Friday, August 24, 2007

Deep Purple at the Majestic, in San Antonio

After noting this date well over 6 weeks ago, I had resigned myself to not going, because several of my friends were on vacation. I have been a fan of both Deep Purple and Steve Morse for over 30 years and have seen both live, but I have never seen them together. Somehow, fate intervened Wednesday and I was offered a ticket that some other friends (who were already going) had won in a radio, call-in contest.

My seat was great last night, unlike the last time I attended a show there and sat in the balcony. The sight lines were great since I was only 20 rows back from the stage, and the sound is very good down there also. I was about 3 chairs to the right of the line from the house soundboard to center stage.

I estimate Deep Purple played somewhere between 90 - 120 minutes. Since they were not promoting a new album (see their website as to why), they stuck to playing their hits. The night included a lot of material from Machine Head (Smoke on the Water, Lazy, Highway Star), along with Hush, and Woman from Tokyo.

The core of the band, Roger Glover and the Ians (Gillian and Paice) are still on top of their game, and can deliver the goods. The crowd and the band fed off of each other, and everyone in the house seemed to enjoy the show. Steve Morse seems to never age, and still plays in his blazing, rock-solid style. The only disappointment I had was that Jon Lord had retired due to health reasons, but Don Airey did an excellent as his permanent replacement.

A great show all around.

Monday, August 20, 2007

More Orioles

Every year for as long as it's been offered, I have subscribed to MLBTV.

Unfortunately, it's the same story over and over again.... I've usually given up on them by the All-Star Break (because they make me).

Where is Davey Johnson when you need him?

RIP: 'Wild Bill' Hagy

I spent a significant portion of the my summers during high school and home from college ('76 to '83) at Memorial Stadium, going to Orioles games. Actually, I was a Jr Oriole starting in 1968 but was obviously not able to drive myself to Memorial Stadium until years later. The O's were a force to be reckoned from 1966 until 1985, with a small resurgence in 1996 and 1997. They were one of the elite teams, and notorious Yankee killers.

On many a summer evening, my friend Porkface (aka. Fran) and I would go purchase $3.00 GA tickets, fill a Coleman Jug with the contents of a case of Busch Beer, and drag our little brothers, and/or his cousin "Sweaty" Freddy to the stadium. There was only one place to sit, Section 34!

For years, a drunken fan named 'the Big Wheel' had been spelling out C-O-L-T-S with his body, during football games at the stadium. Somewhere in the late 70's this bled over into the Baseball games, when a cab driver named 'Wild Bill' Hagy started doing the same thing by spelling out O-R-I-O-L-E-S. Wild Bill was the King of Section 34 and led us all with his battle cries. He would usually make a good show of winding up for a cheer with exaggerated arm movements, waving his Cowboy Hat, demanding that we get our asses off the seats, and followed by a quick call of Let's hear it for the Ball-team, before launching into his dance. He was usually egged on by the other denizens of the Section.

By 1979, it had become the "in-thing" to go to an "O's" game. For about a decade, it seemed that baseball had unthinkably reached an equal footing with football, in Baltimore. To this day, a Baltimore crowd can not listen to the National Anthem w/o embellishing the "O" ala Wild Bill.

Those were the days. The Skankees, Red Sox, Brewers, Indians, Tigers, and Blue Jays were all in our division. (There were only 2 divisions per league back then and Milwaukee was still in the AL!) Names like Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Scott McGregor, Steve Stone, Sammy Stewart, Rick Dempsey, Elrod, Disco Dan Ford, Brother Low-low, Rhino, DeCinces, Ed=E Murray, Marc Belanger, Cal Ripken, Benny Ayala, Rich Dauer, Tippy, Dennis Martinez, come to mind. Rex Barney on the PA, play by play with Chuck Thompson, and the recap the next morning with Charlie Eckman.

Unfortunately, there has not been much to cheer about since Game 5 of the 1983 World Series. And of course, OPACY (Oriole Park at Camden Yards) never had the right feel for me. 'Wild Bill' was one of the common, blue-collar people of Bawldy-more. He seemed like he had stepped out of one of Barry Levinson's or John Waters' movies. He (and I) belonged in Memorial Stadium. If only something would convince Angelos to sell the team now, maybe the Orioles could climb out of the grave they fell into.

RIP: Wild Bill. I'm going to see if I can find a 6 Pack of Natty Boh tonight, and drink in your honor.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ravens vs. Giants - Primetime Preseason

I was somewhat pleased because I didn't have to make special arrangements to watch the Ravens tonight. They were the Primetime game. Most likely because there's a Manning involved.

I was going to comment more on this, but it looks like both the Offense and Defense went a little backward this week. We came out on the short end, 13-12. Troy Smith looked good, Boller looks like he's done. I'm slightly worried about McNair. He doesn't do too well in the rain or the snow.