Saturday, December 23, 2006

My Top Music Of 2006

It has been too long since my last post so I thought I would accelerate the publishing of my yearly music list. This past year was a fun year for music and had us taking full advantage of the concerts in the Los Angeles area. The only disappointment is the big shows are very difficult to get good seats to, and if you wait too long for that club show it will probably sell out. Lessons learned the hard way. And for all of those asking why haven't I posted, unfortunately I don't have a good answer but you are in store for a long read this time out!

Feel free to comment on music or concert finds you had this year.

Top CD Purchases
Jack's Mannequin - Everything In Transit
I bought this after many ads in LA Weekly prompted me to check it out at a Tower (RIP) listening station. I did not know the back story, the circumstances, or who even played on the CD, but it was good catchy pop music with a heavy piano focus. As a bonus when I was reading the liner notes I found out Tommy Lee (Motley Crue) played drums on the majority of the album. Jacki and I got to see the band in Anaheim this past year and this has been in heavy rotation since my purchase from nearly a year ago.

Whitesnake - Live In The Still Of The Night
This could be labeled the dirty little pleasure of 2006. Not only did this come with a beautifully shot DVD of the concert but it also included highlights of the show. If you like hard rock, and can deal with watching an aging David Coverdale then this is highly recommended.

Buckcherry - Fifteen
Like many I had written these guys off after their Time Bomb album. Not only did they come back with the best disc of their career they did this independently. Being a fan of the disc I also picked up the Japan issue that includes a couple of bonus tracks. One of those bonus tracks as an Elvis Costello song called "Pump It Up". That song is almost worth the price of the Japanese import alone. Right before the Crazy Bitch single took off I saw these guys at the Whisky on the Sunset Strip in front of a packed crowd. They left for their nationwide tour the next day and went from being written off as a one hit wonder has been with "Lit Up" to now having a gold record accomplished entirely on their own. The must own hard rock record of the year!

Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam
I still believe has their greatest album still left in them. Pearl Jam is a step back in the right direction with some killer tracks. Although the album does mellow out at points this is a return to form.

Mike Keneally Band - Guitar Therapy Live
One of the highlights of living in LA has been the chance to see Mike Keneally play on multiple occasions. This cd included a DVD shot at the Baked Potato in Studio City. Although Jacki and I didn't live out here and did not see that particular performance, we did get to see the very lineup on this disc perform at the Baked Potato several times. I'll be the first to admit that listening to Mike Keneally is not for everybody, but if you ever have the chance to see him live in a small venue you will be mesmerized.

Bob Schneider - The Californian
Bob is one of the few artists I listen to that with each new release, I never want to go back and listen to his old recordings. This disc is no exception. One of the pluses for me is it is a straight ahead rock record and much less singer/songwriter oriented. The band on this disc is great. One of the musicians I still hold onto from our days in Austin.

The Black Crowes - Lost Crowes (Band)
This two disc set includes the best Crowes album that never was. The disc has been titled the Band sessions. For me this went from a poor quality bootleg to being the Crowes album of choice I'll pick up when I want to hear them.

John Mayer - Continuum
John Mayer has now stepped into his own. First with the rockin' John Mayer Trio live album from last year, and now with this disc of soft-rock fare. Although I do lose interest listening to this album in one sitting due to its light nature, there are a couple of standout songs. The lead of single "Waiting On The World To Change" never gets old, and "Stop This Train" has probably become my favorite John Mayer song. I was hoping to get a new studio album from the blues inspired John Mayer Trio but this disc with full band was a nice consolation.

Def Leppard - Yeah!
A covers album done right. Def Leppard took on some great 70's tracks from mostly british acts for the Yeah! sessions. This is another band that many have written off, and although their own song writing has had its ups and downs since Hysteria, they still show they can still make a fun rock album. The stripped down nature of the production is also welcomed over their typical over produced recordings.

Paul Stanley - Live To Win
Thanks to my "industry friend" I was able to get a copy of the advance about 5 weeks before its release. In the absence of KISS releasing new material this is the next best thing. If you enjoy Paul Stanley's KISS material of the 80s then be sure to pick this one up. Has modern production with the hard rock / pop songwriting Paul has been known for.

Top Concerts (ordered chronilogically)
The concerts of 2006 have been better than I could have imagined. Not only did I get to see KISS in a small club with full on pyro, but I got to see Pearl Jam give what seemed like the performance of their career.

