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LA FLORIDIANA
 by William Moriaty
No column this week due to power outages in Plant City

THIS WEEK'S MOVIE REVIEW
"The Forgotten"
 by Mike Smith

THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
Reviews of the latest CD releases from: Green Day, The Libertines, The Black Keys, The Concretes, The Faint
 by Terence Nuzum

COUCH POTATO
Fanzine Memoirs, Part 4....Not your file-stealing teen’s Napster....Michael Moore’s Slacker tour
 by Vinnie Blesi

ODDSERVATIONS
Guest Oddservations: Filmmaker Andrew Allan on the passing of Russ Meyer
 by Andy Lalino

SPLASH PAGE
Things I Didn’t Know but Probably Should Have – The Star Wars version....More Things, NON-Star Wars Related....Gruden has led us to the end....One Last Question
 by Brandon Jones

MATT'S RAIL
Debate? Not Really....He's King! He's Kong!
 by Matt Drinnenberg

MIKE'S RANT
Finally!....Love You Live....TagliaBOO....Meet The Beatles, Part 36
 by Mike Smith

LETTERS
Flash Fantastic
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2004!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our fifth calendar year!
    Number 236  (Vol. 5, No. 40). This edition is for the week of September 27--October 3, 2004.

  The Overlooked Hurricane
  A surprise attack from Jeanne.
  More clean-up and repairs after Florida's fourth hit.
PLUS...
•  Matt's challenge: The Top Ten Live Albums of All Time
•  Mike's Trip to the Big Apple

I think I went on record somewhere as saying Hurricane Ivan was likely the last big storm we Floridians would have to worry about. Activity out in the Atlantic was encouraging as late as Friday of last week, where radar showed the approach of Hurricane Jeanne, already responsible for over 1500 deaths in Haiti (and that's when it was "only" a tropical storm), while heading our way, was only expected to skim our easternmost edges, take a sharp turn to the north and head out to the open water just east of Jacksonville.

It's incredible to think about this now, but I actually went to work Saturday night thinking this north turn, delayed already by several hours, would still happen and spare us another catastrophe. Each hour on the hour, I'd listen to the radio news reports hoping they'd say, "well, Jeanne has finally turned northward...," but no. No, not until close to 5:00am the day of the storm, Sunday, was it evident that Tampa was going to receive another direct, or near-direct hit from another Tropical Monster. Any northward turns were small and incremental, the track persisted in its western motion. Evacuations were manifested as panicky cluster-f*cks as it was evident that the storm revealed its plans simply too late in the game to do anybody any good. We were stuck.

You'd think that after living here all my life I'd be used to the unpredictable nature of these beasts, but I gotta tell ya, it never gets any easier.

I will say considering we've been battered by three hurricanes (Ivan did not affect Tampa except for tidal surges), Tampa got off relatively light, save for the always annoying flooding and power outages. Crews are working overtime to restore power but it will take longer for many since electricians were drafted to help in other states with Hurricane Ivan damage.

I never lost power this time, but I do have a lot of yard debris, a limb on the roof, and a damaged screen porch that needs repair that I must attend to, so I'll be keeping my personal PCR contributions fairly short this week.


Matt's Challenge
In last week's Rail, Matt asked if we had ever done a Top 10 challenge regarding Best Live Albums. I could've sworn that we did, but neither one of us were able to find it, so we surmised what we must've done before was talk about it, but never implemented it. So to right this old wrong, we present our newest challenge: The Top 10 Best Live Albums of All Time, for the first(?) time! Old friend Derrek Carriveau, direct from his new home in Wroclaw, Poland, scores the first hit below.


