Aug 182010

Just got back from our trip to Taos, New Mexico via Denver, Colorado. I don’t have a lot to report on the Taos music scene. The lovely wedding we attended featured a fine acoustic-based band playing covers of Sufjan Stevens and his ilk. They were just right for the event, but they were no threat to the sage brush. I also saw a young hippie woman sitting atop the roof of a hostel, accompanying her rich voice with a mandolin. She had an excellent voice, but her act was an anachronism.

Sadly, my dream of a home base for the Peace Warriors movement may not take root in the otherwise FANTASTIC state of New Mexico. The multitude of transplants are so peaceful, healthy, hippified, and well heeled that I can’t see them shaking things up to the music of Eric Burdon & The New Animals, but that’s cool. We got to spend some time in the southwest of Colorado, in real cowboy towns like Alamosa, San Luis, and Fort Carson. The terrain in this part of the country is ideal for the movement. I think the locals have it in them to raise some hell, if necessary, for the sake of peace. They’re more likely to grasp the cold, hard facts of Fogerty Syndrome.

We spent our last days of vacation in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, Colorado, decompressing and preparing for our flight out of Denver this morning. On the short drive from the car rental company to the terminal we found ourselves surrounded by middle aged families, including young teenage kids, decked out in Rush concert shirts. The people around us were all talking about “last night’s show” at Red Rocks. I said to one of the men next to me, “So it’s not a coincidence that 10 of you are wearing Rush concert shirts? Did you fly into Denver for this show?” Sure enough they had! There were two families from Corpus Christi, Texas. There were a handful of middle-aged guys from Toronto! They’d all seen the band countless times and were enthusiastically comparing versions of “Working Man” and other song titles I at least had some familiarity with.

As this went on my wife kept kicking me, trying to get me to look at her so we’d enjoy holding in a laugh. I had to look away; it was too funny to listen – YET it was cool to think that 10 people (and who knows how many more) had flown into Denver just to see Rush play at Red Rocks. (They all agreed that this was one of their best shows, by the way, but one of the teenage boys expressed disappointment at “Neil’s new drum solo.” From what I gathered it was now too short.) Love Rush or leave ’em, I wish I had it in me to hop on a plane to see a concert by a band I’d already seen a dozen times before! I’ve driven to New York and Boston, for instance, but would I ever take a plane to see a band?

How about you? Have you even taken a plane to another town specifically to see a band?


  24 Responses to “Flight Not Included”

  1. i flew to Toronto to see Crispin Glover debut his film, What is It? everyone in the film has Down Syndrome except for Glover. Glover made it clear, however, during the post film Q&A that they were playing characters who did NOT have Down Syndrome.

    I saw Rozz Williams band, Shadow Project when i was vacationing in San Francisco in 1993, but i did not fly there to do so.

    so, no.

  2. BigSteve

    No. But I have driven long distances.

    For example, 7 or 8 years ago I drove to Atlanta for a conference, which was a nine hour drive. Elvis Costello was playing there the week AFTER the conference, so I drove to Orlando to waste a week visiting someone, which turned out to be a big mistake. Then I drove back to Atlanta, saw the show at Chastain Park (excellent), then drove the nine hours back home (not all on the same day).

    Nowadays I won’t even drive an hour to Lawrence to see someone I really like. But I’d probably consider a flight and a nice hotel for the right artist in the right circumstances. Not Rush. And no t-shirts.

  3. Take it easy on RUSH, Mod. We gave you Roy Halladay, for Christ’s sake, that should be taken as a sort of peace offering, shouldn’t it?

    Also, just wanted to mention this…got my Tom Petty Blu Ray DVD yesterday. I really like the “Classic Albums” show and it was nice to get this from RTH -Thanks!

  4. bostonhistorian

    Some people golf on vacation, some people go listen to Rush. Denver’s not a bad place to visit and Red Rocks certainly has some sort of iconic status in and of itself.

