Request Line: Boots on the Ground



A disappointed-looking PRODUCER is seated in front of the console, talking on the phone.

PRODUCER: …and of course I’m not a doctor Mr. Brown but I really don’t think more cryotherapy is the answer.

ANTONIO BROWN: [inaudible]

PRODUCER: [sighs] Well, yes, your football career really must come first.  I guess we’ll try again after the season.

He hangs up the phone and looks up at DJ 3000, who is standing by.

DJ 3000: He canceled?

PRODUCER: Yeah.  I think we’re gonna have to dip into the vault and go with a “klassic” edition

DJ 3000: You know, maybe I could…

— [door flies open] —

Photo Credit: A Guy Who is Apparently a Big Fan of Battlefield Earth

PRODUCER: What the heck are you guys doing here?

DJ 3000: [via text message to the PRODUCER’s console] WHO THE HECK ARE THESE CLOWNS?

PRODUCER: [types back] Shut up, you, these guys own the station.

YEAH RIGHT: We, um, overheard that your guest cancelled at the last minute…

PRODUCER: Wait, are you monitoring the phone lines…

RIKKI-TIKKI-DEADLY:  …and figured we’d come on over and help out with the show!

YR: We went to see James and the Psychedelic Furs at the Greek Theatre this week and thought we’d entertain your listeners with tales of our experience.

DJ 3000: [via text message to the PRODUCER’s console] OH SO BASICALLY WE’RE HOSTING J.D. AND THE STRAIGHT SHOT?

PRODUCER: [typing] Pretty much, yeah.

RTD:  Hey, what are you typing there?

PRODUCER: Hmm?  Oh, nothing, just getting things set up.  Why don’t you two head on into the booth?

RIKKI-TIKKI-DEADLY and YEAH RIGHT get settled in, and the PRODUCER counts things off as they go live.

PRODUCER: Good afternoon, and welcome to another edition of Request Line!  Thanks to a last-minute cancellation by Antonio Brown – I guess the winds weren’t blowing the right way for his hot air balloon to get here – we’re joined today by members of the station ownership group and noted music enthusiasts, RIKKI-TIKKI-DEADLY and YEAH RIGHT. Welcome, gentlemen.

YR: Greetings.

RTD: Thanks for having us.

PRODUCER: So how’d you get to the show?

RTD: We drove, sort of. [flips hair] We headed over to the Vermont and Franklin area at around 5. The freeway had been closed all day due to an overturned tanker truck and subsequent spill, so everything coming the opposite direction was a complete zoo due to rerouted traffic, but it was a breeze for us. The plan was to park in the Los Feliz neighborhood, have dinner at a restaurant on Vermont, and then walk over to Hillhurst and take the DASH bus up to the Greek, then walk down at the end of the show. Unfortunately, it turns out they had changed the route only four days ago! So we ended up walking back and forth between Hillhurst and Vermont (where the new route goes) and just gave up and walked all the way up to the Greek. Which wasn’t as bad of a walk as I had expected, and thanks to traffic we ended up beating the bus.

YR: I tried to be responsible. Reduce my carbon footprint and shit. Coming from El Segundo Metro rail was the smart choice right? Catch a ride to the green line station, transfer to the blue line into downtown then take the Red line subway – yep the same one from the Metro Pub Crawl – then the quick Dash bus up the hill. Five days I researched the route. Visited the LA Metro web site no less than 30 times. There was not a single mention ANYWHERE that the blue line was under repair and the quick dash away from traffic in the train was replaced by a local, surface street slog of a city bus straight up Compton Boulevard through Compton, South LA and Watts while stopping for each traffic light no fewer than 3 cycles. The driver didn’t even get all the way to the 7th and Metro station, just pulled over and said “It’s up there.” Sprint to the subway station downstairs and straight to the boarding area. The Dash bus met us at the Vermont/ Sunset stop and packed us in like fucking sardines as we crawled/ lurched up the hill while hanging on to the subway strap and flailing like a drunken surfer all the way to the Greek.

PRODUCER: You’ve both been to the Greek before, right? How were your seats?

RTD: Yeah, a few times. Mine were just fine – about halfway up Section C in the middle. Even when you’re pretty far back like I was it’s still a magnificent venue. The way the stage is framed against the hills of Griffith Park makes it feel incredibly isolated, even though you’re less than a mile from a very dense neighborhood in Los Feliz.

