Category Archives: 90s

Concerts between 1990-1999

Tool | Washington, DC | 9-Feb-1994

This was the first time that I saw Tool in concert.  I had been a fan of the band since their first release, Opiate. Their second album, Undertow had been release just a few months before this show so the band was still touring smaller venues and clubs.

What I really liked about Tool was the combination of heavy metal and psychedelic rock.  It was like Metallica meets Pink Floyd but heavier.  And the artwork! Even though we had moved to CDs at this point, their album cover art was awesome.  This was a bad I really wanted to see live!

The band was playing at what is now the 9:30 Club. Back then it was an old radio station WUST that was now billed as WUST Music Hall.  At that time the 9:30 Club was booking larger shows there.

My good friend Dan and I went to the show with me. It was a cold February night. We found the music hall and parked. We knew it was going to be a large mosh pit so we left our jackets in the car and scurried to the entrance.

The inside of the music hall remind me of a small school gymnasium.  The kind with small bleachers that pull out from the wall and the basketball goals that you can raise up using a hand crank. The stage was set up at one end of the hall and it was small.  It reminded me of the lower stages at The Brewery and The Fallout Shelter where I saw many hardcore and punk shows back in college.

What’s great about the smaller clubs is that you have a more intimate experience with the performers since you can get close to them and interact more than large stadium or concert hall shows with taller stages.

There was a lot of excitement and anticipation before the band took stage. Tool was a LA band and I had heard of them early only because my friend Jimmy Shoaf was touring with West Coast bands and turned us onto the first Tool disc, Opiate.

Undertow has just come out and it was in heavy rotation in my car and CD player. It was a more refined sound than Opiate. The band’s songwriting had really improved and gone beyond the heavy, speed thrash of the first album. By the time Undertow had come out most of the people in the know had heard of them and were becoming big fans.

I love Undertow as it’s a great example of a second album where the band is more comfortable and can really hone their sound. The other interesting aspect of Tool at this time was their videos.  Their album cover art was awesome to say the least. But with the release of Undertow was also the release of their first video for Sober.  It was stop motion video of a weird little man and was different than anything I had seen before.

A few months later I learned from Jimmy that the guitarist was a designer and had done all the artwork and video graphics, which made me respect the band even more. I’m a huge fan of groups that not only create a new sound but also craft their visual performance wether it be live or rehearsed.

I wish I could remember the setlist and after researching I could only find what may be a typical setlist for this leg of the tour.  Nonetheless the band came out and performed an incredible show. Dan and I were moshing it up in the pit and slamming out to the hard driving guitars and drums.  Maynard did his incredible vocals and stage performance that really got the crowd into it.

Possible Setlist

  1. Intolerance
  2. Cold and Ugly
  3. Sober
  4. Undertow
  5. Prison Sex
  6. Bottom
  7. Opiate
  8. Flood

After the show Dan and I were a bit drenched in sweat. The music hall had gotten steamy over the past few hours of music and moshing.  At this point we were glad that we left our heavy coats in the car but knew how cold it was outside so we braced for the deep freeze and sprinted for the car. We drove back to Northern Virginia cranking up Tool and talking about what an incredible friggin show we had just seen.

Tool @ WUST Radio Music Hall, Washington DC, Feb 9, 1994

Cry of Love | Raleigh, NC | 13-Aug-94

This post is a bit bittersweet. A week ago Kelly Holland, former lead singer of Cry of Love passed away. The Raleigh music community lost a talented musician to say the least.  The N&O music critic David Menconi reposted a great article about the Cry of Love during their heydey.

To say Cry of Love was a great band is an injustice. These were four experienced and talented individuals that came together at a time when the Raleigh music scene was growing with great local bands. To me they were the best of all of them. They had a great rock sound and played tight. Their sound was just right, no BS, just straight up rock and roll.

Cry of Love had a driving sound that was centered on Robbie Kearns on bass and Jason Patterson on drums. Audley Freed on guitar is one of the best live players today. And Kelly brought all that sound together with a voice that did not quit. Together they were kind of like a southern-fried Led Zeppelin, with a collection of songs that had terrific range and emotion.

