Category Archives: Music

Still Photos From Our Elton John Concert

Last night. Dodger Stadium. The penultimate Elton John concert in North America.

Care to guess what songs were playing given the video display behind the band?

The concert was incredible, a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. So, SO glad that we went!

Finding Hissy in that massive parking lot and then fighting the traffic to get out? Not my favorite experience, but the price you pay. In the end, we didn’t get home until way, way after midnight and I didn’t get to bed and sleep until after 2:00 AM. Then we were up “early for a Sunday,” about 07:45, for the first World Cup game and to get rolling to go down to the South Bay area to meet friends for brunch. Then, of course, my beloved Chiefs had a big game tonight against the Chargers (I was so tempted to be unbelievably spontaneous, grab tickets off an online site, and go to the game in person since we were driving just a couple miles away coming home from brunch) and it was a real barn burner with the Chiefs winning in the last few seconds…

I’m so freakin’ exhausted right now! It’s a good thing! An amazing concert, brunch with friends, a great football game… But I could really use 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. That’s not going to happen, of course, but I could really use it!

Look out, Monday! I’m coming in hot!

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Sir Elton’s Penultimate Concert

Elton John’s Penultimate concert – Dodger Stadium, along with what I expect to be about 50,000+ of my closest friends!

Danny Elfman three weeks ago, Elton John tonight, who knows who’s next. (March at SoFi Stadium is who??)

Lots of folks in glitter and odd eyewear – I’m an olde phart, so I went with comfort. But The Long-Suffering Wife went wild with a streak of purple!

Let the tunes begin!!

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Danny Elfman At The Bowl

You might recall that on Saturday I and most of the family were at the Hollywood Bowl for the Danny Elfman concert. I posted at the beginning, then enjoyed the show.

It might have been absolutely amazing!

Excellent graphics to go along with the music, usually very bizarre.

“Only A Lad” – there were several classic Oingo Boingo songs, along with a lot of his other pretty hardcore rock and punk tunes. For starters.

The wide angle view, with the two big screens on each side, and then two more out even further to the side and closer to us. There might have been another set up behind us, but we were in a good location so I didn’t worry about what was behind us.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” – mixed in with the Oingo Boingo and punk were selections from his dozens and dozens and dozens of movie scores and television theme songs.

This whole slection was done live with the primary singers, a full orchestra, and a choir. NOT a subtle or small production.

Amazing work to see done live, coordinated with the video from the movie on the big screen behind them.

The entire production was almost too much, just overwhelming. It’s so rare that he performs live these days, just one Coachella set a couple weeks ago and these two nights at the Bowl (plus an odd short show at the Bowl once or twice) since 1995. Twenty-seven years and you can count on one hand the number of his live concerts – and we were there!

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Filed under Los Angeles, Music, Photography

More Excellent Noise Tonight

Yesterday I noted that my watch warned me on Thursday about the noise levels at the Kings game.

There will be slightly fewer folks here than at the Crypt on Thursday. Capacity here is 17,500 vs 20,000 at Crypto.com Arena – but our band tonight will be a LOT louder.

It’s night #2 at the Hollywood Bowl for Danny Elfman’s Halloween 🎃 concert.

The moon was setting as we climbed the hill.

The crowd is packed – this is a hot ticket. The use of legal recreational pot is widespread, “No Smoking” signs be damned, and those of us not partaking are in danger of a contact high.

The opening act was loud and okay, but I didn’t catch their names and I have no urgent need to track them down.

Now, the full orchestra is assembled and momentarily it will be a Dead Man’s Party – literally!

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Filed under Los Angeles, Music, Photography, Uncategorized

NC Headphones Vs The Laugh Track

If there’s a special place in Hell, I hope it’s reserved for whoever invented the TV sitcom laugh track. It’s specially designed to cut right through all of the background noise that might be around you as you watch, very subtle, almost unnoticeable, ever present.

Until you have it pointed out to you.

Until you’re listening to it from a TV down the hall and trying to think and you can hear none of the “jokes,” none of the dialog, just a mush that sounds a lot like Charlie Brown’s teacher – except for the laugh track, slicing through reality like a prop from a horror movie (what was that spinning ball with the blades that popped out?) headed straight for your ears like a cruise missile.

And then, once you’re aware, sort of like Rowdy Roddy Piper in “They Live,” you’ll never watch a sitcom in peace again. Whether you’re out of bubble gum or not.

Consider this – have you EVER seen a movie with a laugh track? Think of movies you find hilarious. “Animal House” maybe. “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.” Is there any kind of laugh track to make sure you know which bits are supposed to be funny?

It’s a war now.

Then I discovered Noise Cancelling Headphones.

There just might be a God.

Not only do you get tunes, but the laugh track goes away. It’s blissful. If it’s a war, this is the nuclear option.

The good ones are not cheap, but they’re worth every penny. The Apple iPods are in the $100 range and work okay, if you can keep them in your ears. (I can’t.) The top of the line Bose headphones are about $550, but worth every cent.

