Three for the Hall: Heart, Jett, Cheap Trick

music musings, beaverdamusa.comIn what could also be termed the AARP tour, a promoter pulled recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Cheap Trick (2016), Joan Jett (2015), and Heart (2013) and sent them on a summer tour billed as Three for the Hall.  Since I am a card-carrying AARP rock & roller, I snagged my tickets for the Ascend Amphitheater (Nashville) as soon as they went on sale.  Luckily I did, because I discovered my $35 lawn seat was fetching $77 on the day before the show.  I would have sold it, but then I would have to find a new blog subject this week!

It was a rare cool night in September when my bride and I ventured downtown on a school night (we know how to party!).  As I have written before, the Ascend Amphitheater in downtown Nashville on the river is a great place for a show.  

As most “experienced” acts seem to, they started the show on time!  Videos from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction was shown for each artist.  Not only did it show pieces of their induction speech, but it showed a video history of the artists.  One thing that really surprised me was the quick set changes between acts.  It was literally 15 minutes to whisk away the previous act’s gear and roll out the next one’s. Very impressive.

Cheap Trick played first on the bill which surprised me somewhat.  Though they were first, that didn’t diminish their show.  They played an hour reaching back to their first album, as well as playing from their latest release.  As usual, they played their hearts out with Rick Nielsen changing guitars as often as Taylor Swift changes boyfriends or Beyonce changes costumes.    Robin Zander still can handle the vocals as well as ever and never met a high note he didn’t like.  Cheap Trick truly seems to enjoy playing and changes their set from night to night – not just one or two songs, but four or five songs.  Really makes it fresh. 

Joan Jett played all the songs she was supposed to play.  The songs sounded exactly like you were used to hearing.  In all honesty, I have never been much of a Joan Jett fan and her set this night didn’t change it.  It was very low energy to me and quite honestly, boring.  I did hear some folks comment that they though her set was great; so I guess it was just me not being a fan.  The angry punk persona just doesn’t work when you are 58.

Now Heart, that’s a different story.  Ann and Nancy Wilson came out and took the stage by storm.  Though both are in their mid-60’s, they still have it.  Yes, I have been a Heart fan for years, so I am biased.  Ann didn’t avoid any note and nailed them all.  Best surprise of the show had to be when Nancy sang a great song called Two off their latest right after These Dreams. 

I must confess that I suffered a couple of broken ribs during the show.  This occurred when Nancy proceeded to kick her leg over her head during the start of Crazy on You.  My lovely bride elbowed me and said something about calming down.  I mean, I was just showing my appreciation for her flexibility…..  They closed the show with a two-song encore consisting of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song & Stairway to Heaven.  Normally, I would complain about artists playing other artists’ songs, but Heart has long been known for throwing in Led Zep songs and they rocked on these two.  Speaking of Stairway, do yourself a favor and Google Heart’s performance of Stairway at the Kennedy Center Awards.  It will give you goosebumps.

All in all, it was a great night of classic rock.  While I disagree with some of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s inductees, these three definitely deserve to there.

Musing in Nashville


P.S.  Here are the set lists from that night

Cheap Trick

  • Hello There
  • Clocks Strikes Ten 
  • California Man
  • Southern girls
  • He’s A Whore
  • No Direction
  • Day Tripper (Beatles cover)
  • Stop This Game
  • I’m Waiting for the Man – Tom Peterson on lead vocals
  • The Flame- Robin Zander nailed that last note
  • I Want You to Want Me
  • Dream Police
  • Surrender
  • Auf Wiedersehen

Joan Jett 

  • Victim of Circumstance
  • Cherry Bomb (Runaways)
  • Do You Wanna Touch Me
  • Bad Reputation
  • TMI
  • You Drive Me Wild (Runaways)
  • Light of Day (Michael J Fox & JJ movie)
  • Make It Back
  • Love is Pain
  • Any Weather
  • I Love Rock & Roll
  • Crimson & Clover
  • I Hate Myself for Loving You
  • Everyday People


  • Wild Child
  • Magic Man
  • What About Love
  • Even It Up
  • These Dreams
  • Two 
  • Straight On
  • Kick It Out
  • Beautiful Broken
  • Alone – very stripped down version with Ann wailing
  • Crazy on You – leg kick (oh my)
  • Barracuda – opening riff is one of the most wicked licks in all of rock & roll
  • Immigrant Song
  • Stairway to Heaven

