Rock This Way

Last night was my 11th time seeing Aerosmith and true to form, they continue to impress and amaze.  They had a great set list, sounded fantastic, looked terrific and were really rocking!  The set list consisted of a lot of deep tracks, including a surprise cover of the Standell’s "Dirty Water" – sung by Joe Perry as an anthem to his Boston roots, and a cover of "Rattlesnake Shake," the song that brought the band together back in 1969 in New Hampshire.   The entire set list:

Mama Kin
Sweet E
Baby Please
Dirty H2O
Stop Messin’
Dream On
Rattle Snake
Eat The Rich
Draw The Line
Walk This Way

That is a solid set from start to finish, and one of the longest shows of the tour so far.  By comparison, Motley Crue was a disappointment last night.  This marked the fourth time seeing the Crue, the most recent being back in March.  They sounded alright then, but I enjoyed them a lot more with my earplugs in, as it helped to cut through the wall of noise that they create with their overly-loud system.  Back then, Vince Neil’s habit of changing the entire flow of the song by skipping over words and sometimes entire lines of lyrics was odd, but the second time around, it was just annoying.  These are the songs you know by heart, and for the second time, I found myself unable to sing along to Vince’s choppy vocals. 

The sub-par performance wasn’t helped any by the fact that Vince was struggling with laryngitis.  So not only was the performance choppy and shaky, but even when the words were right, they didn’t sound good!!

I feel bad saying that since I’ve seen two great shows by the Crue, and the one in March was good – this was a real disappointment though, and I wish I didn’t have to say that.  It was also disappointing to see that on a tour where Aerosmith has been pulling out some deep cuts ("S.O.S. (Too Bad)," "Rattlesnake Shake," "Lord of the Thighs," "No More No More") that the Crue performed the same set they did 6 months ago, minus "Too Fast For Love," "Ten Seconds to Love," "Red Hot," "On With The Show," and "Anarchy In The UK" resulting in this rather predictable set list:

Dr. Feelgood
Shout At The Devil
Wild Side
Looks That Kill
Louder Than Hell
Live Wire
Girls Girls Girls
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Home Sweet Home
Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
Primal Scream
Kickstart My Heart

Aerosmith more than made up for it, however, and showed the youngin’s (not that Crue is that young any more) how it’s done.

One quick concert-related note:  when everyone is waiting to get out of the parking lot, anyone who tries to drive up to the front of the line of cars, cutting everyone off should have their tires slashed.  Jerks.

Last but not least, here’s a few Aerosmith-related links:

Review of last night’s show in the Boston Globe

Steven Tyler reveals he has Hepatitis C

And this is a blog entry that was mentioned on the Aerosmith fan club discussion boards today.  This guy is an Aerosmith hater and offers his "Indisputable, Factual Reasons to Hate Aerosmith."  Now, just by the title, you know its going to be a questionable, possibly laughable post. 

I haven’t read much of the rest of his blog, but he admits to enjoying blaring his "honky-tonk country music" making him not much of a rock fan by his own admission.  Besides that, I’m guessing that this guy is a bit of a "music Nazi," believing that only a handful of the biggest-name bands and a handful of the most obscure bands – as well as the bands he likes, of course – are worthy of listening to. 

I actually think that Aerosmith belongs on rock’s "B-list" as well, but I think that the "A-list" is reserved for a very small number of bands and artists:  Elvis, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zepplin, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Black Sabbath, The Sex Pistols, U2, and Pink Floyd would be among them.  These are bands that are the first-generation of a particular genre or sound that others built upon.  The B-Listers include some damn good company:  Aerosmith, Kiss, Jefferson Airplane, Steve Winwood, Steely Dan, Nirvana, etc.  These people who came from a second generation and have influenced many others, but perhaps not as fundamentally as the A-list.  In fact, it might be tough to get anyone whose career started after 1975 on the A-list.  Aerosmith admitted from early on that they wanted to be the American version of the Stones – and they’ve accomplished that with their brawny, strutting style of cock-rock.  They don’t try to be important, they try to be fun, sexy, and purposefully banal in their delivery.  They aren’t out to save the world, they’re just trying to make fun while we’re waiting for it to end!

Aerosmith has had its fair share of influence on bands: from Van Halen to Guns n’ Roses, from the Black Crowes to Ratt, most rock bands started after 1975 would probably list Aerosmith as an influence some way. 

What is funniest about his post is that he calls his opinions "indisputable facts."  Saying that "Crying" "Amazing" and "I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing" are songs that suck isn’t really a fact – its an opinion.  I don’t care for those songs… in fact, I think they kinda suck myself, but I also know there’s a LOT of people who like that song.  "I Don’t Wanna…" hit number one on the singles chart, so apparently most people disagree with the idea that the song sucks.  Of course, N’Sync and Milli-Vanilla were also number one artists at some point, so you really can’t go on the tastes of the American public.

