Every Fighter Is A Song

Howdy!

My sincere apologies for the delay, but you know how it is… work work work. All’s I can say – it beats the alternative…

Well, in the last couple of days I was toying with an idea about tying two things I love together into one post. Music and MMA. Now, we know that fighters have their walk-in music. Some choose a song based on their current mood, or if they want to make a specific statement. Others have a song they always use. That’s all nice and dandy.

But what I was thinking about was – what song IS that fighter? Which song could represent a fighter? So with that in mind…

Here are ten fighters and their songs:

Conor McGregorThe real slim shady / Eminem

There’s no one quite like Conor, some folks try to be like Conor but they’re not the real Conor now are they? A spark of craziness and a similar spark of genius. Will the real Conor McGregor please stand up?

Jon JonesBohemian rhapsody / Queen

Just like this Queen masterpiece, Jones starts out quiet, develops quickly with some unexpected turns and explodes into a crescendo. To date, though, that peak was followed by a whisper… Let’s hope that – like what usually happens with this song – we will just hit “repeat” and listen again and again as this young lad makes his comeback. Also considered one of the best of all times.

Demetrious JohnsonPlug in baby / Muse

The song is quite short, is mostly burst after burst of energy, and one of the best of its generation. Hold on, did I just describe a song by Muse? or the flyweight champion?

Daniel CormierSweet Home Alabama / Lynyrd Skynyrd

DC may be from Louisiana, but still, we’re talking about some southern gold which some people may have sneezed at, at first. Until they realized it’s just that damn good.

Frankie EdgarWorking on a dream / Bruce Springsteen

Frankie, like the Boss is a Jersey boy who’s busy with the dream. Like the subjects of Springsteen’s song (pretty much – us), Frankie might hit a wall every so often. But he keeps the hope alive, that one day, with the right attitude and hard work – he will realize his dream. Will it happen? I don’t know. The song is a song of hope, and like Frankie, we won’t give up on that.

Nate Diaz (Nick Diaz)Smoke two joints / sublime

Not a man of many words, but says it as it is. For him. Represent yo.

Ronda Rousey – I, Me, Mine / The Beatles

All through the day, I, me, mine, I, me, mine, I, me, mine. Even those tears, I, me, mine etc. It seems like it was always about Ronda doesn’t it? She’s here, She’s there, she’s everywhere (no, that song doesn’t fit). It wasn’t about the sport, not even about the promotion. It was about Ronda. Well, for better or for worse, only time will tell. We’re waiting for the new chapter in this story.

Robbie LawlerBad company / Five Finger Death Punch cover

This song, like the fighter, is a very nice mix of Aggression and heart felt look at one’s career. A warrior like Robbie who’s done this and that, was scorned by so many of us, yet realized his true identity and… well, you know the rest. I can’t deny, till the day I die.

Michael BispingManchester England England / Hair Cast

What can I say? He believes that god believes in “Claude”. That’s him. Hair also attracts polarizing views. Some people love it, while others can’t stand it. I like it.

Fabricio WerdumPais tropical / Sergio Mendes

For I do not owe anything to anyone. For I am happy, very happy with myself. I saw werdum trying to show a “tough” front in promo work. At best it was a not smiling Fabricio. This guy seems to truly be having fun every minute of his career. What wasn’t said of him in the past? he was all but written off until storming all the way to the top of the heavyweight division.

Well, hope you enjoyed. Will be happy to hear opinions, other ideas. What song is you?

Until next time (very soon – UFC197 Predictions…),

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Expectations Vs. Performance (Biggest Rock Concerts)

Welcome back everyone, to another “Special”!

I hope you all love music. You may not have the same taste in music as mine, but I know that this is relevant to all concert going folks. What I’m going to do here is a little breakdown of the 10 biggest concerts I attended and focus on my expectations going in versus the general feeling I had on my way back to the car/bus/train.

I don’t know about you, but I buy tickets ahead of time and spend the following days or weeks until the concert developing some expectations. Especially when it comes to artists I see for the first time.

I can’t say I suffered in any of these of course, and everything in life is relative. But there were some let downs, some shows that hit the spot and some that exceeded expectations.

The shows are not ordered by how good or bad they were, and there’s a lot of weight put into the overall placement to the significance of said artist to me personally.

With that, let me walk you through some fun times!

All Set lists taken from the great setlist.fm, a great resource for people of my age.

Bob Dylan

Location Beer Sheva, Israel
Date June 19th, 1993
Expectation 10
Performance 6

The show:

I don’t really need to explain why I expected 10 from arguably the most influential singer of modern history, right? But that was a lesson one learns only when one goes out and experience.

The show wasn’t bad, as much as I was young, drunk and not familiar with the full scope of work of Bob Dylan, nor with his tendency to do things perhaps for different reasons, other than pure entertainment.

