This past Friday night I was taken by my son to see Beck at Universal Ampitheatre here in Los Angeles. It has been a while since I've been to a concert with that many people. Usually it is a coffee-house or bookstore venue. I was glad to have my son as an escort, but really it was a fine crowd of people. Even though there was a mosh pit, we had seats, though no one sat in them. We just all boogied where we stood.
I thought it was a great show. I don't really know his songs except for "Loser" and "Two Turntables and a Microphone" (which he did perform) and yet it all sounded familiar somehow. In the middle of the show, he did an acoustic set while the rest of the band sat at a table on stage and ate a meal. Whatever. But then I realized that actually the guy is a folk based singer/songwriter just like me, except he can scratch on those turntables and rap and he rocks. It was fun. The best part was the next day, when my son called to say that he didn't know too many Moms you could take to a Beck show and have such a good time. I was honored.
Saturday morning my husband and I drove up to Paso Robles, just north of San Luis Obispo, in the heart of the new wine country. (Apparently the Sonoma area was struck by a grapevine worm some years back and growers went to this area south of San Francisco to escape the worm.) At the Castoro Vineyard, we saw Laurence Juber play under the setting sun and then the stars. He played a varied selection of his original pieces, some Beatles and Wings tunes, some blues and standards. Domenic Genova on bass and Steve Forman on percussion were the perfect back up musicians for Mr Juber's virtuoso finger-style guitar. Somehow we missed dinner that night and also decided to pass on the wine, but my hunger was filled by the scenery and the music.
It was fitting for this musical weekend that I had just finished reading Bob Dylan's memoir, Chronicles, Volume I. I think you might have to be a Dylan fan to fully enjoy the book. I have been a fan for a long time, ever since I performed and knew all the words to some of his ten minute songs, such as "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." Also, I've read at least three biographies of the man, so it was almost a relief to get Bob's side of the story. He writes prose the way he writes lyrics. In fact, I could really hear the Woody Guthrie influence. The writing rambles and lurches along in the same way Guthrie does in Bound For Glory.