Sunday, May 21, 2006

Posted by NativeTexan News

Participated in the Tuesday, May 2nd, National Dept of Peace conference call at 9pm. [Had to miss an episode of HOUSE on the telly, but anything for DoP is worth it.] Really good call this evening with Matthew and Lynn as the moderators, plus Mary Jane LaVigne as guest speaker. Main topic of conversation and discussion was the upcoming Mothers Day "Peace of the Pie" campaign to many congressional offices. Mention of a recent Zobsby survey said that ... "82% agree that lack of job training and education cause more crime". One of our short and long term goals, via this call, is to learn how to talk/field questions for eventually speaking on "Talk Radio" regarding Dept of Peace campaign. The different chapters will implement workshops on how to do 10-minute talks, tailor it to radio audiences and how to plan a speech. Our NYC chapter will commence working on this sometime in June. Overall it was a good call and always inspiring to hear others dedicated to this worthy cause.

On Wednesday, May 3rd, I attended the monthly DFNYC meetup in East Village [11th Street] of Manhattan. There were four of us at the meetup and managed to cover all of the agenda. If interested in learning more about DFNYC go to ... ... One of the topics of discussion was the soon to be released Al Gore/Davis Guggenheim documentary called "An Inconvenient Truth". Opening up in cinema's on May 24th and is about global warming. The Bush Regime is trying to convince us there is no such thing and as always they are lying through their teeth. It’s real, very real. Other topics of discussion were Brooklyn Candidate Forum, AIDS Walk, Discharge Petition on Iraq and Freedom of Choice Act. This latter legislation is already in House [HR5151] and Senate [S2593]. As concerned Americans, we must always bring up these topics to our representatives. Send those emails, faxes, snail mail or call them. If we don't they'll think we don't care. I know we care; we have to for the sake of America's children.

On Tuesday, May 9th, I attended a NYC DoP special planning meeting. Those of us [ie: Karen, Carol, Rob, Liz, Priscilla and I] who attended worked on our first fundraiser letter and mailing. [I so enjoy working with this terrific group of individuals. I find renewed hope, inspiration and faith from the warmth of us all.] This was mailed out that evening and hope the "returns" are favorable. [May the spirits of Gandhi, Mother Teresa & Martin Luther King smile down on us. As well as other DoP chapters throughout the US.] Several of our NYC DoP "core team" members, including me, contributed names/addresses for this mailing list database. We also discussed the latest in our scheduled plans for "Gandhi 100" and the progress on that is moving slowly, but favorably. I got home in time to watch the last 5 minutes of GILMORE GIRLS season finale, and watch a whole episode of HOUSE. I was not at all thrilled with the tiny bit I saw of "Gilmore Girls". And now the wait until September brings a new season ... damn you Lorelei & Luke!

Pearl Jam Concert
Review by Duchess
Albany, NY
May 12, 2006
Took the day off from work on Friday, May 12th, so I could prepare and then head up to Albany to see my fav band live. Left NYC on Trailways bus from Port Authority around 12:30pm and arrived into Albany at 3:10pm. Tried to do some reading of my new book "Sharpe's Tiger". Ended up listening to my walkman to drown out three people on bus snoring while they napped. Frustrating as all hell. Anyhow, I checked into Red Carpet Inn after departing the bus terminal. They did not give me room selection I originally requested via phone. I wanted a room AWAY from the thruway, so the damn noise wouldn't bother me while sleeping. So I got them to change it to near the courtyard and much quieter. I left word at the front desk that when Josee and Mark showed up that they could come right to the room. We were sharing the accommodations. They showed up about 30 minutes after I arrived. Josee and I greeted each other with a hug and hearty exclamation of MF! Have I mentioned that MFs rule?!? [Hard to explain and only a few other MFs would understand.] Josee was traveling with another PJ fan acquaintance [Mark] to cut down on travel expenses, plus get good tix. I hadn't seen Josee since I visited Canada in late summer 2004. Don't know about anyone else, but I enjoyed my visit to Canada.