Cry of Love, Brother

Their debut album, Brother is one of my favorite of all times and I can remember listening to Bad Thing for the first time and thinking it was Bad Company. It was hard but bluesy just like the great 70s rock bands like Foghat and Grand Funk, but also with a southern rock tinge a la Lynyrd Skynyrd.

This show was the second time I saw the band. The first was in Washington, DC at The Bayou on a weeknight to a small crowd. I dragged several friends there telling them they had to see this band! But it was a cold, winter night so we were there with about 150 people.

This show was the opposite with the show selling out The Ritz to a capacity 2,500 person crowd.  It was a hot August night and the venue was smoky and steamy due to the poor A/C at The Ritz. It didn’t matter. Cry of Love had just finished a few grueling year of touring to support Brother.


The band had been opening for ZZ Top, Robert Plant, and Aerosmith over the past year.  Their dedication payed off in that they had 3 singles that cracked the Billboard Rock charts with Bad Thing hitting number 1.

So coming home to Raleigh to play for your hometown crowd, friends, family, etc. created a special feeling to the show.  I was excited to see them play in Raleigh as I had moved back to town.  Raleigh was still a small community then and you knew most of locals, so it was a familiar group of people that evening.

I had to piece this setlist together based on songs I saw played on various bootleg CD covers found searching for artifacts. I even asked Jason Patterson if he remembered their old setlists but he could not recall. Cry of Love had a few songs like Broken Toy that were written after the album was released and did a few covers.

Cry of Love Setlist Ritz Theater, Raleigh, NC, USA 1994

Cry of Love  opened with Gotta Love Me that has Audley’s signature bluesy guitar sound that transitions into heavy rock. Kelly begins with his classic “Baby, baby, baby, bay-bee” yell.  Followed by Too Cold in the Winter, a song that builds as it progresses. It begins with a simple beat and southern picking and strumming by Audley. The chorus allows the the sound to build and by the end of the song Kelly is wailing in perfect harmony with the band.

Carnival follows along with a new song, Broken Toy. Carnival is another song that starts a bit slow and builds to a strong chorus. Kelly’s vocals on this song really grab you. Broken Toy showcases Audley’s guitar intro and his amazing guitar playing. I can see why they added this song to the setlist. Drive it Home has some wicked guitar sound to it.

Bad Thing begins with the slow bluesy intro that’s not on the album. For about a minute and half they tease the audience thinking it’s a slow number and then they stop and go right into Bad Thing  missing a beat and they sound great. Next you hear that lick that tells you Highway Jones is coming up. This was the leadoff song on the album and always reminds me of the sound Stevie Ray Vaughn had on guitar. Peace Pipe and Hand Me Down close out the set. Peace Pipe has “hit song” written all over it. I love how this song builds into a tour de force of sound with Kelly belting out amazing yells to close out the song.

I always hoped that one day the guys would get together for a reunion show.  With Kelly’s passing that’s not going to happen. But we can always remember the great times Cry of Love created with their live music. I for one say thanks guys for the great times!

Cry of Love @ The Ritz, Raleigh NC Aug 13, 1994

Grateful Dead | Landover, MD | 8-Mar-92

This was my first Dead show. I would see the band several times over the next few years but this was the first one. I don’t consider myself a Deadhead by any means. But this show was interesting in that it was an opportunity to see a legendary band that I knew very little about. And you never forget your first Grateful Dead show.

The opportunity came because one of my best friends, Dan Connolly @dconnolly17 had an extra ticket. Now if you’ve been to a Dead show or similar artists you will notice those seeking “extras”. Dan knew that I had not been nor really had a big desire to see the Dead but he convinced me to go.

I arrived at Dan’s place in Vienna and we travelled to the show with 2 of his college buddies, Eddie from Syracuse and “Crazy Sammy” from JMU. The trip from Vienna to Landover Maryland is not a pretty one to say the least and after about 45 minutes we found ourselves in the Capital Centre parking lot.

It was a beautiful Spring afternoon. Warm and sunny and the vibe was relaxed. This was the first night of 2 shows. Deadheads were conversing about the previous shows at Hampton Coliseum and what songs were played. I was oblivious to the whole culture. This experience was very different than hanging out at a heavy metal or new wave shows that I had seen in the past. Yes people were partying at both events but this scene was totally different.

