Another Flight to Mars with Mike McCready & Friends

I can’t get enough of Mike McCready’s guitar playing, as I continue being spoiled living in Seattle and getting to hear Mike and his rock star friends at ridiculously low prices in intimate nightclub settings for charity. Spoiled, except for the fact his main band never plays Seattle these days.  No, the Gorge isn’t Seattle, at least for those of us without cars.  Shouldn’t those of us who leave a small carbon footprint be rewarded? ; ) OK, so really I don’t have a car because I’m too broke to have one and would have to live in it if I did, but still. . .

On to the show!  After missing out on a reprise of Tom Morello playing the newly reopened Crocodile for $15 because a friend was in crisis, I jumped at the chance for tickets for Mike’s latest fundraiser at the Showbox  (at the Market) for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, even though I was in Boston for Amnesty International’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the time (yeah, I still need to blog about that one). Tickets only $20, except Ticketmaster tacked on almost $15 in “convenience” charges (still a bargain, but come on, a 75% profit on charity tickets?!!).

You really got to appreciate the guys in Pearl Jam for their attempt to fight Ticketmaster on fan rip offs, even though it cost them at the time. Mike’s my personal hero for being willing to go so public with his ordeal with Crohn’s disease, most recently pushing for public restroom access in Washington state for those who suffer from Crohn’s and similar diseases. Whatever I have is milder than Crohn’s, but on a bad day – you got to go, when you got to go! 

It was a dark and stormy night. . . No, really, it was rainy and very windy as we waited in line Saturday at the Showbox (at the Market), the original Showbox, across the street from Pike Place Market. It doesn’t get more Seattle than that!

What can you say with a show that opens with Shadow ‘86, Mike’s Hendrix tribute band?  Mike’s guitar playing is absolutely amazing, especially when he’s playing some Jimi!  Purple Haze, All Along the Watchtower, and of course, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) and many others.  Mike was having a great time with his band mates, Chris Friel and Rick Friel, who were also great, as always.  Kim Virant did come out again for this show, this time to sing the lead on Angel.

Here’s the full, official Pearl Jam video of Shadow ‘86 playing Voodoo Child (Slight Return) at the November 3 (night before the election) concert I went to at the Showbox (at the Market) last year.  I’ve previously posted a fan clip showing Mike playing the guitar behind his back. That man is incredible!

Oh, yeah – Stone Gossard came out and joined Mike with Shadow ‘86 to sing David Lee Roth’s Just Like Living in Paradise, a song choice that got a bit of flack from some of the fans and one of the guys in Duff McKagan’s band, but Stone was having so much fun with it!

Duff McKagan’s Loaded was up next.  McKagan (better known from Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver)   lives in Seattle these days, even writing for the Seattle Weekly’s blog, Reverb, not to mention a hilarious column on dating tips for men for the paper, just in time for Valentine’s Day this year. Now who would have thought a rocker like Duff would be a romantic? Of course, the last part, for future daters of his daughter is especially funny.  You thought the DeNiro character was scary. . .

It was great having an all rock and roll lineup this year, or at least what I call rock and roll.  I wasn’t that into the Feral Children that the younger crowd was into last year. What the heck, I’m pushing 50 (only one year from my AARP card as of tomorrow), so I don’t have to pretend I understand young people’s music these days.

Duff and the boys in the Loaded band have the in-your-face rock star attitude.  I’m sure this was the kind of rock show my father was always worried I was going to. . .

Mike McCready came out with Flight to Mars, his UFO tribute band, rocking us past 1 in the morning.  Great band and lead singer, Paul Passereli, they were all over the place and having the time of their lives.  All the bands were just having a blast.  I love club shows! 

Rock Bottom was just the ultimate.  Their version Saturday night was epic (the clip from a gig two years ago above isn’t epic, but will give you an idea). They went into the lengthy solos.  Kelly Van Camp did a terrific and epic solo on the drums. Then, just imagine this one, Mike McCready in another jaw dropping incredible guitar solo, with his shirt off and tattoos showing, bathed in blue spotlight, just a few feet away.

On the one hand, I wish I had brought my camera, because it would have been an incredible shot (then again, I’m not the greatest photographer).  On the other hand my thought for the evening, that I wanted to enjoy the evening and focusing on taking pictures does take some of the focus off the taking in the show, and maybe I wouldn’t have been as mesmerized by his playing, if I was trying to get the perfect shot.

Here’s one I found on Flickr, from Bridget Christian’s photo set of Flight to Mars playing at El Corazon back in August:

Mike McCready

Both Duff McKagan’s Loaded and Flight to Mars did their versions of Iggy Pop’s I Wanna Be Your Dog, which the guys in the crowd (and it was mostly guys in the thick of it up front where I was) were really into.  There’s a lot about guys I still don’t understand. . .

Loaded’s version from Osaka, Japan in2001:

The winner of the auction to play with Mike and Flight to Mars, Jeremy (no kidding), came up and was trading riffs with Mike and the band on their version of I Wanna Be Your Dog.  That’s got to be a Guitar Hero fantasy moment!  Jeremy was pretty good, and no, I don’t think Jeremy was wicked ; ) .  Although, I did see the band was treating him with a lot of respect.  I think that had to do with the size of his bid, though.

Another great evening.  I love living in Seattle!  Still, I may have to move to Boston or Chicago to hear Mike’s other band. . .  It really sucks when one of your favorite bands doesn’t play in your city, especially when they live in your city.  It’d be like Springsteen not playing Jersey (and he even still plays Asbury Park, where he started out).  Come on, Seattle audiences aren’t that bad!  We were really rocking Saturday night! 

I always feel silly asking a band to play your city, but then again, this is silly. 

Please, Pearl Jam, play Seattle!


3 thoughts on “Another Flight to Mars with Mike McCready & Friends

  1. Some day the big bridge over Hood Canal will be whole again…because I need to hear some of the tunes you get to.
    Did you happen to catch the Tadgarden happening at the Crocodile in March?

    Nice new look to the blog too!


  2. No, didn’t catch the Tadgarden. It’s summer festival time again, so keep a look out for good tunes near you! I still need to blog about the local groups I caught at the U District Street Fair. Between vigils and visiting family, that may be a few days.

    I meant to mention the woman who came out and sang with Mike accoustic at the start of the show because she was good too (and like the Two Feet Thick author, I didn’t get her name either.


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