Monday, January 28, 2008

Airbus A380 Cockpit

Oh, wow. This is so cool - Airbus A380 Cockpit. After it loads, put it in full screen mode (last button on the right), and you can use your mouse to pan (click and drag) and zoom (mouse scroll wheel).

Really well done (although the mouse panning is backwards from what I expected, but I quickly adjusted).

(It's done Flash, by the way.)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Let Me In

"For crying out loud, people, it's snowing out here. Let me in already."

Let Me In

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January NH UPA Chapter Meeting

A little public service announcement...

The first official New Hampshire UPA (Usability Professionals' Accociation) chapter meeting is this coming Thursday, January 24th, at UNH in Durham. Some of the details...

Thursday, January 24th
Refreshments & Networking: 6-7:00 PM
Meeting: 7:00 PM

University of New Hampshire (UNH)
Kingsbury Hall, Room N101
33 College Road
Durham, NH

Guest speaker: Jared Spool
Topic: What Makes a Design Seem Intuitive?

RSVP: Seats are limited. You must RSVP to attend. Send RSVPs to

NH UPA meetings are open to anyone who is interested in attending. Membership to the UPA is not required.

Stay informed about NH UPA meetings and events by joining the NH UPA Yahoo! group at:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Project Ticket Stub - 1987

1987. With this year you will start to see why I don't remember each and every Dead show I've been to...6 Dead shows for the spring tour, 3 in the summer, and 6 more for the fall tour.
Grateful Dead, March 29, 30, and 31, 1987
Grateful Dead
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
March 29, 30, and 31, 1987

My spring tour begins with the three shows in Philly. I'm not sure why these aren't mail order tickets, but rather are boring Ticketmaster stubs.

Happily for me, the three encores were Mighty Quinn, It's All Over Now Baby Blue, and Brokedown Palace. The Useless Blues curse is broken.
Grateful Dead, April 2, 3, and 4, 1987
Grateful Dead
The Centrum, Worcester, MA
April 2, 3, and 4, 1987

Philly was Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, making Wednesday, April 1 the road trip day for me (and the band) to drive north. Then Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in the Centrum.
The Saturday show brought out a song called Willy and the Hand Jive, which was a Johnny Otis hit in 1958 (and also covered by Eric Clapton in the early 70s). This will turn out to be the last time they ever play this song, out of six total times played.
John Hartford and Nancy Griffith, April 12, 1987

John Hartford and Nancy Griffith
The Colonial Theatre, Keene, NH
April 12, 1987

Although this is the first ticket stub I have with Nanci's name on it, I know it isn't the first time I saw her. My friend Leo and I saw Nanci at the legendary Passim folk club in Harvard Square sometime in 1983, 84, or maybe 85. I can't pin down which year, but I know I went there with Leo, and I remember being struck at how small the venue was (and still is today - total capacity is around 120 people). It was the first of many special musical nights I would spend at the small club in the basement on Palmer Street.

Anyway, back to this show... this was a double bill, and John played the opening set, followed by Nanci. I remember Nanci thanking John for being so gracious as to insist that he play the opening set. Nanci was still relatively unknown at this point, and John was ever the gentleman. Both John and Nanci played solo this night. This was long before John regularly toured with the Hartford String Band, and Nanci with her Blue Moon Orchestra band.
John Hartford, April 19, 1987
John Hartford
Joseph's Water Works, Norwich, VT
April 19, 1987

A week later and I was back to my favorite spot in Norwich to see John play another show at Joseph's Water Works. I think he had his son, Jamie, playing with him at this show. Jamie has turned into quite the musician himself, and his tribute album released a couple of years after John's death is nothing short of heartbreaking; it's amazing how much his voice sounds like his dad's.
The Neville Brothers, May 15, 1987
The Neville Brothers
Club Casino, Hampton Beach, NH
May 15, 1987

I don't really remember the opening act, Judy Mowatt, but I can attest that the Neville Brothers are a hell of a lot of fun. Aaron Neville has one of the most amazing voices in the world, no?
New Riders of the Purple Sage, May 17, 1987
New Riders of the Purple Sage
Joseph's Water Works, Norwich, VT
May 17, 1987

Panama Red...
Bill Staines, May 24, 1987
Bill Staines
Joseph's Water Works, Norwich, VT
May 24, 1987

I probably discovered Bill Staines via Nanci Griffith, as Nanci gives much credit to Bill for encouraging her early in her career, and she does a beautiful cover of Bill's song, Roseville Fair.

