Music activates our brains in very unique ways. Experiencing live music takes that to whole new level. I was very excited to see this week’s Twisted Mix Tape topic – “Songs that you always loved, but they blew you away when you heard them live” – so excited that I just couldn’t keep it all for myself!
In my opinion, the only thing better than seeing live music is being there with people who share that passion for the experience. So… this week I am turning to a few of my favorite “experience sharers” who just happen to be members of my family. Combined we have hundreds of Grateful Dead shows and music festivals, and more live music experiences than most can even imagine. I hope I do their stories and experiences justice!
Today’s first choice is my nephew’s and is from his first (of now many) music festival experiences. Imagine this — after 12 hours of waiting, parked front row center at a Bonaroo stage with his sister and a container of double stuff Oreos, a 16 year old boy ignites a passion for live music as the Trey Anastacio Band hit the stage with this masterpiece. Sometimes you just can’t beat the first set of goose bumps and the first thrill of that big moment!
The next selection is from my son. He stretched the rules a bit – he is my son after all, right? He picked a song he knew, performed by a band that he went to see pretty much on a whim, and ended up loving that band. His friend mentioned that this band was playing at a hole in the wall bar within walking distance — so they went. “How they played this song – one that I really liked — made me a huge fan of the band.” Yes, this is my bluegrass, jam band loving son who picked this all-out rocker…. Got to love those drums!
The pick from my big brother and sister-in law really made me smile because I was there, sitting next to them this past year, with my chin on the ground in complete amazement. This version of this song, and everything else that Curtis Salgado and John Wedemeyer played in that 45 minutes in a make shift blues venue at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, transported us all to a better place. So grateful that someone captured the moment…. No doubt that The Wind Cried Mary is one of my live favorites as well.
My husband’s pick is, no big surprise, one I would have included if I had done the whole list myself! Not that long ago we went to one of our favorite venues – the Belly Up in Solona Beach, CA– to watch 3 guys, all over 70, sit on stools and play some music. We sat with wide-eyed wonder as they took an old favorite, Good Sheppard, to a place I never imagined it going. Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, and Barry Mitterhoff are a magical combination sent from who knows where to delight us all. This version is almost as good as the one they played just for us – almost….
My pick is recent too. I love, love, love Ruthie Foster’s almost gospel feeling soulful voice and I love, love, love Maya Angelou’s empowering poetry. So when, about 7 years ago, I heard a studio version of Ruthie Foster singing Phenomenal Woman, I was so pulled in. This past year at the Sin City Soul and Blues Revival, I saw Ruthie Foster in person for the first time. I can safely say that every inch of my body was filled with goose bumps and every hair was standing at full attention as I heard her oh so soulful version of this song…live and in person. I could not find that exact version anywhere but this is a pretty close approximation – not quite as much a full out sensory experience as we saw in Las Vegas but still pretty darned awe inspiring.
We all have lots of music left to experience and share. So, your bonus today is a piece that was, at the time, a bit of a premonition of things to come. Actually this was my son’s first pick for the list — if we had been able to edit the 12 minute video. Sample the beginning for a few seconds then you can pick up new wave String Cheese via EOTO Jam into Rolling in My Sweet Baby’s Arms at 3 minutes 30 seconds or so, and then bring in the revolutionary sound that puts how we see music on another plane at about 6 minutes. The perfect marriage of electronica and bluegrass for those with a few minutes to experience something that is truly awe inspiring.