AC/DC at HSBC Arena, Buffalo

Posted by Frankly Francis on October 19, 2009 under Music/Musicians | Be the First to Comment

AC/DC: They Bring It

Angus Young

Angus Young

Tonight, I thoroughly enjoyed myself at AC/DC’s sold-out show in Buffalo, New York.  Thought I’d share some concert thoughts:

Formed in 1973, AC/DC continues to rock in their straight forward, no frills way.  It has always been and continues to be pure guitar driven music.  And these guys are not the pansy rockers from the last few decades – they are the real deal.  I have a feeling that they’d just as soon fight as have a drink in a bar…well, maybe both.

AC/DC has the unique ability to make you feel good about being bad, but that is what Rock & Roll has always been about, isn’t it?

They played a lot of standards with a nice sprinkle of new material that presumably will become future standards, notably among them were “Big Jack,” “War Machine,” and I especially enjoyed “Anything Goes.”  Personally, I was very pleased that “The Jack,” “Whole Lotta Rosie,” and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” were still in the set list.

Angus Young is one of the most physical guitar players I have ever seen perform.  His solo at the end of the show was tremendous – a real treat!

Can’t say that I was awed by the sentry positions that the rhythm guitar player (Malcolm Young) and bass player (Cliff Williams) took around the drummer (Phil Rudd, who I might add smokes like I do) – it left a lot of unused stage.

Also, lead singer Brian Johnson’s voice seemed to weaken as the show went on.  I can’t imagine how anyone could sing AC/DC material for nearly two hours without some loss of vocal chords, but by the end of the show he was back in command.  Hopefully he can keep going for the shows ahead.

Nonetheless, these are the most minor of criticisms and are probably only my own.  The crowd sure had a great time.  And as I said before, so did I.

Now, for a little local flavor: Buffalo is a drinking town with a sports problem.  As the fates would have it, The Buffalo Bills were playing the New York Jets in overtime while the opening act, (The Answer) was on stage.  Almost everyone was in the hallways (including myself) watching the game on the plethora of TV screens and only a few people were inside hearing the band – tough time for an opening act.  I would hazard to guess that in all of Rock & Roll history, never have so many people been inside an arena for a show without watching the band.

All in all, an excellent evening.



The Baroque Cycle – Neal Stephenson

Posted by Frankly Francis on October 15, 2009 under Books/Authors | 2 Comments to Read

I have recently finished reading, over the course of this year, Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle.  It comprises three volumes entitled “Quicksilver,” “The Confusion.” and “The System of the World.”


It was not a light weight exercise, as the three books amount to almost 3,000 pages.  Stephenson can make Michener look like a short story writer.  However, if the writing is good, length or brevity is of no concern to me.  For the record, I, personally, think the writing is excellent.

The Confusion

I have found that the smarter I get, the more I realize how much I don’t know.  Stephenson makes me feel like a complete idiot.

The System of the World

Many, many years ago, my good friend Fast Eddy handed me a copy of “Snow Crash” and told me that it was mandatory reading.  It was one of Stephenson’s earliest published works (1992).  It detailed an Internet that I would like to experience before I take the Big Sleep.  It was intriguing and I’ve been reading his books ever since.

Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson

The Baroque Cycle, covering the second half of the 17th and early 18th centuries, covers a lot of concepts, history, and geography.  As I mentioned, it can get fairly deep, but it is still very entertaining.  So many thanks to the author for doing an incredible amount of research, and then spending the time and effort to write this series of books.

By the way, Eddy tells me that Stephenson’s latest published work, “Anathem” is his best yet.  Can’t wait to get to it!



Music! Music! Music!

Posted by Frankly Francis on October 6, 2009 under Music/Musicians | 8 Comments to Read

“Without music, life would be a mistake” – Fredrich Nietzsche

Music has always been a large part of my life.  It helps me connect the dots.  In my early years I was trained and played the trumpet, and then moved on to the French horn.

April 1, 1972 was my first rock concert.  Dr. John opened for Emerson, Lake & Palmer at the venerable Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo.  Wow!  Don’t think I’ll ever forget that concert…Life Changing Implications.

I took up the bass guitar and began my career as a Rock Star with my band, Shoko.  Notably, I had the opportunity to perform with Chris Kinkade, who happens to be an incredible earthling (singer, actor, harpist & holistic healer), along with Bob Kinkel (Co-Founder of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra & a guy who took what we were doing a little too seriously, thankfully).