The reason I left that concert deflated was mostly my unrealistic expectation to hear a stream of songs (not least of which – Joey) tailored to my personal preference. As I said…young and drunk.

Setlist:

BobDylan_Israel__Jun_19_1993

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Location Ottawa, On, Canada
Date May 12th, 2003
Expectation 9
Performance 6

The show:

Ok, so in this case I was absolutely ready for the show! Or was I?…

I fell in love with the peppers a long time before I saw them. Mostly because I lived in Israel and didn’t have the opportunity to see them live. What I did see, were videos from concerts that aired on MTV and other outlets. With that in mind, I was sure I’m going to get treated to a crazy Flea fest, kiedis 101, the whole 9 yards.

Instead, the band was relatively “tame”… In fact, the only member who remained as I remembered him was John Frusciante. But again, Just look at this set list. For 2003, I can’t complain. I had tons of fun! Added bonus – Warm up show was Queens of the stone age! (On the ticket was printed the next sentence “Dave Grohl will not be playing with Queens of the stone age”).

Setlist:

RHCP_Ottawa_May_12_2003

Neil Young

Location Kaesarya, Israel
Date August 23rd, 1995
Expectation 9
Performance 7

The show:

Neil Young is another (if not THE) one of these guys who perform not only for entertainment (See Dylan, Bob). At that time in my life I was really – and still am – a Harvest/Harvest moon type of guy. Again, I did not suffer one bit. Hell, Neil F’ing Young AND Pearl Jam in one night? It was a little short and kind of weird at times (Israel is not an easy place for artists of this magnitude to perform in), but that’s Neil Young for ya’ – Keep on rocking in the free world!

Setlist:

 NeilYoung_Israel_Aug_23_1995

Aerosmith

Location Tel Aviv, Israel
Date July 12th, 1994
Expectation 8
Performance 7

The show:

For me, Aerosmith was always a fun band to listen to. Groovy, not too complicated and… Steven Tyler, like, duh? J

With that in mind, I came there expecting to have fun and fun I had. The only thing this concert lacked a little was a great crowd… Not the band’s fault.

Setlist:

Aerosmith_Israel_July_12_1994

Guns N’ Roses

Location Tel Aviv, Israel
Date May 22nd, 1993
Expectation 9
Performance 7

The show:

I was a BIG Guns N’ Roses fan and to this day I believe that an ensemble of musicians such as this one is very unique. It was a well-oiled, mean, lean, Rock machine with a set list that simply could not go wrong. I loved each GNR song bar none.

Axl brought his A game (read: showed up), Slash was his awesome self and played Hava Nagilah.

Two things stood between this concert and perfection. One was a terrible sound system… I’m not sure you can even imagine how frustrating listening to Slash’s solos as they fed through these bush league speakers could be… The second was again, a crowd which included some violent guys in the front rows. At one point, Axl had to run for cover and the show was interrupted for a public request to stop throwing bottles at the stage??!!?

Setlist:

GunsNRoses_Israel_May_22_1993

Green Day

Location Alpharetta, GA, USA
Date August 10th, 2010
Expectation 7
Performance 9

The show:

On the day of the show, I wasn’t even aware it was. When a friend tried to convince me to go, I said I didn’t really know many Green Day songs and didn’t feel like standing around just to hear Minority and go to sleep. My friend said something that proved to be surprisingly true. “You don’t realize just how many Green Day songs you actually know”.

You know what? I went and really loved that show. It really exceeded my expectations and the only reason it’s not at the top of the list is that Green Day, while being loads of fun, are not at the top in terms of significance to me personally.

Setlist:

GreenDay_Alpharetta_Aug_10_2010

Pearl Jam

Location Atlanta, GA, USA
Date September 22nd, 2012
Expectation 9
Performance 9

The show:

Pearl Jam were some of my heroes back in the day… Yes, I’m afraid I’m one of those guys. You know, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in chains, etc. With that in mind, I did not particularly like each and every album Eddie and Co. produced in later years. However, one does not simply not go to a Pearl Jam concert when one is presented with an opportunity.

Pearl Jam however knows what many of the fans want and they deliver. They will play whatever they want, but they will always remember that the fans will not be happy without “the old stuff”. So what you get is a mix, just right for you to go home and still hum Black or Even Flow.

Setlist:

PearlJam_Atlanta_Sep_22_2012

Metallica

Location Tel Aviv, Israel
Date June 30th, 1993
Expectation 10
Performance 10

The show:

I saw Metallica three times. They rocked each time. So I’ll focus on the first, where the expectations couldn’t possibly be higher.

Just to give you an idea how much I waited for this one, had my commander in the army not let me go out on a Wednesday (nearly unheard of), I would have gone AWOL. My buddy came to fetch me, took me all the way back to my parent’s place so I could lock my weapon away and sped up to Tel Aviv to catch the show. The sound system (See GNR) was much better. The band tore through many major milestones. It was Jason newsted on bass. It was perfect!

