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Columns > Itzys Illusions - Steve Itzkowitz

Published: 2003/11/28
by Steve Itzkowitz

Sweatin’ to the Wookies

Hi there,
Sometimes things are planned, sometimes things go as planned and sometimes things go better than planned. All this and more occurred during my latest adventures. Sit back, grab a drink and enjoy . . .
The North Mississippi All-Stars—Friday November 14, House of Blues, Los Angeles
Another home game for Team Pakm as the pregame was set up at GT and Lady T’s place not too far away from the venue. I had the pleasure of joining half of Rodeo Cold, JPar and keyboardist extraordinaire, Paulie Two Pedals. Prior to departing for the show, GT handed out tickets as a ‘welcome to LA, GT’ gift and we headed out caravan style to the House of Blues. Once we entered, the NMAS was already on stage. The only other time I had seen any of the NMAS (it was a trio, but now a quartet) was when they played on the Word tour a couple of years ago. Anyway, the music was solid from the start. As the venue started to fill up, other members of Team Pakm arrived including G-Mo, Uncle Beas and the I-Dog fresh from the Laker game at the Staples Center. At one point during the show, I was over at the left bar at the HOB and noticed a huge gap in the floor where everyone was dancing. Apparently I wasn’t the only one as Luther Dickinson, the lead guitarist, also pointed the gap. Well, it turns out that someone or something decided to leave their mark on the HOB floor through their mouth. Of course being the sleuth that I am, I immediately went upstairs for a birdseye view of the scene. Sure enough, there was an orangish pile of sorts in the middle of the floor. Great. Well that seemed to captivate or at least make the show more interesting. The boys cranked it up a few notches and turned Los Angeles into a Southern Fried Swamp as the latest member, DuWayne Burnside, son not nephew of the legendary Bluesman, R.L Burnside. Most of the material sung by DuWayne was off of the latest release, Polaris. The NMAS stuck to their guns and played most of their known material much to the delight of the crowd. Personally, I thought watching Chris Chew, the bassist, play was entertaining. He’s a big guy and the bass looks like a ukulele when he’s playing it, but boy does he ever play it. The post game party went on, but not for this youngster as I headed back to the Westside with Gee Mo and I-Dog and ended up watching the start of the new Winterland Grateful Dead DVD, great stuff from what I saw so far. More on DVD’s later this issue.
Random Top 5 Cartoon Felines
1. Snowball 1—The Simpsons’ first cat, hit by a car my the major’s brother Clovis, but I like the fact that Homer still holds a grudge to the Powers That Be for the untimely demise. If only Homer could mourn Grimey the same way. I almost put Scratchy, but since I’m pro-Itchy, well I have to draw the line somewhere.
2. Choo Choo— Top Cat’s right hand man in the all Cat gang from Hanna Barbera. I love the fact that he wears a turtle neck shirt and is called ‘chooch’ for short. And they are always getting on Officer Dibble. That show premiered in 1961 and produced only 30 episodes. Hmm.
3. Azrael—Gargamel’s comic foil on the Smurfs. I’m pretty sure he was always mumbling something under his breath. He usually had to be the guinea pig for any of Gargamel’s hair brained schemes.
4. Garfield—at the Request of my sister, Mindy, she likes him because he’s fat, lazy and likes to eat much like most of our family. Trust me. He was voiced by the late Lorenzo Music, who was also Carlton the Doorman on the old ‘Rhoda’ show.
5. The Pink Panther—created by Fritz Feleng in 1964 in the opening montage, the Panther went on to a few to do a series with the first one being silent. I believe Steve Martin is attached to the new Pink Panther or remake due next year.
Simon and Garfunkel—Tuesday, November 18th, The Staples Center, L.A* Okay here's the scoop. Originally when the tickets went on sale I was calling it the 'We Need More Money Tour' amongst other things. Although I had the chance to pick up tickets prior to the public on sale date, my car needed work which basically cost the same as 2 tickets. Anyway flash forward to a few days before the shows in SoCal when I got the itch that I wanted to see these guys because this was probably and most definitely the last 'reunion' of the two. On Monday I found out that they released some tickets and called D2, who told me to get them. However, I held out until the day of to start my search for now 3 tickets as KD, D2's valet was in as well. I'll take you through the day as quick as possible. I went down to Staples at 10am and asked the woman at the ticket office if they had any $55 (the cheapest ticket) left for the show. She had a couple behind the stage. I asked her if they were going to release any more and she said it was up to the promoter, who had yet to arrive. I went to lunch and went back in the afternoon but again to no avail as they released the $135 and $250 tickets and actually sold out of the $55. I went back home, I used Craig's List, I used TM Lisa, but still nothing. So as 6pm rolled around I headed to the nearest Ticketmaster in Santa Monica and called TM Lisa to see if anything had been released. Still no. At this point we were willing to pay for the $85 seats, but there were not available. So our plan was to go to Staples where the action was and the tickets. I picked up KD and at the same time had the Staples Center box office back on the phone and guess what they had just released 20 or so $85 tickets. Totally Murphy's law. I grabbed KD, her hair still wet from the shower, and sped back to Tower Records only to literally watch them sell the last 2 tickets. KD was like, what's next? Well it was back to Staples. D2 was going to meet us there. We arrived at 7:30ish and parked in the cheapest lot of course. I would've parked on the street, but the $3 price was quickly absorbed by KD. We walked towards the Staples Center and as we were across the street a guy came by trying to sell tickets. I had to do a double take, because he was not a scalper. The scalpers were out early too believe me. The guy had 3 tickets together and offered them to us at $100 a piece. He had paid $146 per ticket including all surcharges. I called D2 and he was like grab them and see if he will go lower. I