The Bucket List
June 20, 2014
Somewhere in the next 36 hours, I'll be checking another item off the bucket list.
I've always been a fan of Elvis -- and by that I mean Costello more so than Presley. Finally, I get to see him play live.
Even better ... at the historic Ryman Auditorium.
I still own the original, vinyl copy of Costello's first album, "My Aim Is True," a collection that contains one of my all-time favorite songs, "Alison."
Originally perceived as an angry, new-wave rocker, Costello quickly established himself as one of the most musically diverse artists of all time. He caught me off guard with 1981's "Almost Blue," covering Country classics from Hank Sr., Merle Haggard, George Jones and Gram Parsons among others.
I was relatively new to Country in 1981, but drank this album up. Here was this renegade rocker singing some of the same stuff I was playing on the radio. I wasn't really all-in on the Country thing back then, but I figured if Elvis Costello grew up with it and found it worth recording, it had to be cool. And I should have known Costello would have such a great feel for Country, after I'd fallen in love with a cut from his "Trust" album, which preceded "Almost Blue."
I remember hearing "Different Finger" and bringing it to Tom Casey, my PD at KZLA, urging him to play it. But I was merely the eccentric, sleep-deprived overnight guy at the time; I think he just humored me by even listening to it. I mean, can you imagine any Country station playing Elvis Costello in '81?
As he continued to widen his musical horizons, I liked Elvis Costello even more, but never had the chance to see him play live. That changes this weekend!
It got me thinking once again about who are left on my bucket list of artists. Tom Jones was, but I saw him a couple of months ago, also at The Ryman. I guess I was expecting a huge band - maybe even an orchestra - and a set list that included every one of his huge songs. Instead - and not a bad thing at all - he had a four-piece band of Nashville musicians assembled just for this show. Jones mentioned rehearsing with them to prep for the Ryman performance for most of the previous week.
Of course, he played "She's Not Unusual" and I think, "Delilah." But, there was a strong Gospel and Country feel to the set list, too. It was more subdued than I'd expected but I loved it just the same. The guy is in his 70s and still has terrific command of that wonderful voice.
So, now that Elvis Costello and Tom Jones are off, here goes my updated bucket list, in no particular order. Of course, it's subject to change, based on my whim on any given day.
- Kenny Chesney in an NFL Stadium. I have seen Kenny before, but it's been eight years and never in the stadium setting. So few acts in any genre can command an audience of this size, but I hear Kenny does it with ease. He just released a killer single, "American Kid,s" and after a year off the road, I know he'll be back. I hope I get to see him again.
- The Rolling Stones. I've never been the biggest Stones fan, but if I never see them live I know I'll have missed out. My interest grew after reading Keith Richard's autobiography, "Life."
- The Who. In a perfect world, this show includes drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle but until we all get to Rock & Roll heaven, that's not happening, so it'll have to be Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend. A few years ago, I saw Daltrey, with Pete's brother Simon playing guitar and that falls into the "Close but no cigar" category, so I'll keep waiting for a Who tour announcement.
- Elton John. In hindsight, I shoulda gone to Bonnaroo this year.
- Billy Joel. Maybe if he and Elton would tour together again, I could kill two birds with one stone.
- Garth Brooks. Him, I've seen. Numerous times. But when he comes out again, I'll go again as many times as possible.
- Merle Haggard. I've also seen him many times, but not for a long time. I need at least one more show.
- Eminem. Similar to The Stones, I am not a huge fan, but I think he's an amazing artist that I must see.
- Led Zeppelin. At this point, it seems they may never get together again. I saw them twice in one week, back in 1977. That was a long time ago. Even without John Bonham, I'd go. Maybe Jason, John's son would sub. Close enough.
- The Kinks. If only to hear "Lola."
- Rush. Three guys, so much noise. If only to hear "The Spirit Of Radio" .
- Katy Perry
- Lady Gaga
- Jack White
- Tom Petty
Okay, so what artists are on your list? I know you have one. Everybody does. Respond in the comments section below or mail me at: email@example.com.