02 June 2008


Happened over to Tony Alva's blog today and saw he enjoyed the hell out a performance by Kansas recently.

People, this is sad. I was given a ticket to see Kansas/Night Ranger in high school, and I went because they were 4th row seats. Night Ranger was a lot of fun, and apparently I was the only one who knew 'Don't Tell Me You Love Me' was their only serviceable song. At that point, it was probably my favorite song, I'm a starfucker, whatever. Bassist/singer Jack Blades attempted to throw me 3 or 4 picks but they all landed in the lap of some country club lackey in the 2nd row, who thought he was the hottest shit for getting all these picks. I realized that Night Ranger sucked because they couldn't flick picks worth a damn. Wait, I have a story.

I went to see Van Hagar in 1987 on the OU812 tour and scored 2nd row tickets...wait, I have a story.

There was this guy in high school named David Brown. He was the kind of guy that made you feel like he had already come up with an alias-y name like David Brown. Anyway, he had no friends and was super smart, and lived behind the restaurant I used to work for. And he was a ticket scalper. Or not quite--he was a middleman, between the scalper and the kids I went to school with. Occasionally, we'd cut class and for the rich sum of $20 (gold in those days) we'd cut class and head to ticket sales with him. At that point St. Louis venues would give out circus supply tickets as line numbers, then you were supposed to show up at the venue at 10 or 11am on a weekday with your line numbers. They'd flash the last two digits of line numbers up on the board, and the unemployed trailer set would send their better half scurrying towards the ticket windows. Our David Brown opened up a cd booklet full of duplicate tickets, ob/com'ly sorted in numerical fashion and clipped together. He pulled the ticket with the corresponding numbers, handed it off to one of us with a clip of cash and yelled, 'Go! Go! Go! Go!' like we were heading into war.

Along with the $20, David would get us great seats for various shows. I saw the Who reunion tour in '89 at Busch Stadium - I had seventeenth row. It was amazing. I also had 2nd row seats for Van Halen in '88. And during Eddie's I can do this when I'm drunk Eruption/Mean Streets/Cathedral/Eruption solo, he started throwing out picks. He whizzed one right in my direction from about 25 feet away. I was stone cold sober, but I couldn't get my hands up in time. But I swear to God, that pick whizzed *right* by my ear, so close that I could feel the displaced air on my earlobe. That's how you know Eddie Van Halen is a great guitarist--he flicks picks better than any of them.

At that show, I did get a pick from Sammy Hagar, who couldn't flick picks worth shit. It broke two weeks later and I threw it out.

Getting back to Night Ranger, I found Jack Blades' pitch-flicking abilities to be on par with Sammy Hagar's. And he was never in Montrose. *And* he was in Damn Yankees. This was probably the pivotal moment in my life where I realized that there were certain types of rock bands that mattered, and certain types who didn't.

And then Kansas came out. The set was terrible. Yes, the musicians were well-skilled, just like they are at Sam Ash. And even though I still have a nostalgiac liking for their epic 'Carry On My Wayward Son', Kansas prefaced it that night with a battle cry of 'ARE YOU READY?????'. Come on, Kansas. It's a good song, but we all expected to hear it. If you hadn't played it, a good percentage of us would have asked for our money back.

So, back to my point: here's a kickass performance from Otis Redding. I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now). No coolers or soft lawn needed. Just pure energy.


Blogger Tony Alva said...

Wow. I'm 44 years old and took my family to see Kansas at an outdoor venue for less than $60 total and a golfcart ride away from my front door. You went to see Night Ranger during your prime skull bong hit days and publically claim it "was a lot of fun" and I'm sad?

The Otis clip is exceptional.

You sure this isn't a play to get Ginormous Boobs to come read your blog and leave her tasty avatar in the comments section?

Alright, I liked "Don't Tell Me You Loved Me" too, but I never bought the record on principle (need I remind you of "Sister Christian").

10:52 AM  
Blogger Jackson said...

Ok, boys, seems I need to step in and mediate.

Mike's pick flicking scale is worthy of merit. I bet none of the Kansas guys can flick picks worth shit..


I'd much rather see Kansas in any incarnation than Night Ranger in any incarnation.


'Don't Tell Me You Love Me' was on their first - and much superior LP. 'Sister Christian' was on the horribly lame follow up.

Yes, I bought them both. I unloaded them both long ago.

Tony was four and I was two and Stinkrock hadn't even been considered when Otis died, so, uh, the point is moot.

I would suggest that Otis could probably flick a pick fairly well if pressed....

3:11 PM  
Blogger Tony Alva said...

I was actually living in Monterey during the pop festival at the ripe age of three while my dad was in Vietnam (my mom's side of the family are native to the area). I'm certain that the music was loud enough for me to have heard the muted strains emanating from the concert site. Therefore, I'm gonna go ahead and say that I saw Otis at the Monterey Pop Festival.

In addition, our family was living in Highland Falls NY during Woodstock in 1969. While we were many clicks South of the concert site, my parents said that they saw hippies stuck in traffic on Route 9W trying to get on the NY State Thruway. Therefore, it’s safe to also claim that I saw The Who, Hendrix, and the rest of the best at Woodstock. Although I will go on the record as being on line at the porta-potty during Shan Na Na .

4:20 PM  
Blogger Jackson said...

That was you? Dude, that was great weed you sold me. Can I score another lid?

1:26 PM  

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