Archive | March, 2012

Shark Sandwich Presents: The Concert Experience

24 Mar


True Tales and Misadventures From Concerts!

People love live music. That’s a music fact. For the sake of this column I’m strictly talking about concerts. Concerts are a huge deal. It starts from the second you hear about it. It’s a band you love and you are going. Your mind starts buzzing with logistical and statistical calculations that an M.I.T professor couldn’t possibly factor. When do tickets go on sale? Who’s going to go with me? The pre-internet days involved possible camp outs or early morning gatherings for the popular concerts, and there had better not be line tickets involved!

I’ve seen many concerts in many different venues from back rooms of restaurants, small clubs, arenas and up to stadiums. I’ve been going to see bands for a long, long time and will continue too for as long as I can. there’s is just something really cool about an artist you dig being in the same room you are, no matter the size of the room, and playing their songs for you.One thing concerts do is create memories that will last. So, what I’d like to do is recap some of the events of my concert past that still stand out.

The first concert I ever went to was The Psychedelic Furs at the Fox Theater, 1987 St. Louis, Missouri. I was so excited as this was my first concert experience. It also happened to fall on the last day of school, my sophomore year. At the high school I attended it was custom for the students to celebrate the last day after school with water balloon fights, shaving cream fights, and various other shenanigans. I had a job at a local grocery store and had to report to work as soon as school let out, so I missed out on the fun. My sister and three of my friends were also attending this concert.

The center of activities for the water balloon fights was a park in town that you could drive through. Some of the students had trucks and other kids would ride in the back and throw balloons from there (it was the eighties!) One of my friends riding in the back of one of these trucks decided that he would stand up the throw a balloon. The trip to the hospital to cast up the resulting broken arm, delayed our trip to the concert.

While driving us to the concert my sister made an ill advised left turn across a concrete median which resulted in four teenage boys laughing hysterically, and me getting punched for it. We were trying not to miss the opening band the Mission U.K. We made the concert to hear the last note of the Mission’s set and catch the long strands of their long British hair as they left the stage.

I bought my first ever t-shirt at this concert. I was so excited to wear it out and show people that I had been THERE man! The first real place I wore it was to Six Flags where it promptly got faded from the chlorine in the Raging River ride. Not faded all over, just in a thick stripe that ran right down the middle of the front. The Furs were awesome though!

The best concert I ever saw without a doubt was R.E.M. The Green Tour 1989 at the old St. Louis Arena. R.E.M. were touring the “Green” album in the Spring of 1989. I had managed to get tickets on the floor. R.E.M. were still basically rising stars and still widely considered an “alternative ” band that had scored a few hits. They were also a crackin’ live band that could rock out with the best of them. For this tour they brought a visual aspect with them, a huge drive in sized screen and several projectors. The projectors projected everything from a standard stage patter dialogue ” Hello, Your city here, It’s nice to back! Please look around and see where the exits are in case of emergency.”  To artsy ephemeral and vague collages. The effect was magnificent.

The best memory is at the end of “Turn You Inside Out” a cool video of fish were swimming on the screen while  the song was rocking and I just looked up and saw that an entire arena was as one. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, R.E.M filled The Arena!” I would go on to see R.E.M. several more times and they never disappointed.

The coolest thing to happen at a concert happened at the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at the American Theater, St. Louis, 1991. The opening bands were to little known bands at the time, Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins. Pearl Jam were a virtual unknown band, their album “Ten” hadn’t been out long so no one really knew who they were. They played first.

They were doing pretty good, the music was good, the energy was high. This lead singer was a force though. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Of course we all know that I’m speaking of Eddie Vedder, but at the time, little was known about this band.

The American Theater (currently named the Roberts Orpheum) was an old vaudeville “orpheum” style theater. My tickets were in one of the side boxes level with the balcony seats. At the bottom of the box was a lighting rig bar thing that ran the  entire curved length of the balcony to the other side. (This bar will come in handy in a later story!)

During the final song of their set Eddie Vedder climbed the speaker stack on the opposite side of the stage and grabbed onto this bar and climbed out over the audience by his hands shimmying over the floor section while the rest of the band laid down a grunge groove. Eddie went all the way across the theater! Dude had some upper body strength! He ended up right below our box. He was now out of room and needed a plan. He looked down, all the people in the floor section were just gazing at him like “What the hell are you going to do now?”

