Wednesday, February 28, 2007

tuesday afternoon

The Moody Blues rolled into Rio Rancho, New Mexico on February 27th with the sole purpose of entertaining an estimated crowd of 2,500 fans who didn’t want to travel all the way from Albuquerque to Denver to see them, but were willing to make the trek out to the Santa Ana Star Center.

The British rockers would have been successful in their goal even if they had only performed one of their two 50-minute sets. After opening the concert with Lovely to See You Again, My Friend, the band delivered an extremely polished version of Tuesday Afternoon- probably one of the songs that first attracted me to the Moody Blues many years ago.

You are aware, I assume, that the Moodies are one of Opus’ favorite bands. Although you may not completely understand everything about the life of that odd little comic penguin, one can hardly question his taste in music.

The light show was phenomenal as the band continued with Lean On Me Tonight, Never Comes the Day and Steppin' in a Slide Zone. Although the crowd clearly enjoyed the overall performance up to this point, The Voice was the first song to get the majority of the people up on their feet at the same time.

The remainder of the first set included spirited renditions of One More Time to Live, I Know You’re Out There Somewhere and The Story in Your Eyes.

My challenge during the subsequent 20-minute intermission was to bombard the audience with commercials on the jumbotron and ads on the ribbon board- forcing them to seek shelter among the concession stands located throughout the concourse. I think it is safe to say that I managed to sell a few beers.

The second set began with Your Wildest Dreams. It’s funny how I hadn’t thought about the video for that song in over two decades until I saw them in concert.

Isn’t Life Strange was easily the strongest performance of the evening. The best way I can think to describe that tune for someone not at the concert is to ask them to imagine watching a autumn-colored leaf drop from the top of a tall tree, rocking gently toward the ground, then catching a thermal breeze and rising ever so slowly back toward the fading sun. You know that it will eventually come to rest, but catch yourself hoping this one will defy the rules and remain aloft- thereby preventing the onset of winter. But it can't.

Before the people standing at the end of Isn’t Life Strange had a chance to reclaim their seats, they were sawn in half by bassist John Lodge ripping through The Other Side of Life. Another hit from the 80s!

The next tune, December Snow, was from their Krismas album released some 4 years ago- so it was new to me.

No other song of the evening was performed with more passion than Higher and Higher as percussionist Graeme Edge climbed down from his drum set to take the microphone. Armed with only a tambourine, Edge danced an energetic jig while chasing flutist Norda Mullen around the stage and flashing his highly contagious Cheshire grin at appreciative fans- all while surreal clips of historic Apollo missions and Neil Armstrong strolling on the moon were projected onto the giant screen behind the band. Even if you don’t click on any of the other links in this entry, be sure you do check out this one. It will give you a good idea of the amount of joy this artist has on stage.

Edge has the distinction of being the sole remaining member of the original Moody Blues formed in 1964. Newbies Justin Hayward and John Lodge have only been with the band for fourty-one years. It almost seems rude of me to not include the names of the other band members (two keyboardists and another drummer), but sometimes I'm like that. You’ll get over it.

Band member introductions were followed by a rousing performance of I’m Just a Singer (in a Rock 'n' Roll Band). The psychedelic 30-year-old concert footage on the backdrop would have been fun enough- but throw in the live performance on the stage in front and I began to appreciate how successful bank robbers must feel on payday.

I didn’t get to “see” the end of the show, as I had to make my way backstage in order to be ready to run the post-concert commercials. However, I had no troubles hearing as they closed with Are You Sitting Comfortably? and Nights in White Satin.

I was extremely disappointed when the concert director announced that the band would be performing Question for their encore instead of Ride My See-Saw which they reportedly played as the encore following a concert in Las Vegas, Nevada three weeks previously. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Question, but See-Saw is one of my favorite Moody Blues’ tunes. Much to my delight, the band returned to the stage and performed it as a second encore.

The only other song that I REALLY wanted to see the Moodies perform was Legend of a Mind. Maybe next time!

Monday, February 12, 2007

albuquerque - february 12, 1876

Albuquerque's first telecommunications link with the outside world was established via telegraph on February 12, 1876. The telegraph office was located in the Centennial Hotel owned by Major Melchior Werner.

