There’s something about seeing an act in concert that, (if they’re good that is), makes you a fan forever. One of the first concerts I ever attended was by The Beatles. I know, I know, I’m showing my age! I had to get my Mum’s permission to go and, to be honest, we couldn’t hear a thing for all the screaming, much of which came from my best friend Helen. But we thought we were the ants pants and I’ve never forgotten that day.
So, it was fitting that SGT PEPPERS LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND opened our show on CONCERTS. Check out this clip from the movie ‘The Beatles Yellow Submarine’ and you’ll have to agree it was a perfect kick off to this week’s program:
Every concert is unique of course, but LCD Soundsystem reckon that DAFT PUNK IS PLAYING AT MY HOUSE. Oh, if only it were true!
Now, that would be a hard gig to follow. For something completely different, look no further than Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band with THE BRIDE STRIPPED BARE BY THE ‘BACHELORS’, a great piece of satire about performing on the English club circuit.
STAGE FRIGHT by The Band is a song that just may resonate with some of you. It tells the story of a performer who sings just like a bird but is terrified every time he has to get up in front of an audience. Here’s a clip from the film The Last Waltz, directed by Martin Scorsese in 1978. Rick Danko R.I.P.
Not shy at all are Dire Straits. SULTANS OF SWING is about a band blowing Dixie in double four time. A perfect concert song, if ever there was one. And here they are performing it live. Excellent. It’s the seminal concert at which they recorded the album ‘Alchemy: Dire Straits Live’. The album cover, btw, was taken from a painting by Australian artist Brett Whitely.
Wild Cherry’s PLAY THAT FUNKY MUSIC is autobiographical. The group were a rock band, but in 1975 were competing with Disco for their loyal followers attention. So they wrote a song to suit the times and it’s probably the most recognised funk song there is.
The lyrics of SMOKE ON THE WATER, by Deep Purple, tell a true story too. It was December 1971 and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were performing in concert at the Montreux Casino Theatre. In the middle of Don Preston’s King Kong synthesizer solo the place suddenly caught alight. Deep Purple were staying on the other side of the lake and witnessed the fire and the smoke on the water and the rest, as they say, is history.
Arguably, the most famous outdoor concert is Woodstock. And one of the most famous songs about that concert is Joni Mitchell’s WOODSTOCK. She wrote the song after being told about it by her then boyfriend Graham Nash. She wasn’t actually there herself. I prefer Matthews Southern Comfort’s version, which is probably heresy to all you Joni fans. But take a listen. I think its got a really relaxed tone to it that suits the material well. Some cool images of the Woodstock concert in this clip too.
David Bowie’s ZIGGY STARDUST is from the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars . A concert film of the same name was directed by D.A. Pennebaker in 1973. Here’s Bowie singing the song on the Jonathan Ross show in 2002. Is it just me, or does the Dude just get better and better?
Sadly all the soul legends referred to in Arthur Conley’s classic SWEET SOUL MUSIC are no longer with us. How good it would have been to see them all in concert. Arthur Conley passed away himself in 2003. Here he is, on the way to the Go-Go in 1966:
I do like to play a little country music now and again, and Johnny Cash’s song about THE NIGHT HANK WILLIAMS CAME TO TOWN fitted the playlist to a tee. As did Camera Obscura’s brilliant version of Abba’s SUPERTROUPER. But the finale of the show had to go to Jackson Browne’s ode to the hard-working roadie. THE LOAD OUT was a perfect finish to a show dedicated to concerts.
Next week’s show will be on SECRET VICES/GUILTY PLEASURES. I’ve been glued to the tele watching the Eurovision Song Contest this past weekend, so that’s my guilty pleasure at the moment. What’s yours? And have they written a song about it? Let me know!
Meanwhile, here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
Daft Punk Is Playing At My House – LCD Soundsystem
The Bride Stripped Bare By ‘Bachelors’ – Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Stage Fright – The Band
Sultans Of Swing – Dire Straits
Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry
Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
Woodstock – Matthews’ Southern Comfort
Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie
Sweet Soul Music – Arthur Conley
The Night Hank Williams Came To Town – Johnny Cash
Super Trouper – Camera Obscura
The Load-Out – Jackson Browne
Next week: SECRET VICES
I love the major prize in BayFM‘s Subscriber Drive this year. It’s a trip to Broome and the Kimberley, in conjunction with the Save The Kimberley action group. So I thought it was a great opportunity to create a playlist on THE ENVIRONMENT.
We opened the show with a locally produced track from a group of young people who are concerned about climate change. They came together at a hip-hop recording workshop in the country town of Kyogle in 2007. The result: PROTECT THE WORLD. The kids were aged between 11 and 17 and wrote the words on the spot and played all the instruments. Check it out:
Another song about the environment that really hits home is GASOLINE from Sheryl Crow. She’s so great when she’s singing about something substantial, isn’t she?
The Cranberries tell us that TIME IS TICKING OUT: “We’d better think about the consequences, We’d better think about the global senses, The time went out, the time went out.”
Cerrone’s song SUPERNATURE was released in 1977 and crossed over to both pop and soul charts. An interesting bit of trivia: the lyrics were written by a young Lene Lovich, although she wasn’t credited.
