The New York Mets are playing enjoyable baseball again. The New York Mets are in a pennant race. These two sentences seem improbable, given the nuclear winter Mets fans have endured these past few years, but yet, here we are, with the Mets at the top of the division while the Nationals are on the West Coast facing the likes of Kershaw, Greinke, and Bumgardner, and doing… not so well. The old concept of Triple Happiness (Mets win, Phillies lose, Braves lose) has changed.
U2’s Innocence and Experience Tour arrived in New York at the end of July for an eight-show run, the longest run the band had ever done in one place before. I’d opted in to four of the eight nights, justifying it by saying that eight shows in my own city would allow me to forgo the time and expense of traveling elsewhere in order to see more than one show. Some of you reading this will think I am insane; others will think me lightweight.
I travelled to Memphis a few weeks ago. It was amazing, and exceeded every expectation I had. I do not know how and why it took me so long to get here; over the years I have been led to believe that there wasn’t much to do or that it wasn’t worth my time. All I can say now is that I am so incredibly sad I had not been there before.
Seattle, and that fucking amazing, genius opening
Everybody wants to know what I think about Paul’s declaration onstage in Portugal that this was the band’s last show. I maintain that I’d like to wait until I hear a full tape or find a full video, or talk to someone at the show who had actually had some kind of history with the band, before descending into gloom and doom and donning sackcloth and ashes. He could mean it; he could have been kidding; he could be half serious.
NIGHT ONE: ECHOSTAGE, WASHINGTON, DC, MAY 8, 2015
Takin’ a ride, and its doing no goooood…
I am listening intently to Paul Westerberg belt out that line, letting his voice linger on the last word with some extra oomph. It is something that the other thousand or so audience members crowded into this converted warehouse/now EDM club on the outskirts of washington, DC may not notice, or care to notice; to them, it’s just a kick ass version of “Takin’ A Ride” and it reminds them of their college years or high school times or maybe this is a brand new memory, a memory they never thought they’d get to have, because they weren’t old enough the first time around. But I am here to pay attention, I am here for these extra details, I am here to make up for lost time, for the years I didn’t get to hear these songs sung and played over and over again. I am here because we didn’t get to watch our band grow and change and shift and get old with us in real time. I am also here to sing along at the top of my lungs, to feel what it’s like to recite words you know as well as your old phone number or your Mom’s birthday, to sing them alongside thousands of other people doing the exact same thing, whether for the first time or the 20th time.
My Salon debut (!) about a series of amazing releases put out by Mr. Westerberg in 2008 and 2009.
I love baseball. I love books. I love books about baseball. So Men’s Journal asked me to write about the latter. Writing the thing took less time than deciding on the list.
As with all the Dorf tribute nights, there are hits and misses, bigger hits and larger, totally-off-the-bullseye misses. That is part of the serendipity of the event, and people who have done this for a while go into it with that attitude, and I think enjoy the show a lot more than the people who are there for either X band or for picture-perfect renditions of Their Favorite Songs. (Example being the row behind me, a dude who had done this before with his friends, who had never been, and were mostly bemused and fidgety all night.)
In 1991, Wim Wenders released the film “Until the End of the World”. I am not a movie person by any stretch of the imagination, but I am a music person, and in 1991, I was a label manager for Warner Bros. Records. Warner Brothers released the soundtrack, and an advance cassette of the soundtrack landed on my desk, introducing me to art that would make an indelible impression on me.
Last summer, I picked up a car in Los Angeles and drove 4,000 miles in two weeks, an epic loop out Route 66 as far as Texas, and then back up and over through Colorado and Utah and Nevada. I went to the Grand Canyon and the Cadillac Ranch and drove the Loneliest Road In America. I was determined to find out if you could find America, or at least have a great, epic American roadtrip inside of a two-week vacation.
I started writing about it just as an email to friends, then it was a blog post, then it was an essay…and almost 40k words later, I realized it was an book…which is out today!