This post is about musical concerts.
Me and a buddy got to chatting tonight about the best concerts we've ever seen. Some of the acts that were mentioned were extremely obscure, but with bits of special randomness that made them uniquely special to each of us.
I contemplated listing mine in a top 5 order, similar to John Cusack's style, but they're just all just too different to rank. And there are a lot more than five. But here are a few, along with some poetic commentary to accompany it. Prepare for bullet points.
- Ramones--Mississippi Nights, St. Louis, MO. I've been lucky enough to see the Ramones several times in my life before they all died. I'm not bitching, but most of the shows were of the outdoor alternative festival-type. Not really the way God intended to show off the world's greatest puck rock band. But I'm grateful, nonetheless. The one time I did see the Ramones in their natural habitat, was at the smokey, sticky, skanky, rundown club on St. Louis' landing, Mississippi Nights (RIP). Johnny Ramone spit on me during "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker". Beat that, everyone.
- Hayes Carll--Mishawaka Ampitheater, Bellvue, CO. Typically, the Mish is a fair-weather venue where jam bands and hippies gather to celebrate 27 minute-long songs and hallucinogens in the great outdoors. As great as this might sound to 78% of the readers right now, this show was the opposite. We gathered indoors, in a very intimate setting in the middle of December. Plastic patio chairs accompanied by a gigantic fireplace and a rickety, homemade stage was the perfect setting for Hayes and his guitar player. April and I drank bottles of O'Dells with our feet propped against the stage.
- Mighty, Mighty Bosstones--Regency Showcase, Springfield, MO. Although I had listened to their tunes for a while, this was the first time I'd ever been to a Bosstones show. Their opening band was called Black Train Jack. While we're grabbing beers at the bar (I believe with my underage sister), the lights go down and BTJ starts playing some swell rock and roll type music. From backstage, an overweight lead singer runs out and starts wailing. The entire crowd--whom I'm guessing 90% of had never heard of this band--rush the stage. Large lead-singer, who is still wailing, jumps into the crowd and body surfs--all 350lbs of him. This was the tip of the iceberg, as the Bosstones blew the roof off the place in divine fashion.
- Willie Nelson--Red Rocks, Morrison, CO. I've seen Willie a handful of times, and all of his shows are very similar. Not a bad thing, just how it is. So seeing him in this incredible venue, on a bluebird day-turned starry night, with the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop was special. It was one of those moments that gave you goosebumps for three hours. Especially during "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain". It didn't hurt that Ryan Bingham opened the show.
- AC/DC--The Arena, St. Louis, MO. This was my first time seeing AC/DC, and it was right at the beginning of me and my team delving into pure debauchery. 1990, I believe, was not quite at the height of me getting into trouble, but this road trip to see AC/DC was certainly one the triggers. Blissfully ignorant is the only way to describe this trek by four 16 year olds to downtown StL. We weren't of age to purchase $9 beers at the show yet, but we definitely made up for it before, during, and after the concert. A giant, faux-rock wall came tumbling down at the beginning of the show during the intro to "Thunderstruck", as Angus powered through it with his Gibson SG. The rest is...hazy.
- Van Halen--Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO. I was 100% against seeing this "reunion" of washed up dorks trying to make a dollar off me by acting like they like each other for three hours. Understand please, Van Halen is overall my favorite band in life, circa 1978 to 1984, for the most part. The combination of a good friend going to the show, and free box seats from my wife's employer helped talk me into going. I entered the private room, like a fucking VIP, and started eating the mediocre free food and drinking all the booze, like I'm supposed to. After some unentertaining crap, like an opening band and some miniature blimps putting around and dropping gift certificates into people's laps, the lights finally turn off. Then...all of my favorite songs came to life with precision craftsmanship and daft showmanship. Yes, old as shit, and certainly with the lead singer on a leash, they rekindled my love affair with the original set. Even if it was with a fat kid named Wolfie.
- After a dismal showing in Springfield, MO, Marky Ramone and The Intruders finished their show and walked off stage to a smattering applause of six. I was able to meet Marky before he made it backstage (to slit his wrists), apologized for our sad music scene, and bought him a drink. He likes gin and tonics.
