Concerts and Clef Notes


Sunday night's performances on the Grammy's remind us of how music is our emotional soundtrack. It can make us happy, dance with joy, celebratory, reflective, sorrowful and even sad. Then at times leave us scratching our heads wondering, what was that we just listened to or saw -- as was the case with Nikki Minaj's exorcism faux pas.

Imagine our lives without music. Rites of passage are so connected with a drum beat, dance step, strum of a string or blare of a horn. What would a high school or college graduation ceremony be without Sir Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance? Or a wedding without the brides favorite songs? Silent.

There has been much debate surrounding the passing of Whitney Houston. Who's to blame? Her enablers? Family, friends, husband? the music industry itself? We all have choices and we all make mistakes. Whitney had a choice to lead her life, marry whomever and thankfully a choice to sing.

And sing she did. Her songs give us one of the things we so love about music - Reflection. Reflection to the period of our youth, innocence and earlier times. Thus the reason for compilations. The Best of the 80's, Various artist's of the 80's. Top Videos from the 80's, Big Hair Bands of the 80's. Go back to the stone age and visit a used record store or spend present day on iTunes and you'll find these collections in abundance.

Why? Because we love remembering the times we've experienced and are reminded of those through a song, melody or tune. Whitney's catalog of music is part of the soundtrack of the 80's, the MTV generation.

Whitney's death was a stunner. Step away from all the tabloidal news, photos, this or that, and listen just to her music. Think of where you were when you first heard "I wanna dance with somebody" or "The greatest love of all", think of who you were with, happy moments, sad times, loves made and loves lost.

Whitney's performances weren't about Nikki Minaj/ Lady Gaga big-type productions, but about one thing - her voice. The Voice.

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters speaks to that in his Grammy acceptance speech, " me this award means alot because it shows the human element is what is important about music... Singing into a's not about what goes into a computer.." Houston won six Grammys, twenty-two American Music Awards, thirty Billboard Music Awards and countless others.

She reminds us of life's fragile nature, the choices it allows us and our musical memories.

Houston blazed a trail for many artists that we've seen and heard over the past couple of decades. But very few if any just sing, sing like she did, that is until...


9/17:  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

8/29/11 - Adele...

 How does one describe the voice of an angel? Soft, yet passionate? Gifted? Angelic, of course could be used too. But, cute? Would you take a singer serious if you thought her performance was cute? For Adele, yes you should. 

With her cute and playful sense of humor and angelic voice, Adele thrilled the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions.

Making up for her cancelled Minneapolis First Avenue date, Adele serenaded the St. Paul Xcel Center crowd (8/24/11) as if it were only you and her in an intimate setting, then asked the audience to pay tribute to Amy Winehouse and thousands of cheering fans obliged with their cellphones( which have replaced lighters) and lit up the arena.

Hard to describe someone like you(Adele), thoughts of Norah Jones as she smoothly made her way from one tune to the next, including her "19" hit of "Chasing Pavements".  One got the sense of maybe,  Bonnie Raitt  then shortly thereafter  she pleasantly surprised us and crooned a Raitt classic, "I Can't Make You Love Me", introducing it as her favorite song and honoring Bob Dylan with " Make You Feel My Love".

Then there was, "Someone Like You", co-written by Minnesotan Dan Wilson, shows there's truly noone like Adele.

Dining with three smiling angels before the show then having the pleasure of listening to one, made the evening a heavenly experience!

Set List
 • Hometown Glory
• I'll Be Waiting
• Don't You Remember
• Turning Tables
• Set Fire to the Rain
• If It Hadn't Been for Love
• My Same
• Take It All
• Rumour Has It
• Right As Rain
• One and Only
• Lovesong
• Chasing Pavements
• I Can't Make You Love Me
• Make You Feel My Love
• Someone Like You
• Rolling in the Deep

08/13/11 - Concert Attendence through the years:

Either from ticket stubs, programs or memory ( number of times seen )

