February 24, 2015

70's& 80's invade Melbourne! (Sept. 2014)

This piece was originally intended to be posted on the WFIT website, but at the time there was a change in the staff, and it got lost in the shuffle. Enjoy
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Whilst Panther football was airing during the "On The Flipside" time slot in September, I got to get out and enjoy some much needed live rock & roll (and comedy)! 

First off, in the beginning of the month at The Hard Rock Live in Orlando - DEEP PURPLE! 



My second time seeing them since my interview with Ian Gillan 7 years ago (hoping to have another soon). The band sounds amazing as ever. It's always a treat to see them in Orlando, because it's something of a homecoming for guitarist Steve Morse, who resides in the Ocala area.



 The set was pretty much split between tracks from the seminal heavy metal album MACHINE HEAD (1972) and tracks from the rest of their career, kicking off with a rousing 'Highway Star'. 



 They did perform several tracks from their recent (19t) studio album 'NOW WHAT" including the rocker 'Hell To Pay', and favorite of mine 'Vincent Price'. Of course they also pulled out a few 80's gems including 'Perfect Strangers',  A wonderful surprise in the encore was the inclusion of their cover of Booker T. & The MGs' 'Green Onions'. Perfect. 



 The Deep Purple line-up now is: 
Ian Gillian - Vocals; Roger Glover - Bass; Ian Paice - Drums;  Steve Morse on Guitar; and Don Airey on Keyboards. Always energenic. the band after some 45 odd years, show no signs of slowing down!








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Then, right in the middle of the month, at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, none other CHEECH & CHONG...with WAR!! How kool. I've seen WAR a handful of times since the seventies, and I've a always loved them live. But I'd only seen Cheech & Chong once before, at the King Center a few years back...the two acts together, excellent idea!



The show started like it did a few years ago, with Shelby Chong (Tommy's wife of 40something years), doing a little of her own stand up, and explaing that rather than a set for each act, they would be sharing the stage thru various parts of the  evening. Then she welcomed out Cheech & Tommy for a little bit of a Q&A type thing. Or maybe the way the 3 of them were carrying on, it might have been a T&A thing! 



Next WAR walked out, and their it was, the whole bunch rocking out together!



So here's a mixture of tunes for ya! "Low Rider", "Born In East L.A.", "Cicso Kid", "Santa Claus And His Old Lady", "Slippin' In The Darkness", "Me & Baby Brother" and "Earache, My Eye!" featuring 'Alice Bowie'! 


Midway thru the show. Tommy introduced WAR's harmonica player Stanley Brehens, of the Bronx, as the only artist on that stage that served in Viet Nam. Then Stanley performed a wonderful "Star Spangled Banner" solo, on his harp. Beautiful! Then as if to show their typical irreverency, Cheech kicked off the band playing loyal rendition of "Mexican Americans" from the film UP IN SMOKE! 
Then coolest thing ever was the encore: "Why Can't We Be Friends" with Cheech, Chong, Shelby, 
and WAR frontman Lonnie Jordan trading verses for a very happy, singing and dancing audience! 

 


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I wrapped up the month at Melbourne's "80's In The Park". 


Now as many of you may know, the "80's" were not really my thing. From Ronald Regan, to Boy George, to the Yugo...not my decade. Ha!


BUT(!), I did attend the "80's In The Park" event last year (mostly because I was invited be friends), and I was surprised at how much fun I really had.  Most of the bands last year were not the bands that I usually cared for, but to my amazement, they were all great!  So I couldn't resist trying again 
this year, at least to photograph some of the bands, and check out all the preppy people! Unfortunately, my car was on the fritz, so I was only able to attend a few hours.  



There was one thing noticably different this year. Water. Water and Mud...everywhere! First steps into the event, I was already wet halfway up to my knees. Should have expected, since it had been raining for days! It wasn't that bad for me...but I really felt bad for the folks working the show...3 solid days of it. Blagh!


Anyway, it was about the music, and what I caught was great! Saturday night - Zebra, and L.A. Guns rocked the hell out of the mullet-ed crowd. Especially L.A.Guns. A band I've never been to familiar with, but I loved them last year. This year they head lined, and looked great doing it (they are a hair-band after all)!