My Favorite Concert Experiences

music musings, beaverdamusa.comIn the past, I have mused on what were my favorite concerts.  This musing is about my favorite concert experiences or moments.   While the particular show, may or may not have made my list of favorite concerts, these particular moments stand out for me.  So in no particular order, other than how they came to my brain, here are some of my favorite memories:

  • The opening of Styx’s Paradise Theatre show in Nashville – I was standing within a person or two of the front row as A.D. 1928 starts with a lone janitor sweeping the floor in front of a large curtain.  True to the album order, Rockin the Paradise kicks off with the curtain dropping, lights flashing, and pyrotechnics for days.  The shock was amazing.
  • Sammy Hagar – 5150 tour in Memphis -   This was Sammy’s third show with Van Halen and it was so full of energy.  The sound guy must have figured he could over power any acoustic because my ears ached for two days.  Also, Sammy & Eddie both climbed up on the lighting catwalk above the stage.  Sammy even stood on the railing and leaned out over the crowd only hanging on by one hand.  Two nights later in Nashville it was only Sammy on the catwalk.  My theory on why is in a later bullet.
  • Jimmy Buffett – W.O. Smith Music School benefit at Tennessee Performing Arts Center– the opening song was Jimmy coming out barefooted and sitting on the edge of the stage with his feet dangling.  He launched into It’s My Job as he started an unforgettable night of truly acoustic music.
  • Van Halen in Atlanta – Sammy reunion show – Sammy left Van Halen without any prior hint so many Van Halen fans felt like they never got a chance to say good-bye.  This tour was that chance.  It was obvious that this would be his last tour with the band.  When It’s Love was the last song they played and I loved the fact that one of my favorite VH songs was the last one I heard Sammy sing with them.
  • Van Halen – 1984 (I think) tour in Nashville at the Municipal Auditorium – my friend Joe and I had aged enough to know that trying to get up front was too much hassle, but loved standing on the floor.  We had discovered that the sound was awesome at the back of the floor by the sound board.  Well, we look over and who is watching the show about ten feet from us but Valerie Bertinelli – Eddie’s wife at the time.  [This is why I think Eddie didn’t get on the catwalk]
  • Alabama A&M Homecoming – My roommate and blog host, his future (and current) wife, and I noticed that there was a great show happening at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville.  Midnight Starr, Zap, featuring Roger (never figured out which one was Roger), and the Gap Band were playing.  We head down to see it and then realize it was Alabama A&M’s homecoming.  To say we stood out is an understatement.  Let’s just leave it at that.
  • Van Halen – Atlanta & Nashville – Van Halen (with Sammy) was touring and kicked off their tour at an amphitheater in Atlanta.  There is something about the opening night of a tour – the band is so jacked up with energy.  Well, we spent the night in Atlanta and then drove back to Nashville the next day to [you guess it] see them again at Starwood amphitheater.  It was quite the experience.
  • That Nashville Moment – this occurs at any concert in Nashville.  It always seems that when artists perform here, they always pull another star out on stage with them.  Whether it was Ann Wilson with Emmylou Harris and Allison Kraus or Jimmy Buffett having his former neighbor John Kay (Steppenwolf) come out, it is always a treat.

Thanks for indulging me as I stroll down memory lane.  Hopefully, there are many more moments in the future.

Musing in Nashville


Home Sweet Home to Me

music musings, beaverdamusa.comThe calendar slipped upon me this week.  I just realized that I am supposed to publish a Musing. Well, I am about six hours past when I normally send in my blog.  What should I blog about?  What is on my mind musically?

Rocky Top you will always be, home sweet home to me……

That’s is what’s on my mind.  You see, today my beloved University of Tennessee Volunteers kick off their 2016 football season.  Rocky Top is the song associated with UT football.  Opponents hate it – but it you have any orange coursing through your veins, you love it.  You sing it with the Pride of the Southland Marching Band (UT’s band), you sing it with gusto at a karaoke bar after that sixth beer, and you sing it by yourself as you sit in the confines of your home watching the Vols.

The song was written in 1967 by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant and recorded by the Osborne Brothers. Wikipedia tells me that the Osborne Brothers hit #33 on the charts with it in 1967 and Lynn Anderson hit #17 in 1970.  However, I would be willing to bet that the Volunteers are primarily responsible for the song’s continued popularity, if only amongst alumni.  Whether at a bar, wedding reception, or in the middle of Times Square; if Rocky Top plays, the UT fans are easy to spot.  We will perk up, start singing, and might even shuffle our feet a bit.