    Besides, who am I to judge? This summer I really wanted to go to an indie-pop festival in England held at a train museum.

    In an unrelated note, the news ticker here at RTH tells me that Peter Hook is touring the US soon to play Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures” in full. Anyone going to catch a plane for this?

  5. mockcarr

    I’ve scheduled vacations so that I could go to baseball games at newer ballparks, so I don’t think there’s much difference in working a vacation around a band you really want to see, but I’ve never done it.

  6. A few years ago, I left my family in the middle of a vacation to fly to Nashville to see Tom Waits at the Ryman Auditorium. He very rarely tours and when he does, it’s usually just a handful of dates in very select (and sometimes odd) places. My cousin offered me a ticket and my wife insisted that I go because “…it’s TOM WAITS.”

    It would not have occurred to me to purchase a ticket for a show that I would have to fly to but I’m really glad I went because he’s one of my idols and he kicked ass (notwithstanding the presence of a very ho-hum guitarist in the band).

    Side note: A while ago, I started a thread a few years ago asking how much people would pay to see a show. I don’t recall the specifics but I think I said that Tom Waits and a Replacements reunion would be the only shows where I would even consider playing over $100 and even then I would probably pass based on principle. But apparently, for some reason, travel expenses don’t get included when I’m taking my hard-line, self-righteous stance on high ticket prices

  7. I also flew to the New Orleans Jazz Fest a few times in the early ’90s. When the kids a bit older, I’ll do that again. Hopefully, the jam bands will have cleared out by then.

  8. hmmm… Department of Redundancy Department

  9. I like day trips to Melonville.

    E. Pluribus

  10. 2000 Man

    I’ve never flown anywhere. I’ve stayed overnight in Pittsburgh and Columbus, and I saw a show when I was a kid in North Carolina, but that was because it was one of those things where we were at a campground and the kids I met were going so my parents let me go, too. For years, there was never a reason to go anywhere because everyone played Cleveland. Nowadays it’s not always that way, but we have The Beachland, Grog Shop and House of Blues so most of the bands I like show up sooner or later. I don’t like the big shows anyway, so i don’t miss those much.

  11. Mr. Moderator

    Like mockcarr, the planning for almost all of my US trips include a glance at the nearest MLB team’s home schedule, but I’ve never flown to see a show. It’s funny that cdm mentioned flying to see Tom Waits. Now that I think of it my boss and one of my employees also flew to see Waits play in Nashville or some other remote (to us) place last year.

  12. Nobody comes to Jackson, MS (except for Dylan), so I always have to drive to Atlanta or Dallas or Houston for shows. Of course, I can make the trip to New Orleans for Jazz Fest and whatever shows they get. Simon and Garfunkel, The Who, Paul McCartney, and Brian Wilson cost alot in gas for me. My take is that these guys aren’t getting any younger, so see them while I can. Funny enough, I have driven great distances to see Dylan even though he usually makes into this neck of the woods often enough.

    I would fly to a Led Zep reunion. Maybe. I considered going to England for the SMiLE world premier. But I didn’t.

    Neil Young is coming to the Gulf Coast, but Lately David has gigs booked around Memphis so I’ll be missing him…


  13. Man, that’s a haul, TB. That looks like 300 or 400 miles. How long does that take you? How often do you go to shows in those towns?

  14. ladymisskirroyale

    Luckily, a lot of great shows come to San Francisco. Although in my older age, I bitch about the extra time/effort to go to one in Oakland and have consequently missed some good line ups.

    There have been some shows in NY or LA that I’ve been tempted to attend. Spiritualized just did “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space” when we were on a family visit to NYC, but alas, we did not sneak out to see it.

    I keep my eyes and ears open for possibilities, but have become increasingly picky in what venues I’ll travel to or pay money to attend. Maybe I should change my moniker to oldladymisskirroyale.