The Top 10 Best Live Albums of All Time      by Derrek Carriveau
Hey Nolan, You know I can never resist a challenge when it comes to music. I don't have my full collection at my disposal, so I have this vague sense that I have omitted something important. But, as I was never a big fan of live albums, I'm pretty sure this is pretty accurate. Here goes, in alpha order:

1. The Afghan Whigs - Live at Howlin' Wolf. This is kind of cheating, as this is not an official release. It was a 4-song promo put out to help support 1965, I believe. But, as every track is an absolute killer, I would be remiss in not including it. After the Whigs broke up, there was talk of putting out a GH package and a live album. I was (am still) hoping that this full show is the one they release. One of the few live albums that I've heard where you really feel the energy of a show. Here's hoping that The Twilight Singers (Greg Dulli's new project) one day grace me with a live set.
2. The Archers of Loaf - Seconds Before the Accident. I picked this one up not realizing that it was a live album. After getting into Crooked Fingers (who I would love to see put out a live one themselves), I was in the process of picking up AoL stuff as I came across it used. Turns out that I listen to this one far more than any of their studio output. Great songs, minimal crowd noise but with some annoying patter. This has an awesome version of "White Trash Heroes" and a heartbreaking rendition of "Chumming the Ocean."
3. Jeff Buckley - Live at Sine (Legacy Edition). Originally put out as a 4-song sampler, this was fleshed out into a 2-disc set. Just Buckley and a guitar at a bar in NY. It is interesting to see him run through some covers and to hear how fully-formed the songs were that would eventually make Grace, his lone studio output during his brief life.
4. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Live Seeds. A strong run through his catalogue right before the advent of his crooning phase, this is how every live album should be. Great songs played well without a lot of bullshit. Highlights include his reworking of "The Mercy Seat" and "From Her to Eternity."
5. Leonard Cohen - Field Commander Cohen. Taken from his 1979 tour, this finds LC at the height of his live vocal prowess. This was right when his voice was going from the Dylan-esque nasal tone to the ragged thing of beauty we have today. He was still able to carry the melody and with a cracker jack back-up band, every one of these tracks really shine. My favorite may be the title track, mainly because the studio version didn't do much for me, and this made me go back and give it another listen.
6. Faith No More - Live at the Brixton Academy. Sure, this was a perfunctionary UK release put out to take advantage of the unexpected success of The Real Thing, but I still dig it. It was cool to hear Patton sing "We Care a Lot" and the bonus (studio) track "The Cowboy Song" is still one of my favorites by these guys.
7. Metallica - S&M. Okay, I thought that this album was really fucking cool - so sue me. Recorded live with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, this shouldn't have worked. Yet it did. For me, anyway.
8. Ministry - In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up. This also gets the nod for my favorite live album title. What I liked about this was the live instrumentation take on the songs from The Land of Rape and Honey, which were largely electronic in their studio version. The end of "Stigmata" is chaos caught on tape and is fucking amazing.
9. Portishead - Roseland NYC. This one is subtle and it took quite a few listens to catch it all. Although backed by a string section, I didn't notice that big of a difference between these songs and their studio counterparts. With the lone exception of "Sour Times (Nobody Loves Me)," that is. I admired that they took their most identifiable song and rendered it unidentifiable.
10. 16 Horsepower - Hoarse. This just may be my favorite live album of all time. Blistering, passionate and intense, with great sound quality and no stage patter. Great song selection and some great covers (which I love in a live album setting) including an astounding version of "Bad Moon Rising" which captures the inherent creepiness of the song that CCR (probably purposefully) kept hidden. Not saying that one approach is better, just saying. My only complaint is that they recorded this before they put out Secret South and so they didn't play "Wayfaring Stranger." Pick this one up, kiddies.

The Top 10 Best Live Albums of All Time      by Brandon Jones

No way I can get the list down to ten, so I cheat a little, hope you’ll indulge me.

