Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Review of Cream At MSG October 25th - The Concert!

We took our seats as the lights went off. Cream climbed the stage, and it was on.

(Editors note: This blogger did not know the names of many of the songs played, and he was too drunk besides to remember them all anyway. When a set list gets published, this will be edited.)

Eric Clapton was on the right of the stage, in a dark smock-like shirt, with his usual scruff. Jack Bruce was on the left, in a red hawaiian-type shirt, and the whole time his face was scrunched up with intensity. Ginger Baker was half hidden in the back behind his drums, and all I could see were his blurring hands and his creased face and white hair. He looked like a grand father. Except the guy was rocking out like crazy. I've never seen anyone play drums like that.

The background of the stage was a long rectangular screen that constantly showed trippy/psychedlic colors and shifting patterns. There was a lot of light focused on the stage, but not any spotlights going out into the crowd, like many modern day shows have.

The first song was half tempo, not fast and not slow. It settled the groove, and was chill.

2nd song: Very laid back, the base undertones mixed perfectly with Clapton's guitar, the drums a sweet staccato dividing the melodies.

At this point I looked over to my right, and there was a cool looking guy with long blonde hair...reminded me of my current room mate. We chatted throughout the show.

3rd song: Groovy and rambunctious. Nice progression with a sweet base finish, which led into a short but succinct up and down jam.

By now the alcohol was in my system and I was buzzed and loving it. I alternated between watching the band on the stage, watching the close-up monitor, and just closing my eyes and enjoying the music.

The 4th song was slow, groovy, laidback, with funk, soul and rhythm. A little sad and bluesey, with a southern twang. At that point I realized my beer bottle was vibrating with the music of Cream. Sweet!

The 5th song was "Tales of Brave Ulysses!" Right on! The lyrics were explosive, as was Clapton on the guitar. It was powerful and perfect, soulful, and it gave you a feeling that was like you were watching a saga unfold in your mind. Definite highlight.

The 6th song was smooth and continuous, and the jam was out of this world. It was uplifting and moving, then rockin and groovin. At this point the band was just flying on its own momentum.

The 7th song saw me take a pee break, so I didn't catch much of it.

The 8th song was mellow and fun, with a high pitched guitar solo from Clapton. It was hardcore originally Clapton, and oh so satisfying.

The 9th song had a groovy jam, and had me drumming my arm rests with a dah dah dah dah, dahhh, dah dah dah dah.

The 10th song had a harmonica base, very fast and southern. It made me think, "This is kinda sad. 25 years ago the fans would be teens, fucked up on drugs and tripping, drunk out of their minds, and screaming, dancing in the isles. At this concert most of the fans were way older than me, and were sitting. They became old, and bourgeoisie."

11: Classic, slow, and the jam was basically emotional/touching, which elicited a lot of applause. Ginger Baker was like Ray Charles on the drums.

12. Getting into it, groovy, the percussion was rockin. The lyrics were standard awesome Cream.

13. Born Under A Bad Sign. Nice tempto, the solo was spot on, so fuckin groovy. Guy next to me told me song sounds like politician.

14. Slowey kinda song, guy next to me called it as White Room, but it wasn't. It was still groovy and chill.

15. Last song went right into Cross Roads. The Jam was transcendant, Clapton looked like a dummy, rockin back and forth. His face was a mask, eyes closed. Looked like a rock and roll Raggedy Andy.

16. Slow, but so nice. Astros winning 4-1.

17. WHITE ROOM! It was throaty and so much better than any version I'd ever heard. The guitar sounded like it was alive, full and vibrant. It was over too quickly, but it was masterful.

18. Drum Solo! Ginger Baker blew me away. I couldn't believe how much rhythm that guy has. I bet he could play the drums, solo, for a whole show, and it'd be awesome. Not to mention, the dude had his eyes closed for most of it. He was definitely a rockin drummin version of Ray Charles. One of the highlights of the night.

19. Band leaves the stage to thunderous applause. After 4 minutes they come back and play Sunshine of your Love as an encore. Awesome.

Over all, it was amazing. First the prospect of getting the tickets, then getting them, raised my blood to fever pitch. Then the discovery of the Club Room, and the free drinks, set the stage. The seats were awesome, and there were no annoying people sitting next to us. The show was great, many classic songs I hadn't heard in a long time, and of course the big hits. I would recommend obtaining the CD of this live concert. I only wish they'd play more of them.

Review of Cream At MSG October 25th Part II - CLUB ROOM

"Cream Her? I Barely Even Know Her!"

Once on the escalator both M and myself started to get really excited. We were in! We had no idea what to expect, at the Club Room, but I was psyched to just get into this exclusive spot. I was privately hoping to run into some bigwigs or celebs, and I was ready with my camera phone and business cards for just such a scenario.

At the top of the escalator we walked into a very large foyer, with no idea in what direction to go. We headed straight ahead, saw an usher-type person, and she sort of motioned with her eyes to keep bearing on our current course.

