Friday, November 17, 2006

Festivus 2006: Fastball, Soul Asylum, and Cheap Trick at the Beacon

Well, what can I say? Great show!

Jack FM's first Festivus concert. By the way, in case you're not familiar with the concept of Festivus, made popular by the show Seinfeld, read the wikipedia entry here. It's doubly interesting and amusing. At one point during the Cheap Trick set, guitarist Rick Nielsen, who had been pointing out people in the crowd, acknowledged a bald man in the third or fourth row as Larry David, creator of Seinfeld. We thought he might be joking until we made the Festivus connection. Not to mention that Jeff Garlin, who plays Larry David's manager on Curb Your Enthusiasm, sang with Cheap Trick in the movie Daddy Daycare, and was invited to sing "Surrender" with them at the House of Blues in Anaheim after filming their scene in the movie (referenced in this interview here).

So, to recap, Fastball was the first opening act. Tony Scalzo and Miles Zuniga played an acoustic set of about half a dozen songs, including their song "I Get High," "The Way," and a new song called "Reality". There were a few others but, as I am not familiar with them, I couldn't tell you the whole setlist.

Next up was Soul Asylum.....they opened with "Somebody to Shove". Ended with "Crazy Mixed Up World," "Black Gold," "Runaway Train," and a rousing "Stand Up and Be Strong". "Runaway Train" was dedicated to Karl Mueller, the band's founding bassist who succumbed to throat cancer in 2005 Played a few others in between. "Crazy..." and "Stand Up..." are off their new album The Silver Lining. Buy it here on Amazon, or just go to watch a clip of them performing : "Stand Up and Be Strong" and "Runaway Train", along with a bit of a Bill Maher interview with them.

Very impressive was the band's new drummer, Michael Bland, whose site is worth visiting for a few seconds at least. He is a very large presence behind the drum kit, to say the least, and I say that with the utmost respect.

Then the main act, Cheap Trick. Here's their setlist:

Hello There, Big Eyes, Oh Candy, Welcome To The World, If You Want My Love, Come On Come On Come On, Best Friend, I Want You To Want Me, I Know What I Want, Voices, If It Takes A Lifetime, O Claire (Tease - Robin strummed the opening chords and Rick started singing, stopped, and said that he quit drinking years ago, so he wouldn't bother trying that one live), The Flame, That 70's Song, Surrender

Encore: Dream Police, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodnight

Highlights for me were Nielsen's continuous guitar-changes. The band is very unique in that most groups' stage banter comes from the lead singer. But Robin Zander sang and sang amazingly well. (photo courtesy of Zandergal on the Cheap Trick message board)

Nielsen's mic stand was studded with guitar picks which flew into the crowd like leaves from a tree on a gusty autumn day. On more than one occasion, Nielsen ended a song by handing his guitar to someone in the crowd. A stagehand later retrieved it, but it must have been quite a thrill to be the temporary recipient of a legendary axe.

(photo courtesy of Zandergal on the Cheap Trick message board)

Tom Petersson plays a wicked 12-string bass.
(photo courtesy of Zandergal on the Cheap Trick message board)

Digression: A cool article about Rick Nielsen's guitar collection here.

Highlights for me were "Welcome to the World," a song for Nielsen's 14-year old son who was celebrating his birthday in the mezzanine, "Best Friend," and "Surrender". Nielsen's five-neck guitar is truly a sight to behold and, although a picture's worth a thousand words, seeing it live is truly-breathtaking.

Bun E. Carlos is back there somewhere (photo courtesy of Zandergal on the Cheap Trick message board).

A note about "Best Friend," a song I was relatively unfamiliar with. It was an amazing display of hard rock power. By far the heaviest song of the night, it catapulted to the top of my list of favorite Cheap Trick songs.

Another digression, there's a review here of the show Cheap Trick did at the Wiltern in L.A. two weeks ago. It should be noted, the reviewer's biggest criticism is that the Wiltern audience sat through most of the show. At the Beacon last night, the "sitters" were an exception to the norm.

All in all, a phenomenal rock experience.

Fun stuff:

Fastball's MySpace page here. They're streaming"You're an Ocean" "The Modern World" "Out of My Head" and "The Way".

Soul Asylum's MySpace page here. Songs streaming include "Crazy Mixed Up World", "Runaway Train", "Stand Up and Be Strong", and "Never Really Been".

Cheap Trick's MySpace here. You can hear "Perfect Stranger," "I Want You to Want Me," "Dream Police," and "He's a Whore".

Just added: a clip of Cheap Trick performing "Voices" from the Beacon:


Dfactor said...

Nice wrapup - Cheap Trick is like a fine wine that gets better with age.
One small thing - The Soul Asylum song is "Somebody to Shove", not "Waiting by the Phone". Right words, wrong title. :-)

Tattoosday said...

Thanks for the feedback. I've corrected the song title in the posts.

Allen Salkin said...

Much more about Festivus here:

-- Allen Salkin, author of Festivus:The Holiday for the Rest of Us

Tattoosday said...

Cheap Trick at Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island, New Years' Eve. Now that's a show!

Anonymous said...

Did you guys see the Colbert Report with the Cheap Trick guitarist? It rocked. Check for it.

Happy Festivus! If you have never heard of Festivus check out There is a clip from the Seinfeld episode there.

Let the airing of grievances begin!