Thursday, August 30, 2007

finally, 2.0

At last! Jason Isbell at The Pageant in St. Louis Nov. 11.

That's probably the week we were thinking of going to the Smokies. But it's a Sunday. We could leave Monday, no?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Additional fall dates announced for Bob Dylan:

Thu 10/11 - Pittsburgh PA - Univ. of Ptts. Peterson Events Center
Fri 10/12 - Ypsilanti MI - Eastern MI University Convocation Center
Sat 10/13 - Columbus OH - Ohio State Univ. Schottenstein Center
Tue 10/16 - Dayton OH - Wright State Univ. Nutter Center
Wed 10/17 - Louisville KY - Freedom Hall
Fri 10/19 - Bloomington IN - Indiana Univ. Assembly Hall
Sat 10/20 - Bloomington IL - US Cellular Coliseum
Mon 10/22 - St. Louis MO - Fox Theatre
Fri 10/26 - Omaha NE - Qwest Center

Looks like it'll have to be the Bloomington, IL show for me - stag! If it works out, I can go to Bloomington, see Bob, then drive to Decatur and see the end of J's gig there, then we can come home together.

We'd definitely go to the Fox, but that's when we're planning to see the Truckers in Chicago.

I was contemplating the Bloomingon, Ind. show too, but I don't think that date will work out either.

Anyway, Bob hates me. Something will go horribly wrong.
Fact: Last time Bob played in St. Louis I was away eloping.
Fact: Before that I nearly got heatstroke at the ballpark show in Sauget and hardly remember the encore because I had my head down after chugging the (warm and open) water security brought me. And didn't have the wherewithal to try for a setlist! Even though I was Right There!
Fact: Before that there was a serious lightning storm on the way to the Peoria show
Fact: At the St. Louis show at the pageant, for which we had tickets, I got the Wish I Were Dead Flu and we couldn't go.
I mean, I've succeeded in seeing him a number of times, sure, but lately it's been a struggle! The marriage thing is working out fine, yes, but still. Always with the bad timing and such.

Nevertheless, I have that giddy sensation that only the prospect of Dylan tickets brings.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Take me out to the ball game

We had a great weekend in St. Louis, except for our team losing two out of three.

J and I went to three games: Friday night we'd gotten our usual not-so-great seats a long time ago, then Saturday we splurged on Really Good Seats (padded seats! waitresses!), and fairly good ones Sunday as well.

Friday there was a long rain delay, but eventually the rain stopped and the game commenced. That's the night that 'our' team, the Atlanta Braves, actually won! Go team.

View from upper deck Friday night

Saturday we drove to a neighborhood we like (the Loop) and ate at a restaurant we like (Fitz's) and did a bit of shopping before hitting Starbucks (caffeine yay!) and heading back to the ballpark in time for batting practice. I hadn't been to BP before. It was neat.

Here are some guys hanging around the outfield during BP. Second from left is former catcher and currend Braves coach Eddie Perez, and far right is pitcher John Smoltz.

You could get WAY DOWN close to the field!

So people stood at the wall (which is padded so the players don't hurt themselves too much) and watched the players hit and field.

We almost met John Smoltz. Which was very awesome, if not quite as awesome as almost meeting The Edge. Smoltz is one of our favorite players and their number one pitcher. He's really great.

But pitcher Lance Cormier - who only got his first win of the season tonight, he's our five-spot guy with like a nine-something ERA - was the only Brave to come sign autographs, and he did so for like half an hour and joked and teased with the kids, talked to people, etc. He was super nice, signed our tickets, teased people who hadn't brought a Sharpie ("What ya doin' coming to the ballpark without a Sharpie, dude?"), etc. First time I've met a ball player. Here's J with him.

Then we were able to peek into the dugout as the game was starting. You can see Matt Diaz and Reyes on the left, then center fielder Andruw Jones with his foot up, manager Bobby Cox, trainer Jeff Porter, coach Glen Hubbard talking to (hidden) famed third baseman Chipper Jones on the bench, and, closer, right fielder Jeff Francouer.

