Did you go? A musical history by-the-numbers

Friday night – and  just because I feel like it, here’s a list of concerts I’ve seen in my life, as best as I can recall- check them out and see if we were together in different rows at any of these shows (due to a faulty memory, I don’t have all of the dates, but I tried to list them in chronological order):

1. Elton John and Kiki Dee – 1974 – Forum, Los Angeles

2. Frank Zappa, Flash Cadillac – 1974 (New Year’s Eve) – Long Beach Arena

3. The Doobie Brothers – Long Beach Arena

4.  Yes – LB Arena

5. Jefferson Starship – LB Arena

6. Emerson, Lake and Palmer – LB Arena

7. Yes, Peter Frampton and Gary Wright – Anaheim Stadium

8. Pink Floyd (Animals tour)- Anaheim Stadium

9. Kansas, Blue Oyster Cult and Ted Nugent – LB Arena

10.  Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Los Angeles Convention Center?

11.  Yes (with a rotating stage) – Forum?

12.  Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps tour

13.  Steve Martin and the Blues Brothers at Universal Ampitheatre – 1978

14.  The Kinks – 1980 – at Universal Ampitheatre

15.  Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson – Roxy, 1980

16.  Pink Floyd – The Wall at the Los Angeles Convention Center, 1980

17.  The Who – 1980 – two nights at the L.A. Convention Center

18.  David Bowie – Los Angeles Forum

19.  The Who, the Clash, and T-Bone Burnett – Los Angeles Coliseum, 1982

20.  David Bowie – Anaheim Stadium, Let’s Dance tour

21.  US Festival 1983 – David Bowie, Stevie Nicks, INXS, U2, Pretenders, Berlin, Missing Persons, Joe Walsh (so I’m told), etc.

22. X – California State University Long Beach

23.  Fishbone and the Dead Kennedys – Olympic Auditorium – 1985

24.  Sugar Cubes and Public Image – Irvine Meadows (now Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre)

25.  Tina Turner – Pacific Ampitheatre

26.  Jane’s Addiction – some outdoor venue in L.A., can’t remember, sorry

27.  Iggy Pop (with Slash on guitar), Alice in Chains, Mary’s Danish – Palladium, early ’90s

28.  Bob Dylan – 1992

29.  Tina Turner  and Cyndi Lauper – Greek Theatre

30.  Neil Young – Greek Theatre, acoustic set

31.  Neil Young with Crazy Horse and Social Distortion – L.A. Forum

32.  Rolling Stones – Staples Center – 2003

33.  Tom Petty and Jackson Browne – the Forum? (If Cyndi reads this, she’ll remember, because I don’t) 2002?

34.  Social Distortion – House of Blues

35.  The Blasters – Coach House

36.  The Who – Hollywood Bowl – October 2006

37.  The Who – Long Beach Arena – February 2007 (seats on the floor, Lemmy was walking around before the show, cool)

38.  Weezer and the Foo Fighters – Long Beach Arena

39. B-52’s – Orange County Fairgrounds

40.  Jack’s 4th Show – Foreigner, Eddie Money, B-52’s, and I can’t remember who else we saw at Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre …anyone?

I’m pretty sure I’ve missed a few, but these are almost all of the concerts that I’ve seen, plus these, all at the Orange County Fairgrounds:

Three Dog Night – one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen


Guess Who and Bachman, Turner, Overdrive

The Gap Band

Davy Jones, Bobby Sherman, and Herman Noone (of Herman’s Hermits) – all in one night? Way cool…

And I forgot about two more, let’s just say #41 and #42, although they were back up among #14 and #15:

41.  David Crosby and Graham Nash – Universal Ampitheatre

42.  Stephen Stills – Forum (it was supposed to be Stills and Neil Young, but NY didn’t show up, and Stephen Stills couldn’t hide his annoyance; good show, though)


Peruse, and let me know if you were there and what you remember. Rock on, babies!


Starry (cross)-eyed

The first week that I started working at Katella Deli in 1986, Robert Mitchum came in for lunch.  I had probably been working there for four days, and all of a sudden, I’m walking by Max Cady, and he’s dressed kinda like my dad.  It was one of the better star sightings I’ve had – the best part was the way that he looked at me as he walked out of the restaurant – he must have been in his ’70s, and he still had that wicked, smoldering gaze that he threw around in Cape Fear and countless other movies.

