Mar 222021

Hey, gang! I just got off the phone with Milo T. Frobisher, the big cheese over at RTH Labs, and he asked me to pass this along: apparently, RTH Labs is trying to develop a set of quantitative rules/frames of reference for the analysis of how well live music is performed, depending on the age of both the performer and the audience — and the relative statistical intersection of those data cohorts.

What does this mean for you? Well, what RTH Labs needs is the year of your birth, followed by a short list of the live rock shows you’ve seen, the years you saw them, and a numerical assessment of the quality of the shows you witnessed (1-10).

Now, Frobisher acknowledges that a full accounting of all shows from all artists would be prohibitively time-consuming — and would likely result in an excess amount of non-repeating data that would be impossible to cross-tabulate across the RTH community. So what RTH Labs is looking for are data for shows performed by the following British rock dinosaur bands/artists only:

  • The Rolling Stones
  • Solo Beatles
  • The Kinks
  • Led Zeppelin
  • The Who
  • Pink Floyd

So, for example, my response would be:

  • HVB: 1964
  • Solo Beatles – Paul McCartney: 2006, 7 rock quality points (RQP); 2008, 5 RQP
  • Kinks: 1992-ish, 3 RQP
  • The Who: 1984, 5 RQP; 2007, 7 RQP

It’s that simple — unless you prefer to provide any footnotes that might shed light on your RQP assessment. (For example, I might choose to mention that Townsman Mockcarr and I were flummoxed by the Kinks’ choice to incorporate a lone dancer into their show, dressed in ballet taffeta, doing all the artsy swoops and swishes one might expect to see in a high school dance recital, as the band plunked away in the foreground. She would appear at random intervals above and behind the stage, leaping from one side to the other, a high kick here, a deft twirl there, for no discernible reason.)

Will you lend a hand? Milo assures me the data will reveal some interesting patterns worthy of further discussion.


  20 Responses to “RTH Labs Needs You”

  1. Not much data for me to contribute, but let me prime the pump…

    Mr Moderator: 1963

    Solo Beatles/Paul McCartney: 1990 at Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia’s long imploded (just yesterday was the anniversary, I believe) multi-purpose toilet bowl facility, 3.5 RQP. (1.5 of those RQP were for the pyrotechnics during “Live and Let Die.”)

    I’ve only seen a couple of stadium shows, and the sound was really un-conducive to RQP. If only it had sounded like this from our seats, it may have been a slightly better experience.

    My better half and I were in the company of chickenfrank and his better half, which meant we laughed out asses off throughout the ridiculous show and got a very special edition of HEADline, the old Nixon’s Head fanzine, out of it.

  2. OATS: 1977

    The Kinks, 1995. 7 RCPs. I recently acquired audio files of this show and apart from two ill-advised blooze jams, but I believe this band had some spunky signs of life at this late date. The dancer (Ray’s then-wife) was nowhere to be seen.
    The Who, 2002, 7 RCPs. Somewhat similarly, this first post-Enwistle tour roused Roger and Pete to perform like they actually had something to prove.
    Pink Floyd, 1994, 2 RCPs. OK, I thought it was awesome at that time, but honestly it was just a light show. They opened with “Astronomy Domine,” though; I guess that counts for something.

  3. BigSteve

    BigSteve 1953

    Kinks: 1975 7 RQP; 1978: 7 RQP
    Rolling Stones: 1975 7 RQP

    It’s really hard to quantify quality. I ended up giving all three ‘good but not great’ 7 ratings.

    The first Kinks show was the Schoolboys in Disgrace tour with the classic 70s lineup. By 1978, I’m not sure who played bass and keyboards, but it wasn’t Dalton and Gosling. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers opened.

    That Stones concert (at the basketball arena in Baton Rouge) was the first stop of their first tour with Ronnie Wood, and they were a mess. I saw the afternoon show, and they would also play a second show that day. The Meters opened.

