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Prog, Check Republic

Rush
Madison Square Garden
June 29th

rush double

photo by Randy Johnson

Rush has been around for 40 years, and apparently their R40 tour may be their last tour.  Who are they kidding??  This Canadian trio – Geddy Lee / Alex Lifeson / Neil Peart – are in their early 60s, and yet they are kicking it as if they were in their 20s.  There might not be a tighter trio going on earth, well, besides me, my mouth and Popeyes Fried Chicken

Seeing them, FINALLY, was part obligation (I’ve been in love ever since I got my hands on the double CD set Chronicles via BMG Music Service), and partly cause I like me some kick ass rock, and the fellas did not disappoint – playing a career spanning show, in reverse chronological order.  Even the stage decorations got less and less extravagant as the night wore on – going from glitz (a popcorn maker and some washing machines!?) to back to basics (just a few amps) by the time the show ended, some 3 hours later(!!!)!

And what did I take away from this show? The sight of double guitars!! and double bass guitars!!  And Neil Peart’s dumb skully,  and how Alex Lifeson looks exactly like David Warner (sorta not really!).  And things, and stuff!!

Setlist

Set 1 – The Anarchist / Headlong Flight / Far Cry / The Main Monkey Business / One Little Victory / Animate / Roll the Bones / Distant Early Warning  /Losing It (with Jonathan Dinklage) / Subdivisions(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Set 2 – Tom Sawyer / Red Barchetta / The Spirit of Radio / Jacob’s Ladder  / Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres Part I: Prelude / Cygnus X-1 / Closer to the Heart / Xanadu  / 2112 Part I: Overture / 2112 Part II: The Temples of Syrinx / 2112 Part IV: Presentation / 2112 Part VII: Grand Finale

EncoreLakeside Park / Anthem / What You’re Doing / Working Man 

double guitars

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He Didn’t Start The Fire

Billy Joel
Madison Square Garden
February 18th

billy joel

This was only the 2nd time I’ve seen BJ.  The first was on his River of Dreams tour at the Capital Centre in 1993 (one of these two shows)

He played ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ then

He didn’t last night

I’d consider that single omission a waste of an entire evening

JFGAY BLOWN AWAY WHAT ELSE DO I HAVE TO SAY?????

BUT it wasn’t, cause even if Billy Joel looks like an old mole, he’s still got it!!  And you can tell he’s really enjoying his monthly MSG residency.  He even is semi-sorta letting his fans dictate some his set – asking them to choose between two songs to play, by cheering their choice!  

AND he loves ‘Tush’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  WHO DOESN’T???????????????

Setlist

Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway) / Pressure / Say Goodbye to Hollywood / The Stranger / Vienna / Summer, Highland Falls / The Entertainer / The Downeaster Alexa / Zanzibar / Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song) / New York State Of Mind / Allentown / I’ve Been Working On The Railroad (Instrumental) / My Life / Sometimes a Fantasy / She’s Always a Woman / Don’t Ask Me Why / The River of Dreams (with ZZ Top ‘Tush’ interlude) / Scenes From an Italian Restaurant / Piano Man

Encore Uptown Girl / It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me / You May Be Right / Only The Good Die Young

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A Quest Called Vibes

Jack White
Madison Square Garden
January 30th

jack white q tip msg

Last time we saw Jack White ROCK out MSG, it was 2007, and the girl with the bouncy boobs was bouncing her boobs behind him, AND IT KICKED THE FCUKING BALL AND THE BISCUITLISTICS!!!!!!!!  They were two kids, playing to 18k people, and they somehow were able to own a building that’s built for giant acts.  Sure, at the time, they were a big act, but 6 years prior, they were playing the tiny Bowery Ballroom, a place better suited for their raw sound.  But Jack White’s sound now and forever knows no bounds.  ‘Seven Nation Army’ has become a sports stadium rally call, and now, Jack White can fill any sized venue to match those calls

Meg White is still sorely missed, but Jack, 7ish years later, has really done an amazing job to fill her (boobie) void.  Sure, having a full band helps, and at times, his band adds TOO much sound to Jack’s music, but they follow his lead, and we’d follow him anywhere he goes, cause it’s always steady as he goes.  His latest MSG set perfectly blended Stripes tunes with the stronger selections of his solo work + enough of the other side-project ditties (juss like his Roseland show of 3 years ago), but the larger venue made everything seem even larger, more vital.  Having Q-Tip come out to help didn’t hurt neither.  In fact, it cleaned and opened our ears even mo!  [editor’s note – we haven’t used a Q-Tip since 2009]

Setlist

Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground / High Ball Stepper /Lazaretto / Hotel Yorba / Temporary Ground / Cannon / Broken Boy Soldier / Cannon / Love Interruption / We’re Going to Be Friends / Three Women / Black Math (intro only to) Top Yourself / Ball and Biscuit

Encore That Black Bat Licorice (with Q-Tip) / Excursions (with Q-Tip) / Sixteen Saltines / Astro / Steady, As She Goes / Would You Fight for My Love? / Just One Drink / Blunderbuss / Seven Nation Army