We approached another usher-type, showed her our blue stickers (by this time I had wrested mine from M, before she could try and ditch me again), and she motioned us into the bar.

Boy, it was nice, chic, and classy. Dimly lit, with a large highly polished light grain-colored bar, nice carpeting, very low key. There were large flat screens, which we found out were showing one of the Cream concerts from London.

So, now for the next test: was the cocktail hour, in fact, free? I was betting it was, but we had no way of knowing for sure without asking and looking like dumbasses. So, I ordered some drinks, bacardi and coke for me, white wine for her, and waited to see if we'd be charged.

The bar tender, who seemed to be more of a beefy bouncer type, very slowly made our drinks, and, finally, never told me how much they were. We win! So I tipped him, and we relaxed.

Next to us were two of M's co-workers, record label execs who had been to the Cream shows in London. We chatted about the past shows, and what to expect with this one, and they also mentioned they had been to the first NYC show, the night before. They said the first MSG show was more intense than the ones in London, like they had let their hair down, or finally gotten into the groove of the tour.

So we chatted for a while, the bar filled up a little, but remained mostly empty. My first drink, bacardi and coke, turned out to have almost no rum in it whatsoever. So I powered it down as fast as I could, and then got a glass of red wine. I intended to reap the benefits of this cocktail hour dammit!

So with about 15 minutes in the cocktail hour left, I'm half done with the wine, and M is halfway done with her 2nd glass. Just then a tall, black, gregarious bar tender, apparently the manager, just plunked a plastic cup in front of me, gave me a wink, and said, "One for the road."

I was like, "Awesome man, thanks!" He gave me another wink and basically said to let him know if I need anything. What a guy.

So time is running out. I take a sip of the rum and coke and WHOA! The thing is like almost pure alcohol. Yea baby! Now we're talking.

We're about to leave, and one of the bar tenders says we could pour a glass of wine into a plastic cup and take it with us. But I'm like, don't we have to go back outside to get into MSG? I have no idea. So I say thanks, but don't take it, don't want to have to deal with the guards if that isn't, in fact, cool.

So we walk out the door, and I ask the first usher I see where we go to see the show. They point to an escalator inside the building. Doh! We totally could have brought drinks with us! And thats why the cool bartender gave me a plastic glass, so I could take it with me. Duh!

So we tried to go back to the bar. An usher standing in front of the closed door asked us where we're going, and pointed to show where the concert was. We showed our blue stickers and said, "we just wanted to get another drink for the show." At that, she shrugged and said, "that sure ain't my department, and I ain't gonna stop ya". We laughed, and tried the door, but it was locked. The bar was pretty much closed, but ah well, we tried, and we know for next time (yea right, like I'll ever go the Club Room again.)

So we accepted the fact that our free drinks were over, but that was cool, I was already feeling it from the double rum and the wine. M was already getting a little red in the face, and that meant she was doing just fine.

We went up the escalator, and just walked right into the main hall of MSG. We were in! It was around 8:10, show to start at 8:30, so we got some fries, a bottle of water, and a beer for me, and we went to find our seats.

Gate 62, Section 54, Row L, seats 2 and 3. We walked in, I figured out what direction to go in, and we found our seats. They were pretty much a little closer to the stage than half court, not on the floor, but up just far enough to have a perfect unobstructed view of the stage. Go Record Label tickets!

So we stood for a while, enjoying the buzz, watching all the people, the security guards, interlopers getting kicked out of good seats that weren't their's, and that kind of thing.

Finally, the lights go out, the band climbs the stage, and we take our seats. Blast off!

To Be Continued In Part III

Review Of Cream Concert At MSG 10-25-05 Part I

"Is that cream on your pants, or are you just happy to see me?" "'s both."


So, yesterday afternoon around 3:00 PM, my girlfriend, M, IM's me, "My boss just sent around an email about two tickets to see Cream tonight, they're like $185 each." This was simply conversation on a dull and rainy Tuesday.

So I wrote back, "Where are they playing?" Reply, "At Madison Square Garden."

Me, "Wow, thats awesome, I wish I had that money, I'd offer to buy them." Her reply, "Um, duh, they're free." So I said, "What? They're free? Are you kidding me?" Cream, at MSG, for free?" I type frantically, "Get the tickets! Get the tickets!"

She's like, "wait, what? Who is Cream? You want to go see them?" She had no idea I'd react like this, she was just chatting. I'm flipping out. I type, "Cream? You know, with Eric Clapton? 'White Room?'" So she says, "Hold on, let me check."

She goes into her boss's office, and tells her that she's interested in the two tickets. Not just one, either two or none. Boss says she'll get back to her.

Meanwhile, I'm insta-hyper. I suddenly envision myself seeing Cream, and that mere hint of a possible taste set my blood to racing. I tell M, my girlfriend, "Ok, either we get those tickets, or your boss's dog dies...."

