Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Headcount Benefit @ Highline 11/3/08

I went up to Highline during lunchtime a couple of weeks ago to get a ticket for this. When I got there, I realized I hadn’t looked at the price. When they told me $50, I hesitated as I wasn’t sure I was into it enough to spend that. I also hadn’t realized it was on a Mon night, and I have MNA that I don’t like to miss.

Still, I was there, and I decided to buy it as it might be really good. I did go to MNA, which was wonderful. I left at the break, but as I hoped, the break didn’t happen until late, 8:45, so I transformed while I was there. What emerged there last night was mainly about the 2nd Principle of Instantaneous Transformation: No two things can occupy the same space at the same time. Another way of saying this is you can only be how you are in any given moment. What’s done is done and there’s no going back. So, there is no need to rehash it over and over. It’s actually a waste. It couldn’t be any different than it was simply because it happened the way it did. It’s very powerful. I don’t know exactly what happened for me, but something definitely shifted in me and my experience of life is completely different than it was last night before 7pm, I can tell you that.

Then, in the spirit of having it all, I cabbed it over to Highline and got there a little after 9. Bustle in You Hedgerow was on. I was glad because I wasn’t expecting them. It was the best Bustle lineup, with Joe Russo, Marco Benevento, Scott Metzger, and Dave Driewitz. It was so funny when Marco said how they are “a Led Zeppelin tribute band”. They are, but they're also incredible musicians that do many other projects.

It actually took me a while to warm up to the concept. The first time I saw The Duo play Led Zeppelin was at a Rope-a-Dope New Music Seminar at Bowery Ballroom a few years back. Probably 5 years or so by now. I was very excited and expected a lot of intermingling among the performers. I remember being very disappointed when it was time for The Duo’s set and Skerik came out with his sax strapped on. They looked at each other and Skerik asked if they wanted to just jam, I think Critters Buggin was going to be after. I know that’s what I wanted. The Duo gave him a signal that no, they didn’t want to jam, they had ideas about how this set was going to be. Oh well.

I can’t remember everything about that show, but I think they did some of their own Duo tunes before Scott Metzer came out. That was my first time seeing him. Then they did 3 Led Zeppelin songs, exactly the way it would sound on an album. I was very disappointed and didn’t like it at all. Not that the music wasn’t good, it was very good. It was my aversion to covers being played exactly the way it sounds on the album. I love Led Zep, but I have most of the CDs, and don’t need to hear anyone else doing it, unless they stretch out a bit. The good news was there were no vocals. Still, I wasn’t into it. I was opposed to the whole thing the more they did it. And, boy did they continue to do it. Over time, I got over my aversion to covers as now I sometimes do like to hear a favorite band doing covers. It took a while, though. I now go to a Bustle show from time to time and really enjoy them when I do. If I’m gonna see a Led Zep tribute band, this is the one I want it to be. They can really play it phenomenally.

Last night I got there in time for the last 2 or 3 of those Led Zeppelin songs. It was very good. It was early, and I think I prefer it in a smaller venue, but it was still enjoyable.

Then there was a little setbreak and then they announced The Disco Biscuits. My heart sank. I started thinking about how I made a bad choice and wondering if I should step outside for while. I realized I’ve barely given them a chance and their core crowd wasn’t there, it wasn’t overly crowded, and I could probably check it out. I might even like it, I should give it a chance at least. It turns out I did like it as once it started I didn’t feel compelled to go outside. It wasn’t blown away amazing, but it was good. I did move to the back of the room as I didn’t really need to be up front with less room to dance.

After a couple of songs, Marco came up and played with them and things started turning. It started getting really good. Then, out comes John Medeski and Stanton Moore, and it got blown away amazing. Now I was REALLY glad I came. That was amazing and one of the highlights.

Then ?uestlove and some other guy came out and it really wasn’t my thing. That’s when I went outside for a while, I just didn’t care for his DJ style. After a while, maybe 20-30 minutes, I came back in and they were still up there. Sometimes he would start spinning a great, grooving, soulful song, only to change it too soon afterwards. I thought the bits of songs were too short and some were really not good for me. It also seemed to go on way too long for me. I was glad when it was finally over. I was able to make the most of it and I was getting down at times. It could have been much worse as a lot of the music itself was enjoyable, it was just too erratic.

