Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Cold And Bored
About the only minor amusement I had last evening was happening across some PBS program on the idiot box that had old rock performance clips from the Ed Sullivan show, with "commentary" from Michelle Phillips. The great (read as really live, not lip-synched) stuff - Roy Orbison doing "Pretty Woman", the Rascals doing "Good Lovin", Janis doing "Maybe" (yeah, the Chantels song; after all of the Jessicas and Ashlees and Madges and Jennifers it was quite refreshing to hear a singer pour out her heart with a real horn band - poetic justice would require the alleged chanteuses I mentioned to be forced to watch Janis over and over to see what a real singer could do), and of course the Fabs (oddly enough they showed "I Saw Her Standing There" from the first Sullivan show; methinks that one might be a touch easier to clear the performance rights for as the Beatles publishing was a bit messed up in the very early days and it's possible Sir Paul may have acquired the rights to ISHST, as he has with "Love Me Do"). The irony of mentioning the Fabs' first Sullivan performance on this date doesn't escape me.
The bad stuff - horrendous lip-synchs from the Lovin' Spoonful and the Mamas and the Papas (ever see "Monterey Pop"? Jeez, were they out of tune live; Papa John's ES-335/12 was painfully out, and anyone would be well advised to avoid the performance of "Monday Monday" on the boxed set). And one unfortunate bit, where Ms. Phillips simply found it necessary to comment about the Rascals attire as a voice-over during their very hot performance (OK, the outfits were really geeky, then again, Paul Revere and the Raiders looked like geeks also, and they kicked butt as well). Gene Cornish played his heart out on that Gibson Barney Kessel (weird looking axe, that's for sure!) but the real madman was drummer Dino Danelli - he was doing Keith Moon before we'd ever heard of such things. About the only jarring note (other than the cockamamie getup) was that of course the Rascals didn't have a bass player, so their sound was thin. I'm assuming Felix Cavaliere used the bass pedals of the B-3 for bottom live, but if he was on this performance, it wasn't coming through. One other item of note was Roy Orbison's drummer. It looked as if he wasn't hitting his hi-hat during "Pretty Woman" and didn't sound as if he was using his ride cymbal (although his kit was miked strangely, basically the only thing coming through was the snare). Contrast that with Ringo's playing on "I Want To Hold Your Hand" on the first Sullivan performance. On both "and when I touch you...." bits the camera does a crane shot over John, Paul and George and zooms in on Ringo and you get unbelievably good audio of Ringo's playing in the forefront, lots of cymbal sizzle and nuance.
Since the weather was awful last night I decided to check out the hotel's dining offerings, and ended up in their pub-type restaurant. Actually not half bad, great Scotch selection, but only one thing marred the dinner. Like all such establishments there are multiple TV screens, usually turned to some sporting event. As it was before the usual starting time for most such events common on a Tuesday evening, I ignored the tube for the most part, noticing only that they had some ghastly entertainment show on, you know, they type where they plug every nonentity's latest offering. The waitress came by and asked if my dinner was OK, and in my momentary distraction from my food I noticed who was on the screen. None other than my least favorite alumna of Erasmus Hall, the woman who thinks she is the arbiter of taste and ethics for popular culture, none other than Mrs. James Brolin. The site of her was enough to nauseate me and ruin my enjoyment of my pub grub. Additional Macallan was required to numb me to the point of being able to ignore her.
Home tomorrow. Thankfully.