Then he looked up at me, I was leaning over our box waiting to see what his next move would be. He looked at me like “Uh, I’m stuck dude!” So I reached down to grab his hand, then looked back at my friend with a panicked look to say “We might have to lift this dude up!” Eddie took one last look over his shoulder waved the floor crowd over, they all came over and Eddie fell into their arms in full on rock god style that was probably way better than being hefted up by two college boys. I didn’t know at the time that Pearl Jam would blow up to become huge. Smashing Pumpkins and the Chili Peppers rocked it as well. But the only t-shirt I bought that night was Pearl Jam’s.

The funniest moment at a concert ever was witnessed at a Reverend Horton Heat show at the Blue Note, Columbia, MO. 1993. The Reverend’s blend of high octane Texas punk rockabilly was big with the college kids of the early nineties. The Reverend would draw a good crowd, and still continues to do so!  RHH’s shows were high energy drunken blasts of The Reverends fiery guitar, fierce wails, stand up bass boogie, and a blazing drummer named “Taz.” I went to this show with a couple buddies.

The Blue Note was my favorite concert venue. It was also an old converted theater. The venue had a floor section and a balcony section. Most importantly, being in a college town it had cheap beer. At an RHH show it was customary to be inebriated. Because it made the music better, wink wink!

Well, the Rev got to rockin’ during one song and let loose a blazing guitar solo, the band locked in, Taz was going berserk on his drum kit, The Rev’s fingers were working up a firestorm on the frets. The music was building and building. The Rev let out a blistering howl “YEEEEEOWWWWWW!!!” and kind of looked at his guitar like, “Damn, I just amazed myself!” At the exact moment of this triumph one of my buddies, who had just purchased a pitcher of beer (for himself), was so worked up by the frenzy he threw the entire contents of the pitcher straight up into the air! I don’t think a single person on the floor section didn’t get sprayed. Most of the audience just looked at us and kind of accepted that the awesomeness of the moment warranted such a display (the boys.) The other part seemed a little miffed (The girls.) From then on, every time my friend went to the bar we jostled him, ” You’re not getting pitcher are you, I didn’t bring my rain coat!”

Now, since it’s been established that I hail from the St. Louis area I bet you’re wondering have I ever seen the legendary rock icon Chuck Berry live in concert. And the answer to that is yes. The people in St. Louis are privilege to a once a month show that the master puts on at his partially owned local restaurant/club Blueberry Hill. Chuck plays in the small “Duck Room” that holds only 350 people. This is amazing thing since Chuck still draws in the thousands at other festivals and events he plays outside St. Louis.

Chuck was well into his seventies at the time I saw him. He can’t hit all the notes he used to, and the ole’ hands get a little sloppy on the strings but Chuck is still the ultimate showman. Those hits will always sound good. So seeing Chuck should be a bucket list item for all of you. If you are lucky, like I was, Chuck will agree to a meet and greet after the show. Are you kidding me? A chance to meet the guy who influenced the Beatles AND the Stones? A true rock n’ roll pioneer? Yes please.

So everyone got into a line, on the stage, as Chuck was in the tiny dressing room off stage right. We were advised to keep it short and keep the line moving. I got really nervous. I was about to meet Chuck freakin’ Berry! What am I going to say? Am I going to be able to say anything? Would I turn into the kid from “A Christmas Story” rattled by Santa and just blurt out “I want a football.” I didn’t want to fall on my knees and proclaim him a rock god! I didn’t want to seem crazy. I just wanted to be cool and have Chuck like me. I couldn’t blow this chance, it had to be perfect.

The line was getting shorter so I moved to the back of the group of friends I was with, I wanted to be last to get that extra second of genius time.The line moved closer and then it was my turn, my friend in front of me came out with a huge smile on his face and gave me the thumbs up. I went in shaking all over. Chuck was seated in a chair, he looked up at me. Keep it together man! So I spoke “Hey Chuck, can I just shake your hand and say thank you for the music.” And Chuck said, “Sure you can young man.” And the hand that wrote “Roll Over Beethoven” “No Particular Place To Go” “Rock N’ Roll Music” “Maybellene” and shaped rock history reached out to shake MY hand! We shook hands nodded and I turned and walked out feeling like I had just conquered the earth.