10. A tie between B.B. King “Live at the Regal” and Stevie Ray Vaughn “Live at Carnegie Hall”. By far my two favorite Blues Albums of all-time. Timeless classics.
9. "You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Volume 2". (recorded in Helsinki) by Frank Zappa. It was 1988, which was a critical time in my life. I don’t have the album anymore after loaning it to someone, but I can hear in my head right now. Miss you Frank.
8. "101" – Depeche Mode - My God, did we love this band. The Live album re-invented so many songs and then we saw them in concert. That was pretty much it – all downhill from there, but I still prefer “101” to the studio cuts.
7. "Rock N Roll Animal" – Lou Reed. This is my favorite driving album of all time. Makes me feel like I was there, obviously I was a little young, but I can dream.
6. "Live at Leeds" – The Who. The Rock N Roll heavens opened and gave us the greatest moments of The Who. Amazing.
5. Beach Boys Live in Concert 1973 – I grew up on this double LP. My Mom played this over and over and over. I don’t have a copy, but I don’t need one. It’s burned into my musical database. Always reminds me of learning how to hang out to listen to music….from my Mom?
4. Ramones "It’s Alive" & Sex Pistols "Live and Loud!" - What can I say? I love Punk.
3. U2 “Under a Blood Red Sky” – My favorite band and I don’t consider the recent DVD a Live album. Best concerts of my life. The impact of their music in my life is eerie.
2. “Stop Making Sense” Talking Heads. My intro to the band from a Talking Head nut. The concert movie put the visuals with the lyrics and I was hooked. I can only wish the radio would play the Live versions of these classics. Guess I should note it was directed by Jonathan Demme.
1. Jimi Hendrix Live – Anywhere, anytime. I drive my wife muts with this one. Live at Woodstock, Isle of Wright, The Filmore – take your pick. I can absorb them all endlessly. Jimi was the pinnacle of Rock n’ Roll for me.

I could go on and on. How could I leave off Dylan, The Doors or Pink Floyd?

The Top 10 Best Live Albums of All Time      by Matt Drinnenberg

1. Ted Nugent/Double Live Gonzo: Honestly, I'm just not sure if there has ever been a release that personifies true rock and roll like this does. Jam-packed with his greatest tunes, Ted plays them all with a ferocity not often witnessed in music today. If someone asked me why I loved rock and roll, I'd give them this album to show them why.
2. Paul McCartney and Wings/Wings over America: Okay, okay. So I blast this guy and often remark how Lennon was the true mastermind behind the Beatles, but I gotta give credit where credit is due. This is a wonderful mix of Paul classics, then new songs which are now classics, and a couple Beatle tunes for good measure. Recorded during the Venus and Mars tour when McCartney was at his greatest.
3. Rolling Stones/Get Yer Ya Ya's Out: There have been many a Stones live album. Seems every decade has its own version, whether it's Got Live if You Want It, Love You Live, or Still Life. And while those are all excellent in their own right, I gotta give the nod to GYYYO, which finds the boys in their heyday rocking in the '70s. Must admit, though, that if "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones" had ever made it to vinyl, that would have taken not only this spot, but supplanted Ted's DLG as well.
4. The Eagles/Live: While I have a sentimental soft spot for Hell Freezes Over due to its reunion factor, it is their Live offering from the '70s that really demonstrates how diverse this band really was. Seven Bridges Road, Take it Easy, and Life in the Fast Lane are but a few of the offerings on this set. The bonus is that Randy Meisner was still with them, so you also get the incredible Take It to the Limit as well.
5. Peter Frampton/Frampton Comes Alive: What is considered by many to be the greatest live album of all time comes in at a mere no. 5 on my list. Admittedly, it's a fun album, and Frampton's energy comes thru on every tune. And let's face it, his career was NOTHING until this was released, and that pretty much says it all.
6. Judas Priest/Unleashed in the East: One word sums it up.....Whoa! Searing and aggressive, this is what metal is all about. You only have to listen to The Ripper to understand. Easily my favorite live heavy metal effort, only slightly surpassing.....
7. Ozzy Osbourne/Tribute: What a great way to honor the memory of his lost friend by giving his fans a chance to hear, one last time, the genius that was Randy Rhodes. Gone long before his time, Rhodes was a carnival of creation by guitarists' standards. One of those guys that, when you listen to him play, just makes you smile. What a shame he's no longer with us. What a great tribute to his mastery.
8. Bob Seeger/Live Bullet: Man oh man, does this set rock. He came out with another live album in the '80s which I believe was called "Nine Tonite", but as with most bands there is just a certain edge to their performances when their "up and coming" as opposed to "arrived". This is "up and coming" at it's finest.
9. Billy Joel/Songs in the Attic: I was very confused when I first saw this on base in Bremerhaven, Germany. Advertised as Joel's first live album, I noticed immediately that I recognized only about 3 songs, none of which were hits. The included notes mention that these were tunes Joel always loved to play live and, thus, wanted to share them with his fans. He did such a good job, he made my top ten.
10. Led Zepplin/The Song Remains the Same: It's funny. Although I always loved their studio efforts, I never really cared for this when it first came out. Now, however, I fully realize how ignorant and stupid that stance was. This is, to me, the shining example of this band, laying the blues, rock, and grit all on the line, and leaving nothing lost.

There you have it. My top ten live albums of all time. Are there others that just missed this list? Of course there are. That's true with every list, but as Nolan says...."if I was on a deserted island and had a turntable and electricity...."

The Top 10 Best Live Albums of All Time      by Mike Smith

(The following list also appears in this week's Mike's Rant. ---Nolan)

1. Live at Budokan - Cheap Trick. While they were developing a following in the states, this band from Rockford, Illinois was huge in Japan. This album catches them just as they begin their rise to the top here at home.
2. Live: 1975-1985 - Bruce Springsteen. The closest you can come to experiencing the Boss live, you can almost feel the heat and sweat coming off his body and feel the crowd move to the sounds of the Big Man blowing on his sax.
3. The Concert for Bangladesh - Various artists. Before Live Aid, this was the charity get together of all time. Harrison, Clapton and others donate their talents for a worthy cause. Bonus - Grammy for Album of the Year.
4. Wings at the Speed of Sound - Wings. Finally comfortable with his new band, Paul McCartney took them on a tour of the states to support the album "Venus and Mars."
4a. Trippin' the Light Fantastic - Paul McCartney. Same as above, but a better combination of solo stuff and Beatles classics. Nothing like doing the "nah nah nah nahs" with 30,000 people at the end of "Hey Jude."
5. One for the Road - The Kinks. A great tour, circa 1980, delivered a live album of classics.
6. KOHUEPT - Billy Joel. Joel took his band to Russia and rocked the Kremlin. Captures the energy the Piano Man delivers when he's playing to a full house.
7. Hot August Night - Neil Diamond. My mom played this thing to death and it slowly grew on me. Diamond is much more animated here (early 70's) then he was the three times I saw him live in the 80s/90s. Besides, no matter how much I yelled he wouldn't play the damn "ET" song!
8. Original Soundtrack - The Buddy Holly Story. I count this album as all of the songs were played and recorded live during the filming. Kudos to Gary Busey, Charles Martin Smith and Don Stroud, for having the guts to take on a legend and succeed.
9. LIVE - William Shatner. OK, laugh. But a double LP of Shatner spinning stories and singing songs is priceless.
10. The Kitchen Tapes - The HATS. Nolan, Matt, Corey, Scott V.S. and I kick musical ass and take names at 108 Ida Street.


BACK IN THE APPLE    by Michael A. Smith

My last visit to New York City was in 1999. The occasion was the annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids Broadway Flea Market. I had attended the event from the beginning, watching it grow from a small gathering to a major event. All monies raised are used in the continuing fight against AIDS. The first year, around $50,000 was raised. In 1999, almost 10 times that much. This year, my son, Phillip, and I took the opportunity to hit the Big Apple to witness first hand the battle between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox in hallowed Yankee Stadium. And, coincidentally, it was also the same weekend as the flea market, so a fun time was guaranteed for all.