Bill hails from New Hampshire, and today makes his home in Dover, NH - although he doesn't appear to be home much -- holy cow look at his tour schedule! If he's in your neighborhood, go see him.
Bill Staines, May 24, 1987
Dylan and the Dead
Sullivan Stadium, Foxboro, MA
July 4, 1987

Oh my, this was fun. I mean, come on, how much more fun can you get than a late afternoon outdoor Dead show (with Dylan no less) on the 4th of July? This was a huge party!
The Dead played the first set, and it was sort of a shortened normal two set Dead show played in one set, starting with Touch of Grey, and having a Drums/Space about three-quarters of the way through the set. The second set was Dylan with the Dead, and there were many memorable moments during this set, including Garcia playing pedal steel on I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. There were no fewer than ten first-time-played songs during this set, and most notably (at least for me) the Knocking on Heaven's Door encore (with both Dylan and Garcia on vocals).

This show is a serious contender for my all-time top 10 list.
Grateful Dead, July 10, 1987
Dylan and the Dead
John F. Kennedy Stadium, Philadelphia, PA
July 10, 1987

A week later and we're in Philly for the Friday night show, to be followed by a show on Sunday at Giants Stadium in NJ (see below).
We used Scott's house in Atlantic City as our home base for the weekend, and there were a bunch of us there for the weekend and both shows. Hanging out on Saturday in Atlantic City was just perfect, and I remember the multi-car caravans heading to both Philly and Giants Stadium. Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep five or six cars together for the 130-mile ride up the Garden State Parkway from Atlantic City to East Rutherford?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The JFK show was structured just like the Foxboro show the weekend before - a Dead set, followed by a Dylan and the Dead set. Once again Garcia brought out the pedal steel for I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. And once again we had a couple of firsts, including Simple Twist of Fate, and Tangled Up In Blue - both staples of JGB (Jerry Garcia Band) shows, but firsts for the Dead.
Dylan and the Dead
Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
July 12, 1987

And the Sunday night show. This time it was a normal two set Dead show, followed by a third set of Dylan and the Dead. The encore was Touch of Grey > Knocking on Heaven's Door. Sort of perfect.

Notice that the tickets for these Dylan and the Dead shows were $21 each. These are the first over-$20 tickets so far in Project Ticket Stub. Prices are rising.
Crosby, Stills, and Nash, August 3, 1987
Crosby, Stills, & Nash
Cal Expo Amphitheatre, Sacramento, CA
August 3, 1987

This was fun and totally unexpected. I was in Sacramento on a business trip with colleague Dennis. Our trip spanned the weekend before this show, as I remember we went up to lake Tahoe on the weekend.
At some point I must have noticed that CSN was playing on Monday night and that tickets were still available and I was able to snag one for me and one for Dennis.

I remember it was a gorgeous California summer evening. And what could be better than CSN in California? (Well, OK, sure - adding Neil Young could have made it better.)
Grateful Dead, September 7, 8, and 9, 1987
Grateful Dead
Providence Civil Center, Providence, RI
September 7, 8, and 9, 1987

East coast fall tour started, for me and for the band, with three shows in Providence. Notice that I was pretty much sitting in the same spot on the floor for all three shows - Section 4, in either Row A or B. These were really good seats - the first two rows of the second seating section back on the floor, on Jerry's side.

The Monday night show (the 7th) brought out a new surprise song - La Bamba, a Ritchie Valens hit from the 1950s that was back in the musical zeitgeist from the 1987 movie of the same name; at the time Los Lobos was having a number 1 hit with their version of the song from the movie soundtrack. The Dead would play La Bamba just four times, all during this September fall east coast tour.
The first time surprises didn't stop at the Monday show, though. On Wednesday they opened the show by playing Hey Pocky Way (with Brent Mydland on vocals) for the first time. This song was originally recorded by the Meters in 1974, who adapted it from traditional New Orleans Indian street chants. Over the years it has been covered by the Wild Tchoupitoulas, the Neville Brothers, and many others. The Dead would play it 25 times in total, with the last time played just four days before Brent's untimely death on July 26, 1990.