Friday, February 09, 2007

albuquerque - february 10, 1897

Fire completely destroyed the Armijo House, Albuquerque's first major hotel, on this date in 1897. Located on the southwest corner of Railroad Avenue (now Central) and 3rd Street, the Armijo House was a favorite stopping place of many visitors traveling through the New Mexico Territory via the transcontinental railroad. The railroad continues to service this burg today.

albuquerque - february 9, 1883

Milt Yarberry, Albuquerque's first marshal, was hanged after being found guilty of shooting an unarmed man to death. It wasn’t the first time Milt had killed an unarmed man, but it was the first time he was hanged for it.

Legend has it that tickets were sold to the hanging that took place around 3 p.m. on February 9, 1883. Approximately 100 men were allowed into the yard, while an estimated 1,000 more gathered outside the fence on rooftops and in trees to witness the first legal execution in Bernalillo County.

Following a lengthy speech, witnesses stated that Yarberry uttered his last words as Archie Hilton pulled a black cap down over his face… “Well, you are going to hang an innocent man.” Doctors present stated that it took 9 minutes for Milt’s heart to stop beating after he was hanged.

Yarberry was buried in the Santa Barbara Cemetery in Martineztown. Although it was reported that Milt was buried still wearing the noose as his necktie, I can’t help but suspect that that particular detail was in fact, fiction.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

that'll leave a mark

I suppose it is inevitable that people who conduct historical research tend to wonder what sort of mark they will eventually leave in their wake- if ANY. Obviously, the “present” tends to obscure the future “past” to the point that it is left unrecognizable as such. Or possibly, the past can only be truly pondered for its significance by people who weren’t involved- and therefore removing the various levels of bias that are certain to cloud almost anyone’s perspective.

Admittedly that is one of the thoughts that bounces around in my skull while I’m reading New Mexico territorial newspapers from the 1880s in search of tidbits about base ball players and games that were played when the west was still untamed. Constantly distracted from my subject by fascinating reports of bank robberies, train wrecks, outbreaks of smallpox and other devastating diseases, and countless tragic double axe murders that would give Theodore Dreiser nightmares, I find myself surprised by my own amazement at how little “we’ve” changed over the past 120-some years.

Of course it isn’t all doom and gloom; the papers are also filled with reports of relaxing Sunday picnics, humorous stories about everyday events, and articles concerning technological advances or people determined to make advancements for the betterment of the world. The bottom line is that as I scroll through the reels of microfilm one frame at a time, allowing the mundane elements of the past reveal themselves to me along with the anticipated major timeline markers, I can’t help but notice that the contributions of most people are soon swept under the rug. Simply put, in the grand scheme of things, fifteen minutes isn’t very much time at all.

I sincerely hope you haven’t read this far expecting me to provide an answer. Hell, I’ve digressed so wide I barely remember the concept, let alone any question that I may have proposed. Oh yeah… leaving one’s mark!

Let’s assume for a minute that you wish to be “remembered” for more than just your name and social security number in various census tracts and records maintained by clueless government clerks and ordained archivists of the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; headstone-cold data that will only be uncovered by the most probing of genealogical exams. Perhaps you don’t care to tempt the historical fates by leaving behind only a few unremarkable snapshots in a very limited run of a handful of high school yearbooks. Unless you are the type of person capable of inventing something similar to (but completely different from) the atomic bomb or the internet (which you very well may be given that you have chosen to read this entry) one method that may hold the most promise is to consciously divide your allotted 15 minutes into manageable nanoseconds, and disperse them into as many different media as possible. Write a book (and get it published). Appear in a (meaningful) motion picture- even as an extra. Create some art. Submit a killer recipe to a magazine. Start a blog. Record an album. Take photographs and distribute them far and wide. Heck, develop your own television show for public access and have it beamed to well beyond the furthest reaches of the universe.

Making kids on the other hand, does NOT count. You'll need to be more creative than that.

One of the more interesting unanticipated finds on the microfilm of the 1883 Daily Democrat is this image of a thumb of the person who photographed the newspapers before they were destroyed. Unfortunately, I don’t have the name of the person to attach to the thumb, but I do know that they worked for a firm called Golightly Payne Coon in El Paso, Texas, and probably in the late 1950s. I’m left wondering whether the person intentionally included their thumb on the corner of all the pages, or if it was accidental. Seriously, that is the kind of thing I would do on purpose just to mess with a person from the future. And probably that is why I’ve never worked for a microfilm company.

I decided that I would copy the idea and include my version here on Blog Kabin Fever to entertain my readers. Normally I wouldn’t admit to copying someone else’s idea, but given DIY Networks’ recent decision to steal the name of my blog, and then bastardize the spelling in order to prevent me from unleashing a torrent of lawyers to threaten them, I figured “What the heck.”

Friday, February 02, 2007