March 10, 2006 - Dream Theater - Pantages Theater, Los Angeles
My brother in law Terry flew in for a weekend of Dream Theater. We saw them the night before in Anaheim, and this was one of those occasions when a night can make a huge difference. This was my first experience at Pantages and Dream Theater gave a great performance. One of the highlights was their performance of Sheep, by Pink Floyd.

May 25, 2006 - VH1 Rock Honors Taping - Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
The night that became one of a lifetime. Less than a week before this taping KISS posted a link for free tickets on their website. On a whim I went and sent my information and was quickly emailed that I had received a pass to the taping. Jacki and Darian were off to Texas and I took a day off from work to head to Vegas.

In order to stay out of the casinos I went to the venue 5 hours prior to the taping. Once we got inside I was able to get a spot against the stage in front of where Gene Simmons mic would end up being.

Acts included Foo Fighters, Queen, Godsmack, Judas Priest, All American Rejects, Def Leppard, a tribute band featuring Rob Zombie, Ace Frehley, Slash, Gilby Clarke, Tommy Lee, and Scott Ian, and KISS. The show was broadcast a week later on Vh1 and I was even able to get a copy of the KISS peformance in HD on a DVD. I can be seen on the front row throughout the broadcast.

July 10 - Pearl Jam - Forum, Los Angeles
This was the third time I saw Pearl Jam, and although I was hoping for a good show I had no idea what was in store. Jacki was with me and all I kept hoping was that the show would be good enough for her to enjoy. Not only was it good enough, it ended up being nearly too good to be true. Hit after hit, and even the b-sides pulled from their catalog were great. The band carried the energy of the 2+ hour show the entire time and the Forum ended up becoming an intimate venue with 17,000 of your closest friends.

July 26 - KISS - Chumash Casino - Santa Ynez
KISS returned from a tour of Japan and played two shows at the Chumash Casino upon their return. Jacki and I caught the first night of those performances. KISS advertised these performances as being stripped down with no pyro and that the attraction would be getting to see them in a small venue. The venue held about 1200 people and our seats were about 10 rows from the stage. As the first big chords of the show hit we had pyro. Everyone was completely shocked. And then KISS performed "Kissin' Time", their first US performance of the song since 1974. To top it off I even got a couple of Tommy Thayer guitar pics at the end of the night.

September 9 - Supagroup - Keyclub - Los Angeles
This ended up being a family outing. After some convincing I guaranteed they would have a good time. We all ended up having a great time. The opening acts were good, and we even discovered a new act called Vayden. After the show we got to talk with Supagroup, Darian got a picture and we capped off the night at Mel's. On the way home we drove back by the Keyclub and even got to yell at the Giraffe's guy. One of the funnest nights we had as a family all year.

November 4 - The Who - Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles
Accept no substitutes. The Who returned and put on one of the best concerts I've seen in years. The Hollywood Bowl even redeemed itself to me as being a viable venue, after being disappointed earlier in the summer at a different concert. They played a number of songs off of their Endless Wire release including a min-set of the Wire & Glass rock-opera. Highlights included Eminence Front and a beautiful closing with Tea & Theater. This also marked the first time I've been at a show where they will sell you a DVD of that performance. I received the DVD 1 month later in a beautifully shot anamorphic widescreen presentation.

Other Events
Other key events included the launch of my company, Helio, and of course my mom's wedding. Helio launched in May and to we now are offering three handsets in the market. The Kickflip, Hero and most recently Drift.

My mom married in July, and it was great occasion to be a part of. Of course the only odd part is for the first time in my life she now has a different last name than mine.

Now it's time to look forward to see what 2007 has in store.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Catching up on concerts

The past three weeks I've seen some great shows.

On October 20th I saw Bob Dylan and Kings Of Leon at the LA Forum. This was my second time to the venue, and although the place is outdated it does make for a great concert venue. And my 5th row ticket helped as well.

I was mainly there for Kings Of Leon, but seeing Bob Dylan perform a full set was a nice bonus. Kings played a nice set of hits from their first two albums and they also played some new tunes that I can only guess will be on their next album. This was my third time to see Kings, and my second to see Bob. Highlights of Kings set for me included The Bucket, and Molly's Chambers. We had a nice little crowd of about 20-30 Kings Of Leon fans up front for their set.

Bob was interesting in the aspect that he barely acknowledged the crowd. He played keyboards the entire night looking across the stage as opposed to looking into the crowd. And he has a guitar on a guitar stand center stage next to microphone. That guitar went un-played the entire night and the microphone was also unused. Highlights of the set included the tracks off the new album Thunder on The Mountain, and Nettie Moore and hits during his encore including Like A Rolling Stone.