M's reply, "She has a hamster." Okayyy, I can work with that. "Well, then she better give us those tickets if she ever wants to see hammy the hamster again"....but it was really out of M's control.

So, I make conversation. "Are the seats good?" M, "Um, their record label seats? Of course they're good." I don't believe her. But again, there's nothing to do but wait, so we continue to chat. She doesn't really want to go even if we do get the tickets.

Why? "Because", says, M, "Cream may not have toured for 35 years, but the White Sox haven't won the world series since 1917." (She's from Chicago.)

So I'm like, "Fine, just get the tickets, and if you don't want to go, I can take someone else." I mean, I would've been ok with one ticket and going by myself. But it was apparent that she would go, even if she just wanted to watch the World Series, because it'd be fun. Though, it was also cool to envision inviting a friend, Like H, R, J, or E, to go see cream, that night, for FREE.

So, after an hour or two, I can't really focus or concentrate. All I can think of is, "Cream or no Cream? Cream or no Cream?" I was originally just going to visit my new married friends E and A, but this would obviously take precedence. And of course tomorrow night M was going to cook me dinner at her place.

Finally, close to 5:00, M IM's me "I have good news and bad news." I'm like, I have no idea if she's playing me or not.

So she says, "I won't be cooking you dinner tomorrow night, because instead, I guess we can go see Cream." Cha Ching! "I asked my boss if the seats were good, for you because you don't believe me, and she looked at me like I was nuts. Boss said, 'These are Label seats...'"

She also types, "I can't believe how much these tickets are. They're like $356 A PIECE!" Then she adds, "Oh, and there some kind of cocktail hour at the Club Room as well."

Cocktail hour? Club Room? Tell me more! We don't know if its free, or if there will be food there, or what, but M calls the place, and finds out its 7-8, inside the Private MSG Club Room bar, but no food.

So, at this point I'm flying on a cloud. I can't believe we got the tickets! We discuss details. We try decide if we want to go to the Club Room or not. My basic thought is, how can we miss it? We're not going to have a chance like this again. So we agree to meet at 7:20 outside MSG to try the cocktail hour, whether its free or not. I'll go home, chill out, drop off stuff, grab a bite, and then meet her in front of MSG.

I leave work early, race home, tell my room mate who I'm going to see, and he's like, "NO SHIT!" I make a frozen dinner, watch an intriguing guy show how different technologies are connected on the Science channel, then run out the door, sans everything except my jacket. It's raining, but I won't need an umbrella, and I don't want to drag it around.

I meet up with M, and we go to the glass side entrance to the VIP Club Room. We show our tickets, and then M gets on the escalator going up. I move to follow her, when the security guard puts a beefy hand on my chest and says, "YOU enter out there through the main entrance."

I'm like, what? Meanwhile M is on the escalator just starting to go up. I'm like, "M! Wait!"

Luckily she wasn't far up the escalator at all, so she got back off. She said, "He's with me, and THEN shows both of the blue stickers that are our tickets to the cocktail hour. Guard says, "well, you shoulda showed those to me BEFORE he tried to go in." We laugh, breath a sigh of relief, and get on the escalator. We're going in....To Be Continued In Part II

Monday, October 24, 2005

Clouds Are Like Big Sleepy Pillows

Topics for today:

1. The Psychology of Sleep
2. Pet Peeves And The Opposite

So, why is it that I never want to go to bed, when I get in bed I can't sleep, but when I have to get up, I am amazingly comfortable and could sleep for 2 days straight?

It must be some kind of twisted defense mechanism. For instance, I know I won't be able to fall asleep, so I don't want to get in bed, but at the same time, I know that when I have to get up, I won't be happy about it, so I make myself want to stay in bed.

Wait, that doesn't really make much sense. But an answer to this conundrum eludes me. Why must I have a backward idea of how to go about sleeping? Why can't I get instantly comfortable, and then when I have to get up, I can't stay still? I don't ever see me having that kind of a reasonable problem.

So, lets go into some pet peeves:

-When you're on the subway, and you've picked out a spot to stand, and someone seems to want to get around you, but everyone else is blocking the way, so you move aside half a step, and instead of going around you that person then takes the spot where you are standing. Thus, you are left in an awkward and uncomfortable position where people are likely to push past you to get in and out of the car. Solution: Always be rude on the subway.

-When you're sitting in the subway, and someone gets too close to you. When you're sitting at the end of a long bench, and some dickshit leans up against it and puts their ass in your face. When you walk onto the subway at 9 AM, and some stupid ass is leaning on and making love to the only pole available for you to hold. Hello people, its rush hour? That means you don't get to be a fucking asshole.

-When you know you have to do something, but you just can't make yourself do it, whatever the reason. Procrastination sucks.

Some things that help take the peevishness out of your day:

-Champagne in a limo

-Drunken sex

-When you are in a daze, listening to headphones, and you forget where you are on the subway, and you ask, "what stop is this", and someone politely and quickly responds.