  4. As luck would have it, I spent a significant amount of time one day last summer compiling a list of all of the concerts I’ve ever been to. However, of the groups mentioned, it’s kind of slim pickings.

    Solo Beatles – McCartney: 2015, RQP 8. I’m a Stones guy and Paul is probably my least favorite Beatle. It never would have occurred for me to go but my sister bought me a ticket. I was bracing myself for treacle like Ob la Di and insufferably long singalongs like Hey Jude. But he really is undeniable and so is his body of work, and I left very impressed.

    Kinks: 1980, RQP 7. Junior year of high school. My buddy blew me off so I went solo. Johnny Cougar opened and although I only knew I Need A Lover Who Won’t Drive Me Crazy, I thought he was great. Really working his ass off and selling it. The Kinks essentially did the same show as the One For the Road album. I’m not a Kinks purist by any stretch, so I don’t have a problem with Stadium-era Kinks playing their greatest hits.

    Rolling Stones:
    1989 Oakland RQP 4. I was at the opposite end of the A’s stadium and the sound tower was blocking my view. The sound sucked. Living Color opened and I never liked them.

    2019 Philadelphia RQP 8. I’ve probably heard You Can’t Always Get What You Want enough for one life time. Start Me Up sounded great when it was released but I don’t need to hear that again. Same with… Satisfaction (sorry, Mod). Seriously, how much cooler would it be to hear Moonlight Mile, or 2000 Light Years from Home, or Live with Me, or Loving Cup or… But once again, Rock triumphed over my cynicism, and even the well worn chestnuts sounded great. At one point, as Mick was running full tilt across the stage, my brother leaned over and said, “You know, three months ago, he had the same heart surgery that dad did.” Keith was a little low energy at first, but Ronnie, ever the team player, picked up the slack until Keith could get into his groove.

    It’s notable that for the McCartney show as well as the second Stones show, my expectations were low. My being pleasantly surprised in both cases probably factors into my grade but I can’t really view things like this objectively anyway.

  5. Mod already covered the Macca show.

    Ringo 7/4/84 guest drummer for the Beach Boys on the National Mall in D.C. RQP:2. Two points only for “Hey, that’s Ringo!” This show came the year after James Watt banned the Beach Boys from playing in 1983 because they were too Rock and Roll for him. He later claimed he only knows 2 songs; the Star Spangled Banner and Amazing Grace.

    While the 84 Independence Day show predated the term, I’m quite sure this was ground zero for Dad Rock. The stage was just filled with all manner of dorky dude musicians who you had no idea if they counted as Beach Boys or not. Hawaiian shirts, short shorts, and white athletic socks pulled up high was the look of choice. All manner of Reagan rah rah patriotism as stage banner. Ringo came out and drummed on Back in the USSR and Good Vibrations. He did the Ringo thing then handed the drums back to John Stamos. Blech.

  6. Not to hijack this thread, but chickenfrank’s mention of the Beach Boys + Ringo reminds me: I need to get RTH feedback on this 1985 Beach Boys + Jimmy Page performance on the Ben Franklin Parkway: Specifically, do you think Page was required to don a Hawaiian shirt and white pants before hitting the stage?

  7. hrrundivbakshi

    Egad, that “Beach Boys”/Jimmy Page performance is awful. I’m trying to figure out how many Beach Boys are actually on stage. Al Jardine, check. Mike Love, check. Bruce Johnston, check (in pencil). Is that a beardless Carl Wilson singing? Not sure who’s playing drums. Probably a good bet Brian was back at the Four Seasons eating a cheeseburger in bed.

  8. No, Carl is still bearded and wearing a suit, but has his back turned for some strange reason. Either shame, or he doesn’t want to watch it either. I kept searching for who the lead vocal was coming out of. Who is that guy? This is just the ultimate drunk uncle wedding show. What a funny pairing.