Love or hate it – it is the song people associate with my beloved University.  Rocky Top will always be “home sweet home, to me”.  Gotta to go watch some football.  Go Vols!

GI Joes, My Hairline and Music Racks

music musings, beaverdamusa.comIf you are playing $20,000 Pyramid or Catch Phrase, the answer would be – things that shrink. Feel free to add your own items to the list as you play along at home.

Often while mowing, my mind will wander while listening to my tunes. This week was no exception and I reminisced about new music yesterday vs. today as I listened to a cut off the new Jackyl album. I thought about going to get a new album and how that has changed.

record-store-925553_1280Whether I was as a kid waiting for the parents or as an adult waiting for the wife to finish shopping, I spent many hours in a record store. As you can imagine, I could get lost in there for hours looking through the bins. Unless it is a hipster store in East Nashville, go see how much real estate is dedicated to actual you-can- touch-it music sales – either albums, tapes, CDs, etc. If you want to see a movie that captures the essence of a record store – watch High Fidelity, starring the great John Cusack.

Keep in mind that back in the day, you had to go get your music – it didn’t come to you via download or online streaming. Often, the type of media purchased (album or tape) was dictated by the length of time between the record store and your house. Can’t wait to get home, you would snag a tape so you could listen on the way home. Quick trip?

You got the vinyl and made a tape for the car later.

Another thing is that you didn’t have the internet, Facebook, MySpace, or iTunes to let you know when your favorite artist had an album dropping. You had to go to the record store and browse the bins to see who had an album out, unless you were a subscriber to Rolling Stone. Occasionally, a record store would post a list of album release dates, but I always enjoyed browsing the bins.

There is just something about walking into a store and picking up an album. As I was musing, here are some of my thoughts that came to mind about record stores (only order is how they popped in my mind):

*  Skipping class to go to the mall in Columbia to get Van Halen’s 1984 when the record store opened at 10:00.

* Trying to find a record store in Murray, KY, without the benefit of Google on the way to my Grandad’s so I could get Sammy’s first album with Van Halen (5150).

* Going to the Bellevue Mall and being probably the first person to buy the debut Blue Tears album in Nashville. Ironically, a band member and his wife were with me.

* Going into Tower Records for the first time in Nashville. It was like a fox in the hen house – I had never seen that many albums in one place.

Yes, I do miss going to the record store, but I also enjoy being able to download a particular song while sitting on the couch or using the “search” feature to find particular songs/albums. I guess the moral is that we all must adapt while remembering how it used to be.

Musing in Music City


An Evening With John Waite

music musings, beaverdamusa.comFor years, I have been a fan of John Waite, dating back to the Babys era. I even mused about John once for this blog.

I had noticed he was doing some dates across the country on what is billed as the Wooden Heart Acoustic tour. For the longest, the closest was Memphis back in May. I even commented on a Facebook post John that he should add a Nashville gig, to which he replied “What about Memphis?”. While I love me some John Waite, I had to explain that a trip down I-40 to the Bluff City just wasn’t my cup of tea, even if I could stop at Buffalo and get some pie at the Log Cabin.

IMG_0291Anyway, he finally announced a show at the intimate and great venue – the Franklin Theatre. Having seen a few shows there, I knew it would be a great evening, so I snagged some tickets up front at the tables which put us about ten feet from the stage.

The opening act was Raquel Aurilia who sang six songs accompanied by just an acoustic guitar. Her voice was nice and gave everyone a chance to settle into their seats.

For the ADD readers – it was a John Waite fan’s dream. Now, for those that enjoy a little more detail, read on. John came out with a very stripped down band – a guitar, a bass, and a cajon. [I learned that night that a cajon is the proper word for beat box]. John would occasionally play the acoustic guitar during the set. His guitar player was Nashville native (who isn’t now) Kyle Cook (, formerly of Matchbox Twenty. It was a treat to watch him play. Kyle played on John’s Rough & Tumble and co-wrote one of my favorite John Waite songs – If You Ever Get Lonely.

John explained that the show would be very laid back and he would talk about the songs and their inspiration. He also added that the audience would get to ask questions throughout the night. So, he basically set the stage for our own Storyteller session with him and about 400 of his closest friends in Franklin. What a treat.

