Dead Links

I’m going to pin this to the top of my blog. Now that my blog is public again there are people who will be coming to the site via search engines or other means, and thus they will not have read the ongoing saga of Amazon and finding a new host for all my shows.

For many years I used Amazon Drive to host all of my show links. They are discontinuing their service at the end of 2023. Not wanting to renew with a dead site I went ahead and canceled my account with them. This means that the thousands of shows I posted with Amazon Drive links are now dead in the water.

I will be reuploading all those old shows to Google Drive. But there are a lot of them and that is going to take me a long time. Especially since my priority will be posting shows that have never been on my blog before.

Please do not leave me a comment telling me my Amazon links are dead. I know they are dead. I canceled that service. Please do leave me a comment asking me to reupload shows that have dead links. Please leave that comment on the post for the show in question. Please don’t leave it on this post or any other post that does not contain the show you want to be reuploaded.

Please be nice about it. Please be patient. I will get to your requests eventually. Following these simple rules and a little kindness will help me get to your requests faster.

Amazon Drive Shrinkage, Part III: This Time It’s Personal

Ok friends, I have no deleted all of the non-essential artists off my Amazon Drive and I will now begin working on the essentials. So, if you haven’t already gone through the Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Van Morrison files and downloaded what you need now is the time.

I’ll start with Peter Gabriel and Pink Floyd – artists that I don’t necessarily collect but still have a huge amount of shows from and then move to the other artists I do collect. There are a lot of them so it will take me some time. But at the speed I’ve been going, I should be completely finished in February sometime.

This may push forward my desire to start doing regular posts again through the Google Drive. I had originally thought I’d do that in April when my Amazon Drive account officially expires. But if I get through all of these files and delete them from Amazon I’ll go ahead and cancel the Drive and maybe even get a small refund. I can use that to support the Google Drive.

No promises though.

As always, if I delete something and you still need it just leave me a comment and I’ll find a way to upload it elsewhere.

Amazon Shrinkage, Part II

A few days ago I noted that I would be deleting some files on my Amazon Drive in order to get it under 6TBs. The hope was that once I had done so I would be able to change my plan from 7TB to 6TB and possibly get a refund. I am now under 6TBs of storage and technically it is possible to change plans and get a prorated refund. But there are problems.

Amazon will prorate me a refund on the unused time on my 7TB purchase, but then the automatically bill me for a full year’s worth on the 6TB plan. I’m not sure if they give me a discounted rate since Amazon Drive is officially dying at the end of this year, or they would give me a refund when it does go away. Either way, I’m not buying.

So for now I am keeping the 7TB plan and not renewing it in April.

One thing I realized as I was trying to get the Amazon Drive under 6TBs was that there are some shows on my Drive that are not on any of my physical hard drives. They were either on drives that have gone bad, or I accidentally deleted them or I’ve just misplaced them somewhere. Either way, I want to go through my Amazon Drive systematically and download anything that is not on one of my hard drives.

While I’m doing this, I’ve decided that whenever I have verified that a file does exist on a hard drive, I am going to delete it from the Amazon Drive. This is a simple way for me to keep track of what I have and what I don’t have.

I’ll continue working on my less desired artists (basically anything that isn’t Dylan, The Dead, Van or Neil) and once that’s done I’ll work my way through the rest (I will probably write a new post when that time comes). This is to say, once again, that if you haven’t downloaded everything you want off my Amazon Drive now is the time to do so.

But also, once again, if I do delete something before you grab it please do send me a note and I’ll find somewhere else to upload it.

And just in case you’ve lost the link, click here for access to everything on my Amazon Drive.

Amazon Drive Shrinkage

As the new year is coming and I’m thinking about how my Amazon Drive will completely go away in April I realize that this decision came down not long after I upgraded to 7TBs. I never got close to filling up that last TB of storage and now Amazon won’t let me upload anything new. I think (but I’m not positive) that if I remove the over 6TBs of files, I can knock my plan back down to 6TBs and maybe get a little money refunded.

I’m gonna try it anyway. Which means I’m about to delete some files. I’ll try to delete relatively obscure artists or at least ones that never got many comments, so as to not disrupt anyone still trying to download old shows. But if you do run into a bad link leave a comment and I’ll try to reupload it to some other cloud storage.

Bloggy Blog

I started this blog in the Autumn of 2004. That was when blogs were first becoming a very big thing. In those days it seemed like everyone had a blog. There were music blogs and movie blogs, political blogs, and book blogs. There were blogs about just about anything you could imagine. But mostly, people were just blogging about their lives. They’d share pictures of their families and pets, and they’d talk about their everyday happenings. Then Myspace happened, and then Facebook and social media took over. There was no reason to blog about your life when you could just post things to your social media of choice.