You would think that living in southern California would have made me fairly comfortable with running into famous people, but I am far from smooth when it comes to interacting with them. I tend to clam up and let my friends do the talking.  If I’m alone, I tend to clam up and  not say anything to them at all; there is a lot of staring involved, though, which I am sure they find slightly stalkerish and creepy. Several stars came in to the deli while I was working there; Katella Deli is located close to Los Alamitos Race Track, and they were usually either on their way to the races, or stopping by afterward – they were probably horse owners, I would imagine.  Annette Funicello came in once with her husband and about a dozen other people on a Saturday night, and she was lovely, and very gracious.  Billy Barty used to come in occasionally, and I had the pleasure of waiting on him a couple of times. One of the little girls from Full House would come in with her parents pretty regularly, and Timothy Busfield also showed up once in a while.

I also remember a woman who was somewhat famous on television (can’t remember her name) who threw a raging fit at the head waitress for something that had to do with her precious little daughter. (Honestly, if I could remember her name, I would include it here, because her behavior was awful; she’s slipped off the radar since then, which seems like karma to me.)

I’ve also had some interesting run-ins with stars outside of work.  My friends took me out for my 30th birthday to Spago, then to the Comedy Store in Hollywood.  The daughter of Muhammad Ali was scheduled to perform that night, and Dad was in the audience, a couple of tables away from us.  Before her set started, he was outside signing autographs, and my friends went outside to have him sign, and to have their picture taken with him.  I couldn’t do it – I had to stay inside, but I did throw a couple of peeks at him while his daughter was onstage.  I couldn’t believe I was in the same building as Ali – it was unforgettable, and I was so star-struck, I couldn’t go anywhere near him:

Another night with my waiter friends at Spago, and we happened to be seated next to Eva Gabor and her group.  I can’t remember exactly what happened, but we thought it would be a great idea to sing “Happy Birthday” to someone at Eva’s table, after the Spago waitstaff sang it to them first.  Eva turned to us and asked us if we were professional singers, which I thought was pretty funny, since we sounded less than professional. She was very beautiful and sweet to us mere mortals, and when I think of Eva Gabor, I always think of how great the show “Green Acres” was, and that she was so great at being both funny and gorgeous:

I will round out this galaxy with a story about a legendary musician – I was at a book convention in Los Angeles for the weekend with my co-workers, and on Saturday night there was a concert at the Palladium with the group called “The Rock Bottom Remainders.” The band consists of a group of authors who get together to make music and raise money for causes; on that night, they were playing for a bunch of college bookstore employees, and one guy in particular, who was standing in front of the four of us.  From the back, he looked like anyone else – jeans, T-shirt, and boots (I think).  As Stephen King was at the microphone, singing “Monster Mash,” my manager whispered in my ear, “Bruce Springsteen is standing in front of us!”  I said something clever: “Whaaat?”

In the meantime, we could see the faces of people who walked by Springsteen and recognized him; it was an interesting perspective on what celebrities see whenever they go anywhere.  Wild-eyed, inappropriate hugging, behaving as if they know you personally, and Springsteen was a gentleman during it all.  The four of us just stood behind him, and behaved ourselves; (of course, now I think of the phrase “Well-behaved women rarely make history;” – would make a much better story if I had been kicked out of the Palladium for proposing to Springsteen in front of a couple hundred people, wouldn’t it?)

These are the more memorable instances for me of near-misses with those touched by celebrity – how about you?

Treats ‘n’ tricks

A basket of Halloween goodies:

I first saw “Rocky Horror Picture Show” with my brother Steve and his friend (soon to be my friend and sister-in-law) Naomi when I was 14, at the Towne Theatre in Long Beach; I believe we went to the 7:30 p.m. show, and we were three of maybe a dozen people in the theatre.  Since then, I’ve seen the movie countless times, including three in Germany (the audience came dressed in drag).  It’s on Fox Movie Channel this morning – and I thought the “Glee’ episode was a nice tribute.  “There’s a light in the darkness of everybody’s life…”

I dislike intensely how ad companies are taking songs that I love and grew up with, and sticking them in commercials to sell computers and cars; I know this has been going on forever, but it makes me turn off the commercial, because I don’t want to connect the song that I love with the product, I want to keep alive the memories of the song and how I felt whenever I heard the song. “Season of the Witch” by Donovan is being used to sell something on TV right now (dunno what it is); instead of the commercial, please to enjoy this video of clips from the 1921 film “Haxan Witchcraft Through the Ages,” with Donovan’s mystic song floating overhead. There – now, instead of thinking of some product you don’t need when you hear this song, you can think of crazy people with strange hands, flexing their muscles, wild-eyed, and running through forests. You’re welcome… (Update: the link to the song isn’t working, but it’s a very good video, so you should find it on YouTube, seriously.)

