The following entry is from contributing writer Jared Zeide.
It is an interesting time for both music lovers and the music industry. This year proved to me yet again that bands from the 1990’s and earlier are still carrying the mantle of rock and roll — and will continue to carry it.
To see so many reunited bands including the Stone Temple Pilots, the Verve, the Breeders, the Police, and the Smashing Pumpkins in addition to legends like Pearl Jam, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Neil Young, Radiohead, Ani DiFranco, and AC/DC in 2008 was truly remarkable.
This is not to say there are no post-1990’s bands I enjoy, but few of them are heavy hitters on the concert circuit. The Eagles followed Madonna and Celine Dion as the highest grossing acts of 2008 – not exactly a group of spring chickens.
I did see a number of smaller shows with talented artists like Mancino, CSS, Geoff Hartwell, Holler Wild Rose, and Erin McKeown, but the reality of the music industry today is that as a music lover you need to do a little more homework to find a great artist.
Gone are the days when you could listen to terrestrial radio, or watch MTV’s Alternative Nation and 120 Minutes to hear new and exciting music – terrestrial music is now filled with commercials and overplayed songs, and MTV sold its soul a long time ago to promote pop music puppets and teen reality shows. The modern age of great music hunting involves MySpace band pages, commercial-free satellite radio, Internet radio, and the easy swapping of MP3 files.
Coldplay seems to be the anomaly of this post 1990’s trend. Although technically they did release some songs before 2000, so far they are the rock band of the 2000’s, selling millions of albums and racking up an impressive catalog in a short amount of time. But most people reading this blog could name several bands from the 1990’s who did the same thing (if you really don’t know just look to the first paragraph).
Despite all of this, I take comfort in knowing in 2008 I saw so many bands touring from a time before Britney Spears – unfortunately my grandchildren will never see Angus Young running half naked nor will they hear the soothing voice of Don Henley. I take even greater comfort knowing some of music’s finest artists will rock again in 2009 and beyond.
Here are my 2008 Concert Highlights:
• Ace Frehley joining Pearl Jam on stage to perform Kiss’s Black Diamond
• The Smashing Pumpkins whip out a blazing version of Bodies
• Neil Young plays three songs from 1969’s Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere, including a killer full-length version of Cowgirl in the Sand
• Radiohead playing a perfect version of Climbing Up the Walls to a crowd of thousands at Liberty State Park
• Beck and his drummer, Matt Sherod, carrying the band through a heavenly cosmic version of Chemtrails• •
• Mike McCready’s solo during Pearl’s Jam’s modernized version of the now 17 year-old Garden
• The passion of the crowd at All Points West for the up and coming band CSS
• Oasis performing Slide Away
• Joe Walsh running around the stage at Madison Square Garden with a camera helmet
• Scott Weiland hitting every note with a reunited Stone Temple Pilots at Jones Beach
• Tori Amos playing a plethora of new songs to a crowd at the WaMu Theater that actually wanted to hear them
• Steve Winwood joining Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on stage for Can’t Find My Way Home at Madison Square Garden