HOT! LIVE! MUSIC!
John Bonham (ok, and the rest of Led Zeppelin too, I guess), Moby Dick
I attended a soph event back in university at a club where a Led Zep cover band was playing. Moby Dick was on the setlist, and sure enough, the drummer went into a Bonham-esque solo and did a terrific job (though he didn't use his hands like Bonzo did). But the best part of it was that, during this 10+ minute solo, the other musicians left the stage, went over to the bar with their girlfriends, had a few beers, sat down at a table, had a nice chat, then eventually went back up to play the last part of Moby Dick and then got on with the rest of the set. What about the poor drummer?? The band should've at least had the decency to play Battle of Evermore or something acoustic afterwards so Bonham-lite could've gone to get a pint. Doesn't the drummer deserve a break? Just one little break?! GIVE STEVIE A PEEK! JUST ONE PEEK! Then again, I have no doubt that the actual Led Zep members took a similar time-out while Bonham was soloing, though with their beers and chatter they possibly also violated a groupie with shark parts. Though, perhaps specifically for Moby Dick interludes, they used whale parts.
Jake Shumabukuro, While My Guitar Gently Weeps
This guy plays the ukulele like a mothafuckin' riot. I always thought I should take up the ukulele. Seems natural. I could go on tour and bill myself as the Ukulele-Playin' Ukrainian, or the Uke-Uke for short (Uke2?) I would be bankrupt within a week.
Coldplay, Can't Get You Out Of My Head
I hate the idea of music festivals. In any given festival (even the best ones), you're only going to see a few bands that you genuinely like. The rest of the time, you're standing in a field, hot, sweaty, either hungry or bloated, sunburned, surrounded by hundreds of people in a very loosely-organized situation that on occasion has been known to get date-rapey or violent. That said, if I could attend any music festival, it would definitely be Glastonbury. Everyone just seems really, really into it. At one point you see a flaming pit in the middle of the sea of humanity, yet I'm sure it was all cool. British people are awesome. Also at Glastonbury, you get to see things like Coldplay doing a Kylie cover and Chris Martin's weird, spastic, "humping my piano" motion. Isn't this cover awesome, by the way? Maybe Coldplay played this song and realized, "Hey lads, do you realize we're allowed to write music that actually has a nice beat to it and isn't a beat to a half-beat too slow?" This explains their new album.
David Byrne, Take Me To The River
Bit of a curveball here for the traditional Talking Heads entry on a HOT LIVE MUSIC post. I actually like this version (from a Byrne solo DVD) better than the Talking Heads version on Stop Making Sense. Not that the other one is bad, far from it. That was actually the song that got me into Talking Heads in the first place, so really, I'm being a disloyal douchebag by posting this one instead. Hmmm. There's also a version of Psycho Killer on this DVD (and on YouTube) performed by Byrne in a full bodysuit that looks like a skinless human body. It looks creepy as hell. David Byrne has problems. Namely, his awesomeness is a problem.
Apocalyptica, Enter Sandman
It's the perfect formula. You have the awesomeness of Enter Sandman, plus the awesomeness of cellos, minus the douchiness of the actual Metallica (I'll bet the Apocalyptica guys don't mind illegal downloading) and minus Mariano Rivera. I love how all four of these guys look so fucking rough. It's hard out there for a cellist.
Boston, Peace of Mind
I guess Boston (the city) deserved some kind of shoutout in the week where the Celtics won the NBA title. Congratulations Boston, your sports teams are the anti-Toronto. Though this may change once Toronto FC face the New England Revolution on Saturday. Right? Right? Bonus points that this performance was held at the Copps Coliseum, where I saw the best concert I've ever seen in my life (U2 on the Elevation Tour in 2001). The show was so good that I don't even hold it against the evening that it took us about an hour to navigate all those goddamned one-way streets surrounding Copps. It literally took longer to get out of the Hamilton downtown than it did to get back to London.
Hey, speaking of U2...Arguably no song in U2's catalogue benefited more from live performances than Yahweh. On the album, it was a somewhat flimsy and oversynthesized finale to the Atomic Bomb album. In short, it sounded like a Coldplay song. But live it was 100 times better stripped down with just Bono and Edge. This gives me hope that if Larry's back/hands/knees/etc. get too injured for touring and if Adam ever quits music to take up spoon-collecitng full-time* that Bono and Edge could do on as a touring duo. Imagine Simon & Garfunkel, except without the barely-concealed disgust for the other. Sorry, no embedded version available! Click the link!
* = The best part of U2's Simpsons guest appearance was that for years afterwards, fans kept coming up to Adam Clayton to offer him spoons, even though the collection was totally an invention of the show. This is my second-favorite Simpsons anecdote ever, behind only the fact that the city of Albuquerque actually named their minor league baseball team the Isotopes.