1995 Memphis Beale Street Music Festival
1996 Memphis Beale Street Music Festival
1997 Memphis Beale Street Music Festival
2000 Memphis Beale Street Music Festival
2002 Memphis Beale Street Music Festival
2003 Memphis Beale Street Music Festival
2005 Memphis Beale Street Music Festival
2006 Memphis Beale Street Music Festival
2007 Memphis Beale Street Music Festival
2008 Memphis Beale Street Music Festival
2009 Memphis Beale Street Music Festival
2010 Memphis Beale Street Music Festival
2011 Memphis Beale Street Music Festival
Allyson Krauss
Barbara Streisand
Barenaked Ladies
BB King
Billy Joel (2)
Billy McLaughlin
Black Crowes
Bob Dylan
Bob Seger(2)
Bon Jovi
Boz Skaggs
Brian Setzer
Bruce Hornsby
Bruce Springsteen (2)
Charlie Daniels Band
Colbie Calliet
Crosby Stills and Nash
Dan Fogelberg
David Gray
Dennis DeYoung
Don Felder
Don Henley (2)
Don McLean
Donald Fagen
Eagles (7)
Edwin McCain (2)
Elton John (2)
Elvis Costello (2)
Eric Clapton (4)
Erin Bode
Faith Hill
Five for Fighting
Fleetwood Mac ( 4)
Foreigner (2)
Gordon Lightfoot
Guns n Roses - Famous Riot Concert - St. Louis
Head East
Huey Lewis
Jackson Browne (2)
James Taylor (2)
James Taylor/Carole King
Jefferson Starship ( New)
Jerry Lee Lewis
Jimmy Buffett (2)
John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band
John Mellencamp (4)
Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
KC and the Sunshine Band
Kris Kristofferson
Lisa Marie Presley
Little River Band
Los Lonely Boys
Lyle Lovett
Marcia Ball
Marshall Tucker band
Michael McDonald
Michelle Branch
Mickey Thomas
Moody Blues (2)
Natalie Merchant
Neil Diamond
Night Ranger
Norah Jones (2)
Oak Ridge Boys
Pat Benatar
Paul McCartney
Ray Charles
Reba Russell
REO Speedwagon (3)
Ringo Starr and his all star band
Rod Stewart (3)
Rolling Stones ( 5)
Santana ( 2 )
Sarah Mclachan
Shawn Colvin
Shawn Mullins
Sheryl Crow ( 7 )
Simon and Garfunkel
Steely Dan
Steve Miller Band (2)
Steve Winwood
Stevie Nicks
Styx ( 3 )
Taylor Dayne
The Band
The Pretenders
The Wallflowers
The Who
Tim McGraw
Tracy Byrd
Van Morrison
Whitney Houston
Willie Nelson
ZZ Top

07/18/11 - So it's been a few weeks since I had the pleasure of witnessing the quintessential, a bit eccentric performance of Elvis Costello.  His carnival barker-esque spin of a show was quite entertaining. With a big spinning wheel, a couple of go-go dancers and a pseudo bar, Elvis engaged the audience, literally.  Hopping off stage, running by my seat, he graciously shook my hand and took off running for an lucky unsuspecting guest. Grabbed her by the hand and scurried back and with a high five back at me, he led the lucky girl up on stage for a spin at the wheel.

Wheel? Yes a wheel. With a top hat and cane, Elvis instructed the girl to take a spin at the wheel. Where it stopped no one would know. But we soon discovered where it did and throughout the evening, members of  audience ( 7 in total) were led on stage for a spin  at the Elvis Costello portfolio of Music Spinning Wheel. Each stop on a song that he enthusiastically played. At times, "the brakes on the wheel aren't cooperating", so just a little push by Elvis and it would land on the lucky participants favorite song.

There's no doubting this man of many musical tastes and talents came to the carnival to be more than just a singer of great songs. He arrived with a bag full of tricks and an elixir full of songs that made the whole evening come alive...even did a cover of Purple Rain for the hometown audience!

Set list:
  • Hope You're Happy Now
  • Heart of the City
  • Mystery Dance
  • Uncomplicated
  • Radio, Radio
  • Watching the Detectives / Help Me
  • Shipbuilding
  • God's Comic
  • Clowntime Is Over
  • Strict Time
  • Man Out of Time
  • Out of Time
  • Veronica
  • Stations Of The Cross
  • This Wheel's On Fire / River In Reverse / On Your Way Down / I'll Take Care of You / This Wheel's On Fire
  • So Like Candy / Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
  • Slow Drag with Josephine
  • Jimmie Standing in the Rain
  • Pump It Up / Busted
Encore 2:
  • All Grown Up
  • Talking in the Dark
  • You Tripped at Every Step
  • (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea
  • Beyond Belief
  • Turpentine
  • Everyday I Write the Book
  •  Purple Rain
  •  Alison / Tracks of My Tears /(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding

07/06/11 - While driving over 1500 miles last weekend with the convertible top down all the way ( except for that gully washer of a downpour some where in Wisconsin), I had a lot of time to think and reflect. With my hopes of meeting some Yorkies for a long awaited reunion dashed, something kept pulling me to the 80's on the 8 of Sirius radio as I drove and drove and drove. Perhaps it was the great memories of college, the Yorkies and the friendships that have remained constant some 25 years later ( thanks facebook).

One memory in particular was the movie The Big Chill, released in 1983. The soundtrack is outstanding, so much so, that back then, a dude named Scooter and I wondered what our Big Chill soundtrack would be.
The Big Chill - Deluxe Edition

So as the miles ticked away, the songs started piling up.  So many of the songs brought back vivid memories of the Hideaway, The Dugout, Jeremiahs, The Purple Crackle, Ragsdales and Rumours.

