Sunday, July 29, 2007

A welcome overdose of guitars

Yesterday we went to the Crossroads Guitar Festival which was held near Chicago.

What a long, wonderful day. Here's a local review and another and yet one more.

The gates opened at 9:00 A.M.; the first act went on at noon and the last song ended at 11:00 P.M. The breaks between artists were minimized by a turntable type stage. While the players were playing out front the roadies were roading out back. Next act...flip the switch...lets go. I would say we didn't wait more than 5 - 10 minutes for any of the changes. Here's a quick report card on the day...

Venue - B

I'd never been to a concert at this new soccer stadium before. It's new. The parking was good, the Bridgeview police handled the traffic in and out fairly well which is always a plus. Plenty of concession stands. However, someone badly miscalulated how much water and food would get consumed by all day rockers. They did eventually get some water in there but it was scarce for a while. True to form, the venue did not run out of $6 beers and I would bet there were 4 beers swilled down for every bottle of $4 water. I drank one beer because there was no water and got an immediate headache. I don't really drink at concerts as my beer intake here indicates.

The food was above average. They added some food stands in the guitar village. Among other vendors, a famous Chicago Rib Joint (Robinsons) was there and it was killer good. Food stands were eaten out of house and home at around 6:00 P.M. They once again recovered by bringing in some additional food a little later. Overall, a nice recovery.

I loved the seats we had. At the first Crossroads show in Dallas, the seats are bleachers...not good for the back. This was a modern plastic molded seat with a back! Deluxe.

The staff in the concessions, guest services and security all should be commended. Those concessionaires worked their butts off.

Sound - C

Overall very disappointing. I walked around the venue to check the sound at different locations and there was not a great improvement anywhere. Loud. Yes. Ear protection at times proved very comfortable. I woulda thought with this kind of lineup that the production techs might have done better. Outdoor venues are tough so maybe cutting them a little slack is in order.

Artists - A++ and a gold star

Wow. Virtuosos in all shapes, sizes, genders, races, ages, Bill Murray was really good as the emcee. Pretty good shtick.

Blew me away - Jeff Beck with his 16 year old daughter playing bass. No, not just playing the bass, shredding it like dear old dad does on his Strat. Beck's closing number was a take on the Beatles "A Day in the Life" and I wanted him to play it again immediately. I can't wait to get the DVD so I can see and hear that again.

Derek Trucks and his lovely wife Susan Tedeschi. Derek is virtuoso and Susan is right there. They need to start breeding virtuoso children now!

B.B. King is 81 years old. I have had the pleasure of enjoying BB a number of times. He did great for a guy his age and the crowd had a love fest with this legend. I ate it up knowing that B.B. is getting up there in age and we are lucky to have him at this point.

Albert Lee is just plain fast on those frets. Whoa! The whole "country" set with Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Allison Krauss and Union Stations Jerry Douglas was excellent. EC jumped in on the finale with "Tulsa Time".

Steve Winwood was a treat. I have seen EC many times and the tunes that they did together for the show were highlight material for me. I never knew Winwood could handle a guitar so well. His work on "Dear Mr. Fantasy" glued me to my seat (with the back!). EC was EC and that's always a treat.

Others of note...Robert Randolph...I've seen him do better. The sound sucked for his set. Johnny Winter looks frail. He rocked it though. Sonny Landreth...knows his way around the neck. John Mayer...the real deal...the kid can play.

If you like guitar players, playing or music at all...wait for the DVD and snap it up. If you haven't seen the original Crossroads DVD get that one as well. You won't be sorry. Put on your favorite band or concert t shirt, pretend you paid $4 for a bottle of water and have a good time.

