Subject: Re: Zach Bryan At The Wiltern


The wiltern is a joke with sightlines.  The height of the stage is lower then most of the tiered levels downstair.  Think about that.  can you imagine if an act played an arena and the stage height was below floor level.  That is the wiltern for you – this all happened during the renovation in 2003.  They did this to get more shows and have it be general admission where the alcohol sales skyrocket in a GA setting.  People cant get out of their seats to get drinks in proper seated theatre shows without annoying the other fans in the row.  General admission – fans are free to roam and F&B numbers go through the roof.  Live Nation does not care about the fan’s experience here when 85% of the people on the floor cannot see.  Why do you think they charge a premium to be in the pit – proximity and the ability to actually see the show.  it is all about profit at the expense of the customer.  Agents and managers don’t care either – they just want the maximum money.  they are all complicit.


Subject: Re: Zach Bryan At The Wiltern

I agree the Wiltern is a horrible place to see a show.  Live Nation destroyed the venue when they took out the seats 20 years ago.  Horrible sight lines and the sound is awful in the back of the floor.  You have to be in the pit which gets overcrowded or the loge now.

Steve Burnette


Subject: Re: More iPhone 14 Pro Max


I just spent two hours on the phone with Verizon.  Same issue, however, this is my 85 year old mother’s new phone and we were on a conference call with Verizon. She’s pretty tech savvy so it’s not as painful as you might imagine.  We were sent up one level. Multiple activation attempts. Repeated “eSim cannot be activated” error messages. Verizon is now admitting that this is a known issue. We are told our case is receiving priority status and we will be contacted tomorrow. Your account helped me to remain calm. I knew we were going down the same road. All this after I commented to my wife how fast new iPhone setups and transfers have become. I’ll bite my lip next time.

Jamie Propp

New York, NY


From: Thom Hartmann

Subject: Re: Thom Hartmann-This Week’s Podcast

Sweet. Shoulda added my call screener and our business manager to my staff, and noted that our TV watching reflects my wife’s taste, rather than mine. I’d always rather read. During the 20 years our kids were growing up I got my way, and we had no television in the house whatsoever…

And that Jon Sinton played a huge role in making Air America happen. Sheldon Drobney included my original Common Dreams article in his book “The Road to Air America“ as their first business plan…



Subject: Re: Dirty Business (Live)

Hey Bob,

Thanks for your words on the sound quality of the new NRPS Lyceum ’72 album.

I produced this for release, and aside from it being the perfect storm of a New Riders show (great setlist, performance and recording), it was crucial that we worked with the current Grateful Dead engineering team of Jeffrey Norman to mix it and David Glasser to master it. And of course, the original 16track reel it came off of was recorded by the legendary Dead crew of Betty Cantor and Bob Matthews along with a few others assisting on the Europe tour.

The Riders changed my life at 10 years old while growing  up back East. Buddy Cage’s pedal steel on Powerglide was the first time I ever heard that instrument and I knew I was going wherever that and those long haired psychedelic cowboys were gonna take me.

My entire career in the music world can be traced to the Riders impact on me. I’ve been overseeing their archives for close to 30 years, and Lyceum ’72 is the 9th release to come from the band’s vault, and certainly the best sounding and perhaps performance.

Thanks for altering your readers to John Dawson’s songwriting and folks might wanna check out and the official youtube page

And if you really wanna get off on the sound quality of Lyceum ’72, crank up the 24/96 version…


Rob Bleetstein


From: Stephen Cohen

Subject: My own homage of sorts to the Grateful Dead and the New Riders

Great post, Bob. I became a Deadhead of sorts in 1969, when I was a 14 yr. old in the Bronx. My 17 year old brother turned me on to them, simultaneously buying me my first electric bass for $25. My friends and I took the subway to the Fillmore East for the early show in June. I guess it’s hard for people today to imagine parents letting their 14 year olds do things like that. That was life in NYC back then. There were very few people in the audience at the Fillmore that night (maybe 500 or so), and the ushers told us to move up front so it wouldn’t look so bad. The opening acts were the Buddy Miles Express and Savory Brown. During the show, Jerry Garcia said something like “Hey man, we’re playing a free show in Central Park tomorrow at the Bandshell”. So I went there too. There might have been a thousand people there. Their new album at the time was Anthem of the Sun, or maybe Live Dead had just come out. This music was NOT folkie, country music. Bob Constanten playing prepared piano – John Cage would have appreciated it! Above all, the attraction was that great level of experimentation and interplay, and the unique and brilliant playing of Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh.