So here's my stab at the 1980's (1982-1987) version of a Big Chill soundtrack - double album.  ( in no particular order). To help jog my memory, most were taken from Billboard Top 100/200 lists:

Disc One, Side A

1) Money for Nothing - Dire Straits
2) Sister Christian - Night Ranger
3) Addicted to Love - Robert Palmer
4) 99 Luftballoons - Nena
5) We Are The World  - U.S.A. for Africa
6) The Boys of Summer - Don Henley
7) Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
8) Purple Rain - Prince
9) Born in the U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen
10 ) Dancing in the Dark - Bruce Springsteen

Side B

1) Pink Houses- John Mellencamp
2) When Doves Cry - Prince
3) Tainted Love - Soft Cell
4) Livin on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
5) Missing You - John Waite
6) St. Elmo's Fire - John Parr
7) Miami Vice Theme - Jann Hammer
8) You Belong To The City - Glenn Frey
9) Summer of '69 - Bryan Adams
10) Rock Me Amadeus - Falco
11) You Give Love a Bad Name - Bon Jovi

Disc Two - Side A

1) What about Love  - Heart
2) Don't Dream Its Over - Crowded House
3) Wanted Dead Or Alive - Bon Jovi
4) Small Town - John Mellencamp
5) Drive - The Cars
6) In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
7) Life in a Northern Town - The Dream Factory
8) We Belong - Pat Benatar
9) Like a Rock - Bob Seger
10) Day by Day - Hooters

Side B

1) People Get Ready - Jeff Beck/Rod Stewart
2) On the Dark Side - John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band
3) Dancin' in the Street - Mick Jagger/David Bowie
4) Every Day I Write the Book - Elvis Costello and the Attractions
5) Your Love - The Outfield
6) Love is a Battlefield - Pat Benatar
7) The Warrior - Scandal
8) Never - Heart
9) I didn't mean to turn you on - Robert Palmer
10) Don't forget me (when I'm gone) - Glass Tiger

6/1/11 -  Eighteen guitars, a keyboard, a chair and a...
Shot of Cuban sweet juice. Pick your poison and kick back to a coffee house gig of a show that Jackson Browne did on Sunday May 29.

To a near sold out show of 2,000( I didn’t count them) he hit the stage and set expectations by exclaiming, I really have no set list so let me know what you’d like to hear. And shout out we did. With his eighteen acoustic guitars racked nearby,( some tuned for specific songs) he’d play a few he wanted to play then would strum a request or two. During the second set, a stage hand poured a shot of rum and Browne tossed it back and sang his way through ‘Going down to Cuba’, then added another shot later in the gig.

I'm glad I waited in line, I'm glad I got up on my feet and made the was sweet.

Set list went something like this:

The Barricades of Heaven
Farther On
These Days
Something Fine
Looking Into You
Giving That Heaven Away
Mohammed's Radio/Don't Let Us Get Sick - tribute to Warren Zevon
In the Shape of a Heart
Your Bright Baby Blues
Rock Me On The Water


For Everyman
Fountain of Sorrow
Two of Me, Two of You
The Pretender
Alive in the World
Lives in the Balance
Going Down to Cuba
My Opening Farewell
Lights and Virtues
The Naked Ride Home
Running On Empty

Encore - The Load Out; Stay

"Tonight the people were so fine, they waited there in line and then they got up on their feet and made the show...and that was sweet"


5/15/11 - Bob Seger Concert Review

Okay for those who have followed my blog from it's inception, I made the comment that from time to time you may see a post announcing an upcoming concert ( as I'm a music fanatic) and a review of a show or two. So with that, I divert away from talking books for a moment and talk concerts. A Rock n Roll Concert in particular, that being Bob Seger who I recently saw Live.

Granted I was 4 rows from stage, but he put on a show, completely unabashed of what record companies want him to sing and he played...and played ..and played. This guy giving the crowd a rockin' great show and he seemed to enjoying it as much as us!

He played as if he was at his first gig Now older and "drifter's days are past me <him> now", loving life, enjoying what got him to stardom and playing for his audience and only his audience! No light show, video laced theater, record corporation crap- just good, Old Time Rock N Roll!

The smile on his face told it all...told the story of how he's made it but hasn't forgotten his roots...humbling, play-it-to-me straight, pure Rock n Roll that takes all of us back to the days of innocence and our Night Moves; only to poetically refrain the challenges that we endear when we're Against the Wind.

Only a few shows left through the end of May. No news on additional shows..yet!. If he were to return to St. Paul, I'd definitely go again!

Next up..Jackson Browne ..5/29.


  1. Big Chill Soundtrack: What an awesome soundtrack that would make! I think I'll save all those songs on to one playlist right now...

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Big Chill...Happy memories. Still an amazing album but I think your ideas would rock

  4. Re: Big Chill Soundtrack: thanks for your comments.... As I was compiling the list there were many left off, some memorable for the fact that they were popular and played often; Culture Club for example. Based on the times, good stuff to reflect on, but I didn't think CC should make the list? Billy Idol, The Police, AhA, many many more. The greatest thing about compiling the list is the smile that it brought to me!!!