- Although at an outside show at a minor league baseball field, and not a small, enclosed club, Motorhead was by far and away the loudest band I've ever heard live. Louder than the Ramones...louder than AC/DC...louder than KISS...louder than Social Distortion...louder than NOFX...all put together. It was outside, and anyone trying to enjoy a rock 'n roll-free evening within an 8-mile radius of that ball field was out of luck that night. Side note: Buckcherry opened the show that night by saying, "Drink beer, fuck bitches!". Oh, Buckcherry, you're words are so though-provoking.
- At the Warped Tour, circa 20somethingorother, I met Rancid. I've seen them a few times, and they're swell. But meeting them was swell-er, because they're extremely down to earth cats. That makes seeing them live that much cooler. The band that stole the show that day was Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, though. Leading up to the show, they set up a tiki bar on stage, had Heather, the hot bassist from Teen Idols tending bar, and all wore Hawaiian party garb. They invited people from the audience up on stage, but before we realized this and worked up the nerve, the show was starting. A huge regret.
- BR549 is an incredible country and western band. I saw them in Springfield with a large group of friends whom had never heard of them. I talked them into going, along with my folks. We commenced to dancing all fucking night and having one of the best times ever. Ever. Similar happenings have occurred during Southern Culture On the Skids, Ray Condo and His Ricochets, Brian Parton and His Nashville Rebels, Mojo Nixon, Those Legendary Shack Shakers, and Twistin' Tarantulas shows.
- I'm going to group you all together, 80s metal bands. Not because I'm discounting you...God no. 80s metal concerts is what I was raised on. It introduced me to chicks with big hair, an overabundance of second-hand smoke, and meaningful phrases like, "Satisfaction Guaranteed", "Fuckin' A", "Fuck yeah, man", and "Are you ready to rock?". Let's start with the first one, in 1988: Night Ranger with Great White. And it only got better from there. Stryper, Winger, Vixen, KISS (without makeup!), Whitesnake, White Lion, Dokken, Quiet Riot, Poison, Slaughter, Warrant, LA Guns, and about 100 others I can't think of right now. Goofy, but incredibly awesome at the time.
- Ready for this?? I went to the CMT Awards. Yep. But hey, listen. Tickets were free, along with all access VIP pre and after party. I was surrounded by famous people I could give a shit about. But it was still cool. I'd never, ever pay for it, but it was still cool. I couldn't tell you the pop country stars that were there. I'm too cool to know who they are or care about their existence.
- Oh, Swiss Villa. This was the large ampitheater in the middle-of-nowhere Ozark Mountains Missouri where we used to see large musical acts. My first show ever...ever, was Kenny Loggins, at Swiss Villa in 1985, circa Top Gun Danger Zone shit. As we became older and more careless, we would see shows such as Ozzy Osbourne, David Lee Roth, Alice In Chains, and Lynard Skynard while drunk as shit and young. I remember at the Ozzy show I got hungry. So I bought some nachos. As soon as I was handed the nachos, some drunk chick knocked them out of my hand and onto the dirt. Shortly after, the show was cut short due to on-stage rioting. No shit. Was it due to my nacho disaster? Probably.
- One of my first jobs, if not my absolute first job, was cleaning up puke at the Shrine Mosque. This was the venue in town where several larger acts would come to perform from time to time. Even though my primary job was cleaning up vomit for free beer, I still got to wear a "Staff" lanyard. Chicks kind of dug that lanyard, even though I was toting around a mop. I got to clean up excrement from such shows a Bad Company, Ted Nugent, Soundgarden, Skid Row, PIL, and Live. Woohoo.
Will I Ever?
- Since I do not have $300 for a standing room only ticket, I apparently will not be able to see Merle Haggard anytime soon. He's been through Denver twice now, with ticket prices laughable. Maybe I can catch him at a rodeo, bar, or casino...where he should be.
- An obscure act I never got to see was the Donnas. Love their music and their style. Noticed they were playing with the Hives....about five years ago. I'd like to see them both, if they're still alive.
- Iggy, you might be too old for me to enjoy seeing you in concert anymore, but I'd still like to give it a try.
- In my opinion, the best punk rock band there is... the New Bomb Turks. They still play a bar mitzvah a time or two a year, so maybe I'll still get to see them.
- Johnny Cash is dead. Waylon Jennings is dead. George Jones is dead. Hank Williams is dead. What a jip.
I'm 100% certain that I'm missing a very important concert or two, or three. I'm also certain that I was more than likely fairly inebriated during these possible forgotten shows. That means it was a good show though, right?