Thursday, April 30, 2009

BOB DYLAN - New York City, 1993

Continuing our celebration of the fact that Bob Dylan is alive and healthy, walking tall and looking good and making terrific new music, I hereby post my first Bob Dylan show ever. That's right, the first of the four legendary NYC Supper Club gigs was the first time I ever saw the man live.

It's actually sort of a bittersweet memory, in my case, being a classic example of glass half-full vs. half-empty...

The beauty part was that since the shows were to be taped and videoed -- a project financed by Dylan himself, no less -- the tickets were free. Dylan would do two hour-long shows per night over two nights.

So, one frigid November dawn, I lined up by my lonesome outside the Tower Records at 4th & Broadway to get a pair of tickets for me and my bud, D. Micah Quince. No problem: got the tix, went to the venue. It was there, however -- as I observed the two dudes in front of me each swapping one ticket for another -- that I realized: if my bud had come along with me to Tower, we could have each gotten a pair of tickets, one pair for the first show and one pair for the second. Thus, we could have swapped ours as well, and gone to both shows instead of only the first one. I just...was not...clever enough to have thought of that at the time. Or maybe I was just too hiiigh...

Oh well. God knows I've been to an assload of Dylan shows since that night, and this beautiful boot more than makes up for my long-ago brain fart. As I said, all four shows were recorded, but none was released, for reasons yet unknown. The upside is that the show I attended seems to have been the best of all, and is certainly the most widely circulated. So here it is.

Supper Club - New York, NY - November 16, 1993 {Late Show} (SBD)

PS -- The album of traditional folk covers which Dylan released just prior to these shows, World Gone Wrong, is a gorgeous, glorious masterpiece and easily Dylan's most underrated album ever, if you ask me. So there.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

BOB DYLAN - Eugene, OR 1999

New Dylan album out today. My quick verdict, based on a scant two spins, is it's stronger lyrically than melodically -- more so than usual for Dylan, that is -- and a bit of a lateral move, fair enough after three studio masterpieces in a row, plus the vast wealth of Bootleg Series and remastered CDs, the No Direction Home doc and Chronicles Vol. 1 bio released over the past decade or so since the bard's late-'90s renaissance.

Hell, at this late date (not dark yet, but gettin' there), I just love being able to write the sentence "New Dylan album out today." I mean, if you lived in England 450 years ago, wouldn't you have been psyched to say "Hey, seen the new Shakespeare?"

Erb Memorial Union Ballroom, University of Oregon
Eugene, OR - June 14, 1999 (SBD)

Friday, April 24, 2009

GRATEFUL DEAD - Ithaca, NY 1977

The Dead are touring again, and I'll be seeing them here at the Fabulous Forum in a couple weeks, thanks to the kind veggie burrito-ness of a good friend and supporter of the Chick...

So why not post another fine candidate for Best Show Ever, the monumental concert at Cornell U. (my dad's alma mater) from the legendary Spring '77 tour?

Of course, this is a bootleg that even casual Deadheads already have. If you ain't hip, then the recent New York Times article on Dead boot history will tell you more; also check out the 'Head reaction to the piece here and here.

Meantime, enjoy '77 Dead at its finest, and see you on the road, braaah...

Barton Hall, Cornell University - Ithaca, NY - May 8, 1977 (SBD)

Friday, April 10, 2009

LEONARD COHEN - Gothenburg, Sweden 1993

I'll be seeing Leonard Cohen, the gravel-voiced bard of Quebec, tomorrow night here in L.A. I still can't quite believe it. The great man, all 74 years of him -- a lyricist second only to Bob Dylan, most likely -- hasn't done a U.S. tour in over 15 years, so it's a rare show indeed.

To acknowledge this rather momentous occasion, here's a quality FM broadcast from Cohen's European tour promoting 1992's The Future, his most accessible and popular LP, featuring tunes from that wonderful album plus a few oldies and, of course, an encore of "Hallelujah".

Want more Lenny? Head over to my '60s music blog, Heavy Sugar Radio, and grab "Live at the BBC", a collection from the year of my birth. (And what a year it was...)

A very Happy Easter, whatever that means to you.

Lisebergshallen - Gothenburg, Sweden - May 2, 1993 (FMB)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

RITZ POWER JAM (Warren Haynes, Jaimoe, Chuck Leavell, John Popper, Noel Redding, Bernie Worrell Etc.) - New York City, 1993

Let's hear it for POWER JAM! Let's hear it for da blues! Da bloooz! Da motherlovin' blüüüüüüüz!

I actually went to this show, long about 16 years ago, through the courtesy of my old buddy Sheldon "Flak" Berdoo (his real name). He had won tix through a radio contest or some such, as I recall, so on a frosty Feb'ry eve we headed over to rock out at The Ritz (not the original Ritz, which is now Webster Hall, but the short-lived second Ritz, which was the original Studio 54; after that Ritz closed it became Studio 54 again, until becoming the Roundabout Theatre Company, which it remains today. If you care, read the entire Ritz saga here.)

Another buddy of mine, D. Micah Quince of New York City (also his real name), recently alerted me as to the existence of this most precious -- and, luckily, extremely well-recorded -- three-disc bootleg of the concert, which was apparently supposed to be the first of many all-star POWER JAMs but ended up just being a one-off, truly "One Night Only." At $12.50 a ticket, no less...

But what a one-off it is, with its demolition derby of power-player star turns by Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes and drummer Jaimoe, Stones pianist Chuck Leavell, Blues Traveler singer/harp-shredder John Popper, Hendrix Experience bassist Noel Redding, and Parliament- Funkadelic organist Bernie Worrell, among others. Plus encore guest spots by Dave Matthews and Phish's Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon, all performing a slew of Beatles, Elvis, Dylan, Hendrix, blues and oldies covers. Whoa. I mean, WHOOAAH!

As hoarily over-familiar as some of the tunes are, and were even back then, the performances are powerful indeed. It's rather wonderful to experience this show again, since it was such a rare bird. Takes me right back to my purply-hazy college days of Wetlands and Dead shows and the whole groovy early-'90s NYC jam band scene, braaah. Good times! No, really...good times.

Thanks to OldRockr1 for this baby.

The Ritz - New York, NY - February 5, 1993 (SBD; MP4 format)