Archive for the ‘Singles’ Category

1971 SOUNDTRACK: DAVÍD GARZA-Tiny Desk Concert #405 (November 15, 2014).

garzaI first heard of Garza back in 1998 with his minor hit “Discoball World.”  I really liked it.  And then I assumed he just went away.  But apparently he didn’t.

The first song, “Texas is My Hometown” is a slow jazzy song about how much he loves Texas.  He sounds like an old-timey crooner, except that he references all kinds of contemporary musicians.

And then he plays “Discoball World.”  It sounds quite different because it’s all acoustic guitar (although his strumming is pretty intense).  I prefer the original, but he’s really intense while singing this version.

He says he was walking around DC and he ran into his favorite singer in the whole world.  Then he invites Gaby Moreno to sing the final song, an old Spanish song their grandparents used to sing.  And indeed, with wonderful flair, he plays a beautiful Spanish guitar.  Gaby sings lead (in Spanish) on the whole song and her voice is really amazing.  She can hold a note for a really long time and then really powers through a loud note.  He does backing ooohss when needed, but Gaby is the star of this song.  Until, that is, he plays some great guitar at the end, very percussive, very powerful.

It’s a good set.

[READ: June 1, 2016] The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972

I took some time off from my Peanuts reading–I needed a break after fifteen years.  And it was fun to come back to the strip really looking forward to the 1970s.

There seem to be three big consistent ideas in these two years.  Woodstock becomes very prominent, Sally gets to complain about school a lot and Peppermint Patty comes into her own, with strips about her and Chuck, her and Franklin and her and Marcie (who is finally named!).

1971 starts off auspiciously with Charlie saying that this is going to be his year of decision–he’s going to start making changes.  But Lucy interrupts saying that she is going to spend the whole year regretting the past-“Forget the future!” (more…)

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abstinence.jpgSOUNDTRACK: PEARL JAM-Live at the Gorge 05/06 (2007).

gorge.jpgPROLOGUE: When Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction came out, it galvanized the three friends I had with the most disparate musical tastes. I knew an indie rock guy, a metalhead, and an industrial/goth guy, and all three of them loved Appetite for Destruction. It was the only record that they all agreed on. I thought the same would happen with Pearl Jam’s Ten. But, the goth guy didn’t think it was dark and sleazy enough (like GnR) and the indie guy found it too commercial. And, actually, I only talk to one of the three of them these days anyhow.

I’m usually pretty cynical about celebrities. And, I know well enough that rock stars who say “We love you” and “Hello, Cleveland” are, at best, pandering to us. And yet, there are some who seem sincere enough to be believed.

Eddie Vedder is one of those sincere fellows. Ever since Pearl Jam took on Ticketmaster, they seemed to be using their fame and influence for the good of the common man (or at least the common fan). Since then they have donated to various charities, thrown their support behind a (in hindsight, bad) politician (Ralph Nader, a guy whose idealism I supported, but whose reality was less than ideal), and tried their best to muckrake against the current administration. So, when he thanks the audience for letting him share music with them, when he says he’s genuinely glad to be there, and when he acts moved by the show, it all seems genuine. Again, maybe he’s a good actor (although I just watched Singles, for the first time in many years, and Eddie and some of the other PJ guys are in it, and he’s not exactly a scene stealer) but I believe him.

This is all a long set-up to review this recent live collection. It’s a collection of three shows: one set is 3 CDs the other two are 2 CDs each. The first show is from 2005 and the second and third are their tour-ending shows of 2006. All of these shows were performed at The Gorge amphitheater outside of Seattle. From the talking that Eddie does, the Gorge sounds like a great place to see a show, and it sounds like there is camping on the grounds. I only wish they included photos of the show, as I’d love to see it.

The 2005 show starts out with a disc of acoustic songs. The band appears to be in unplugged mode, chilling out before letting ‘er rip in the second half of the show. As with most of their shows, the set list is long and varied. Their shows often clock in at over two hours, with a break at about the midway point. There is a decent selection of tracks from throughout their career, as well as a couple of covers. The notable aspect of this show is that Tom Petty is performing on the following night, and Vedder vows to keep him awake all night. He gets the crowd to chant “Hello Tom, Come down, Tom,” which, sadly Tom never does. But Vedder does a rendition of “I Won’t Back Down.”

The two 2006 shows are back to back two nights in a row. It sounds as if people camped out overnight. And there is some good-natured banter between Vedder and the crowd. What is especially interesting to me about this two-night event is that they play 61 songs over the course of the two nights and the only ones they repeat are “Alive,” “Corduroy,” “Even Flow,” “Given to Fly,” “Life Wasted,” “Severed Hand,” “World Wide Suicide,” and “Yellow Ledbetter.” It’s quite apparent that the band knew there would be lots of folks for both shows and they designed a nicely diverse set list for both nights.

There’s also an interesting shout out to the previous year’s show. On the last night he mentions the Tom Petty taunting from last year, and a large portion of the audience begins the “Hello, Tom. Come down, Tom.” chant.

If you’ve been a big fan of Pearl Jam (as I am) you probably have this. But if you’ve been a mild fan of Pearl Jam over the years, this is a great set to get. You’ll get all of the hits, you’ll get a bunch of songs you’re unfamiliar with, and you’ll get a band playing at its peak. The live renditions of their songs are typically fast and furious. There’s also a lot of room for improvisation. And, it’s a chance to see the lighter side of such a “serious” band. A lot of people used to like Pearl Jam but feel their works since Ten have gone steadily downhill. I disagree, but I think that’s because listening to the live versions of the songs makes you appreciate them even more. So, check it out, it’s well worth it.

[READ: January 8, 2008] The Abstinence Teacher.

My first book finished in 2008! And, I can only hope that this is a good portent for future books this year. Wow, this book was great!


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