I kept seeing them over and over around NYC and the suburbs – 25 times in the next three or four years, sometimes three or four times a week, at the Fillmore, Academy of Music/Palladium, Capital in Portchester, Queens College… I saw them at the Fillmore in February of ’70 with the Allman Brothers opening as the third act on the bill. (Love was second.) I believe this was a month before the Allmans recorded Live at the Fillmore East. What we were experiencing musically all went hand in hand with the anti-war marches and the vast social changes that were happening – the changes that the “conservative” movement still can’t abide today.

I saw those first New Riders shows. If I remember right, Jerry wasn’t the only member of The Dead playing with them. That first album of theirs is a landmark, as is Workingman’s Dead. I was at the Watkins Glen concert in 1973, with the Dead, the Allman Brothers and The Band, featuring the famous sound check the evening before. I loved The Band, and eventually they became my favorite group of the era (excepting The Beatles, who were in a different class and category altogether).

By ’73 or so I’d lost interest in the Dead. Their live album from Europe sounded sludgy to me. The live shows had become a circus, and as I became a serious musician, I noticed that very few of my musician friends had any interest in the Dead at all. That was a fortunate development for me, as I started listening to and studying the other music that I needed to learn. The last time I saw them was in 1976. Pigpen, who really had a critical place in the mix, was gone. The scene had overwhelmed the band. I was on to other things.

In retrospect, my favorite Dead recording is the live “Skull and Roses” album – just a solid rock band clicking on all cylinders, with one solid drummer and two really special players in Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh.

Thanks for the great perspective on all of this.

– Steve


From: Angelo Cannella

Subject: Re: DragonFly Cobalt


I can’t thank you enough for recommending the Dragonfly Cobalt. Saw it on Amazon for $249.99 a week ago and didn’t think twice when clicking buy now.   This thing is amazing and delivers such a dynamic sound. It’s like night and day. If I’m getting that experience with my Bose companion II computer speakers and Sony MDR760 studio headphones (looking to upgrade both of those next), I could only imagine how this must sound in a top notch rig. Listening to high-res tracks from Qobuz, they sound great but the app is a bit clunky. If only Spotify would offer lossless and/or high-res audio, I’d sign up for that in a heartbeat.

Thanks again,



From: Mark McLaughlin

Subject: Re: Re-The Doobie Brothers

I just want to thank you again for the tip about Dragonfly Cobalt. I even use it to connect my iPad to a relatively high end but still very basis portable speaker and the benefits are amazing. I will never buy a small speaker without an aux connection again. The benefits are even more obvious with my main stereo system but at this point, I travel with the dragonfly so that I am always using it for damn near every speaker situation.


From: Gordon Rankin

Subject: DragonFly


Been meaning to send you a thanks for the nice things you said about my Cobalt. Just been traveling a bunch and in cleaning out my in box it reminded me to send this.

If you ever have questions about the products, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Thanks again,



From: Gordon Rankin

Subject: Re: DragonFly


Thanks for the kind words!

~~~ Why not 192?

Diminishing returns… so the Cobalt draws typically around 50ma. All phones will allow up to 100ma without negotiations for more power. Full Speed USB can only go to 96KHz and so you would have to have a controller that went to High Speed. The difference between Full Speed and High Speed is the interface. They are not really the same. Full Speed uses a voltage differential signal that requires about 3ma max of power to operate. High Speed USB is a differential current interface that runs at 25ma. You take that extra current and the additional current required to answer those requests from the host and you’re above 100ma. Ok so most negotiations with the host will allow that. But two problems occur by going to high speed:

1) You’re now drawing 2x or more current from the battery in the phone.

2) The more current the more noise, so the noise in the unit goes up, sound quality decreases.

~~~ Amazon, Apple, Qobuz, Tidal or streaming today.