Wearing them all night might not be the most comfortable thing when it’s warm and muggy, but take them off for a second, listen to the cackling demon chorus hooting at something that’s not very funny to begin with, and you’ll be surprised how fast you can put them back on and be perfectly happy with the choice.

Thank you for listening to my TED Talk!

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Filed under Entertainment, Music

Sometimes The Lyrics Just Click

If you’ve listened to any country music in the past twenty years or so, you’ve heard Toby Keith’s “You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This” a time or seventy-three. A cute enough love song, I guess, with a video that’s a bit on the creepy side for my tastes.

Anyway, today it came up on my playlist while my brain was busy doing some routine work and suddenly all of the words clicked. But it’s not love that Keith’s talking about!

“Something shot right through me, my heart skipped a beat in time…”

That’s not love, or even lust.

That’s a PVC, or Premature Ventricular Contraction. I’ve had them for years, even to the point of wearing a Holter monitor for a day to make sure they weren’t something more serious. Mostly harmless – unlike what the cougar in the video is going to do to that young stud muffin.

“I even think I saw a flash of light…”

Again – not passion, or a bolt of metaphysical, super psychic energy impacting your cranium from the great beyond.

Nope, that’s a PVD, Posterior Vitreous Detatchment. I had that about a year ago. Lots of floaters and spots and at night and in dark spaces I get flashes of light sometimes, especially when I blink. You get used to it. It can be serious and an indication of something much worse going on, but monitoring it with an exam every six months or so seems to be working fine.

So, much like the cold, harsh reality of the ending of the video, we see that the romantic, gushy, sappy love song is just a sign that we’re all getting old, falling apart, and soon to die. Probably painfully.

(I may be Captain Buzzkill now, but I’m bucking for Admiral Buzzkill!)

 

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Filed under Farce, Music

No Context For You – July 18th

I’ve been thinking a lot these days about music, both in the philosphopical sense and in the more practical sense.

Philosophically, I’m always surprised by folks to whom music is a take it or leave it proposition. Sure, they like having something on the radio in the car and they may go to a concert here or there, but, you know … whatever! Where for me it’s much more of a passion, a daily presence, something that I’ve got on or available or involved with hours and hours a day.

Practically, I still like my physical media. I know that the world is going to streaming services and content on demand and storing everything on the Cloud. And I’ll most certainly take advantage of those conduits, listening to Sirius satellite radio all the time, storing copies of my music online, listening to Pandora stations centered around favorite groups. But the foundation is always a closet full of CD’s and even records and cassettes. The Cloud can go offline, the streaming services can get into pissing contests with the artists, satellites can fail, even music (and video, and books, and everything else) that you’ve “bought” digitally can all get taken back without warning. They’ll only take my CD’s (and DVD’s and books and tapes and laserdiscs) when they show up with a warrant and/or an army.

Paranoid, much?

Have you read the freaking news recently?

Gotta have my music! And books!

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Focused Elsewhere

Yeah, that’s obvious. There’s a LOT going on right now. Home. Work. Life. The World.

Oh, yeah, all of that shit. I’m sure you all have the same to a greater or lesser extent.

In the fog of just trying to keep one’s head above water in the chaos, something or the other will sometimes trigger a meloncholy moment, a memory, often of someone gone or at least no longer in contact, and I’ll get into that “what if?” mindset. Occasionally there are regrets, but always of the sort where I regret NOT doing something, not regrets over something I did.

At the same time, if you look at the pictures and quick snippets here, you know that I encourage and value the tiny pleasures, the small moments, the subtle beauties all around us. The birds, lizards, flowers, clouds…

So meld those thoughts just a bit and I was wandering off on a whistful train of thoughts. To wit – if I could speak to my younger self in those moments when I had to decide whether or not to step out of my comfort zone, to take a risk, to “go for it,” what would I say? And more critically, when I make a moment to breathe now, pushing away the chaos and pressure for a few precious moments, instead of wishing things were different and just being frustrated with it all, what might my future self be wanting to tell me if he could reach back and talk to me now?

Can that message be heard if I listen closely enough? I wish I knew. Maybe it’s just not that easy.

I hope some of this makes sense, but I doubt it. It’s really late, I was up really, really late last night, and the rest of the week looks to be “exciting.”

Keep breathing, keep helping each other, keep on accepting help when it’s offered. We’ll make it through together.

For probably the dozenth time or more in the 9+ years of this blog…

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Filed under Music, Paul

Reprise From Sting

One of my all time favorites from Sting, I do truly love this song:

And now he’s got a live version for the people of Ukraine. As he says, he hasn’t played this very much recently because he didn’t think that it would be relevant again.

Cry your way through either, or both.

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Filed under Moral Outrage, Music, Video

Revelations On A Long Friday

Question everything.

I just tonight realized that the version of the Bowie song “Ashes to Ashes” that I love is not actually by Davie Bowie. I had always thought that it was a live version or something, but always believed it was him. Nope, it’s a Tears For Fears cover.

Gobsmacked. It’s going to be a hell of a weekend.

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Filed under Music, Paul