Throughout the set, we were treated to tidbits and stories prompted by the songs or questions from the audience, such as:

* He grew up listening to country music as a child in England. He talked about walking to the bus stop for school and staring at a Marty Robbins album in a store window and how he dreamed of making it to play and sing in Nashville.

* One of his favorite moments was getting to sing on the Grand Ole Opry, courtesy of Allison Kraus. Allison and John redid his monster solo hit Missing You several years ago with commercial success.

* He talked about how much he admired Vince Gill and his guitar work so much that he cut one of Gill’s songs – Whenever You Come Around. As he was playing this song on the Opry stage, he realized Gill was playing with him on stage.

* Waite lived in Nashville for a few years and really loved the vibe. He mentioned that he left because NYC really felt like home. He said that Nashville has become too crowded and is losing its country music vibe due to the record labels.

I could go on and on about how great of a night it was, but I realize not everyone is as big of a John Waite fan as I am. Which brings me to my final point. It was truly an evening for John Waite fans, but not a casual one. Yes, he did some hits from all eras of his career – Babys, Bad English, and solo. But, he also threw in some real deep cuts. It was refreshing to see an artist do the songs that he wanted to and that the true fans would appreciate. If you have a chance, go check out John Waite if he stops in your neck of the woods.

Musing in Nashville.


Set list:

* When I See You Smile – probably my favorite Bad English song

* In God’s Shadow

* In Dreams

* New York City Girl

* If You Ever Get Lonely – Favorite solo song; was recently covered by country duo Love & Theft

* Missing You

* Bluebird Cafe – stripped down acoustic. Told the story of a real waitress and how he imagined why she was in Nashville.

* Whenever You Come Around – this is when he told the story of Vince Gill playing with him on theOpry.

* Downtown- only instrument was a Spanish acoustic guitar

* Magic Camera

* Best of What I Got – Bad English

* Change

* Head First – Only Babys song he did.

Reviewing “Jericho,” Erica Bryan’s Debut EP

music musings, beaverdamusa.comWhile I have written about songs, artists, and various other things over the life of this blog, I don’t recall ever reviewing an album.  Fellow BeaverDamUSA blogger, Erica Bryan has released her debut EP entitled Jericho.  I decided to try my hand at reviewing it for her.  You can download the album on iTunes and follow Erica’s journey to the EP’s debut (among other things) here.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to the Jericho.  Erica has a nice vocal range and great sound.  Recently, a lot of country music is over-produced and too slick; but not this one.  No one went knob-crazy in the production booth.  Speaking of country – I don’t consider this a country album.  Of course, my idea of country and today’s country are pretty far apart.

The album has seven tracks and provides a very nice sampling of Erica’s range and styles.  Erica was smart in putting a variety of styles on the album.  If you don’t like a particular song or style, there is always the “next” button.  I typically judge an album by how many songs do I reach for that “next” button after I’ve listened to it once.  I am happy to say that I only tapped it once.  Here are my quick hits on each of the tracks:

  • Jericho – Has a marching feel to it due to beat.  Love the bass line on it and see this as a top-down, turn it up, driving song.
  • Immune to You – Nice keys starting the track. This song soars in vocals and tempo.  Best song on the album.
  • Gypsy Life – nice ebb & flow on this one.  Like the slow, sultry feel.
  • Billboard – This is the “next” song – just a little too pop’ish for me.
  • Sad Song – Everyone has lived this song.  This has the same sultry feel as Gypsy Life.  Love the line “birds are singing in minor key” – a minor key can make Happy Birthday seem sad.  This is Erica’s wheelhouse.  I picture listening to this song in a dark room with a drink in hand while thinking of what might have been.
  • Leaving You in Memphis – Nice catchy tune.  Like the image of driving east on I-40 after leaving whoever in Memphis.  Of course, the thought of being left in Memphis is plenty scary.
  • This House is Haunted – This song should be played after listening Sad Song.  Along the same thought, this song again lets Erica soar on vocals.

In summary, this is a very solid debut album.  Erica has a beautiful voice and Jericho lets her show it off. I would definitely recommend purchasing Jericho.

Musing In Jericho


Like the Proverbial Kid in a Candy Store

music musings, beaverdamusa.comWhatever metaphor you want to use – drunk in a bar, pig in slop, etc. – that has been me for the last couple of months.  At my age, what would do that to me?  Two words – Apple Music.