The flaw of streaming was the original flaw of USB, Flow control. USB started with Adaptive mode which basically meant the master clock was changed in the dac to match the HOST’s speed. That caused massive amounts of audio related jitter errors. Asynchronous mode fixed this problem by instead having the dac drive the HOST number of samples it sent. Kind of like cruise control in a car and gas being the # of samples.

In streaming what happens is that the sample rate output is usually fixed for each song. The SERVER and the DEVICE negotiate link quality and use resampling algorithms to assure the music does not pop or click. Problem is resampling doesn’t sound that great.

This is one of the reasons that link quality is very important in streaming. Cellular is the worst no matter if you have 5G or 4G. Actually 4G sounds better because 5G was poorly engineered (another topic another day). WIFI is not good either as the amount of transmission required for WIFI is almost 2x that of Ethernet which is the best medium for streaming. Plus the airborne noise for WIFI is really high.

Quality wise Qobuz is the best, Tidal second if you have MQA capable setup, Apple then Amazon. I tried working with Amazon to fix their problems but none of their engineers are really into audio. They probably all use bluetooth headphones and listen to Spotify.


Ok have a full day today! Building some cool tube guitar amps for Barenaked Ladies. They had to cancel their show WED because of covid. Back Aug 29 which will be fun. I do all their touring equipment.




From: Dan Mackta =

Subject: Thanks for the love

Hi Bob, I am a long time reader, so I got very excited when I saw that Gordon Rankin mentioned Qobuz to you in connection with the AudioQuest Dragonfly DAC.

I mean here we are, plugging away with our small team (7 people in the USA) and making fans mainly via word of mouth and targeted marketing to audiophiles. Then boom…you give us a nice, unexpected boost. Not quite the spike we saw when Neil Young recommended Qobuz during the whole Rogan thing., but still, wow and thank you!

We are a humble, independent, music “pure play” that happens to be “competing” with some of the biggest companies in the history of the world. I have to put competing in quotes. We are a boutique music service in a digital superstore world.

Obviously the sound quality is where it all starts – lossless and hi-res only – but I want to point out a couple of other things about Qobuz that make it special: First of all, we are music only. We feature new albums across all genres, hand picked by our music team, localized to each country. Not that radical but we are album-centric and that makes Qobuz different. Second, we have a download store where we sell lossless and hi-res files. FLAC, WAV, whatever you want. This is a real business with very few players. The big guys only sell lossy, compressed downloads. The download store accounts for a third of our revenue! Lots of music fans who have gone the music server route in their homes and prefer to own their music. Not to mention it is a way to support the art more directly if you are not wanting a physical product. Finally, our human editorial team puts together in depth album reviews and long form articles (“Panoramas”) of interest to serious music people like us! Not to mention thousands of hand-curated playlists of all kinds.

Thanks again for taking the time to check us out and for the kind words.




From: Hugo Burnham

Subject: Re: Roxy Music At The Forum

Yes and yes, and yes…and we’re all old. It was my 50th Roxy anniversary, as well – at MGM here in Boston a week or so ago – having seen them twice in 1972. The first time was when a few of us bunked off school and drove up to Medway, where we sat on the steps outside the cinema/theatre they were scheduled to play at. Smoking, arguing, laughing until a spaceship landed in the street right there. Right in front of us! Anyone else in the area might have described it as an old white Ford Transit van – but we saw these five aliens step out and glide over towards us. So it was a bloody spaceship. We just stared as these weirdly-dressed creatures came up the cinema steps, sweeping past us – with an “Alright, Lads?” We tried but we could not find a way to reply, stunned us into silence, Even the language was alien (OK…a Newcastle accent, but still…). The rest of the day/evening was brilliant and surreal. I was hooked. The next time was a bit later the same year at The Crystal Palace Garden party – even during the daytime and sharing a stage with Edgar Winter, Loggins and Messina, Osibisa and Stone The Crows (both amazing!) – they shone. A few times after that over the next few years, and three Ferry solo shows. So I just couldn’t have missed This (Will Be) The Last Time. And I got to meet Paul Thompson. And I know 2HB was written about me – to hell with Bogart. Life is Good.


