Okay. After turning in a massive linear algebra project that almost killed me single-handedly, it’s time to rock out a little bit, old school and classy-like. First, a song that my mom doesn’t think qualifies as rock music, but if the Doobie Brothers don’t count as rock and roll artists, well I don’t know who does. Anyhow, see if you aren’t singing that “I like to hear some funky Dixieland” hook at the top of your lungs and dancing in your seat by the end of this performance:
Next up…, “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway),” which is one of Billy Joel’s best rock ballads. An apocalyptic epic inspired by New York’s economic crash, some of these lyrics ring eerily prophetic. Images of 9/11 can’t help springing to mind when one hears lyrics like “I saw the ruins at my feet… I watched the mighty skyline fall…” Indeed, Joel performed this song with a firefighter’s cap on his piano at a 9/11 tribute, and again at the Hurricane Sandy benefit, which was where I first heard this song. It was about then that I decided I really needed to dig deeply into this guy’s catalogue (and needed to pick out that piano intro, immediately). I’m so glad I did, on both counts. More on that later. For now, enjoy him in his prime with his legendary band: Richie Canatta, Liberty Devitto and Co.
We held a concert out in Brooklyn
To watch the island bridges blow
They turned our power down
And drove us underground
But we went right on with the show…
Third, The Who. I was hooked on “Baba O’Riley” from note one of that jaw-dropping synth intro, all the way through to the violin outro. Inspired by Woodstock, this is a deeply sad meditation on what happens when young people go looking for something without knowing what they’re looking for.
Don’t raise your eyes
It’s only teenage wasteland… teenage wasteland…
Next, I love Journey but only recently made “Wheel In the Sky” part of the furniture of my ipod. It’s a deeply moving song. For me, it evokes an image of a soldier in Vietnam writing to his girlfriend.
I’ve been trying to make it home
Got to make it, before too long
Oh, I can’t take this very much longer, no
I’m stranded, in the sleet and rain
Don’t think I’m ever gonna make it home again
The mornin’ sun is risin’
It’s kissin’ the day…
And finally, a little Kansas. Man, I can’t believe it took me this long to discover these guys. I chopped this performance from their Live in Omaha concert. Full thing is here. You’re welcome.