We hung out abit at the hotel, talked about the Toronto gigs and then headed up to the Pepsi Arena. It was a miserable weather day ... rain and cool. I already had my ticket via Ticketmaster. Mark picked up their Ten Club tickets from the box office, while Josee and I checked out PJ t-shirts. Vendors were selling out the variety of t-shirts, hats, stickers to excited fans. I purchased a pretty blue t-shirt with new album cover pix on front and tour dates on back. While this was going on we could hear the band doing a sound check inside the arena. Oh yeah! Mark also briefly hooked up with some friends to give them their tix. Then the three of us headed off to find a place to nosh on food. We found a place just up Pearl Street from the venue. Wasn't the greatest place and the waitress service sucked. Josee and Mark noshed on food, while I had a coffee flavor milkshake. Through all this Josee and I were catching up on news and gossip. We headed back to the hotel to utilize the bathroom and take care of last minute stuff before going to the venue.

Arrived at the Pepsi Arena and waited on a long line to go through security check. No trouble at all. Security guard basically just looked inside the fanny pack at my waistline. Did a bathroom break before heading to our seats down in the "floor" area of the arena. My seat wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either, due to the venue not being on a large scale. Josee and Mark were lucky. Their seats were 7th row right in front of where Jeff Ament would be on stage. Lucky folk! We didn't have to wait too long for the warm-up band to come out. Some group from Kentucky called "My Morning Jacket" and their music is okay. I utilized my earplugs to keep my hearing fresh for when Pearl Jam hit the stage. After the warm-up band finished a 40+ minute set Josee and I did another bathroom break. Oh gosh, the waiting for Pearl Jam to come on stage was building to a crescendo. Just before 9pm Ed and Boom came out to start with "Wasted Reprise". . . .

I have faced it
A life wasted
I am never going back again
I escaped it
A life wasted
I am never going back again
Having tasted
A life wasted
I am never going back again

I had listened to this on the new CD several times, but hearing Ed sing it live made me think of it differently. Listening to it now, I thought how my life is slowly evolving for the better since February 15, 2003 [ie: peace rally against possible invasion Iraq]. Then the rest of the band came onstage on started rocking thru several tunes ... Life Wasted, Worldwide Suicide, Severed Hand [ie: awesome light show during this number] and Do The Evolution. Throughout all this I'm standing at my seat dancing my butt off. One could instantly tell that the band would be on fire this evening and the crowd is lovin it all. Buckle your seat belts kiddies’ cause we're in for a ride. WooHoo! Next they did "Elderly Woman" and then one of my fav songs ... "Given to Fly". Lets be honest here, I'm basically watching the left side of the stage. My fav band members are Jeff [bass] and Mike [lead guitar]. Jeff is looking soooo good, as always, and the only things colorful on him are his assortment of bass guitars. Man needs a new wardrobe other than basic black, but I still adore him. Mike is sporting glasses, which look so adorable on him, and multi-dyed hair. And Ed is back to the long hair and beard semi-Jesus look.

Next on the set list was "Red Mosquito". Oh yeah! Happy to hear this song live, as it’s a fav of mine. Next they kicked into "Even Flow" with Mike going full tilt in the guitar solo. He was all over the stage! Ed talked abit before the next song about Bush Regime giving $70 billion tax break for the rich. Audience booed references to the Bush Regime. As for me, I screamed out "f--k the rich" and "death to the rich" with my fist raised in passionate protestation. Those standing near me slowly inched away in alarm. Oh yeah, I'm such a rebel at times, but also a peacemaker too. [Smiling] Ed dedicated "Army Reserve" to those military families who are suffering throughout this illegal occupation in Iraq. This brought huge cheers from the crowd. After that they play "Daughter" with a Pink Floyd tag, "Off He Goes" and "Gone". The next song is another fav of mine ... Grievance. I sang along with gusto to this song and must of alarmed folk again standing around me. [LOL] Especially when I passionately sang ... "pledge my grievance to the flag, you don't give blood and take it back again". They then played "Jeremy", which puts Jeff into the spotlight and I so loved that. OMG! I couldn't believe they were playing one of my fav songs from the new CD ... Marker In The Sand. WooHoo! They finished first part of the set with "Comatose" and "Why Go".