It was a beeeyoootiful night for baseball, though.

Starting pitcher Tim Hudson and catcher Brian McCann coming back from the bullpen to start the game.

Unfortunately, though it was a beautiful night for baseball, soon enough it was time for J to put on the rally cap.

We lost Saturday and lost again Sunday. ugh. Sunday it was blistering hot. I slathered on the sunscreed and lucked out on the sunburn front. Poor J won't use my spf 55 because he wants some color, and if normal people used my sunscreen they'd probably actually get whiter. *is albino* I always say my people evolved in an overcast climate. So he got burned, but I only got burned in the part in my hair. I actually went inside and looked at baseball hats, it was so hot, but the caps were all like $25-30, so no. It was too hot for beer, even. I never thought I'd hear myself say that. But we stayed hydrated with water, cokes, and (later) lifesaving frozen lemonades.

The boy in front of us cooled down with a refreshing iced drink.

I find Fredbird kind of demonic.

One more note: Busch Stadium has the best veggie burgers I've ever had. They're so good J orders 'em, and he's not a vegetarian. They're meaty style in the fashion of Boca, but thicker and actually more beefy and realistic. And you can even get 'em with lettuce, pickle, onion, and stuff. omg. I told J on Friday night that I was going to have one of 'em every day, although I didn't. PLUS they're only like $4.50, which is less than beer, closer to the cost of nachos or a mere pretzel, but healthy and yummy! I wish I could buy this brand at the grocery store. umm.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Joe Walsh

State Fair checklist:
-Walk around, get irritated at people
-Eat fried food
-Drink some beers, listen to some music
-Get rained on.

The good thing about Joe Walsh, besides that he's written some awesome riffs, is that he has both the kind of guitar chops and the kind of voice that you really don't lose. He's not a youngster, he's more like Randy Quaid meets Wavy Gravy, but it's all good.

Oddly, he didn't have a spotlight on him at all - although there were spotlights and they did work, as on the forgettable opening band. Dude, maybe you could just try sunglasses. Made it hard to get a decent photo.

We knew about half his list, I'd say (which is a pretty shameful ratio, I know):
1. (don't know)
2. Ordinary Average Guy
3. In the City
4. (don't know - a slower song he played keyboard on)
5. (don't know)
6. (don't know - he said it was James Gang, and played a section from 'Bolero' in the middle)
7. Walk Away
8. (don't know)
9. Funk #49
10. Life's Been Good
11. Rocky Mountain Way
12. Life in the Fast Lane (which one of the backup singers sang)

It looks like a short list, but a number of the songs were pretty darned long.

It really picked up for me around 'Walk Away' - because it got more uptempo and because I recognized most of the stuff from then on, of course. Funk #49 was cool, but Life's Been Good and Rocky Mountain Way were especially satisfying to me. Rocky Mt Way rules, yo. How long's it been since I witnessed a good talk box session? Too long. Life in the Fast Lane was good too.

Really couldn't get good pix.
video screen:

dark stage

bit closer

Oh, yeah, and then we got rained on walking back to the car. It wasn't so bad, though, we'd only parked across at the APL, and it wasn't raining that hard.

The only real bummer was that - at the fair, the vendors grab the same spots year after year. So there's this place that has fried mozzarella that's just beyond fantastic. It's still there. but next to it used to be The Best Ice Cream in the World, and this year? The Best Ice Cream In The World was GONE. WOES.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

VH followup/flashback

Anonymous Communist led me to look up what I'd written when we saw Van Halen before ("we" being my husband and myself, not Mr. Communist and myself).