On a more upbeat note, the first set on Wednesday also ended with another first time played - the classic "Detroit Medley" of Devil With A Blue Dress On > Good Golly Miss Molly > Devil With A Blue Dress On. Good Golly was first a hit in 1956 by Little Richard, but the Mitch Ryder pairing of it with Blue Dress in 1966 really put it on the all-time classic charts for good. All told, the Dead would play Blue Dress six times in the fall of 1987, splicing Good Golly into it on three of those times.
Grateful Dead, September 18, 19, and 20, 1987
Grateful Dead
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
September 18, 19, and 20, 1987

After Providence, the Dead played three nights in Landover, MD, but I didn't get to them. Then they played five nights in Madison Square Garden, and I went to the last three of those shows. The thing I most loved about seeing the Dead in New York City is that it seemed like the only place in the world where the influx of Deadheads didn't make a dent in the normal comings and goings of the area. We were just one small drop in the crazy bucket of this city. The scene in and around Madison Square Garden was tons of fun. Street vendors, cops on horses, crazy cabs, Deadheads, and the normal flow of the city.
I remember a cover of Dylan's Maggie's Farm (Bob Weir on lyrics) on Saturday night, broadcast on TV as part of that year's Farm Aid. This was another relatively rare song, played only 24 times in total. We also got another La Bamba, this one in the second set of the Friday night show.

I'm not sure why I ended up with a taper ticket for the Saturday night show, but I do recall being in the taper section and being very conscious of the tapers around me, with their mic stands high in the air.
Garcia on Broadway, October 19, 1987
Garcia on Broadway
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York, NY
October 19, 1987

Billed as "Garcia on Broadway", in October 1987 Jerry put in a record-setting 18 show engagement at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Promoted by the legendary Bill Graham, here was proof positive that Jerry had bounced back (at least temporarily) from his drug problems and diabetic coma of just a year earlier.
I only got to see the show on the 19th, but without a doubt it belongs on my top 10 list. The first set was acoustic (the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band), and the second electric (JGB). These were fun, spirited shows, particularly the acoustic band sets, with Jerry having a lot of fun with his pals John Kahn (acoustic bass), David Kemper (drums), David Nelson (acoustic guitar), and Sandy Rothman (mandolin, dobro). I love the sound of this acoustic band, and kick myself for not seeing more of these shows.

Cost of living notice: this was the first of my tickets to hit thirty dollars.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Project Ticket Stub - 1986

On to 1986...

Hot Tuna, January 23, 1986 Hot Tuna
Paradise Theatre, Boston, MA
January 23, 1986

I really don't remember this show. Nothing stands out, either of the night, the Paradise, or the show. I see that shows a sweet set list for the night. Set 1 must have been acoustic, and set 2 electric.

Jerry Garcia, January 31, 1986 Jerry Garcia & John Kahn
The Capitol Theater, Passaic, NJ
January 31, 1986

This night (and the next - see below) go down in the top ten list, and also sit alongside that 1979 Steve Goodman show as one of those concerts that I most wish I could go back to and experience all over again.

This was acoustic Jerry - Garcia sitting on a chair with his acoustic guitar, accompanied by John Kahn on the upright acoustic bass. The two sets were short - really only about 45 minutes each (set list here), and Jerry's voice wasn't exactly at the top of his form (we won't get into his lifestyle here), but hell, it was acoustic Jerry!

If I could change any one thing about this concert it would be to get the crowd to be silent. I would have loved to have been able to hear every note, but well, you know a crowd of Deadheads (well, maybe you don't). Today I so much prefer small intimate venues, where everyone is there to hear the music, and you can hear each and every note.

