Monday, May 27, 2013
Music Sunday (late): The "I've Seen Them Play Live" Edition
NOTE: I started writing this on Sunday. Events intervened. So, I'm finishing it on Monday. If events don't intervene again.
A few weeks ago on Music Sunday I wrote about having seen Elton John in concert at Dodger Stadium back in 1975 and what a fantastic show that was. Well, this morning as I was driving back from getting Sunday morning donuts and listening to the radio, I heard one of the songs he did during that show, "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting". Amazing concert experience, especially when all 66,000 people or however many were at the show were shouting "Saturday, Saturday, Saturday" along with him. I'm surprised we didn't cause an earthquake or something...or at least an insurrection from the neighborhoods surrounding the stadium because of all the noise we made.
But, hearing that on the radio this morning, I thought that today I would share some music from some of the acts I've seen live over the years. It isn't a huge selection, but I've been to some good shows. And I thought I'd start by waking you up with another live performance of "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting, from nearly ten years after my experience and a continent and an ocean away, as Elton John did the song at Wembley Stadium in 1984:
Personally, I thought that the Wembley crowd was a little lax on the chorus compared to those of us at the show in 1975.
One of the opening acts at that Elton John show in 1975 was Emmylou Harris. She had released her first solo album, "Pieces of the Sky" earlier that year, and one of the songs in that collection was "Boulder to Birmingham", which Harris wrote with Bill Danoff in tribute to Gram Parsons, who she had sung with for a couple of years, making two albums in the process. I can't remember for sure if she sang this song at that show, but it's a lovely song. This is a performance of it on German television in 1978:
The other opening act that day was Joe Walsh, who had recorded this song, "Rocky Mountain Way", with the band Barnstorm, in 1973. The live performance in this clip is from the early 1990s and features some other pretty good guitar players:
Speaking of the Rocky Mountains, I also saw John Denver in concert once. Yeah. Don't laugh. Really. Denver had the reputation of being a slightly, oh, cheesy, performer who wrote slightly cheesy songs. And maybe some of them were. I liked those songs. And I like this song, "Sunshine on My Shoulders". Yeah, I like songs that rock. I also like nice, quiet meditative music, which is what this live version of this song is:
I saw U2 in concert during their Zoo TV tour, on November 7, 1992. The opening acts were The Sugarcubes and Public Enemy. I had a great vantage point, maybe ten rows back from the stage, until I nearly got crushed during Public Enemy's performance, so I retreated back into the stands and watched U2 from there. I was kind of sad that I didn't get to see U2 closer up, but the show was just fine from farther away, too. Lovely. Transcendent. Which was a good thing, because I caught the cold from hell that night (outside, at night, in November, in Oakland - what else could have possibly happened?) and was sick until sometime into January. It was worth every second of being sick.
I'm sharing this clip of "One" not because it is my favorite U2 song, but because it is probably my favorite U2 video. But it is a great song, not so big as many of their songs, but small and intimate, as befits its subject matter:
There are some other bands and performers I've seen live that I could share, but this has grown out of all proportion already, and so I'm going to close with this clip from Crosby, Stills, and Nash. I've seen Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young) in different configurations, but never all of them on the same stage at the same time. This started when i was in high school and I saw Neil Young in concert at the Forum in Inglewood. David Crosby and Graham Nash were his special guests for that show (and Linda Ronstadt was the opening act). Then, about a decade later, I saw Crosby, Stills, and Nash at the Fresno Fair. A couple of years later, also at the fair, Crosby and Nash performed. Anyway, this is "Southern Cross":