First, I must let you know that Apple is not sponsoring this column nor have I received any product placement fees.  For the longest, I was deadest against anything Apple – didn’t have an iPhone, iPod, or an Apple computer.  For those that know me – that isn’t hard to believe.  Through the years, I have tended to go against the grain when it comes to whatever the mainstream is doing.  For example, I have never seen Gone with the Wind, It’s A Wonderful Life, or Titanic.  I’ve never listened to Thriller, any Adele album, or ever purchased a Whitney Houston album.  So I was clutching my CDs and Android phone for as long as possible, but something made me break.  I think it was just being tired of swimming upstream.  The first step was to buy an iPod and synch my CD collection to it.  While I was using the technology, I still liked the feel of buying an album or CD and reading the liner notes.  Occasionally, I would go to iTunes and purchase a single song that I wanted and eventually started buying albums.  The Android phone gave way to the iPhone and I guess you could say I was drinking the Kool-Aid (Google Jim Jones, if you are under 40).

Slowly, but surely, I was sucked into the Apple world and eventually signed up for iTunes Match which basically stored my entire music library on the Cloud for a mere $29.99 a year.  All my music was available to me anytime I had a Wi-Fi connection.  Loved it!  But wait, what is that shiny object off in the distance.  It is glowing like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow- Apple Music.

Apple Music is the candy store and I am the kid who stumbled in with unlimited access.  If you haven’t heard about it, you basically pay a flat amount each month for virtually unlimited music downloads, in addition, to a streaming radio feature.  The accountant in me quickly calculated that if the Clayton household downloaded two albums a month, it would pay for itself.  What a deal.

In a manner similar to the way I approach a Chinese buffet, I must get my money’s worth!  Realize before Apple Music, I had approximately 7,000 songs in my library – now, the total is approaching 10,000.  Without even trying new music, I have definitely made them pay, like Mr. Wu at the buffet.  Oh, Night Ranger has a live acoustic album – it’s mine.  My choir director has albums on iTunes – BOOM!  Three albums added to my music and ready for a listen.  Need to listen to the old Al Jarreau song After All?  Go add his Greatest Hits to the library.

I realize I need structure around this for my sanity and perhaps for the Musing.  Maybe I can review a new album every so often or reminisce about an old one I discovered. I will tell you that when you go back and listen to old albums, it is odd how you start remembering the deep cuts on those albums and can pretty much sing right along – now, did I remember to put the garbage out today? Nope, but I can sing along with Lady of the 80’s on Loverboy’s debut album.

Like I said earlier, this isn’t an advertisement, but merely a music junkie finding another way to snag music.  Now, I wonder if After The Fire’s album is on Apple Music……

Zach, Musing in Download Heaven

Hitting CMA Fest: A First Time for Everything

music musings, beaverdamusa.comThere’s a first time for everything.

You figure that after 52 trips around the sun, there aren’t many “firsts” left for me that aren’t connected to medical tests, conditions, or procedures.  I did experience a first.  Like an addict at a meeting, it’s confession time –

Nissan Stadium gets ready for the show.

“Hi, I’m Zach, I live in the Nashville area and I went to Fan Fair.”

Yes, after years of avoiding the crowds and making fun of the tourists, I attended a Fan Far event.  I know it is CMA Fest, but it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.  The company I work for (yes, I have a day job) typically has drawings each year for tickets to the stadium shows.  I have won them in the past, but due to the artists playing, my schedule, or the weather I have given them to family members.  There really wasn’t a reason not to go this year, so I said “what the hell.  Let’s go.”  My eldest, Will, and his girlfriend Haley went to the Thursday night stadium show as well.  We did take separate vehicles because I wasn’t staying until 11:30 p.m., on a school night to watch someone I didn’t like.

The legendary Charlie Daniels sawing the fiddle.

The legendary Charlie Daniels sawing the fiddle.

If you aren’t familiar with the format, the stage is set up in Nissan Stadium (home of the Titans), and each night (four in all) about four or five performers play a handful of songs.  The artist lineup is a mix of established acts and newer artists who have broken out.  I must say I was worried about the down time between acts.   They started on time and stuck to the schedule and didn’t vary by more than five minutes.  I figured they would use a house set of instruments, but they turned the stage each time.  Very impressed.

Oh, I guess I need to let you know about the actual show.  The stage was worthy of the stadium setting.  It even came with three or four-story video screens on each side of the stage.  Each segment was introduced by various country music DJs and personalities.  Their banter bordered on hokey, but what do you expect?  Here is the line-up and my thoughts:

  • Miranda Lambert wore spurs, from what we understand.