Subject: Roxy Music 50th Anniversary

Dear Bob,

I didn’t want the show to end.. Unlike the old days I purchased my ticket so there’s a lot more

accountability with the artist. I paid with my hard-earned cash. I want to be entertained.

Rarely had I been that absorbed in the music. I didn’t look to see what time it was. I didn’t look

on my phone for Tik Tok videos… I just wanted to be part of the experience.

I’ll confess, I almost wept with the amazing synchronicity between Manzanera and McKay..

I don’t know where Manzanera is ranked as the greatest guitarist of all time.. Whatever it tis’ it should be a lot higher! Man can he wail…

There aren’t that many shows I’d care about remembering but Roxy Music is top on my list.

Kindest Cheers,

Jeff Laufer


Re: Zach Bryan At The Wiltern

Thanks for writing this.

That album, especially Heading South and Heavy Eyes have been on repeat since release.

His voice, his lyrics, beyond!!
I had the same feelings when I discovered “Born to Run and  Greetings..”

Jill A. Goldhand


Re: Zach Bryan At The Wiltern

Never heard of him.


Like him.


Usually, I listen to a few songs on a link you send and go back to listening to Howard.


But, listened to the entire set-list from the show.


(and actually went back and listened to a few that I liked again!)


Samara Stein


From: John Hever

Re: Zach Bryan At The Wiltern

Awesome read! I’ve been blown away with Zach and his music. Something about his writing just hits my soul similar to my other favorites like Ryan Adams, Jason Isbell and Ruston Kelly. Zach’s music just feels so emotional you have to sing along loudly and damn it feels good. You nailed it with how authentic his writing and songs are. I can’t stop listening and he can’t stop writing and releasing more music for his fans to enjoy.

Check out his tik tok solo performances. I bet you can’t stop until you watch them all! It’s joyful!!


Re: Zach Bryan At The Wiltern

Hey Bob,

Longtime reader. Your Spring piece about Zach is when I first heard of him. I was intrigued at the comparison you drew between this Navy guy from Oklahoma and Dylan. I’m a big Dylan fan so, yes, my ears were perked. I started listening to American Heartbreak and got Zach right away. I live in a house in Banff Alberta with roommates and they knew of him already as well. I was late to the party.

Fast forward to July.

In July of every year there’s the Super Bowl of rodeos in Calgary called the Calgary Stampede. 10 days long. There’s a big tent structure which hosts live music every night of the Stampede called Cowboys. Other than the Saddledome (where the Calgary Flames NHL team plays) the Cowboys tent is where the biggest acts perform during the Stampede. But in truth, the Cowboys tent is the heart, the pulse of the Stampede’s entertainment offering. It’s the Sahara tent of the Stampede. It’s attached to the Cowboys Casino which is next to the Stampede’s grounds located a walk from the city’s central business district. This is an historic event. The Stampede has been going on for over 100 years. And at Cowboys you’ll get Burton Cummings one night, Snoop Dogg the next, Blue Rodeo after that. And this year, on the Tuesday night Zach Bryan played before Brothers Osborne. I lucked out by scoring a free ticket. See, the promoter was giving away tickets through a University of Calgary varsity sports promo thing. The secret (the link) got out fast and me and a few buddies scored tickets that otherwise would’ve cost us ~$100 each.

Let me cut to the chase and say that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a frenetic energy like that Zach Bryan show. I kind of felt bad for Brothers Osborne because, as good of musicians as they are, the majority of the sold out crowd there that night was there for Zach. Most left after Zach was done. The real headliner was Zach. The crowd? The most beautiful women extant sang every lyric to every song. They had tattoos of his lyrics on their arms. I kept thinking, where do all these girls come from?! The tent is standing room only and I had to remove myself from the main area in front of the stage because it was just too tight. Elbows were being thrown. There was a lack of oxygen. And I’m a 30 year old dude who does Ironmans! COVID may as well have been a 19th century event.

Zach didn’t have an 8 piece like at the Wiltern. I think there were 5 of them up there that night. And in between each of his songs he would do a short intro and then say “hope you don’t hate it.” He said that every time. It was funny, but not because he was trying to be funny. He was being sincere. Shy almost. And then of course the whole crowd proceeded to scream every goddamn word thereafter. Like I said, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a density of fandom. I’ve seen a lot of shows. Been to a lot of the big festivals in the States. NOLA’s jazz fest, ACL, and I even found myself at Beychella in ’18.

