Monday, August 30, 2010

Whatever happened to Saturday night?

If it was last Saturday, Meat Loaf played at the House of Blues in Houston, and that was the first line of his first song. Hot patootie, bless my soul, I really love that rock and roll.

But first, the opening act--Pearl. Pearl's frontwoman is Pearl Aday, Meat Loaf's step-daughter. The band seems technically proficiant and she can belt them out, and if she finds a Jim Steinman of her own, I'm sure she'll be a pleasure to listen to. But that's enough about them. To quote Christopher Lee's infamous Saturday Night Live introduction, "And now, ladies and gentlemen, I would like you to meet... Loaf! I beg your pardon? What? Oh! I'm... I'm sorry. Yes, of course. Ladies and gentlemen... Meat Loaf!"

On the scale of over-the-top awesomeness, "Bat Out of Hell" goes to 11, and doesn't stop there. In retrospect, I think it's the best album of the 70s, which really surprised me because I always thought "Dark Side of the Moon" had it locked up. Who'd of thunk it?

The band was great, and big enough to do justice to the music. Two guys on guitar, plus Meat Loaf towards the end of the show, one on the bass, another playing piano, another on keyboards and the sax, the drummer, and two additional singers.

I particularly liked the guy on the Flying-V with the Nigel Tufnel thing going on with his chin. You can't really see it in the pictures, but it looked like he'd taken a Sharpie to the cleft in his chin. I'm kind of surprised they let him out of the 80s.

The female lead was really good too, although when they opened the show with Meat Loaf's song from Rocky Horror ("Hot Patootie - Bless My Soul"), she was disturbingly reminiscent of Frank-N-Furter--the hair, the color of the dress, the rubber gloves.... Again, the cell phone camera pictures don't really show it, but they're all I've got.

She had a couple costume changes during the show and shed the Sweet Transvestite look. And she and Mr. Loaf made Paradise by the Dashboard Light as fun as that song deserves. Which is a whole lot of fun.

They played everything you would have wanted to hear, and then some. The show did drag a bit in the middle when they played several songs from the new album back-to-back, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I'd familiarized myself with the new songs first. There were also a couple parts that were slow intentionally, like Two Out of Three Ain't Bad, which didn't drag at all.

I don't remember what they were playing here, but it was good too.

And that's all I have to say about that.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Gord's Back

Back in Houston, anyway. And by "Gord" I mean Gordon Lightfoot, who played to a packed house at the Verizon Wireless Theater on Wednesday (August 25, 2010).

And he sounded pretty darned good. I saw him a few years not too long after his brush with death. It was good to see him still alive, but he was sounding a bit thin and the while the performance was executed well, it seemed a bit wooden. I thought it would be his last tour.

But it wasn't.

This time around he'd recovered a lot of his old voice. Maybe not the 70's voice we all know and love from Gord's Gold, but at least the 80s voice from Gord's Gold II, with a bit more of the lower register on the old stuff. And while the band was tight as ever, the performance had a much looser, more comfortable feel to it. It was a really good show.

They started at around 8:00, and finished up at 10:00, with a short intermission about 15 songs in. I don't recall looking at my watch once during the show, which is pretty rare for me. Or I suppose I should say it's a rare performer who can hold my attention that long. Willie Nelson can do it, and AC/DC, Al Stewart, Hayes Carll, and maybe a couple others. Did I mention that it was a really good show?

Sorry about the poor quality of the pictures; it was the best my phone could do.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

It's such a fine line between stupid and clever

"It's such a fine line between stupid and clever."
--David St. Hubbins

I'm still trying to decide which side of the line this one's on:

In my mind this raises two questions:

1) Is it meant to be taken seriously?

It seems to me that this is really stupid or really clever. It has the feeling of a South park parody, but it could just be a caricature of itself--an unholy union of "Christian rock" of the Praise and Worship variety and patriotic country that pushes each idiom far beyond its limits. I prefer to think of it as brilliant satire, but I'm afraid it isn't. Or at last wasn't intended that way.

Which leads me to my second question:

2) Does it matter?

Socrates and/or Plato wrote in "The Apology":
After the politicians, I went to the poets; tragic, dithyrambic, and all sorts. And there, I said to myself, you will be instantly detected; now you will find out that you are more ignorant than they are. Accordingly, I took them some of the most elaborate passages in their own writings, and asked what was the meaning of them, thinking that they would teach me something. Will you believe me? I am almost ashamed to confess the truth, but I must say that there is hardly a person present who would not have talked better about their poetry than they did themselves. Then I knew that not by wisdom do poets write poetry, but by a sort of genius and inspiration; they are like diviners or soothsayers who also say many fine things, but do not understand the meaning of them....
I think that may be the case here. Whatever the artist may have thought he intended, the Muse had her way with him,and, at least from an artistic point of view, intent is irrelevant. Whether the artist is mocking the protesters, or the Muse the artist, it's brilliant satire.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hey, look! It's somebody's mom!

This commercial has haunted me since I was 10 years old. For years I looked for it on the Internet with so little success that I'd begun to think I imagined it.