Sunday, October 16, 2005

Three Dirty Green Days

October 11-13, 2005

Dirty Three are a band who I have alot of history with, but only from a Music Geek's perspective. I've met them casually at shows, but never hung out with them. I've admired them from afar for 10 years now.

Ten years?! It always trips me out when they hit town every 2-3 years.. It's a mindfuck to realize how time can fly by so quickly... (cue swirly time travel whirlpool visual thing)...

Bottom of the Hill, S.F. 1995 - I had seen the band for the first time the night before opening for Morphine at The Fillmore. I had been wanting to see them ever since I read an NME review where Nick Cave had joined the band onstage in London.

When we arrived I saw a friend named Jason standing by himself. Jason worked at Kinko's and was an early fan of Umlaut when it was a xeroxed 'zine. Old School Zine People will appreciate this: Friend at Kinko's = BIG savings bordering on (or equal to) outright theft of copies. I'm admitting to nothing, only stating heresay..

Long story short: As I approached Jason I didn't know he was secretly taping the band.. At the very beginning of the recording you can here him say "Hey man.." to someone. That someone is me.

Jason has since passed away and I've always liked the bootleg of this show since it not only captured the band, but also briefly archives Jason's voice.

Bimbo's, S.F. 1997 - I was checking out the merch table and not paying attention to anyone. Out of the blue the merch guy said "Hey [Umlaut's Real World Name]!" It was a guy named Brian who I'd met several years earlier when Umlaut went on tour with Neurosis / 7 Year Bitch. At that time he was an A&R guy for Capitol.. Now he was Dirty Three's Tour Manager. Crazy small world. D3 performed an astounding instrumental version of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne". They've never properly recorded it. Thank Dog for bootlegs.

Click HERE for a PDF of Umlaut On Tour With Neurosis / 7 Year Bitch from Umlaut #9 (Fall 1993)!

Great American Music Hall, S.F. - 1998 - The Melvins played a secret show across town at the C.W. Saloon (R.I.P.) that same evening. Dirty Three's then-tour manager Brian took a cab to see the Melvins before heading back to the Great American for the D3 show. Twas one of those rare doubleshot nights that don't happen nearly as often anymore (at least for Umlaut).

Royal Festival Hall, London, England - 1999 - D3 supported Nick Cave solo on the same stage that the London Symphony calls home. At the typically bombastic conclusion of "Sue's Last Ride" Warren lost his grip on his violin bow and it went flying across the stage. I'm sure most of the crowd thought it was part of the show. An epic performance.

Great American Music Hall, S.F. - 2000 - Prior to the gig I had a major D3 Geek outburst and put together a package to give to the band. At the show I spotted guitarist Mick Turner, introduced myself, and gave him a large padded envelope. Inside were bootlegs of every show they had played in S.F. up until then, including their 1995 debut opening for Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 (which was also the band's first ever show in America). I asked for nothing in return. I thought that was a cool fanboy gesture.

Great American Music Hall, S.F. - 2003 - The gig was around a month after I'd been laid off from a job that I loved. Oddly, I was going through emotions that I hadn't felt since a girlfriend dumped me years ago... It was a weird time for me. D3 were touring with the bass player from Low, which added a new dimension to their sound. At one point I had my eyes closed, just soaking in the music, and when I opened them and looked around I realized that practically everyone around me had their eyes closed and were locked into the music too. It was amazing. This is my favorite D3 show simply because of the healing power it had for me during a rough time in my life.

Which brings y'all up to date:

Dirty Three
Great American Music Hall, San Francisco
Oct. 11, 2005

It was appropriate that exactly a week before my 42nd Birthday I should watch D3 perform "Sue's Last Ride" again. Why? Because 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything... and "Sue's Last Ride" is the most inspiring and life affirming song ever written about someone dying in the backseat of a car IMO.

I realized that this was the first D3 show since 1995 where I didn't know most of the songs being performed... The new album was released that day but I was a poser and didn't camp out at the local indie record store that morning. I must be getting old.