One of my favorite ’80s movies, and one you don’t see on TV too often, is “Weird Science” – where to begin?  Oingo Boingo, Anthony Michael Hall, Bill Paxton, Kelly LeBrock, and a baby Robert Downey, Jr.! Check out the ’80s hair and fashion on Iron Man:

(Loved RDJ then, and more so now – ’80s version of Pauly D.’s hair? Just wondering.)

Speaking of parties, we did it up ourselves last night, friends:

Have a gruesome Halloween, creatures of the night.

Mood swinging

Sometimes no one says it like Charlie Brown, know what I mean?

It hasn’t been a bad day, just a frustrating one.  Here’s the Smiths to elaborate – days like today make me gravitate towards the Buddhist concept of desire being one of the roots of suffering; if that isn’t true, I don’t know what would be.   I’m comfortable with the fact that I can’t control other people’s actions, only my own;  I also like the idea of being present in the moment, without thinking about what was or what could be. I’m not saying that I do that all the time though; I definitely daydream a lot, and my therapist tells me that I analyze every little thing, which I agree with (I think the reason I analyze everything is because…wait, see what I did there?).

Someone very nice recently said this to me, by way of Facebook (we will be covering Facebook more completely later on in the semester, and there may be a quiz, so heads up, students!): “Look for the blessings.”  Look for the blessings – I don’t  think it can be said enough.

To me, laughing is always a blessing – here’s Bruce Willis on The Daily Show today with Jon Stewart; it’s six minutes and change, and funny (I watched it twice). Life is pretty absurd; we better learn how to find the funny in it, or we might not live longer – it will just feel like it.

Finally… for me, there’s always music.  I can’t get enough of Keith Richards lately; here’s “Locked Away” from 2008. Cracked and bleeding emotion – sometimes there’s pain, but it’s better than feeling nothing at all, isn’t it?

(I’m sleep deprived, hence, the jumpy post. I love that you indulge my rants; smooches!)


Trying to get my act together this morning – my head is full of lists of things to do.  Immediate tasks, like housecleaning, laundry; then other tasks – going through Mom’s house, and getting it ready to put on the market.  Then there is the third list, which involves settling her estate –  my mother kept everything in order, and showed me where she kept the important papers, which has made this part of it easier.

I’m watching “JFK” with Kevin Costner – seeing this movie made me buy the book “Crossfire,” which is much like the movie, only more so.  Full of details about the Kennedy assassination, and the conspiracy; I will tell you that I am big on conspiracies, because I believe everybody is in cahoots with everybody else (Love that word “cahoots”!  Let’s say it together a few times, and bring it back into common usage; the time to yell “They’re all in cahoots!” has come again!). The comedian Richard Belzer wrote an interesting book on the subject, called “UFOs, JFK, and Elvis.”  Even if you find conspiracy theories hard to swallow, you might like this book, and it just might make you think twice about a few things.  There are so many good actors in the movie, and the actual footage of the parade and the assassination is unforgettable.  Whatever your politics, I doubt you can look away.

I went to Glen Ivy Hot Springs yesterday for some sun and relaxation.  Beautiful place, but the tone seems different; I was sitting by the main pool around 1:30 in the afternoon, watching two parties of drunk women (one was a birthday party, and the other was a bridal shower) drinking and bellowing at one another in the water.  I had a nice day alone, got some sun, and some mud, but the spa atmosphere seems to have been replaced by a party atmosphere, which wasn’t really what I was looking for.  At least I know how to approach Glen Ivy next time I go – with a big bottle of “Whoo-hoo!!!!!” in my purse.

Here’s a little mudgirl for you…attractive! If you go, I recommend doing this, your skin will feel great afterward.

Time to tackle my lists – onward!

What’s better now? (and maybe one thing that isn’t)

I think Paco was a vaudeville comedian in his previous life; he’s great at physical comedy.  The dog has invented new ways to go to the bathroom (upside down on the side of a tree, for instance), and apparently is only happy to do it in front of an audience.  If you ever see a blonde on the street, covering her face while standing by a little black dog who’s trying to go while standing upside down on the side of a tree trunk, that would be me.

This is another one of those kitchen-sink posts; by that I mean you’ll be getting a little bit of everything that is on my mind. Buckle up and hang on…

I was writing about 3-D movies in my last post, and it started me thinking about things that are better now than they used to be.  People love to talk about things that have gotten worse, but what has gotten better in the last 50 years?  While I was walking my little comedian, I realized that there are several things that have improved.

Let’s start with that electronic marvel in your pocket.  Who ever thought that one day, we would not only have phones to carry around, but computers as well?  When I bought my first cell phone, not only did I leave it off most of the time, I would leave it at home most of the time.  Today, this is unheard of, at least for me, and nearly everyone I know. I’ve gone from not wanting to be found, to needing to be connected.  My  Blackberry is my link to the rest of my world, and it’s no longer a luxury, but an essential part of my day for staying in touch with everyone.