I walked up to my friends who were all smiling and laughing as they had just met Chuck Berry as well. I couldn’t wait to tell them how I had just shaken his hand! “Dudes, I just shook Chuck Berry’s hand!” “I know! So did I !” said my friend who went in right before I did. “Did you get his autograph too?”

The smile left my lips, “What? No! I didn’t know he was signing autographs!” My friend just gave me that look,”Didn’t you hear us talking, we were all going to get autographs, and you were supposed to get the pen back, that’s why I gave you the thumbs up.” I was so worried about meeting the legend that I totally ignored and didn’t hear everyone else making the plans! We did not get the pen back. If Chuck Berry wants your pen, Chuck Berry can have your pen because he did the “Duck Walk” you know. And the man is the very definition of Rock n’ Roll.

The year 2000 was another unlike any other year I had had since my rock god dreams died and I was now a full fledged member of the working class with a job and responsibilities. The band Too Much Joy was scheduled to make a stop at a club called “The Side Door.” Being a big fan of this band and having seen them a few times I decided to check them out again.

So my friend, the thumbs up fellow from the Chuck Berry show, and I set off for the show that evening neither one of us having been to the venue before. We did not have pre- purchased tickets to get in. Here’s what we knew about the place:

1. It was called the Side Door.

2. It was attached to a restaurant.

We arrived at the restaurant and walked in and looked around. All we saw were people eating, no stage, no lights, no crowd, no t-shirt stand. We knew we were in the right place. Any normal sane person would have asked a staff member as to where the music club was, we did not. My logic to this dilemma was that the venue was called the “Side Door” for a reason. There must be a side door!

So we walked outside around the corner to the alley. There was a side door with a band loading equipment in through it. “Eureka!”  So my friend and I climbed over the various detritus that littered the alley and stumbled through the darkness toward the single light bulb that lit the doorway. “This place isn’t very well lit for a club” I said. My friend agreed. We walked into the club and there was a stage, speakers, lights, merch stand, we had made it and all was good.

It was determined that we needed a beer before the show started. So my buddy trudged off to acquire two beers. He came back a few minutes later with one beer. He had a huge smile on his face and was cracking up. I asked what gives about my no beer situation. He laughed and told me that we needed a wrist band to buy beer, this being an “all ages” show and to get a wrist band you had to pay to get in at the FRONT of the club that was accessible from the restaurant through a curtain that we did not see on our first try! We had successfully snuck in and didn’t even realize it.

Too Much Joy never disappoint live. And this show was no exception. When they came out before they started they said they were “underwhelmed” with the entrance and asked if anyone in the audience would introduce them properly. A guy raised his hand so they let him up onstage and they walked off. The man then grabbed the mic and said with much enthusiasm “You can have too much time, You can have too much gas, you can have too much money, you can have too much fun, but you can never have…TOO MUCH JOY!!! The guy jumped off stage and the band bounded out clearly satisfied and ready to rock. At their “Encore” they walked off the stage and realized there wasn’t a dressing room or anywhere else to go so they just ducked behind the speakers for ten seconds, then walked back onstage. Awesome! To quote their theme song,”To create, you must destroy, Too Much Joy!” Indeed.

Way back in my college days a couple of my buddies were going to see Megadeth. They had an extra ticket so I went with them. The concert took place a the aforementioned American Theater in St. Louis. The show was a pretty normal rock show, although the opening act was a little known band a the time called Stone Temple Pilots.

After the obligatory encore, Dave Mustaine and the rest of the Megadeth boys did the chorus line rock bow at center stage that every band does. The crowd was going nuts. the drummer got caught up in the frenzy and threw his drumstick into the crowd. The first stick went into the floor section. He pointed to the balcony, wound up and tossed the other stick into the first few rows of the balcony. The resulting scrum was just like when a foul ball is hit at a baseball game, people were grabbing and wrestling for the drumstick. The stick bounced out of the crowd and landed on a metal grate that lie below the lighting rigs that ran below the balcony (remember from the Pearl Jam story above?) A guy reached over the balcony to grab the stick but couldn’t reach it. So he climbed over the balcony and stood on the metal grate and picked up the stick. He victoriously waved it around to the crowd with everyone cheering! Then he fell through the grate.