offered him $80 a piece and he said he'd let them go for $250. Bingo. We completed the transaction and D2 met us a few minutes later. KD asked me if I was upset after all the hard work I had done to get tickets. I was like, 'no, that's how it happens, as long as you put the effort in, then the results will come in some way.' I use that philosophy all the time, but sometimes forget to listen to my own advice. The place was packed. The lights went out around 8:20pm and the show started with a montage of their illustrious 50 year friendship. The came out and immediately went into 'Old Friends' into 'Hazy Shade of Winter.' They sounded great and I was psyched that I made the effort. It was so worth it. Garfunkel holding the note on 'I am a Rock' and on 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters' was just pure magic. They joked about their tumulus relationship throughout the show and played all of their hits. The only Simon solo song was 'Slip Slidin' Away.' At one point the Everly Brothers took the stage as they were the inspiration for S & G according to Simon. S & G joined Phil and Don Everly or 'Bye Bye Love.' Of course I got the poster, which was an added bonus as it had just the Staples Center dates on it. D2 gave me a look when I was crunching the plastic bag the poster was in during the show. It's like when you are trying to sleep on the plane and someone is rummaging through their bag, so annoying and D2's look spoke volumes. Go see this show. If you are married, then take your wife and you'll be on the 'good' list for quite some time. _Top 5 Concert DVD _ 1. The Last Waltz--The Band. I've talked about this before, but if you do not have this Scorsese classic, then go out and get it. The music alone is phenomenal, but the interviews and Neil Young's nose are not to be missed. Dylan's on it, everybody. Half the guys aren't alive anymore, but you get to see them in their prime. 2. The Grateful Dead--Live at Winterland. I'll pimp this thing 'til the day is long. Just amazing. It's a couple of DVD's, 4 CD's of the show and just whacked out interviews with Mickey Hart and Bob Weir. I love seeing Garcia with brown hair. 3. 40 Licks--The Rolling Stones. Yeah I know it's only available at Best Buy and I too can't stand corporate stores, but this is just good music plain and simple. I say suck it up and get it. 4. Bruce Springsteen--Live in Barcelona. Again it's classic Bruce showing off the energy and the E Street Band is just rocking. The guy amazes me. My favorite Bruce thing is the '1,2, 3, 4' and launching into something. You should hear my imitation. 5. Paul McCartney--Back in the U.S. I'll admit, I only have the cd, but the DVD has been #1 in Canada for a while. McCartney is still on my 'to see' list. Getting there. BTW, I just got the 7-4-90 show from RFK and it's great. Email me off line if you want a copy. *Phil Lesh and Friends--Sunday November 23, 2003 The Orpheum Theater, Boston, MA
What better way to kick off my annual Thanksgiving visit to the East Coast than to catch the PLQ in my hometown. I met up with my cousin Matt prior to the show and Matt came up huge getting us front row of the balcony. I should be more specific in saying it was the 1st row of the upper balcony because they were not letting people dance in the 5 rows or so of the lower balcony. I hope it was for safety precautions, because there is nothing worse that not dancing when everyone else in the place is getting their groove on simultaneously. Hey, we didn’t have that problem. The PLQ took the stage and opened up with a jam, oh my god no way!! Yes of course. During the jam I said to Matt, ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ and sure enough that was the opener. As the jam went on, I went to the men’s room where prior to going in I ran into my buddy Andy, who I went to my first Grateful Dead shows with way back in September of 1987 in Providence. I hung with him for a beer. Another crappy thing about the Orpheum is that you can’t bring your beer to your seat. Great no dancing, no beer and of course no smoking. I actually watched security throw people out left and right for smoking cigarettes. I don’t know about the venue, but the music kept getting stronger. Highlights included the ‘Eyes of the World>Mason’s Children’ to shut down the 1st set was top notch, but not to be outdone, the 2nd set opener of ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy>Not Fade Away>Bertha’ was thumping. I was dancing my Itzy Shuffle with a few new moves. Great second set overall. Once the opening notes of the encore ‘The Reel Thing’ began, we were out the door and headed to Chinatown for a post game snack. Later on a few more heads came in and we asked if we missed anything and the head said, ‘another cover.’ Which turned out to be ‘Into the Mystic.’ Fortunately for me, I saw Warren sing it twice this summer with the Allman Brothers, plus we saw him sing in with the PLQ two years ago at the Orpheum as well. Oh yeah, one last complaint, there was no commemorative poster, rather they had overstock over past tours. Thanks a lot. What’s with that?
Pick Up The Pieces
There is a show coming up 12/22 in Marin with Sammy Hagar, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir and Friends. It’s a week after Warren’s X-Mas Jam in Asheville, so we’ll see who shows up.
I will be at the Phish 20th anniversary show next week at the Fleet Center prior to heading back to Los Angeles.
My favorite color is blue.
R.I.P to Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield and to former MLB player, Ken Brett, who was the youngest pitcher ever to appear in a World Series game with the Red Sox in 1967.
Even though S.N.L has seen better days, the ‘Barry Gibb Talk Show’ with Jimmy Fallon cracked me up on the show that Justin Timberlake hosted a few weeks back.
My early vote for Rookie of the Year in the N.H.L is Boston’s Patrice Bergeron. Watch him play, he doesn’t dazzle, but he is so smart with the puck. Gretzkyesque. You read it here first.
Finally, the miss-out of the month. I meant to call my friends who were going to see ‘Mighty Wind’ live a few weeks back. Only to find out that they went as foursome and one of the members was my friend’s mom who is close to 90 and didn’t get it. Oh Itzy, you really blew that one.
Who’s my plus one?
See You Next Month,

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