Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rock Shows

And the bleeding night club band
that they went down there to see
With their scrawny little hands
They ring the bells of liberty

Oh my soul
I'm not like that

--Thrush Hermit "Oh My Soul"

I was pleased to be tagged by old Inflatable Elvis in the "Describe your first and best rock concerts"

Mine is going to be a little long, because I can't restrict myself to the topic at hand. I have a long history of going to see live music, and limiting it to best and worst doesn't cut it.

I was elected to run a campus bar basically on the day I turned legal drinking age. I get very talented at both pool and pinball ("The Black Knight Wants Your Quarters!!!!), and missed a shitload of class. I wouldn't trade that insanely stressful year for anything. It almost cured my desire for elected office, losing the Presidential election two years later finished off that particular indulgance...

but I learned that there is always a guest list, musicians are like anybody else, and that you can still count a lot of money when you are completely hammered, as long as everyone else is hammered and you all agree to do your best.

First and Best: Zoo Tv, Labour Day 1991, U2 at Varsity Stadium in Toronto

My first show -- and remains my favourite large outdoor show -- was the Zoo Tv concert in Toronto. I skipped Frosh Week and quit my summer job on 12 hours notice to get in a car and drive to Toronto from Charlottetown. I was -- am still am to a point -- a huge U2 fan.

I got a ticket due to a long series of circumstances. The young woman I dumped weeks before prom -- yes, I am the devil -- started seeing a friend of mine after I wounded her ego and fouled up months of planning.

Then she went away for the summer, and caught mono while cheating on that guy, and she couldn't make the show. My friend -- who always had both timing and a sense of irony -- offered me her ticket. I never paid her back that $40 either.

After a week in Toronto, we made it out to the CNE, which was a full Zoo TV trip. A concert on a carnival ground fit the theme of that tour to a T. Bono said as much from the stage and clips from that show later appeared in the video for "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses".

It looked just like this:

Highlights of that show include:

- Larry Mullen Jr. singing "Dirty Old Town" acapella
- Adam Clayton's ever present cigarette
- Opening acts Primus and The Disposable Heroes of Hiphopcrisy
- the satellite stage where the band went to do Angels of Harlem acoutistically
- Bono cracking the world's biggest bottle of champange, singing to a girl, putting her back in the crowd and saying, "There's a drunk one for you boys."
- the flaming crosses on the video screens during "Bullet The Blue Sky"
- the information overload from the Zoo Tv signs on stage "All I got is a red guitar, three chords and a trout" and "beLIEve" stand out.
- "I Will Follow"
- Mirror ball suit during "Bullet The Blue Sky", and Bono changing lyrics to curse "Jacob wrestled the Angel, and the Angel was over-fucking-come".
- Bono's nightly call to The White House
- Bono saying "You guys are so much louder than last nights crowd." Big cheer. "And I'll say that again tomorrow night." BIGGER cheer.
- Finding out that The Edge is every bit as good live as he is on disc.
- Wayne and Garth opening the show... yes, THAT Wayne and Garth.
- Larry clicking the sticks to the intro of "Where The Streets Have No Name" while all the massive video screens turned into a sunrise.
- They played "Bad".... with lots of fog... I near lost it.
- While "Where The Streets Have No Name" played, they ran the original video for the song on the screen. At one point, Bono turns to the screen, points at himself and says, "Hey you, I remember you."
- Lou Reed appearing on the screen to sing "Satellite of Love"

Many more categories to follow, but I'm worn out from remembering how old I am.