Blogs are still around, of course. But they mostly seem to be about something, people don’t blog so much about their personal lives but about their hobbies. When I started this blog I was journaling the year my wife and I spend in France. Eventually, I started writing reviews of movies, music, and books. By the time we came back to the States, I was a full-on pop culture blogger. Every day I would talk about various artistic endeavors that I had enjoyed (or not enjoyed as the case may be) but I was also finding odd little things on the Internet and blogging about them. Whether it was the world’s highest bridge or what Michael Jackson would have looked like without plastic surgery, I was regularly posting all sorts of stuff.

Eventually, that included writing about bootlegs and then sharing them. Over time that overtook pretty much everything else and for years that’s all I did. I loved sharing all that great music with you all.

Then Amazon Drive told me they were shutting down a few months ago and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with this site ever since. Truth is I think I’d like to go back to those old days.

The thing is I haven’t really used Facebook in ages. I gave up on Instagram a couple of years ago. Up until recently, I’ve been a big user of Twitter, but there has been a big dustup in ownership over there and things are becoming a lot less fun. Especially since most of the cool people I followed over there are jumping ship. There are a few sites that are vying to be the new Twitter but the thought of moving to a new platform and trying to build a following just sounds exhausting.

But here I am with a blog that already has something of a following. Why not treat it like my own personal social media site?

Here’s my idea:

I will still post music. I’m still holding off until April when my Amazon Drive account will deactivate and I’ll hopefully have all my shows listed and sorted (I’m doing good on that front and I think I’m still in line to complete that project in April). But when that time comes I’m thinking about once a week I’ll do a post where I’ll share a bunch of shows from a tour or a venue or something. I’m not quite sure how the post will look but hopefully, you’ll have a way to both look at setlists and sources and then download what you want.

I’ll post movie reviews and continue to do things like the Friday Night Horror. I like the idea of doing daily posts about interesting things. I could link to other blogs and sites that put up download links to music, but also link to interesting articles and setlists, kind of like Expecting Rain does now.

But then I also might post a picture of a beautiful sunset that I took that morning or be excited about some TV show I just got into, tell a funny story. This will become my personal space. Hopefully you all (and others) will enjoy it too.

That’s the idea anyway. Truth is I’ve had this thought rattling around in my head for weeks and I’m just now posting about it. Actually doing this is another thing altogether. I have to get into a groove in order to post random things every day. I don’t know if I’ll find it again. Maybe I’ll just write the odd review now and again until I start posting live music again. Maybe once I do, I’ll wind up just posting music and nothing but music.

Or maybe this idea will take off. If it does then you are now forewarned that I’m gonna be posting all kinds of stuff, whatever floats into my brain as interesting.

Some Updates

I really will post music again, someday. My general plan is to wait until my Amazon Drive finally dies to start posting new shows. I’m still pondering what that will look like. I really love the idea of creating mix-tapes and compilations, but I’m doubtful I’ll ever really make the time to do them. Most likely what I’ll do is collect all the shows from a tour, or some other category and periodically just do a batch. I really am done posting individual shows every day. But I can see myself posting a link to a group of shows once a week or maybe twice a month. Something like that.

I’m leaning pretty heavily toward using Google Drive. It is relatively cheap and easy to use. I’ve had good luck as a downloader from a few friends who share shows that way. And I use it regularly for my work so I think it will work nicely for my purposes. I did want to do a little trial with a show. Click here to a link for two copies of Bob Dylan recently performing in Denver.

I did not zip the files, but I still think you can download them easily. You should be able to right-click on the main folder and download everything. Or you can click on the folder and download just one of the sources. Or you can go inside each source and download individual files if you like. You can click on the text files to read them right from Google. I believe you can even click on the FLAC files and play them inside Google to get an idea of sound quality.

Please let me know what you think of Google Drive and what works (or doesn’t) work for you Again, I won’t be regularly posting anything until April, but I wanted to see how Google was working for everybody.

One of the projects I’m working on while waiting for April to come is better organizing my files. I believe I’ve mentioned before that I have an old hard drive that is on its last legs. Almost all of the shows on that drive are also on my Amazon Drive so I diligently downloaded them to a newer drive. I have now organized all the files I downloaded in that manner.

Next up is about 400 Bob Dylan shows that have not been properly listed and organized. Then I’ve got another 1,500 sources/shows from artists like Pink Floyd, TheWho, Queen, and the like that I got in a trade ages ago but that I’ve never properly organized. Then I want to go through all my hard drives systematically, double-check that everything is on my master list and then do things like put all of the shows from each artist into one folder (right now many artists have shows on multiple hard drives.) I’m hoping I can do all of that before April comes. So far I’m moving relatively quickly through it so I do think that is an obtainable goal.

