2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 47 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 199 posts. There were 334 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 146mb. That’s about 6 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 17th with 40 views. The most popular post that day was Rocking out with Mike McCready.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were ifreestores.com, facebook.com, en.wordpress.com, homercat.blogspot.com, and mariaozawa2u.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for kim virant, mike mccready, mike mccready wife, kristen ward, and aztec dancers.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Rocking out with Mike McCready May 2008


Aztec Dancers & Altars November 2009


Another Flight to Mars with Mike McCready & Friends May 2009


The Dusty 45s Playing Everywhere This Summer August 2010


Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway at the Burke January 2010


Bumbershoot Flashback

OK – I’m way behind again, but there was too much good music at Bumbershoot not to get around to it.  I had an incredible amount of fun on my $22 economy ticket. Yeah, I do wonder what it would have been like if I sprung for the full ticket and caught some Bob Dylan as well as Solomon Burke and Ozomatli. That was just it though.  They scheduled some great music at the same time, and I wasn’t sure if I would have made it anyways, and it would have been $18 more, on my very small budget.

Bumbershoot Banner

So, I didn’t decide for sure which ticket to get until a few days before (and actually just before they announced the full tickets for the mainstage that day were sold out). I figured it would be easier if I bought in advance and they held it at will call. Wow was I wrong!

I built a little time in, and even with the bus being late, I as there an hour before Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs were due to take the stage at the Mural Amphitheater early Saturday afternoon.  The sun was now shining, while earlier it was raining. . .and. . . the Will Call line was a couple blocks long and slowly moving on the Mercer Street side of Seattle Center. As a half hour, 45 minutes went by it was starting to look rather grim.

Did I mention that Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs were one of the main reasons I bought a Saturday ticket and I was eagerly looking forward to hearing them play with the  new line up, even before the rumors that Mike McCready of Pearl Jam would be joining them for a few songs? Oh, yes, I even blogged a rave about that, and in a timely manner (which, as you know, is relatively rare for me).

I finally got to up the will call window and got my ticket less than 10 minutes before they were due to hit the stage, and while I was trying to dash back to the entrance near the EMP (OK, I am not in dashable shape), I did not think I would make it in time. I got there, though, just before they started!

OK, now I know Bumbershoot has apologized and hopefully got Will Call right for the next two days of the festival, but. . .as I rushed by the ticket sales at the gate near EMP, I realized I would have had no line to wait in if I had waited and bought my ticket there. . .

Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs were awesome! Even before first Carrie Akre, then Mike McCready joined them.

Here they are with Mike for Wolves in Disguise, the first of two videos I took:

and All Alone in This Together, their closing number:


I wandered around some before heading back to the Mural for The Maldives, finally finding the traveling hot shop from the Museum of Glass, but without enough time to check it out, yet. Also ran into Amnesty friends, with their children. I do want to give Bumbershoot praise on this one – letting children in free with their parents on the economy ticket! Great idea.

Mayor Mike McGinn introduced The Maldives (which was kind of cool).  Here they are with Blood on the Highway at Bumbershoot, video from Tacoma Rock City:

Then it was time for some old time soul and funk with Wheedle’s Groove a super band composed of members of at least 6 or 7 of Seattle’s biggest soul band from the 1960s & 70s. They came together for a documentary, which will be showing soon on PBS, and are still playing gigs around Seattle. It was great seeing an all generation audience grooving  on them at Bumbershoot!

Here’s my video of (Stop) Losing Your Chances  (and the audio is better than the video on this one):

With no break again, it was back to the Mural Amphiteater for Justin Townes Earle.

Justin Townes Earle

Justin and his band were in fine form! I had not seen Justin before, and what surpised me was that he went in the opposite direction from his famous dad, Steve Earle, than I expected. I figured he’d throw in something “young” like indie music or hip hop; but instead he went back to the country roots with a depression era sound (which seems to be coming back in style these days).

Here’s Justin Townes Earle with Mama’s Eyes from KEXP‘s Music Lounge broadcast earlier that day:

It’s a beautiful song, and I don’t mean any disloyalty to his father, who I’m also a fan of.  I know it’s also an ironic song, in light of  Justin’s own recent struggles with addiction, but he’s the first to admit, and in the song itself, that he’s following too closely in his dad’s footsteps that he’s so critical of.

On the other hand, at my age, I’m starting to have a different perspective. First, you start realizing your parents did the best they could , based on their own parenting and childhood, as well as whatever else was going on in their lives and causing stress. Often trying to do better. Then you look at their parents and their lives. . . Then you start realizing your children, or the children of your contemporaries (for those of us who have none of their own), are complaining about their parents; while already starting to make some of the same or different mistakes themselves, with their kids. . .

Museum of Glass Mobile Hot Shop

After that, it was time for some wandering, and I finally searched out the mobile Museum of Glass hot shop that was happening throughout the weekend.  Of course, they lacked the groovy giant cooling tower of the actual hot shop down in Tacoma, but just like there, you get to watch the glass artists create their pieces from start to finish.

Museum of Glass Mobile Hot Shop

I wasn’t sure which band I wanted to see next, but had several possibilities. I decided to head over to the EMP and start there. On the way, and nearby, I caught some of  This Providence. They were good, and verrry young. 

Here they are at Bumbershoot with Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, video by shutterbugTrin:

I headed over to the EMP’s Sky Church to check out See Me River.


See Me River


They sounded really good, and were really intense.

