Greatness

30 06 2013

Great post World War II bands are not a rarity. That there are more than five is a luxury the world evidently can afford; any fewer would have made for an entirely different era in music.

The truly great are differentiated from the others by a sizzling hot streak, such as the Grateful Dead’s golden period from ’68 to ’77, by a single outstanding recording that changed everyone’s minds, such as the first Velvet Underground album, or by the sheer force of personality, such as Bob Dylan.Rolling-Stones-at-Glastonbury-Festival-2011729

The Rolling Stones have all this, coupled with longevity. The band’s appearance Saturday night at Glastonbury could have been just another modest night for a group with nothing to prove that it hasn’t already proven. Performing before vast audiences swelling to more than 100,000 is not new for them. Playing extremely well in front of huge crowds isn’t new to them either. But 50 years into a career, playing with deft verve and an enormous swell of brute force is something nearly no one does. Last night upped the ante even for these guys. The energy crackled for two hours and it was tough to look away or think about much else the entire time.

Watch this link to see last night’s show of greatness. It’s the last half of a tightly paced performance by masters.

David Bowie took 10 years off to do some thinking and some child raising. You can tell from the record he released this spring that he’s been waiting for the right songs and the right inspiration to motivate him off the sidelines. The performances by a subtle yet powerful band make The Next Day worth spending another 10 years listening to. Like many of the best recordings, this one takes multiple listenings to make sense of. It’s time well spent and don’t spare the volume.David_Bowie-06

The plight and flight of Edward Snowden will make a great movie one day. But right now it’s an international thriller unfolding in front of a worldwide audience. Today’s Washington Post update about Snowden’s inability to leave Russia is chilling. Big powers can do what they like. It’ll be interesting to see what all the interested parties will decide they can actually do.Snowden-Hideout

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