The Capital Centre

The Capital Centre parking lot was a real dump. Not much of it was paved and it was out in the middle of nowhere. The building always reminded me of Dorton Arena with it hyperbole shape, the center of the the roof being the lowest point. At that time it was where the major acts played Washington, DC market. This would also be the first of several Dead shows in DC and the Cap Centre. The venue is no longer as it was demolished in 2002 to make way for a mall.

We tailgated a bit and strolled some of the parking lot. I’ve never seen so much crap for sale before a show. I have to admit at first it just seemed a bit odd and out of place. After I had been to a few shows it becomes part of the scene that you get used to and participate in. But at this point I was fine just observing. Not sure what to expect.

I had a great seat, stage right, lower level, about 12 rows up. High enough to see over the floor seats. And that’s a good thing when seeing the Dead. The floor can be a huge party. People are dancing, beach balls pop up, maybe a ballon or two! I was sitting with a friend of another co-worker who was about 8 years older than me and had seen the Dead since the 70s.

One of the coolest things about the Dead is that they allowed tapers to “bootleg” the show. So near the soundboard I spotted the microphone stands and knew that was the tapers section, something I had never seen at a rock concert before. Thanks to the community of tapers you can stream this show and many others on archive.org. Here’s the link: https://archive.org/details/gd92-03-08.sbd.fink.14083.sbeok.shnf. This is the first show I’ve had the chance to review and have a recording to revisit the music.

The band came out and I have to admit it was cool to actually see Jerry Garcia live in person, the beard, the glasses, the grey hair and his guitar. He had such an iconic look to him. The rest of the band looked similar to how they looked since the late 80s. Bob Weir wearing jeans and a Polo shirt, Phil in kackis and tie die shirt, the two drummers, Micky Hart and Bill Kreutzmann behind them on the two drum kits. And to the right of Jerry was Vince Welnick who had previously played with The Tubes, on keyboards.

The band opened a mellow version of Let the Good Times Roll, an old Sam Cooke song. They then went into Touch of Grey, which I was familiar with. The song was their biggest US hit and I remember when they released that album. I had read the Rolling Stone covers story about their rebirth in 87 after Jerry’s diabetic coma and other band drama.

dead-rolling-stone

After Touch of Grey I was pumped a bit. And then they played New Minglewood Blues keeping the crowd dancing just along with the beat. The band sounded good and it was refreshing to go to a show where the PA was not turned up too loud. The Dead was into the quality of the music experience for their fans. I would learn during future shows that the sounds was a big part of the experience.

I’m also not a huge Dylan fan and did not recognize Desolation Row was a Dylan cover. This was one of three Dylan songs I wold hear that evening. The other two being All Along the Watchtower and The Mighty Quinn. Both of these songs I was more familiar with, especially Watchtower since it was covered by Jimi Hendrix.

The first set closed out with Big Railroad Blues and The Music Never Stopped. On both of these songs the Dead was hittin the note, crowd was dancing, I found myself getting into the groove with their sound!

After intermission the band began their second set. I have to admit that this was probably the first rock show I had been to that had an intermission and it’s nice. Gives the fan and the band a chance to come up for air.

Grateful Dead Setlist Capital Centre, Landover, MD, USA, Winter Tour 1992

For the majority of the show it was a bit weird as I was not familiar with the songs. The second set had a few songs that I’m not a fan of like Wave to the Wind, a Phil Lesh song. So Many Roads, a newer mellow, Jerry song is OK but not one of his best. I found myself enjoying more of the upbeat songs in their repertoire and enjoyed the newly added Long Way to Go Home.

The second set also brings Drums and Space, I’ve always wanted to see the experimental aspect of the Grateful Dead’s performance. But I found it to be a bit long and tedious. After a nice Not Fade Away complete with audience hand clapping, The Dead performed the third Dylan cover, The Mighty Quinn. It was a nice end to the show.

After the show we hung out in the parking lot and had some beers. The sound of Nitrous tanks going off in the distance mixed in with the Capital Centre’s parking lot PA announcing that the show was over and please leave, made for interesting conversation. I watched Dan and Eddie review the setlist that Eddie scrolled during the show and discuss the different aspects of each song and the bands performance.