Here they are with their song Ed Jackson at The Tractor Tavern last year:

As I left the EMP, I caught the Circus Una Motorcycle Thrill Show right outside:

Circus Una Motorcycle Thrill Show

Then I headed back to the Mural Amphitheater to see Solomon Burke, in what I just realized was his last U.S. performance. He died October 10, while on tour in Amsterdam.

Solomon Burke

They darkened the stage lights to bring him on stage in his wheelchair, and he performed on a throne, the man and his voice still majestic. He had a bucket of roses he had assistants pass out to women in the audience.

Here’s a clip toward the end of his set by SMI TV, ending, appropriately enough, with When the Saints Come Marching In:


I ended the evening with Ozomatli, the band that made Seattle dance! I was realizing I’m terribly out of shape and was having a hard time keeping up.

Here they are with Malagasy Shock, video by satherp5 (and the band itself has such tremendous energy!):

They brought children up toward the end as well, who were dancing all around the stage with them.


I headed home, having really gotten my money’s worth out of my economy ticket (and hearing mixed reviews about Bob Dylan, who I’m not sure if I would have caught even with the full price ticket, between Solomon Burke and Ozomatli).

Another Hoot – One for the Gulf

September started out the Hootenanny for a Healthy Gulf, another sing-a-long with some of Seattle’s greatest musicians, this time at the Moore Theater. No cameras were allowed, so I didn’t bring mine, not that I’m not tracking down what bootleg video exists. OK, questionable on the goodie-two shoes award here. . . It probably was a good thing for me to just enjoy a show for a change instead of taking too many (maybe not so great) photos, and sometimes a decent video or two.

Hootenanny for a Healthy Gulf 9.2.10
Hootenanny for a Healthy Gulf 9.2.10 by Pearl Jam Official, on Flickr

Once again, Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready and his wife Ashley O’Connor headed up the effort, pulling together some of Seattle’s best talent, sponsors and all the other logistics needed to put on a successful benefit. 

I won’t even pretend to remember the order of the songs this far after the event (and while there’s a lot of video, there are a lot of good moments missing as well).

Duff McKagan Wild Horses, video by Outlaw Digital Media

Guns N’ Roses dude Duff once again headed up the line up with Mike as the big name draws, also promoting the show in his Reverb blog for Seattle Weekly. In reality, Duff and Mike shared the stage equally with all the other musicians, letting them shine.

There weren’t really any moments like this:

Saw that one coming!

Here’s how Patience went at the real Hoot, with Jeff Rouse (who is in Duff McKagan’s Loaded), Star Anna & Shawn Smith leading up vocals:

While My Guitar Gently WeepsMark Pickerel & Star Anna on vocals, Tim DiJulio (aka Rock Tim) on lead guitar, and Ty Bailie on keyboards (video by ShastaLoup):

Blue BayouRachel Flotard  of Visqueen, with Rusty Willoughby on guitar:

Wonderwall – Jeff Rouse and Victoria Wimer Contreras (video by ToryRenManagement):

Instant Karma -Star Anna – awesome, with a little help from her friends (video by rb1229):

Purple Rain– Shawn Smith (with Tim DiJulio once again stealing the show on lead guitar):

You can see the great thing about Seattle’s music scene in the video – all the musicians are supportive of each other and love jamming together. The not so great thing is the audiences’ tendency to just sit or stand there. I don’t think it’s really that they, or rather, we, don’t love the music. I don’t know . . . is it that we’re a city of introverts -people who read, spend a lot of time online or hike alone in the woods? . . . or that we’re so polite? The latter was part of my problem that night, as I wanted to get up during Star Anna’s last number (which I think was Instant Karma), but everyone was sitting. . .except a few people and the guy in front of me was apologetic. . . and I told him he shouldn’t be. I finally did get up during Shawn Smith’s Purple Rain finale, only to be glared at by at least one woman (who I wasn’t even standing in front of).

One of my favorite moments of the night (which I wish there was a video clip of), was when Rick Friel, after running the raffle and auctioning off a dinner with the two Deadly Catch guys, opened the second half of the show with The MonkeesI’m a Believer, hamming it up and getting everyone out of their seats first, and dancing! Alas, they all sat down again after that, instead of rocking out the rest of the night. . .

Other musicians playing that night included Pete Droge (Crimson and Clover – another blast from the past!), Kristen Ward, Gary Westlake, Kim Virant, Chris Friel, Rebeqa Rivers and Justin Davis.

The concert was a fundraiser for the Gulf Restoration Network, to help clean up the Gulf following BP’s disaserous oil spill. Learn more online at: http://healthygulf.org/

Catch Star Anna & the Laughing Dogs at Bumbershoot!

You should definitely catch Star Anna & the Laughing Dogs at Bumbershoot, and not only because Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready is joining them for a few songs (and even if the standard tickets that include Bob Dylan are already sold out).

I know. I’m 4 concerts behind on this blog (and need to get back to mixing in some human rights issues), and yet here I am writing about one of the great ones that got away, with both the Columbia City Theater being a little too challenging to get back from by public transit after midnight, and being so broke at the time I really didn’t have the $12, I think it was (unless I skipped food until payday, and yes, I probably should have).

Fortunately there is video of the show up on YouTube, and I’ll start with this one of Space Beneath the Door by Outlaw Digital Media:

I knew I was missing something special, as she hinted there was going to be a fourth Laughing Dog, and that it was keyboardist Ty Bailie (who plays all those benefit concerts with Mike McCready & friends, including last night’s Hootenanny).   Of course, it wasn’t just Ty Bailie, everyone else’s intensity level increased, and this was already an awesome band.

Here they are on a slower, and very beautiful, new song, For When I Go:

Wow!  Star’s voice. . .The band, too, though: that’s Justin Davis (lead guitar & back up vocals), Travis Yost (drums), Keith Ash (bass), along with now, and hopefully a permanent addition, Ty Bailie (keyboard), and, of course, Star Anna.

What comes to mind with Ty joining the Laughing Dogs is a discussion I had with my friend Merri Ann when we saw Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band their last time though. She wanted to know what Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out was all about: “When the change was made uptown and the Big Man joined the band. . .” Well, of course that part of the song is about the E Street Band coming together. I hadn’t really given that line much thought before or since, until now. I hadn’t really realized what a wonderous thing a band coming together is. Of course, The E Street Band was already fully together by the time I heard of them.  This is the first time I’m aware of seeing it happen.

. . . and tomorrow (or, rather, tonight – it’s after midnight). . .Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs are playing with Mike McCready!  Once again, it’s not going to be just Mike that makes it so great. See this clip of Star Anna and the rest of the Laughing Dogs when Mike joined them for Wolves in Disguise at Spaceland in Silver Lake, CA (from the band’s YouTube page):

Check out Star Anna dueling on guitar with Mike McCready toward the end. I had no idea she could play like that.  Then it’s a three-way, with Justin, and the rest of the band is really going full tilt as well.

I know this is posted way too late. It’s less than 13 hours to showtime (1:15 – 2:15 at the Mural Amphitheater, Saturday). If you don’t catch Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs there, check their schedule to see them somewhere down the road.

Their website, with streaming audio, is at: http://www.staranna.com

Back to Seattle After a Flight to Mars

So, I was starting to get back into the Seattle music after my wayward adventures in New Orleans. Now it was time to come totally home with another Flight to Mars!


Yes, that’s right! Time for the annual Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation fundraiser, with Pearl Jam’s  Mike McCready and friends and their UFO tribute band, Flight to Mars. Our Captain, Paul Passereli, above.

Seriously, they really should have a sci-fi series based on Paulie and his crew!

On with the Flight to Mars show, though!


As usual, we had some acoustic sets opening, including one by Mike McCready. One of the songs he did was Neil Young’s Too Far Gone. Here’s a clip (by stefferzz1970) from a previous show at Fuel Sports:

Jeff Rouse (from Duff McKagen’s Loaded) came out and joined Mike to sing River of Deceit, by Mad Season (a Seattle super-group that included Mike McCready and Alice in Chains Layne Staley on lead vocals) as he did for the Hootenanny for Haiti show. A clip, also by stefferzz1970, from the same Fuel Sports show:

Star Anna and Justin Davis, from her group the Laughing Dogs, also came out to do a set.


Devil Don’t Remember was an intense opener, but then again, when you’ve got a short acoustic in a totally packed Showbox at the Market. . .

Here’s Star Anna the full band with Devil Don’t Remember at the Mississippi Pizza’s Atlantis Lounge in Portland last year (video by humanclock):

More from Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs soon. I caught them at a totally packed Tractor Tavern show last week.

Sweet Water got things rocking, next.


Intensely rocking! They were all over the stage and they have the rock moves. . . Got to love their bio on their website:

Rising from the ashes of 80s Seattle punk bands SGM, Skank Puppies, and The Experience, Sweet Water (Adam, Cole, Paul, and Credo) shot to near-stardom in the early 90s Seattle explosion. Propelled by keen pop-punk sensibilities, spacey glam songwriting, and fueled by a roaring wall of guitar, Sweet Water delivered on the promises of rock and roll.

Sweet Water’s live performances back then were hot, sweaty, screaming, smoky, passionate, substance-fueled affairs that permanently burned memories into their fans’ brains.

Singer Adam Czeisler shined like the bastard child of Freddie Mercury and Mick Jagger – a real frontman in an era of shoegazers.

Here’s a clip of Head Down from a show at Neumos last year (video by BlackTemplar73):

Up next was the drawing for the raffle items ($5 a ticket, 5 for $20), with the evenings’ proceeds to benefit the CCFA’s Camp Oasis for kids with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis; and Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness, Inc.


Autographed posters, Pearl Jam cds, Mike & his wife’s tickets to the Mariners for a night. . . All kinds of good stuff, for a worthy cause!

Now it was time to blast off!


This is just an awesome band and show, with some of Seattle’s best rock musicians – Mike McCready, Gary Westlake, Paul Passereli, Kelly Van Camp, Ty Bailie and Tim DiJulio.

I got some video this time. Here they are with Natural Thing:

“Don’t you think the band’s real tight?. . .”

Mike’s solo at the end sounds like it’s from outerspace, too!

Got to love these club shows! Mike McCready up close and personal all night.


And the whole band playing so well off each other, sometimes literally. . .


My second video was too long for YouTube’s 10 minutes max rule, so I set up an account on Vimeo. You really can’t edit Rock Bottom! Especially with an extended Mike McCready solo in the middle of it. . .

Epic, and just when you think it’s over, they start in again!

“Where do we go from here?”

Well, they brought out the guy who won the charity bid to play with Mike and the band.

IMG_0779 (2)

Sweet! He isn’t going to forget that night. . .

This was on Iggy Pop’s  I Wanna Be Your Dog. This guy came out to sing:


. . . and I know I probably should know who it is. He came out and did this song for at least one other Flight to Mars show.


Let there be light! Someone else got video other than me! Here’s the start of their cover of Let There Be Rock by AC/DC, by rsavillo21. His memory card became full. I’ve been there (in fact, mine did that night, too; but I was just shooting photos and switched it out).

