Pasarell’s look back on Andre Agassi’s first trip to the BNP Paribas Open

By Leighton Ginn

Former BNP Paribas Open owner and tournament director Charlie Pasarell said his mentor Pancho Gonzalez request an unknown 15-year-old get a wildcard. Without question or seeing the kid, Pasarell gave the kid a wildcard.

That kid happened to be Andre Agassi.

Agassi did well in the first round, beating John Austin, setting up a matchup against then No. 1 Mats Wilander.

Prior to the match, Wilander came into Pasarell’s office to ask what he knew about Agassi.

Pasarell didn’t know much, but suggest Wilander avoid his forehand.

When Pasarell went to watch the match, Wilander hit every shot to Agassi’s forehand, and won in dominating fashion, which Pasarell jokes about.

“Well that’s how much I know about the game of tennis,” Pasarell said laughing.

Because Agassi was an amateur, he couldn’t accept prize money. But Pasarell said made sure Agassi was properly compensated.

Agassi had put in his expenses as $300, but the prize money for reaching the second round was $1,000.

But Pasarell said he looked at Agassi’s expenses and thought there were things that were off, and made his corrections.

The story was later told differently by Agassi in his autobiography, “Open.”

Below is the full video of Pasarell talking about Agassi at the BNP Paribas Open.

Coachella 2017: New Order

 

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By Leighton Ginn

It has befuddled me why Coachella has scheduled New Order against one of the headliners the last two time the groundbreaking English band has been at the Empire Polo Grounds.

As a fan, I would love to see them get more exposure to the younger generation as their sound, I believe, is a precursor for EDM and I think those who don’t know New Order would fall in love with them.

On the other hand, with the struggles of battling through the numerous people, it was actually nice to have some breathing room in the Mohave Tent while they played Sunday night against Kendrick Lamar.

And I don’t think there are more enthusiastic crowds than the ones for New Order.

Their music was the soundtrack of my college days.

They were cutting edge in the day and while I never got to see them live during those days, I’m sure their look was as edgy as their sound.

Today, they look middle-aged, like me. But they exude joy with their music. When lead singer Bernard Sumner breaks out in dance on hits like “Bizarre Love Triangle,” I kind of compare it to watching your father dance for the first time.

But it’s so endearing as well. He’s getting into his great music, and it makes me enjoy it more.

There are so many great songs from New Order that they are must see every time they are at Coachella. At least for me.

This year, their encore songs were two from Joy Division, which was New Order’s original incarnation, but they changed the name after Ian Curtis committed suicide.

I hadn’t known much of Joy Division, but the final song, “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” is definitely a favorite.

Coachella 2017: Bon Iver

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By Leighton Ginn

One of the acts I’ve wanted to see for a while has been Bon Iver, as I think Justin Vernon is one of the best vocalist out there.

Halocene is such a beautiful song, and his cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make you Love Me” is extraordinary.

But I hadn’t read much about Bon Iver before watching them at Coachella this year during the second weekend. So when I heard the auto tune and the altering of his vocals, it threw me off.

My initial reaction was, “with a beautiful voice like that, why mess with it?”

But I know artists like to branch out, so I tried to give it a chance. But to be honest, it was hard to really soak it in because it did throw me off. It wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t prepared for it. I will have to listen more to his new CD, “22, A Million.” I want to listen to more of it and get an honest take on his new direction.

Yet, I think Bon Iver came up with the signature moment for Coachella 2017 for me when there was a surprise appearance by Bruce Hornsby and Jenny Lewis. They performed together on Hornsby hit, “The End of the Innocence.”

Bringing together three rich and beautiful voices together for that song just gave me goosebumps the whole song.

And it was cool because there was no introduction. I thought it was just a cover, but as I listened, “hey, isn’t that Bruce Hornsby?”

When I got home that night, I searched YouTube to see if anyone posted a video of it. Once I found it, I was sharing it with all my music friends.

Coachella can sometimes be a pain. With so many people, as they expanded to 120,000 this year, it’s can test your patience.

But “The End of the Innocence” is a moment that makes it all worth it.

 

My Coachella 2017 playlist … so far

 

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By Leighton Ginn

I got the alert today that my Coachella wristbands are on the way.

To prepare for the 2017 edition, here is a playlist of some of the songs I’m looking forward to. This is in no way a complete list.

BIZARRE LOVE TRIANGLE

I love this band and it was a great performance when they played in 2013. They were actually on against Phoenix, who was the Saturday headliner and that was a tough decision.

But New Order represents my college days and I just love the band. And Bizarre Love Triangle was the soundtrack of those days.

Whenever I hear it, it just makes me happy.

WELCOME TO YOUR LIFE

So anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I love Grouplove. I especially love the song “Shark Attack” because it was written and inspired by their first appearance at Coachella, which I caught.

But they have an impressive catalog of songs that I love, including their latest.

The energy they bring to their performances is infectious. I’ve caught them numerous times and haven’t ever been disappointed.

ON HOLD

I know the XX has been around and I’ve followed them peripherally, but their latest CD, “I See You” has really hooked me in.