Jerry Garcia, February 1, 1986 Jerry Garcia & John Kahn
Orpheum Theater, Boston, MA
February 1, 1986

Friday night in Passaic, Saturday night in Boston! There was another show Sunday night in Boston, but I'm not exactly sure why I didn't go to that one as well. It could be that I couldn't get tickets -- or that I was running low on money!

Grateful Dead, March 23, 24, and 25, 1986 Grateful Dead
March 23, 24, and 25, 1986
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA

On to the spring tour! First stop, Philadelphia.

It looks like these are my first mail order tickets (tickets purchased through the Dead's own mail order ticket distribution system). I loved these general admission shows (before the scene got too big, too popular, and too crazy), as the crowd tended to be mellow and to flow naturally. (Well, unless you wanted to get up real close to the stage.)

Nothing really stands out about this Philly run. I'm not even sure if we used Scott's Atlantic City house as our home base, or whether I might have been crashing at my parents', or even my brother's. Deadbase tells me that I thankfully didn't get any U.S. Blues encores. :-) Deadbase also says that they played Dylan's Desolation Row for the first time ever on the 25th. I always thought that Bobby (Bob Weir) did a great job with that song, and hell, just remembering all of the lyrics is an impressive feat!

Grateful Dead, March 27 and 28, 1986 Grateful Dead
Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, ME
March 27 and 28, 1986

The Philly shows were Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. I must have driven back to NH on Wednesday, and I suspect used my Londonderry, NH apartment as the home base for these two Portland, ME shows. At least I don't remember staying overnight in Portland.

The show on the 27th stands out, as it had some unique (even for the Dead) aspects to it. The first set included a song called Hamstrung Blues, and this was the first and only time they played it. The first set also included a relatively rare Wang Dang Doodle, which hadn't been played in almost 2 years (91 shows to be exact). The second set also included a really cool and fairly rare jam known as Spanish Jam coming out of Drums.

The show on the 28th opened with Iko Iko, and to me that's a killer way to open a show. Energy from the very start.
Grateful Dead, March 30, 1986 Grateful Dead
Civil Center, Providence, RI
March 30, 1986

Notice that this isn't a Dead mail order ticket, which leads me to believe that this must have been a last minute, unplanned acquisition on my part. Five shows in a row weren't enough. :-)

Although I cannot tell from the ticket whether section 121 was a floor section, I know I ended up on the floor at this show, closer to the stage than in any other Dead show before or since. Close enough to really see details.

This show stands out for two things. One is the Beatles' Why Don't We Do It In The Road coming out of Drums; that was the very last time they ever played it, and they never did play it that often (only seven times ever, all between June 1984 and this show). The other was Dylan's Quinn the Eskimo for the encore, a relatively new cover song for them at the time - this was only the fourth time they had played it, the first being on December 30, 1985. Quinn was, without a doubt, an enormous crowd pleaser of an encore. It's such a great encore song.
Dylan and the Dead, July 6, 1986 Dylan and the Dead
R.F.K. Stadium, Washington, DC
July 6, 1986

Uhhh, anyone notice any pattern yet? :-)

They played, I think, five of these shows in late June and early July that year, all with Tom Petty opening, then Dylan, then the Dead. Although Dylan played with the Dead on a couple of songs at two of the shows (July 2nd in Akron, and July 7th in RFK), this wasn't one of them.

Other than a long, hot, summer day, what most stands out from this weekend was getting hopelessly lost in some not-so-friendly parts of Washington, DC while trying to find RFK Stadium.
Go Ahead, October 1, 1986 Go Ahead
The Channel, Boston, MA
October 1, 1986

Oh, you thought maybe this wasn't Dead related? Ha!

Go Ahead was a Dead side band formed by keyboardist Brent Mydland and drummer Bill Kreutzmann during 1986 while Jerry was recovering from his near-fatal diabetic coma (brought on by drug abuse, I might add) earlier in the year.

I remember running into a bunch of DECheads (Deadheads who worked for DEC - Digital Equipment Corporation) at this show. I know I ran into Happy in the parking lot before the show, along with a bunch of others (Dave? Ting?). If we couldn't have a fall tour (because of Jerry's coma and recovery), at least we could have a side band.