Are those the infamous Pearl Jam super balls Mike’s handing out at the other side of the stage? The ones with Tom Tomorrow’s artwork?  Hey, I wouldn’t have sold mine on e-Bay! Mike was throwing out guitar picks all night, too. Too bad Seattle crowds aren’t as jaded with Pearl Jam memorabilia as the New Orleans crowd is with Mardi-Gras beads. I didn’t find any just laying around.

OK! I’m back in Seattle. Safely landed with the Flight to Mars crew!


. . .and. . . still over two weeks behind!

A couple more shows and a couple human rights events coming!

Oh, yeah, and my birthday! It was a big one. Let’s just say I haven’t trusted myself in over 20 years. . . OK, I never trusted myself. That’s beside the point!

Hootenanny for Haiti: Seattle’s Rock & Roll Campfire

I went to the Hootenanny for Haiti with Mike McCready, Duff McKagan and friends last Sunday night and it was a blast!


It was kind of like singing around the campfire with 1,100 of your closest friends, who happen to include some of the best musicians in Seattle, and a song list that includes The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Tom Petty and a couple surprises from the deepest vaults of Seattle rock history.


They started the show off, to a sold out and capacity crowd at the Showbox at the Market (the original Showbox), with Wild Horses. Here’s the preview before the show from KISW radio.

Let’s see: Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, Duff McKagan’s Loaded), Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Gary Westlake (Kristen Ward, Flight to Mars -the UFO tribute band that also includes Mike), and Jeff Rouse (Duff McKagan’s Loaded, Alien Crime Syndicate); and many more at the actual show.

Maybe it says something about the crowd (including me), that the first good sing along got going with Tom Petty’s Even the Losers (Mark Pickerel taking the lead on this one):

 Some of the songs were a real hoot (and totally unexpected)! Jeff Rouse covering Prince’s I Can Never Take the Place of Your Man? Kim Warnick (The Fastbacks) taking the lead on Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven is a Place on Earth? Actually, Duff warned us this one was coming a couple weeks before on his Reverb blog on The Seattle Weekly site. Still, that he had so much fun playing it. . .


Johnny Thunders Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory was another one Duff told us was coming:

Star Anna really stole the show with her version of Otis Redding’s That’s How Strong My Love Is (version below not from the Hootenanny). I’ve said it before, but her voice is just incredible. The amount of emotion that just breaks your heart (but in a good way).

Kim Virant took up the challenge of following Star with Stevie Nicks’ Stop Dragging My Heart Around (doesn’t seem to be any video of that up). I’m not sure which of the guys was singing the dead on Tom Petty part of the duet.

Kristen Ward really held her own, taking the stage early with Hank WilliamsI’m So Lonesome I Could Cry amidst wolf whistles. Here she is with Gary Westlake singing Dolly Parton’s Jolene (and, yes, the drunk guys shouting at the start see Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron. . .). Some people need to get out more, or maybe not. . .

Now for some pure Seattle moments. River of Deceit, from Mad Season, the super group Mike played in with the late Layne Staley (Alice in Chains), among others. Jeff Rouse takes Layne’s part:

There was also a mini-reunion of one of  Pearl Jam member Stone Gossard’s side projects, Brad, after the raffle. Brad is playing at the Showbox on April 14, and that show is already sold out.


Then, back deeper into Seattle’s past – Crown of Thorns, from Mother Love Bone (a band before Pearl Jam that Stone and Jeff Ament were part of before their lead singer, Andrew Wood, ODed when they were on the brink of fame). Shawn Smith, from Brad, took the lead vocals. Holy Cow!

Then Duff and Star Anna did a duet of Bob Dylan’s Knocking on Heavens Door. Even Duff was in awe of her Otis Redding cover, and really embarrasses her (but in a good way) going on about it.


Closing out, Duff taking the lead on Iggy Pop’s I Wanna Be Your Dog, followed by the ladies taking the lead on I’ll Fly Away.


Awesome show for a great cause!

With the packed house and raffle tickets ($5 for one, $20 for 5), they must have raised a lot for Partners in Health and their work for Haiti. There is still supposed to be an autographed guitar that was played by Mike and Duff at the Hootenanny coming up on Charity Buzz. If you have $1000 or so lying around, it should be coming up this week at: http://www.charitybuzz.com/auctions . Search for Hootenanny for Haiti.

Obligatory late night transit story for this concert:

They’ve got police posted at the Westlake tunnel late nights. A cop was dragging a guy away in handcuffs for. . .(cue Dragnet theme). . .smoking a cigarette? OK, I’m not a big fan of second hand smoke, but . . . “You’re busted!”?   I can see a ticket. He deserves a ticket (the officer helpfully pointed out the sign on the way out when the guy claimed he didn’t see any rule about it).

At least with the cops there, people aren’t getting the crap beaten out of them and getting robbed with everyone including the security guards standing around. Looks like the police are looking for something to do, though; so I’d suggest not lighting that cigarette and throw away your trash properly! Granted, a good idea anyways. . .

After Christmas Show at the Tractor

I finally decided yesterday afternoon to go hear Star Anna and Kristen Ward at the Tractor last night, and was glad I did. I knew it would be a good show. I first heard both Star Anna and Kristen opening for Mike McCready’s side bands, and both play and write passionate Americana.



Pufferfish opened – a young, indie band who have been getting some exposure on KEXP. Yes, accordion music!  Someone said to turn up the accordion.  I wasn’t so sure about the squeaky, small, stuffed birds the drummer was playing; but the band was pretty good.

