Category Archives: Music

It’s A New World

Dvorak’s to be specific.

Dvorak’s 9th and Ives’ 3rd. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while.

I expect it to be spectacular!

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Date Night Downtown

We’re exploring LA’s cultural options a bit more – first it was the start of a series of LA Philharmonic concerts at Disney Hall, tonight it’s the first of a small subscription series at the Ahmanson.

I haven’t been to the Mark Taper Forum or the Kirk Douglas Theater yet (they’re all here in the Music Center complex) – maybe next year. I can only take so much culture at one time.

Tonight it’s “The Last Ship,” staring the one and only Sting. I haven’t seen or heard much about it in advance except that it’s good, because, well – Sting!

Right?

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The Long Version

One of my coworkers was playing music today in the office, an eclectic mix of mostly 70’s & 80’s hits. One of them that came on was Don McLean’s “American Pie.

When it got to the verse that starts, “Helter skelter in a summer swelter,” my brain, having been young and impressionable in 1971, automatically thought, “Cool! It’s the long version!” And suddenly, after all the times I’ve listened to that song, it hit me.

There are whole generations out there that don’t know that there were two versions of this song.

AM “Top 10” radio wasn’t going to play anything 8:33 long. So the version that was released for radio was 4:11. Everything from “Helter skelter…” to “I met a girl who sang the blues…” was cut. Eight verses, two choruses, gone in the name of a format that was unforgiving.

But the full version crept out. Hearing it for the first time, having only heard the short version, was a stunning revelation. From then on, every time the song played, there would be an air of anticipation until I knew if I had gotten lucky and could revel in my eight extra verses. (And two extra choruses.)

Then the 70’s passed, we all moved on. FM radio opened up formats and opportunities. CD’s let us take whole libraries of music with us, followed by iPods and iPhones and streaming services.

So now, if you even know that the short version of “American Pie” exists, you have to go hunting around YouTube or the internet to track it down. If you mention the short version, people under forty just look at you funny. (As me how I know!)

It was a different day and age.

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Fancy Music

In an effort to broaden our horizons a bit, this year we’ve picked up a subscription to a small series of concerts for the LA Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown.

It was spectacular!

Gustavo Dudamel is the legendary conductor and neither he, the LA Phil, the soloist, or the music disappointed.

The acoustics could not be more perfect, even sitting in the second balcony at the back.

We started by hearing two pieces that I was unfamiliar with – Sinfonia India (Symphony No. 2) by Carlos Chavez, and a Piano Concerto, “Universos Infinitos” by Esteban Benzecry. Both were wonderful.

We finished with two favorites of mine by Aaron Copland – Fanfare for the Common Man and Rodeo.

Hearing Fanfare for the first time live by a world-class orchestra was absolutely stunning. I had no idea how strongly it would affect me.

Rodeo was just a lot of fun. The way Dudamel and the orchestra played with the different instruments and musical lines was both humorous and joyous. Since it’s music for a ballet I was wondering how it might be presented differently in a ballet setting since it would be secondary to the dance. Maybe I’ll get a chance to find out some day.

If you’re in LA or visiting and you have a chance, go see the LA Phil! They do more pop music concerts at the Hollywood Bowl (“Star Wars” music, “Game of Thrones,” etc) but their classical concerts at Disney Hall are even better!

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Maybe It’s Part Of The Joke?

A Hallmark movie led me down the rabbit hole and into the Twilight Zone Time Machine, where I ended up watching an old Monkees video.

Listen to the music, particularly the drums, and watch Micky Dolenz “playing” the aforementioned drums:

Thank goodness they had the sense to usually be showing other band members when the more aggressive drum riffs were being heard. USUALLY.

I understand that his primary role was as the vocalist in the band, and according to his Wikipedia article he was taught to play the drums after the band was put together and could play passibly well by the time they went on tour. But on this song, “Fast” Eddie Hoh played the drums and Dolenz only sang.

