Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Love Live Music

Another thing about birthdays is the ever present reminisce factor. Recently I got a bad case of the reminiscents while traveling for work. I was going to spent 3 hours driving to see a customer and knowing I would have lots of time on my hands, I pulled out a stack of old cd's for the trip. At some point, I ended up listening to Metallica's "Kill'em All" and within a short time I was doing my best Wayne's World impression to "Jump in the Fire." That is one of the few songs to this day still make me do a car boogie! And, for the record, "Jump in the Fire", followed by "Bass Solo", followed by "Whiplash" is still one of the best three song combo's ever. I've got goosebumps just thinking of it.

ANYWAY, it got me thinking of some of the more infamous concerts I attended back in the day…

There was the show from the Megadeth, Peace Sells tour. This is memorable because I took the Future Wife (FW) to the show. I went to see them at a place called "The Living Room" in Providence RI. Now you have to understand, the Living Room was Dive Extraordinaire for seeing concerts. It was in the old warehouse district, had the old wooden floors and a sign on the wall that said "Fire Limit 257 Persons Max." The stage was at one end of a room and wasn't quite chest high. Security, at best, was negligible. It was great because there was unfettered access to future superstars.

Anyway, as I was saying, some friends, the FW and I went to the show. What's important to note is FW, who was raised on Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel's "Only the Good Die Young", actually agreed to go with me much to my amazement. I believe she said "Who? Sure, why not? How bad can it be?" Anyway, the show completely sold out, and it was a mad house. There were people everywhere and once the mosh pit started I ended up with my back to the pit and my arms on the wall trying to shelter FW from the crazed masses. It worked out but I came home with bruises. AND, just to let you know, afterwards FW said "That was kinda fun." Yep, Princess had a grand ol'time and I could barely walk upright. But at least she had fun.

Another great show was King Diamond on the Abigail tour. Oddly enough, this time no one would go with me to the show. Once again, I'm at the Living Room but this time it's maybe half full. Because I'm by myself, I decide I'm getting as close to the stage as I can so I can see. I elbow my way to the front and I'm able to get three warm bodies from the stage. As the lights go down and King Diamond comes onstage, the guy next to me raises his arms and screams… at the top of his lungs… "SATAN! SATAN RULES!" I looked at him. I looked at the stage. I looked at him again and moved about 10 feet back. Of note in this show, at some point the lead singer pulled out a doll, as in small child's baby doll, that was as dirty and filthy as can be. He sang to it for a second and then threw it into the audience… which promptly tore it to pieces and threw them back at him to much cheering! It really was a show for the ages.

Besides these classic moments there was Metallica from And Justice for All, when they built a miniature Statue of Liberty on stage then blew it up at the end of the show. A NiN show when FW and I went all Goth'd up before Goth was "hip." There was Joe Walsh when the opening act bailed so Joe opened for himself acoustically. One of the few missed show that I still kick myself for not going to… Gravity Kills with Republica opening. There were even a couple of shows that I should have missed. But that's a post for another day.

I saw all these shows for $20 or less. Recently, the Police were on tour and came close by. I was excited to go see them until I learned it was $93 for the pleasure of seeing them with 18,000 of my closest friends.

Honestly, I miss the days of cheap concerts.


  1. I'm surprised you still can hear, Lee. :) What you need now is to have a family concert experience. And I can think of no other band than ApologetiX! ApologetiX is a Christian parody band and they take regular rock songs (also country, rap and pop) and put new lyrics to them, but play them just like the original.

    ACDC's "Highway to Hell" becomes "Fly Away from Hell". Boston's "More than a Feeling" becomes "More than a Healing". Led Zepplen's "Stairway to Heaven" becomes "Narrow Way to Heaven". Kiss's "Rock and Roll All Night" becomes "Love and Kisses". They've got 14 albums and a 15th one coming out soon (you can pre-order it and download the first 9 songs). Each album averages about 20 songs. So they've got a huge amount of material out there. Go to for more info. My review of their new 3 songs made the site this week.

    They put on a great show and generally do over 100 concerts a year all over the country. They hit Virginia several times last year. The price of admission? 10 bucks per person in advance and 15 at the door. It's a bargain. My family has seen ApologetiX nine times since October 2006 and sometimes we've traveled over 2 hours to see the show. We even went to Pittsburgh to see their 15th anniversary show. I was blessed to be the promoter for show number 997 in Columbia, Maryland last September 22nd. You can check out some pictures online. I even got to sing on stage with J. My blog picture is from that show when I introduced them.