Earlier in the Spring I saw Shakey Graves at the University of Calgary concert hall and he was amazing but the crowd wasn’t nearly as insane. And then I saw Nathaniel Rateliff and his 8 piece later in August at a big casino hall in Calgary. Again, this was a sold out show, but the crowd just wasn’t nearly as ravenous. Though I must say if I were to rank these three shows musically, Nathaniel would be numero uno. Zach at two and Shakey at three.

I heard Zach’s latest new song Starved which he released last week. I’m not a fan of it, but I love that he keeps writing and releasing. I think I like his stripped down acoustic sound more. I’m aware that some songs will stick on the wall, others won’t. I am a musician myself and I’d be lying if I said Zach’s story isn’t inspirational. But I must say it’s also confounding, his rapid rise. Next summer I scored tickets to Dead & Co at the Gorge Amphitheatre. I can’t wait. I am also very curious to see what the fandom will be like for that band’s final tour.

James Rose


Re: Zach Bryan At The Wiltern

I saw him at JAS Aspen last month. He opened for Chris Stapleton.

There was a sense of urgency in the crowd for Zach. The vibe was as you described it – magnified by the fact that we were outside in a field and felt “free.”

The vibe for Stapleton was engaged, but that sense of something happening, but you don’t know what it is, was not.

He’s playing up the road from me at RedRocks in Nov. Going to be a good one for sure.

Judd Marcello


Subject: Re: Zach Bryan At The Wiltern

Here are the two truths of Zach Bryan

it’s country, because that seems to be the pony ring populist songs played with organic instruments go…

honest, true to life stuff with fiddles? on Rock, where you’ve pointed out he’s charted far more songs. it’s not allowed. 

whatever. a rose is still a rose even if you call it sausage pizza.

but he writes about working kids, who think, feel, fail and to quote Jackson Browne — “don’t confront me with my failures, I have not forgotten them” — the ability to face those things and continue.

working class kids don’t have the luxury of balling up and saying, “it’s not fair.”

Zach’s parents divorced, his mother died. there’s a profound wounding inside that beautiful sternum, and it forges those aching songs into something powerful for anyone struggling to face what happened, then face whatever the emotions are + release or work through them.

Read Jon Caramanica’s great NYTimes piece ( and understand he wasn’t a looser kid, but someone with a great sense of honor (4th generation Navy) and a deep wounding, listen to NYT’s Popcast about New Artists + hear the crickets when Jon drops Zach’s name, then enjoy the follow-up Popcast that unpacks Bryan’s “why” (

seeing him at Bonnaroo, it was like seeing Springsteen during the Mike Appel suit years:

someone fighting for their truth and their breath, but also our truth and breath.

he’s not doing it to be famous. he isn’t looking to cash in.

he wants to sing this pain, this joy, this triumph, so the people like him know someone sees them, knows how it feels

too many record people are looking to have the algorithm tell them what’ll get the rats to hit the feeder bar. and reflexively, they do. but that never hits people in the soul or the heart or the lost hours when they need something to hang onto. that’s why these numbers and passions are so high.

i witnessed. oh, and the players? mostly his friends or people he’s met along the way, so they can be his age, because its peer-sourced, not hot players music to a place where they can shoot it out for the jobs!

fascinating moment. Nashville’s lucky he wass to called “country,” cause he takes us back to Kristofferson’s poetry, Haggard’s real life and Willie’s “how we are.”

be well + keep listening

holly gleason

nashville, tn


From: Mitchell

Subject: Re: Zach Bryan At The Wiltern

Wow!   Holy s…. Why don’t more people know about this phenomenon?


From: Joe Greenwald

Subject: Re: Roxy Music At The Forum

Meant to send this last week and it’s a novel so apologize in advance but reading your missive I got nostalgic and excited and the charge of how this band changed my life. So wanted to type it out and still send..

Roxy either changed your life..or they didn’t..but if they did you know and feel something that a whole lot of other people have not.

So great little story from when I was at Virgin and we released 2 of the Bryan solo records. 