John Hartford, October, 1986 John Hartford
Joseph’s Water Works, Norwich, VT
October, 1986

I don't know the exact date of this show, but I'm fairly confident it was in October, as shows John played the Somerville Theater in Somerville, MA on October 4th.

I loved this venue, and this was my first time there. It was a small bar, right along Vermont Route 5 on the Connecticut River, not far out of Hanover, NH (home of Dartmouth College). I saw John there a couple of times, as well as a few other artists (all coming up in the next couple of Project Ticket Stub years).

My friend Leo brought along his 35mm camera to either this show or one of the upcoming times I saw John at this venue, and I have a couple of great 8x10 prints of John playing here. I might even have Leo's 35mm negatives from this show, in one of far-too-many boxes of prints and negatives.

Harvey Reid, Doc Watson, November 16, 1986 Harvey Reid, Doc Watson
Joseph’s Water Works, Norwich, VT
November 16, 1986

Told you I loved Joseph's Water Works - a month later and I went back to see Doc Watson.

Harvey Reid opened; Harvey is an incredible multi-instrumentalist, and this was my surprise introduction to him. I really went to see Doc, who had only recently begun touring again after the untimely death of his son Merle in October, 1985. Doc Watson is nothing short of an American musical icon, and if you aren't familiar with his music you should be.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Project Ticket Stub - 1985

Time to resume Project Ticket Stub. If you have been following along you might be looking for 1984, but no, I didn't see any concerts in 1984 (well, that may not be entirely true -- see below). 1984 was spent heads down finishing graduate school - finishing the research, writing the thesis, finishing classes, and finally defending the thesis. I completed everything in December, 1984 and moved back to NH (for good, so far) in January, 1985. And then the fun began...

David Bromberg, John Hartford, February 23, 1985 David Bromberg, John Hartford
The Bottom Line, New York, NY
February 23, 1985

Yes, yes, I know that the ticket says Doc Watson and John Hartford, but it really was a Bromberg and Hartford co-bill. Doc was sick and couldn't make the show, and David filled in for him. We didn't learn this until we were inside the legendary Bottom Line, but it was quite the welcome substitution.

This was my first and only time (so far?) attending a show at the Bottom Line, and was also my first Bromberg show. Although this is the first ticket I have with Hartford's name on it, I know that it wasn't my first Hartford show. The first time I saw John Hartford was sometime in 1983 or 1984 when I was down in Blacksburg, VA. We saw him at a small club that must have been somewhere in or around the Roanoke, VA area. I have a distinct memory of the inside of that small little club, at how happy I was to be seeing John Hartford (whom I had discovered through the record collection of Rob from Tennessee when I was in school in St. Louis), at who went to the show with me (graduate school friend Lt. Commander Steve Harris and his then wife Linda), and the best memory of all -- John signing the large poster I bought. To this day that same poster hangs framed in my den, alongside a signed Aero-Plain album sleeve; two very prized possessions.

Anyway, back to the Bottom Line... This was a co-bill, and I'm pretty sure Bromberg played the first set, and John played the second set. At least that's the way I remember it. No bands either - both of them played solo.

Grateful Dead, March 31, 1985 Grateful Dead
Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, ME
March 31, 1985

Wow, a long dry spell for Dead shows - my last Dead show was in August, 1982.

This was a general admission show, at least according to the ticket. I'm trying to remember where I may have ended up, but I really don't recall. DeadBase tells me that the second set ended with Day Tripper - I bet that was fun! And, oh no, yet another Useless Blues encore - that's six out of seven, for those keeping score at home. Ugh, is it any wonder I grew to hate that song?

Grateful Dead, June 30, 1985 Grateful Dead
Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
June 30, 1985

My first outdoor Dead show, and oh what fun. Merriweather is a beautiful setting. This was the "We may be lost, but we're making damn good time" show. (Mark and Scott will remember that.) I remember a killer Looks Like Rain towards the end of the first set; to this day I love the emotion of that song. And yea, you guessed it -- U.S. Blues for the encore, making for a dismal seven out of eight shows.

