Dead Fish in a Box

The chronicles of a suburban fishpimp trying to keep it rural.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Train Kept A'rollin'

Tuesday evening the Fishpimps enjoyed the concert by Train at McCaw Hall in Seattle. I went mainly because a) my wife wanted to go, and b) I haven't seen many concerts in recent years. I really liked Train's first album, but have been less enamored with their subsequent releases. But I'll tell you what, they sure put on a great show!

Coming of age in Seattle in the early '90s going to concerts was our primary pastime. I've seen a lot of great acts in the past 15 years, but this show shot up right into my top 5 all-time favorite performances. They did everything I expect in a great show: played through sound issues to deliver a diverse, entertaining, and powerful set; didn't rush through older hits like 'Meet Virginia' and 'Free'; played more than 90 minutes and less than 3 hours; inserted a cover or two ('Ramble On' and 'Going to California' by Zepplin'); and put an explanation point on the end of the set.

They threw in a couple extras as well. Mid-show they dropped the curtain, walked out front and played a 4-song acoustic mini-set. Every musician had a chance to solo – great drum solo ending with a quick homage to Jon Bonham, and a great keyboard solo to open and close ‘Train’ from their first album. The Encore was great and crescendoed with an amazing cover or Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On’ – powerful & passionate, and punctuated with confetti rockets shot out over the crowd.

These guys have all the power of the mega-bands like those they covered, but keep it under wraps with syrupy stuff like ‘Drops of Jupiter’ and ‘Calling All Angels’. They remind me of Mother Love Bone: a hard-rocking band fronted by an attention-hungry pop-star. Patrick Monahan is a more polished (and hopefully heroin-free) version of Andy Wood. Regardless, they are top-notch performers, and certainly worth the price of admission.

All of this got me thinking about the shows I’ve seen over the years. So here is my top 10 list:

10: Sweet Water, Seattle University, Summer 1994. Pre-release show for the ‘Superfriends’ album. Small crowd, very intimate, very tight set from a Seattle band that never quite made it. We bootlegged the show; I still listen to the tape from time to time.

9: Cake. Paramount Theater, Seattle. November, 2002. All I wanted to hear them play was 'I Will Survive' and 'Jolene'. They didn't play either…until the 2 song encore, when they played both. They break it down on 'Jolene' and get the crowd singing the background vocals, bring it back together to seal a very solid set.

8: Tool/Candlebox. Kitsap Bowl, Silverdale, WA, summer 1994. Tool’s Maynard was freakyscary, Candlebox played the most passionate performance of a song I’ve ever seen on ‘Left Behind’ – rain pouring onto the stage, lights playing on the steam rising up from the mosh pit. I still get chills thinking about it 12 years later.

7: Diamond Star Halo, Sweet Water, Screaming Trees. Moore Theater, Seattle, Summer 1996. DSH only put out one album, and never toured, but rocked hard. Sweet Water and the Trees are two of my favorite bands from the Seattle scene. We traded out back row tix with a scalper for row 3 seats. The guitarist (at 6’3”, 300 fell over backwards during a solo and the roadies had to prop him back up a la Spinal Tap. He didn’t miss a lick.

6: Sam Roberts Band/ The Tragically Hip. Showbox, Seattle, October, 2005. Sam Roberts turned it up to 11, they’re now one of my favorite bands. The Hip were their normal selves.

5: Pearl Jam, Moore Theater, Seattle, Spring 1993. Only my second concert ever, my first mosh pit where I learned the hard way not to wear glasses while moshing. I made the 'Even Flow' video.

4: Train, McCaw Hall, Seattle, March 2006. See Above.

3: U2: Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, Summer 2004. Big band with a big sound put on a big show. 'Ground Beneath Her Feat' was absolutely haunting!

2: The Tragically Hip, Thunderbird Stadium, Vancouver, BC. Another Roadside Attraction, summer 1995. After being hit with a shoe Gordy (Lead Vocals) admonished the crowd telling a mock story: "Did you lose your eye in the Great War, Grandpa? No! Some F*cker hit me with a shoe!".

