PRESCRIPT: I seem to spend a lot of time trying to remember who I saw what concert with all those decades ago. This little piece is simply so in 2037 I don’t have to keep asking random people if they were there with me when we go again. And as life will have it, there may be even less to ask come then, so a memory snapshot of a great musical week is in order, I think.
Most moms spend the morning shopping at the grocery store. Me, I prefer to do my shopping on ITUNES or Ticketmaster. A great magical, musical weekend often results in finding new old music or old new music, just depends on where the old memory falls at any given time. Saturday night began as most weekends don’t with a Dine and Ride trip to the Dresden Restaurant and Lounge in Los Feliz and the Greek Theater to see Peter Townsend do Quadrophenia with a full on symphony orchestra. He had a little bit of singing help from Billy Idol and Alfie Boe of Les Miserables fame in theater productions in both London’s West End and New York’s Broadway. My concert peeps this trip were my friends Sandi, Lorna and a guest appearance by April from San Diego.
Dine and Ride is an awesome discovery I made when I saw Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Greek a few months ago. I hadn’t been to the Greek in decades because one time taking three hours to find my car in some dirt patch and then trying to get out of the dirt patch was enough for me. For a princely sum, you can choose to eat in one of four restaurants nearby and leave your car at their valet. They then take you by van to the front of the Greek and pick you up when the concert is over. Just like those senior communities where they drive you to the drug store and the bank. Am pretty sure when my friends and I select a retirement home, it’s going to have to have concert and theater bus service. The Dresden we saved for this trip. The white leather banquets were so comfortable and Disney Princess pretty. They looked exactly like the new headboard I was trying to find. The food was great, even if the staff was the original one from when they opened decades ago.
Now for the music. Quadrophenia is not my favorite Who album. I am way more a Who’s Next kind of gal but Q does contain one of my all time favorite Who numbers. I didn’t know how I would like a symphony doing anything, let alone Who songs. Just never had much interest in it cause in the old days all they did was like Beethoven and stuff right? I have to admit, this was pretty awesome. Les Miserables is my all time favorite play. Alfie Boe is one of the iconic Jean Val Jeans. Billy Idol just took me back to the disco days of the 80s. Love Reign O Me, in my not so humble musical opinion, is one of the best Who or anyone else songs ever. I love the anthems and this has certainly reached epic anthem proportion. Sandi and I both agreed, though, a rock anthem needs an anthem rock voice and Roger’s heights of musical passion were missing. We know that because we saw him do it the year before at the Staples Center Who concert. It was an astounding performance. A Broadway voice and a rock voice are simply not interchangeable but it was a great musical night nonetheless.
We ended the concert on a much longer line to get the Dine and Ride van back to our car at the Dresden than we did when I went to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds a few months before. This is a clear indication of the socio-economic make up of the concert audience. Way more Who fans can afford the big Dine and Ride bucks than Nick Cave fans who were much younger and hence less disposably incomed, I imagine. Pay attention all you youngsters: get a good education and a good job so you can retire and attend great concerts in great comfort in your golden years. At the Cave concert with like four of us getting into the van, I just hopped right into the front seat. I have trapaphobia, which makes it impossible for me to sit in the back seat of most vehicles amongst other peculiar manifestations of the condition. By the time our turn at the van came, this man had settled himself in the front seat with the driver. Sandi, seeing me blanch, took it upon herself to move him before I could say a word. I watched her march right up to him and ask him to please move to the back as I had carsickness. That’s right, she managed to convince him to move or I puke all over the damn place. I didn’t bother to inform her that trapaphobia didn’t include that particular symptom. This guy must have thought I was a five year old. As long as this poor man squeezed himself into the rear of the van pressed against the door and I had the front seat, I was just fine with her tactics. All in all, it was a beautifully musically perfect evening.
Sunday night we waltzed again with the Band, courtesy of Mr. Andy Hill, Ms. Renee Safier and the rest of their band, Hard Rain. Joining them were some favorite musical guests: Jamie Daniels aka Dylan Boy, that extraordinary keyboard player and Eric Burdon’s newest Animal, Davey Allen, and the always charming and ultra cool Dave Crossland to name but a few. These musical folks are the best kept secret from any greedy, money grubbing, music killing, corporate crooked recording company there is in Los Angeles. At the wonderful Grand Annex Theater in San Pedro for the price of about an eighth of the cost of Pete’s ticket, we were treated to such a magical night of music from that great Winterland concert in San Francisco back on Thanksgiving 1976. I saw the Band that year when I was 19 years old at the Westchester Premier Theater in New York. Legend has it now it was Mafia owned and people had to play there which explains all the great acts we saw in this little theater. These acts were also playing Madison Square Garden at the time. Crime does pay sometimes. The new old musical find this time is an over 50 year old Canadian standard done by Neil Young at the Last Waltz. It was written by Canadian Ian Tyson while hanging in the Village in the early 60s with Bob Dylan. It’s called Four Strong Winds, one of the most beautifully simple songs I have ever heard. That alone was worth the price of this admission. A porch hang at my house for ice cream and beer at midnight with musicians Andy, Jamie, Davey, and gal pals April and Lorna capped off a great evening.
For most people you would think that would be enough, but not this gal. Monday night was Eric Clapton’s last night at the Forum and rumor had it perhaps his last night playing live anywhere. My friend Robin had a ticket for me the previous Wednesday that I passed on due to fiscal and parental prudence and the fact the seats were in the upper section. I don’t sit in the upper section anymore. Makes no sense if I am going to see an act for the second time in damn near 40 years. I might as well sit in a good seat. So I passed on Eric on Wednesday, but by the following Monday that was but a distant memory. It’s ERIC that little concert ticket crack dealer voice in my head kept saying. It’s ERIC for Heaven’s sake. You know, the member of that little band Cream that you have adored since you were 10 years old. The band whose album Disraeli Gears you melted in the hot Bronx sun when you and your best friend Patty played it over in over on a portable record player in her backyard in the summer of 68. And boy were we afraid cause it was her big sister’s album. Eric of Bell Bottom Blues and White Room and Layla fame. OK, OK well maybe we can just take a quick peek at available tickets. Doubt there’s anything good left. But who will you go with, me asked me. By yourself me answered me. Really? Yes. The Forum is only up the street. You need to do something in your new singleness by yourself. OK. As my ticket mistress luck would have it, I find a great ticket side of the stage, next to the last seat on the aisle. Do it, the voice says, just do it. And so I did with a lift there from my son and a lift home from a former PTA mom friend who lived nearby who I happened to find out was going. Glad I did. Always listen to those voices in your head. They aren’t all crazy really. Well unless you are Son of Sam. Then don’t listen. I digress.
The sound at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood is spectacular. Better than any arena I have been in. So much better than the downtown Los Angeles Staple Center. The seats were great. Last row against the wall, so standing, bopping and swaying to the music without annoying the people glued in their seats easily happened. The opening band, which I rarely like, was amazing. Gary Clark Jr. did a blistering version of Come Together. Eric was just Eric and didn’t disappoint at all. The opening chords to White Room still are the best ever and took me back decades to summer in the Bronx in the 60s! We didn’t get Sunshine or Badge or Bell Bottom Blues but we got other stuff. This entire glued to their seats audience finally got up with the opening notes of Cocaine. Not even going to speculate on that one. Eric was in great voice. His keyboard player Chris Stainton in particular, was just off the hook on that instrument. Wonderful band, wonderful vocals and just wonderful that night! I missed my concert peeps of course, but I kind of liked my solo concert going debut too.