Grateful Dead, July 1, 1985 Grateful Dead
Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
July 1, 1985

Do I remember this right? The June 30th show was a Sunday night (that's a fact) and was me, Mark, and Scott (and potentially others?). We must have spent the weekend in Atlantic City, at Scott's house and driven down to Merriweather before the show. And then we must have driven back to Atlantic City after the show - about a 180-mile drive each way.

Then, on Monday, July 1, just Scott and I drove back to Merriweather. Were the Monday night tickets a last minute acquisition? Why did Mark bail, some lame excuse like work? :-) I distinctly remember that we didn't take the same driving route as we did on Sunday. On Sunday we drove Atlantic City toward Philly, then down through Wilmington, MD, and on to Route 95 through Baltimore to Merriweather. But doing that again on Monday would have been boring and routine, so Scott and I drove south from Atlantic City to catch the Cape May ferry, then west across Delaware to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. That was fun - both catching the ferry, and the bay bridge. If you have never driven it, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is an amazing engineering marvel.

As for the show, holy cow what a smoking second set: Scarlet > Fire, Playin' > Uncle John > Drumz > Mr. Fantasy > GDTRFB > Good Lovin! Wow. And for the encore, Satisfaction > Baby Blue! I went home happy!

Given that I came from NH, I figure I must have logged about 1,400 miles to see these two shows.

Live Aid, July 13, 1985 Live Aid
John F. Kennedy Stadium, Philadelphia, PA
July 13, 1985

It doesn't get any better than this. This concert, this whole weekend, goes right to my all-time top ten list. No questions asked. None needed.

Did Scott score the tickets for this? Whoever did, there's a bunch of us forever in their debt. We had a large group, and we used Scott's house in Atlantic City as the gathering point before the concert. Happy and Rae and Bill C must have been there. Was /Bill (slash Bill)? Mark, of course, and Scott. And others too distant to remember. I remember a multi-car caravan from Atlantic City to Philly, as well as one hell of a parking lot scene. Everybody knew this was something BIG, and the atmosphere was electric. And HOT. OMG, it was blazing hot that July weekend.

Where do you start when it comes to Live Aid? Ninety thousand strong in JFK Stadium that day. Joan Baez telling us that it was our Woodstock. Phil Collins playing first in Wembley and then flying across the Atlantic to play drums for the Led Zeppelin reunion. Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young! Mick Jagger and Tina Turner burning it up. Teddy Pendergrass being brought on stage in his wheelchair. Dylan, Keith Richard, and Ron Wood! From start to finish, it was mind boggling.

Favorite non-musical memory: Scott appearing through the crowd mid-afternoon with two big bags of ice over his shoulders. I don't know how he did it, but he somehow acquired them from a vendor. And they saved our lives. We weren't within reach of the large water hoses they were using to help cool down the poor folks on the field. Did I mention it was HOT?

Garrison Keillor, September 21, 1985 Garrison Keillor
The Wang Theatre, Boston, MA
September 21, 1985

OK, not really a concert, but I have a scanned ticket stub so I might as well include it. This was either at the Wang or at the Opera House, I can't remember which. And this was a benefit, as the ticket shows, but I don't remember what the benefit was for? Was it for the restoration of the Wang?

The night consisted of Garrison reading selections from his then recently published book, Lake Wobegon Days. I'm pretty sure I went with friends Chuck and Jan.

The Band, October 5, 1985 The Band
The Capitol Theatre, Concord, NH
October 5, 1985

My first visit to the Capitol Theater in Concord (now the Capitol Center for the Arts). This was the reunited Band (minus Robbie Robertson), and thankfully about six months before Richard Manuel's suicide. It was a rocking good night and just what you would want from The Band - a concert chock full of songs like The Shape I'm in, Stage Fright, The Weight, and Up On Cripple Creek.

Grateful Dead, November 4, 1985 Grateful Dead
The Centrum, Worcester, MA
November 4, 1985

And my year ended with a pair of Dead shows. First, Monday night in Worcester, where the highlight was the set 1 ending Might As Well. And yes, my bad luck with U.S. Blues encores resumed, now making it 8 out of my first 10 Dead shows.

