Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bridge School 22

I just had a wonderful weekend full of concerts. I started Friday night with incredibly intimate performance by The Bittersweets and ended tonight with the marathon 22nd Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert. This afternoon/tonight's show just rocked. Neil Young proved that he is still a living legend and was by far my favorite. My favorite take of the night, though, was Norah Jones singing his When God Made Me with Neil on organ and backing vocals. I had no idea that Norah was singing Bluegrass! All my friends were blown away by her. She definitely stole the show in terms of who most surprised the audience. Wilco also put in a great set and Death Cab For Cutie and Jack Johnson performed well and kept the audience on their feet for most their set, which was a feat considering that the day was over 8 hours long. Cat Power with the Dirty Delta Blues sang a gripping cover of The House of the Rising Sun and I enjoyed when Neil came out and sang Fortunate Son with her. Neil's cover of A Day In The Life just absolutely brought the house down.

And call me crazy, but I swear that Neil passed me on the way to the event headed down Shoreline about 40 minutes before the show in 1950s Plymouth with perfect chrome and interior and green paint fading to surface rust but appearing original. According to this,, Neil owns an off color 1950 Plymouth Super Deluxe. Sounds exactly right. Can anyone out there confirm?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Bittersweets

I went and saw The Bittersweets last night and I was blow away by their performance. They played in the intimate Swedish American Hall above Cafe du Nord in the Castro district in San Francisco. In addition to an incredible, energetic performance of their hit, Long Day, they also blew me me away with their covers of Gillian Welch's Orhpan Girl and Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers. I've heard Gillian Welch sing Orphan Girl herself live and heard Emmylou sing it live as well at least once. Neither compared to the Bittersweet's performance. They also sang one song both a capella and without amplification. Impressive. Plus the venue was just perfect for them. So intimate. Catch a show there if you can.

Photos of the show from my colleague:

Goodnight, San Francisco by The Bittersweets
(purchased and autographed last night in San Francisco)

Long Way From Home: The Bittersweets Live

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Wire, David Simon

"Most smart people cannot watch most TV, because it has generally been a condescending medium, explaining everything immediately, offering no ambiguities, and using dialogue that simplifies and mitigates against the idiosyncratic ways in which people in different worlds actually communicate. It eventually requires that characters from different places talk the same way as the viewer. This of course, sucks.

There are two ways of traveling. One is with a tour guide, who takes you to the crap everyone sees. You take a snapshot and move on, experiencing nothing beyond a crude visual and the retention of a few facts. The other way to travel requires more time... but if you stay in one place, say, if you put up your bag and go down to the local pub or shebeen and you play the fool a bit and make some friends and open yourself up to a new place and new time and new people, soon you have a sense of another world entirely."

E-mail excerpt by David Simon, writer/producer, The Wire, from the booklet of the CD 'The Wire: ...and all the pieces matter. Five Years of Music From The Wire'.

I don't watch TV. I don't even own one. But I admit that I became addicted to The Wire after my housemate in 2004 showed it to me. And here David Simon perfectly sums up both how and why I love traveling in an analogy for one of the reasons why The Wire is such a great show.