    Their lyrics are so Biblically grounded that I was able to teach a Bible Study/Music appreciation class over the summer based on their music to some kids.

    I can't say enough about them! Great tunes with better lyrics (especially for our young ones).

    My first concert was Styx: (Kilroy was Here) at the Richmond Colosseum. They had a movie/video before the show where Dennis DeYoung is escaping from something and then he came out on stage. Probably where I learned to hate going to the bathroom in a crowded place. I also saw Rush (Power Windows) there and Def Leppard's in-the-round stage, which was cool. Instead of being at the end it was in the middle. I saw U2 twice, once at Hampton Colesseum (Unforgettable Fire) where someone threw a beer at the door and it hit the wall and spilled on me just as I entered. I was on the floor for that show. I saw them years later at RFK, but we were too far away. I saw Howard Jones and the Moody Blues at Kings Dominion. I saw Boston (Third Stage) at the Cap Centre.

    One of my favorite shows of all times was seeing the Indigo Girls at the FloodZone in Richmond. It was such a small, intimate setting. I would later see the Indigo Girls several times, including an appearance at Tower Records for their Rite of Passage release (they performed several songs for the hometown Atlanta crowd and I got their autograph -- it was free). They're a tad too political for my taste these days. One of the worst concerts I went to was seeing the Cult at Radford. They were really demanding and demeaning. I got a cool bandanna though. I saw BB King at Burress Hall at Tech and while he didn't sing I saw Leonard Nimoy there as well. There was also that time seeing the Village People at the Masquerade in Atlanta on their Heaven level. I'm sure I'm missing something...not including all the Christian artists I saw at Fishnet over the years, including DC Talk, the Imperials, Susan Ashton, David Meece and Petra.

    Sorry for the long ramble, but really check out ApologetiX, I think you'll find some stuff you like.

  2. Lee,

    I saw that same Metallica "...And Justice for All" tour. I didn't care for Metallica at the time but my 16-year-old nephew wanted me to take him, and I liked the opening band, the Cult. Strangely enough, I hated the Cult but thought Metallica was pretty good, even if as each song began I thought it was the one Metallica song I know ("One"). Who knew every Mettalica song sounds the same? But the statue of liberty exploding at the end -- brilliant!

    My first show was (don't laugh) Rick Springfield. I've been to WAY too many concerts since then, but my faves in the stadiums were Paul McCartney, Sting (with Concrete Blonde opening), Pearl Jam, Rolling Stones (17th row, with Living Color opening), John Cougar Mellencamp (1st row), REM (with Indigo Girls opening), and Prince. NiN was good too, and I didn't goth out TOO much, but some of my friends did. That was a strange period for me in college, when I was, well... deviant. Not sure I remember much of that one.

    Of the smaller shows, They Might Be Giants, Toad the Wet Sprocket, and Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians stand out. I saw Bob Dylan in a small gym at Vandy, but he was on an "electric only" tour, and it may have been the worst concert I've attended (and that's including Huey Lewis and the News and Bryan Adams).

    My other big concert memory is when, in college, I was on the committee assigned to bringing musical acts to campus. We got the Romantics, about 5-7 years past their prime, but they were a hoot and let us eat off their hor d'oeveres and sandwich platters backstage after the show. They were really cool and just wanted to hang out with us college kids.

    Good times.

  3. Sounds like everyone has seen way more shows that I have! Sheesh. I stopped going to shows on a regular basis in 96... I had a job that required lots of travel. So much so that I couldn't commit to anything over 2 weeks away. It was great on the social life.

    Bjooks... as for deviant life. At least yours was in college. Mine came after that... I refer to them as my "lost years"

  4. I went to college on scholarship in a city pretty close to Nashville, so my disposable income went into seeing MANY concerts, at least until I discovered raves, which took up the second half of my college years. Yes, I was one of those freaky rave people. Considering I was in college from 87-94, then grad school from 94-99, I tend to call my lost, deviant years "the 90s."

    Of the concerts I mentioned, all but Prince were during my high school or college years. I've seen Nickel Creek and Green Day since then, as well as the undisputed BEST guitar player in the world, Tommy Emmanuel, many times. He's about the only concert I manage to make time for any more. Like you said, it's just too expensive anymore.