D3 were touring with an additional musician who played a 2nd violin (!), mandolin, and bass on some songs. Seeing D3 with a 2nd violin was like seeing Iron Maiden's 3-guitar lineup for the first time. Of all the times I've seen D3, this show seemed "off" for some reason. Warren's usual fiery onstage joviality seemed muted.. BUT the music was still there. I thought drummer Jim White was the star of this show. He held things DOWN and I found myself locking into his performance more than Warren's violin this time 'round. Hmmm.

"Everything's Fucked" is still THE quintessential "everything is fucked" song IMO.. and "Hope" still gets me "right here". D3 is pure, uncut music.. No bullshit lyrics to get in the way.

Another thing I dig about D3 is that since 1998 they've produced inexpensive tour CDs (featuring unreleased or live tracks) that are only sold at shows. Music Geeks LOVE that kinda shit. The excellent 2005 Tour CD cost a mere $8 and features a live recording done in their native Australia last year.

The 2005 Tour CD (Live @ The Meredith Festival)

If you've never heard Dirty Three, listen to their song "I Really Should've Gone Out Last Night" and it will make you realize that, yeah, you really should have.

If you bought one of every Dirty Three merch item you would have spent $78. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. I've always said that Dirty Three are the only band I've ever seen with feedback screaming from a violin.. and damn if I don't still love 'em for that.

Okay.. Now this:

Green Day / The Network
Warfield Theater, San Francisco
Oct. 13, 2005

I'll say it for you: "GREEN DAY AGAIN?? " Arguably the biggest Rock band in the world playing a show that was basically the same size as the guest list for their massive PacBell Park show several weeks back. An intimate hometown gig with the band performing the American Idiot album in its entirety. Just like The Who performing Tommy in London circa 1969.

There was so much drama surrounding tickets for this silly Rock Show. There was a frenzy in the air. Tickets went onsale 3 days prior to the show via Ticketbastard online only. I think it sold out in less than 5 minutes. Evidently someone paid $3,200 for a pair of tickets on Ebay (!). Meanwhile, more than a few were paying over $300 each (around 7x face value) for their tickets via Ebay and Craigslist.

For 72 hours this piece of paper was worth $$. Now it makes a perfect bookmark..

With that in mind, NEVER take Karma for granted. Umlaut ain't a hippie, but from past experience I've learned that Karma and the Rock Godz do indeed walk hand in hand. Things came together, fell apart, came together, staggered, and then completely came back together. Cue Pyro.

Naturally, I was sitting next to one of those chatty know-it-all concert guys who had to tell me about ALL of the shows he'd ever seen at The Warfield ("Man.. I saw the Dead here.. oh and I saw Marilyn Manson here... blah blah blah.."). Dude, I don't CARE.. I saw Mercyful Fate at The Warfield but you don't hear me blabbing about it. I ended up ignoring him and drank codeine with Skychick.

I'll just come right out and say that The Network are Green Day in disguise.. I dig their 80's New Wave thang alot... BUT they had more smoke machines going than both the Sisters Of Mercy and Jesus & Mary Chain combined.. Twas completely ridiculous actually. After watching most of the set, the smoke caused Skychick and I to retreat to the lobby for some air and more codeine.

HOLY FUCK. Green Day played for 3 hours! I am not exaggerating. A setlist of almost 40 songs. They didn't get around to playing "Basket Case" until 12:05am and they didn't even bother playing their biggest hit ("Good Riddance"). We stumbled out to the sidewalk at around 12:45am and the 7-11 across Market St. from The Warfield was mobbed by dehydrated fans.

I won't even to try to explain how mindblowing the show was... Words simply can't do it justice. Besides, if you're one of those people who still dismisses Green Day it doesn't matter anyway. I will simply say that this show was everything that I love about music and why it's such a huge part of my life. F-U-N. 'Nuff said.

SET 1 (American Idiot):
  • American Idiot
  • Jesus Of Suburbia
  • Holiday
  • Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
  • Are We The Waiting
  • St. Jimmy
  • Give Me Novacaine
  • She's A Rebel
  • Extraordinary Girl
  • Letterbomb
  • Wake Me Up When September Ends
  • Homecoming
  • Whatsername
  • Longview
  • Minority
  • Welcome To Paradise
  • Christie Road
  • J.A.R.
  • Take Back
  • If Only You Were Lonely [Replacements]
  • Disappearing Boy
  • Thank You [Zeppelin] > Sweet Home Alabama [Lynyrd Skynyrd] > I Don't Know [Ozzy] *
  • She
  • Coming Clean
  • Surrender [Cheap Trick] > Bastards of Young [Replacements]
  • Brown Sugar [Rolling Stones] *
  • All By Myself (Tre solo on guitar and vocals)
  • Dominated Love Slave (Tre on guitar and vocals, Billie Joe on drums)
  • F.O.D.
  • Rock The Casbah [Clash]
  • Dancing With Myself [Generation X]
  • King For A Day
  • Basket Case
  • Blitzkrieg Bop [Ramones]
  • I Fought The Law [Bobby Fuller]
  • 2,000 Light Years Away
  • Won't Get Fooled Again [The Who]
  • We Are The Champions [Queen]
  • Shout [Isley Brothers] (inc. Bright Side of Life [Monty Python] and Stand By Me [Ben E. King])
  • I Fought the Law [Bobby Fuller]
* = Incomplete songs

The Encore 2 set was basically unscripted.. Songs were either requested from the audience or shouted out by various band members on the fly. It was like watching arguably the biggest Rock band in the world in their rehearsal space. Combined with The Network set, the lads were onstage for at least 4 hours solid. Twas fucking amazing to behold.

Also, Umlaut has been seeing shows at The Warfield for over 20 years and I've NEVER seen as much pryo used on that stage. Green Day likes to blow things up.

Best Quote: Old Metal Erik to Umlaut the next day - "I worked at The Warfield for 8 years, and I've never seen anyone get away with that much pyro before."

Due to the ticket situation, unlike the other GD shows Umlaut has seen on this tour, the crowd was mainly adults instead of kidz. However, the kidz were there in quality instead of quantity..

Halfway through American Idiot (the first song..) Billie Joe was at the front of the stage and pointed to someone in the front row (while the song was still being played) and said something like "Your dad is having a hard time keeping people from crushing you.. I'll make a deal with you.. You can come up here and watch the show from over there.." and pointed to the side of the stage..

Security then pulled 2 preteen girls out of the crowd... and they watched the entire show from the side of the stage. They were stunned... but as the show went on they sang along to EVERY song.. They were wearing matching pink Green Day shirts.

As the show progressed I noticed that the crew kept giving them things... like a bottle of water and Tre's drum sticks.. Before any pyro went off a crew guy would lean down and tell them to cover their ears.

If you can't appreciate how cool that whole interaction was then all I can say is there are crap bands like Disturbed or Staind as you mope through life. Anger is an energy... I suppose.

Before the show, Tour Manager Doug (TMD) and Umlaut told Billie Joe's brother about seeing Motorhead with Krokus at The Warfield in 1983. He seemed impressed. Having grown up in the S.F. Bay Area I gotta say that when GD launched into "Homecoming" I was filled with civic pride for the local boys made good. It made up for the Niners being such a shit team this season..

For the final time in 2005, cheers to old Umlaut friend TMD for the +1 into his All Access Pass World. Umlaut still lives vicariously through his Rock 'N Roll Lifestyle. Keep it real out there, for The Kidz.

Scorpions - In Trance shirts seen = 1 (!!). On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. I can't remember the last time the Old School Music Geeks were so unabashedly giddy after a show. Good times.. ain't we lucky we got 'em?

"Zieg Heil to the President Gasman..."