Though Sunday afternoon was most special to me. I arrived in time to catch an old fave of mine, Pat Travers, whom I first saw in concert in '78(ish) at a concert at the Hollywood Sportatorium in South Florida. The benefit concert was hosted by Charlie Daniels, and headlined by Grinderswitch. 
There were also a few up and coming acts on the bill that we had not heard of: AC/DC, Molly Hatchet, and Pat Travers! Pat put on a hot set at "80's in the Park", a set that included "Crash & Burn", "Black Betty", "Snortin' Whiskey", and "Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)"!



The highlight of the weekend for me was I got to meet one of my wife's musical heroes, JOHN WAITE (The Baby's; Bad English) and tell him how much he and The Baby's had meant to her. John was a wonderful, very nice man. We plan to interview soon.



Over the years I've gained an appreciation for John's music through Jennifer. But on Sunday he turned me into a true fan. He and his band kicked ass! Even though he seemed to have problem's hearing himself thru the set, his voice was spot on. 


John and band performed about 10 songs, including "Back On My Feet Again", "Every Time I Think of You", "Isn't It Time", "Missing You", and a beautiful A Cappella (but shortened) version of "When I See You Smile". Then, out of left field, he closed his set with a cover of Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love. And they nailed it!! 


 Many Thanks John Waite.  And thanks to Charles, Lissa, and 80's ITP for having me on board to shoot some pics! Had it not been for my blown transmission, I'd have been there much longer this weekend.


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Also Many thanks to:
 Deep Purple/Ian Gillan, 
Cheech & Chong, and WAR 
for all your hospitality!! 

Tune In to “Java” John’s “On The FlipSide”radio show, 
Saturdays at 6pm on WFIT (89.5fm in Melbourne, FL), 
or Listen On-Line: www.wfit.org

January 19, 2015

GRAHAM NASH - King Center, Melbourne, FL 1/13/15

 GRAHAM NASH
Live @ The King Center for the Performing Arts
1/13/15


All art & photos (c) "Java" John Goldacker

My very first concert at The King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, Florida was David Crosby & Graham Nash almost exactly 23 years ago, on January 17th, 1992. It was a magical night at the King Center that night, as was last night with Graham Nash. 


 For some odd reason although I love so much of Graham's material, I never really considered what the song selection might be like tonight. So when he opened with "Bus Stop"...I just smiled ear to ear. I forgot for a minute that he was in the Hollies! He quickly followed that one up with "King Midas in Reverse", probably my favorite Hollies' song of his. Graham mentioned it possibly being the best psychedelic pop songs of the 60's.  I think he might be on to something there!  


Graham mentioned having just broken up with Joni Mitchell while introducing "I Used to be a King" the longest tune that was on Nash's solo debut recording "Songs for Beginners". The original recording featured Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar. Tonight Graham was accompanied by Shane Fontaine, who handled harmonies, and guitar nailing every lead required throughout the night. I looked Shane up online, and he's got quite a resume...which is worth investigating. He worked with everyone from Springsteen, to Ian Hunter, to Joe Cocker, and my pal Freebo. 

 Up next was a beautiful new tune (the first of 7 new songs), called, I believe, "Golden Days", and then a plaintive "Simple Man", following those two with a string of tunes that really made me think that in a large part, Nash was the conscience of CSN&Y. 


"Military Madness" kicked off that set of very emotional songs, followed by "In Your Name", along with "Burning for Buddha" a tune discussing  the 150 Tibetan Monks who have set themselves on fire in protest of China's treatment of Tibet. Some of lyrics are "There's a fire in my belly like the surface of the sun. I lay my life down, for the Holy one. I'm burning, for the Buddha. There's nothing left to give, and nothing left to live, for.", and "Almost Gone" a commentary on the unfair imprisonment of Bradly Manning with powerful lyrics like "Tell the truth and it will set you free. That's what they taught me as a child. But I can't be silent now, for all I've seen and done." and "All I did was blow the whistle and the game began. I did my duty to my country first, that's what they taught me as a man.  But I can't be silent now, for all I've seen and done, and oh my life, I'm almost done". 

