Sunday, August 30, 2009
Seven years ago I got a job selling tickets for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. The Fringe has been considered the largest performing arts festival in the world. One of the acts, Tenacious D, had been scheduled, and canceled, even before I started working there. But the act was still listed in the program along with the other several hundred shows we were selling tickets for. Tenacious D was on our short "canceled" list.
For 6 weeks I sold thousands of tickets to people from all over the world who waited in line for hours to get them. I distinctly remember the faces of those few that had not heard that the Tenacious D show had canceled. There weren't many, but their sadness remains with me. They were so disappointed, so I became curious.
As The D gained popularity, I learned to understand why these fans had been so disappointed. Jack Black and Kyle Glass are: THE GREATEST BAND IN THE WORLD.
And they have rocked my socks off tonight. What an awesome show.
I was pretty lukewarm about the whole Outside Lands Festival this year. I got a press pass at the last minute and am in between a trip to New York and my first Burning Man experience. I wanted to pace myself. Friday's highlight was seeing Tom Jones, who was downright entertaining. I saw a few other bands, but nothing really worth mentioning.
But then Sunday night came. Tenacious D stepped in a few weeks before the festival after the Beastie Boys canceled their summer tour due to MCA's (Adam Yauch) cancer surgery. I was delighted to hear this marvelous news (other people were not happy, including M.I.A - she didn't realize that the Beastie Boys had canceled and was mouthing off on twitter about it. I'm sorry for you). I would finally be able to experience what I had been wondering about since 2002.
I love musical comedy shows. The Flight of the Conchords show I saw a couple months ago was one of the best shows I've seen this year. One of the things I like so much about these kinds of acts is that the musicianship is topnotch. Kyle Glass is an excellent guitar player. Jack Black has a fabulous, versatile and expressive rock voice.
And what about the musical jokes? Like Kyle playing a solo that ends with him climbing up the scale to sit on the leading tone for what seemed like forever before resolving to the tonic. I'm a music dork, and you know what? That made me laugh.
Tenacious D is lewd, raunchy, foul-mouthed and ridiculous. And I loved every minute of their show.
Jack announced that yesterday was his 40th birthday and that he had never felt better since he had been doing so much yoga. He got down on the ground and did a couple (cock?) push-ups for us. And then announced that he had been practicing "flick flacks." So he cartwheeled off the stage and then flipped back on stage a couple times ending in a hand stand. (Hopefully SOMEONE got that on video!)
What is going on here??
Kyle got pissed at Jack and forced him to bring out the stunt double. Jack yelled at him for ruining the act and Kyle stormed off the stage. So Jack sang "Friendship" and brought him back. They made up. Aw.
What about the robot "Heavy Metal" coming out on stage and doing a choreographed dance with the D? (Pictured below) or a "rock off" with the devil??
So here is a little photo essay. Yes these pictures suck, but I wasn't standing close enough to the stage to get anything worthwhile, so I went nuts taking photos of the giant digital screen. Enjoy.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
We had amazing seats at the musical Rock of Ages starring Lauren Molina (also a University of Michigan Music School alum, read more about her here). She got us backstage! Check out the backstage mockumentaries she's been producing and directing. They are hysterical. Here's the first one:
The length and style of one's hair is a symbol of fashion. But in recent decades it has also been a symbol of ones politics and lifestyle.
In the 60s, having long hair (usually for men) meant that you were one of those hippie freaks that protested the war in Vietnam and smoked the marijuana. But in the 80s, the “sexier Regan era,” it meant that you wore leather, drank a lot and listened to loud guitar music. And according to the musicals Hair and Rock of Ages (ROA) you also had a lot of sex. Or at least you wanted other people to think you had a lot of sex. When I saw both shows last week during my visit to the Big Apple, there was a lot of hip motion on stage. A LOT.
Click here to read the rest of my article on examiner.com
Lauren Molina (Michigan classmate and star of Rock of Ages) and I backstage
Tamar and I outside of Hair
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I know, I know, this report is months overdue, but I figure better late than never. And since these pictures are pretty good for what I can do with my little Canon Power Shot, I wanted to share them with you.