Bob Dylan
October 20, 2006
Los Angeles, CA
The Forum

Maggie's Farm
Just Like Tom Tumb's Blues
High Water (For Charley Patton)
When The Deal Goes Down
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum
Tangled Up In Blue
To Romona
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
Rollin' And Tumblin'
John Brown
Highway 61 Revisited
Nettie Moore
Summer Days

Thunder On The Mountain
Like A Rolling Stone
All Along The Watchtower

This past Thursday I got a call from Dean asking if I wanted to see Robert Randolph at the House Of Blues. I took him up on the offer, the ticket was free, and we met for dinner at the Rainbow and then headed down to HOB. This was my 3rd time seeing Robert Randolph's band play, and I had seen Robert a couple of other times guesting with Dave Matthews Band on Louisiana Bayou. Considering the two other times I saw him is 45 minute set had its high and low points. The headlining set was full of the same. We stayed for about 75 minutes into his set and left as he went off for the encore. Taylor Hicks got up on stage with him just like I had seen this past summer. Taylor did a great job on the harmonica.

The funny moment of the night was when Robert invited a number of girls on stage during Shake Your Hips. For the most part the girls stayed out of the way of the band but there were these two girls that kept trying to dance on Robert and kiss on Robert. It was obvious he was not comfortable when these girls were right on him. As they leaned in he'd lean away and would have that nervous, awkward, get away from me smile. He was clearly being violated.

Highlights were Diane and and Deliver Me.

Robert Randolph And The Family Band
November 2, 2006
W. Hollywood, CA
House Of Blues

Ain't Nothin Wrong With That
I Don't Know What You Come To Do
Jesus Is Just Alright (CSN&Y cover)
Shake Your Hips
Billie Jean (Michael Jackson cover)
Blessed Reprise -> I Got Joy (w/ Ryan Shawn on vocals, and Taylor Hicks on harmonica)
Deliver Me

Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) - this is where Dean and I left
Devil Went Down To Georgia

And then last night Jacki and I saw the return of The Who. Their first show of the second leg of the North America tour. It is difficult to describe how great they were. This was one of the best concerts I've ever seen. Yes, it was that good. Our seats were in the Terrace Boxes about 6 rows behind the soundboard, and my seat was the dead center seat in the venue. Perfect view, even though we weren't close.

They played a large portion of their new album Endless Wire, and of course had a great selection of hits including some of my favorites including Eminence Front, and The Seeker. The final close Tea & Theatre with Roger and Pete by themselves was a perfect show closer.

The band sounded great, Pete and Roger looked to having a good time and this show also marked the first performance of this specific line up. Pete mentioned Rabbit's, their keyboard player, wife was seeking cancer treatment so he was with her. In the meantime Rabbit's tech was playing instead.

If you've never seen The Who, and can afford the ticket, go! You will not be disappointed. Great visuals, great songs, and a crowd that loves the music.

This also gave me hope that the Hollywood Bowl can be a good place for a concert.

The opening act was Rose Hill Drive. Jacki and I saw them a year or so back opening for The Black Crowes. A strong power trio in the vein of Wolfmother, although without the keyboards. They quoted a little of Dazed And Confused from Led Zeppelin during their last song.

The Who
November 4, 2006
Hollywood, California
Hollywood Bowl

I Can't Explain
The Seeker
Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere
Behind Blue Eyes
Wire And Glass (mini opera)
- Sound Round
- Pick Up The Peace
- Endless Wire
- We Got A Hit
- They Make My Dreams Come True
- Mirror Door
Baba O'Riley
Eminence Front
A Man In A Purple Dress
Black Widow's Eyes
Mike Post Theme
You Better You Bet
My Generation -> Cry If You Want -> Old Red Wine
Won't Get Fooled Again

Pinball Wizard
Amazing Journey
See Me, Feel Me
Listening To You
Tea & Theatre

Note that I didn't take The Who pictures. Some great pictures I found of the performance last night on their website.

Friday, October 13, 2006


I'm at Incheon airport just outside of Seoul and getting ready to head back to the States. The timing of this trip made for an interesting week. North Korea tested, or at least claimed to have tested, a Nuclear bomb while I was in the air on my way to South Korea. I wasn't too worried but it was odd reading about this situation as I was in the air over the Pacific.