Fortunately, he was holding onto the railing with his other hand. His buddies grabbed onto him and were able to lift him up to safety. He never let go of the drumstick, and once safely onto the balcony began waving it around as the crowd cheered. Mustaine stood onstage took this all in then stepped up to the mic and said, ” What an a**hole!” Then flashed the guy a thumbs up sign, laughed and walked off stage. Crowd went nuts again.

Keeping it in the world of metal, I have been obsessed with the band GWAR since I first saw them on MTV eons ago. There were two things about them I loved, they had a theme with costumes and gore and they were humorous. Bonus points also because they were metal!  For those of you that don’t know, GWAR wear cartoonish monster outfits onstage. They also have character names like Oderus Urungus, Ballzac the Jaws of Death, Nippleus Erectus, and other R-rated names! When they perform live they mock kill things and stab each other spraying fake blood and guts all over the audience. It’s all done in fun and it’s very humorous, but mostly it’s a riot!

Fortunately, my friends in college were also into GWAR so when they came to town we were ready. In fact we were so hyped up by their appearance, we took the whole day off to celebrate. We skipped our classes, and had ourselves a BBQ complete with brews and Boones Farm wine. We partied it up, ate our BBQ, and actually had to make several beer runs! On one of these beer runs I asked to try some of the Boones Farm, as I had never had any before this instance. It was strawberry flavored and pure deliciousness! So I drank the whole bottle! My friend looked into the backseat saw that I had polished off the bottle chuckled and asked,”Dude, did you drink that whole thing?!” I just bleerily smiled and nodded yes. GWAR was coming and it was going to be awesome!

We got to the show, the opening band played. They were an industrial metal act called Bile. I guess they were O.K. I was pretty tipsy at this point. GWAR was up and I had waited several years to finally see them. I was now moments away. Finally, the lights dimmed and the animatronic monster head on stage started speaking! The “extras” (crew members and stage hands also dressed in costumes) ran onstage. GWAR came out and started playing the first song. I fell face first onto the floor.

My friend rolled me over, “Aaaarrree yyyooouuu oooookkkkk?’ His words drawn out and echoing off my brain. “Yab, I dink fro!” I tried to stand up and just fell over again. GWAR was letting it loose onstage, but all I heard was “BLUUUUZZZZZZZ!!!! “Man, you are so wasted bro! “My friend said to me “Whab? Me NOOooo wade, GWAB!! RULEZ!” I tried to get up again, no dice. “I’m taking you to the car right now,” my friend said and hoisted me up. At this point I realized he was right. It took every ounce of concentration I had to put one foot in front of the other to get to the car.

I woke up when the door opened and the light from the car painfully blinded me. I was confused and disoriented. I quickly regained my bearings, “What’s up, we gotta get back inside and catch the rest of the show dudes!” My friends just looked at me, “Show’s over man. It was awesome!” I had missed it! Then I found out that the members of GWAR had taken off their costumes and were in the lobby after the show meeting their fans. GWAR returned a year later to the same club I made sure I stayed sober (enough) to enjoy the show and become drenched by the spraying of blood on  the crowd. This is also the one and only time in my life I drank enough to pass out. Long live GWAR!!!!

(Shark Alert! If you’re grossed out by fake blood and fake props, and cartoonish violence you should probably skip this video!)

Whilst attending college I had a job at a local grocery store. I made friends with my co-workers and spent many evenings hanging out with them. We had a co-worker, James (named changed to protect the innocent!) who wasn’t really a party, hang out at clubs kind of guy. He was straight A getting, heading to Harvard for grad school bright future kind of guy. We all liked him and would always ask him to come along, but he never did. The weekend before he graduated, and the last day he worked at the store he gave into our peer pressure and agreed to come out with us to the King Missile concert.

We took him to the club and bought him a few beers and he seemed to loosen up. We were working our way through pitcher after pitcher of brew and he was keeping up with us pretty well. Then we realized that maybe he wasn’t keeping up. He started yelling and stumbling. King Missile came on and he repeatedly yelled for their hit “Detachable Penis” after every song. After a while you could tell the band and the crowd were having enough of him. At the venue, the aforementioned Blue Note, there was a pool table at the top of the balcony. So we drug James up there to get out of the way and enjoy the concert and play some nine ball.