I am not embarassed to say that I am a Queensrÿche fan. Even though I mostly listened to classic rock and 60s folk rock in high school, something about Queensrÿche's album Empire grabbed me in the early 90s. My older brother gave me his tape and CD because he was soooo over it. But I listened over and over and over. Was it Geoff Tate's insane soaring vocals? Was it the intricate arrangements and guitar lines? What about their unabashed political statements? As a girl whose music tastes were somehow stuck in the 60s, this strange world of Seattle progressive metal was bizarrely appealing to me.
In 2004 Queensrÿche toured through Austin, Texas (where I lived at the time) performing their rock opera Operation: Mindrime. I jumped at a ticket. Yes it was expensive and I went alone since I couldn't persuade anyone else to go with me.
"Queensrÿche? You like them?" people would say.
Yes, I'm crazy. The fans were fascinating, especially these Texan fans. I've never seen so much faux-leather spandex in my life. Metal fans are awesome and the music was not disappointing. The guitars sounded great and Geoff Tate sounded better than ever. This is what singing is all about.
Queensrÿche came through Austin again in 2007 peforming both Operation: Mindrime I and II with theater sets, costumes and props. By then I had met a friend curious enough to come with me and we had a great time.
I saw that Queensrÿche was playing the Fillmore at the beginning of June and I jumped at this show too. They have a fascinating new album out called American Soldier based on recorded interviews conducted by lead singer Geoff Tate with men and woman who have served our country. It was inspired by Tate's father who served in Korea and in Vietnam. Tate told the Fillmore audience that his father never liked talking about his wartime experiences but got him to talk in an interview. This album is not an anti-war album, it's a pro-soldier album.
Tate stated that Queensrÿche has many fans in the armed forces and appreciates what they've done for the United States and "allow us to live the way we live." Earlier this spring they scheduled Military Base Signings open to service men and women only.
These are snippets of Tates's stage banter and photos from the Queensrÿche San Francisco show at the Fillmore on June 4th, 2009.
"Vietnam veterans came home to a very divided country. They were called 'baby killers' and people spat in their faces. We've come a long way since then."
Tate reminised about listening to Queensrÿche on vinyl records and appealed to Bay Area mentality. The audience cheered.
"Are cheering because you like vinyl?" he asked "You mean you like the idea of people being made to sit and actually listen to music? Wow. I'm giddy. The record industy must have it wrong (with mp3s)."
After the show I had the honor of meeting the band. They signed my ticket stub! Check out the the wall of Fillmore posters in the back.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Read at Rollingstone that Spinal Tap has finally gotten over its petty bickering and are going on tour. Here are the dates. I know you won't want to miss this.
I can't wait. This one goes to 11.
April 17 - Vancouver, BC @ Center for the Performing Arts
April 19 - Portland, OR @ Keller Auditorium
April 20 - Seattle @ Paramount Theatre
April 22 - Oakland, CA @ Paramount Theatre
April 23 - Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara County Bowl
April 26 - Los Angeles @ The Wiltern
April 27 - Phoenix, Ariz. @ Dodge Theatre
April 29 - Denver @ Paramount Theatre
May 1 - Houston, TX @ Jesse H, Jones Hall
May 2 - Dallas @ Nokia Theatre
May 4 - Jacksonville, FL @ Florida Theatre
May 5 - Miami @ The Fillmore
May 6 - Orlando, FL, @ Hard Rock Live
May 8 - St. Petersburg, FL @ Mahaffey Theatre
May 9 - Atlanta @ Fox Theatre
May 10 - Nashville @ Ryman Auditorium
May 12 - Baltimore @ Lyric Opera House
May 13 - Washington, D.C. @ Warner Theatre
May 14 - Philadelphia @ Keswick Theatre
May 17 - Columbus, Ohio @ Palace Theatre
May 19 - Cleveland, Ohio @ State Theatre
May 21 - Toronto @ Massey Hall
May 22 - Mashantucket, CT @ MGM Grand Theatre at Foxwoods
May 23 - Boston @ The Wilbur Theatre
May 24 - Atlantic City, NJ @ Music Box at The Borgata
May 26 - New York @ Beacon Theatre
May 27 - New York @ Beacon Theatre
May 29 - Detroit @ Fox Theatre
May 30 - Chicago @ Chicago Theatre
May 31 - Milwaukee, WI @ Riverside Theatre