Setlist:

Metallica_Israel_Jun_30_1993

Foo Fighters

Location Duluth, GA, USA
Date November 7th, 2011
Expectation 10
Performance 10

The show:

I also saw Foo Fighters three times, only for this I will pick that third time. It was their ‘Wasting Light’ tour and having seen them as they grew, I knew this was supposed to be the best Foo Fighters show ever.

The Foo Fighters are a band who lives to play music. You don’t need ‘Back and Forth’ or ‘Sound City’ to know that. But watch these anyway.

I had zero concerns about getting disappointed and as expected, the show absolutely rocked! Songs choice, performance, Dave Grohl… Well, you know how I feel about that. Don’t ever miss an opportunity to see these guys live.

Setlist:

FF_Duluth_Nov_7_2011

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band

Location Ottawa, ON, Canada
Date April 18th, 2003
Expectation 10
Performance 11

The show:

I saw Bruce and the E Street band twice (and have a ticket for the third as we speak). Bruce Springsteen (As discussed before on this very blog) is the reason I love music. The reason I love Rock and Roll. A man (with a band) I never thought I’d get a chance to see live. I saw so many taped performances through the years that when I held that ticket, my expectations didn’t go through the roof. They went all the way up to music heaven.

Now, there was no way, Bruce could have disappointed me. Really, All he had to do was show up and say “Hello Ottawa”. Well, he did a hell of a lot more than that.

Playing the crowd like a conductor. Starting with the prayer of ‘The Rising’, the reflections of ‘Lonesome Day’ and ‘No Surrender’ then lifting it up with ‘Proove it all night’ before slowing down for the deeper songs from the rising album and once the crowd was in his palm, he declares “Let’s have a party” and takes us on a 2 plus hours (concluding in possibly 3.5~4) of a joy ride only the boss and his fantastic band can give.

Best.Show.Ever

(At least until the next one)

Setlist:

Bruce_Ottawa_Apr_18_2003

Here’s how they compare (In Expectation Vs. Performance only). They were all good!

Graph

That’s all for today folks. I hope that (at least) met your expectations 🙂

Feel free to share your experiences right here.

Until next time,

Just a little of that human touch

Welcome back folks, nice to see you again.

I was contemplating what my next post might be and the more I thought, the more I realized that there’s just so much in this world that bores me… Don’t get me wrong, I’m a curious guy and there’s a lot of things to marvel at. But while resting my head on the pillow last night, something crystallized somewhere in that gray matter box.

See, you can tell me about your new car. It could be a beautiful piece of machinery, with the best parts and a fantastic set of perks. It could be the fastest, strongest, most awesome looking car in the world, and all I’d have to offer would be “Does it take you from point A to point B without breaking down?”

You can also tell me about your one year travel to _____ (fill in the blank) with great details. You can describe the night sky as seen from a specific cave once every 46 years, or how this or that rock hangs by the hair for a millennium and you had a ham sandwich in its shade. All you’d get from me is “Got some photos?”

Please don’t take that personally. I get bored easily.

But what I came to understand last night is that the reason I get bored with such things is that they lack just the one ingredient I am so interested in. Just a little of that human touch.

If all we’re talking about is an object, or a pretty sight then trust me, I can appreciate it all by my lonesome. But if you got a story for me about that car salesman who sold you that fancy car, I’m all ears.

Of course, I then had to go to YouTube and play that marvelous Springsteen song (embedded below) and marvel again at his fantastic writing skills, which in turn led me to the next piece of wisdom 🙂

We write stories. Some of them are great, some are epic. Go ahead and think of any great book you read. They are all stories about human (or parallel entity) interaction aren’t they? They could be epics spanning time and space. They could be humorous, tragic, romantic or otherwise. They could play out in magnificent scenery with descriptions that only the best wordsmiths could come up with. But when you’re asked to say what the story is about, you would have to say “It’s about people. interacting. or not.”

It’s all about that human touch in the end of the day.

With that, I’ll bid you farewell and go seek some of that human touch myself. Until next time…

Springsteen & I

Welcome back to another random musings post, or perhaps not so random?…

By now you know I write, I love MMA and Dave Grohl is the coolest man in rock. I think it’s time I share my first love with you all. Yes, I said love. Because it was love at first sight. The serious face on that double album on my brother’s records shelf and that long and difficult to pronounce name. That was the reason I believe, or the main one anyway, for me being here. How come? It might require a post (or a series of them) to explain the chain reaction, but in a pretty straight forward line it goes something like this:

The river -> Rock music -> English -> Story telling -> Aspiring writer. I know. It’s almost as complicated as pronouncing the name Bruce Springsteen when you’re a 10 year old Israeli kid who just learned the English alphabet

As I trust you can deduce, I just watched the premier of “Springsteen & I” and yes, I’m excited. A little emotional. I actually cried (and laughed at the same time).

