I’ve been revisiting this 1966 performance by Little Richard the last 2 days. It’s got some great crowd shots, especially starting at 45 seconds in, while the camera focuses steadily and uncomfortably on a young man who looks like he’s tearing up in stunned joy at the proceedings. One minute in, he unleashes with a reaction before the camera cuts back to the stage and what has elicited this response. This is the joy that no digital performance of the future will elicit.
One of my great joys in life is the poker game and all that it entails: spending time with wickedly funny friends, getting polluted, gorging myself with delicious unhealthy food (kielbasa sandwiches; stiff, salty potato chips), listening to choice music (London Calling, The Harder They Come, 12 x 5, etc.), and most importantly, if everything goes just right, experiencing the Blue Velvet-like thrill of having everyone’s money in my pocket at the end of the night.
It was one during one of these poker sessions that our severely stoned ring leader (who has chosen to remain nameless because he’s a wuss) brought this up after landing a Jack between a deuce and a King during a lengthy Acey Deucy round that netted him a pot of about 50 bucks: “You know what? I’d give all this away right now and everything in the bank if I could go back in time to see one of those early Ramones CBGBs shows, where they played with Television, Suicide, that early version of Blondie…Can you imagine seeing something like that? Jesus!”
The actual music that came out of the CBGBs scene was really not my cup of tea, but the stories surrounding it were a whole ‘nother matter. I too would have loved to have been there. Would it have been worth emptying my bank account? In that state of mind during the poker game? Maybe. Seeing the Preludin-fueled Beatles at the Star Club in Hamburg in 1962 with a recently added Ringo? Absolutely and positively. To be at the front of the stage, guzzling that elixir like German lager with Lady Gergely in tow, in our late teens (with a guarantee that we would somehow or another be able to return to the present in one piece), watching them tear through “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry,” “Red Sails in the Sunset,” “Too Much Monkey Business,” etc, marveling at Lennon’s ability to insult the Germans continually, not caring one whit about any kind of consequences, and just plain being in the thick of that “anything goes” magic environment of locals, sailors, exis, mobsters, prostitutes, transvestites, etc, would without a doubt be worth the trip to the bank. With all that in mind, I now ask you: If the opportunity presented itself, which big music event would be worth seeing at the expense of a secure job, marriage, retirement fund, you name it?
Here are some things I would have commented on during the interregnum since October 2016:
I would have continued championing Dylan’s Sinatra period as he released Triplicate. Here’s Dylan doing “Once Upon A Time” at a Tony Bennett 90th birthday tribute. Dylan does it far better than Bennett, as does Sinatra.
I would have mentioned the Len Price 3, one of my favorite “new” bands of the last 15 years.
I would have raved about Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Review “documentary.” Personally, I love the phony bits in this; it’s so Dylanesque I’m surprised he hasn’t thought of it before. Hmmm? And you have to love the film if only for the performance of “Isis,” which immediately joins 1966 and the first Letterman performance as the best Dylan live performances.
And speaking of Dylan, Robbie Fulks’ album 16, a cover of Dylan’s Street Legal, is as great a Dylan cover set as you are going to hear. Little is a replication of the original; it’s a wonderful reinterpretation in much the way that Dylan reinterpreted Sinatra.
And speaking of Robbie, his collaboration with Linda Gail Lewis, Wild! Wild! Wild!, is another great one, on record and especially live.
And it was plenty of fun seeing Mott the Hoople in NYC last spring. Ian Hunter giving Ariel Bender and Morgan Fisher another chance to be in the spotlight and dress up glam. Bender pulled it off and Fisher had moments where he seemed to know where he was. At 64, I was one of the younger members of the crowd, many of whom were glammed up as well, even those with walkers and, I kid you not, in one case a walker and an oxygen tank. Not exactly all the young dudes.
Oh, and as long as we are talking about fun concerts, the oldies show with Freddie Cannon, Lou Christie, Bobby Rydell, and Darlene Love was lots of fun. Even if I didn’t get to hear Darlene sing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” live (apparently November 5 is too early for that); that was rectified this past December.
What would you have written about in the last 3½ years?