Gorillaz is a band that fascinates me with its merge of music and art. They have a brilliant site, so rather than me babble on here about them, go to www.gorillaz.com. Right now I’m listening to their PLASTIC BEACH album. The track of the same name features Mick Jones & Paul Simonon from The Clash. Say no more.
Way back in 1971 Marvin Gaye broke ground with his song MERCY MERCY ME (the Ecology). It’s from his album, What’s Goin’ On and features The Funk Brothers on instrumentals and a leading sax solo by Wild Bill Moore. Brilliant stuff. Here’s Gaye at the Montreux Festival, 1980:
The John Butler Trio’s song SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE was only released in Australia. It came out in 2004 and is an interesting blend of funk, rock, blues, roots and the traditional sound of a jam band.
An absolute classic is Joni Mitchell’s BIG YELLOW TAXI: “They paved paradise/And put up a parking lot.” With that one line, Joni Mitchell created an everlasting metaphor for the ongoing effects of industrial development on the natural world. Big Yellow Taxi is one of the great environmental laments of the modern age, a breezy little tune that describes a world where DDT is used freely and trees are relegated to a museum.
I thought I might include some Kraftwerk for all the techheads and others (like me) who love this highly influential band from Germany. RADIOACTIVITY is perfect for this week’s theme:
Neko Case suggests that you NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON MOTHER EARTH. It’s from her Middle Cyclone album. A prophetic follow up came from The Beach Boys with DON’T GO NEAR THE WATER:
Tegan and Sara are a Canadian duo (they’re actually identical twins). I love their song OUR TREES. A perfect follow up to that was Jack Johnson’s ANYTHING BUT THE TRUTH.
Despite what Michael Stipe says about this song being about oppression, I always thought that the R.E.M. song, FALL ON ME, was about acid rain and it’s effect on the environment. Well I suppose you have a right to feel oppressed when governments keep refusing to do anything substantial about climate change.
Singer songwriter Missy Higgins is politically pro-active and it was great to air an interview with her during the show about Broome and the Kimberley. Here’s an extended version of that interview from the Save the Kimberley site:
Another activist/musician is, of course, Ben Harper. His song EXCUSE ME MISTER is just so relevant right now, with its mention of pollution of our waterways. Are you listening BP?
John Mayer is WAITING ON THE WORLD TO CHANGE. Me too John, me too.
Massive Attack were encouraged to get into the recording studio in 1991 to record their debut album Blue Lines, by Nenah Cherry. She consequently sang back up on our pick from this album, HYMN OF THE BIG WHEEL. In this clip Deborah Miller, who tours with Massive Attack on a regular basis, does a brilliant job of back-up/support.
MONKEY GONE TO HEAVEN, is a song by the American alternative rock band, the Pixies. It’s from their 1989 album Doolittle. The song references environmentalism and biblical numerology and was the first Pixies song to feature guest musicians: two cellists, Arthur Fiacco and Ann Rorich, and two violinists, Karen Karlsrud and Corine Metter.
Our final song of the day was one I’d like to dedicate to all those lost in Pakistan’s devastating floods: Jackson Browne with BEFORE THE DELUGE.
I’d like to thank everyone who subscribed during Theme Park over the last two shows. Thank you so much! We’ll be drawing a winner for our Camp Quality holiday at Possum Creek Eco Lodge on next Tuesday’s show, so tune in then. And if you want to go into that draw, and you haven’t subscribed yet, that’s Ok. When you do subscribe just say that Theme Park is the show you want to be acknowledged on. We’ll give you a shout out next week. Good luck to all of you. I hope that you are lucky enough to win one of the daily prizes, the additional prize for business subscribers of 30 radio spots, or the major prize of the trip to the Kimberley.
I’d love to hear from you with your requests for next week’s show when the topic will be SPRINGTIME. Can you believe its almost here? Yay!
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Protect the World – Kyogle Kids
Gasoline – Detours, Sheryl Crow
Time Is Ticking Out – Wake Up And Smell The Coffee, The Cranberries
Supernature – Cerrone
Plastic Beach Ft. Mick Jones & Paul Simonon – Plastic Beach, Gorillaz
Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) – What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye
Something’s Gotta Give – Triple J’s Hottest 100 Volume 12, The John Butler Trio
Big Yellow Taxi – Ladies of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell
Radioactivity – The Mix, Kraftwerk
Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth – Middle Cyclone, Neko Case
Don’t Go Near The Water – Surf’s Up, The Beach Boys
Like The Weather – MTV Unplugged, 10,000 Maniacs
Our Trees – Tegan & Sara
Anything But The Truth – To The Sea, Jack Johnson
Fall on Me – Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M.
Going North – Missy Higgins
Excuse Me Mister – Fight for Your Mind, Ben Harper
Waiting on the World to Change – Continuum, John Mayer
Hymn Of The Big Wheel – Blue Lines, Massive Attack
Monkey Gone to Heaven – Wave of Mutilation: The Best of Pixies, The Pixies
Before The Deluge – Late For The Sky (Gold Disc), Jackson Browne
Next week: SPRINGTIME
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time