25 August 1993
Colorado State Fair Grandstand, Pueblo, CO
Few musicians are able to carry on as professional goofballs for over two decades and still make a profit. Perhaps that's because his resume (Eagles, Barnstorm, James Gang) permits him automatic entry into the popular music scene whenever he chooses, or perhaps it's because his goofiness has some sinister appeal to it.
We landed third row seats at the Grandstand inside the grounds of the 1993 Colorado State Fair. Since the seats are on the ground-level mud otherwise used for other State Fair activities, part of the stage, particularly the backside where the drummer typically sits, was obstructed in view by the front tip of the stage. Despite this, the view of the headline performer had unmistaken clarity.
Prior to the show, I got to chat with a couple from Joe Walsh's home state of Kansas, who had traveled by car to experience the Colorado State Fair. The pair, both in their 80's, mentioned that they hadn't seen a concert here before. I asked them if they had earplugs, and they replied by saying, "No, why?" I'm not sure that they were prepared for, or expected what they were about to see.
Walsh, dressed in motorhead (not the band) attire, a Gibson Les Paul strapped to his shoulder, opened with one of his best, albeit loudest, songs, "Turn To Stone". Joe chose to use several Eagles tunes in his set list, including two he didn't even write, "Life In The Fast Lane", and "Desperado" on piano. It was somewhat difficult for the audience to determine whether to listen the the latter with humor or compassion.
Joe also picked a few tunes from his 1991 hit album, Ordinary Average Guy, including its title track, "Two Sides To Every Story", and "Look At Us Now". His on-stage band's bass player, Rick Rosas, also performed on those same songs in the studio. I was somewhat disappointed not to hear "All Of A Sudden".
Strangely, he peformed no material from his most recent release, Songs For A Dying Planet. Perhaps the very cynical attitude woven into that album has worn off even on Joe himself, a mere year after its release.
Of course, no audience would have been satisifed without hearing his earlier 1970's material. As such, Joe performed, "Meadows", a superb "Walk Away", and eerie "Confessor", and "Funk #49". Joe finished his set with "Life's Been Good", and an encore of, of course, "Rocky Mountain Way", written about how Joe himself, who used to live in Nederland, CO, couldn't handle the chemical stimulants lifestyle that was going on at that time in Boulder County, and had to move back to the madness of the Los Angeles area.
No "Life Of Illusion", "All Night Long", "In The City", or any other "Funk"s.
By the middle of the show, my neighbors from Kansas were tight-lipped, and straight-faced, perhaps in shock of the sheer volume, raspy voice, and stage mannerisms of the Kansas madman on stage.
By the next morning, disc jockeys from Colorado Springs Classic Rock Station 98.1 KKFM stated their disappointment in the show, saying that Joe Walsh was inconsistent, at best.
To an extent, I agree with their assessment, with the caveat that such inconsistency is what many of us pay for and expect from the Ordinary Average Guy himself.
[***] - Steven T.
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