  15. I usually make to Atlanta a couple of times a year (not always for shows). It’s about 6-7 hours for me. Earlier this year, I took my girlfriend to see Ben Folds in ATL. It really depends on the show and who it is.

    Dallas, not so often, but again, it depends.


  16. I’ve never flown specifically to see a band. However, in 1996 I did go from Philly to Nashville with my parents in a car to visit family. Shortly after arriving discovered Paul Westerberg was playing in town that week, and I went to the show.

    I almost flew to England to see Pulp on their “forest tour” in 2002 but decided not to, when they announced plans to tour America. But said U.S. tour never happened and the band went on semi-permanent hiatus instead. A big regret of mine.

  17. BigSteve

    People who live in the northeast where the cities are all bunched together find it odd that someone would drive eight hours to get to another city, but in the southeast that’s just kind of how far apart the cities are, and the people deal with it.

    Speaking of Neil Young coming to the Gulf Coast, I read that The Beach Boys™ are booked to play Beau Rivage casino in early October. You can’t miss that one, TB!

  18. Living in Portland OR I have driven up to Seattle to see bands quite often. I am actually going up to Tacoma in December to see Roger Waters.

    I have, though, flown to another state to see a band: Killing Joke. Flew down to Los Angeles a couple of years to see their only West Coast show. Thankfully they will be playing here in town in December this Winter.

  19. Mr. Moderator

    I learned, BigSteve, that “nearby,” in southwest Colorado and New Mexico, means a 30-mile drive. The cool thing is that there’s absolutely no traffic and you can drive 85 mph, so it doesn’t seem that much of a distance.

    By the way, a part of the discussion on that shuttle bus that really had me thinking of some of you in the Halls of Rock centered around the Toronto contingent complimenting the Texas contingent on their “great rock ‘n roll state.” My wife was kicking my leg like crazy as this part of the discussion started up:

    “Stevie Ray Vaughn…” said one of the Toronto Rush fans.

    “Yeah, I saw him get booed of the stage before anyone knew who he was,” said one of the Texans.

    “That must have been great!” said the man from the north country. He continued, “ZZ Top…”

    A giant BINGO sign lit up in my brain. There was no way I was going to look over at my wife.

  20. bostonhistorian

    “Stevie Ray Vaughn…” said one of the Toronto Rush fans.

    “Yeah, I saw him get booed of the stage before anyone knew who he was,” said one of the Texans.

    This contradicts everything I’ve ever heard about Stevie Ray Vaughn. I heard he sprang forth fully formed from the head of Leo Fender. I mean, he *was* born the same year the Stratocaster was designed. And does booing Stevie Ray Vaughn count as messing with Texas?

  21. Mod, I am totally disappointed. The ZZ Top remark was a perfect opportunity to inquire about the presence of live cattle on the stage. Anybody who was around to see SRV get booed off the stage was sure to have witnessed buzzards and cows sharing the stage with the bearded crew.

    Steve, I have already purchased my tickets for Mike Love and his happy crew. In all seriousness, if Mike Love was singing around the corner of my house, I would call the cops to have him arrested for disturbing the peace.

    Looking back with Love,


  22. Mr. Moderator

    TB, you’re right, I blew it! Damn! Rock Town Hall, I apologize for this missed opportunity. I will do better to control my giggling in the future and ask the hard-hitting questions that need to be asked:)

  23. I have never caught a flight to see a band and don’t foresee that ever happening. I’ve driven as far as NYC, Baltimore and State College, PA to see a show. And I always check the listings in any city we visit and I have seen national/international bands in LA, Tampa, London and Amsterdam.

  24. Don’t feel bad. I would have probably giggled, too.

    However, I MIGHT consider a flight to see the Top play a show with live cattle on the stage. I would also bring along a camera and risk security by snapping at least one photo with said animals sharing the stage with Frank, Dusty, and Billy. This is my promise to the members of RTH.


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