FRIDAY
We arrive at the KC airport at 430 am for our 5:45 flight. Arrive at LaGuardia airport on time, 1145 am. Since we carried our bags on, we rushed to a taxi and rode into the city. After being dropped at Times Square, we had lunch at the ESPN Zone and then headed to the Port Authority. A mere $2.60 took us by bus to our hotel in New Jersey, about a 20 min ride, but worth it. The cheapest hotel I could find on line in Manhattan was almost $300.00 a night. For $129.00 a night, we had a beautiful room/suite at the Amerisuites with all of the amenities. And the bus schedule was perfect. Leaving the hotel every 20 mins. And from NYC, the same, with the last bus leaving at 1:00 am. After freshening up, we changed clothes and headed back to the city. We went to the TKTS booth, which is sponsored by the various Broadway theaters. Here, you can buy tickets to most current shows for up to 50% off. To Phillip's (and my) chagrin, tickets for "The Producers" were not available. As much as I would like to see the show, I wasn't prepared to pay $100 a ticket to stand in the back, especially with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick out of the show. I must admit that I was tempted though, as Hunter Foster was playing the role of Leo Bloom, originally played by Broderick. I had met Hunter years ago when the musical "Grease" played Washington D.C. on it's way to Broadway. He was very nice, even after I commented that the actress that played Jenny Anydots in the recent tour of "Cats" had sucked. How was I to know that she was Hunter's girlfriend. Deciding that Phillip, who mocks my interest in musical theater, would mostly enjoy either "Rent" or "Phantom of the Opera," we approached the ticket window. The seats for "Rent" were scattered, so we snagged two ducats for that evening's performance of "Phantom," third row in the orchestra. Total cost, $55.00. After dinner we headed to the Majestic theater, where I had seen "Phantom" twice before, including the first month it opened (it is now in it's 17th year) with the great Michael Crawford. Still griping quietly, I assured Phillip that when the show was over he would be humming the score all the way home. "Not bloody likely," he told me. As we took our seats I pointed out where I had sat years ago and the various places of interest, including the orchestra pit which was directly in front of us. The show was excellent. Tonight's Phantom, Hugh Panaro, did an incredible job. His Phantom was more frantic then Crawford's, and he put his own stamp on the role. I really enjoyed the view from our seats as for the first time I was able to see the Phantom's make up clearly. The show ended, with Phillip rising to his feet to give Panaro a well deserved Standing Ovation. As we made our way down the street, I overheard a familiar tune and realized that Phillip was indeed humming the score. I stopped and looked at him and for a second he continued, then caught himself and smiled. We passed by B.B. Kings theater and noticed on the marquee that MTV/Jackass star Steve O was appearing. Sadly the show had already started, so we were spared the image of him stapling his testicles to his thigh. Back to the hotel we went for a much needed nights sleep.

SATURDAY
We rise at 10:00 am, put on our newly purchased Boston Red Sox hats, and head back to Manhattan. From there, we take the D train to the Bronx. I am happy to see that there are many Red Sox fans with us, though we do get the occasional glare from a Yankee fan. When we arrive, we are handed plastic bags by the ticket takers. At first I thought, wow, how cheap, instead of bat day or hat day it must be plastic bag day. Of course, I realized that, due to the after effects of Hurricane Ivan, rain has been predicted for the afternoon, so it was actually very thoughtful of them. Before we enter the stadium proper, we are searched and wanded (better security then the airport). Also, anyone wearing shirts with the word "SUCKS" on them are asked to remove them, i.e. "RED SOX SUCK!." My favorite shirt is worn by several Red Sox fans. It shows a bearded Johnny Damon, his long hair flowing, with "W.W.J.D.D" underneath, a play on the "What Would Jesus Do" shirts, asking "What Would Johnny Damon Do?" Don't know what happened to Johnny. When he played here in KC he was always clean shaven. We take our seats in the family section of bleachers and begin to take in the sites of famed Yankee Stadium. I had been there once before to see the Orioles, but didn't have the time to tour it. We saw the monuments and I pointed to the spot where Mickey Mantle had hit a ball. The spot was the facing at the top of the stadium, which was the only thing that kept the ball from going out of the park. According to the story, the ball was still going up when it hit the facing 540 feet from home plate. We talked to some friendly Yankee fans, explaining that we were actually Oriole fans. However, with the O's fighting for third place, we thought we'd do some Yankee hating. Of course, the game turned into a nightmare, with the Yanks scoring 5 in the first inning, which got the Yankee backers in the bleachers to point at us (and others wearing Red Sox garb) and chant, "ASSSSSSSSSSS-HOLLLLLLLLLLLE." Thankfully we were in the family section. I can only imagine what they would have chanted otherwise. It got chilly so I went for some hot chocolate. After waiting 15 mins in line, I ordered and was told they didn't sell hot chocolate. I pointed to the menu board and the line that read, "HOT CHOCOLATE $2.00" I also pointed to the clearly labeled Hot Chocolate machine on the counter. I was told, "Yeah, but they don't work." Oh well. At least the hot dogs were tasty. Not as good as the delicious franks served at Camden Yards but much better then the crap they serve here at Kaufman Stadium. The Sox kept getting rocked, but we vowed we would stay at least until the Red Sox got a hit. Finally, at the top of the 7th, Hideki Matsui dropped a caught ball over the fence for a Red Sox home run, their first hit of the game. A humiliating 14-4 loss later, we walked along the streets of the Bronx, cheerfully taking in the good natured razzes of the Yankee faithful. Back in Manhattan, we did some shopping and headed back to the hotel. Had a nice dinner and then went to see "Mr. 3000" so I would have a film to review for the PCR. Which makes this a working trip. Guess I can submit my receipts to Nolan for reimbursement.

