This Is Us-Real Live Roadrunning

This Is Us-Real Live Roadrunning Spotify

Listen to that piano!

Yup, push the track to 4:13…AND HAVE YOUR MIND BLOWN!

This is why we go to the show, not to see the nitwits dance, not to see the fearful sing and play to tape, but to hear our favorite tracks just a little bit different, just a little bit off, just a little bit BETTER!

So I got stuck on “Prairie Wedding,” and it reminded me of how much I loved “This Is Us.” So I dialed up the 2006 Mark Knopfler/Emmylou Harris cut and I found out…I was just as  hooked, just as enamored as I was when I first discovered it, way back then.

And then I found the live version!

Let me tell you how I do it. I go to Sonos, I make a playlist, and then I play it in all my zones, all over the house.

And recently I’ve switched to MOG, which has an insanely terrible interface, but sounds just a bit better than Spotify, which has an intuitive interface but an absolutely horrible search function, hell I searched for “Real Live Roadrunning” multiple times and it didn’t appear, but today it did. Huh?


It’s easy. You can do it on your computer. Or your iPhone. You just hit the Sonos app, choose a music service, search and create a playlist.
And this playlist contained…

“This Is Us” – the studio version

“This Is Us” – the live version

“Prairie Wedding”

“Prairie Wedding” – Kenny Rogers version

“See The Changes” – studio version

“See The Changes” – live take from Wolfgang’s Vault

And eventually…

“Calling Elvis” – live take from Dire Straits’ 1993 “On The Night”

That Kenny Rogers version of “Prairie Wedding” is pretty good. Once upon a time the playlist contained the Del McCoury take, but it didn’t float my boat.

As for “Calling Elvis”… I saw Dire Straits at the Forum back in 1991, in support of “On Every Street,” and this was the highlight, the opening cut from that album.

So I’ve got five Sonos zones. One is to the stereo, which I rarely employ, because it’s too much of a pain in the ass to fire it up, the rest of the zones are plugged in and ready to go at all times. There’s one in the kitchen. One in the bedroom. One by my computer. And one that fires directly into the bathroom, where I do some of my best reading.

And for a week straight, I listened to this playlist. Incessantly. It made me feel good.

Ever think you’re over music? That the Top Ten doesn’t resonate and the indie stuff is just too lo-fi and grating? I do. Too many wannabes following bad trends to places I just don’t care about.

And then I hear “This Is Us.”

The lyrics are great.

But what captures you is the music. It’s a veritable TEAR!

You can’t sit on the couch. You can’t help but move. It’s like an invisible hand lifts you and forces you to dance.

And I love the studio version.

But the live take is just slightly imperfect. It breathes. It lives. And, as a result, SO DO I!

You see I’m doing my back exercises, I’m walking around the house, and I’m constantly pulling out my iPhone, to dial up the live take of “This Is Us” once again.

We’ve lost the plot. We still think it’s about charts, about money.

But it isn’t, it’s about MUSIC!

This is something the baby boomers know. Which is why they overpay to see the stars of yore. Ask young ‘uns, and you find out music is disposable, grease for the event, something to laugh at and discard. But for baby boomers, music is life itself. Because they remember when music drove the culture, ruled the earth.

And they’re constantly looking for more. But they can’t find it. Because Pandora suggests Journey when you plug in Jackson Browne and algorithms have no humanity.

I didn’t want to watch TV, I didn’t want to read, I just wanted to listen to “This Is Us.”

I wanted to go to the show. I felt optimistic. Like life could work out.

I was who I once was, who I used to be.

And it’s all because of this track made by a guy losing his hair and his band of unknowns along with a white-haired country singer.

You see it’s the playing.

Hell, I’m jitterbugging in my chair right now!

Listen to Knopfler peel off those notes.

And then the whole thing breaks down at the aforementioned 4:13 and there’s a piano part so subtle, so right, that it trumps Obama, “The New York Times” and all those right wing protesters who think if we just have less everybody will be happy.

No, that’s WRONG!

We want more!

We want you to practice and play. We want no restrictions. We want you to titillate us. We want you to TRY!

It’s been decades since I took piano lessons. But listening to the playing on “This Is Us” I want to do nothing so much as sit down at the keys and PLAY!

Not so you’ll pay attention, but for the sheer enjoyment.

That’s what music’s supposed to be.

Not an assault, like Beyonce’s appearance at the Super Bowl.

When done right, no dancing is necessary. Just playing. And singing.

And we need stars.

But even more we need the people behind them. The faceless minions, the journeymen who paid their dues when no one was watching so they could touch us when given their chance.

Listen to that piano part!

It’s “Hansel & Gretel.” It’s a walk in the dark. It’s rain on an autumn day. It’s your love in your arms, the one who got away in your mind’s eye. It’s all of this and more.


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