Wednesday, May 05, 2010
There aren't that many things I wish I could travel back in time to see. Although I love mediaeval things, the actual time was full of disease, suffering and misery; even the most comfortable were uncomfortable at best by today's standards. I love the Victorian era even more, but it's not all that much better in terms of discomfort and hardships. I'd rather see it from a safe distance. If I could travel back in time, what I'd really love to see would mostly just be a few rock concerts -- eras in musical history that can never be recreated, and can not be properly experienced on bootlegs or even legitimate recordings. Most of my favorite bands were at their musical peak when I was a little kid, so my time travel would take me to events that happened within my lifetime, but which I was too young to experience. For starters, I'd see Pink Floyd around 1973-1974, when their tour performances included the brand new album "Dark Side of the Moon" but also included the 20-minute epic "Echoes" from their previous album. Then I'd move forward just a few years to see them again in 1977, during the "Animals" tour -- a tour that is, to me, somewhat shrouded in mystery due to the exceptionally small amount of film footage of the tour. The fact that it's very well documented in bootlegs only increases my interest in it. (I'll assume I don't have unlimited time travel opportunities, and will reluctantly take a pass on going back to see them in 1971 when they would do epic instrumental improvisations on "Fat Old Sun" and "Green Is the Colour.") I'd also see Rush sometime between 1976 and 1981, but it's hard to pick exactly when. I'd either go with the tour for "Hemispheres" in 1978 (in my opinion, their most progressive and musically-ambitious album), or else the 1981 tour for their great classic album "Moving Pictures." Fortunately, Rush are right now gearing up for a tour this summer which will include the entire Moving Pictures album. I plan to see them in August at White River -- but a modern tour for an old album still is not the same as seeing the original tour 30 years ago. And finally, the one most people who know me probably would not guess: I really would love to travel back and see Journey live in 1980. This was the "middle era" of Journey's career, when the vocal duties were shared by new band member Steve Perry and their founding front man Gregg Rolie. This was back when Journey still truly rocked, and the shared vocals made it something really special. (It was this era that recorded the hits "Lights," "Wheel In the Sky" and "Any Way You Want It," among others.) After the 1980 tour, Gregg Rolie left the band and they had their biggest pop hits -- "Open Arms," "Faithfully," "Separate Ways" and so on -- but the 1978-1980 years with Rolie and Perry together were something special that didn't last long enough.