After a break of 5 minutes or so, Ed came out with guitar and harmonica to sing "Hide Your Love Away". Then the rest of the band came out and they launched into "Satan’s Bed". Wow, this is a song one doesn't hear live all that often. Yeah, it’s a rarity. I was hoping I'd get thru at least one Pearl Jam gig without hearing the next song ... Wishlist ... sorry folk but it’s not a fav of mine. In fact, I find it boring and annoying. Then Ed talked about Albany's sport teams and especially the River Rats. I'm soooo hoping that one of my fav songs from an earlier album would be played. Oh gosh, it’s only been played twice in 12 years. I damn near pee'd my jeans when they kicked into RATS. Yes! Yes! Yes! They rounded out the first encore with a long version and jam session of "Porch". After a short break they came back on to play to the back of the arena. Mike was standing on top of some amps and they kicked into "Last Kiss".

The last four songs of this second encore were GREAT ... "Come Back", "Sad", "Crazy Mary" [love it!] and an amazing rendition of ALIVE. Audience was soooo into this last song. What a terrific evening and 2 1/2 hours of great music. Just before the band was to head off stage, Jeff put on a Bush face mask to cavort around the stage and grab his crotch. It was so funny. Then the band members [ie: Mike, Ed, Jeff, Matt, Stone and Boom] waved to the crowd and left the stage. I waited not far from my seat for Josee and Mark. Josee got lucky and scored guitar picks from Mike and Ed. We hung out for abit outside the venue under protection, as it was raining, and Mark chatted with acquaintances of his. Whom he introduced Josee and I too. By the time we walked back to the hotel it was going on 12:30am and I was in bed by 1am. My only regret is I forgot to bring my camera, so that I could get a pix of Josee and me in our awesome PJ t-shirts.

Pearl Jam Stay True To Rock
By Dean Gordon-Smith
May 19 2006
Why not name their new one after themselves? Pearl Jam had an album called Vs., and the band could've called this Jr. Pearl Jam is a great example of when rock is used as a launching pad for the release of frustration and anger at the state of one's society and government, and as a vehicle of expression for some balls-to-the wall rocking and the communion of spirit, song and audience. From the opening Stooges-like chordal volley of Life Wasted with Eddie Vedder's virile vocal bark, to the modern day '06 soul music that is Come Back, Pearl Jam gels and projects in the classic sense of the true unit that great bands can be.

Pearl Jam is the only classic rock band now making music that is still provocative, both live and in the studio. Strangely, although they are probably the only fully-functioning group to come out of and survive the grunge era, they were never really a grunge band. They are more musically akin to their heroes, especially Neil Young and The Who, than any flannel-wearing power-chording stoners. They may have sported a bit o' the flannel, but then who in Canada especially can say they've never done so? Not me, anyway. Without wading too deeply into music and politics, there are some hard-hitting examples on this recording. Army Reserve may be one of the most appealing, grooving anti-war songs that have been recorded since the 1960s.

Again, Pearl Jam are the inheritors of this troubling and exhilarating musical stance. This song doesn't directly focus on the U.S. government like others they have done, but addresses the broken lives and families; the too-often unseen victims:

"An empty chair where dad sits. But it's becoming a lie she tells herself and everyone, Father is risking his life for our freedoms."

Also, the channeling of uncertainty and fear can't fail to move when one hears Unemployable's stirring cascading notes and Vedder's brief, blunt chronicling of another newly desperate individual so haunted by worry that "he can't sleep, how will he ever dream?" But wait, lest you think that Pearl Jam is all about staring down the barrel, there are raucous bold blasts like Big Wave, and that song's exclamation: "I used to be a crustacean, In an underwater nation, and I surf in celebration!" Yes, passion, commitment, integrity and soul. That's what is great about real rock and roll, and true rock bands. You can't fake that, and Pearl Jam put all that out there on this record.


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