Grateful Dead, November 5, 1985 Grateful Dead
The Centrum, Worcester, MA
November 5, 1985

And then Tuesday night in Worcester. Lots of highlights from this show, including They Love Each Other, Bird Song, and It Looks Like Rain all in the first set. The second started with the band playing Happy Birthday for Boston Celtic and legendary deadhead Bill Walton; the tall red head was quite easy to spot on the side of the stage all night long. The good thing about seeing back-to-back shows is no fear of another Useless Blues, but rather an achingly beautiful Brokedown Palace for the encore.

Bromberg, Hartford, The Band, five Dead shows, and Live Aid. 1985 was a very good year.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Hampshire Primary - Heavy Voter Turnout

Just a brief interruption to Project Ticket Stub to say, holy cow, the voter turnout in today's New Hampshire presidential primary is every bit has heavy as the news reports are saying. I've been a registered voter in Londonderry, NH since 1986, and I don't ever recall seeing a turnout as heavy as what I just witnessed at my polling place around 5:30pm tonight. Ever. Not in any previous primary. Not in any previous election. Traffic was backed up in every direction leading up to the high school. The parking lot was jam packed with cars streaming in and cars streaming out. There was a steady flow of people in and out of the voting booths.

The New Hampshire voting age population is just bit over a million people. News estimates are that we could have as many as 500,000 people voting today. Sure, on the one side I have to wonder just what is wrong with that half million people who aren't voting. But on the other side, I'm proud as hell to be among the 50% of eligible voters who did voice their opinion today.

New Hampshire is speaking today. Now we just have to wait to see what it says.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Project Ticket Stub - 1983

1983. Apple Lisa is born. Bjorn Borg retires. Reagan calls the Soviet Union the "evil empire" and launches the Strategic Defense Initiative proposal (aka Star Wars). U.S. embassy in Beirut is destroyed by a suicide bomber. Lech Walesa wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

And I had my head down in graduate school. I moved from Blacksburg, VA to Nashua, NH in late May or early June to begin a research internship with Digital, and I wouldn't return to Tech for classes again until the following January. I was consumed by graduate school and the internship, and had little time for anything else.

Grover Washington, Jr., Spring, 1983 Grover Washington, Jr.
Cassell Coliseum, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Unknown date in 1983

I don't know the date for this show, but it had to be early in the year, before I moved to New Hampshire. I vaguely remember it being winter, so maybe it was in February?

Grover Washington, Jr.'s smooth jazz certainly wasn't the sort of music I was listening to, as you might guess by previously posted ticket stubs. I went to this concert because my next door neighbor, Terri, wanted to go and I'm guessing that nobody else in our little circle of graduate school friends was willing. But hey, I'm game for any kind of music.

Neil Young, September 4, 1983 Neil Young
Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), Saratoga Springs, NY
September 4, 1983

Neil was touring behind his Everybody's Rocking rockabilly-inspired album. I recall that the first set was straight-forward Neil, and the second set was Neil and the Shocking Pinks doing the more rockabilly sort of tunes. I'll take straight-forward Neil, please, thank you.

SPAC, by the way, is a wonderful place for a summer concert. Scott must have been living in Albany around this time, and I suspect Mark came up from NJ to NH and from there we met up with Scott and others in Albany. This show had a great parking lot scene, and I remember learning that, yes, you can grill hot dogs and hamburgers in the hub cap of a 1970 Chevy Impala if you have somehow forgotten to bring the hibachi grill.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Project Ticket Stub - 1982

1982. Falklands War. Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, Ebony and Ivory. The situation in Poland looks bleak. The Vietnam Veterans memorial is dedicated. Barney Clark gets the first artificial heart.

And for me, graduation from college. I spent the summer in St. Louis, enjoying the incredible feeling of accomplishment before moving to Blacksburg, VA to start graduate school at Virginia Tech. Only five ticket stubs for the year, and three of them were in August during that wonderful summer. Interestingly enough, those three August shows allowed me to visit each of the three major St. Louis venues one last time - Keil Auditorium, Kiel Opera House, and the Checkerdome.

