What is it about certain artists that keep us returning to them time and again? I’ve yet to put my finger on it, other than this rather simple explanation: Their music caresses our souls. Whether one’s at a concert, in the car or at home, in the den, great music transports you away from the immediate and into a netherworld of the artist’s – and your – making. (That’s the thing critics often leave out of the equation: music ain’t played in a vacuum. Like Marvin and Kim sang, “it takes two, baby. It takes two.”)
One example: The past few days have found me flashing back to one of my favorite bands of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, 10,000 Maniacs. I woke on Friday with “Hey Jack Kerouac” ringing in my ear, and have been indulging myself with their songs since. Yesterday and again today, I slipped down the YouTube rabbit hole and found many delights…
1) “Suspicious Minds.” In addition to seeing the band in September 1992, Diane and I saw them twice at the Mann Music Center during the summer of 1993. Great shows, both. One of the highlights was when they performed this Elvis Presley song. Here they are, not long before, performing it at the Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts in Mansfield, Mass.
2) Live in St, Louis, 6/9/93. Clocking in at two hours, this is almost the entire concert, which was much-bootlegged at the time. Only the closing “Let the Mystery Be” is missing.
3) MTV Rock Inaugural Ball, 1/20/1993. A magnetic performance by the band, who are joined by Michael Stipe for “To Sir With Love” and “Candy Everybody Wants.”
4) Live in Buffalo, 7/4/1989. Here’s another much-bootlegged show, this one from when they opened for the Grateful Dead.
5) Live in Milan, 9/15/1987. Here they are in Milan, performing a tremendous 10-song set for Italian TV.
And one bonus…
“Hey Jack Kerouac.” From the band’s Unplugged swan song in 1993…
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