Here’s a clip for Cumulus from YouTube:

Check out their music at:




After the set change, before Kristen’s set, we had a surprise guest:


Mike McCready

Yes, Mike McCready from Pearl Jam came out and played an acoustic set, most of them with his old friend Gary Westlake, who’s also Kristen’s lead guitarist. 


Mike McCready & Gary Westlake

Mike opened with a song about his daughter, followed by one about his son, then a number of covers, with a Happy Birthday sing-along to Kristen thrown in. Mike and Gary closed the set with the Rolling Stones’s Wild Horses, a request from Kristen. Here’s where I start feeling old – there were a couple of the indie kids behind me who had no idea what the song was or who it was by. A little more reassuring were the trio of 20 something girls who pushed their way through the crowd with one of the girls saying it was her favorite song.  They had no idea who Mike was, though, and asked if he was Kristen Ward. . .

To avoid any confusion, this is Kristen Ward (I don’t think many guys would confuse her with Mike):


Kristen Ward

Kristen keeps improving her stage presence, and add that to her voice, guitar playing and song writing.  She did a number of new ones from her upcoming album, including “the one about Spokane” someone from the audience requested. My Last Night on Division, if I remember right (which I see is the title of upcoming album). “My home town it brings me down. . .”  Reminds me a lot of St. Helens, Oregon, where I went to high school.

Someone finally YouTubed Kristen at Bumpershoot this summer!  Here she is with Good Time Man, off her current album, Drive Away:

Kristen asked if everyone was all right at one point.  I don’t know, I keep seeing all these guys clutching their hearts when Kristen’s on stage, some of them only in their 20s.  I think they’ll survive, though. . .

More of Kristen’s music at:





Star Anna

Finally, Star Anna.  I’ve heard her before, but Star Anna really blew me away last night.  Like Kristen, she writes and plays some incredible songs.  It’s the passion in her voice, hearing her live, reminiscent of Janis Joplin, that really got me. 

Here she is with her band, the Laughing Dogs, with Space Beneath the Door at the Triple Door in August:

Here they are with Through the Winter at The Tractor in 2007:

Check out more music from Star Anna & the Laughing Dogs at:




What a great evening!  Then back into a cold Ballard night to make the bus in time (which fortunately was running late). 

That ought to hold me until New Year’s Eve!

Pearl Jam Rocks Out Seattle, Finally!

How incredible is a new Pearl Jam record/cd release at Easy Street Records in West Seattle and their first Seattle concerts in something like 5 years to start a week?  Seattle finally is the place to be for a Pearl Jam fan!

Saturday night was the Pearl Jam “Backspacer Bash” & Midnight Sale at Easy Street.  Also a non-perishable food collection for the West Seattle Food Bank, who they made an incredible (and I’m sure well needed) haul for. We got a Pearl Jam tote bag and raffle ticket for our goods and there was a long line all night.

People were in from all over.  When I got off the bus I met a couple of young women taking pictures of the Pearl Jam mural on the Easy Street wall, who were in awe that I actually lived in Seattle (not knowing how rare Pearl Jam plays here), one from Australia, the other from Italy.  I pointed them in the direction of the QFC a block away because they wanted to buy some food to donate.


I hung out most of the time in the West 5 overflow location (with Pearl Jam music playing and winning numbers relayed as well).  I headed back to Easy Street as it was getting closer to midnight, and was standing in line in the dining room area around the corner from the counter as they were calling the final numbers.  I was saying to the guy next to me who also had an early number that they hadn’t called any of ours, when I heard them finally call one and realized it was mine.

I won the Pearl Jam vs Ames Bros book, 3 posters, spacemen stickers and temporary tatoos. Then I waited my turn and bought the new Backspacer cd and the Pearl Jam Live at Easy Street cd (which they also sell online, for folks who don’t live in Seattle). Which I know begs the question – did the guys show up?  No, but Eddie sent us a text message through the store clerk.  He said the band had their last practice session that night and he just put the kids to bed and was turning in himself, but was there in spirit and in the speakers.


As you can see, they were selling massive quantities of the album – the record (err, vinyl as they call it these days), as well as the cd!  I thought I was being old-school calling it a record release, but it really was.

So, I was (and am) still getting to know the album by the time of the concert Monday night (which was the one I had tickets to).  I went with my friend Merri Ann, who couldn’t make it to the album release Saturday night because she was doing a triathlon that started 7 am Sunday morning with friends and family. Swim, bike, run. . . or if you’re me, sleep in! All my friends are more healthy than me. I had fan tickets, so they were good seats (while I wish my number were lower – Pearl Jam rewards their long time fans by doing it by seniority, except for a random drawing for the first 2 and I think 9th & 10th rows).

Ben Harper and Relentless 7 opened. A lot more blues and harder driving than his folk rock I’m more familiar with.  Here’s a clip I found (actually from night 2):

So Ben and his band got us rocking good before the boys came out.  Time for a short break and to notice the Tom Tomorrow spaceman design was on Matt’s drum kit, which was really cool. Tom Tomorrow, who does the This Modern World cartoons, did all the artwork on the new album.

So, the lights dimmed and out came Pearl Jam, for the first time at Key Arena in years:

They opened with Long Road. Perfect: “I have wished for so long, how I wished for you today. . .”!

The new songs sounded great, and they played a lot of them that night.  We had the premier of the Backspacer album. A lot of hard rockers and just beautiful ballads.  The album just really flows.

