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I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

26 November 2011

The Best Musical performances I've ever watched on Letterman


I have been a fan of Dave Letterman for as long as I can remember. Before I was old enough to stay up and watch his show, I would listen to it at 12:35 after Johnny Carson on the radio feed of Global TV. To this day, he's what I'm doing if I'm up at 11:30. I must of have watched 1000 musical acts on his show... most of them forgettable like most live music shows. Some of them very good. But a few over the years have stuck with me for nearly 20 years. The one thing that plumlines through all of these clips is the fact that Dave is tickled by each of them and how much you can see that he genuinely enjoys it.

Here are my top 5 musical performances I've ever seen on Letterman:

5. Blues Traveler - Hook: Letterman loved these guys and they were regular guests before they were famous. So fans like me knew of John Popper's harmonica skills years before the rest. This was likely their biggest song, and includes a MAD harmonica solo where you can see Paul Shaffer with an awe-filled smile during it. Then at the end, Popper does as he always does and gives Dave his mouth organ. Letterman plays it and gives it his running joke line... "Too Spitty"



4. Lou Reed and the Blind Boys of Alabama - Jesus: A couple of years ago I happened to be watching and heard this absolutely magnificent combo of the POWERFUL Blind Boys of Alamba and the awesome Lou Reed. Not sure if you could jam the name of Jesus into a song more... but I felt every one. Love how Dave rightfully gushes over the rare jewel he just heard.




3. Drive by Truckers - Everybody needs Love: I had never heard of Drive By Truckers before this summer. But when I heard this old Eddie Hinton with some rarely authentic blues rock complete with a lap steel guitar... I played this clip for months every morning. The bit that Dave does at the end is uncommon. You can tell he loves the song that he does a whole bit about it and gets them to play it again! I can't EVER remember that happening and the smile on the lead singers face when he does is fabulous.



2. Van Halen - Not Enough: Early 90's Van Halen. With respect to Diamond Davers... this was the era where Van Halen was at their best. You can tell Dave is just thrilled to be close to these legends. Eddie plays the piano AND a screaming guitar. Sammy just kills the vocals and in this clip when they come back from the commercial and they are just finishing up "Jump" ... you can tell that something else very special just happened.



1. Bruce Springsteen - Glory Days: Far and away #1. Let me set the scene. This was the final show of Dave's at 12:30am on NBC after a nasty fight between networks where NBC had just chosen the sad sack Jay Leno over Dave Letterman to host the Tonight Show... Dave's lifelong dream job. Dave was slighted and devoted fans like me were outraged. Me and my friends felt like we were fighting for and along with our sarcastic TV friend. So this show was the final "Up Yours" to a network that didn't believe in him and soon lost the ratings battle for many years.

I taped this show on my VCR and watched it over and over again. Tom Hanks was the guest and did a great bit about being a bellhop at an LA Hotel where he had comedy legend Slappy White yelling "Stop bending the shaft" at him while he was putting his clubs in the truck.

Then... just before the show of shows ended. This happened.



I was euphoric. My favorite singer singing my favorite song the most intense way I had ever seen. The entire band was having a PARTY! Bruce was doing Karate Kid-like leg tricks and pounding his rock-foot on the piano! Even sax legend David Sanborn in the back was givin'er. I wore an old black and white shirt that looked like Bruce's on in this performance for many years after... because I figured if I could ever come even close to being as cool as The Boss in this most... I'd be OK in life.

When Dave comes over at the end and thanks him that genuinely... all the stars collided. I've always felt a kinship with David Letterman. He's been an immature, cutting, sarcastic, kind of uncomfortable in his own skin, old guy for years... even when he was young. I related to it and still do. I feel like I kinda get him. He never made it to "the top" partially because he's not someone who pretends to like thing he doesn't. Sometimes he even turns on a guest who peddles him a line of BS.

All of these acts have somehow captured an eternal place my memory. I can tell you exactly when and where I saw them and who I was with. And all of them, Dave felt the same. You can tell. Not all music is powerful. But some is. And when it is...

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