There is another little piece of wizardry that I have with me at all times – who remembers making mix tapes from record albums? Who remembers listening to 8-track tapes?  My brother had an 8-track of a Rolling Stones album; can’t remember which one, but the song”Wild Horses” was on it.  And since there wasn’t enough room for the song on one side of the tape, it would fade out, then you would hear a loud “KA-CHUNK!” as the tape switched to the other side, and the song resumed.  Steve would have needed two iPods – his musical interests ranged much, much farther than mine, and he wouldn’t have been able to stand shuffling the Residents and Led Zeppelin together.

I don’t have any scientific findings to back this up, but I think the air is better. Did you go outside last night? This has been one of the cooler summers in Southern California, and last night was perfect, with a full moon like a giant pearl, and a soft, fresh breeze. Except for our famous fire season in October, it feels nicer to be outside.

Grocery stores are better than they used to be; we have a wider variety of stores to choose from, a wider variety of items in the stores, and the stores themselves are more welcoming – the Pavilions by my house has wooden floors, atmospheric lighting, and nice music.  Trader Joe’s, Fresh and Easy, Costco, Sam’s Club, Von’s and Ralph’s; and you can also buy food in stores like Target, and the store that I won’t shop in (Wal-Mart; more on that later) – I do love food, and shopping for it is definitely more fun.

I like the fact that my truck runs like a dream, and that I don’t have to keep having it fixed for every little reason.  As much as I want to own a vintage car one day, I know that what comes with ownership is upkeep, and vintage cars require more than those that have been built recently.  There is a ’56 Chevy or a ’66 Mustang out there for me, but I may have to compromise with a new Mustang (now that’s a thought!). I have a non-PC 8-cylinder Toyota Tundra beast of a truck, and I am considering trading it in, not for the environment (I know, big strikes against me, but I’m being honest), but for the ease of parking wherever I want, and being able to turn on a dime (I need a wide berth to turn the Tundra, and my backing skills in it could be hazardous to your car’s health if you park behind me. Enough said.), and for putting a little more cash in my pocket.

This is an example of the car of my dreams; I will happily ride into the sunset in any clean and awesome ’57 Chevy, however:

So pretty. Couldn’t you see me driving down PCH in this car, with Paco’s ears sticking out of the back window? Yeah, me too.


Anyone remember the movie “Urgh! A Music War”?  Back in the day (early ’80s),  my brother Steve and his friend Steve (both of whom at one time weighed over 200 pounds; my brother’s friend Steve actually reached almost 300 at one point, so I felt pretty safe going places with them; even though neither one of them could throw a punch to save his life, they were physically imposing) took me to L.A. to see it for a midnight show. Here’s Klaus Nomi, a true original; and here’s Wall of VoodooDevoOingo Boingo! I could post more, but I would end up posting the whole movie, it’s just that great:

Watch it (or watch it again) to see the bands who were able to last beyond the new wave, and those that weren’t.  Highlights for me include the Alleycats, Pere Ubu (listening to this band is like having my eyelashes plucked out one at a time, but I can’t turn them off for some reason), the Go-Go’s, the Surf Punks, the Cramps, and the Dead Kennedys. (I went to see the Dead Kennedys at the Olympic Auditorium, also with Steve and Steve. During the evening, I had to tackle not-my-brother Steve, who, after a few cocktails, was fond of engaging strangers in conversation; as a group of evil-looking skinheads was walking down the aisle toward the mosh pit, he was slowly reaching out to touch one of them.  I had visions of him being pummeled and tossed out in the street, so I flung myself into his lap, if only to keep him from making contact with these guys, and more importantly, them making contact with him. )  It was always an adventure to go out with Steve and Steve — stay tuned for more on these two, won’t you?

I’m writing about this to avoid writing about my mother, who is being discharged today.  She will be coming home with a live-in caregiver, and will be in hospice care as well.  I have to go to the hospital around 11, then an ambulance will be transporting her to her house, and I will be meeting the ambulance there.  This will be a good thing for her; she will be more comfortable at home, and I think it will be easier for everyone to visit.  I’m a little bit numb right now, but I will feel better when the day is over.  There is food shopping, a little housework, and a few other things to do at her house, but otherwise, everything has been taken care of.  Jamal had to go out of town this morning, and he’s worried about me, but I’m as all right as a person can be in this situation.  I’m working on taking care of myself, because as hard as I thought this year has been, it’s about to get harder, and I need to stay physically and mentally healthy to get through this.  What did Dan Rather always say at the end of his broadcast? “Courage.” Courage.