The day I landed there was quite a bit of discussion but no one seemed too distressed by the news. The papers and local press were going crazy and the international press based in Asia issued numerous editorials about who to blame and where accountability should be held. Needless to say opinions ranged from North Korea being a country that continually tests the limits of what other nations will tolerate to this being a direct failure of the Bush administration.

One of the days at lunch I started to ask the locals what they thought of the news. I was quite surprised to hear that they unaniomously said the US should talk directly to North Korea. They said the 6 party talks won't work, because North Korea won't let them, and that the US is the only country that is in a position too give North Korea the audience they want. When I asked them what do they want, they suggested that all they want is the ability to a respected worldwide power. And until they feel they have the respect of the world they will continue to put out these challenges.

I equated this to North Korea being a 2 year old throwing a temper tantrum. Surprisngly they all agreed and they added the key is to figure out what the 2 year old really wants. A very interesting conversation. To be in a country when world history is being recorded and to get local insight was quite an opportunity. They all said they don't see any threat to South Korea from North Korea and that all North Korea wants is attention. However the table of people were not in agreement on how South Korea's government should respond regarding sanctions, or suspension of the "Sunshine Policy". They just wanted the US to come in and lead the diplomacy.

The rest of the week quickly returned to business as usual and by Friday there was hardly a mention of the crisis on TV or in the papers.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tower Records

Driving through Sunset Strip we saw signs that Tower Records was having a clearance sell, everything must go, store closing. A very sad day for music. We went by the store and the sign said something to the extent of "It is the end of the world as we know it."

They already had a for lease sign on front of the video annex store. Looks like the last great music chain has died.

From an article I found online it looks like the Sunset property will be sold for approximately $12M. The property is definitely worth more than the business.

Here is a link to the article

On a positive note this wifi on a plane thing is pretty cool. I'm posting this from halfway over the Pacific on my way to Korea.

Friday, October 06, 2006


I just got back from the Queensrÿche show at the Gibson Amphitheater at Universal. I've seen Queensrÿche many times dating back to their first tour opening for KISS in 1985. The show tonight consisted of the band playing Operation:Mindcrime and Operation:Mindcrime II back to back.

I saw them perform Operation:Mindcrime live in its entireity back in 1991 on the Empire tour. That was a great tour, a huge arena show, they had just finally captured the hearts of the mainstream and even had a hit single with Silent Lucidity. It was a full on rock show, no gimicks, just a band on stage performing.

Tonight's performance was not a rock show and was instead a theatrical performance. The entire band dressed in black and had virtually no interaction with the crowd or each other. Geoff Tate was fron and center and performed the show with actors on stage to help create the scenes of the story. A very ambitious effort and you must respect them for trying to pull this off but I wanted a rock show and I didn't get one.

Mindcrime II came off as much more inspired than the original Mindcrime. The band looked to be going through the motions on Mindcrime 1 but appeared enthused about the new material. Mike Stone their new guitar player looked to appreciate the new material the most.

The highlight of the show is Ronnie James Dio performed "The Chase" with the band. He looked great and sounded even better. It left you wishing he was involved with more of the material. Pamela Moore who sang the parts of Sister Mary was also a primary performer throughout the show and allowed the band to authentically recreate the material live.

I'm glad I went to see the experience but I think they need to stick to putting on a rock concert. For the final encore they played "Walk In The Shadows" and closed the show with "Jet City Woman". Fortunately we got a mini concert at the end of the show where the band interacted with the crowd and moved around. Geoff Tate looked more comfortable as a frontman than he ever has and it was good to close the show this way.

Before the show I ate at the Saddle Ranch and met a guy that worked at NBC named Mitch. We were both sitting at the bar and begin talking. He also was going to the show and had an extra backstage pass that he gave me. This meant you got to hangout in a VIP area and get free beer and snacks. After the show the band was supposed to come out but after 30 minutes of waiting I decided to leave. Although I was able to get a picture with Rudy Sarzo. He was hanging out like everyone else. If I can figure out how to get the pictures off my Helio I'll post them.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Juke Kartel

Last Friday Jacki and I made it out to the Viper Room to see Juke Kartel. The band features Toby Rand from Rock Star:Supernova fame. Jacki really enjoyed him on Rock Star so I knew she'd like to see him live. My expectations were set extremely low, but his band was really good.

I almost think that if he had performed more in the vain of Juke Kartel on Rock Star I would have liked him much better on the show. This will defintely be a band to watch for in the next year. Toby mentioned they are currently in the studio recording and album.

