Sunday, October 04, 2009

Annnnd, I'm back.

Neko Case was far more popular than I could imagine. I never got anywhere close to seeing more than a halo of red hair. She sang all her latest tunes, of course. And while I couldn't see her, at least I was line of sight with the speakers.

I didn't even bother trying to get close enough to Emmylou's gig to even hear the speakers clearly. There were around 40,000 people in Golden Gate Park at that time (40,000 is a lot for the relatively small venues afforded by the various meadows). Every single one of them was trying to get close to see either Emmylou or Little Feat (playing on the next stage). It was just complete traffic jam.

Marianne Faithfull... wow, she's old. Just this fat dumpy gray-haired old lady still with that delightful British accent whose voice is completely gone, and, if you're listening, the most outrageous stories to tell. I remember when she was young and yummy. Siiiigh! But she makes absolutely no excuses for anything. She is what she is, she comes out and she sings what she wants to sing, and if you don't like it, that's your problem, not hers. One of her minders placed a set list on a podium near her so she wouldn't lose track of what was next. After the first song, she ordered the podium and the setlist removed in a most authoritative way that brooked absolutely no argument. Someone removed it, and she announced the songs herself from thence onward so that the band would know what to start playing. To tell you the truth I couldn't stand her singing, but I was in awe of the trainwreck and stuck around far longer than I probably should have, that's why I couldn't get close enough to actually see Neko Case.

Rodney Crowell... ah yes. A professional set of well done songs. I am baffled as to why he never got any airtime from mainstream country radio, he had the tunes, was it that he didn't have a "gimmick" of some sort to hang his hat on?

Booker T and the Drive By Truckers was a bizarre set. They alternated instrumental songs and lyrical songs, and on the lyrical songs, they alternated Truckers songs and Booker T songs. I was trying to get close to see Rodney Crowell so I sat through it, but I was baffled.

I'm sort of kicking myself for not seeing the real bluegrass guys, yes I wanted to see Rodney Crowell and Neko Case but they're going to be around next year. Same can't be said of Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, and Ralph Stanley. They're *old*, and could kick the bucket at any time. But so much good music playing, all at the same time... siiiiigh!


  1. BT,
    Marianne is a hard act to follow.
    She was lovely in her day and like Leonard Cohen she's still up there. IMHO she's the only person that can sing Cohens songs worse than he does.

  2. Marianne was a BABE back in the day. She is EXACTLY three weeks younger than I am. And that is young!

    Never heard of Neko. From what I've been able to track down in Google images, she's fairly hot, if you like the type - which I do.

    Bad news for cat lovers, though. She has 4 dogs.


  3. Jazz, Marianne lived hard and is an utter trainwreck. A glorious trainwreck, true, one that you can't stop looking at in fascination at the sheer audacity of it all, but a trainwreck nonetheless.

    Ranger, after hearing the cackle that's all that's left of Marianne's voice (and it wasn't because she has a cold or anything -- she had the same voice on Letterman earlier this year), I can believe that she's the only person that can sing Cohen's songs worse than he does.

    BTW, Neko Case and Marianne Faithful are acquaintances and Marianne sang (or, rather, croaked) one of Neko's songs and Neko returned the favor. Neko Case started out in a punk band in Vancouver while in college. Marianne started out as Mick Jagger's girlfriend. Apparently enough in common to forge some link between them despite the 30 year gap in their ages.

  4. Come on, BT.

    Marianne was a happening singer before the "Mick time." I had her albums and she ruled with feminists of my age - and we didn't buy the Rolling Stones macho stuff too much at that time either. They were just all lower-class English kids trying to get a gig (and make a little money).

    Yeah, I'm telling on myself.

    Now Maria Maldaur is another story.

    Have you heard her lately?

    She looked good at 60 some time back.


  5. I like Booker T and I love the Drive-By Truckers, but I wasn't completely enamored with their co-tour this summer when it stopped here. I was happy that the DBTs played a fair amount of stuff from Southern Rock Opera when they did play their material...but your analysis of it as "strange" is just right.
    I'm glad that Rodney C. was all that you expected and more.

  6. Suzan, Marianne's first big hit was "As Tears Go By", written by, err... Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

    Doctor Princess, if it had not been for the fact I was trying to get close enough to the stage to actually see Rodney Crowell (albeit as a tiny figure in the distance!), I probably would have walked away from the Booker T/Drive By Truckers set and gone to watch one of the many other good bands playing at that time. It just didn't do anything for me. It was like listening to an automatic transmission that was hunting between second and third gears because it didn't quite know what the right gear to use was on this long uphill, just kept shifting gears uselessly with no real rhyme or reason.

    The only real tragedy was so much great music, and only one set of ears to hear it all.... siiiigh! Well, and the *crowds*. According to the SF Chronicle, there was approximately 500,000 people there. EEEP! No wonder it felt crowded, that's a whole lot of people to be in Golden Gate Park, or *any* festival for that matter! Only festival I can think of that had anywhere near as many people was the original Woodstock. Urp!

  7. BT,
    I like croaky singers b/c that's all I can do, so it makes me feel better.
    I particularly like MF's version of Lennon's Working Class Hero.
    I'd like to hear her do Chelsea Hotel since she's probably got a feel for it.
    As for the voice- it ain't the miles , it's the roads.


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