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Gimme Shelter–The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones first played the song live on the TV special, ‘Pop Go The Sixties’, on 31 December 1969.

Featuring Lisa Fischer: Many Say
the Greatest Performance of this Song

“Gimmer Shelter” is one of those classic songs that captures the nasty and dangerous feelings of people living on the sharp edge of annihilation for far too long, and yearning to swing the pendulum of chance the other direction towards peace and hope, but feeling gravity’s constant tug back towards destruction. It first appeared as the opening track on the band’s 1969 album, “Let It Bleed”.

The Stones were the first band I ever saw play live. It was September 25th 1981. I remember walking out on to the bleachers, and seeing more than a hundred thousand people rocking their brains out on a late summer afternoon at Philadelphia’s dilapidated JFK stadium.

There were human miseries and ecstasies my 12 year old eyes witnessed that day that I will never forget. A biker climbed up a thin pillar on the side of the stage and was balancing on one leg with a jug full of wine. He must have been 30 feet above the ground. Two guys who had been snorting something were hunched over themselves with noses pouring blood. I also saw an energized Jagger, still in his prime, marionetting around the stage with an Eagles jersey and an American flag playing great Rock and Roll. In the heat of the late afternoon, the small city of Stones fans collectively went out of their minds. I was instantly sold on this Devil’s music.

Gimme Shelter
(M. Jagger/K. Richards)

Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away

War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away

Ooh, see the fire is sweepin’
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way

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“Cortez The Killer” –Neil Young and Crazy Horse

Bonnaroo Music Festival, Manchester, TN. June 13, 2003

Though brilliant through both of these Neil Young and Crazy Horse performances, the Dave Matthews band led by Warren Haynes and an all out guitar war with Tim Reynolds is the must see jam.

This guitar driven song is by one of America’s truly great artists. Where do you start when celebrating Neil Young as a songwriter? The only place I can start is with one that gets you in the gut. This song is social, political, poetic, and marries hurricane force with subtle imagery. Few rock songs capture the mystic and tragic mood of the time of the conquistadors.

“Cortez the Killer”is from the 1975 album, Zuma.

Rust Never Sleeps Tour in 1978

He came dancing across the water
With his galleons and guns
Looking for the new world
In that palace in the sun.

On the shore lay Montezuma
With his coca leaves and pearls
In his halls he often wondered
With the secrets of the worlds.

And his subjects gathered round him
Like the leaves around a tree
In their clothes of many colors
For the angry gods to see.

And the women all were beautiful
And the men stood straight and strong
They offered life in sacrifice
So that others could go on.

Hate was just a legend
And war was never known
The people worked together
And they lifted many stones.

They carried them to the flatlands
And they died along the way
But they built up with their bare hands
What we still can’t do today.

And I know she’s living there
And she loves me to this day
I still can’t remember when
or how I lost my way.

He came dancing across the water
Cortez, Cortez
What a killer.

Cortez the Killer Solo & Unplugged Tour 2003 Neil Young

Great Covers!!!
Dave Matthews Band (with Warren Haynes)@ The Gorge 2011

Grace Potter, Joe Satriani, Steve Kimock, Reed Mathis, Willy Waldman and Stephen Perkins at the Jammy’s.

“Where The Streets Have No Name”–U2

Live At Slane Castle

U2 – Live on a roof 7th and Main Street in LA in 1987

I almost picked “One” as my first U2 posting but I stumbled upon the Slane Castle performance and realized instantly “Where The Streets Have No Name” is signature rocking out U2. The performance at Slane Castle, Ireland is a week after Bono’s father past away (respect), and Bono’s performance is transcendent.

The second track stopped traffic on a steaming day in LA as they pulled a Beatles to play a roof top jam that get’s shut down by johnny law.

U2 is the ultimate stadium rock, anthem band. No group does it bigger and this is being written by a disciple of The Who. Sorry Pete.

Note the covers below by Muse and 30 Seconds to Mars.

I want to run, I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls that hold me tonight
I want to reach out and touch the flame
Where the streets have no name
I want to feel sunlight on my face
I see that rain cloud disappearing without a trace
But I can dance, dance, dance in the dirty rain

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We’re still building, then burning down love
We’re burning down love
And when I go there, I go there with you
It’s all I can do

Give it up

The cities a flood and our love turns to rust
We’re beaten and blown by the wind
We’re trampled in dust
I’ll show you a place with no sorrow or pain

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We’re still building, then burning down love
We’re burning down love
And when I go there, I go there with you
It’s all I can do

Oh love
Love, love, love

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We’re still building, then burning down love
We’re burning down love
And when I go there, I go there with you
It’s all we can do


Muse (feat. The Edge) live @ Glastonbury 2010

Thirty Seconds To Mars

“Sweethearts”–Camper Van Beethoven

Middle East in Cambridge, Massachusetts 2012

One of my all time favorite bands is Camper Van Beethoven. I finally got to see them a couple of times when they made their comeback travelling a short van ride north from Santa Cruz to play in San Francisco in 1999.

This was the band of choice to listen to in 1989 on the tape deck of the beater pickup truck as we would drive with my good ole Syracuse friend, Wendall, through the frozen central New York Winter.

In my mind they set the table for Alt-Rock groups from R.E.M to Wilco and of course when they broke it off, some of the members became Cracker and joined Counting Crows.

This song is a period piece that is pure Americana, set in the five and dime days but also commenting on the psyche of President Ronald Reagan.

‘Cause he’s always living back in Dixon
Circa 1949
And we’re all sitting at the fountain, at the
five and dime
‘Cause he’s living in some B-movie
The lines they are so clearly drawn
In black and white life is so easy
And we’re all coming along on this one
‘Cause he’s on a secret mission
Headquarters just radioed in
He left his baby at the dancehall While the band plays on some sweet song
And on a mission over China
The lady opens up her arms
The flowers bloom where you haved
placed them
And the lady smiles, just like mom
Angels wings are icing over McDonnell-Douglas olive drab
They bear the names of our sweethearts
And the captain smiles, as we crash
‘Cause in the mind of Ronald Reagan Wheels they turn and gears they grind
Buildings collapse in slow motion
And trains collide, everything is fine
Everything is fine
Everything is fine

@ Chelsea (Wien, Austria) 5.6.2013

At the 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA on Friday, March 2 2012 as part of the inaugural Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven mini-festival.

An amazing extra: Camper Van Beethoven play The Clash’s “White Riot” and Black Flag’s “Wasted” live at Sky City Bar, January 2013