  9. Carl was in the back, sheepishly strumming a Gibson semi-hollow body.

    The singer was some anonymous ringer brought in to provide vocal pyrotechnics to match Page’s guitar pyrotechnics. Mission accomplished!

  10. I think the singer is Jeffrey Foskett, longtime auxillary member who has bounced back and forth between the Mike Love and Brian Wilson camps. His general role I believe was to reinforce harmonies and sing songs that were no longer in Brian’s range. I interviewed him when the Brian solo version of SMILE came out in 2003 or whatever.

  11. One cannot post that Beach Boys video and then claim they are not trying to hijack the thread.

    The video proves at least three things:
    * Bruce Johnston provides more proof that white men cannot clap in time
    * Mike Love provides more proof that white men cannot play the tambourine
    * There is a situation where the phrase “What was Jimmy Page thinking?!” is appropriate

  12. geo – 1955

    Pink Floyd – 1971, 6 RQP
    Solo Harrison – 1974, 5 RQP
    Solo McCartney (Wings) – 1976 6 RQP

    Although, I was neve a huge Pink Floyd fan, at this time I was generally interested in the type of thing they were doing. I was familiar with Atom Heart Mother, which made up the bulk of the set. The show was at the Irvine Auditorium on the Penn Campus, a 2,500 seat venue and the typical endless, trancey, but slightly lumpen groove of pieces like “Set the Contols for the Heart of the Sun” sounded pretty good there. I was a junior in High School, and two shows I saw within months of this one at the same venue, Frank Zappa with the Grand Wazoo, (Tim Buckley opened) and Captain Beefheart, (four piece Little Feat opened, far outshined it in my memory.

    George Harrison toured America and showed that he could more or less carry a show across the finish line. His voice was a little ragged. It was at the Spectrum and I was probably at the end of the building, upstairs, so really, how good could it be. And he’s not McCartney, let alone Lennon.

    Wings Over America! Philadelphia Spectrum! Silly Love Songs! Yes, Paul McCartney is an immensely talented guy. The show, as much as I recall it, was decent even from my vantage point, again, at the opposite end of the hockey rink. If I had to give up this memory of seeing one of my idols in May 1976, or seeing Television and Talking Heads in July, sorry Macca, no contest.

    Honorable mention.

    Solo Stone:Keith Richards and the X-Pensive Winos – 1988, 8 RQP

    A totally loose and entertaining Midnight Rock’n’Roll show at the Tower Theater, despite the presence of Waddy Wachtel.

  13. Sorry, upon reconsideration, Keef shoulda been 7 RQP.

  14. More corrections. Harrison 4 RQP, McCartney 5 RQP

  15. Shoot, I forgot that I saw Ronnie Wood with Chuck Berry in NY at the Ritz in 1986. I remember the show being a lot of fun although I was so hammered that I don’t have any specific memories of it other than my buddy and I jumped on stage at the end of the show and tried to get back stage and were asked to leave. RQP: n/a

    I also saw Ron Wood at the Warfield in SF in 1992. I was working this show so I was distracted but it was notable because an extremely curmudgeonly Van Morrison wandered out onstage during Little Red Rooster and sang a verse and then just stood there scowling. The singer (Bernard Fowler, I think) tried to engage Van in a little back and forth vocal vamp at the end of the song (“if you seeee my little red rooster” “if YOU see my little red rooster”), but Van had no interest in singing anymore so he just continued scowling and left Bernard hanging there. RQP: 6 (5 plus an extra point for the entertainment factor of seeing Van Morrison being a douche live on stage).

  16. I saw Ronnie Wood at the Tower in the early 90s. He had (sorry, just left the Hall to check spelling) Ian McLagan with him from the Faces, and Hall favorite Bobby Keys, and I assume an anonymous singer who was OK. It was fine. A little paint-by-numbers. 4.

  17. Geo, for all the shows I know you’ve seen and imagined you seeing, I am nevertheless stunned that you saw Pink Floyd in 1971!

