Tuesday, June 26, 2007

it's lonely at the top

As you can see, I've changed the template for my blog. I'm going to give it a few days to see how I like it. Let me know what you think.

The bad news is that all old comments have been lost. From now on I will be using Blogger's integrated comments.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

when you can't decide what's on your mind

Rob and I returned home from North Carolina yesterday evening, exhausted but still emotionally pumped from the Smashing Pumpkins show the night before at The Orange Peel in Asheville. After a fairly dull opening band (I can't help but get annoyed by openers; I just see them as a obstacle keeping me from seeing the main act) the Pumpkins finally took the stage at ten o'clock and proceeded to blow us all away.

This is the kind of show where you can't help but be a little disappointed by the set list, because no matter how awesome the show is, there's no way the band can possibly play all the songs you want to hear. That said, there wasn't a bad song out of the entire, massive twenty-seven song show. They played most of the classics like "Today," "Zero," an up-tempo version of "Bullet with Butterfly Wings," acoustic versions of "1979" and "Rocket," and a heavier "Tonight, Tonight". There were some reworked older songs like extended versions of a couple Machina
tracks, some rare songs like an acoustic "Daydream" from Gish, "Lucky 13" and "Home" off of Machina II, "Translucent" (which I believe was played live for the first time ever), and what may have been my favorite song from the whole show, "Starla" from Pisces Iscariot. They also threw in a good number of songs from the upcoming Zeitgeist album which were all impressive, and further increasing my hope that the new album will be quality (although I'd really like to know who I should be angry at for being a bunch of greedy jerks--the band or their record label--for releasing the album in a regular version, special edition, and with three different exclusive tracks available at Best Buy, Target, and iTunes [link]). During the solo acoustic set, Billy also introduced an untitled song that he had just written the night before. It took him a couple tries to get it going, but I think everyone enjoyed being the first ones to ever hear it.

As for the band themselves, I have to believe that the pre-reunion Pumpkins would have had their work cut out for them to top this performance. Some naysayers may claim this isn't a true reunion since James Iha and D'Arcy Wretsky are missing, but I think many people will agree that the Pumpkins have always been about Billy Corgan. As long as he has Jimmy Chamberlin to back him up on drums, I really don't think it matters who else is playing. I should give Iha some credit since he is responsible for co-writing a few classic Pumpkins songs like "Mayonnaise" (of course, he's also responsible for crap like "Take Me Down") and he's a decent guitarist, but he clearly is not an essential part of the band when it comes to live shows. Billy Corgan's vocals were spot on, he played spectacular lead guitar, Jimmy confirmed my belief that he is the best drummer of the past twenty years... after Dave Grohl, and the rest of the band (guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Ginger and sometimes-present touring keyboardist Lisa Harrington) filled their roles just fine. Obviously the stars of the show were Billy and Jimmy--in that order-- with Billy both playing his heart out and hamming it up with the audience in between songs and Jimmy taking some short solos throughout the show to impress the crowd.

By the time everything was said and done, the band had played an epic concert nearly three hours in length. I think it is safe to say that no one was left wanting more after this show. Had the band played longer, we would have stayed and loved every minute of it, but after an amazing two hours and forty-five minutes, we were exhausted and happy. One of the coolest things about the show is that the band openly encouraged people to bring in cameras, camcorders, and audio recorders (which Rob and I did not take advantage of). I've found some cool pictures so far and I hope some good recordings surface online soon. Thanks to Mom and Dad for letting us use their Marriott reward points to get a hotel room. Rob and I decided that trying to come home after the show would have been both impossible and border-line suicidal on the mountain roads.

