Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Concert Review: The Complex Lindsey Buckingham

After taking a peek at the predicted set list as I most often do prior to a show, I originally intended to format my review as dinner at a favorite restaurant with a long time friend.  Reading the menu you see your old favorites and a  few new ones, translating that to his music both new, old and a bit of Fleetwood Mac. Me being a big fan of the Mac - -  both Fleetwood and McDonald's.

Then after attending Friday nights show at the Pantages Theater in Minneapolis, I changed my mind. What I witnessed was an extraordinary guitar player but full of psychoanalysis and deep thinking.  With  philosophic storytelling between each song, I wasn't sure if I was at a  concert or watching an episode of Frasier Crane, sans the humor.

His openness wasn't the only thing, quirky.  Take for instance, the order of songs. Slowly getting started with some familiar and not so familiar tunes, we felt and heard that recognizable thump of  "Tusk". The crowd came alive, some easing their way to the front of the stage. Then the song was over, leaving the audience  to wander back to their seats anxious to hear more zestful enthusiasm but left with something new "Stars are Crazy"  and "End of Time".   "Tusk" may have best been left towards the end, perhaps accompanied by the University of MN Marching Band?

Being a Rock N Roll Hall Famer and one of the most underrated guitar virtuosos,  Buckingham has earned the right to perform solo but his past love affair came resoundingly clear from one heckler who yelled, "Where's Stevie?" Much to the delight of his nicer audience, Buckingham didn't let the rudeness go unnoticed and countered,  I'm playing some  material from my new album tonight but for that man out there, sorry, "Stevie isn't on it."

Some new songs came together, "off hand" as 62 year old rocker prepped the audience and "Illumination" was a prime example. Not lighting up the crowd at all.

But hits such as "Second Hand News" "Big Love" and "Go Your Own Way", where he literally was banging on his guitar, gave the crowd what they expected, great guitar playing and remembrance of the wonderful Fleetwood Mac days of old. Reflection and introspection best left to the individual and their own devices and not the performer they paid to come see.

PS. For those Fleetwood Mac;fans, check out Lindsey's interview in Aug. 31 edition of  Rolling Stone as he hints at another FM tour or maybe a spin around the universe with Stevie.


Shut Us Down
Go Insane
Never Going Back Again
Big Love
Under the Skin
All My Sorrows
In Our Own Time
Second Hand News
Stars Are Crazy
End of Time
That's the Way Love Goes
I'm So Afraid
Go Your Own Way
Turn It On
Seeds We Sow

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thunder Dog, a 9/11 survival story.

Close your eyes. Go ahead, you know you can. Now start walking down the stairs, 1,463 stairs to be exact. Throw in a few hundred people, take away ventilation and air conditioning and toss in the anxiety over the unknown cause of your floor to tilt, and you have the ingredients of Michael Hingson's venture of survival that began on the 78th floor of the north Tower of the World Trade Center. But don't forget, ThunderDog, Rochelle, Hingson's guide dog. 

Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero

Blind at birth, Hingson's lives his life not as a blind person, but "a person who happens to be blind."  He tells of his extraordinary adventure as he and Rochelle navigate down the stairwell and out of the WTC area, only to be chased by the enormous dust cloud that eventually engulfed them.

Hingson's story is intense at first, taking each methodical step down the collapsing tower with Rochelle, then interwoven is Hingson's life story from his parents desire and battle to raise their son as any "normal" child to guide dog training to a successful career in sales at the Quantum group during the years prior to and shortly after 9/11 to now a career in consulting and speaking.

Full of courage and bravery, Hingson and his Thunderdog, Rochelle, find their way to survive and help others along the way.

But, don't let me tell you about his story, let him tell it you in these videos one  from an appearance on Larry King back on 9/11/2002 and another for his book.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Help: the Book, the Movie and Reader's Poll

With the popularity of the movie, I thought I'd read the book and if it was good, I'd check out the movie.  If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know my stance on books made into movies or movies based on books, however you wish to phrase.

The Help, an extraordinary, riveting story about a group of women who help each other and through their challenges they discover, they help themselves. Through the eyes of central female characters, Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny, Stockett tells of the struggles of housekeepers in the deep south during the 1960's. A period piece, Stockett's style of writing adds to the realism of the book.

The Help

In respect to The Help, I'm glad I at least read the book. Really enjoyed it, it's subject matter, style of writing and that Stockett adds historical references which being a lover of history, further enhances my enjoyment.

But I've heard some don't enjoy the book as it taps into sensitive subjects of our country's torrid past. Prejudice whether it be social class, job, gender, age, religion or race exists in todays society unfortunately but it can't be ignored. Stockett's prose continues to bring to light part of our nations history, whether we like it or not.  Either way, I welcome all comments and questions and you may post them anonymously, as you can with all my blog posts. 

Can you identify  points of irony or symbolism in the books? Here's a few points that recognized or pondered:
  • Skeeter helps the maids by writing a book with an aptly named title and ironically helps herself.
  • Hilly continues to cast aspersions on those around her only to get a "taste" of her own medicine and fought to overcome her own stereotype when the nourishment of her  pie became known. Quite the humbling experience, don't ya think?
  • Celia chopping down the mimosa tree signifies?
  • Release of the movie at the same time of the unveiling of the  Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, coincidence or shrewd marketing?
Here's one question I've read, can a white woman write a book about black women? Does it matter?

Check out my readers poll at the top left of my blog.  Have you seen the movie? Like it better than the book? 

Looking forward to your comments...