What really made me scratch my head is the the comment of "Once a band releases a “greatest hits”, they might as well stop releasing new music."  That just doesn’t make sense.  His precious Rolling Stones released numerous "greatest hits" compilations before Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, Goats Head Soup, Some Girls and Tattoo You.   The Beatles had several compilations out before Sgt. Peppers and all that followed…  Springsteen has released some great albums after his Greatest Hits CD came out in ’95 and Bob Dylan – ha!  Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits came out in 1967 – BEFORE John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline, New Morning, Blood on the Tracks, The Basement Tapes, Time out of Mind, Love and Theft and his newest, Modern Times.

Apparently this guy thinks that all of these artists should have stopped putting out albums simply because they put together a greatest hits compilation.  Good job, buddy!

You gotta love blogging – it gives everyone a chance to voice their opinions, but it makes my blood boil just a little bit when opinions are given as facts!

Pick a color, pick a number, pick a color, pick a number….

Do you know what this game is called?  Apparently it is a "Cootie Catcher."  A few weeks ago I went to a Hannaford’s Supermarket and picked up some materials on their new "good, better, best" star rating system for food products.   One of these was this folded contraption from grade school – I thought it was a really clever idea, since every kid plays with these things at some point.  However, we couldn’t remember how to fold it and finally came across it online.  That link above is there for anyone else trying to figure it out for whatever reason…

A little bit country, a little bit rock n’ roll….

What a better way of capping off a country fair experience than with a country music concert!?!?  Oh yes folks, you read it here: your devout head-banging metal-head went to his first country concert, put on by headliner Brad Paisley and supporting acts Eric Church and the Wreckers

I was hardly dragged there kicking and screaming before you get the wrong idea; I went willfully and gladly to make my woman happy and in the end it was quite enjoyable.   I’m not about to rush out and buy a full catalog of country CDs and I’m definitely not going to trade in my copy of Aerosmith’s "Rocks" for "Mud On the Tires" any time soon, so I guess I’m still not technically a fan, but I can appreciate it. 

I believe that one of the keys to country’s popularity is the relatively simple story-based lyrics that are featured in most songs.  Many country songs feature a narrative storyline and are usually quite relevant to the listener – songs about love and loss, about life and work.   They aren’t very abstract, but rather straightforward and understandable – and if case anyone takes that the wrong way, I don’t mean that as an insult, but rather a compliment.  I don’t know what’s easier to write a song about: nonsense or real life, but I’m guessing they are both pretty tough.

This is the opposite end of the spectrum from many other genres – in rock and rap/hip-hop, songs are often about a lifestyle unfamiliar to the listener, and that is part of the appeal.  The artists do the drugs, things and girls that we could/would never do, serving as escapism for the listener.   Others, like folk, are often about an idea or ideal that its listeners center themselves around.  Jazz, classical and even new age are more about the pure expression of musical ability and the raw emotion evoked by them. 

The closest thing to country that I enjoy is blues, which lacks the twang but often has the narrative style, but is usually less "every day" in their stories.  Country music, especially over the last few years, has managed to create interesting music that features rather mundane topics compared to the sex and drugs of rock – your girlfriend burning a cake isn’t exactly "Brown Sugar" even if the cake was made with it.

As my dad says "if we all liked the same thing, the world would be pretty boring" so I’ll take my rock and go to the occasional country concert if she’ll take her country and go to the occasional rock concert!

What is interesting is how much country has borrowed from pop and rock music – the production value of the show was excellent, with more lights than you ever would have seen 15 years ago at a country concert and complete with custom videos to accompany the music.  There were also a few hints of stolen licks from various rock songs here and there, showing their hand as to just how much of a cross-over country music has become.

Fair to Say….

Traditional country fairs are hard to come by when you live in the megalopolis of the Northeast.  There’s a few fairs and festivals around but to get to a true fair featuring lots of junk food, carnival rides, livestock contests, crafts, and shamans hawking their wares, you gotta go to The Big E.

I haven’t been to the Big E since… well… the last time I went to the Big E, my parents rented an Atari 2600 for me in the hotel room.  You figure it out.  Its a bit different than I remember, but not a lot.  Everything you could hope for is there: the rip-off "games of skill and chance," the various rides with a Times Square’s worth of neon and lights, vendors promising you that their car wax will make your car, dog AND hair look better and of course, more corn dog vendors than you could… well, shake a piece of processed meat dipped in batter and fried on a stick at.

Oh, the food, the glorious food.  I was proud to see that my little home state of Rhode Island was doing some big-time representin’ in their state exhibit, offering up the best food out of the six states – great stuffies and the best damn scallops I’ve ever had anywhere. 

Oh yes, we had beer and cheese-covered fries and cotton candy… I kinda wish I had had a corn dog though, just to complete the experience.   We also spent about $40 throwing various balls at various objects in an attempt to win a $10 doll of Brian, the dog from Family Guy.  Oh, the things we do when intoxicated .

