Rainy Day Albums

I don’t know about you all, but when it’s rainy I have go-to records that seem to complement to weather for me. No mixes, no skipping around, one record from start to finish…a little meditation with the rain. Here are mine:

1. Joni Mitchell–Blue
2. Elliott Smith–Either/Or
3. Sunday in the Park with George Broadway Sountrack
4. Neko Case–Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
5. Patty Griffin–1000 Kisses

Possible new entry: The Civil Wars–Barton Hollow

What are your rainy day records?

Halftime

Can we just discuss the greatness of Madonna for a minute? If you watched the Super Bowl Halftime show and didn’t think, “Damn this lady is a great showman/show-woman” (without the slash and hyphen of course) then you should skip this post and hold your breath waiting for an invitation to tea with the increasingly bitter Elton John. For those of you still here, OMG Madonna is amazing! In the interest of full disclosure I’ve seen her live in her last 4 tours, and it’s always a cause for celebration, a literal Holiday. Today’s halftime show was really something else. Let me highlight some incredible points of her performance:

-Being carried in like Cleopatra, Madonna made the best entrance to the stage of any Super Bowl performer I can think of.

-Unlike past years, Madonna’s show was designed for an aerial view–taking into account the way most people will see the show (not as a stage show but from severe angles above the stage).

-Let’s talk more about the stage. All those stairs! Under less pressure than a Super Bowl Halftime show performers have tripped on stairs they’re on every night (look on youtube for trips from the Jonas Brothers, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, etc). Moreover with all those dancers moving around, that stage was bouncing making taking stairs that much more difficult. And Madonna did it all in heels.

-Did you see those dancers? Talk about skill–that bounding rope act (where the guy bounces on what looks like a strap) was incredible and long overdue for a resurgence.

-The quick semi-acapella samples of “Open Your Heart” and “Express Yourself” worked as teasers to amp up the audience and build anticipation so when the opening notes of “Like A Prayer” started people had no option but to lose control and scream.

-Having Cee-Lo Green sing the virtuosic gospel part in “Like A Prayer” was genius. Normally this is done by her most badass female backup singer but switching it to a male voice, and someone as charismatic as Cee-Lo, was a great way to get even more punch out of a great moment.

-The rising platform she and Cee-Lo stood on was incredibly dangerous and ballsy. They were not tied down, tethered, or strapped on. There wasn’t even a pole or handle sticking up for them to hold on to for stabilization. Ballsy.

Overall (and I know I’m biased) I think this could be the best halftime show ever, rivaling and beating that of Michael Jackson. I can’t wait to see what new catty remarks Elton comes out with. Perhaps I’ll celebrate with Madonna by buying tickets to her next tour.

CSN(&Y)

While driving to yoga this morning I caught the live concert triple play of 100.3 The Sound’s Tom Petty block. Really reminded me how much he rocks. Then coming out of yoga they played a 3-song portion of a Crosby, Stills, & Nash (no Young I think) concert. Caught two songs, both versions I haven’t heard before, one of which was a great version of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” with killer audience participation. It really got to me for some reason. (Sidenote: CSNY’s 4-Way Street live album is in my Top 5 best live albums of all time list.) So i go home and google/itunes research and can’t find that live version anywhere. I end up emailing the station and it was part of a radio concert special distributed as promotion, not available for purchase/dl/etc. Super bummed. Guess I’ll have to float around looking for bootlegs, even though I don’t even know the name of the special.

It’s a good reminder that there’s really no substitute for seeing/hearing a band live ‘cuz “sometimes when you’re on you’re really fuckin’ on.”