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I Don’t Second That Emotion

Smokey Robinson
Barclays Center
December 11th

smokey robinson barclays

It’s no miracle that Smokey Robinson STILL sounds like good ol’ Smokey Robinson (or that he can rock a green outfit from neck to toe AND look simply amazing), but it is a absolute sin that I walked away from his concert dissatisfied. Yes, he played the sure-fire hits, and yes, they sounded great, but he only played 14 tunes in total, and 3 were shortened into a quickie Temptations medley. Where was ‘Shop Around’ or ‘Going To A Go Go’ or ‘Mickey’s Monkey’? Smokey was too busy padding time with pointless stories and jokes that a 6 year old could make. How could such a gifted writer have no gift for gab? And even if he did, why bother when there’s plenty more music he could have done sung? How could a Smokey Robinson concert not be amazing? That’s like an anti-miracle. And how could he have written the song ‘Love Bath’? It’s so gross that I need to take a hate shower after hearing it

SetlistBeing With You / I Second That Emotion / You Really Got a Hold on Me / Quiet Storm / Ooh Baby Baby / Temptations Medley – The Way You Do the Things You Do / Get Ready / My Girl / The Tears of a Clown / Fly Me to the Moon (Kaye Ballard cover) / Love Bath / That Place / The Tracks of My Tears / Cruisin’

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Cat/Yusuf Scratch Fever

Cat Stevens / Yusuf Islam
Wang Theatre
December 7th

cat stevens boston

Dude, CAT FCUKING STEVENS. Dude, YUSUF FCUKING ISLAM. Whatever his name is, he may be a changed man, but the song/voice/soul/words remain the same – AMAZINGS!!!!! We’ve know his work for years, and were reminded of his genius by seeing Harold & Maude + Wes Anderson movies, but he’s always seemed so out of reach. Probably cause he hasn’t toured America since 1976. 19-SEVENTY-FCUKING-SIX!!!! I WASN’T EVEN BORN THEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, got the rare chance to see him, when he was inducted to the RnR HoF, and after taking in his tiny 3 song set, I wasn’t juss thirsty for more, I was on life support for more!!!! Had to see him again, in full. HAD TO!!! Europe and elsewhere had been lucky. He’d been touring there and there for awhile, and yet, still no US dates. That changed this fall when he announced a handful of North American dates. NY was originally on the docket, and then it wasn’t (something about paperless tickets, and NY not allowing it), and so I had to see him, ANYWHERE. Boston became the choice, and OH MAN OH MAN OH MAN OH MAN, it was a Boston revolution!!!! I was having a teabagging party for one – putting Cat’s balls in my mouth and sucking it all in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dude, Cat was like – listen to the wind of my soul. And we listened to the wind of his soul!!! And every time he did, I kept seeing this picture of him!!! Oh man, this 1st cut was the deepest. SO DEEP!! And so was the 2nd, and 3rd and billionth!!! I’ll always love you, CAT!!! Maybe I don’t love you. LIES!!! Man, all kinds of children play in his yard, but where do they play? Oh wait, he answered that. He loves his dog. I LOVE HIM!!! TRAPPED!!! Like a cat and a dog, in the old schoolyard. Remember those days? Cat does. We don’t, but he makes us remember. People got ready. They sung out, sung out. Boy did they. THEY ATE IT UP. Who wouldn’t. 1976 to now is like a forever

Everyone has a big boss, man, causing trouble, but set me free trouble!!! Cat’s old, but oh very young. Cat’s dying to live but living to die. STAY WITH US CAT!! Keep casting your moonshadow, as you are our sunshine. You make us foreigners feel like heaven, where our true love goes. Man, this world is wild. None of his cuts would end up on the editing floor. He gets the blues, and we get the chills. It’s not another Saturday night. It’s a SUNDAY TO REMEMBER. In fact, December 7th – a concert that will live in AWESOMEly!!! Why did the night have to end? Morning wanted to break, but he had to board the Peace Train, as it was heading to the next stop, for another father and son to cherish

The train is miles from anywhere, and nowhere. It made Lisa sad, but everyone was beyond happy

Cat, come back. Trains make more than one repeat stop, don’t they?

I mean, I still need to hear you play ‘Matthew & Son’

Set 1 – The Wind / Here Comes My Baby / The First Cut Is the Deepest / Thinking ‘Bout You / Sitting / Last Love Song / All Kinds of Roses / Where Do the Children Play? / I Love My Dog / Cat and the Dog Trap / (Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard / People Get Ready (Curtis Mayfield cover) / If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out

Set 2 – Big Boss Man (Jimmy Reed cover) / Trouble / Oh Very Young / Dying to Live (Edgar Winter cover) / Moonshadow / You Are My Sunshine (Jimmie Davis cover) / Foreigner Suite – Heaven – Where True Love Goes / Wild World / Editing Floor Blues / Another Saturday Night (Sam Cooke cover) / Morning Has Broken / Peace Train / Father and Son

Encore – Miles from Nowhere / Sad Lisa

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