On the way out Jacki dropped her Helio and the door man made a comment about losing her Helio. We laughed and as we walked out I walked back and asked how he knew about Helio and he pulls out his Kickflip. First time I saw someone that didn't work at Helio with a Helio. Jacki showed him her Helio tattoo and by the end of the conversation we had made a new friend. Its always good to know the door man at a Hollywood club.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Paul Stanley

I just got my tickets to the Paul Stanley concert at the House Of Blues in W. Hollywood. His backing band is the Rock Star band from Rock Star: Supernova.

The show is still a couple of months off, and his new cd still has a month before it comes out but thanks to an "industry" friend I've been able to hear the new disc.

Its been a pretty good KISS related year so far.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Enter gapless playback

Hats off to Apple for getting gapless playback support in both iTunes and the iPod. I skimmed the list of changes to the new iTunes and saw gapless playback called as a feature and was pleasantly surprised to hear it in action. No all of those live albums don't have the annoying break when you go from one song to the next and cds such as Dark Side Of The Moon now play seamlessly without interruption.

On a side note, Jacki, Darian and I saw Hollywoodland this past weekend. A good movie, but as expected no real ending. I think Darian wondered what's the point.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Supagroup at the Keyclub

We had a family outing to see Supagroup last night at the Keyclub in W. Hollywood. Jacki had gotten her hair done earlier in the day and what better place to show it off than Hollywood. In our traditional fashion of not planning we decided around 8pm to goto a show with a 7pm start time. We saw 4 bands on the bill: Vayden, Prima Donna, The Giraffes, and Supagroup.

First off I must say the Keyclub is an awesome venue. Great sound, clean, nice interiors, and the video screens are a nice touch. Vayden, the first band, even commented on how they don't have clubs that nice from where they are from.

Vayden was the surprise of the evening. A metal band with a modern production value. Their drummer was amazing and it was great to hear a metal singer that could actually sing. We picked up their cd afterwards. Many of the progressive metal drumming aspects, songs were fairly simple in structure, and many had the modern rhythms of say the Killers crossed with Disturbed. Sounds weird but came off great. They had by far the largest crowd of the evening.

Second up was Prima Donna. Think Hanoi Rocks and New York Dolls. A young group of guys glammed out and playing songs with a very 70s sound. They played a glammed version of an Eddie Cochran song Led Zeppelin covered called Somethin' Else. Nice to hear an obscure cover. Darian really liked this so we ended up getting both their cd and Vayden's.

Next was The Giraffes. Although the singer was entertaining I am going to have to stick with if you can't say anything nice then you shouldn't say anything at all. I definitely didn't get it. And then to top it off towards the end of their set their guitar player drops his pants for all the world to see and proceeds to play. About 2 minutes security came up and looked as though they were going to kick him out. He pulled his pants back up and they finished with no incident.

Last but not least was Supagroup. Jacki and Darian weren't sure they wanted to go but I promised them they'd have a good time and Supagroup delivered. Playing to the small crowd as if were an arena of 10,000 their band name did not disappoint. They played a little over an hour and we got to talk to the band after the set. Chris Lee made a comment from the stage that they knew nearly everyone in the audience, so we told him afterwards we didn't know him. He laughed and then asked very seriously, so why are you here? I explained I had been a fan for a few years and saw them about 2 years ago in Atlanta. We got the setlist, a drum stick, guitar pick and Darian even got a picture with Benji Lee their lead guitarist.

If you haven't heard of this band, go and check them out. They have two great cds and put on a fun live show. You will not be disappointed.

We wrapped the night at Mel's for a late night breakfast. Driving back home on Sunset we drove back by the club and saw the singer and drummer from The Giraffes walking through the cross walk. Jacki unrolled her window and yelled, "Hey Giraffe guy", and they ran over and hi-fived her. Very fun, and made us from going "boo giraffes" just moments before to having them cap off a great night.

More pics can found on my picasaweb site.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Gene and Shannon

Thanks to my wonderful wife I got to meet Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed tonight. I had known about the signing at Tower for about a week but didn't want to get my hopes up about going. After a long day at work I decided, oh well maybe next time.

As soon as I got home Jacki said let's go. I said, long lines, we hadn't planned it, probably had to get a wristband earlier in the day in order to get in line and was ready to blow it off. She called Tower, confirmed they were still there and that there wasn't anything special we had to do get in. So at 7:30pm we left for the 7:00pm meet and greet.

It took us about 30 minutes to get there and they were still there!

I went in and bought three of the books they were signing so Jacki, Darian, and I each had something we could get signed. Jacki took this great picture of us.