Amongst the Waves, which had already captivated me on the cd, was just gorgeous live:

During the first encore, they brought out a string section that included Matt Cameron’s wife, April on viola to accompany them on Just Breath and The End.


Official Pearl Jam Photo by Karen Loria

Boom Gasper, of course, accompanied them on the organ for many of the songs.  They also had a horn section for The Who’s The Real Me during the second encore.

Old songs – wow, from their catalog they played about everything I wanted to hear.  Standards like Daughter, Even Flow, Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town, Rearview Mirror, Do the Evolution and of course, Alive. Also – Off He Goes and Given to Fly, Save You and Life Wasted, Inside Job and Indifference! Wow!

Here’s Do the Evolution, and remember, this is during their second encore:

As we were clapping after their first encore and they had already played long and hard, Merri Ann asked me, in disbelief “They’re not going to play a second encore?”

As any die hard fan knows, “Of course they are!”

On the way back to the car she asked “How old are these guys?”  Well, they’re all at least a few years younger than me, but I think they’re all somewhere in their 40s now.  “They play a second encore every night?”, still in disbelief (and this from someone who swam, biked, ran a triathlon the day before).  : )


Official Pearl Jam photo by Danny Clinch

They are incredible, and seem totally rejuvenated at this point.  I mean, they’ve always played so long and hard, but the leaping in air; Matt’s intensity at the drum kit; Stone’s headbanging with the mop top hair; Mike’s playing with crowd and his solos as always, incredible; Jeff with some funky moves and Eddie still sounding great, I think in spite of the cigarettes and massive quantity of wine he consumes on stage (which he does share with the crowd).

Only problem – I didn’t have enough money to see both shows!

Though maybe I shouldn’t be so greedy.  It’s just . . .they so rarely play Seattle!


Pearl Jam Goods Section: http://www.pearljam.com/goods

-for cds, t-shirts, the Ames Bros poster book, memberships (to get those good seats and a annual Christmas record single by about July) and. . . official bootlegs of all their concerts, on cd or as a download (I’m not sure how long it takes them to get them up there, but the Seattle shows will be coming).

Easy Street Records: http://easystreetonline.com/

-you can get the Pearl Jam Live at Easy Street cd here if you don’t live in Seattle.  If you do live in Seattle, come on down to either location for the cd, and check out their website for in store concerts and special events.

Booking My Flight to Mars Soon (& Rocking Out Meanwhile)

So Thursday night I took another Flight to Mars with Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and friends from Neumos and I had a blast (and survived re-entry, except maybe my hearing)!

What can I say?  Buzz Aldrin says we need a flight to Mars

OK.  I know Buzz meant a real flight to Mars.  We’ve already got a couple rovers there.  We could do it!

We can’t book flights there yet, or can we?  We’ll see later.

First on to the rock show.  Well, first after getting re-directed after getting disoriented taking the 43 bus that I haven’t taken in a while.  Fortunately my friend George was the driver.  OK.  Don’t depend on me for coordinates for your real flight to Mars!

I made it there before they started letting people in, which turned out to be another hour and a half before the show.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I got close to the stage (and was able to regain my close spot throughout the evening.

Mike came out to do an acoustic with Gary Westlake and Rebecca Young first, including Dead Flowers by the Rolling Stones and a song about getting wasted Neil Young’s wife will no longer let him do.


Gary Westlake was wearing a vintage Flying Burrito Brothers t-shirt at this point. We were to see a lot of Gary that evening, as he’s with Kristen Ward’s band, who was opening, as well being a charter member of the Flight to Mars.


Kristen Ward’s set was next and she really wowed the audience (especially the guys).  Her singing and the band’s playing were even more intense in a small club setting.


Check out Kristen’s music at: http://www.kristenward.com/

Kristen also designed the posters for the show, which were signed by all the band members and certainly must have sold out early on.

Next it was time for our Flight to MarsFlight to Mars is a UFO cover band.  While Mike is their most famous member, they have a terrific line up. Don’t just take my word for it.  Here’s the Sound Magazine write up before their last Chrohn’s and Colitis benefit show:

Haven’t heard of Flight to Mars? (Sad for you.) Think of your favorite old cheese-rock band—yes, you have one—then add better musicians (North Twin guitarist Tim DiJulio, bassist Gary Westlake, and drummer Kelly Van Camp) and an almost scarily authentic ’80s frontman (Paul Passereli).


Nah, Paul’s not really scary.  He’s really a nice guy.  I’ve almost literally bumped into him at a couple of these shows and he’s always a real gentleman.


They started with Lights Out and kept rocking out the house.  What kind of evening was it?  Well, as Paul pointed out, Mike had his shirt off after the second song (and was up front playing incredible guitar solos to the audience all night).

IMG_3934 (2)

Check out this video from a Chrohn’s and Colitis Foundation fundraiser in 2004 to get an idea of both the band and one of Mike’s epic guitar solos.

Mike did a really epic solo during Rock Bottom.  He’s just exhausted.


That was just the end of the main set, though (at nearly 1 in the morning).  Mike came out to ask how many encore songs the audience wanted – 1 or 2?  As you can see there were a lot of 3’s!


They tried to get all the guests out on stage for the evening out, and had most of the guys for their first encore song, I’m a Loser. Gary now had his shirt off, too.


Perfect song for these scary times with the economy.

You can come to my place and sleep on the couch
Lots of people do it and we won’t leave you out
Hard times out on the Street
Hard times, hard to beat

They even got Kristen and Rebecca out for the finale song.


They played some Lynyrd Skynyrd.  No, not Free Bird (although someone did call it out).  Tuesday’s Gone, which really is a great song to get everyone on stage and go out to. Train, roll on. . .


