Saturday, June 20, 2009

Best Concert Ever: Because @MomoFali asked...

Sometimes, posts just start out from the strangest sources. This one starts with something I saw during the Meat Wagon Rampage of last weekend. Rampage is probably the completely wrong far as I know, there was never a tour shirt with the perfect name. So. Anywho.

I was following the #momo tag on Twitter cause that's what any sane person does on a Sunday in Minnesota, right? Which by the way isn't exactly a clear channel and if you follow the link, it will be a while before you find the conversations, but again, I'm veering WAY off course. (I'm sensing a trend)

I'll just share with you the screen cap of the particular item I'm talking about today.

Normally, questions like this get the "Easy Peasy" response. I think I replied back, but as you might guess, I've been to a few concerts in my day and this question ain't that easy. Things about music and me are never easy.

I got to thinking about what she was asking. I've been to some really great concerts, concert festivals and bar acts. There's a good chance I'll be stone cold deaf in the nursing home. Let's recap the concerts that come to my mind:

First Concert: Judas Priest with opening act Great White. Some time in high school.
My first concert. Let's rephrase that, this was my first REAL rock concert. I've probably seen enough things at church and school that were called concerts to know what truly miserable a concert could be. (I'm picky...get over it)

Since, in the aspect of time, this was my first one ever, a benchmark may have been improperly set. Great White was/is probably the worst band I've ever seen live. They were horrible. This did predate "Once Bitten/Twice Shy" but I'm quite sure that that song sucked enough to not move the bar at all.

On the other hand, Judas Priest was FANTASTIC. This was the Defenders of the Faith tour, complete with gigantic mechanical stage monster. Heavy Metal HEAVEN!

There were a few more in there that I don't recall much from. Must have been money well spent. I remember seeing Deep Purple on the Perfect Strangers tour. Can't recall one minute of it.

We move along to college. I scraped together enough actual currency to get a ticket to the U2 Joshua Tree tour. I think the Bodeens opened for them. This concert was everything I expected. The band sounded great and to be honest, the Bodeens were pretty good too.

u2 Live!!!!
Probably the best memory I have of the concert was these two teenage girls in front of us. I had been a fan of U2 since the album 'War'. Cool stuff. Anyways, these two girls got really excited when they played the song 'Sunday, Bloody Sunday' and I quote:
Oh my god! They are playing something from their next album! This song must be BRAND NEW!!!
Yes, to these girls, the Joshua Tree was U2's debut album. Sigh. They did tell us they were U2's biggest fans.

Concerts off campus were tough to come by in college. Seems they only accept real money, which I didn't have. IOU's didn't work, and flattery got me no where. Junior year, I did get to go to one that stands out though.

Prince: We won't ask
Although my taste has always leaned rock/blues, I still was a fan of Prince. Darling Nikki is a teenage boys dream song. Prince grew up here in Minnesota. Much like the rest of us twisted masochists, he's lived here most of his life. Before he embarked on large world tours, he'd often do some warm up concerts here in MN. My guess this how they typical got set up went:
phone ringing
Stadium Dude: Hello, St. Paul Civic Center.
Prince: Yo, it's Prince. I'm going on tour, you booked Friday night?
Stadium Dude: Nope.
Prince: Cool, pencil me in. Be there about 6 to set up, concert at 8.
Stadium Dude: Got you penciled in. Usual price for tickets?
Prince: 10 bucks OK?
Stadium Dude: You da man.
So that's the background, here's the story. My buddy Kirk stops by my dorm room. His dad called him and asked if he could use two tickets to one of these warm up concerts from Prince. Kirk asks his dad, "Um, they free?" ($10 is 2 cases of beer...yikes!) "Yes they are, but when you are done at the show, don't ask." Whatever...FREE CONCERT TICKETS!

After a little bargaining with Kirk's mom, she promised to fill the gas tank for the drive home. Yes, we were that broke. We travelled from St. Peter, MN to St. Paul. Picked up the tickets and decided to eat at Dayton's cause we had Dayton's charge cards and they had a deli. Chowed down on really overpriced something and headed to the Roy Wilkins Auditorium.

It looked like we had seats in the first level of risers. Not main floor...bummer. Neither of us had ever been main floor. We walked around looking for our seats and then things started coming together. Yep, we were in the 10th row of the first section of risers but here's the best part, we 6 feet from Prince's piano. HOLY SHIT! We were eye level to princes piano with not one single person between us and the piano. We didn't ask where the tickets came from. His dad got a very warm thank you. Oh, that concert rocked too.