Martin Bandyke, who was a true music guy, from WDET (which was a powerhouse back then) called me and asked if Bryan would come in for an interview day of show (he was playing the Detroit Opera House that night). Now we were told that Bryan did NO promo and not to even ask as he was Bryan Ferry so why would he? Well I told Martin I would ask, made a half hearted attempt and got the requisite no. 

About 9 am morning of the show I get a phone call, pick up and hear a voice on the other end. Hey Joe, this is Bryan Ferry, how are you? My friends/family knew I was obsessed so I assumed they had planned this elaborate joke on me, so I was dismissive and like, sure what can I do for you, waiting for them to burst into laughter. Well the voice then said I understand there are still some tickets to sell for tonights show, wondering if there is anything I can do to help, interview or anything else? At that point I realized that Bryan Ferry was actually on the other end of the phone (still no idea how he got my number) and I gulped and said well, I know WDET really wanted you to come in if you wanted, and I promise no more than an interview. He said, great set it up! I asked him to call me back in 15 minutes. Dialed WDET faster than my fingers could work and got Martin and he said yes yes of course anytime no matter what, we will stop everything. Bryan called back and I said we can go. In whenever but I did not have a car to get him. (I had a Ford Taurus at the time) and he said you don’t own a car? And I said no no, I do but I don’t have a town car or limo fully expecting Bryan to travel in nothing less and he said oh god I don’t care just come grab me and we’ll go over. 

Well, I pulled up to his hotel, took a deep breath and got out to go get him (and see one of my all time heros). He looked as debonair as any man ever and got in my ford Taurus and away we went to WDET. When we got there Martin put him right on the air and they had about a 15 min conversation on air and then Bryan asked if he could go in the recording studio they had on site. There was a baby grand and Bryan said, ok if I do a few songs? And everyone was like, ummm sure?! Bryan then did 3 songs live on air just him at this baby grand. Talked some more on air (of course some in French because why not) and then gave everyone goodbyes and back to my Taurus. It wasn’t just magic, it was a front seat to true true greatness, not a few hits, not a great frontman but one in a billion type of greatness.  I thanked him profusely, started to drive back to his hotel and he said, do you have plans today? I responded just working and then the show and he said, oh I was hoping you might be able to give me a little tour of Detroit, I have such fond memories of it. I reminded him, I worked for him and if that was his request for my work day I could happily fulfill that. We drove all over the city, went to the Heidelberg project, snuck into the Fox Theater where he said he had such good memories of playing and went to the DIA. It seemed way too surreal but also awesome. Was getting close to end of day and I said do you have soundcheck and he said oh yes lets get to the venue. I pulled up and was dropping him off and said I’ll see you later tonight at the show. He said come watch soundcheck and then lets have dinner..I was getting moderately comfortable as we had spent hours together at this point but still having Bryan Ferry say lets have dinner was not something my record collecting brain ever though would actually happen in any world. I watched soundcheck and we went up to catering and sat for another hour and he talked a lot about a close partner and friend he had just lost and was very emotional. I’m not sure why he chose me to open up to that day but I will be forever grateful. 

The show that night was exactly as you described, out of this world with some moments of true greatness that few people have touched. I had run home after dinner to get my records for him to sign (as a rep I try to not cross that line but at this point I was comfortable enough asking him to sign them). I went to say say goodbye after the show, he signed my records, we talked for a bit more and I said today has been amazing, really special and just wanted to thank you but I have one question I have to ask..He smiled and said, you want to know if we are getting back together?! I didn’t even answer and he paused and said…yes, yes we will and we will do it with Brian…this was before anything about the reunion was announced so my jaw hit the floor, I fully expected him to simply dodge the question but he flat out said it and I was stunned. Now we all know Eno didn’t end up doing it but it was still perfection and as you saw remains perfection.

This job and biz is not always easy and can def take a serious toll on your life/relationships/mental health but damn, no mortgage broker ever got to spend a day like that with Bryan Ferry. 

I live by the theory that all people are people as I think you have to (especially in this job) but there is no question and such a different energy when you are in the presence of true greatness, the aura and energy is simply different.. I will never ever forget that day.  (We did see each other a few times after at shows and he was always gracious and cordial again but nothing like that day)


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