Friday, October 8, 2010

To All the Concerts I loved Before - Part 1

On Facebook the other day, my brother sent off the following note:

The rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you've heard that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag fifteen friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what albums my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your fifteen picks, and tag people in the note -- upper righthand side.) Quickly, and in no particular order...[and I added a new rule--no band can have more than one album]

I came up with the following albums:

1. Fission - Film School --listening to it right now
2. Head on the Door - The Cure
3. Doppelganger - Curve
4. Search For the New Land - Lee Morgan
5. 2 - Darker My Love
6. This Is How It Feels - The Golden Palominos
7. Tune In With... - The Bristols
8. Mind Ctrl: Psychic Chasms Possessed - Neon Indian
9. Kind Of Blue - Miles Davis
10. Return To Cookie Mountain - TV On the Radio
11. In Rainbows - Radiohead
12. Express - Love and Rockets
13. An Illustrated History - Puffy AmiYumi
14. Dark Continent - Wall Of Voodoo
15. Silver Collection - Astrud Gilberto

This task, along with turning 40, kick started me into thinking about the many concerts over the years that I have attended and what some of those shows entailed, if anything.  Here we go and sort of in order.

Keel, Lita Ford and Y&T at the Arlington Theater - My first concert ever.  I was in Junior High at the time and I had only ever been in the Arlington to see Return of the Jedi, and Indian Jones.  I loved the experience.  The next day I bought Keel, I hunted down the first Lita Ford solo album and then went for all of the prior to "In Rock We Trust" albums from Y&T.  The highlight of the show was when "Rock" the robot guy from the cover of Y&T's album stomped on stage and the lead singer said that he had the biggest balls in the world.  Damn right he did.

W.A.S.P. and Ravage at the Arlington Theater - Okay, admitting to going to this show and fucking loving it (still to this day, mind you) is the guilty pleasure equivalent of being pantsed in front of the girl's gym class.  Ravage...don't know much about these guys other than closing on the end of their set the lead singer growled a gutteral, "RrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrAVAGE!"  Jeff and I lost our minds and giggled our asses off at this.  Then came W.A.S.P.  We are Sexual Perverts?  We Are Satan's People?  Who cares, all I know is that they had all kinds of metal ramps on the stage with four enlarged versions of their heads impaled on spikes for the crowd to see.  At one point, Blackie Lawless threw a poster into the audience and it flew with the grace of a dying dove, smacked the dude behind us in the face, and said dude was promptly tackled by another fan to get the poster.  Hardcore.  After the show, when Jeff and I were outside waiting for our mommy to pick us up--I know, I know--we heard a big beefy metal dude yell, "HEY, that asshole waved a gun at me!" and instead of retreating into the crowd, he ran up State St after the offending person in the car.  Wow.  "I'm Blind In Texas."

Midnight Oil at the S.B. County Bowl - I didn't go to any concerts for years after W.A.S.P until 11th grade.  You see...there was this girl I was in love with, and "Beds Are Burning" was a pretty big hit at the time.  A really fun and energetic show despite my bleak hope that Shawna would actually have some degree of interest in me afterwards.  Most memorable was that the band brought a shitload of junk on stage that served as a back drop to their performance.  I am guessing that they were going for a junkyard vibe or maybe an Australian bar feel, or something; I can't imagine having to drag all of that crap along on tour.  Taxidermied Crocs and Dingos mixed with clunker cars and Televisions?  Sure, why not?

Love and Rockets x5 - I still love Love and Rockets.  I honestly don't remember how many times I have seen them live, but each time was outstanding even though some songs did not exactly lend themselves to being performed live.  One of my high points was working for the evil music corporation and seeing Daniel Ash come into the store.  It just so happened that I had "Sweet F.A." on CD sitting in the back and he signed it for me and chatted for a while.  A very nice guy.  I rarely get starstruck, but this...damn...  

New Order at the S.B. Bowl - An immensely disappointing show.  Started at 7:00PM with no opening band and proceeded to have an amazing light show while they broad daylight!  Kind of lost the whole effect and the music was totally off as well.  Bummer

Oingo Boingo x4 or x5 - Boingo is just fucking awesome...or rather...were fucking awesome to see live.  Their sets went on for hours with hit after hit and each member had such passion for performing that the crowd was left reeling.  If there was ever a reunion tour, I would probably travel to attend.  C'mon Mr. Elfman, what do you say?  Oingo Boingo was a major part of my musical world for many years, right up there with Love and Rockets, and....

The Cure x4 - "Disintegration," "Wish" and "Wild Mood Swings"  Grand, sprawling, hours long shows  that were so powerful and amazing.  I loved them and would go to see them again even though I lost interest in their latest albums.  One weird occurrence was at the "Wild Mood Swings" show a gigantic man walked out on stage, freaked out Robert Smith--a tall guy in his own right-- and the much smaller security team, who didn't know what to do.  The dude danced on stage for a moment and then agreed to be led off.  Shortly after, an intoxicated girl cruised up to Lael and I and stood on the empty seat next to me and chatted me up.  She was cute, I was flattered and not used to that sort of thing, but the moment soured when a few songs later I felt her attempting to steal my wallet from my back pocket.  Seriously.  The Cure was fantastic though.  I still love the "In Orange" video.

The Jesus and Mary Chain at the Ventura Theater - This was for the "Automatic" tour and I have to say that this show blew.  Jim Reid had a broken arm and they just sounded horrible live.  Very disappointed.

Stan Ridgway at the Ventura Theater - One of my favorite shows of all time.  My first girlfriend and I got lost in the hills of Ventura for some odd reason, but thankfully made it to the show before Stan began to play.  There wasn't much of a crowd, so we went right up to the front of the stage to hear some of my Wall of Voodoo favorites, "Don't Box Me In," and solo stuff.  Stan was engaging with the audience and did not seem to mind the less than full theater.  It was a blast.

Peter Murphy at the Ventura Theater - This was for the "Deep" album and Peter knows how to knock 'em dead, or at the very least out fucking cold.  The show was sold out and there were so many people crammed onto the general admission area that a girl passed out.  Peter Murphy, stopped the show, pulled the girl on stage and then sang a couple songs to her.  Why didn't I think to do that?  One funny thing: My first girlfriend is 4' 11" tall (funny considering I am 6' 2") and at one point the floor was so packed that I lost track of her for a moment and saw her floating squished in between a couple of big goth dudes who did not even know she was there.  I pushed through, grabbed her arm and pried her out of the seething mass of goth sweatiness and we retreated to a calmer locale.  I kind of wished I was at the show by myself.  

A pretty impressive start if I don't say so myself, but nowadays I find that I have to either be duped into going (thank god I went to Phoenix and Neon Indian), guilted into going (Connor Oberst) or actually really, really want to go, which is a rare thing.  Read my previous posts about the Avett Brothers show and super fans and my theory that there is always at least one person in attendance who will drastically diminish the returns of your experience because of their douchebagaholic fuckheaded behavior.  That said, some of the above shows were some of the best moments of my life and remembering them sends chills across my know, the good kind of chills.  Thanks, brother, brother, oh brother of mine for the sparking this idea. 


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