All in all it was an interesting show. Not the best Dead show that I would see but interesting enough that I wanted to see another show and compare. It was not life changing experience and I still did not understand why everyone was so into Jerry Garcia. But the vibe was different and special and inviting to go to the next show to see what would happen next. I want to thank my Irish Brother From Another Mother (IBFAM) Dan for getting me a ticket and asking me to go!

Earlier in the evening Crazy Sammy commented on the baseball cap I was wearing. It was a Screaming Trees black cap. His comment was, “This ain’t no Screaming Trees show you’re going to!” You’re right Sammy,wherever you may be, it was more than that!

Grateful Dead, Winter Tour 92, Capital Centre Landover MD

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Primus | Ft. Mill SC | 9-Aug-95

This concert review has special meaning for me since this show took place on the same day as a music milestone.  It was a hectic show to get to because it’s a 3 hour drive from Raleigh to Fort Mill, SC where the show was.  Ft. Mill is just south of Charlotte but was because of what happened earlier that day. I was busy all day at a freelance gig and tuned out of everything to complete a project. I was rapidly trying to complete the day’s tasks so I cold get down to Charlotte or Ft. Mill to be exact and see Primus with Helmet opening up!

I had scored 2 tickets and invited my friend Wes to go along with me. We are both huge Primus and Helmet fans. I had seen both bands once before and was excited to see them again. Primus was touring in support of their latest album, Tales from the Punchbowl, scoring a big hit with Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver.

Primus Tales from the Punchbowl Tour 1995

I picked up Wes and we headed down I-85 towards Charlotte and Wes told me that Jerry Garcia had passed away earlier that day.  I was shocked and a bit bummed out. I had just seen the Dead in DC a few weeks earlier. Jerry was not in top form the past year so it was sad to hear that he passed while trying to improve himself and get clean again.

This was also the third time in less than 3 years that I was going to concert on same day that another famous entertainer died. The previous one being Kurt Cobain. So this show was when I coined the phrase “deathshow” to describe this phenomenon.

Regardless of the fact that we lost Jerry, we listened to a few Dead songs and then cranked up Helmet and Primus the rest of the way to Charlotte.  If you’ve never been to Fort Mill, SC, it’s a small town just over the border from Charlotte.  Neither Wes nor I had any clue where the facility was and it seemed to take forever to find the place but we made it!

Once we got into the facility we realized that we had just missed Helmet’s opening set. Second bummer of the night. Wes was really bummed as he had not seen them. I was disappointed but we were there and ready to see Primus!

The facility was the original NBA Charlotte Hornets practice facility, which is now a church.  It’s similar to was like a high school gym with bleacher seats on one side of a full basketball court and a stage on the other. Since the show was general admission the wide stage allowed you to get up close without being mangled in the sweaty mosh pit.

Opening with To Defy, was on spot after such a hard time getting to the show! Blue-Collar Tweekers into Here Come the Bastards was great too. I’m a huge Primus fan and their second album, Sailing the Seas of Cheese is one of my favorite albums. The next few songs off Tales from the Punchbowl are great showcases for Les Claypool‘s bass playing and quirky tales. Groundhog’s Day into Pudding Time was excellent as well and just a few songs later they tear into Sailing the Seas of Cheese!

Pork Soda is a decent album but not a good song. Same goes for My Name is Mud, I’ve never been crazy about it. But the real treat was just around the corner. Primus went into Southbound Pachyderm which is my favorite song on this album. Primus had several different backdrops to match songs from the new album that changes during the show. I remember the combination of the lights with the shading of the artwork made it look really cool and almost animated.

I to remember Primus playing Jerry Was a Race Car Driver and was thinking about Jerry Garcia during the song. For some reasons the fans started throwing crap at the band during the song and someone hit Tim Alexander in the head. The band stopped and Les told whomever hit Tim needed to come up and offer a BJ as penance!

All in all a fantastic show by a great power trio at the height of their creativity. Primus would continue but this was the last tour with the original lineup for the next several years. Les Claypool would go on to form a new band every year and continue to amaze me with his talent.

This was the best Primus show I ever went to.  I’ve seen them several times and this was one of those rare times when the band was hitting the note. Tales from the Punchbowl would be their last great album with the original lineup as well.

Primus @ Hornets Practice Facility, Ft. Mill, SC 8-Aug-95

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