No rides though – I’m not a ride type of guy, though the times I’ve been on them I’ve always walked off of them feeling all pumped up and ready for more.  It is just that first one that’s tough to overcome.  I don’t get the concept of being scared to the point of staining your pants or throwing up.  I don’t expect anything to be coming out of my body while I’m having fun (well, with one notable exception…).  This is much to the dismay of my significant other, whom, I discovered, is a ride junkie.  I explained that she likes scary rides and I like scary music, so it all works out.

Brokefoot Mountain

I went camping for the first time this past weekend.  Yes, for the first time – some people are shocked by that, others not so much.  I just didn’t grow up in a family that went camping, and neither did either of my parents.  However, I’m dating someone who’s practically a professional camper, and therefore, I am going camping.

It was an enjoyable experience, even taking into account the injury I sustained (an embarrassing one that I achieved by losing balance while putting on my shoes in the tent which was on slightly uneven ground.  Go me!) and the extra evening we lost due to unforeseen circumstances (memo to all my readers: never plan anything on a Friday night after traveling through Dulles airport on a Friday afternoon.  You’re not getting home on time.).  It was a fair amount of work doing this trip – we borrowed the basic camping equipment, but we had cobble together the rest and I was attempting to figure and learn what was needed along the way.  It took me a few trips to each store to get it all right, but now that I know, next time it’ll be much easier.

One thing I have to say is that every couple should be forced to camp before committing to each other long-term.  Especially if they have to put up a tent in the dark while trying to be quiet.  Which is exactly what we did and we managed to survive and still be talking by the next morning, though I was probably pushing my luck with my over-zealous flashlight control.  My attempts to keep the light in the right place led to a few blinding "right-in-the-eye" moments, which quickly got less funny after the fourth, fifth and sixth time.  It really wasn’t my fault, I swear – I was just trying to do a good job!!

Anyway – we got the tent up and the basics of what we needed in the tent.  Then at three in the morning a car alarm went off, and yours truly went into a panic trying to find my keys and shut it off.  Turned out that it was the strange elderly woman next to us who was sleeping IN the car.

Anyway – after that first night’s worth of mis-adventures, we enjoyed a great day of playing Monopoly, reading, cooking, and relaxing by the camp fire.  It was nice to be able to relax with just me and my woman – there’s usually always something going on with other people and it was nice to just spend time with just the two of us.   

There is definitely a certain charm to camping – it is quiet (almost eerily so at our campground), elemental (basically sleeping on the ground and depending on fire to keep you warm and cook your food), and forces you to relax.  I’m still a city boy at heart, but once in a while its nice to get away.

News Of the Week

A few interesting items for you:

Apparently those people who are too good for the rest of us are too good for the famous people as well; rich people don’t care about celebrity endorsements.

I have been on  I’ve poked around.  I think there’s some neat stuff there, but there’s still too many people with way too much time on their hands based on all the activity surrounding it.   Not to mention that as it becomes part of the mainstream media, what’s real and what isn’t will get tougher to determine.

Speaking of advertising, my fellow marketers have found yet another way to inundate us all with advertising – on school buses.  I don’t know about this – I haven’t been on a school bus in a while, but if my memory serves me correctly, the kids who don’t have headphones on are too loud to hear anything anyway.

Its almost as if they’ve been doing Cocaine – the energy drink.

Everybody who has filled up their iPod with iTunes purchased music, raise there hand.  *crickets chirps*  I thought so too.

Back in the "people with too much time worrying about stupid things" department, some people are concerned about the skinniness of models.  Others are saying you can’t regulate it.  The rest of us are saying "who cares!?!??!"

Happy birthday Play-Doh!  I’m gonna go grind some putty into a carpet in your honor.

The music industry must be in a sad state when the Naked Cowboy gets a record deal.  It’ll be even sadder if the record sells well.  It be downright depressing if its actually better than most of the stuff out there – which it easily could be actually…

OK, so this article is a bit over the top, but I have to admit… while they are comfortable, I do find Crocs to be disturbing looking.  They look like standard issue in a jailhouse – no metal, no sharp edges and lightweight. 

What Caught My Eye

A few things that have popped up on my radar screen in the last week….

This isn’t really a ground breaking article: it basically says that teens are comfortable with technology.  But its worth mentioning and reading.

There’s a niche for everything, and here’s your proof: an airline for smokers.

Paris Hilton gets caught up in a CD altering prank.  Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bitchy rich heiress.

Netflix is now producing movies, which could be one of those small industry "tremors" that turns into a major earth-moving shake-up.   Home theater systems have liberated people from the movie theater, so why not by-pass it all-together?

I watched the VMAs the other night and I have to admit I was feeling a little bit old.  I recognized nearly every single performer and knew the majority of the songs, but it doesn’t mean I liked them. But for the youngin’s, its their Superbowl according to this article.

Last, but not least, the mystery of lonelygirl15.  People have way too much time on their hands if all they have to do is dissect videos this bad.  Well, the production is about 10 times better than anything else on there, but that just makes me thinkt hat lonelygirl is simply a hoax of some sort.