I am still having lots of fun talking about movies so I don’t think that will ever change. Long before I did only bootlegs on this blog I used it for all sorts of things. Blogs used to be personal spaces where people would share photos and stories and random thoughts. That was before Facebook and social media took over everything. I kind of miss doing that so I may turn The Midnight Cafe into Mat’s random musings on music, movies, and life. Or maybe I won’t.

Everybody is Invited

I have now officially invited everyone who was on my e-mail list or who made requests on the blog itself. Every day I get new invites, presumably from folks who haven’t visited the blog in a while, or who came across an old link, or something. I assume that will continue to happen regularly.

I know most of you don’t know each other but if you do know someone who hasn’t received an invite and wants one please let me know. This is a private site, but I’m happy to let anyone in who wants in so feel free to tell others about this place.

There are still a few kinks being worked out. I know some of you have had trouble logging in, and others are getting a constant circle of login pages. I wish I was more technologically inclined and knew a perfect solution. My standard answer to problems is to try logging in on a different browser and deleting cookies and recent history. If anyone of you are a tech geek and wants to lend a hand I’d appreciate it.

Otherwise, welcome everybody, and enjoy the music.

Meet The New Blog, Same As The Old Blog

Hello friends.

Welcome back to The Midnight Cafe. As you can see there have been a few changes made, but mostly it is the same old place where you can find lots of great music. I did want to highlight what is different and explain the changes made. So here we go.

Bye, Bye MP3
: This is probably the biggest and most dramatic change on the site. I will no longer be posting MP3s except when there is no lossless file to be found. I know this is problematic for some. It is something I had been wanting to do for a long time but kept putting off so as to not cause problems. But after putting my blog down I decided that when I came back I would make this change. There are many reasons I am no longer sharing lossy files but it mainly comes down to two things: time and space. It takes quite a bit of time to convert lossless files to MP3s and to add information to them like Artist Name, Song Title, etc. Not having to take that time means I can spend more time sharing more music. While MP3s are significantly smaller than FLAC files they still take up space, and when you are storing thousands of shows like I do those smaller MP3 files add up to quite a bit of space.

I am truly sorry for anyone this inconveniences. I know some of you don’t have the bandwidth or the Internet speed to download lossless files easily. I know some of you don’t really understand how FLAC works and just want to have an MP3 you can put on your device and play. Please do feel free to add comments asking for others to upload MP3 versions of any shows or for advice on how to convert the lossless files to MP3.

Images: For those of you who don’t know the reason I took The Midnight Cafe down was due to me getting some nasty e-mails from a shady sounding law firm over what they said were copyrighted images shared on my blog. Ultimately I ignored them and they went away but it scared me enough to make this site private. Even so I’m going to be more careful about the images I post. Going forward I will only post images that I think should be safe. This includes cover art that comes with the concerts, or are easily found online. Also posters or tickets from the shows themselves. I will not be posting photos taken from the shows unless the photographer has given me permission.

That being said I absolutely submit my formal request for any and all art you all want to make. If you make your own cover art for these shows and want to share please send them to me. I love including images in my posts and I’m sure others would enjoy your art. I would also love to get some handcrafted images for my artist pages and other posts.

Artists Pages: I generally like the blog format but it does have its drawbacks, the biggest of which is its poor organization ability. Blogs by design show you the newest posts first and push older posts to the bottom of the page and then to other pages and into obscurity. Eventually, posts become so old and are so far back into the page list that they are virtually impossible to find. Categories and tags help but even then they appear in order of more recently posted. So if you click on the Bob Dylan tag you will still have to scroll through multiple pages to find a show I posted months ago. The search engine works, but then you have to know exactly what you are searching for.

To help with this I have created artists pages. Each artist will have their own page where I will list out all the shows I have posted from them in chronological order. A few of my favorite artists have their pages broken down into separate years. This way if you are trying to collect the Grateful Dead’s spring tour from 1981 you can easily see all the shows I have posted from that tour. I think this will be very helpful.

You can find the master list of artist pages by clicking the tab towards the top of the page.

Sharing: Because this blog is now private you will not be able to share my blog links publicly. I would also request that you do not share my Amazon links in public spaces either. Feel free to share them with friends via e-mail or any other private means but I would like to keep them off public blogs, social media sites and forums. If you want to download my shows and upload them to the hosting site of your choice and share that publicly that is perfectly fine. I just don’t want my Amazon, etc. links to be publicly viewable.