1. You Really Got Me
2. Round & Round
3. Human Being
4. Up for Breakfast
5. the dreaded bass solo
6. Somebody Get Me a Doctor
7. Pound Cake
8. It's About Time
9. the drum solo
10. Dreams
11. Unchained
12. Why Can't This Be Love
13. Where Eagles Fly (Sammy solo and on electric)
14. The Seventh Seal
15. Best of Both Worlds
16. guitar solo
17. Standin' on top of the World
18. Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love
19. Right Now
-Encore 1
1. Jump
2. Panama
-Encore 2
When It's Love

That show was more like three years ago than the year and a half or so that it feels like. At the time, I wrote that the opening band, Shinedown, sucked and that our show was the second of two nights and hadn't sold all that well, so they closed the upper sections and upgraded our seats, which was nice. I noted that Alex looked more like the killer from 'Silence of the Lambs' than ever, but at the time I didn't think Eddie looked too bad, although he wasn't playing all that well.

He'd say stuff and you couldn't quite hear him but it would be like "I don't know what the fuck I'm doing" and "Thanks for putting up with my shit" and stuff. ... So Sammy can't sing that great anymore most of the time, but luckily Michael Anthony has a high voice. And Eddie can't actually play that well anymore either. Which is kind of heartbreaking. However, I'm totally glad we went to see them. I had a good time and they didn't suck or anything, they just weren't all that great. But we knew going in that they're past their prime, so it was all right.

Thanks, 2004 Occ! Huh, I'd forgotten that about Michael Anthony taking some of the high parts. Maybe Wolfgang can sing ... ?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

van halen?

Since we started hearing the reborn pre-announcement rumors a few days ago, I have to confess we've been pondering going to see Van Halen. They' re-planning the tour with Roth but without Anthony that they cancelled when Eddie went into rehab this latest time.

Now, firstly, we both have a strong policy against going to see bands that are way past their prime/half dead (except the Allmans)/reformed with a new singer who sucks/never were good live anyway (etc.). There's nothing like that "Wow, dude really can't sing/play anymore" disappointment, and we've felt it too many times. Of course, there are always exceptions. We'll never see the Stones or the Who, it's just too late, but I don't regret going to B.B.King or Buddy Guy. And I will always see Dylan when I can no matter what. Whereas Bo Diddley was heartbreaking, more than anything.

However, neither of us ever saw VH with Roth, for one reason or another. (Which seems odd - I know J went to Monsters of Rock, but that must've been Hagar). Even though J started going to larger concerts way before I did (he's not a hillbilly). J saw them at least a couple-three times with Hagar originally, and then the two of us went to see 'em like a year and a half ago with Hagar. It was almost like the Police in that I felt I had to see them once, given the chance. And it was very much a mixed review. I mean, Hagar's Hagar, he still sang all right, it was fun, party party and all that, but Eddie was so very clearly in need of a successful rehab stint. Dude just really didn't have his chops anymore, and was drinking.

And the Eddie Van Halen story - whether you're a fan or not - is really horrible. It's like the prime example of an extremely talented cat actively throwing away and totally wasting all that talent. Yes, wealth, fame, hits, etc., but think of what he could have been doing all this time, in the studio, other projects, producing, actually being able to keep a good version of VH together, maybe writing and playing new material that was worth a crap ... but he couldn't and didn't, and it's horribly sad to me.

Now that he's been through rehab - and looks a lot better, I have to say - there's the enticing possibility that he might be able to play. If we went, it might wash away some of the bad taste from when we saw them last.

On the other hand, although it was totally appropriate in the 80s, David Lee Roth has never been anything but a parody of himself, and nobody can convince me that that cat has any pipes left at all. There's no freaking way he can still sing VH worth a crap. And, of course, he's old, so ... at least he was relatively easy on the eyes at one point, and relatively acrobatic, if totally not my type at all.

Then there's having your teenage son play bass. That just smacks of total desperation.

But still.

Maybe it depends on how much tickets are ...

In other news, we're most likely going to the Drive By Truckers at the Park West in Chicago in October. Their normal show is called "the rock show," but they also occasionally do a semi-acoustic, sit-down show called "the dirt underneath." J and I have been lucky enough to catch the rockshow, which is truly a marvelous thing, but it'll be a rare treat to be able to see a dirt underneath show. I only wish the friends we're going with had a chance to see the rock show. They haven't seen the truckers before and I think they'd like the rock show better. But this will be good.