Frankly Francis, Chris kinkade & Bob Kinkel

Frankly Francis, Chris kinkade & Bob Kinkel

But in my case, alas, it turns out that I can appreciate music much better than I can perform it.

Maybe it’s the fall air, maybe just dredging up some memories, but I decided to jot down the artists that I’ve seen perform (including some thoughts as I deem appropriate) to share with you.  It’s been a nice exercise – one that you might want to enjoy doing yourself.

Like how when you hear a particular song, it will remind you of a moment in time or an event that happened, concerts can also walk with us through life.  At least many do for me.

I’ve left off classical, jazz, gospel, opera, and musicals from the list.  I’m sure that I’ve missed some, due to age or other mind-altering influences, but here (in alphabetical order) it ‘tis:

54-40 – 2X
Aerosmith – Multiple shows, but Stephen Tyler’s voice was never once solid
The Alarm
Randy Bachman (of The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive)
Marcia Ball
Better Than Ezra
Black 47
Blood, Sweat & Tears – 2X
The Blow Monkeys
Blue Oyster Cult – 2X
Bow Wow Wow
David Bowie – Perhaps my favorite concert of all
The Box
Garth Brooks – No. 3 Daughter’s first concert
Jimmy Buffet
The Byrds
Bruce Cockburn
Joe Cocker
Collective Soul – First time was great, the 2nd time is known as “The Collective Disaster”
Crash Test Dummies
The Cult
Burton Cummings (of The Guess Who)
The Del Lords
Mickey Dolenz (Of The Monkees) – Tried to meet him as a boy, but got to as an adult
Dr. John – First concert, then got to meet him many years later
Duke Jupiter
Emerson, Lake & Palmer – 2X
Mark Farner (Of Grand Funk Railroad)
The Forgotten Rebels – Mickey DeSadist where are you?
Gov’t Mule
The Grapes of Wrath
Great Big Sea
The Guess Who
The Headstones
The James Gang
The Jeff Healy Band
Ken Hensley (Of Uriah Heep)
Humble Pie – Peter Frampton was still playing lead guitar
Iron Maiden
J. Geils Band
Jethro Tull – 2X
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Tom Jones
Kid Creole & The Coconuts
Level 42
Living Colour
Lover Boy
Lynyrd Skynyrd – A couple of times before they fell from the sky
Chuck Mangione – Sadly & ironically, a couple of his musicians fell from the sky in Buffalo not too long ago
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Missing Persons
Kim Mitchell (of Max Webster)
Montrose – Sammy Hagar was lead singer at the time
Moxy Fruvous
National Velvet
The Northern Pikes
Ted Nugent
Our Lady Peace
Pegasus – Mark Freeland – Thanks in a big way!
The Pretenders – Debbie & I had the lower right box at Shea’s – incredible!
The Psychedelic Furs – Many times.  No. 2 daughter’s first concert.  Years after that, finally got to have a smoke with Richard Butler
The Pursuit Of Happiness
The PushStars – Ah, those shows were always fun
The Ramones – No. 1 Daughter’s first concert.  Next time around No. 2 daughter saw them.  Both were under 10 years, but I told them some day they would fully realize the importantance of seeing the Ramones
Leon Redbone – Saw a few times and who is he anyways?
Patti Rothberg – Debut release party at our club.  Went nowhere and neither did the club
Savoy Brown
Southern Culture On The Skids – No.2 Daughter was asked on stage to toss chicken at the audience
The Spinners
The Spirit Of The West – 2X
Split Enz
Spooky Tooth
The Stampeders
The Stereophonics
Talas – Many, many times and many thanks for the memories
The Tea Party
Tears For Fears
They Might Be Giants – 2X
Three Dog Night
Timbuk 3
The Tragically Hip – A few times.  They were supposed to play at our club, but…
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra – My first real All Access Pass!
Pat Travers
The Trews
The Tubes – 2X.  Once in Buffalo, Once in LA
U2 – Saw them in a bar May 1982
Universal Honey
Uriah Heep – Saw multiple times.  Still one of my all time favorite bands
The Violent Femmes
The Watchmen
The Wild Strawberries
Hank Williams III – His Grandpa must be proud
Johhny Winter
Trisha Yearwood
Z.Z. Top – Saw many times, always good

What shows had meaning for you?  Please feel free to share.  I enjoy discussing this subject.