its Too Late:

James Brown, Tom Petty, Warren Zevon, Otis Redding, Soundgarden (Chris Cornell was in the area on a Friday and I declined because of traffic and parking at this venue is a nightmare. He was dead the next Tuesday), David Bowie The Doors and Hendrix

Acts I've Seen The Most:

Wynton Marsalis 6 times, Bob Dylan 5 times, Bruce Springsteen 5 times, Stone Temple Pilots 5 times (twice as opener)

Acts That Have Rocked Everytime:

Bruce Springsteen, Arcade Fire, Blue Oyster Cult, Paul McCartney, Pearl Jam

Bands I Watched for a Half Hour Before I Knew Who I was Watching:

Butthole Surfers opened for Stone Temple Pilots. Nobody announced them and it took until Who Was In My Room Last Night before I realized hey, its the Butthole Surfers!

A dirge band began playing as the opener for Arcade Fire in KC one night. Eventually the songs sounded familiar and I asked Max is that band called The National? Uh yeah its right there on the fake movie marquee. I need to pay better attention. Christ, I had one of their CD's.

I think I saw Flaming Lips once. I honestly still have no idea who the opener for one of the times I saw STP? It may have been Prong I have no idea.

Weirdest Concert:

Tomahawk , led by former Faith No More singer Mike Patton, played undecipherable noise and then between every "song" insulted the crowd by calling us "hicks" "rubes" "farmers" "tractor jockeys" and any other cliche's he could come up with. By the end of the 40 minutes, people were booing the shit out of them. Thank goodness Tool came out and made us forget it all.

Phish not because of Phish, they were great, but because I kept seeing undercover cops beating the shit out of passive Phish fans high on shrooms or pot or whatever. It was out of line, it was unnecessary, it was mean spirited, and it made me hate our Mayor, a creep named Hal Daub, even more than I already had. He also had a horse patrol of cops outside the arena to stop all those gentle souls from selling their cheese sandwiches to get to the next city. It still pisses me off.



Saturday, May 5, 2018

Tale Of Two Speeches!



I know one happened a week ago and one was just yesterday but lets examine each speech.

Michelle Wolf is a comedian. She has a very good stand up on Netflix where she amuses a room full of people who get it. A room full people who have removed the sticks from their asses before they enter the theater. Last Saturday night she attempted to amuse a bunch of people who maintain a suck up relationship with a putrid group of people running the country. Oh and trust me, the "Fake News" media is just as full of spineless worms as the White House itself. The White House communications band of liars who continually put forth such eye popping bullshit that the White HOuse Correspondents eat up with rare skepticism.

Michelle Wold stood on a platform last Saturday and hammered everyone. All anyone remembers is that she made fun of Sarah Huckabee Sanders smoky eye shadow. Uhhhh, no she did not, she made fun of the fact Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a fucking lying sack of raccoon shit. But Michelle Wolf made one mistake that guaranteed her eventual fainting couch reaction from the old fogeys that make up the White House press. She told THEM that they are complicit in the lies and distortions and the evil that plagues this nation. What she said, to paraphrase, is you assholes pretend to be abhorred and taken aback by the blatant lies and the crudeness and the meanness and the outright wickedness yet you all love it. You get ratings and then make profits and then secretly aid and abet traitors. So fuck you too, media.

This sent press collaborators like Andrea Mitchell and Maggie Haberman and John King and Mika and a host of others to criticize the woman who made jokes for going over the line. Go to hell all of you. You know who goes "over the line" on a daily basis? Sarah Fucking Sanders. And this asshole.

Donald Trump did what he does best yesterday. Stood in front of a group of dummies, easily amused, and did his stand up routine. Ya know, the punch down routine. The routine that makes a bunch of older white rednecks think that Trump is the second coming of Larry the Cable Guy.

All the greatest hits were there. You're the real oppressed ones, you white men. Texas is the best. He loves Ted Cruz, you know, the liar whose wife is homely and whose father killed JFK right there in Dallas. The crowd is the biggest of all time because of him. The blacks all love him now because of a mentally ill rapper who has snapped. That other blacks, like the former President are bad. BOOOOOOOO!!!. He won the election by a lot, hell pretty soon it will be unanimously. His poll numbers are huge, the unemployment rate is non existent thanks to him. The Dems want to release "savages" onto the streets to rape your wives and daughters, guns are great, blah blah blah. The same routine that has been making them fall to their knees since about 1650. The minorities are comin.