  18. Believe it or not, I am too. I completely forgot it when I saw the research list thinking of all the years when they were huge and I had no interest in them. Then I thought, “Oh, yeah.” I can’t remember who I went with or how I got there, but I know I was a few rows up in the stage right balcony. Pink Floyd, (good) Zappa and Beefheart. Winter 71/72 was a really good time for concerts at Irvine.

  19. 2000 Man

    2000 Man – 1962


    2015 – Columbus. Had a great time with last minute “Lucky Dip” tickets. It was very inexpensive and it was just my wife and me and it was fun. I wasn’t expecting much, but hoping for one or two of those moments where it feels like you’re floating and definitely got that when they played Wild Horses. 6

    2005 – Pittsburgh. Had weird seats on the stage, where we were above the band looking out at the audience. It was a little balcony thing that held a handful of us. The bar was literally our next door neighbor so I didn’t even need to leave to get a beer. Stole someone’s cab to get there and had a great time. 7

    2002 – Cleveland. Elvis Costello opened up. 6th row seats. Elvis ripped through what seemed like every song of his I knew in 40 minutes and really set a high bar. The Stones met the challenge with Exile On Main St. being the “featured album” that night. The best show I ever saw. 10

    1999 – Cleveland. Shit sound. 5

    1997 – Columbus. At the horseshoe. Sound was surprisingly fantastic and Bridges to Babylon hadn’t come out yet, so they played new songs no one had heard yet. Took a friend that had never seen them and seeing them through his eyes was fantastic. 8

    1994 – Cleveland. They played No Expectations! Unfortunately Lenny Kravitz played it with them, but you really couldn’t hear him all that much. 7

    1989 – Cleveland. First time I saw them (could have in 78 and 81 but was far too cool for that). Completely blew my mind. Cleveland’s old Municipal Stadium was one of the only places they played where they could use their entire stage. I think MIck Jagger ran at least three miles going back and forth. The guitars were way cranked up and the sound was excellent. 9

    1988 – Cleveland. Keith Richards and the X-Pensive Winos. A smallish place with about 2500 friends. Loved every second of it. 10

    Pink Floyd – Cleveland 1977. Wow. Like Cleveland Rock history. 9

  20. Happiness Stan

    Late to this party, hadn’t realised it was so long since I checked in.

    Happiness Stan 1962
    Stones: – Wembley, 1984. Mick Taylor on guitar with Bob Dylan. 9.
    Wembley 1990. Last UK date of final tour with Bill Wyman, postponed because Keef cut his hand open earlier in the year. 8.

    McCartney – Glastonbury 2004. 7.
    Live 8 , 2005, 8, despite U2 backing him.

    The Kinks – Glastonbury 1993. 7. I was tired and a bit the worse for wear.
    Kast Off Kinks – Secret Widget Festival, Surrey 2019. 9. Storming set from the surviving members of the classic line ups at the most sparsely attended festival I’ve ever been to, including the annual local folk bash on the village green just outside Milton Keynes. I was in a very good mood as I’d just met Kenney Jones (it was held at his Polo club).
    Zep, have seen Robert Plant two or three times at Glastonbury, can’t remember the dates. 6. A bit unmemorable but good enough at the time. Mrs H dragged me away from Glastonbury in 1995 about three hours after Page and Plant were due to play, which was annoying. Also saw Robert Plant at the church for John Peel’s funeral, he rose in my estimation considerably for making the effort.
    The Oo – Live 8, 2005, 6. The gig had over run by about five hours and every minute they played reduced my likelihood of seeing…

    Floyd, Live 8, 2005, 10, despite having to leave before the last number to get to the coach station to get home. The reunion with Roger Waters. Practically a religious experience.
    An evening with Nick Mason at one of the local secondary schools, sometime around 2009. An extended Q&A and meet and greet session, what a lovely bloke, I was a bit star struck and made a bit of an idiot of myself, but I doubt he’d remember.

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