James continued to drink. The show ended and we walked down the steps to leave the venue. James leaped from the steps and grabbed onto one of the chandeliers hanging in the lobby and swung from it. Luckily it held and we got him down. This however drew the attention of the bouncers. James also noticed the bouncers and decided he wanted to fight and walked up  and poked the biggest one in the chest with his finger, ” Hey, I wanna fight!” The bouncer just looked DOWN at him. We rushed over and I got between the bouncer and James, ” Uh, sorry about that it’s the first time he’s ever drank, it’s not going so well, we got this.” I said and we left.

We decided James needed food. There was an all night diner in town that all the college kids went to after the bars shut down. It was packed and the only table we could find was right across from the restrooms. This being a weekend night in a  college town the restrooms each had a line waiting. A girl promptly jumped line and tried to enter the girls’ room. It was locked. She beat on the door with urgency, but it was too late. She threw up all over the door and floor in front of the restrooms!

As the poor fellow who worked there had to clean up this mess James decided he needed to use the restroom. He did not want to walk through the mess and  chose to go outside. We thought nothing of this, and didn’t really blame him for wanting to avoid the mess. A few minutes later we heard a knocking on the window by our table and looked out to see James standing there waving, then a wet stream rolled across the window and James yelled, “DETACHABLE PENIS!”

We threw down some money enough to cover the bill and ran outside to get James and escape before the cops were called. We dropped him off at his dorm and never saw him again.

When the Beastie Boys brought their “Hello Nasty” tour to St. Louis’  arena which currently goes under the name of Scottrade Center. I did not have tickets. Two reasons for that, while I like the Beastie Boys I did not like them enough to buy a pricey ticket. Two, I had to work very early the next day. At the last minute my friend and his brother convinced me to go to fill their extra ticket. I believe the clincher was not charging me for the ticket.

The opening act was A Tribe Called Quest and they killed it. They flat out out-performed the Beasties that night. I wasn’t even a fan of theirs, but I have been since that night. But the event that stands out was after the show while everyone was leaving the arena. There was some sort of construction going on and part of the hallway area was blocked off. Our group was walking out with everyone else and everyone stopped. We stood there for a few moments, and every so often I’d feel a shove on my back. After the third time I turned around and grabbed the teenager behind me, “Don’t push me again!” He said, “I’m not pushing, I’m getting pushed!” I looked back and a massive bottleneck had formed right where we were from the limited space available. An escalator was depositing people right into the middle of it. I could see the push waves coming up the crowd! this was about to get ugly fast. I grabbed my friends and made a beeline toward the blocked off empty space. We reached the barricades and pushed them back, other people caught on and did the same. The crunch let up and the crowd started to funnel out again, crisis averted. But now thanks to the Beastie Boys, I have claustrophobia! But, yes I would go see them again and actually pay this time!

I’ve seen U2 so many times I can’t count them anymore, O.K. it’s only been four times. First time in 1987, Bono runs out wearing Cardinals jacket totally pandering to the STL crowd as the Cards were in the World Series. Unfortunately, the Cards lost. I skipped the Zoo TV tour, as I thought the whole concept was ridiculous. I also didn’t want to be at the top of the stadium they were playing wondering if the rumor that a concert was going on below was true! I did catch the Pop-Mart Tour at the Trans World Dome in 1997 though, and it was ridiculous.

In 2001 The boys from Dublin scaled it back and toured arenas. Their scheduled stop in St. Louis came the night after Weezer played a smaller arena nearby with their opening act Tenacious D, featuring actor Jack Black. It also occurred in November. Two months after 9/11.

