Rocking out with Mike McCready

So, last weekend at The Showbox (the original, near Pike Place Market) I got to rock out to Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and a number of other incredible local musicians as a fundraiser for the Chrohn’s & Colitis Foundation (Northwest Chapter).  I knew Mike’s Hendrix tribute alone would be worth the price of admission.  Great music for a great cause!

I’ve always appreciated Mike speaking out about Chrohn’s Disease (which he suffers from), like he did before the show in the Seattle PI, even before I started having troubles with something similar (though, fortunately, not as serious).  I went to Portland a couple summers ago for a Pearl Jam benefit for Chrohn’s and marveled about Mike being able to play through the pain.  Then about a half year later, towards the start of December, my own guts got hit. 

At it’s worst (from Dec. to Feb. last year), whatever I had (Group Health never diagnosed it, but I think it’s IBS) was definitely as bad as Mike describes in the article.  While it got better with medicine and watching what I eat,  I was still on shaky ground though most of last summer, and still have to be careful.  Eating out or at friends can still be a landmine (especially as all of the veggie sources of protein are problematic with me, which means eating more meat and being a bad girl; as most of my friends are vegetarians or vegans). I’m pretty much a wimp when it hits at it’s worse, no matter how many times I play Inside Job, the incredibly beautiful song Mike wrote about dealing with Chrohn’s.

I know, I’m digressing (if not digesting) too much.  On with the show!

There was a long line waiting to get in when I got there, held back about 20 feet from The Showbox, with a scenic view of the historic Pike Place Market while we waited, a captive audience for the panhandlers working the crowd.  They let us in a few at a time, to split up between ticket holders and those of us on will call or buying (a much slower line).  I liked how the security guy taking tickets was asking everyone to smile before he let them in.

Kristen Ward (who the Seattle Times is predicting as Seattle’s next big star) opened, and proved her mettle.  Kristin (and her band) really rocked out a lot more, and had more of an edge, than the few clips I had checked out on her MySpace page (which I enjoyed) let on.  She has a sultry voice and her songs tend toward folk rock and Americana.  I was especially impressed she was able to hold a crowd bent on hearing Mike McCready’s tributes to Jimi Hendrix and UFO, even when she had to pause to tune her guitar.

During the break, the young man who was mc’ing (well, young to me, maybe late 20’s, early 30’s) talked about his own experience with Crohn’s and the camp for young sufferers where he volunteered as a counselor, which the concert proceeds would help.  I bought 5 raffle tickets for $20, and a chance to win autographed cds,  an autographed Ames Brother’s poster book, boxing gloves (autographed by famous boxers, who I’m absolutely clueless about) and 4 seats to a Mariners/Boston Red Sox game.

(Photo from CCFA website)

Next up, Shadow ’86, a reunion of Mike McCready’s first band, with Mike playing an incredible tribute to Jimi. Killing Floor, Voodoo Chile (someone YouTubed this one, which I’ll try to post below, but here’s the link), Star Spangled Banner (which Mike often tag’s off the end of Yellow Ledbetter at the end of Pearl Jam shows, sometimes with), Little Wing (Kim Virant joined them to sing lead vocal on this one), ending the Hendrix tribute with Watchtower.  Next Duff (formerly of Guns N’ Roses) joined them for The RamonesChinese Rocks and Iggy Pop & The StoogesI Wanna Be Your Dog.

Mike seemed to me to be playing through the pain during the Hendrix set.  I couldn’t help but notice the young man mc’ing watching from the wings in awe at Mike’s playing (as were we all).

After that Feral Children took over the stage.  No, really, that’s the band’s name; and how they played!  I was waaaay too old for this music.  Then again, a fundraiser should have a band waaay too young for someone approaching her birthday which is only 2 years from the official AARP invite (which happens waaay too young; still I will be 30 years older than the average freshman at UW this fall -ouch!).

Just before Mike came back on stage, his wife came out, introduced as the one who got Mike to do something about his disease.  She helped sell a lot more raffle tickets (and said the Mariners’ tickets were choice seats – her’s and Mike’s) and there was a drawing . . . Nope, I didn’t win anything (but a great evening).

Then it was time for a Flight to Mars (Mike’s UFO tribute band).  No, I don’t think they have anything to do with the Pluto is a Planet protest I blogged about and took photos of.  Mike played another fantastic set with Flight to Mars.  Just incredible guitar playing.  He was the star the whole night and took over the show, even when he wasn’t the lead singer.  You know how good Eddie has to be to really take the lead and why Pearl Jam is such a great band.  Mike was obviously feeling better when he came back out, too.  He was even mugging for the crowd and all their digital cameras they had out (I kind of regret not bringing mine).

I was exhausted and properly rocked by the end of the show; and I almost lost my hat.  Yeah, my goofy hippie hat.  I had tucked it into the pocket of my jacket, which I had tied around my waist, along with my sweatshirt (too cheap to pay for the coat check).  Someone found it and asked at the end of the show.  I say I’m tired of it, but I quickly reclaimed it (and there was a young woman more than willing to take it if no one else did).  Ahh, well, the Hatterdashery booth will be back again, I’m sure, starting with the University District Street Fair next weekend.

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Oh, and I was just a few people away from the stage for both of Mike’s sets (and on his side of the stage for the second set).  How lucky I am to live in Seattle, you may say (especially if you’re a Pearl Jam fan).  Indeed, I could have caught Stone doing a Hank Williams tribute this week, and Stone and Jeff will be playing as part of the reunited Green River band for the Sub Pop anniversary event this summer.  However, . . . Pearl Jam doesn’t seem to ever play here!  Indeed, Eddie didn’t even play here for his solo April Fools’ tour.  No, the Gorge isn’t Seattle (not for those of us without cars, anyways).  It’s in the middle of nowhere and there are no concert buses.  I’m half seriously thinking of moving to Boston or Chicago so I can see Pearl Jam!  They always play there (and, indeed, are playing Boston once again this summer).

Could it be, the Seattle audiences?  I don’t know, but I think I finally understood after getting to slip in to see the Los Lobos show I tabled at Benaroya; and finding no one, or almost no one, was dancing!!!  Seriously, everyone sitting, like it was the symphony, at a rock concert!!!  The two (or three, counting me) people dancing had to move to the back of the room to not disturb anyone!!!

Excuse my language, but WTF?!!  OK, I was tabling that one for Amnesty International, so really excuse my language.  I’m not projecting a good image here.  It’s just, what has happened to rock and roll?  At least in Seattle.  You know, I do have some cousins in Boston. . .

Photos from the show: Lizardkings1 on Photobucket

Voodoo Chile by Shadow ’86, featuring Mike McCready:

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