Nash then introduced the next song saying, "So one day David says, 'Come sailing'. So I thought, hmmm, nice Sunday afternoon, smoke a joint, go out there on the ocean, then smoke another joint, and get on with it, you know?...No. I was on David's boat for 9 weeks! From Ft. Lauderdale, to San Francisco!"  He then described seeing a Blue Whale just off the bow of David's 85ft Yacht, The Mayan, and how that experience helped inspire the writing the song "Wind on the Water". He and Shane played an amazing version of the tune, with Nash on keyboards. But first Graham rolled tape of the beautiful a Capella intro to that song on the album "Critical Mass". Very nice. 


The two wrapped up the first set with a much needed (?) up beat tune "Our house" telling the story of then girlfriend Joni Mitchell and him at going to an antiques store, and upon arriving home Graham stated, "You know, I'll light the fire...why don't you, you put some flowers, in that vase...that you bought today".  I was particularly moved by two teenage girls in the row behind singing at the top of their lungs! As Graham mention during the set, "If I can't move you with my voice, and guitar, I've got no business being here". Well, obviously he still does. 

During that last tune, I received a text from Graham's tour manager letting me know that my posters were waiting at the merchandise booth! I had drawn a portrait of Graham during the last week, what's new? His people were kind enough to arrange to have a few copies signed by Graham for my brother, a friend, and I. Thank you all! 


The second set started off with five more new songs: "Here For You" a simple tune (what Graham does best) about being a Grandfather, the introspective "Myself, at Last",  "Watch Out for the Wind" about Michael Brown.  The final song in this set was "Back Home" written about his friend the great Levon Helm after he passed away. "Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, at the speed of light time slowly passes. And at the end I guess nothing matters, so live your life before the wind, scatters you back home."  Beautiful. He ended that string of new songs with a blues number called "Exit Zero". 

Winding down the show Nash gave the great psychedelic introduction to one of my all time favorite tunes "Cathedral". A song about his "trip" to Stonehenge, and Winchester Cathedral. Listen to the lyrics. Then Graham told the story about a guy he was visiting in Hawaii, who bet him $500 he that couldn't write a hit song in the hour before he was to leave for the airport. After the song he said that he still has the check! As you might have guessed that song was "Just a Song Before I Go". Following that he said, "The truth is, without all the drugs, the egos, and the money, we could have made a lot more great music. So here's a song I wrote about that, called 'Wasted on the Way'." 

   
Graham and Shane closed the evening with two of Nash's greatest and most enduring songs the amazing "Chicago". It is a biting commentary that refers to both the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, as well as the trial of the Chicago Eight, where protesters at the convention were charged with intent to incite a riot. Then, of course the show ended with the sing along "Teach Your Children". This is the song that made bring my brother Ralph because it was favorite. 

I have seen 11 concerts, of variations seminal line-up CSN&Y in the last 40 years. I must say, the magic is still in those tunes, and it's best enjoyed LIVE!  



Tune into "On the FlipSide with me, Java John Saturdays 6-8pm on WFIT! www.wfit.org

January 09, 2015

A New Year's State of Mind, With A Little Help From My Friends. Billy Joel In Concert.


New Year's Eve 12/31/14
 


From the moment he took the stage with the one-two punch of "Miami 2017 (I've Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway), and "Pressure," Orlando knew that Billy Joel was in for the long haul! "Miami" has always been my favorite tune by the Piano Man, and it was an especially nice way to kick off this night, because it's in this tune that he sings, "Before we all lived here in Florida," which of course, drove the joint crazy! I knew I was in for a special night. 




But first ... let me back up a bit, 39 (gulp!) years ago! That was the only other time I ever had tickets to see Billy in concert at the Guzman Hall in Miami, Halloween night, 1977. I woke up with the worst flu that day. Could not go. Bummer. But my Dad and I listened to the simulcast on Zeta-4 that night. It was great. But the radio duped us: when he impersonated other stars such as Springsteen and Paul Simon, those of us at home listening thought the stars were actually there!! That is, until he introduced his last “guest,” Joe Cocker. Part way through "You are So Beautiful," Billy's voice cracked, and we realized it was him all along! By the way, comparing set lists, this New Year’s Eve Billy played 11 songs that he played that night in Miami, including a partial "You Are So Beautiful," the first tribute to his friend Joe that he did for us (because Joe passed away the week before).  