We were fortunate enough to get general admission floor tickets. Due to the Beastie Boys experience I was not keen on being in a crush of people. So we headed towards the back of the floor area to kick back against the sound and light booth barricade. We had plenty of room and were still fairly close to the action. The opening band was the mighty Garbage! Featuring the completely sexy Shirley Manson. So bonus for me! After Garbage played my sister looked up at the one walkway that people on the floor section were allowed to use to get refreshments or use the restroom. “That’s JACK BLACK walking down the steps!” she yelled. I looked up, ” That’s not Jack Black why would Jack Black be doing milling around the crowd in St. Lou… HOLY CRAP, THAT IS JACK BLACK!!!” and sure enough J.B. was calmly descending the steps unnoticed toward the floor section. But as he reached the floor people started catching on, heads began to turn, fingers pointed. J.B. sauntered around the floor section almost as of he were lost. In typical mid-western politeness people just sort of parted the way for him. I never saw him again after that.

A few moments after that a group of people came from the stage area and were let into the space behind the barricade we were leaning on. There was a small platform back there, that I had originally thought might be for handicapped access. I turned around to see what was going on and I was face to face with Rivers Cuomo from Weezer. I acknowledged him with a nod, he nodded back. I gave a quick glance and saw that everyone from the band except the drummer were there. I gave the elbow to my friends and whispered who was behind us. We all just played it cool to avoid a rush of hand shakers and autograph seekers.

U2 gave a powerful performance that night. America had just gotten punched in the gut, and Bono was here to heal us. Going to a U2 show is almost like attending church, the spirit is going to move you at some point. During”Where The Streets Have No Name” The names of the people killed on 9/11 from the planes to the N.Y.P.D. and the N.Y.F.D. started to scroll across a screen then the projection spread out over the crowd. And there wasn’t a dry eye in the place, even Weezer were tearing up. U2 used this effect again when they played the Super Bowl a few months later. After the show I overheard one of the Weezer boys say, “That was way better than I thought It would be!” Another responded, “Totally wasn’t cheesy at all, very well done.”

I skipped the 360 Tour because it was also ridiculous. I would like to add that both Bono and Jack Black are way shorter in person than they look.

A few years ago a friend and I went to see Big Star play an outdoor festival in St. Louis called “Taste of St. Louis.” It’s basically a festival where local restaurants put up booths and you can sample their menus. The festival usually books musical entertainment. This particular evening had Big Star, followed by The Roots, and then local hero Jay Farrar and his band Son Volt closing out the night. Great bands, odd lineup, what are you gonna do? We figured we’d check out them all.

It’s hard to be disappointed by the music of Alex Chilton. Big Star played and they were great. It was a typical hour long festival set. So we waited after they played for the Roots to come on when my friend ribs me, ” Hey, there’s Alex Chilton.” I look over and Alex is standing not ten feet away talking to some people. Now, I’m a huge Chilton fan. His song “Thirteen” knocks me out every time I hear it. I also fall to my knees and worship “The Ballad of El Goodo.”

I had knowledge that Alex is a bit of a curmudgeon sometimes, and could be “difficult” to be around. So I weighed the consequences in my mind as to whether or not to go over and say hello. The temptation won out and my friend and I walked over and said hello. Alex turned out to be lovely fellow and even chatted with us for a few moments.

Two things stuck out though. Firstly, I complimented him on “El Goodo” and his response was, “I’m still not happy with that song the way it turned out.” Uh, O.K. It’s perfection personified but, whatev bro! Second he asked me how the Cards were doing. I thought this was cool because Alex is from Memphis, TN. where the Cardinals have a Triple A affiliate team. So I assumed A.C. was Cards fan too! I informed him that by winning their game that day that the Cards had made the playoffs! “That’s cool, I’m a Braves fan though,” said Alex. “Whaaa…?” did Alex Chilton just say what I thought he said. A Braves fan? Does Alex Chilton do that stupid tomahawk chop?

Alex passed away about a year later, I have forgiven him for being a Braves fan, and highly recommend you search out his music.

Also if you get a chance to ever see The Roots, run don’t walk. They will blow you away. And anything Jay Farrar touches is gold.

Other highlights briefly:

Seeing DEVO!

The B-52’s/Toad the Wet Sprocket on a Riverboat.

Seeing The Pixies twice. Once with legendary punk band Pere Ubu as the Opening act.

Anytime I can witness local STL legend “Beatle” Bob dance about at a show.

Sonic Youth playing an entire feedback laiden song with nothing but amp knobs outdoors at the Sandstone Amphitheater in Kansas City opening for R.E.M. and thusly scaring away the gathering storm clouds.