“On Hold” isn’t necessarily my favorite song on the CD, but the sampling of Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” that I didn’t recognize immediately … or actually until I Googled it.

HIGH AND LOW

One of the most visually dynamic bands out there. Again, I didn’t follow them closely, but the first song from their newest CD, “High and Low” hooked me in immediately.

These guys are a staple in the Sahara tent, but it will be interesting if they will be back there again, or on a bigger stage, which would also mean a more elaborate stage set.

That would be fun.

CHANGE OF SEASONS

Two Door Cinema Club’s last performance at Coachella was one of my favorites. The band has a dynamic sound, starting with Alex Tremble’s voice.

They’ve changed their sound for their latest CD, so it will be interesting to see how it will play out on stage. But their new stuff is solid, even if it is a bit of a departure.

“Bad Decisions” is my favorite from their latest CD, but since I featured it in a previous blog, I went back a few years for “Change of Seasons,” a really great song.

RIVER

A new voice that is big and bold, I’m really looking forward to seeing Bishop Briggs. She’s low on the lineup sheet, but feels like a chance to see a future star.

I think her song “River” really captures her dynamic range.

SAFE AND SOUND

Great sound and great energy. When I saw Capital Cities at Coachella, there was a moment when I thought this might be the best set I saw that year and was right up there with the best I saw.

That thought same when they played “Safe and Sound.”

I just remember I couldn’t sit still and I don’t think anyone else could.

And the trumpet player is killer.

 

 

 

 

 

Predicting Coachella 2017: Classic acts who would be fun to have this year

 

By Leighton Ginn

Coachella has long brought out big acts from a different generation.

It’s an impressive list that includes the likes of Guns N Roses, AC DC, Steely Dan, Duran Duran.

So here’s a list of possible legends who might play Coachella this year.

YUSUF ISLAM/ CAT STEVENS

In 2014, Yusuf Islam returned to the stage for the first time in 35 years, and he returned again, playing a brief Fall tour that included two nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater for his 50th anniversary.

His pop-folk classics are numerous and beloved. While his act was acoustic, his long lists of hits would play well on big stages.

This might be the one acts I’m hoping to see most.

PHIL COLLINS

He came out of retirement this year, playing the US Open tennis championships and the Tonight Show.

He has a long list of hits as a solo act and as a member of Genesis.

For Collins, it would make sense to headline a major festival, as he will kick off a tour in the summer.

“In The Air Tonight” was one of the signature songs of the 80s, as Collins rolled out seven No. 1 hits during that decade.

STING

This would be a long shot as Sting would end a European Tour on April 13 in Paris, the day before Coachella’s first weekend will begin.

That’s not to say Sting couldn’t play that Sunday night.

But Sting would be an interesting choice to add, especially since his latest CD, “57th and 9th,” marked a return to his rock roots.

Plus, Sting has two dates at the Palladium on Feb. 8-9, and then a date at The Show at the nearby Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage.

It’s just fun to thing about the possibility, even though it is a long shot.

THE TIME/THE REVOLUTION

With the passing of Prince, I just think it would be cool to have the Time, with Morris Day and Jerome, at the Empire Polo Fields. When Prince headlined, Morris and Jerome opened the set with “Jungle Love” and “The Bird.”

I kind of envision this being a Prince tribute with all the acts he’s helped, and this would also include The Revolution.

DEPECHE MODE

 

Yeah, there’s an 80s theme to this list.

Depeche Mode was one of the biggest acts of the 80s and they will also be going on a summer tour in 2017, which works logistically for Coachella.

In 2006. Depeche Mode headlined Coachella.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class of 86 music, favorite hits from (gulp) 30 years ago

 

 

By Leighton Ginn

Later on this year, I’ll probably go to my 30th high school reunion, highlighting the fact that I’m old and I haven’t really done much with my life.

But I have my music.

So here is a list of my favorite songs from the year I graduated.

I’m not proud of some of my picks. But my tastes are my tastes.

These songs were selected from a list of the top 100 songs from 1986, compiled by Billboard.

Sweet Freedom

A Michael McDonald film from one of my favorite, and not very well known movie, “Running Scared” with Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines.

 

I’m Your Man

Kind of an unheralded classic from Wham! It wasn’t included in George Michael’s 25th anniversary CD, which had three other Wham! hits.

Walk This Way

A groundbreaking video that merged rock and rap, and changed music.

 

If You Leave

A quintessential song in the Molly Ringwald trilogy of films she did with John Hughes.

We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off

Yeah, I like the song. Sue me.

Dancing on the Ceiling

Lionel Richie was a favorite in the 80s for me.

Love Touch

 

Legal Eagle was a big movie at the time and this was the hit song from the film starring Robert Redford, Debra Winger and Daryl Hannah.

Tender Love

I truly believe this song had a hand in the birth of several 30 year olds.

You Give Love A Bad Name

Not only did this song give love a bad name, but made going to karaoke nights a little painful.

 Party All The Time

I tried to keep a straight face when I posted this. I failed.