2 hours later we are back at home. Definitely worth the outing and thanks to Jacki for making this happen.

Friday, September 01, 2006

To catch a virus

Uggh! My computer got a virus the other day and it took me a day and a half to bring order back to my computer. After going through this experience I feel sorry for the non tech-saavy people out there. You really don't have a chance.

This particular virus did several things
- Launched ads through IE. Surfside Kick was the package
- Installed a Toolbar 888
- installed a series of Dlls with random names, some in the windows/system32 directory, some in temp folders, some in hidden system folders, on and on. It was a pain to find them all
- set up auto run registry values so everytime you would restart the computer it would be the first application to run
- set up apps to be extensions of windows shell, so every time explorer ran these dlls were running in memory
- would create files like win???.tmp.exe and would launch them
- upon reboot it would set up pending install commands to copy files around on reboot. So everytime I rebooted the files had different names
- would randomnly launch a dialer
- etc...

Oh and did I mention Norton Antivirus only resolved a handful of the issues above. Everything else I had to do perform manually.

Over the course of a lot of google searches I was able to find a website that pointed me in the right direction.
The apps I used to diagnose the problem included

StartupList - this file would generate a log indicating all of the programs that will run when your computer boots

IBProcMan - similar to the HijackThis utility, this allowed me to see what programs were running and what DLLs each program had running in memory.

L2mfix - hard to explain what this program fully does. There were a lot of warnings about use at your own rick. I ended up using just the logging function. When it runs it prompts you to run a report. This report identifies things that may not look correct that have been configured in the registry or might be files that are in directories they shouldn't be in.

By using these three programs I was able to isolate the problem programs and registry settings. I wasted too much time trying to get Norton to clean up the system when ultimately I should have just done this myself. When the last program I was trying to delete was tied to the windows shell I had to boot up outside of windows and manually delete the file. It was configured in the registry but every time I edited the registry it would re-edit on top of my changes so my changes wouldn't stick. Another interesting thing about this DLL is if a program like Norton or Ad-aware would scan it looking for a virus it would automatically issue a system shutdown command. So as soon as I was about to find something I'd be racing the clock of the computer shutting down. In some ways it was pretty clever on part of the virus/trojan writer but at 2am in the morning it was just pissing me off.

Needless to say one day later everything looks good now and I've been running for a good 12 hours with zero signs of any issues.

Here's hoping that if this happens to you, then you will be able to find this blog post to point you to some useful tools.

Good luck.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dave Matthews Band @ Hollywood Bowl

Just got back from seeing Dave Matthews Band with Jacki.

Here is the set from tonight.

Dave Matthews Band
August 28, 2006
Hollywood Bowl

Best of Whats Around *
Pig *
What Would You Say *
Dream Girl *
Hunger For The Great Light *
Shotgun *
Crash Into Me
Everyday *
You Might Die Trying *
Dancing Nancies *
Warehouse *
Loving Wings *
Where Are You Going
Cant Stop
Smooth Rider *+
Louisiana Bayou *+

So Right *
Ants Marching *

Show Notes:
* Rashawn Ross on Trumpet
+ Robert Randolph

Robert Randolph and the Family Band opened the show. Although the band sounded great the vibe at the venue was not cool. We were about halfway back and it reminded me of my college days when you'd have a bunch of frat guys and sorrority girls not paying attention to the show and just talking. The conversations around us often were louder than the band themselves.

This was my first outing to the Hollywood Bowl and although the vibe wasn't great the venue made for a spectacular visual.

Highlights of the show for me were Loving Wings -> Where Are You Going, and Louisiana Bayou.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Google's New Photo Software

If you've clicked my pictures recently I'm now hosting them with google. It ties into their Picasa photo product and makes it easy to publish to the web. A link to get the product is under my links and can also be found here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

More Wedding Pictures

As promised. A link to more wedding pictures.

Mom's Wedding Trip
Jul 22, 2006 - 82 Photos

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Wedding I Thought Would Never Happen

The day was a great day. The event was at Baba Yega's where the original double wedding occured with Jacki and I (plus Darian) and Lisa and Jeff. When the double wedding occurred at Baba Yega's I always joked that this is the wedding my Mom always wanted. She planned everything, coordinated everything and even chose the place. Well now her day has finally come.

The wedding was in the early evening and I was responsible for getting my Mom and Maureen to the event. For once in her life she wasn't 2 hours early. This was probably the first time ever where she was almost casually late, of course she wasn't, but almost. And in true Mom fashion she tried to micromanage the event from the phone as we drove to Baba Yega's.