The Police, April 1, 1982 The Police
The Checkerdome, St. Louis, MO
April 1, 1982

The Police were very popular around this time, and this tour was in support of The Ghost in the Machine album - both Spirits in the Material World, and Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic were getting lots of air play. But nothing about this concert really stands out, I'm afraid.

Grateful Dead, August 4, 1982 Grateful Dead
Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MO
August 4, 1982

My sixth Dead show, and another U.S. Blues encore! That's five out six! Oh well, at least I got a Terrapin Station, which I was really into at the time.

Elvis Costello, August 5, 1982 Elvis Costello
Kiel Opera House, St. Louis, MO
August 5, 1982

Of all the musicians I have seen, I feel most conflicted about my memory of this show. You see, today I am in complete awe of Elvis and his work. He's written or performed so many iconic songs - Alison, Pump It Up, Watching the Detectives, Almost Blue, Radio Radio, (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love and Understanding. And his body of collaborative work is incredible - Paul McCartney, Tony Bennett, Lucinda Williams, Brian Eno, Burt Bacharach, and more. Not to mention he had the good taste to marry Diana Krall.

But my memory of this concert is spoiled by Elvis' attitude toward the audience at this show. I distinctly remember a sort of "you're not clapping loud enough for me to give you an encore" moment that really turned me off. And that's my overwhelming memory from that night.

Crosby, Stills, and Nash Crosby, Stills, and Nash
The Checkerdome, St. Louis, MO
August 24, 1982

Hmmmm, nothing stands out.

Arlo Guthrie, 1982 Arlo Guthrie
Stages, Granite City, IL
Unknown date in 1982

I'm listing this last, but I'm fairly certain this show was early in the year - March or April maybe. Unfortunately I didn't write the date on the back of the stub, and my internet searches have come up empty.

But I distinctly remember this show, partly because this represents the first concert I saw that wasn't in a large stadium, arena, or theater setting. Stages was a bar geared toward live acts. I remember the room was set up with long rectangular tables arranged perpendicular to the stage, so that everybody twisted a little sideways to see the stage. (As opposed to half the crowd having to turn completely around.)

Arlo was, well, exactly what you would expect for Arlo - humorous and folksy and slightly offbeat in that Alice's Restaurant sort of way (which, yes, he did play).

Friday, January 4, 2008

Project Ticket Stub - 1981

1981. Reagan in the White House. U.S. hostages in Iran released. IBM PC. Bob Marley RIP. Lady Di marries Prince Charles. Reagan fires the striking air-traffic controllers. Simon and Garfunkel reunite in Central Park. Sandra Day O'Connor on the court. Nolan Ryan's fifth no-hitter. Martial law in Poland.

And not a whole lot of music for me. Blame it on being a poor college student.

St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra, March 20, 1981 St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra
Kiel Opera House, St. Louis, MO
March 20, 1981

Look, some culture among all this rock and roll! A college friend, Jon, was a backup bass player for the orchestra, and as I recall this concert was his big break. Because he was going to be playing he got a number of comp tickets which he distributed among our little network of friends. So we had a little group of poor college students out in force to support Jon that night. It was fun, and we were proud to see our friend on stage.

I remember Jon telling us that the Keil backstage area that night was a weird trip. See, while the Philharmonic had the Opera House side of Keil that night, the Auditorium side was hosting a professional wrestling show (whatever they called Wrestlemania back then). So the shared backstage area between the two halves of Keil was a mixture of two very different cultures.

The Rolling Stones, November 19, 1981 The Rolling Stones
The Checkerdome, St. Louis, MO
November 19, 1981

My second Stones show; this tour in support of the Tattoo You album. I recall the show being, well, being more "show" than the 1978 tour - more elaborate in terms of stage production, and certainly a precursor of Stones shows to come where the stage is big and elaborate. Tattoo You was also one heck of a successful album, with Start Me Up being (for me) the signature song and sound of the concert and album.

Here's a little interesting tidbit about this tour -- notice the "A JOVAN PRESENTATION" on the ticket. This was the first rock tour in history to have an advertising sponsor - Jovan Musk. It seems that Jovan paid the Stones a million bucks to print that line on the tickets!

But I'm afraid that's it for 1981 - just two shows.