1: Urge Overkill: Paramount Theater, Seattle, Spring 2005. Extremely tight set, all dressed in various black clothes with black tank tops that spelled URGE. Switched instruments between songs.

There you have it! Rock on.


Blogger JFlaming said...

Your concert list makes me jealous. Most of the concerts I have been to were during my one year stint in the security business in Montana. I had to sit in front of the stage a couple times... you know, the big guy that is supposed to keep people from rushing the stage. They hired me for my brains, I'm sure. So, you can't see anything, everybody hates you, and most concerts that play in Montana come with a certain twang. Not that I dislike country music, but I don't think it works well for the arena concert scenario. The music quality sucks, for one thing. My only moment of fame was when Vince Gill stepped on my head with his boot.

The only non-country concerts I have attended:
-Quiet Riot, ten years after their brief bout with fame... when a major name band plays in Fairbanks Alaska, you know they are over.
-Air Supply with America, on Valentine's Day (1997?). This was like getting kicked in the jimmy over and over for three and a half hours. I was selling T-shirts as a volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club, who had an extremely persuasive, healthy young coordinator named Megan (a Jesuit volunteer, no less) who could manipulate fraternity guys into doing anything, including working at the worst concert in history.
-Weird Al Yankovic, approximately 1990... one of my high school friends thought he was hysterical, so his dad paid for us all to go to it. I don't even know what to say about this one.
-ZZ Top, Recycler, Billings MT, app 1989. Van Zant opened. They rock. Best show I've ever seen or heard of. They drove in to the show in a dropped and chopped '49 Mercury sedan with flames on it, right through the middle of the crowd. At one point the woman sitting in front of me dropped her joint in her lap, which prompted some great people watching, and let us move up to the rail.
-Whitesnake, Slide It In tour, Billings MT, approximately 1987? Do I even need to discuss this one?
-Denali Cooks, Farewell Tour. Various venues, as they say they are breaking up about every damned year. The best place to see them break up is in the Totem Inn, Healy AK, but I saw them in their final show twice bartending at the University Pub in Fairbanks.

No wonder your musical tastes are so much better than mine.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous claytor said...

not to be outdone by mr flaming (nice avatar btw) I have seen fewer concerts and it is probably also the reason for my taste in Music the rundown below:

-New Kids on the block: it would have been about 1990 and this was during the hieght of there popularity. I was in boulder colorado for an explorer concert and actually worked as a roadie for this concert. I met all of the new kids and found there dressing room requirements hilarious, also got to meet Jay leno.

-Amy Grant, with Kim Hill opening: went with the Church youth group around 90 or 91 just to see Kim Hill never have been an Amy grant fan.

-Dave mathews Band x2: I have seen DMB twice at the gorge and thought it sucked both times. The first time Jason mraz opened and he was awesome the show went downhill from there. The second time Jem opened and she rocked and then the DMB sucked. I must not be enough of a DMB fan. The fan base was hilarious to watch felt like Jane Godall.

-Crosby Stills & Nash with Fleetwood Mac (with Natalee Merchant): this was the most amazing concert I have seen it was at the gorge on my 19th birthday. We managed to get to the concert a little late and parked in BFE. We wandered around the show for a while listening to Mac trying to find a seat. We managed to get shutdown many times until I saw some friends from school sitting on the top terrace step center stage. It was like the music was pointed directly at us. Watched the whole show from that vantage point and it was amazing. They played three encores the final one was my favorite song "Southern Cross" they killed the lights and had the spotlights running over the crowds Definately was my favorite concert and one of my favorite birthdays. After we got out of the concert we were stuck at the back of a long line of cars so my friend suggested we take a shortcur and we ended up driving through the vineyard and bypassing the whole traffic thing.

my $.02

8:55 PM  

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