The Pogues rauckus version of “Honky Tonk Woman”

The two person mosh pit during the Caterwaul show at Club 1227. Only one person knew it was a mosh pit, resulting in hilarity.

The Outfield playing to maybe 150 people at the local county fair. “This is our first time in Hillsboro!” Poor fellas.

Attempting to buy Josh Homme, and the members of Kyuss a beer and not having any money!

Seeing Husker Du play a overly loud, angry, and sloppy show at the legendary Mississippi Nights club in St. Louis in 1987, turns out they broke up the next night at the Blue Note in Columbia, MO. when Bob Mould threw his guitar down and walked out.

All three times I got to witness The Dead Milkmen.

Wilco’s perfect opening set for R.E.M.

Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello. Dylan’s set was the best live mix ever. Costello can do no wrong. The opener Amos Lee putting on a way meatier live show than his recordings would indicate.

Tom Verlaine opening for The Church. Tom friggin’ Verlaine. have you not heard “Marquee Moon?”

The opening video montage from the Jesus and Mary Chain that ended with Malcolm Mc Dowell’s  sociopath Alex character’s close up. Then launching into some awesome feedback.

The live action play of the “Greendale” album while Neil Young and Crazy Horse played it in it’s entirety.

Alice in Chains opening for KISS in 1996. Long live Layne Staley!

Last year’s epic Joy Formidable concert at the Luminary Center For the Arts, effects and pedal hopping display by wunderkind Ritzy Bryan. Buy their album and go see them live now!

Midnight Oil twice, those boys could put it down.

Seeing Bo Diddley.

Cy Curnin of The Fixx doing the most awesome rock move ever. He put his hands together with the index fingers and thumbs making a diamond shape that started around belt buckle height then raised his hand up over his head and released the awesomeness into the air! Badass.

The Fixx  are also was responsible for coolest rock move ever, group edition. While walking off stage they froze in place for a few minutes then right on cue resumed moving again. Double Badass.

Watching Mojo Nixon throw an absolute coniption fit because the stage lights went out on the opening act, The New Duncan Imperials.

MC 900 Ft. Jesus working the decks.

Spilling beer twice on the same guy in front of me at Bruce Springsteen. Twice ya’ll.

The nearly vertical hand stand Money Mark laid on his keyboard during “Sabotage” with the Beastie Boys.

Watching the audience blankly stare at Rollins Band as they gave an intense and heavy performance, then give the Butthole Surfers show complete with rifle fire (blanks ya’ll!)  the silent treatment at the very first Lollapalooza tour in Chicago, then stand at attention while Ice-T came onstage. But before Ice brought out his controversial metal band Body Count, he harshly chastised the audience for their lack of interest in the first two acts. Good on ya’ Ice!

My Bloody Valentine’s mesmerizing nine minute wall of noise coupled with a psychedelic visual from the back screen that was pure trancendence.

My friend absolutely twisting my arm to go see The Information Society during the “Club MTV” tour stop at Six Flags and watching the most amazing food fight ever break out that involved the whole audience. We also sat through Was (Not Was) and determines that they were weak. The fact is they are not weak and I absolutely love their stuff, check it out.

Ted Nugent playing “Stranglehold” and “Free For All.”

Robyn Hitchcock’s song about Gene Hackman. “Don’t talk to me about G-E-N-E-H-A-C-K-M-A-N!”

Giving the members of Thelonious Monster free beer the day after their concert from the service station I worked at. Then to realize some twenty years later that the recovering addict that is Dr. Drew’s right hand man on the “Celebrity Rehab” show is Bob Forrest the vocalist from Thelonious Monster! Sorry I enabled you dude! (Editor’s note: I did not really give them “free” beer. I paid for it!)

Social Distortion at Club 1227 back in the day. The mosh pit was so intense all you could see were the four bouncers on the stage.

You’d think that I would have been part of the two most infamous St. Louis concert events ever. The Guns n’ Roses riot of 1991 at the brand new Riverport Amphitheater, or the Kings of Leon bird dropping incident from, oddly enough, the same venue. But I was not at either event.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed my recalling various concert adventures. I’m sure you all have good stories of your own as well. Come back next time and we’ll dive onto some good music to check out. Until then here’s a primer! Just click the link and when it pops up hit play all. Enjoy!