Don’t Seek The Music; Be The Music

Let me just start out by saying that the title of this blog makes no sense except that this post is about music and my quest to become one with music. You will only find out at the very end if I reached that lofty goal. I workshopped many alternate blog post titles, and they all sucked as much as this one, so what’s the point of even trying? It’s good enough (maybe too good?) for the likes of us.

Moving on, this is my longest blog post ever, and perhaps the longest ever in the history of blogging. I have no interest in checking, so let’s just take my vague hunch as gospel truth that this is a record-setting post. It is chock full of nonsensical words in a seemingly random order that would rival a Sean Spicer press conference, links to older posts (in a pathetic attempt to increase views), pictures, animated gifs and video links. If you are not up for a herculean, visually-stimulating blog post, bail out now. Warning, do not click the “Continue reading.”

Foolish mortal. Oh well, you’ve been warned so strap in and read more of this record setter.

Last year, my summer concert plans crashed and burned. I had one concert under my belt before July, and if you read that post, you will question whether seeing The Romantics sleepwalk through a short set even qualified as a concert. Over the 2016 Independence Day holiday weekend, I planned to attend concert #2, closely followed by concert #3. At that time, it looked like I could perhaps tally 7 or 8 free concerts last summer. I was the cock of the concert walk, strutting my concert plans in front of anyone who would listen, which was virtually nobody. And then my titanic concert plans hit the iceberg.

The Wallflowers were on my concert radar, playing about 35 miles away on July 2nd. I know, I know. They have really done nothing since that first album, but what a first album it was. Enjoy if you have an hour to kill.

It has held-up well, and Jakob Dylan is still fronting the band. My plan was to attend a neighborhood picnic in the afternoon, and head out for the concert in the evening. It was a foolproof plan except for the fool executing it that never made it out of the neighborhood picnic due to being a bit too drinky.

But no worries as Shakey Graves was opening for The Decemberists in Chicago’s Millennium Park on July 8th. A train ride and a short walk would get me to see 2 rising artists in 1 show for FREE. There was absolutely nothing on the family calendar, and then the day before the concert, the family calendar, which by federal law I am obliged to follow, suddenly was filled with the dreaded family obligation as my middle daughter qualified for some dance competition.

Again, no worries as I had FREE tickets from the Ticketmaster class action lawsuit to see a double bill of Panic at the Disco and Weezer. I was very excited to be a geezer seeing Weezer. And then the monsoon hit with a stormtensity (sorry suckas’, but I have already trademarked that cool new word) that l had previously only seen in a Sharknado movie.

sharknado-5.nocrop.w529.h329

Concert canceled with NO reschedule, despite having ZERO flying sharks spotted during the Weezer storm.

Concert plans went from bad to worse as a chance to see Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Atlanta Rhythm Section was lost due to a band member having heart surgery (whatever happened to “The Show Must Go On?”) and another concert was canceled. I actually wasn’t surprised as I had thought all members of Lynyrd Skynyrd were already dead.

The rest of the summer, I saw a Beatles tribute band. That’s it. My 2016 summer concerts consisted of The Romantics and a Beatles tribute band. I stewed for months about it and vowed that 2017 would be different.

And if anyone can tell me that 2017 in the USA is so far not vastly different than 2016, then they are a liar or simply can’t recall anything like Attorney General Jeff Sessions in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. As for music, I certainly checked out all the concert opportunities this summer, but decided to take a zen-like approach and believe that the concerts I see in 2017 are the ones I am meant to see. Ommmmmmmmmmmm.

I dipped my feet into the 2017 concert waters early in the year by seeing a Steely Dan tribute band in January called Deacon Blues. They played. I enjoyed it. I actually saw a concert. And we even went to a VIP after-party. I grew cautiously optimistic.

Many thanks to 93.1 WXRT, the world’s greatest FM music station, for providing free tix to see the New Pornographers at the Beat Kitchen. For those unfamiliar with the band, here’s a cheery tune they played live, although with a slightly different line-up than those shown in the video …

I planned to extend summer into April so I could consider this show part of my summer concert series. But that was not to be. They played 4 & 1/2 songs. They had to start one over that they messed up. 4.5 songs does not count as a concert. The concert was merely a chance for WXRT to record a tune that will likely wind up on WXRT’s annual “Live From The Archives” CD released around the holidays. That was a good time, but not a concert.