Back in ’77, I knew I had to see Billy someday. I just thought it would have been a lot sooner! But that's OK; it was worth the wait!  


Allow me to back up a few years again ... not so far this time! ... My wife and I had a list of artists we wanted to see together, if they ever came in concert, before her cancer inevitably took her. At the top of that list were McCartney, Ringo, Green Day, Heart, Journey, Fleetwood Mac ... and Billy Joel. Well, we got to see ALL of those artists in her last 5 years, except Billy. So, I knew I HAD to see Billy on THIS night, because New Year's Eve was also the 19th Anniversary of my wedding to Jennifer. 




Knowing I could probably not be able to afford a ticket or two for this show, I decided to post a trade online: a decent ticket or two for a print of my new Billy Joel portrait, and an original autographed drawing of Billy that I did 15 years ago. I got a few bites, but nothing serious ... so I took my work to the Amway Center two hours before show time, and went to hang with the scalpers. As soon as they saw what I had to offer, they all were on my side when someone who had an extra ticket came along. Eventually John from South Jersey (fittingly) came up. He and his (very nice) family were in town to see the concert but ended up with an extra ticket. So he made the trade, I was in, with 10 minutes til show time!  Sitting 11th Row center! 




When the lights went down, first on was … who is that? A local talent? Hold on, it's Rufus Wainwright! Too kool! A nice five or six tune set. Of course, he played his version of “Hallelujah” (from Shrek), and he finished with his awesome version of “Across The Universe.” How perfect! Before he played his last tune, he wanted to acknowledge family in the audience: his Aunt from Stuart, Fla., and his husband. Wow, he introduced his husband. In Florida. And we cheered! I did not hear one boo or hiss ... just applause.
Very nice. Restored my hope for humanity!
 





Between his opening tunes and midnight, Billy Joel played an amazing set, including: “The Entertainer,” “Vienna,” “The Stranger,” “Zanzibar,” “Movin' Out (Anthony's Song),” “All for Leyna,” “Allentown,” “New York State of Mind” (with Rufus Wainwright), “My Life” (with a “Jingle Bells” intro), “Sometimes a Fantasy,” “She's Always a Woman,” “Don't Ask Me Why,” an awesome “River of Dreams,” and then … at eight minutes to midnight, Billy covered Joe Cocker's Woodstock version of “With A Little Help From My Friends,” with beautiful ‘60s colored lighting. Very classy. 




As Billy counted down to midnight, I texted a Happy New Year to my son, who I really wish was there (but he kinda was anyway). After the countdown, Billy led a full, rousing “Auld Lang Syne.” That was followed with the introduction of AC/DC's singer Brian Johnson (?!), who resides in the Tampa Bay area, I believe. I'm not a huge AC/DC fan, but a rocking version of AC/DC's “You Shook Me All Night” (with Billy on red electric guitar) seemed to be the perfect way to bring in the New Year!  




 That was followed by the set-closers: “Big Shot,” “Souvenir,” and “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.” I felt the strong presence of my wife, and Dad, throughout the course of the evening, but never more than that last tune. 





The band came back for encores: “It's Still Rock and Roll to Me,” “You May Be Right,” “Only the Good Die Young,” and the finale, “Piano Man,” after which Billy said, “Happy New Year, and remember – Don’t drink and drive. Drink and take a limousine, like me!” New Years come, and New Years go...but some things never change! 



Postscript: as I was writing this piece, I looked for some of Billy the Kid on YouTube. I found Live on Long Island, his 1983 HBO Concert. Wow, it's been a long time! 

BY THE WAY...If you happen to be going to NEW YORK CITY
this year, 
Billy Joel performs at MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
almost every month! 
www.billyjoel.com/tour/all 

Also, be sure to tune into my weekly radio show
'On The FlipSide' w/Java John
Saturdays @ 6pm - www.wfit.org

all photos and artwork (c) John Goldacker