Then, when his set finally ended, all of a sudden it’s Robert Randolph, Stanton, and a bunch of others. I can’t remember if Medeski was out there from the start, but I think he was. That was pretty good. It started getting better and better as it went on. I definitely enjoyed it, but the highlight for me at this point was still the last Biscuits song with Medeski and Stanton.

Then, there’s a break and I know something’s up. I had a feeling that Warren would show up. Still, I didn’t know if I wanted to stay anymore. I asked around and found out it was rumored that Warren AND Phil were coming. Well, that changes everything. Nothing is getting me out of there until it either happens or it’s deemed an impossibility. No way.

Joss Stone came out and I think there were some of my guys in there with her. She was pretty good. She does have a great, soulful voice. I was into it, but still, not at the level of that last Biscuits song. After that set, we are told that certain people were going to be coming and we should stay. That was all the confirmation I needed.

Then we got a mishmash mini set of Joss Stone, Robert Randolph, Medeski and Stanton that was very enjoyable.

And then Warren and Phil show up and I’m astounded before a note is even played. I mean, I often try to fantasize about what type of dream band I could come up with. I also hesitate because I’ve seen so much, and I know that there are possibilities that actually happen that I could fathom in my wildest dreams. Well, Phil Lesh, Warren Haynes, Stanton Moore, and John Medeski is one of those fantasy bands I couldn’t possibly dream up. That would never in a million years have occurred to me.

I don’t go see Phil anymore. I got “Phil’d Up” one year and so far, I can’t get back. I also have a hard time believing it will ever be as good as those Beacon shows with Warren, Jimmy Herring, John Molo and Rob Barraco. I never went to anything GD related at that time. I was done with them. I thought they died with Jerry and they just weren’t any good any more (actually, it was way before that come to think of it). Then, my friends had an extra to one of the early Beacon shows, and I decided to go to spend time with the friends. These were also people I’ve been to many Dead shows with, so it would be fun. I was blown away and proceeded to go to every single one after that. I can’t remember how many 6 night runs at The Beacon we got (or even if they were 6 nights or more or less). Still, I couldn’t get enough. I felt a void when that era ended. Later, when Phil started playing around again, I didn’t realize it was all about that particular band. I thought it was anything Phil. I went to Vegas for my one and only time and loved that show. Then, they came to NYC for I think 8 nights and I got a ticket for everyone. Some were at the Beacon and then the end ones were at Hammerstein. I really overdid it and remember I sold the Hammerstein ones and I haven’t been able to go to any Phil since. I still don’t want to.

But, this fantasy band is something entirely different. It also gave me a chance to see Phil again and he was amazing. The whole thing blew me away. I think it was only 2 long songs, Franklin’s Tower and For What It’s Worth. Phil at first said we were going to stay all night and then go to the polls at 6am. At that moment, I probably would have done it, but I didn’t want to. It was only 1am-ish, and I flashed back to my early college days when I used to pull all nighters for exams that were at 8am and then fall asleep 1 hour before the exam and miss it.

Actually, one side of me thought it was a little irresponsible of us to go to a late night get out and vote tomorrow party. But, the other side of me thought it was brilliant because it would be unbelievably lame to go to this show and then miss the voting. I know if people said they had to work the next day I would always chime in with “all you have to do tomorrow is vote”. It’s also kind of easy given how much time we have, something like 6am – 9pm. There’s going to be some coherent time in there at some point.

I was glad they stopped after 2 long phenomenal songs that really jammed. It was amazing and I was able to get right up front with plenty of room as the crowd really thinned out. It was as great as it could be. I think I left at about 1:30.

Magic Hat Presents
HeadCount Get Out and Vote Party
-w-Joss Stone
Robert Randolph
?uestlove (of The Roots)
Stanton Moore
+ members of The Disco Biscuits, Ween, The Duo, American Babies
November 3,2008

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