    Miranda Lambert wore spurs, from what we understand.

    The Oak Ridge Boys opened the evening with the Star Spangled Banner.  Great harmonies and represented the “has been” category for the night.

  • Charlie Daniels Band – introduction acknowledging Charlie’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the fall.  Played four songs, including In America.  Charlie will be 80 later this year and still can throw down.  Literally shredded his bow on the Devil Went Down to Georgia.  He also brought out Randy Travis who suffered a massive stroke a while back.  Pretty sad watching him struggle to walk on stage.  He didn’t even speak to the crowd and looked confused.
  • Kelsea Ballerini – filling the breakout star slot, she ripped through five songs and quickly won the crowd over.  She mentioned that just three years ago, she was sitting in the upper deck and watching the show.  She truly seemed humbled to be on the big stage.  Only thing was that her “romper” was probably about an inch too short.  She spent the entire set tugging at it.  Anyone who went commented on it – so stop the perv comments.
  • Dierks Bentley – ehhh. Not really a fan.  Really seemed intent on working the crowd.  He even walked through the crowd and sang from a small stage in the middle of the crowd.  Nothing really remarkable for me, but the country fans with me said it was good.
  • Miranda Lambert – Here is the reason I went to Fan Fair.  There, I said it.  Yes, I love me some Miranda.  The keyword is spurs.  Yes, spurs.  She wore spurs on her boots.  The other word would be giddy-up.  She tore the house down with all of her hits and what could best be described as sassiness.  Did I mention she wore spurs?  Favorite song was Little Red Wagon.
  • Rascal Flatts – They sounded better the further they got into their set.  Full disclosure is that they sounded better the longer they played because I was walking to the truck and getting farther away.
  • Jason Aldean – supposedly he played.  I was probably about Exit 199 on I-40 when he came on.

I will admit that I had a great time.  I won’t even go into the people watching opportunities at Fan Fair.  They were exactly what you expect.


Zach, A Fan Fair attendee


Don’t be that Person at a Concert: Yeah, You

music musings, beaverdamusa.comWe all know that person.  The person at a concert no one wants to be around.  We all have seen them and experienced them through the years.  In all honesty, we may even been that person.  Of course, it was when we were young and stupid.

By my best calculation, I have been to over 200 concerts and many more shows at clubs/bars.  Through the years, I have kind of had a running list of concert “dos and don’ts” running through my head.  I thought I would document them and share them with the Internet for humanity’s sake.  Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Know the Time – Not just for musical shows, but for movies, church, lunch, or anything with a start time.  Unless you are seeing the 80’s version of Guns N Roses or Madonna, be in your seat when the show is scheduled to start.  Realize that there will be a line at the bathroom and concession stands and plan accordingly.  Your lack of planning enough time to park, enter the venue, whiz, and grab a drink all within a span of 10 minute, shouldn’t mean that I have to look at your backside as the artist opens the show.
  • Know Who You are Seeing – Would you wear a Yankees shirt to watch the Cubs play someone other than the Yankees?  No.  Then why would you wear a Journey concert jersey to see Styx?  Just doesn’t make sense.
  • Standing – unless you are in the front of the stage, (pre-Who in Cincinnati), you shouldn’t stand for the whole time.  I agree there are times when a particular song comes on or the artist encourages you to stand, that you should stand.  But, be aware of those around you.  If you look and you are the only person standing – SIT!  I am super cautious about this because at 6’5”, I realize that if I stand – no one behind will see the show.
  • Stay Awhile – no, not the Journey song, but when you leave.  You spend north of $100 on tickets for you and your gal, $50 on food and drink, and maybe you splurge for the $45 artist t-shirt and you leave at the same time the artist leaves before any encores.  Hey buddy – Styx will do Renegade, Pat Benatar will do Heartbreaker, and Journey hasn’t forgotten Don’t Stop Believing.  You paid enough for the whole show – stay for it!  You aren’t getting in front of traffic or anything.  Plus, you are blocking my view.
  • We See You – Don’t bring attention to yourself.  Were you not hugged enough as a child?  Why must you whip your hair so much that it irritates my wife? Why must you twirl those snap and glow moon bracelets in front of me – I see you.    STOP.  PLEASE.  I didn’t pay to watch you play the fool.  We’ve all had that first beer.
  • Know Your Music – Please know that David Lee Roth will not play any Sammy Hagar VH tunes, so don’t’ be an idiot and keep screaming for Dreams.  Also know that Dennis DeYoung left Styx at least a decade ago and the remaining members HATE Mr. Roboto.   You are only hurting your image.
  • The Main Rule – keep your poop in a group.  Barry & I would always look around us to see if there was anyone who looks like they wouldn’t be able to hold it together for the entire show.  What am I talking about?  Puking.  Vomiting.  Heaving.  Spewing. Blowing Chunks.  Nothing ruins a concert experience more than someone enjoying themselves a little too much and spewing within earshot and olfactory range.  Then to make the smell worse – the staff puts that vomit powder on it – you know what I am talking about.  The stuff from elementary school that smells worse than the vomit itself.  If you must spew – please do it away from me.  I don’t want to miss Sammy singing Dreams because you thought a 12 pack of Natty Light and a Taco Bell stop was a great idea on the way to the show.