That was OK as I was all amped-up to see Poi Dog Pondering play locally in our historic, local downtown Arcada Theatre in May. I was expecting a night of indie-sounding soulful rock like this …

I need to keep better track of what artists are doing now rather than 20 years ago before I buy their concert tickets. Poi Dog was loud, very electric and super distorted. I was OK with the first 2, but I can’t handle distortion. We left in a huff … after 90 minutes or so. I mean, I had to get my money’s worth of distorted music.

June came around and I looked forward to another free concert courtesy of 93.1 WXRT. Yep, free tix scored to see Elvis Costello at a concert venue right on the shores of Lake Michigan. Nice. Now what has Elvis been up to for the past 20 years? Oh right, various things, but typically not making the music that made me a fan way back when “My Aim Is True” erupted onto the music scene in 1977. But no worries, this was his “Imperial Bedroom” Tour, where he plays the whole “Imperial Bedroom” album along with other songs. Oh right, that’s an album I don’t really like, although critically acclaimed, which tells you a lot about my musical taste.

In a venue that seats over 20,000, a security guard told me that Elvis drew about 2800. Lawn seating was closed as were huge sections of seats. It made me sort of sad. 1000 less in the crowd, and he should plan 2 sold-out nights at our local Arcada Theatre rather than a venue like this. In addition, the scheduled opening act, Dawes, a band I’d really like to see, canceled to perform at another Chicago music festival. I expect they may draw more.

I didn’t care much for the bulk of the show, but it was a great night to sit outside, and Elvis made it worth the wait with his extended encores. He did a great acoustic first encore set and a rocking second encore to close the show. What indeed is so funny about peace, love and understanding? Thanks Elvis for finishing strong.

elvis

The Elvis Costello show capped off 4 concerts in 5 nights for me, starting with the (as it was advertised) nationally-known Gregory Hyde Band. I’m guessing he must have a cousin in Seattle that knows he has a band, because from what I could tell, he’s a local guy who plays local shows, which is just fine. He put on a nice show in a downtown park in our town to kick-off some local river festival.

I then scored some free tickets to the big rock show at our local Arcada Theatre featuring Joey Molland, Denny Laine and Fran Cosmo. Who are they you ask? Joey Molland is the last surviving member of Badfinger, proteges of the Beatles who strung together 4 hits that sounded like this back around the early 70’s …

I like Badfinger so much that I bought their greatest hits CD, and then never listened to it after I saw that it was a re-record from 1994. But I did listen to Joey Molland and it was not sad at all to see the last remaining Badfinger member perform some of their hits. He seemed to have a great time playing music and telling stories. Did you know that Harry Nilson’s huge hit “Without You” was a Badfinger song? Now you do.

Denny Laine surprised me by taking the stage next. He is true rock legend as a founding member of the Moody Blues and guitarist with Wings for many years. I was sure that such a legend would be the evening’s headliner, but it was sadly not to be. I have to admit that this 72 year old rock legend gave me the chills when he sang “Go Now,” the first hit for the Moody Blues that he sang lead on like this back in 1964 …

Fran Cosmo was the headliner of the show. Although an old dude, he is not a rock legend. He is a guy with a great voice that took over for Brad Delp as lead vocalist of the band Boston. He was the vocalist on the Boston albums that nobody bought or can remember today without the help of Wikipedia. Although telling zero stories, he was oddly entertaining as he played with his hair around his ears while brilliantly belting out Boston songs that were originally sung by Brad Delp.

I have saved the best for last. Now that I am writing songs again, I am seeking artists to perform and record them. Hello, nationally unknown 3G Show Band, comprised of local teachers and administrators from the local high school. One of the 3G members took my sad, soulful song about the suicide of a friend and gave it a poppier, peppier musical arrangement. Coming back full circle to Elvis Costello, it is a similar spin that Elvis gave to his great song (that he didn’t play in concert) “Veronica” (co-written with Sir Paul McCartney) about Alzheimer’s.

I wish I could say that I was there for the world’s first live performance of my song “Since You’ve Been Gone,” but I missed it. Unbeknownst to me, the 3G Show Band decided to perform the song while they entertained onlookers at the Ozzie the Cougar 5K Run at the local minor league ballpark.

3G Ozzie

Nothing like a song about suicide to encourage people to run faster. So I had to settle for the St Charles, IL debut of my song, and here it is …

Thanks 3G Show Band! They played a fun set on a nice night spent with friends.

I’m exhausted from so many concerts recently and just writing this post has winded me. Where is my inhaler? I have no energy for or interest in planning any more concerts for a while. I know there are some shows of interest coming up around the 4th of July. I’m not going to chase those shows. I plan to BE those shows, whatever that means.

 

 

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