But aside from the moldy oldies there are a couple of things The Micro Penis in Chief said that really bug the fuck out of me. Werll more than a couple but who has the time or the booze to cope with it any longer.

He used his time to hammer away at former Secretary of State and purple heart winner and Vietnam Vet John Kerry for the Iran deal. The crowd cheers a bone spur sufferer and boos a Vietnam vet. Disgraceful in its own right but then he said the following:

"He never walked away from the table, except to be in that bicycle race, where he fell and broke his leg." And that crowd laughed.

Being a broken leg sufferer all I can say is fuck them all with a hot just fired AR15 up the ass. Now its personal.

Then the Stooge in Chief began another one of those non sequitur ramblings about knife attacks in London turning hospitals into war zones. Knives knives knives. What the bloody hell is this nutjob talking about now? London, what the 2nd or third biggest city in the world has had 38 knife deaths thus far in 2018. War zone, yeah right, you cunt (in Britain that means dumbshit).

There you have it. A woman comedian blasted by the press for going "over the line" by pointing out the lies of Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Then showing live Donnie the Cable Guy without any such outrage.

Hmmm. The liberal media. Right

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Priest And The Beast!


Catholicism is a double edged sword. On one hand its is a social justice organization and on the other hand its an archaic hiding place for sanctimonious assholes bent on self aggrandizement.

Paul Ryan (Go Away-Wi) is one of those pious pricks who hide behind the religion as a kind of justification for his Randian dismissal of that social justice wing of the cult organization.

Father Pat Conroy is the kind of Catholic that can take the Paul Ryans of the cult religion and eviscerate them on a cross of righteousness.

Father Conroy is a Jesuit. The kind of Catholic who doesnt stay on the abortion train 24/7 and actual transfers to the Social Justice Express to make himself whole.

Paul Ryan (POS-Wi) is fighting a battle that he may win in the short term by firing the Reverend Pat Conroy SJ from his job as House chaplain. But in the long run, Ryan's anger at a priest caring for the pesky poor will result in his demise. Is there anything more Ryan The Douchebag than saying "Padre, you just have to stay out of politics." Padre? I can see that bag of Wisconsin cheesedicks saying that to a Jesuit priest thinking he's a hip young guitar playing free spirit. Fuck you Paul Ryan (Philistine-Wi). Most Jesuits have more knowledge in their leather bags than Ryan has in that smug leather bag he calls a head.

Ryan may be running out the clock on staying in Congress, pissing on everything he can before he spends more time with his kids while lobbying for some corrupt climate killing PAC, but he remains a boil on the ass of humanity. I know the Jesuits would rather crucify you with thoughtfulness instead of praying for your rotten soul but in this case, Im sure Father Conroy would make the exception. However, even with the Jesuit Pope's help, Ryan is beyond praying for. Ryan's black soul has been forever tainted by the Screed of Midwest Catholicism. A combination of Republican narcissism with a belief that going to Mass makes you superior to those heathens from the East. Those libtard bleeding heart Catholics who care about babies after birth. You know that type. The ones who enter the Society of Jesus.

I am retired from Catholicism because of the Midwest brand of the religion. But I shall defend the Father Conroys of the world like they are my own.

Father Conroy makes me want to be a better person. Paul Ryan makes me want to stuff a stink bomb up Catholicisms ass. No no, up Paul Ryans ass.

PS- The Jesuits always win. Ryan folded. The road to hell slowed down

Thoughts!


You cannot possibly keep up with this shit. This nation's descent into irrelevance continues. WE are becoming that asshole neighbor who has no brains, no couth yet has 400 guns and yells a lot at anyone who comes near his lawn. Yeah everybody knows it isnt going to end well for this cretin, but he's so out of his mind, and he's armed, so you just go out of your way to avoid him. God Bless America! Please, soon.

1) Mike Pompeo is a bigoted Kansas nitwit. The man makes a disastrous Secretary of State like Rex Tillerson look like Jefferson. Yet the Senate, including a bunch of Democrats, still stuck in the belief that a Trump voter would actually vote for them if they just voted for enough brain dead bigots to satisfy their stupid, approved this balloon headed shithead to represent American values abroad. Ya know, bigotry, homophobia, anti-Islam beliefs, all those American values. Pompeo will take his Jesus based bullshit abroad to turn the State Department even more irrelevant, which may be the mission in the first place. Diplomacy is a lost art, just bomb the fuck out of anyone who gets in your way and say America Fuck Yeah! The only problem with this idiotic belief is eventually the whole world hates your guts. That's when the road to bring down the Block Bully becomes easier. We need friends.