Even in the Hallmark movies, when they have a character playing the piano or a violin, they at least do an acceptable job of faking it. This video? Well, not so much.

But on second thought – maybe it’s part of the joke?

 

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Some Old English Guy’s Here

Rod something?

Jeff Bark? Buck? Bork? Is he that Swedish Chef guy?

I hear that Maggie may – or she may not. We’ll see where the night leads.

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Girls With Guitars

Tonight’s salvation (it’s been a rough week/month/year and what I’m not getting in sleep I’m making up for in stress) comes from Wynonna:

Thanks! I needed that!

I might just get through all of the crap I have to do now following a long day of crap I had to do then!

(I know — if bitching and whining become an Olympic sport, I’m a contender!)

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There Are Two Knobs

Speaking of adventures in driving, I’ve recently been routinely driving the Volvo for various reasons. It’s a nice car, but the dashboard layout is a bit unfamiliar to me still.

In particular, there are two big knobs in the center console, one above the other. One controls the fan for the heat and air conditioning, the other the volume for the sound system. There have been several instances (including again this evening) when I reach over without double checking. It’s been really hot, the car’s been sitting in the sun, and it’s important that I get the A/C kicked up to MAX AIRFLOW instantly if not sooner.

Guess what happens if I’m not careful?

Fortunately it was a good song. (“Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo.)

The ringing in my ears should go away in a day or two!

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Just What The Doctor Ordered

After a day at the office that was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long and stressful, I was sort of just vegging out, listening to some tunes.

Then came the opening beats, and I cranked it up to an eleven with the good headphones on…

I may have listened to it waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too loud (and I might have pulled something doing air drums) but the stress levels are a lot lower!!

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It’s A Challange!

It’s a challenge, not being able to speak at all in a job where a big chunk of it it answering questions, being in meetings, giving instructions, communicating, communicating, communicating!

To be specific, it’s a pain in the ass, extremely frustrating, gonna put me in an early grave challenge!

I’m coping, carrying around a pad of yellow sticky notes, a notepad, and even a short FAQ sheet. (“Yes! I have industrial strength laryngitis and can’t talk!”) Several folks thought the latter was humorous and amusing – screw that, I was trying to stop repeating the same thing (in pantomime) a dozen times a day!

When we went into Urgent Care on Sunday morning I pretty much knew what most of the questions would be, so I while sitting there in the waiting room I whipped out my iPad and typed up a document that gave them my name, address, medication, symptoms, history, what I needed, and so on. Again, the staff seemed bemused by that. I can’t really be the only one who thinks this makes sense, can I? Do you have to be Steven Hawking to get a little bit of technological help with a medical condition?

I’m sure when I look back on it it will be amusing, and probably hilarious if it’s happening to someone else. Right here? Right now? Not so much.

I’m ready for this to be over!


One other thought from yesterday, where I staggered my way through to the end of the day.

On the way home I was too freaking tired to bother to change the station. It was on the usual (Sirius channel 33, First Wave) but it was one of their weekly shows that I rarely listen to, the Billy Idol hosted show. But exhaustion won and I ended up a winner.

Billy was, as always, talking about the very early days of punk in the UK in the late 1970’s. This was about the time I was getting hooked on it over here in my early 20’s, but he was already deep into the genre. He told a great story about seeing the Sex Pistols form, very, very early in their career, when they were playing Tuesday night pub gigs and doing all covers, including songs by The Who and even The Monkees. Then they started experimenting with their own stuff, one night breaking out THIS…

You don’t have to know much about that genre of music or that time to know what “THIS” was going to be. I might have been tired, but my arm instinctively shot out and cranked up the volume to hearing impairment volume just as the first note of that infamous opening bass riff hit.

It was glorious.

I had the top up on the convertible and all of the windows rolled up, so they probably couldn’t hear me more than ten or fifteen cars away stopped at that red light. And if the little old lady from Pasadena next to me gave me the hairy eyeball? It’s okay, she knows that I made her day, even if she can’t appreciate it.

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