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July 2009 Archives

July 2, 2009

Rhode Island boys

The Greek Theater is a Berkeley landmark, built in 1903 and privy to such events as a commencement address by Teddy Roosevelt, a speech by the Dalai Lama, concerts by Jerry Garcia, Guns N Roses, Iggy Pop, and Dave Matthews, and the annual College of Chemistry fire extinguisher training (see below).

I extinguished it right after that photo was snapped.

Last Friday, David Byrne played the Greek. The vampires that run the place wanted $70 for a ticket, so it was decided that we'd find the promised land in the hills above, from where one can both hear the show in excellent acoustics, and see tiny David prancing about on stage. It's the culturally advanced version of Tightwad Hill. We had every reason to believe it existed; could the East Bay Express be wrong? ("Wedged between the Greek's barbed-wire back fence and a pricey parking lot, it's shaded and pleasant and slightly elevated...")

Joe found some cryptic instructions on Yelp.com, another dubious online source, and having packed John's home made burritos, several bottles of wine, and other assorted weekend supplies, I put on my hiking shoes and we headed up a path from the parking lot. We shortly came across two would-be tightwads heading to their favorite spot, a flat area covered with trash. One of them explained that it'd be a good spot without the trash, and she'd brought hefty bags. Adorable. She asked us if we were trying to see the show. "I've never seen the stage," she said. John replied that we were going somewhere she'd never been, and we trekked on.

We trampled through the bushes for another half hour or so, asked the guard at the national lab on the hill if he knew where to go, and got covered with dirt and sand fleas. Finally, we settled on the retaining wall just above the upper parking lot, concluding that the Greek must have moved back the fences, making the original Greek tightwad location obsolete. We expected something like this:

but all we could see was this:

Never mind the view, the real story here is the sound. The sound was perfect. It was loud enough, crystal clear, and there weren't any jackasses behind me yelling for Psycho Killer. Well wait, I guess there were, but only because I'd sent an email out to my lab inviting them along. Byrne started out with a handful of tracks from Everything that Happens, which I loved. Then the Talking Heads show started.

I'm kind of glad I couldn't see the stage when he started with the old stuff. He has trained his band admirably - it sounds just like the albums. Somehow it felt a little dirty though, a little sad, a little like a Talking Heads cover band, fronted by David Byrne. Which it was. At least since they were invisible to me, I didn't have to watch some imposter play bass. David saved the day by bringing out a full marching band at the end of the set. I don't know what they were doing, because they weren't mic'd, but I'm sure it was sweet.

I can't reconcile these pictures with the experience I had. It must have been like some bizarre combination of Mark Twain sings the Talking Heads backed up by the Blue Man Group, who have all turned white.

Rhode Island boys, II

Nobody wanted to come see Deer Tick play in SF with me, so I went by myself. I got there at the start of an uninspiring set by a band who really wanted to inspire me, bless their hearts. I started getting sleepy. I didn't think I would make it through the night. Deer Tick came on, played the following cover, and announced that this was the first song on one of their favorite records, and the first song of one of their favorite shows. They could tell.

And it was a great show. They covered everyone and their dog, whose songs I'm not always familiar with, and they played lots of their own songs too. The highlight by far was "Dead Flowers", a Rolling Stones cover. I wish I could find a video, but put on the Stones version, and then turn up heart to 11, and you might know what I mean:

P.S. Only fucking rock stars can do a single, 1-song encore and have it be La Bamba.

July 24, 2009

Tech review: undo

Google Labs is a place you can get nifty little apps to add on to Google pages. After a disaster of an email discussion which was accidentally sent out to a much larger audience than intended (not by me, phew), I enabled an app called "undo".

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You click send, then your heart jumps up because you accidentally put someone in the To field you didn't mean to. Click undo. You have about 5 glorious seconds. Thanks, Google.

About July 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Katieblog in July 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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