Concert review: Billy Joel

Billy Joel Performs At BB&T Center

Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – May 9, 2019

Lacking a traditional alternative to fill the role, I have long thought of music in practically religious terms. I play it; I listen to it; I know and revere its history. I share it with friends, and the bonds between us are invariably enriched by both the effort and the act. Music means the absolute world to me. Certain scientific studies have played up its druglike effects, and I suppose it’d be disingenuous as a longtime user to vociferously deny them, but I have always seen music more as a source of legitimate personal nourishment, an indispensable renewable resource, fuel or balm for the soul as needed. Rock and Roll in particular has been my constant companion since the year I turned ten, that proverbial source of comfort in times of trouble, as well as, for my money, the most damned fun you can reliably compress into the space of three minutes, or five, or twenty, or ninety, or more, however long your playlist or evening plans might dictate. I experience live music whenever plausible, and, sometimes, in my saucier moments, even take extreme measures to render the implausible possible. Think then of my journey, after near a lifetime of uninterrupted admiration, to see Billy Joel play the latest show in his historic residency at New York’s Madison Square Garden as something of a pilgrimage: Continue reading “Concert review: Billy Joel”

“Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways”: an uneven soundtrack to a killer roadtrip

Sonic

Fearless independent filmmaker Werner Herzog is a passionate believer in what he has called the “voodoo of location”*, the notion that specific location filming not only naturally informs the look of a movie but also can appreciably influence how it feels, that history is so inextricably tied to a given place that it almost can’t help, on some level, but be absorbed into the production. Though he’s never spoken the exact words, lead Foo Fighter Dave Grohl is obviously at least a sympathetic mind. His 2013 documentary Sound City was a full blown love letter, equal parts celebratory and wistful, to the titular Los Angeles studio, which served over the course of multiple decades as home base for the recording of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes, and Nirvana’s Nevermind, among others. Grohl is the kind of music aficionado who turns amateur historian via happy accident, a product of deep-seated enthusiasm and wide-ranging experience, with no traditional academic reinforcement required. Continue reading ““Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways”: an uneven soundtrack to a killer roadtrip”