May 01

Has Web 2.0 killed the Dead?

Guest Post from Ted Birkhahn

May 1 - Dead The past Saturday night, the Dead (formerly known as the Grateful Dead) rolled into the Big Apple to play Madison Square Garden – sans Jerry Garcia, of course. For those of you who have a passion for the band and their music, the Garden is arguably the best venue to experience a show. Great things tend to happen at MSG and, as Jerry Garcia used to say, "the place is juiced." 

One of the greatest parts of any Dead show is its spontaneity. There is nothing like a live performance featuring the Grateful Dead. No two shows are alike – despite playing nearly 3,000 live concerts over more than 40 years – prompting much anticipation among fans who dream of hearing set lists that will "steal your face right off your head." Their spontaneity and ability to improvise on stage is what the Dead built their brand on over the course of 40 years. It's what prompted so many fans to fall in love with not just the music but the whole experience, compelling them to come back night after night. 

So there I was on Saturday night at MSG, with a flood of memories from past Garden shows racing through my mind, when the unthinkable happened. About midway through the first set, a friend of mine – who was busy checking his Blackberry – leaned over and fed me the next song before one first chord was played. Impressive. Then he did the same for the next song. Weird. 

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Dec 11

It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled

Led Zeppelin gave its first concert performance in 25-plus years last night and, according to reports, allLed
went well with the Rock dinosaurs.

Zep is just the latest classic rock group to capitalize on the mega millions to be made on the concert circuit.

I just saw The Police at Madison Square Garden and was dazzled by the staying power of 57-year-old Sting, 58-year-old Stuart Copeland and 65-year-old guitarist Andy Summers. I also saw Jethro Tull a year or so ago at Carnegie Hall. Lead Singer Ian Anderson can still hop up on one leg and blow the flute for all he’s worth. I’ve also seen the Moody Blues, Cream and, of course, the Stones.

But, I’ve also had mixed feelings about the whole thing. It’s weird seeing bald, obese, aging fans grooving to their childhood rock stars. It’s weirder still to see some of those same Baby Boomers literally falling asleep during the groups’ encores.

Perhaps the strangest phenomenon of all, though, is the bathroom break some of the aging rockers take midway through the performance. Tull did it. So did the Moody Blues. I remember Ian Anderson telling the audience, ‘I don’t know about you, but I’ve got to pee. We’ll be back in 15 minutes.’ And they were.

So, I guess it’s cool to see the heroes of my youth still rocking away (especially when they’re 10 or 15 years older than I). But, it’s a little sad to think that more and more women concert goers are wearing Depends underneath their thongs and their male counterparts have less hair on their heads than the average cue ball.

I’ll bet Roger Daltrey and his fellow aging rockers are glad they didn’t ‘die before they got old.’ They’d have missed out on billions of dollars, millions of fans and numerous bathroom breaks between sets.