Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Concert review: Journey, Heart, and Cheap Trick

Foreword: This is a review my friend Dave wrote and sent to a bunch of people over email. I asked him if I could publish it since I knew he would never have a blog and I thought it should see the light of day. Among his friends Dave is known for his particular proclivity for attracting flames, so feel free to leave comments here for him (although be aware that he’ll probably respond). His tastes are also kinda stuck firmly in the 1980s and ’90s, which I think will be evident from the review. –Mark/espd

Photo: Richard Cawood

Journey, Heart, and Cheap Trick — Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA — September 27, 2008

by Dave Wight

I can see why all three of these bands were constantly asked to play Day On the Green in the late ’70s and early ’80s. I have never seen the Shoreline as packed as it was for this show tonight and people actually stayed until the end. I’ve been to over 200 concerts in my life (Mark can maybe help me on the actual number) but this one will rank near the top. These bands deserve to play before 20,000 people...they’ve worked and have made their indelible mark and cemented their legacies with their classic tunes.

I’m not a huge Cheap Trick fan but they are a fun band to watch and would certainly dominate any contemporary band still. Even Cheap Trick has songs on Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

Superstar egos were not in evidence — members of Journey jammed with Cheap Trick during their set.

Photo: ladybugbkt

What can I say about the Wilson sisters? Nancy Wilson is still a hot piece of ass and she would dominate any current guitar player, which is not saying much but still...she’s a very solid player. “Barracuda” and “Crazy on You” still are timeless. The Police could take some lessons from these sisters on how to change the song tempo and not butcher it. They played many of their classics as acoustic numbers and pulled it off very well. Their tribute to Led Zeppelin and The Who were solid.

Photo: ladybugbkt

Nancy Wilson is a goddess and Ann Wilson sounds as good as she ever has. The three stiffs in the backing band are nameless for obvious reasons. A lot of bands do gratuitous encores but the crowd definitely forced the Wilson sisters to come out again — the sound was deafening. Nancy Wilson dedicated “These Dreams” to Bill Graham, a legend in his own right.

And finally, most of the crowd had come to see the Bay Area’s own Journey on their triumphant return. I never thought I would say this but Journey defines Bay Area rock music. Their legend has been etched and it supersedes even that of Metallica. Journey made it on their own, whereas Metallica would not even exist had it not been for a a certain singer from Black Sabbath taking a risk with the then-unheard-of thrash metal band and letting them open up for him...and the rest is history.

I will also point out that I have never seen such a diverse crowd at a rock show before. Usually it is 99% caucasian and redneck. It was nice to see some cultural diversity finally.

Photo: ladybugbkt

I think one of Journey’s new songs, “Changes for the Better,” summarizes this evening. Steve Perry is always going to be a part of the band’s towering past but the new singer Arnel Pineda is every bit as good and is far more energetic. He was phenomenal on vocals. But let”s face it, the band revolves around Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain.

How many times did I flashback to 7th and 8th grade dances during this concert? Too many times. I saw some bad things during the slow tunes. Some people should not be allowed to slow dance at a concert. I may not be able to close my eyes for awhile. Usually slow songs destroy the tempo of a set, but Journey’s ballads are so classic that people were standing the whole time: “Open Arms,” “Faithfully,” and of course “Lights.” It is very cool to have a song written about the area you grew up in and have it become a huge hit.

I enjoyed “Don’t Stop Believin” but had bad flashbacks to the Journey arcade game from the ’80s. Of course by the end of the song, there was a Journey logo draped on the big screen with a gun hanging down as the ‘r’ (like the Sopranos logo). That show obviously gave the band a huge kick start to regaining their popularity.

Photo: MrBeng

Journey did not disappoint and no one left early. Current bands need to take note that they have quite a ways to go to get to the level that these three bands are at; the talent on stage this night was phenomenal.

Now someone needs to do the right thing and bring back Day On the Green. How huge would it be if they got Led Zeppelin (last U.S. appearance was Day on the Green in 1977), Journey, Heart, Van Halen, and AC/DC? They’ve played Day On the Green in the past. That would be the biggest show of all-time. They could pick some contemporary band to open up so people could boo them off stage.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Restaurant review: Home

Meeting some friends at the corner of Market and Church for brunch, it was going to be between Sparky's (which I love), Chow (which I like), and Home (which I'd never been to). Velma loved Home's chicken pot pie last time she ate there, so she enthusiastically voted for it. The others were amenable to any of them, so it looked like we were Home-ward bound.

On Velma's urging, we opted for the patio, which has a decidedly more laid-back and cozy feel than the main dining area inside. On the way, we passed the a-la-carte Bloody Mary table, which a gaggle of slightly bleary-eyed hipsters were making good use of.

Home serves brunch on the weekends from 10am to 2pm. We were there at 11:15 on a May Sunday, and it was suitably busy without being crowded.

Home serves up classic American comfort food with a gourmet twist. They offer vegetarian alternatives and free-range Niman Ranch beef, although organic eggs come at a slight cost increase. You'll pay a tad more for your brunch here, but not much more.

I ordered the California omelet, which contains tomatoes, scallions, and pepper jack cheese. It arrived with two gigantic dollops of avocado on top, which was my first indication that I was going to like this place. Any place that doesn't scrimp on the avo gets at least three stars in my book. My plate was further festooned with Home's breakfast potatoes, large cuts of small roasted potatoes that are highly seasoned in a way that made my heart sing with love. Another two stars. The omelet's very fresh ingredients and zesty taste (albeit with few ingredients) sealed the deal. I had been looking forward to a filling omelet at Sparky's, but Home stole the show by leaving my taste buds awed and my stomach full.

Velma chose the buttermilk biscuit and country sausage gravy with two eggs. Having tried a couple bites, I can confirm that it was splendid, maybe even better than mine. I think Chris opted for the eggs Florentine, English muffin, poached eggs, sauteed spinach, hollandaise, and breakfast potatoes, which I didn't try but he finished as quickly as I did, so I guess it was good. Jenny had the buttermilk pancakes, which she said were great but didn't finish, because they were huge. And because I've never seen Jenny finish a meal ever. Carmen had already eaten, so I'm mentioning her only to add a blonde to the mix.

Taking a look at their dinner and dessert menus makes me want to go back some evening. Home has a wide variety of wines and spirits as well. Happy Hour is daily from 5 to 7pm.

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