Have I told you about the Ryan Layton Concert Series?
Well, my brother Ryan likes his music live, when he can get it. My parents, not so much. So when Ryan wants to go to a concert, Jake and I take him. My parents get the tickets, and they don't have to go. They think it is a good deal. So do I. I am not sure how Jake feels, exactly, but he is a good sport.
Ryan (left, above, with bro-in-law Andrew, at Versailles last year) might be mentally handicapped, but his taste in music is not impaired. He leans toward the oldies, though. And the oldies, as their name suggests, are aging. So I figure, we need to go see them sooner rather than later, before somebody slips a hip.
We have seen some great acts. Some, not so great. I think the worst was Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, who looked like he stroked out maybe 10 years ago. But then some brainiac had carted him out on tour, and plunked him down in front of a keyboard on a stool. I think he couldn't stand up without falling over, so the keyboard was a sort of prop to mask the not-too-vertical vibe he was giving off. He didn't play the keyboard. Even once. And then, I'm 90% sure, he lip synched. He had this huge back-up band, who were really wailing "Good Vibrations," and the sound was great, but poor Brian's chest barely rose and fell. The sound was just too huge to be coming from poor Brian's broken body.
He opened for Paul Simon. I think Paul picked Brian for the opening act, to either: 1. help Brian pay his hospital bills, or 2. make himself look young and spritely in comparison. Because, he did look spritely. Paul was FANTASTIC. Course, he's like my absolute favorite song writer of all time. But seriously, he had maybe 30 people on that stage, playing all sorts of crazy instruments. His percussion section was bigger than most bands. And he didn't stop moving the whole time. Bouncing, like high impact aerobics, while singing. 'Twas one of the very best shows of the RLCS (Ryan Layton Concert Series), thus far.
Who else have we seen? Don Henley, and then later, all of The Eagles (Ryan's favorite). James Taylor, Neil Diamond. Let's spend just a moment on Neil Diamond (or Needles to Diamonds, as Ryan used to call him, when we were children). Neil had a cool rotating stage, so his older-lady fans could see his sansa-belt pants and shiny, sequined shirt from all the angles. He had a Stevie Nicks type to sing with him on his Barbara Streisand duets like "You don't bring me flowers." He had some cool 70s moves. He had the 60-year-old ladies on either side of us bawling like a babies and screaming during "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show." Which is a great song. My eyes could have been a tiny bit moister than usual. Maybe. But, see, I'm a fan of The Early Neil. The Boat that I Row, Shiloh, You Got to Me, Sweet Caroline. That sort of thing. Not so much after that. Unfortunately, since his voice has degraded, he covers the fact with lots of instruments, and The Early Neil is mostly gone for good, I think. My Mom is a Speech Therapist, and she said in school, they used poor Neil as an example of how not to sing. He has had many surgeries to remove nodules from his vocal chords. And it just doesn't sound the same. But the crying baby boomer ladies didn't seem to care. Ryan either. He was in heaven. Jake wasn't as thrilled.
One of my favorites was Jimmy Buffett. I've seen him twice, actually. Once with Ringo Starr and James Taylor in Tucson. Everyone else I knew was at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe that night, seeing U2. (1992, I think.) Not me. Jimmy totally stole the show. From a Beatle, people. Course, it was Ringo. But everybody was there to see Jimmy. Seriously, if you haven't been, you should go. And wear a parrot hat, a coconut bra, or a shark suit, if you want to fit in. You might even decorate you car like a tropical 4th of July float, if you want to tailgate for like 6 hours before the show. But don't get grass seats, unless you like secondhand grass. I learned that lesson early on, at the Cranberries/Toad the Wet Sprocket show. Cousin Melanie is allergic to pot, and started sneezing, wheezing and swelling out there on the lawn. Anyway, for a good time, call Jimmy Buffett. Seriously. I think we'll take Ryan back again when he comes to town.
The inaugural show of the RLCS was was back in, oh, maybe 1993? Ryan and I went to see the Gin Blossoms at the Mesa Amphitheater and stopped at Filiberto's for some rolled tacos afterward. Jake wasn't around. Maybe he was off gallivanting in the Philippines. Someday I'll post about all the Gin Blossoms shows I've seen, but alas, this is not that day. Don't be sad.
Anyway, Ryan was getting antsy, because we hadn't seen any shows in a great, long while. So I heard about this Counting Crows/Maroon 5/Augustana show, and I thought, hey, why not. Even though Ryan doesn't know who they are.
It was last night.
We missed Augustana. We heard them as we walked in, but they were walking off stage as we took our seats. I was a little disappointed, cause I like some of their songs.
Maroon 5 was sort of fantastic. The lead singer has a great voice, in the same vein as the Vienna Boys Choir and Michael Jackson. I used to think he was pretty hot, but then he did some weird effeminate hands moves. So, now I don't think he's so hot, but we can still be friends. Like he probably is with Jessica Simpson. The lead guitar was fabulous. Seriously, that guy plays better than any inactive Mormon, Eddie Vedder look-alike, that attended my cousin Hailey's play once, that I've ever seen. I'm not lying to you.
I am going to say that the Counting Crows were mildly disappointing. The crazy-haired lead singer? He looked toasted at the beginning. Totally out there. He seemed to sober up over the hour they played. And you know how he sorts of sing-talks sometimes? Last night, he talked more than sang. Which bugged. You know the best part? When Augustana came out and joined them on Rain King. It was extra fabulous, people. Really great. And remember, I hadn't gotten a good gander at Augustana yet.
They are worth gandering.
They look like some European type fellas went up into the Alps or somewhere for like 6 months, and forgot to bring a mirror, an extra shirt, or a washcloth. Or food. They are skinnyish. And at first you think: EEWWW. But then you look closer, and you think, hey those kids might be good looking underneath the filthy knit caps, creepy girly haircuts, and 6 inch long beards.
And they were! Look at this picture from 2004! Cute as buttons, they were!
A year later, somebody was already sporting the knit cap. But still, undoubtedly, some fine looking lads!
So sometime since, they decided against razors and scissors and what-nots, but bathing was still on the agenda. See below:
I could not find any photos that really capture the greasy look from last night. Just picture Grizzly Adams, in harmony. They sounded great, anyhow.
Here is Adam Duritz with Augustana and the Dashboard Confessional guy singing Rain King. It sort of gives the idea. There is a you tube clip of the song from the concert about a week ago, but the sound is so bad, your ears bleed. So this one is better:
Next up in the Concert Series is the State Fair. I vote Goo Goo Dolls, Jake votes Weezer. I also vote for deep fried twinkies. Anybody want to come along?
We've also got some dream shows we'd like to see: Simon & Garfunkel, Fleetwood Mac, Abba, and Bread. Some are more likely than others, obviously.
As we walked out last night, I asked Ryan: "So what was your favorite part?"
"I liked it when the (Maroon 5 singer) guy threw the guitar and broke it, then gave it to the lady in the audience."
He continued: "So, when are New Kids on the Block coming?"
Oh, boy. Who told him about that? I'm not sure that's going to be part of the RLCS, if I have anything to say about it.
So, what's your best show ever?
Your dream show?
Ever seen any of the acts in the RLCS?
Anybody want to fight with me about Neil Diamond?