Lollapalooza: Three years of every band I wanted to see.
I went to the first 3 Lollapaloozas. You want to check bands off your list of "Bands I want to see before I'm too old" list, this is how to do it. Here's the line-ups so you can get the idea (the bands in bold were on the list of "bands I want to see before I get old"):
  • 1991: Main Stage: Jane's Addiction, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Living Colour, Nine Inch Nails, Ice-T & Body Count, Butthole Surfers, Rollins Band, Violent Femmes, Fishbone, Emergency Broadcast Network
  • 1992: Main Stage: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ministry, Ice Cube, Soundgarden, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Pearl Jam, Lush | Side Stage: Jim Rose Circus, Sharkbait, Archie Bell, Porno for Pyros, Basehead, Cypress Hill, House of Pain, Sweaty Nipples, Arson Garden, Seaweed, Seam, Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., The Look People, Stone Temple Pilots, The Vulgar Boatmen, Truly, Skrew, Tribe, The Authority, Samba Hell, CafĂ© Tacuba, Rage Against the Machine
  • 1993: Main Stage: Primus, Alice in Chains, Dinosaur Jr., Fishbone, Arrested Development, Front 242, Babes in Toyland, Tool, Rage Against the Machine
1992 was by far my favorite concert festival. It's scary to think just how big many of those bands were when Pearl Jam is #2 on the list. The order of the bands typically was least popular to most popular. Pearl Jam as 2nd least popular just boggles the mind.

1992, I don't remember catching Rage Against the Machine. The main stage had my attention most of the day, but in 1993, I did catch them. They blew me away. This marks the first time I ever saw a band at one of these festivals and went to the music store the very next day to buy an album. I would have bought it the same day if I could.

People who read this blog won't know this about me, but people that know me in person might recognize this. One of my life long goals is to be the only guy in the old folks home without a single tattoo or body piercing. So far so good. During the festival of 1992, this pierced & tattooed kid walks up to me:
"Dude! You are such a conformist! Look at you! You've got nothin'!"
"What the hell are you talking about?" I asked.
"No tattoos, no earrings? How can a conformist like you be here?"
"Ah! I get it," I replied, "You're an idiot! Have you looked around? Everyone looks like you. Am I really the conformist or are you?"
He looks at me with the most puzzled stare.
"Whatever." (well played genius)
It was shortly after this that I met the one that would transform my life. When I talk about music and concerts, my brain just floods with ideas. Before I tell you about the best concert I've ever attended, I'll tell you the stories of the best concerts since that big turn in a young mans life called marriage. But that's gonna be a whole other post....

'Til next time, Rock on!


The Father of Five said...

First observation... I think you confused the tattoo dude because of weed haze he was in at the time!!

Great post! Looking forward to hearing more!

Pepper by the Butthole Surfers.... I have to listen to that one each time it's on!

surprised mom said...

Where was Lallapalooza when you went to see the bands? My daughter went to it last year in Grant Park in Chicago. (Just typing that sentence makes me feel old.)
I really want to read that post about the best concerts since marriage. Does marriage change your musical taste?
You know, I've never heard the Butthole Surfers . . .

Memphis MOJO said...

Fun post, thx. Also, love the new masthead!!

Momo Fali said...

Fun! I think I learned a lot about you...and you have great taste in music.

The best concert I ever saw (which you may have read on Twitter) was Stone Temple Pilots in Dayton. I was in the third row, right in the center, and in Dayton the rows start right in front of the I didn't feel like I could get much closer. I've seen Pearl Jam a few times, once with Neil Young. That was a great show as well. I saw U2 at Ohio Stadium, but I have a hard time really enjoying a concert when there are 100,000 people there. I'm more of an intimate venue type of girl. I love outdoor amphitheaters in the summer, just not enormous stadiums.

My husband is a Metallica concert freak, and has seen them countless times. He says they're the best. I have yet to see them, because I'm not a huge fan, but they're on my list just because he says they are so good.

The worst concert I ever saw was Tesla, with a close second going to Counting Crows (even though I really like that band). Instead of singing, Adam Duritz "spoke" the songs ala a poetry reading. It was horrible.

I have seen so many concerts, that this comment could go on forever! I'd better stop now!

I hope you had a great Father's Day!

Melisa with one S said...

Yeah, I think you were the one who declared on Meat Wagon Day that your answer would be way too long for 140 I'm glad you wrote a post about it!

There is NO SHAME in seeing Prince, seriously. Especially for free. :) Actually, he was one of my favorites. Quite the entertainer.

Bad Momma said...

Wow! You've seen alot of concerts.
I've seen the Red Hot Chili Peppers, too.

Also a wide variety such as Elton John, Heart, Seals and Crofts, Eagles, Beach Boys, B52's, Grateful Dead... all memorable for various reasons.
One of the most memorable was Chris Isaak. I had a mad crush on him and loved his song, "Wicked Game".

I grew up in Cleveland, home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I know I have seen many more concerts but that was a lifetime ago! My memories are a bit fuzzy.