YR: The seats were great. Section 2 stage right and row F. It was perfect weather, actually leaning a little to the cool side. We had about 12 minutes to appreciate our surroundings because our arrival time was that tight. I love the venue. Fantastic acoustics. The last time here was in ’83 I think for Talking Heads. A must see experience.

PRODUCER: Now let’s get to the bands. A locally based band called “Dear Boy” opened up while it was still light. Did either of you catch them?


RIKKI: We made it in time for their last two songs. They seemed decent, and were clearly overjoyed to be there.

PRODUCER: James was next. Your takes?

YR: James’ opening song “Hank” started with the entire band playing drums – every single one of them.  And there are a lot of people in James. Killer start. The setlist hit a lot of their new album and the band was tight all night. This was my 4th time seeing James and Tim Booth has never sounded better which is amazing considering his vocal range. Just the fact that he was confident enough to sing both “Laid” and “Sound” shows that. Holy shit though “Johnny Yen” was amazing and they played “Getting Away With It!” Fucking incredible set. The thing I’ve always loved about this band is the way each song will build and crescendo and just soar.

RTD: I can’t even tell you how many times I listened to a borrowed copy of James’ album “Laid” when I was in college, so it was nice to hear the old familiar hit when they played it early in the set. The newer material was fine but I’m not familiar enough with it to get amped up the way I did when I heard Tim intone “Ladies and gentlemen…welcome to our disease” in opening up “Johnny Yen”. Thanks to the modern invention of bluetooth microphones Booth was able to wander way far out into the crowd, at one point climbing up the railing and into the North Terrace seats…he was like a little monkey out there…

DJ 3000: [facepalms]

RTD: …and later on he explained that he always felt they got a raw deal so he felt compelled to make his way up there.  James is a really good live band.  I can see why Yeah Right never misses an opportunity to see these guys and I don’t plan to let any more chances pass me by. I could have listened to them play all night.

PRODUCER: And how about the Psychedelic Furs?

RTD: I have to admit with some shame that we departed less than halfway into their set. I think I was a bit spent after James, who I was really there to see, and hearing the Furs made me feel like an old. The crowd was loving them, though.

YR: Wait, the Psychedelic Furs played? Nah man, we hit the ride share lot before they played their first song. I do have to say something about the lack of service at Griffith Park. I’m talking phone service. We’re standing by the pickup spot with uber and lyft cars lined up waiting and we can’t reach them and they can’t reach us because no phone service. Finally negotiated with this insane uber driver from Hell who for 60 bucks, got us from the Greek to El Segundo in…20 minutes. Twenty fucking minutes! We were doing 95 in the car pool lane. I basically came to grips that we were probably going to die so just looked out the side window. That bastard should be jailed. Got home safe and immediately went for beers and shots of bourbon.

PRODUCER: Good night?

RTD: Hell yeah.

YR: It was fucking epic.

Today’s theme is “live performances”.  Pick up to TEN of your favorite songs that you have seen performed live.  It doesn’t have to be a video from the specific live performance you attended. I’ll get us started with the “encore” song that James squeezed in at the end of their set (they dispensed with the silliness of running offstage for two minutes and just got on with it).

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Law-abiding Raiders fan, pet owner, Los Angeles resident.
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[…] featured a Boots on the Ground where both Rikki and myself attended a concert at the Greek Theater here in LA, which is another fantastic venue for live music. We saw an incredible performance by […]

yeah right

There are many good studio bands that can’t reproduce live but some other bands transcend the studio and the recorded version ain’t even fucking close to their live performance.
This is one.


They almost always play this song live bathed in green light. It’s perfect.

yeah right

Let’s segue off of that.
One of the best intros I’ve ever seen for a live band.


I saw Tricky at The Mayan back in the day. The combination of artist and venue that night was perfect. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if the show was on Halloween. Totally dark and goth-y.

yeah right

Talking Heads – yep three times.

Game Time Decision

Saw Soup Dragons with Catherine Wheel opening for them years ago. Only remember seeing the Soup Dragons.

Low Commander of the Super Soldiers

I have seen Authority Zero more than any other band, because they used to come to San Diego every six months. I think I’m up to double digits now actually. They finally played one of my favorites the last time I saw them.