It was about 1:10 am when things wrapped up.  I really thought I had a couple more minutes then I did to catch my bus, and that I had time to have a glass of the free water they had at the bar. I even bought  a copy of the Real Change homeless newspaper from a vendor on my way out.

I reached the corner of Broadway and Pine and saw my bus had already left the stop in front of the theater and was at the light.  I had to run for it, through a barricade maze for construction, to the catch it at the stop in front of Seattle Central Community College.  That almost did me in. 

I would have died happy, except, except. . .I finally have a fan ticket to Pearl Jam, who are playing Seattle for the first time in years in September!  Not only that, my friend needs me there with my ID for both of us to get in.  I better catch my breath.

When I got to the bus to get on, all exhausted, a guy in fatigues getting off started laughing hysterically and kept saying to the driver, “Be careful, she’ll bite you!”  He seemed to be on something much stronger than the one drink I had earlier in the evening.  Hope he’s not active duty!

So, what about those real flights to Mars?  We don’t have those yet, do we?

Wait, Expedia is booking!  Only $99 round trip!  Not quite as cheap as the $21.50 (including service charges) for the flight with Mike and his friends, but still. . .


Of course, this flight was posted on April Fools Day.  You might want to wait. . . Wait!  You can book a hotel on Mars as well!

Hmm.  I don’t know.  I think I’ll wait for the flight run by Buzz’s buddies at NASA, or maybe I’ll just wait for the next flight from Mike and his friends.  Paul doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d take any guff from bad ass aliens.

IMG_3799 (2)

I don’t know, though.  Those activities on Mars on the Expedia website sound mighty enticing!

Maybe after the Pearl Jam concert I’ll look into it. . .


7/27 6 pm update:  I did want to add two more links.

First, there’s more music from Flight to Mars on their MySpace page (including an epic version of Rock Bottom they broke down into two clips):


Second, as usual when I have my camera with me, I took probably too many pictures that night.  They’re up on my Flickr website in their own album:


Photos are downloadable (with some restrictions – not commercial use, attribution, not making major alterations with Photo Shop etc.).  Just click on the photo and then on it’s page the “All Sizes” tab above the photo and choose which size you want, then the Download link on the left side just above the photo (and also probably change the file name to something you’ll recognize). 

Generally if I add my own photos to these posts, there’s a lot more up in their own album on the Flickr site.

Got Some – New Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam has a new song they debuted on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, another second song they previously debuted at a secret filming session at The Showbox, and rumor has it that the album is coming out and they’ll be a two nights at Key Arena toward the end of September.

Wow!  You’d think their fans would be happy!  Well, I am!  Actually, probably most of their fans are.  Although, you wouldn’t believe how much one performance of one song can be dissected by their loyal fans, not the music critics!  Then there’s the other, mysterious song and all the circumstances around it. . .

First, the Tonight Show videos.  I’ll give you the links to their website, as, due to technical restrictions, I can’t post any video to my free Word Press blog other than YouTube videos (and, oh yes, NBC pulled the illegally posted ones on YouTube, something else fans griped about).

*6/14 Update: I found I can add NBC videos via Vodpod and added the video below as well!

Got Some is their new song, from the upcoming Backspacer album (which shares the name of the band’s turtle who won the Great Turtle Race):

Vodpod videos no longer available.
“Pearl Jam: Got Some Performance on The Tonight Show”, posted with vodpod


Oops!  Looks like they pulled the bonus song video of Rocking in the Free World from the Tonight Show site (played after the actual show finished recording).  Something new for fans to complain about.

I’ll say it again, having just watched Got Some a couple more times (and just discovering NBC’s full screen version more or less works on my antiquated computer) – Wow!  I love the song, the band sounds great, and is playing great together (a lot of dueling guitar riffs, too).  Lyrics?  I’m starting to make them out.  A valid complaint, but this is rock and roll.  This leads to interesting mis-heard lyrics like “four or five virgins and a pelican” . . .

Here are the lyrics for Got Some from the message board, with a few changes in parenthesis to as near as I could make out (which for all I know, may be as accurate as “four or five virgins and a pelican):

Edit (lyrics without repetitions):
Every night with the lights out
where you gone
What’s wrong?

Every time you can try
but can’t [say no]
[What’s wrong?]

I got some if you need it

Get it now, get it on, before its gone
Let’s everybody carry on
Carrying on
Turn it up, [turn] it off, before its gone
Let’s everybody carry on
Carrying on

This situation, which side are you on?
Are you on the rise, are you falling down?
Let me know…..c’mon let’s go yeah

I got some if you need it

This situation, what side are you on?
Are you dropping bombs, are you getting out?
Have you heard of diplomatic resolve? Yeah

Precipitation, which side are you on?
Are you drying up, are you a big drop?
Are you a part of [a pool] detrimental?

Got some
Carry on

Oooh, It’s political, which I think is great, but it’s another thing for the fans to argue about.  Yes, I think he is calling President Obama (and, I think, the Congressional Democrats) out on backing down and I think specifically, for still fighting in Iraq (and, in my opinion, Afghanistan, though I don’t want to project that on what Ed’s saying if I’m not sure).

Now, the amazing thing on the criticism on these lyrics on the message board, mostly from the right, but sometimes from the left, are the people who have this “you’re either for me or against me” Bush era nonsense mentality, and think because Eddie is criticizing Obama for backing down on certain issues that means he’s totally turned against him.  Apparently, they believe if you vote for someone for President, you’re then supposed to blindly follow them; instead of being an educated and engaged citizen in a participatory democracy.

