Fact #1. I’m married with two kids, own 2 cars, have a ridiculous monthly mortgage payment, work full time and live 141.35 miles from the nearest major “city”.
Fact #2. I never go to concerts anymore.
When I was single, stupid and lived near Toronto, Canada (current Pop: 5,000,000+ and growing!) I saw TONS of amazing concerts. The good thing about living near a big cosmopolitan city like Toronto is that most major bands will stop there on their world tours. The sheer variety of clubs and smaller venues also attracted many up and coming underground bands, most of which were from England.
The majority of the concerts I saw I can still remember vividly, others will forever be lost in a haze of smoke and Molson Canadian induced amnesia. Some I'm damned proud of and some I'm...well, you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelete, right? My wife still won't forgive her parents for choosing to go see the Carpenters over Elvis, one of the worst decisions any parent ever made, I'm sure. Even after years of Primal Scream therapy she still has nightmares.
I thought I would take the time and jot down some of those more memorable shows for y'all. No real details, just a laundry list for my own (and maybe your) edification. Maybe it'll get you thinking of some of your favorite shows, and if you've got the time I'd love to hear about 'em.
For your consideration...
I saw INXS (they had just released Shabooh Shoobah) open for The Kinks in 1983. INXS were still pretty raw, the Kinks were fantastic! Seeing Ray Davies play those opening chords of Lola from 30 feet away was a magical experience.
I saw The Clash at Maple Leaf Gardens but I can’t remember who opened for them (amnesia), some reggae band I think. During London Calling the entire audience started kicking their seats to the beat and many came off their hinges and were thrown, Frisbee style, into the general vicinity of the security guards and police officers, metal frames and all. My friend hit someone in the head, I think it was a Mountie (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, for all you Yankees). Great gig.
I was fortunate enough to see Spinal Tap with Shearer, Guest, McKean and an unknown guy on the drums (can’t recall if he “blowed up” at the end).
I have witnessed a plethora of punk gigs, the most memorable of which were SNFU, Forgotten Rebels, NOMEANSNO and GBH. The Pogues opened for GBH and simply blew them out of the water!
I saw Henry Rollins and the Beastie Boys, which was one of the loudest concerts I have ever seen.
Alice Cooper and Motorhead were a good show. Alice was a little surreal and a little over the top but Motorhead was 100% brute force and extremely entertaining.
Some of my favorite gigs were those underground bands from England that played the smaller clubs, such as Pop Will Eat Itself, Happy Mondays, The Wonder stuff, Inspiral Carpets, Billy Bragg, Stereo MC’s and Primal Scream.
OK, Dave, which ones have I forgotten?
Some 80’s staples I’ve seen: Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark, The Smiths (twice!), The Fixx (surprisingly good), The Cure, Simple Minds, U2, Depeche Mode, The English Beat, The Police, George Thorogood and Men Without Hats.
Concerts that friends had to drag me kicking and screaming to that I actually ended up enjoying were: The Rolling Stones, Jerry Garcia, John Fogerty.
Bands that I wished I had the good fortune of seeing: Neil Young (I scalped my tickets for beer money!), The Who, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, BLUR, Radiohead, Flaming Lips, and a host of others too numerous to mention.
There were probably a hundred or more bands, especially given the amount of Lolapalooza-type festivals I attended, but those were the most memorable. I may take some of THE best and expand on them in future posts, but I'll have to edit most of them to attain a PG rating.
5 hours ago