So, the next time you go to a show, review these rules.   You will have a great time and those around will have one as well.

Musing in Nashville


In Fact, It Could Get Better

music musings, beaverdamusa.comThis blog wasn’t supposed to happen.  But, I just can’t let the opportunity pass.

In February 2015, I attended Styx performing with the Nashville Symphony at the Schermerhorn Center here in Nashville and blogged about it.  (Styx with Nashville Symphony (2015)).  At the time, I didn’t think any Styx show would top the show that night.   They proved me wrong on Saturday (5/21/16) at Ascend Amphitheater in downtown Nashville.

styx_ascend #2The evening shaped up to be perfect weather for sitting on the lawn and listening to music.  Skies were clear and temps were hovering around 65.  My sweet wife came along for the ride and we met up with our dear friends Joe & Shannon, who attended the previously mentioned Styx/Symphony show with us.

It is a close race between Joe & my wife as to who has attended more concerts with me. Joe & I started seeing shows together in 1980 when we saw Eddie Money at Vandy’s Memorial Gym.  We traveled many miles to primarily see our favorite band – Van Halen.

Why was this show better?  I think it was a couple of things – first the show was louder than it was at concert hall.  Secondly, and probably primary was the fact that you could hear the symphony more throughout the songs this time.  Whether it was location (we were farther back from the speakers) or the mix, they came through in many places that I don’t remember.  There were also a couple of places during the night where the guitars and keyboards would stop and they would let the symphony have the spotlight.    One thing that hit me was that most members of the symphony are probably of the age that grew up on Styx music.  How cool that must have been to be playing along with the same band you grew up with.

It still amazes me (and others agree) how great Tommy Shaw’ voice still sounds.  For several singers you can really tell that age, and probably other “things” have not been kind to their voice.  Try this – go listen to the song Crystal Ball from Styx’s Caught in the Act live album recorded in 1984 and then listen to the song on Styx’s 2015 Live at the Orleans Arena – Las Vegas.  It sounds pretty much the same.  Same pitch, same tone, and same range.  Not many rock singers can say that.  I must also compliment the conductor Liza Grossman who conducted both Nashville Symphony shows, as well as Styx’s project with the Cleveland Youth Orchestra.  She is clearly into the songs and obviously loves her job.

I really don’t know if I can see them without the Symphony.  Between the music of Styx, the Symphony, the weather, and the ambience of Ascend – it doesn’t get much better.  I love my town.

Musing on a wonderful show


P.S. Set list:

  • Grand Illusion
  • Too Much Time on My Hands
  • Fooling Yourself (joined by original bass player – Chuck Ponozzo)  This is one where the guitars stopped mid-song and let the symphony shine
  • Lady
  • Lorelei
  • Man in the Wilderness
  • Light Up
  • I Am the Walrus (Gowan paid tribute to George Martin who melded symphonic music with rock music)
  • Suite Madame Blue

Intermission – 15-20 minutes

  • Miss America
  • Lights
  • Space Oddity (Ground Control to Major Tom) – nod to David Bowie
  • Crystal Ball – favorite song – Tommy Shaw show his vocal chops during this one.  Also, the one song the symphony complemented the most
  • Pieces of Eight – classical piano intro piece written by Gowan in honor of his father’s ship (Khe Dive) in WWII.
  • Blue Collar Man
  • Come Sail Away – last one with the Symphony.  The cellos and violins each took a “solo” in the middle.

Symphony leaves

  • Paradise Theatre
  • Renegade
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