Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Phish Dec. 30, 1997 Madison Square Garden

Wait. What? Me at a Phish show? Free ticket in a big telecom's luxury box courtesy of this guy Terence, that's why. Old pals in attendance, as well. Couldn't see the show for the marijuana clouds, and from what I heard of it I'm glad I was never a Phish fan, because I'm certain I'd be disappointed. Oh yeah, and some dang hippie kids raided our box and swiped our free hot dogs, but at least we guarded the Heinekens properly.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ramones/Runaways/Suicide Jan. 7, 1978 Palladium NYC

Home from college, I dragged Duff, Eddie, and Butch to this. This was my second Ramones show, and it was a significant one because it was the first one the group played outside of a club in New York. A big-time genuine theater. Tickets were like $5.00, which I purchased from the Ticketron guy at The Record Baron on Forest Avenue on Staten Island. We were in about the 10th row in my estimation.

Suicide opened up. I guess they were forerunners of what was called "No Wave." This two-man "band" consisted of Alan Vega on screaming and Martin Rev on some kind of keyboard set-up that blasted our ears with some sort of unlistenable electronic racket. Boos rang out, and then they got pelted with crap. They blew. (Note however I did buy Vega's 1981 rockabilly record, Collision Drive, which I did like). We couldn't stand no more, so we went out to the lobby for beers. I scoped out Debbie Harry and David Johanson hanging about.

Of course, the Runaways exuded nothing but sex, and I'd read their management/PR had in the past hired teen boys to rub their crotches while standing stagefront. Eddie really had the hots for Lita Ford, the one with the long blonde hair. Joan Jett, in her Runaways, pre-"Joan Jett" persona, exhibited some fine rock & roll moves. I didn't like them too much though, but how can one resist the chorus to 'Cherry Bomb"? I was there to see The Ramones, the most amazing band I'd ever seen up to that point in my life. (I'll get to writing about the first time--that's gonna be a long post.)

The Ramones leapt on the stage and put out non-stop for 27 songs, my research shows. "Rockaway Beach" was the first one, with "Blitzkreig Bop" number three. They did the usual ritual doffing of leather after a few numbers. With a bigger stage, there was some room for Johnny and Dee Dee to do some choreographed maneuvers. They would head to the rear of the stage and and then charge up to the lip, bashing their instruments on the way. No audience member held their seat, and everyone rushed up the aisles to get close to the action. The pinhead showed up for the "We're A Happy Family" part of the encore.

The ears rang after this one, boy. The lives of Duff, Eddie, and Butch, who were more mainstream in their musical tastes, were altered forever by the show. For me, it was number two in a long line of Ramones concerts to come.