Before the wedding started the funniest moment came from Cindy, Jacki and Darian. They left early to get things set up at the event. Little did my Mom know, but they were actually on a side mission to deck out her and Marvin's hotel room. They had gone through their planning, had even called the hotel to confirm they'd be able to get into the hotel room to set things up. As they strolled into the hotel they see Marvin sitting out front, munching on popcorn and waiting for his ride from Jim. They just simply asked him for his key, he said nothing, handed them the key, and continued to munch on popcorn. Once the mission was complete they went back out to the lobby but he had already left for the wedding.

As this occurred my Mom was having me call Jacki to find out if they had made it to Baba Yega's. Her first question, "Can your mom hear me?" So she tells me about the hotel and Marvin and how they haven't made it to Baba Yega's yet. So I told my Mom, that yes they were at Baba Yega's meeting guests and getting things prepared. What my Mom doesn't know won't hurt her.

When we arrived, since we were a little late, the ceremony immediately started. The service was nice, although due to Lisa not speaking up I ended up stealing my Mom's line. The minister asks "who gives away this woman", since I wasn't at rehearsal Lisa was supposed to speak for both her and I. After a few seconds of pause and no Lisa, I said "I do". Not the thing to say at the wedding if you aren't the bride or groom. Then of course Lisa chimes in "I do" as well. A quick laugh from the crowd, and the minister ends up saying what we were supposed to say and then it was back on track.

The ceremony was short and simple and worked very well. Afterwards there was a large reception with food and cake. Before we headed upstairs to the reception we did the after wedding pictures. The garden setting of Baba Yega's made for a perfect backdrop.

Upstairs it was great to see many friends of the family we hadn't seen in many years. Everyone appeared to have a great time and most of all it looked to be the happiest I've seen my Mom in many years. It was a beautiful day.

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Pierson. Marvin, welcome to the family.

PS. A link to all the pictures is coming soon. I'll have them all up in the next week or so.

Friday, July 28, 2006

KISS at Chumash Casino

Jacki and I took a quick trip about 130 miles north of LA to see KISS perform in a tiny venue in the Chumash Casino. We took off from LA around 2pm on Wednesday and checked into our hotel in Buellton California. We headed to the casino around 6pm.

This was definitely not your typical Vegas casino. Although it was clean and looked fairly new it definitely was missing the glitz and glamor of the Vegas strip. But what did we care we weren't there to gamble.

The show started just a little after 8pm.

Now for those that know me well, and if you had read my blog post from a couple of months back you'd know I'm a huge KISS fan. This marked my 17th time to see the band. This was one of the best performances I've ever seen them give. They were playing a small venue to 1300 people and they actually cared about how they sounded. The small stage just allowed them to interact musically much better than they do when they play a large arena.

The setlist was great. Eric Singer was back to playing more engergized versions of the songs and Tommy is now in full on fake-Ace mode.

There were a few incredible surprises. First was as they kicked into Detroit Rock City to open the set we suddenly realized this isn't a stripped down show as originally advertised. The Pyro was in full force. The next surprise came a few songs into the set as they introduced a song from their first album called "Kissin' Time". This song has only been documented as being performed 3 other times in their entire career. This is the first known performance in the US since May 24, 1974. Paul, and Gene traded vocals on verses just like the studio version and Eric Singer sang Peter's part. This is one of those nights you normally only get to read about, and to know that I was there. I was able to get a video recording on my camera as they played it. The sound is a little muffled but now it has been captured!

Although the set didn't have any additional shockers they did play some tunes that aren't in heavy rotation including Got To Choose, Heaven's On Fire and Come On And Love Me.

After the show we headed to the front to begin the search for unclaimed guitar pics. Luck was on my side and I was able to find two Tommy pics under piles of confetti. Of course Jacki is amused by me degenerating into my mode of trying to pics as if my life depended on it. The Tommy Thayer signatures on the pics were different that the Tommy Thayer pic I got in 2003. Always great to continue adding to the collection.

July 26, 2006
Chumash Casino
Santa Ynez, California

Set List:

Detroit Rock City
Makin' Love
Watchin' You
King of the Night Time World
Christine Sixteen
Got To Choose
Heaven's On Fire
Kissin' Time
I Love It Loud
Love Gun
God of Thunder
Do You Love Me
Shout It Out Loud
Black Diamond
Let Me Go, Rock & Roll

C'mon and Love Me
God Gave Rock & Roll To You
Rock and Roll All Night

As you see from the picture of the set list above both Kissin' Time and C'mon and Love Me were not on the printed set lists the band used. Spontaneous additions to the set are always the best. The bands playing was spot on as were the vocals including some great harmonies from Eric. And the sound guys also did an amazing job. You could hear every instrument and vocal crystal clear and nothing was distorted. Lets hope the bootleggers were out.