Bye, Bye Reposts: Before I started using Amazon to host my shows I used free accounts with just about every file hosting site out there. Often these sites would delete my shows without warning. This left loads of old posts with bad links. I periodically tried to go back and fix those bad links by uploading the shows to different hosting sites. When I would do this I did a new post entitled Reupload Bonanza. I did this in order to allow everyone to know that I had reuploaded the links. Sometimes the new links would go bad causing me to do yet another repost. There are some shows with at least six different reposts!

I have decided to delete all the reposts. I will be copying any comments made on a repost and pasting them into the original post. I think this will make things easier to manage. Having only one post per show simplifies things a great deal. This will also keep the conversations about a show on one page versus multiple pages where it becomes difficult to keep up with the conversation.

From Private to Public:. As you have all seen when you make a WordPress private anyone who has not been given access receives a generic message when they come to the site. As far as I can tell, you cannot edit or modify that generic message. When I first decided to take the site down I didn’t want everyone to see that generic message. I wanted to let everyone know what was happening. To do this I had to make every individual post on the blog private and then write a new public one letting everyone know the deal.

I decided that this was a good time to do some light editing to the posts. As mentioned I have deleted reposts. I’m also removing all of the “bootleg bonanza” silliness from the titles, cleaning up the image links, etc. As I have thousands of posts this all takes quite a bit of time. I’ve been working diligently on this project these last many weeks but there are many shows to go. I will continue to add in new posts while at the same time trying to edit old posts and make them public again. So, if you are the sort of person who likes to scroll through the pages of my blog you will continue to see old posts reappear.

As I am adding in these old posts I will be adding in new Artist Pages. As you can see this makes the blog look a little goofy right now. Scrolling through the first few pages you will find many an Artist Page and not so many new posts. Eventually I’ll get through all those old posts, but for now you’ll just have to deal with it. On the bright side, you might just find shows you didn’t know I had posted.

Shows of History: Those old posts are daunting. There are so many of them. At first I was randomly choosing old posts to clean up and make public again. Then I decided it would be fun to search for all the shows that I have posted from a given date. On December 3, I would search for all the shows that took place on December 3 and edit them for public consumption. In doing that it seemed fun to collect those shows in one post as a way to highlight them.

One of the good things about reposts was that it gave me a chance to highlight old shows for people who missed them the first time. The new Shows in History posts should do the same thing.

File Factory/Mediafire: I love Amazon Drive. It has worked really well for me and I’ve received very few complaints. The only drawback is that it is a little expensive. You all have kindly given me some money in order to offset that cost, but I hate asking for it. A few weeks ago I realized that I had a pro account with File Factory. They periodically put on a sale and you can get a pro account quite cheaply. I bought one so that I could download shows uploaded by folks over at Guitars101 or other music blogs. With a pro account downloads are super fast. That alone made it well worth the money. A pro account also gives you unlimited storage space. As a test run, I’ve decided to use them for certain shows.

I will continue to use Amazon for my major artists (The Grateful Dead & related, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, etc) and for most of the shows that have already been uploaded to Amazon. But for other artists, ones I don’t post that often I am now using File Factory to host them. It is a trial run and if I get too many complaints about it then I’ll switch back to Amazon for everything. Please do leave me comments about this.

In that same vein, I recently discovered that I still have many active links via Mediafire. Back in the day, I set up half a dozen accounts or so with them (free accounts gave you limited storage options, so when I’d fill one up I’d create a new account). God bless ’em, but they are still chugging along even though I haven’t used Mediafire in years and years. For the time being, I’ll still let them host those shows, though eventually I’ll get around to reuploading them to Amazon/File Factory.

Alright folks, I think I have said enough. I hope you enjoy the new site.

The Time Has Come

My friends it is with a heavy heart that I must announce that The Midnight Cafe has gone dark.

I do hope to bring it back in some form at some point. I do not know when that will be. I do not know in what form that will be. I need to spend some time thinking about how to share this wonderful music and foster these amazing conversations in a less public manner. Out of the eyes of those who seek to destroy such thing.

I am sorry to be so vague. I am sorry to do this without any notice.

While the site is down I plan to work diligently on some maintenance that I have previously worked on in the back ground at a leisurely pace. I hope to delete bad links and bad images and clean up the formatting so that if I am able to come back things which be much more streamlined. There is much work to be done and many things to consider.

I do want to once again express my deepest gratitude for all that you all have given me. This site has brought me such joy over the years and so much of that has come from the community that grew up around it. I’ve received incredible amounts of music, and friendship that I consider myself blessed to have run The Midnight Cafe for so long.

I do hope to be back, but I cannot begin to tell you when that might be. Until then, I’ll be seeing you.