2) Joy Ann Reid is a national treasure. She may or may not have made tweets offensive to the LBBTQ community in her distant past. Obviously that was not cool. Joy Reid apologized for that today. So lets not eat our own again because of imperfection. Joy Reid is a lot like a lot of people. What she believed as someone who didnt know the people she looked down upon became old news. When she found out that the people she looked down on were all around her the views changed. This is called learning and progressing. Its called changing your mind. Changing your mind is strength, not weakness. Some day perhaps Trumpers can try it. Perhaps neanderthals like Mike Pompeo can try it.

3) Jazz is still my music of choice. To listen to jazz is to be content. The true American music. The San Francisco Jazz Collective came thru town the other night to entertain hundreds of us old jazz fans. The average age of the crowd at a true jazz show is somewhere between decrepit and dead and I am including myself. But what transpires is pure heaven. The SF Jazz Collective played the music of Miles Davis and their own selections. Miles stuff ranged from the cool to the fusion while the original material was more concentrated on solo work. I never had the pleasure of seeing Miles Davis but to hear a band of talented musicians do his work was absolutely mesmerizing.

4) My favorite musical of all time is Jesus Christ Superstar. It came along as I lingered in a Catholic high school years ago and taught me more about the Bible than all the fire and brimstone combined. I bought the record and wore it out. I was in Texas once when I was seeing The Godfather with my Dad and as we came out a young man said you guys HAVE to see that JC Superstar movie. I went back the next day, alone. Loved it. I have seen the live show more than any band or play ever. I love it. It makes me think. But that live JC Superstar on NBC a few weeks back was 50% great and 50% snooze. Im sorry, but John Legend isnt the type of singer who can handle that role of Jesus. Alice Cooper was being Alice Cooper on valium. That crowd of screeching millenials annoyed the shit out of me. But there were good things. Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas was the star. Sarah Bareilles was fantastic as Mary Magdalene. All in all it was good. I hope this live Broadway continues. Minus overenthusiastic crowds.

5) Goddamit why is Donald Fucking Trump still in office???

I'm done!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Lean On Pete!


If Charlie Plummer isnt nominated for all sorts of acting awards for Lean On Pete at the end of the year I will be amazed. The young actor who played J Paul Getty's grandson in last years's All The Money In The World is in virtually every scene of this movie. But first things first.

Lean On Pete is the story of a young man named Charlie, a poor young man, living hand to mouth with his father in Portland. His father isnt a bad guy, he just cannot do anything right and Charlie pays the price. One day Charlie discovers the local horse racing track and treats it as something to do. He gets a job as a gopher with low rent horse trainer Del (Steve Buscemi) and travels the northwest racing a horse named Lean on Pete, sometimes winning but mostly losing. Buscemi is also not a bad guy, but an older man beaten down by life. After Charlie's father departs the movie and Charlie is on his own he begins his quest to find his long lost Aunt Marjie in Wyoming. When Pete comes in last it breaks Buscemi's will to keep him. Horses that dont win "go to Mexico" and Charlie will not allow that to happen.

He steals Pete and leads him on a journey to Wyoming. Walking east, Charlie and Pete encounter various people also beaten down by life. Two war vets, a young woman taking care of her abusive grandfather, a kindly waitress. You sit there rooting for Charlie and Pete to get to Wyoming.

Then comes the gut punch moment in this movie you will never forget. The entire theater I was in gasped. It is truly something you can never unsee. A tear rolled down the side of my face before I even knew what hit me. The scene is jarring.

But the movie moves on. We see a drug addled Steve Zahn allow Charlie to stay with him until he doesnt. Like the rest of the movie, Charlie does what he has to do to survive, some of which is highly illegal. Does he find his aunt? You'll have to see.

Plummer's subtle acting style may bore some people. The movie is understated and realistic in its portrayal of life's losers. Charlie, who still wears his former high school's sweatshirt as a kind of reminder of when he played football and went to a real school and had a somewhat normal life, constantly lets people know of this former life when he wasnt a loser. His quest to get to his Aunt's house is a cry for a return to that normalcy.

Look, Plummer carries this film with help from good solid character actors like Buscemi, Chloe Sevigney and Zahn. It may not be a film you want to see. Its a long journey from that race track to Wyoming. For me, it was worth it.