SUNDAY
After breakfast, we checked out and headed to Times Square one last time to attend the flea market. When we arrived on Friday, I kept telling Phillip that, even though there are 10 million people in NYC, we will only see the same 10 over and over again. And we did. We kept seeing the people on the flight in with us, or the guys who sat behind us at the ball game. As if to prove my point, we weren't at the flea market five minutes then I spy one of my best friends from Baltimore, the one and only Marty Kircher. I point him out to Phillip and tell him to go up and say hello to him to see if he recognizes him. As Phillip is talking to Marty, who is staring at him quizzically, I am attacked from behind by Marty's wife, Donna, who has recognized me. After hugs are exchanged and Marty shows me his "Ladder 49" t shirt (the movie was filmed in Baltimore and Marty was the productions' projectionist), we decide to meet for lunch later as Phillip and I have planned to go to Ground Zero. We take a cab to the financial district, and I begin to feel a loss that I hadn't yet felt. When we would drive to NYC from Baltimore, it was always a great feeling to see the twin towers looming over the city. Now, looking up, all I see is bright sky. After we arrived, we go down into the subway station that has been rebuilt. A large fence surrounds the grounds where once stood the most recognizable buildings in the world. An almost hushed atmosphere permeates the site as people very quietly move about and take photos. Surrounding buildings are still covered with large tarps, giving a hint at how much work is still needed to repair them. In the middle of the area is a cross made from two beams of the fallen buildings. In the background an American flag billows. We say a quick silent prayer at the memorial for flight #93. Underneath the plaque honoring the passengers someone has written, "Let's Roll." As we make our way to leave, I am suddenly taken aback by a group of people offering a cheaply produced photo magazine of the tragedy for sale. I say something about making a buck off of other people's misery and am met with a glare. We head back to a diner Marty has suggested, one where the wait staff sing. Think of it as Karaoke with food. Not bad, but we got the flamboyant waiter, whose song about his mama thinking he's at the Yeshiva screamed "I wish I was Jerry Lewis in the 50's." After lunch, we said our good-byes and headed to the airport, Kennedy this time. Surprisingly, we were treated nicely by the DELTA rep (yes, I know, the dreaded DELTA) and made our flight home on time. As Phillip went to bed that night, I could have sworn I heard him humming "Music of the Night." But I can't prove it!

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"Mike's Rant" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2004 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2004 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith    "The Digital Divide" is ©2004 by Terence Nuzum    "Oddservations" is ©2004 by Andy Lalino    "Splash Page" is ©2004 by Brandon Jones    "Couch Potato Confessions" is © 2004 by Vinnie Blesi      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova    
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