music, videos

Return of the VH1 Classic live blog

Enough brooding over medical conditions I don’t have, enough playing out worst-case scenarios in my mind, enough taking MMM Jr.’s temperature. (He’s getting better, but he and I are both beyond stir-crazy, even after a trip to Wendy’s and the grocery store.) Let’s have some fun.

Motley Crue, Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away): Haven’t heard this in years, and I was fully expecting a good laugh. But it’s not half-bad. Vince Neil has the perfect voice for this sort of testosterone-fueled tale of breakup survival.

Bon Jovi, Livin’ on a Prayer: Never liked this one. Bon Jovi’s recent efforts at social relevance come across with much more sincerity. Perhaps it’s because he’s an elder statesman of rock, perhaps it’s because Richie Sambora ditched the souped-up wah-wah effects, perhaps it’s because his more recent charity-minded videos show acts of charity, not four minutes of the band clowning around with its concert rigging. Also note the most absurd truck-driver modulation in recorded history, just to make Jon strain that voice a little harded.

Aerosmith, Walk This Way (live at VMA ’94): I doubt Aerosmith could do a terrible version of this classic. They cut loose with panache for the last minute or two, which was a lot of fun.

Kansas, Dust in the Wind: Abrupt change in tone, isn’t it? I know Kansas had a bit of internal conflict over the years as some members veered toward Christian rock and others didn’t, but aren’t this one and Carry On My Wayward Son already as “Christian” as you can get? It’s a deserved classic with sobering thoughts. “All your money won’t another minute buy” is sound advice.

Stevie Nicks, I Can’t Wait: What? Have I heard this? Oh yeah — I recognize it at the chorus. For a while, I wondered why Stevie was doing a Belinda Carlisle cover. Can I hear Belinda instead? This sounds like a bunch of guys on speed with a bank of synthesizers while Stevie bellows something incomprehensible. The chorus is “I can’t wait / Blah blah spinoo when I’m eighty blah two.” Geez, all this song needs to be a stereotype of everything wrong with the ’80s is a tuneless, screeching guitar solo … and there it is!

Clash, Train in Vain: Funny how the Clash roared out of England with all sort of punk political hype, and yet they’re best remembered for two gleeful romps through tattered relationships. And I’ll always remember this for Keith Olbermann’s best SportsCenter moment, passing along the score of a San Jose Clash victory and saying the Clash, of course, didn’t train in vain.

.38 Special, Hold On Loosely: These guys had a few good songs, even if I’ll never understand why they needed two drummers and … four … five? … guitarists to play them. It’s not like they’re playing Blue Man Group tunes here. They apparently have a single drummer now. The video ends with a shot of the album cover, which was probably racy at the time — a woman in a tight short skirt, visible only from the waist down, facing the appreciative band. From what I hear, though, the situation didn’t go well. She asked which guy is the drummer, two guys answered, and she assumed one of them must be lying.

Queen + Paul Rodgers, We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions: I sense a theme here. We’ve got three drummers this time — Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins and … Dave Grohl? Chad Smith? I know Smith joined them for Live Earth, but that looks more like Grohl. Someone has to hold up the drumming while Roger Taylor is wailing his horrifying backup vocals. Sounds great, though.

Bruce Springsteen, I’m On Fire: A forgotten classic from Bruce. Those of you who read the blog often know I love understated passion, and this song has it. Simple taps from the drums, subtle guitar arpeggios and Bruce letting the lyrics do the talking: “Sometimes it’s like someone took a knife, baby edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley through the middle of soul / At night, I wake up with sheets soaking wet and a freight train running throught the middle of my head.”

Bruce Springsteen, Radio Nowhere: Once again, it’s a classic/current. Get well soon, Danny.

With that, I’m switching over to Fox Soccer Channel, broadcasting an FA Cup game from a stadium has maybe 500 seats but squeezed in 3,300 or so for the first round game. First camera shot has someon wiping the lens.


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