So, this is not a movie review, just so we’re on the same page here 🙂 The movie is a collection of fans experiences with regards to the boss and I’m sure that Bruce’s fans would absolutely love it, as I did. People who are not fans? it might be a coin toss. You might fall in love, who knows?

But the common thread woven through these tidbits was no doubt the sense that Bruce Springsteen music had profound effect on the fans’ lives. In ways that you can only appreciate if you at least know who he is and what he sings about.

How big of a fan am I? I can sit and tell you Springsteen stories over five long evenings around the camp fire. I’ll settle for saying that at high school I was a lousy student (perhaps because I was too busy making the grooves on Bruce’s records deeper…), but I did take advanced English and for the final oral exam I came up with a fictional story of me attending a Springsteen concert. I did not practice. I only had that concept in my head and I needed to talk for 20 minutes to be graded. I got 80% on my oral exam, cause I used a lot of present progressive (Just to show you that I lived the moment :)). But as for performance? I had the examiner convinced I was there. She believed every word I said. Now I’d love to say that it’s because I have great story telling skills. The truth is, I really was. In my head, I really saw a Springsteen concert at the time.

I want to share with you the effects Springsteen had on my life.

theriver

My brother is 5 years older than me. When I was 10 he had full control of the Yamaha stereo system and his room was off limits. One day, I gathered the courage to sneak into his room and go through his records. I saw quite a few which would influence me (wait for an upcoming post about that), but none to the effect that The River did. I listened to it from start to finish awe. Rock wasn’t such a scary music after all… it could be happy and funny, like in Sherry Darling, sad like Point Blank or The River, and it can simply be fun and groovy like Cadillac Ranch. Love at first sight.

BruceBorn1984

Born in the USA was the first Springsteen record I bought. well, technically my parents bought it. But it was for me and not for my brother. 13 years old I was excited for a new record by that great singer I loved in The River. And yes, I completely missed Nebraska. But not for long… Having a much better command of the English language, I was simply amazed by his lyrics and between that album and the next, I went back to Asbury Park and Darkness and Born to Run and completed the full catalog. Including the dark Nebraska.

nebraska

Again, not reviewing albums here. Simply stating a few observations about my growing up.

A lot of the early Springsteen dealt with his dad, and I really felt for him and wanted to identify with him. This coincided with the beginning of my own rebellious years. There was only one problem… My dad was a great father… Yes, he “didn’t understand me”, but what father does? I sure as hell don’t fully understand my teenage son. But the thing is, even living with a father with whom I had a great relationship, I was still able to “get it”.

I was a teenager and fell in love like the rest of you, and had my (un)fair share of rejections. Well, mostly rejections. But I had a great friend. He was always there and would talk to me whenever I needed him. Comforting and providing hope and even an outlet for some tears.

Growing up, I listened to Bruce every day. I listened to a lot of other music, but the boss is the boss. It helped shape some of my views about life. I enjoyed his story telling and learned a thing or two about romance. I learned (at least I hope I did) about compassion. About redemption. About the gray in life. No black or white, but gray. And, Oh yeah, I totally got Born In The USA at age 13. unlike a certain president… see? Gray stuff.

My political views were impacted by the boss. You cannot love the boss and be a bigot or racist. You can’t love this music and not want to live in peace. You can’t listen to so many Springsteen songs and not want freedom, or learn to appreciate it. You absolutely cannot love Springsteen and not be outraged at the growing gap between the rich and the poor, the weight that the “blue-collar” working people carry on their shoulders.

After 9/11, like the rest of the population living in North America at the time, I was shocked. Saddened. It was too big a thing to digest.

Springsteen_The_Rising

I finally had my dream come true. Twice.

I saw Bruce Springsteen twice in the span of 3 months after waiting for this for about 20 years.

Two concerts in the tour following The Rising.

There is where I think Bruce and his music had the biggest impact on me. Hope. No matter how deep the sorrow is. No matter how bad things look right now. There’s hope. “It ain’t no sin to be glad that you’re alive”. It says so, right there in Badlands.

The movie was based on describing Bruce Springsteen in 3 words. Here are mine:

Hope. Redemption. Rock N’ Roll (That counts as one, damn it!).

Well, that might have been as long as a Springsteen concert. If it was half as fun to read as it is to be in one of his shows, I’m happy 🙂

Feel free to describe Springsteen in 3 words if you’re a fan. Watch the movie too.

My Top Ten Air Guitar Classics

OFF TOPIC, but FUN 🙂

I blatantly STOLE this idea from this great post – http://sillzja.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/my-top-tens-air-guitar-classics/ and first of all I’ll send you over there to go through the great list of songs and the videos and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Are you back? Great. Continue reading