The Great T Shirt Game
My wife, M, and I decided to make a list of all the "band" T shirts we saw throughout the day. Holy crap! Concert goers love dem T's. The list is below. Unbelievable amount of T's

Alice Cooper
Allman Brothers
B.B. King
Black Crows
Black Sabbath
Blues Brothers
Bob Dylan
Bob Marley
Buddy Guy
Counting Crows
Dave Mathews Band
Dicky Betts
Doyle Bramhall
Eric Clapton
Frank Sinatra
Frank Zappa
Gov't Mule
Grateful Dead
Green Day
Guns N' Roses
Hound Dog Taylor
James Gang
Jeff Beck
Jerry Garcia Band
Jimi Hendrix
Jimmy Buffett
John Lee Hooker
John Lennon
John Mayer
John Prine
Johnny Winters
Jonny Lang
Keith Richards
Led Zeppelin
Les Claypool
Little Charlie and Night Cats
Los Lobos
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Moby Grape
Motley Crue
Neil Young
Page & Plant
Paul McCartney
Pearl Jam
Phil Lesh
Pink Floyd
Robert Cray
Robert Johnson
Robert Plant
Roger Waters
Rolling Stones
Sonny Landreth
Steve Earle
Steve Miller
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Vai
Stone Temple Pilots
Stray Cats
System of A Down
The Band
The Benders
The Blasters
The Clash
The Police
The Who
Tom Petty
Trailer Park Boys
Umphreys McGee
Van Halen
Willie Nelson
Z Z Top

90 of them and there had to be more.

Frank Sinatra?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

This made me smile

I saw this as a signature on an e-mail I received this morning.

Politicians & Diapers.
Both Need To Be Changed,
And For The Same Reason.

I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Taking a few minutes from my crazy schedule to check in...running in all directions and enjoying the picture huh?

All is well guitars, no kids in custody, oh well...I've moved on...loving my new guitar and scoping out others to rebuild the collection. It will be nice of my insurance carrier to help fund this project. I suppose it would help if I actually made a formal claim. I'll get to it.

I've been playing lots of golf. The weather here has been great. Golf is an excellent "meeting" device. I get the opportunity to be outdoors with family, friends or colleagues in a social situation and I have to admit I love chasing that stupid little ball around.

Seeing the Police at Wrigley Field was cool. The concert started out very slowly. I was thinking that it might not ever "move" me but it did after 3 or 4 tunes. My final review would have to include the word "excellent". This is one great rock trio. Sting's voice held up, Andy's guitar playing is unique and very cool and Copeland is one of the best around. I'm really glad I got to see them.

Doesn't matter....
Barry Bonds...shut up about him already. I don't care. It just doesn't matter.

This matters....
BP has gotten a permit from the state of Indiana to increase the amount of pollutants they can put into Lake Michigan. What? You have to be kidding me. Unless they change their mind and do not do it, I will never knowingly purchase one of their products again. (Note to Indiana - Did you ask your neighbors if you could pollute the lake we all share? WTF is wrong with you? Answer my second question first so I have an understanding of what kind of malfunction we're dealing with here.) Please sign the petition here to let these folks know that we value our natural resources.

I am sorry about the long absences between posts. I am resolving to be more diligent...Who knew that writing a blog would come with its own brand of guilt?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hello It's Me

No word on the missing guitars. The police said they will let me know when they get a break. Hell, they know who did it; they caught an accomplice; bust 'em and get my stuff back! At the speed this is not moving This would be a very long and boring mini series on Law and Order.

J's Summer Concert Series

Went to Northerly Island on the lakefront in Chicago and saw a Ben Folds and John Mayer concert. Nice outdoor venue...Excellent show. I know there are a lot of Mayer detractors out there but he was personable and he can play the guitar. The show was well produced and his band quite competent. I had a hard time not moving...always a good sign. Ben Folds was very entertaining as well. He's a pretty funny dude and the music was right on.

Going to see the Police at Wrigley Field on Thursday. It should be an interesting show. I've never been to a concert at Wrigley.

Next on the calendar...Crossroads Festival at Toyota Park on July 28th. Allman Brothers and Robert Randolph at the end of August...

Not a bad little run...unfortunately I will not be in town when Lollapalooza is in Chicago. My kids are lined up to go, so at least I will get first hand reviews anyway.


Happy Independence Day. I love the USA. My wish for all the people of the world is based on peace and founded on freedom. Special thanks go out to all those that have served or are now serving our country. Your sacrifices strengthen this land. Your "leaders"...that's another story.

The above thanks do not extend to the politicians of this country that are lining their pockets on the backs of their constituents. Nor do thanks go to politicians completely devoid of ethics and those that believe they are above the law. America is great despite your handiwork. As a citizen of this great country, I am embarrassed by the vast majority of our national representation. You should be too. Let's figure out how to get this back on track.