So sad about The Godfather of Soul, and especially sad that I never got to see him in person. So many of the greats that I grew up with and who shaped music as we know it today are gone now. As noted, I got a new turntable for Christmas, and it’s a beaut — really the turntable I should have had for the last twenty years. Such great sound. And one of the first records I put on it is one I haven’t listened to in years and years — James Brown Live at the Apollo, from 1962. It’s absolutely revelatory — the precision, the musicianship, the cleanness of the sound, and the earliest of funk. I don*t even know if it’s available on CD, and right now, I don*t care, ’cause I gots a new turntable.
So who else did I never get to see that I wish I had? James Brown, Johnny Cash. The original Who — I came very close to ponying up all the money I had and going to see them in Toronto way back when, but I didn’t, and Keith was gone by then anyway. The Beatles? Eh, you couldn*t hear anything at their concerts anyway. I’ve had chances at the Stones, of course, but I really don’t like arena shows at all.
So who have I seen through the years that really left an impression? Ray Charles, quite a number of times. Always amazing. Can’t count the number of times I saw the Ramones, and it was never less than great. Joe Jackson, who gave the best concert ever in the “Blaze of Glory” days. Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, The Kinks (and Ray Davies solo) have all blown me away. Aimee Mann, of course, is always amazing. The Cowboy Junkies stunned me with their live performance.
Ah, well, the legends may die, but vinyl will live on.