(full band set one)
United States
Doomsday Clock
Bleeding the Orchid
Bullet with Butterfly Wings
Glass and the Ghost Children
Lucky 13
Come On Let's Go
Blue Skies Bring Tears
(mostly solo acoustic set)
For God and Country
unnamed new song
(full band set two)
Tonight, Tonight
(encore 1)

(encore 2)
With Every Light

Monday, June 18, 2007

livin' life behind a shadow

It has been awhile since I've updated, but things have been busy lately. Finished school up a couple weeks ago and it feels good to be done. My graduation party was a lot of fun; thanks to everyone who came. I've been at Circuit City for a week now. I only feel partially confident trying to tell people about most of my products but hopefully that will start to get better soon. The computer system they use to keep time sheets and ring people out is a pain to get used to. Hopefully it will start going better after some more time there.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

it's been so long since the moon has gone

Jess informed me that Shane Claiborne is speaking this weekend at St. Bernard Church near Xavier. We're probably going to go to the Friday talk, and possibly some of the events on Saturday and Sunday. Here's the full schedule of events for anyone interested:

All Events are open to the public.

Friday, June 8th 7 to 9 PM Shane speaks on "Creating Community"

Saturday, June 9th 2 to 4 PM Shane speaks on "Living Simply So Others May Simply Live"

Saturday, 4 to 7 PM "Ministry Fair & Music Fest" Various local, national, & international service opportunities will be represented. Food and drink, live Christian music from various local artists, along with clowns, jugglers and more!

Saturday, 7 to 9 PM Shane speaks on "Lighting the World on Fire"

Sunday, June 10th 10:00 - 10:45 AM Catholic Mass. We?re an intimate little community. We like to say, ?We?re a Small Place Where God?s Love is Made Big!? Please join us for our liturgy.

Sunday, 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Following Mass we will hold an Ecumenical Worship Service with speaker Shane Claiborne.

Sunday, 12:00 to 1:30 PM Pancake Breakfast. Q&A with Shane Claiborne.

Address / Directions: 740 Circle Ave. Spring Grove Village, 45232. Traveling I-75 South, take the MITCHELL AVE exit- EXIT 6- toward ST BERNARD. Turn RIGHT onto W MITCHELL AVE. (0.26 miles). Turn LEFT onto SPRING GROVE AVE. (0.41 miles). Turn RIGHT onto WINTON RD. (0.34 miles). Turn RIGHT on either Circle or Derby Ave. (one block up). Church can be accessed from both streets.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

every word i said is what i mean

Forget what you saw on that Live 8 broadcast--Chris Cornell's voice is not shot. To the contrary, the man still has an amazing vocal range. Which is surprising since he the way he sings seems like it should shred his vocal chords to pieces. And he puts on one heck of a live show, which went on for over two hours and consisted of more than twenty-five songs.

Justin and I were pretty far back in the crowd, but Bogart's is small enough that it didn't matter. They played through a bunch of Soundgarden hits, which were obviously the highlight of the show. Throw in a good selection of Audioslave songs, "Hunger Strike," a couple of his old solo hits and a few too many of the new songs--although not as many as you would think since he has a new album out. All in all, it was a fantastic set list. More songs from Temple of the Dog or
Euphoria Morning, or anything from Down On the Upside would have been nice, but they played "Slaves and Bulldozers" so I won't be complaining. The band backing Cornell was fairly impressive, as well. He's has played with some great musicians in the past--Kim Thayil, Tom Morello--so filling those shoes is no easy feat, but the band pulled it off well.

The crowd could have been better. I guess I should have known not to expect much when I entered Bogart's bathroom to find some guy peeing in the sink. There were too many people who seemed to be there to hear "Black Hole Sun" and Audioslave songs, like the guys in front of us who seemed to just be drinking Miller Lite and text messaging on their cell phones all night. The worst part was probably the constant noise; I don't think I've ever heard a concert with so many people chatting the whole time. It was funny when everyone started leaving right after "Black Hole Sun" assuming the show was over.

Let Me Drown
Show Me How To Live
No Such Thing
Be Yourself
Hunger Strike
What You Are
Rusty Cage
Can't Change Me (solo acoustic)
I Am The Highway (solo acoustic)
Scar On The Sky (solo acoustic)
All Night Thing (solo acoustic)
Doesn't Remind Me
You Know My Name
Billie Jean
Like A Stone
Loud Love
Jesus Christ Pose
--Encore 1--
My Wave
Black Hole Sun
--Encore 2--
She'll Never Be Your Man
Slaves and Bulldozers