I happen to think President Obama has done a lot of good already, and is turning around a lot of the bad, Bush era, policies.  I also think he’s the best we could get, even of the Democrats, at least, the best we could get who’s electable.  That being said, there are a number of areas where I have concerns, where Obama is carrying on with the same bad policies of the Bush and, in some cases, Clinton administrations (using some of their same economic advisors who helped bring us the current mess – see the Nation’s Reagan Didn’t Do It – and mind you, The Nation is a liberal magazine, who like me, would love to blame things on Reagan). 

In addition to the war in Iraq still going on and the expanding of the war in Afghanistan, Obama is backing down from accountability for the torture done under the Bush administration, hesitating on closing Guantanamo, keeping the military commissions, and worse, Alternet reports torture is still going on under the Obama administration under the guise of “forced extraction teams.” 

So, yes, Obama and the Democrats need to get some.  It’s kind of obvious what the some is, once you make out the lyrics; but to sanitize it I’ll say – guts, courage. . .

OK, enough politics.  There were plenty of other things for the message board and blogs to complain about and dissect, not that I really want to go into them all here.  I think one of my favorites, and the one that makes me go “Huh?”  is that Eddie looks old.  Actually he doesn’t look old at all.  He looks like a guy in his mid-forties who’s in pretty good shape. OK, he’s old if you still expect him to look like he did when the band started out 18 years ago. None of us look like we did 18 years ago.  Well, then again. . .more on Stone later.  My grey is creeping in though, so much for me. . .

Here’s Black from the Pinkpop festival in ‘92?

Stone’s hair was another thing that got a lot of comments.  He’s growing it out and got a little headbanger action from it.  One guy said he looked like a 20 year old playing with a bunch of 40 year old guys.  We’ll see if he grows it out to where it was in ‘92!

Here’s Stone with some serious hair action going at the Green River reunion (sorry I missed that one) from Pearl Jam’s official Flickr site (photo by Anna Knowlden):



Now, on that second song they debuted at their secret Showbox gig.  Surprisingly, the most controversial issue about their recording of the song The Fixer was not that it was recorded for Target, who has big-box store rights to the initial release of the Backspacer album (see the Rolling Stone article).  The issue that drew the most angst, and sadly, too many hard feelings on all sides of the issue, was that the band (or the band’s management) insisted websites including music blogs take down illegally made copies of The Fixer, which is their first single from the new album, and is due out in July.

There’s a real generation gap here. . .  First, full disclosure, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon this whole melodrama if I wasn’t actually looking for sneak listen to the track myself. Hoping to catch it before it disappeared.  OK, so I’m no saint.  Here’s the generation gap though – I figured that, of course, the band’s going to take these down quickly.  Some of their younger fans were quite irate that they asked them to do it.

I think the situation has finally run it’s course, but it’s sad, because passion for music fueled the hard feelings on all sides (and you’d hope it’d bring them together).  I had already discovered I Am Fuel, You Are Friends, a music blog named after a Pearl Jam lyric long before all this happened.  It’s well written and a great place for new music.

It all started when Heather Browne, the author of the blog, posted a “stealth audio clip” of The Fixer.  Then Pearl Jam’s lawyers contacted her to have her take it down (and this is the third time this has happened with a Pearl Jam song, something that made her mad; and those of us of a previous generation go, huh?  She was told posting unauthorized recordings was wrong on two previous occasions and still kept doing it?).  So she announced she was breaking up with the band.  Several of her fans said they were breaking up with her, but more agreed with with her against Pearl Jam on this “censorship.”  Then Pearl Jam’s fan club, Ten Club, calls her, apologizing for the way they handled it, asking how to make amends, but not before (oops), referring to her writing as a “shitty blog”, then stating how important fans and sites like hers are to the band.

Some one needs a refresher course in customer service. Sadly, his response, no doubt was partly fueled by his love of Pearl Jam’s music (and probably only reading the one, uncharacteristic, ranting entry against the band). Heather did acknowledge at that point Pearl Jam did have the right to release their music as they see fit, and it isn’t censorship.  So it was over, except for 110 more comments to that post. . . 

You know, I stopped watching soap operas years ago, because they drive me crazy!

Meanwhile, back to something I whine about re the band (hey, I told you I was no saint. . .).  Rumor has it that Pearl Jam may actually be playing Seattle!!! Yes, there are rumors they’re going to be playing Key Arena toward the end of September, right as the album is coming out.

Of course, you’d think living in Seattle, they’d play here all the time (and some of their side bands do, though not Ed solo).  No, the Gorge (Amplitheatre, halfway across the state), is not Seattle, at least for those of us without a car. 

Not that I don’t wish I had a car so I could go see them when they play the Gorge (oops, there goes my carbon neutral sainthood, aided by poverty).  It is a beautiful setting, and it’d be awesome to see Pearl Jam there.

Their opener from their first of two nights at the Gorge in 2006:

Maybe it’s time for some bio-fueled concert buses to the Gorge from Seattle and Spokane?

Closing of the same show (which is available in it’s entirety on their “Life at the Gorge” box set).  Got to love Mike’s closing on Yellow Ledbetter and the Hendrix set!  

These shows at the Gorge are epic.  I’d like to see one some day.  Still, hoping for Key Arena.  Yeah, it’s kind of sterile; but I can get there and back by bus. . .

I’m hoping the rumors are right.  Wow!  Pearl Jam might actually play Seattle!

Mike’s other band!

Told you it’s been awhile. . .