This has been an amazing couple of months of concerts for me and to think I saw KISS twice and they aren't even on tour. First the VH1 Rock Honors, and now this show in Chumash. I really wish I had planned for the time off so I could go see the show they have scheduled at the same venue on Friday. If only all concerts could be this good.

With that I leave you with a picture Jacki took of me during the final encore of Rock And Roll All Night with the band onstage, the KISS sign in the background and confetti all through the air. It was a great night.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A good day for a wedding

It is a few hours before the wedding. A bit of role reversal this time around. Instead of the child bringing the fiance around for approval you have the parent doing so. My Mom is worried about the way she looks, the way everyone feels, if everyone approves of Marvin and is hoping for one of the best days of her life. Of cousre she should worry about nothing and today will go off beautifully.

6 1/2 years ago Jacki and I along with my sister Lisa and her husband Jeff were going through the same things and at the same place as my Mom is getting married today. In a unique twist it turns out that 27 years ago yesterday my Mom and Marvin where the best man and best woman at the wedding for Maureen and Jim. Maureen and Jim will be playing the same roles as my Mom and Marvin at this wedding.

Things have completely come full circle.

Did I mention how hot it is in Houston in the middle of the summer? We are now off to sweat through the ceremony.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

More Concerts

The past couple of weeks Jacki and I caught a few more shows. First Mike Keneally Band at The Baked Potato. They finally spelled his name correctly on the Marquee. Then Zappa Plays Zappa, and this past Monday we saw Pearl Jam at the LA Forum.

Highlights of the Zappa show included Stink Foot, Peaches, Montana, and Inca Roads. Terry Bozzio provided some comic relief all punked out on vocals.

This was my 3rd time to see Pearl Jam and was the best performance I've seen from them by a long shot. I don't know if it is an LA thing or what, but bands seem to generally be in great spirits when they play LA. Two sold out shows at the venue doesn't hurt either. They even had a plaque outside the box office that recognized their sell outs. Picture below. The funniest plaque was the 20 sell outs from Phil Collins over the course of about 20 years.

Pearl Jam
The Forum
Los Angeles, California
July 10, 2006

World Wide Suicide
Brain Of J.
Marker In The Sand
Severed Hand
Even Flow
I Got Id
Daughter/(It's Ok)/(I Believe In Miracles)/(Blitzkrieg Bop)
Better Man/(Save it for Later)
I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts

Encore 1
Man Of The Hour
Off He Goes

Encore 2
Big Wave
State Of Love And Trust
Rockin' In The Free World

The Forum was an odd venue. It was a gigantic room that somehow had an intimate feel. A very good room for a big show, however the venue itself was a dump and the facilities were far from modern. I'm listening to a copy of the show taken from the Peal Jam bootlegs site and the venue made for a fantastic recording.

Its been a good summer for concerts.

Next we're off to Houston tomorrow to see my mom get married. First she graduates college after I do and now she is getting married after me. We'll be in Houston until Monday and then I'm off to Korea for a few days.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Crowes at the Greek

On Wednesday Jacki and I saw The Black Crowes at the Greek Theater. Ever since the band reunited from their hiatus every show we've seen has been amazing. This was our third time see them in 13 months. We missed the first opener but got to see most of Robert Randolph and The Family Band's set. Toward the end of their set Taylor Hicks from American Idol came out and jammed on harmonica for one of their songs. The audience loved it.

Between sets I went to get some kettle corn and saw Elliot another finalist from American Idol walking around and talking on his cell phone. When the Crowes hit the stage they started with Cursed Diamond and Wiser Time back to back. A great way to kick off the set.

The Black Crowes
Greek Theater
Los Angeles, California
June 14, 2006

Cursed Diamond

Wiser Time
Got To Get Better In A Little While
Sister Luck

Soul Singing
Welcome To The Goodtimes
Up On Cripple Creek (w/ Chris Robinson on Vocals)

My Morning Song
L.A. (w/ Marc Ford on Vocals)
Hard To Handle
Jealous Again
- encore -
Oh Well

And as the ultimate concert souvenir we were able to get an Instant Live CD of the show immediately afterwards.

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