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Month: December 2010

Eagles – Eagles Live

Eagles – Eagles Live

I do not attend many live music performances. But I’m knowledgeable enough to know that there are some bands that are worth seeing in person because they bring something special to a live performance. For a jam band like the Grateful Dead, where no two performances are identical (or even reproducible), a true fan knows that a studio record is missing the full Deadhead experience. This is why the bootleg market for Grateful Dead concert tapes is (was) so big for so long. Some other bands may not make each performance as varied, but fans still want to see the band in person because it’s more personal and memorable. For bands like this, releasing a live album per show, something that Pearl Jam has done in the past, allows a fan to buy a recording of the show they attended as an audio keepsake.

In light of the above, I don’t quite understand the appeal of live albums like Eagles Live. The songs are as identical to the studio versions as I’ve ever heard from a live album. The crowd noise is minimal, as are the musings by the band to the crowd between songs. The one embellishment I can catch is “Winslow, Arizona” is switched to “Southern California” in Take It Easy (the concert took place in Long Beach, which I only learned through the Wikipedia page). The personal and unique touches of a live performance are almost absent from this recording. I don’t see the point of a live album if it doesn’t offer something that a studio album doesn’t.

What is it with acrimony within rock bands? Apparently, the members of Eagles were so angry with each other that the final touches of this album were done with the help of at least five lawyers. At least the cover of this album, without the band on it, avoided the mistake The Doobie Brothers made.

Bottom line: Skippable. Get an Eagles studio album instead. And then go watch The Big Lebowski.

Last Week: Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion

Next Week: The Police – Zenyattà Mondatta
Bookmarks for November 23rd through December 24th

Bookmarks for November 23rd through December 24th

These are my links for November 23rd through December 24th:

Chautauqua Hike

Chautauqua Hike

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Today Melissa and I hiked in Chautauqua Meadows in Boulder up to two of the Flatirons. We didn’t exactly plan to do it; we decided on our way up to simply take the steepest choice whenever trails intersected. According to the GPS (which had difficulty with accuracy due to the trees and the terrain) we climbed over total 1700 feet to above 7000 feet.

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Part of the way up the trail was a large rock fall, pictured above. There is no doubt that it is left over from the process that created the Flatirons. The trail crossed the rock fall twice, and each time I found it very remarkable just how fluid-like it looked. Smaller rocks were piled up behind larger rocks, like water in a stream. The view down to Boulder was good, of course, but it was a bit hazy today.

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From behind the Flatiron at the top we could see farther west into the Rockies, where the peaks are covered in snow. I’m not strong on the local peaks yet, but this photo was taken looking perhaps a bit North of West, if you’d like to take a stab at it.

We won’t be having a white Christmas in Boulder, but I think being able to go for a hike like this on the Eve is a fair trade.

Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion

Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion

This is the second album I’ve listened to with a female lead singer, and Crimes of Passion by Pat Benatar is by far a better album than the first. Of the two, this album is much more entertaining, lively, and worthwhile.

The album includes the hit “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”, a confident song about female empowerment that is much more convincing than any of Babs stuff. “Treat Me Right” is similarly strong. “Hell Is for Children”, about child abuse, became a bit of a radio hit and may have helped lead to the 1980’s theme of musical telethons such as “We Are the World” in 1985.

My recommendation is that this album is worth checking out. If you listened to the Streisand album, I think this is especially good advice.

Last Week: The Doobie Brothers – One Step Closer

Next Week: Eagles – Eagles Live
Boulder Weather

Boulder Weather

I don’t often post twice in one day, but I had to show this:

Sunset was at 4:36pm (and the sun fell behind the mountains even before that), but as you can see above, it actually got warmer as the sun set. The wind also picked up at the same time, and the air pressure fell, indicating that the heat was due to the wind warming up as it blew down the mountains. Boulder weather is weird!

The Doobie Brothers – One Step Closer

The Doobie Brothers – One Step Closer

In the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin the main character works in an electronics store, similar to Circuit City or Best Buy. Along one side of the store is the ubiquitous wall of TVs, all playing the same video for purposes of comparison between different sets. The store manager has decreed that the same video (and accompanying audio) will be played on repeat, all day long, every day, for the last two years. The video is of a performance by Michael McDonald of his song Yah Mo B There, which drives many of the employees crazy.

Michael McDonald was the lead singer for The Doobie Brothers for the album One Step Closer. Listening to this album a few times this week has felt a little like being an employee of the fictional store. It’s the kind of smooth rock that has very little substance and gets played in elevators or dentists offices. Only seriously messed up people like this kind of music, which describes the store manager exactly. But it doesn’t describe me (I hope!).

The album has exactly one thing going for it: a rare xylophone solo on “Thank You Love”. I haven’t heard a xylophone solo since music class in grade school.

If you follow the Wikipedia link to the page about the band (above), you’ll find out that the band was in a very fractious mood during the making of this album. Many of the band felt overshadowed by McDonald and disliked his musical influence on the band. The tension in the band is obvious in the cover photo. Slumped shoulders, blank expressions, crossed arms, one member is almost entirely hidden, and McDonald is off to the side (in the white shirt) leaning away from the others. This is the kind of picture one gets from sullen teenagers, not adult musicians wanting to sell millions of copies of their record.

Last Week: AC/DC – Back in Black

Next Week: Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion