Thursday 29 January 2009

News, Views and Music Issue 19 (Top Five): Notable One-Off AAA Gigs

And now, in honour of the 40th anniversary of the Beatles’ ‘rooftop’ performance we celebrate five weird and wonderful one-off gigs from AAA groups:

5)  The cream talents of the day from around the world (including the Moody Blues and The Who at the peak of their powers) and a huge fan following gathered together to celebrate the AQuarious age of peace, harmony and rock and roll during a festival at the only backdrop that could possibly hope to reflect their amazing talents – The Isle Of Wight. No, honest, that isn’t a mis-spelling – and yes it really is the English Isle of Wight! No more muddy American fields for these intrepid travellers – just one big muddy English one instead and a chance to show rock fans from all over the world just how much it really does rain on our shores! Add in the fact that bands, fans, roadies and equipments all had to be transported by boat, the fact that ‘paid’ festivals were becoming deeply unpopular by 1970 (‘Woodstock’ started a trend for ideas that ‘music should be free’ which lead to one section of the audience tearing down the fences round the site to get in without paying) and the fact that nobody had really bothered to check with irate local residents if it was OK and this quirkily English idea of simplicity suddenly turns into a recipe for disaster. See the ‘Message to Love – The Isle of Wight Festival’ DVD for more on what a social disaster this festival proved to be (but also how good the music was!)

4) There are tiny ewoks on the stage, furry creatures who seem to love dancing in-between fetching and carrying things, dwarfed by the biggest examples of speakers and microphones you will ever see. Most people disbelieve me when I tell them, but yes these funny little ‘roadeye’ creatures really were based on ewoks - their tame cousins the ewok ninjas live in Mike’s closet so I should know one when I see one! The artist is, of course, Neil Young and the venue is the Cow Palace, USA during the Young ones’ 1979 ‘Rust Never Sleeps’ tour. Much as I don’t want to spoil the magic for those who haven’t yet seen the DVD, we at the AAA can reveal that the creatures involved were actually the lesser-spotted roadie dressed up in furry costumes and hoods. One of those who took part at this concert and others on the tour gave what I consider to be one of my favourite musical quotes of all time: ‘You know, Neil’s the only goddamn guy I’d ever wear this hood for – then again, Neil’s the only goddamn guy who’d ask me too!’

3) Re-named the Beatles, they thought nothing to playing crowds of 30,000 screaming fans and held the record for the biggest single rock and roll crowd of all time for five whole years (Shea Stadium 1965 – beaten by CSNY during their 1970 ‘stadium tour’). Yet just a few years earlier, back in 1957, the Quarrymen were struggling to stand up-right in the back of a moving truck, playing to a small handful of locals, three dogs and some of the band members’ mothers. The Woolton Village Fete of 1957 is now surely the most famous village fete in history (for those who don’t know, it was the gig where the 16-year-old Lennon and 14-year-old McCartney met for the first time) – but at the time being only the seventh most important event of the day (behind the local brass band and a dog show) must have hurt. The gig sounds like a difficult if mildly triumphant one - Lennon forgot the words to the Del Vikings’ ‘Come Go With Me’, forcing him to improvise some lyrics about a trip to a ‘penitentiary’ and the truck carrying the band drowned out their skiffle-playing for anyone not standing right next to it – but despite all that, what Beatles fan wouldn’t book this event as one of their top ten time machine visits of all time?

2) The ruined Roman auditorium in Pompeii must have seen some amazing sights during its two-thousand-year lifespan, not least the eruption of their volcano that claimed the lives of all its citizens and the discovery of their remains a ridiculous amount of centuries later. However, perhaps the strangest event of all was Pink Floyd’s concert there in 1972, right on the eve of the release of ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’. There was no audience, just a small camera crew (a decision taken deliberately in order to distinguish the film from the Woodstock film and its many copy-cats, each one with festival audiences numbering in the thousands/ millions). But somehow the ghostly, haunting music is the perfect match for the sleeping auditorium, one where Roman remnants became re-born in the twinkling of Rick Wright’s Hammond organ (sorry if I’ve gone a bit misty-eyed here, but have a listen to this concert recording of 20-minute masterpiece ‘Echoes’ and then ask yourself if there isn’t something magical happening here?!)                       

1) The Grateful Dead always struggled with prestigious gigs. Most fans would nominate both their record-attendance breaking ‘Monterey’ and ‘Woodtsock’ festival sets as among their worst recorded performances, till the late 70s at least (and let’s face it, from 1969 onwards the Dead or their fans recorded everything!) Sadly the same nerves/ typical career destruction continued with the Dead’s most infamous gig – a performance right next to the Egyptian pyramids in 1978! The concert was recorded for an intended live record but was made available for the first time just a few months back as a DVD/CD set called ‘Rocking The Cradle’. Sadly the performance of ‘Fire On the Mountain’ from this show that I know from the ‘Beyond Description’ box-set is awful – and is one of my all-time favourite Dead songs to boot so I haven’t got round to buying the full (and expensive) set just yet! Still, however bad the audio result, the sight of seven of our most spiritually-minded musicians playing in front of some of the oldest structures known to man (and, in my opinion and many other unofficial ones, the pyramids are far far older than they’re given credit for) just as the sun sets must have been a sight to behold for the handful of lucky Americans/ Europeans who travelled there to witness the event. And – to the best of my knowledge – the Dead remain the only group of any sort to have ever played in front of any of the pyramids; how the heck did the Dead of all bands manage to get clearance to do that?!

That’s all for this week, except to leave you with a message from our resident thinker Philosophy Phil – ‘The only people who don’t see the rain are the ones who have their heads in the clouds…” (we hope he’ll be feeling better soon!) Happy rocking AAA fans, we’ll see you next issue (if the Mamma Mia fan club don’t get to me first!…)


A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

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159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)

164) AAA Songs About Islands

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

223) AAA Grammy Nominees

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums

227) Top ten AAA drummers

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides)

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock