Thursday, December 02, 2004


I was out sick yesterday and even though I had every intention of getting on-line at some point, it didn't really happen. I absolutely could NOT get out of bed yesterday morning. I went through a phase earlier this year where I was simply exhausted. The doctor had the phlebotomist take vial upon vial upon vial upon vial of blood for a myriad of tests and they came up empty…the tests, not the vials. They had to take blood from both arms they were taking so much. They even offered me a glass of orange juice, just like the Red Cross, so you know they took a bunch of the red stuff. Since the last time was such a bust, I didn't waste my time going to the doctor this time. I literally slept until 10:30 when I forced myself out of bed with my eyes drooping. I love my bed, but I hate feeling so bone tired. I spent the day on the couch crocheting Mom's Christmas present afghan (only 5 skeins to go) and watching the latest Alfred Hitchcock Netflix DVD (Dial M for Murder) and MacGyver (1:00 p.m. on TVLand and 3:00 p.m. on Spike TV).

After the second episode of MacGyver I got into the shower as I had tickets to see The Vinyl Café Christmas concert with Darrell over in Windsor. We're both big fans of Stuart McLean and his story-telling abilities. There was a new Dave and Morley Christmas story and it was very funny, as usual. He also had three young Canadian musicians with him whom he discovered over the course of the past year. The first one, I guess is pretty well known, is Joey Bowskill. He's a 14-year-old blues guitarist/singer. And he's amazing, especially for a 14-year-old. Then there was a young woman, Harmonie Trowbridge who didn't really do it for me.
She was okay, but nothing really to write home about. And the third one a 25-year-old guy named Owen something or other. All I know is that he was PHENOMENAL!!!! He played the violin and sang and was unbelievably cool. He has a CD coming out at the end of August and I'll be picking it up! I had a chance to meet him after the show and told him how amazing I thought he was. Some other guy came up to him too to say the same thing. I felt a little bad since he was standing with Harmonie at the time, and we figure he was going to get a lot more genuine compliments than she was. I told her she had done a fine job, but she really didn't do anything for me. And I so badly wanted to tell her to buy a bra that fits. And to stand up straight. Hell, I don't have the greatest posture ever, but at least I don't look like a question mark.

Since I was told on Tuesday night that my posts had gotten bitter, I decided to make a concerted effort not to be so bitter. How am I doing so far? ;-) I also decided that I would make a list of concerts I've seen. Because what could be more exciting? Really?

My very first rock concert was Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band back in tenth grade, probably late 1979. I live in Detroit, so for that era and this city, that's a pretty basic first concert. I remember that I had to beg and plead to get my father to let me go. He was dead certain that if I went to a rock concert I was going to come home a pot-smoker. Truly. For the record, I didn't. We had main floor center seats at Cobo Arena which is just about the coolest place to see a concert. For many years it was the only "large" venue in Detroit for a concert (other than Pine Knob* which is a summer amphitheatre). Thankfully some bands are rediscovering it and there are concerts happening there once again.

My second concert was the following year and once again I got to see Bob Seger at Cobo. Again, not that abnormal for Detroit in the 80s. He was BIG and a hometown favorite.

I don't remember anything else, concert-wise, until second year of college. Hmm, that might not be right, let's think. I just had it. Ah yes, the Police at the Joe with people from high school, but I wasn't in high school. I know that much. This calls for a little research. It was the Synchronicity tour and that album came out in 1983, so it was either 1983 or 1984, but I think it was 1983. The only person I remember with whom I went to the concert was Sheila O'Kennedy who was killed in a car accident within the year. I remember she was particularly hostile about Andy Sumner wearing the flag of Great Britain, as she was very Irish and hated the English being in Northern Ireland. Other than that, the only other thing I remember about that concert was the weird-ass raggedy jacket/coat/top/blouse that Sting was wearing as he danced around the stage.

After that I believe I got into my punk/new wave phase and the first concert of that era was Billy Idol. I saw him in Ann Arbor in February 1984 and the crowd was pure punk. It was bloody louder than hell and I loved it! I was a huge Billy Idol fan, in fact, I still love him, even with all his faults. The high point of The Wedding Singer for me was Billy Idol. I was big into button pins in the 80s and had quite a few all over my jean jacket and at least five of them were Billy Idol pins. I saw him months later at Pine Knob and the crowd was much bigger and much more poseur-ish. Leopard skin skimpy outfits are NOT punk, people. Never was, never will be. And for some reason, it was only extremely fat women in the leopard skin skimpy outfits, so you know it was a good look.

I didn't save my tickets back then as religiously as I do now, so I'm culling my memory for this information. 1984-86 were big concert years for me. I saw The Go-Go's at Pine Knob, but I went because INXS was opening for them. It was The Swing tour and I bought the t-shirt and wore the ever living hell out of it. The shirt was made of ultra-thin material and already had the neck and sleeves ripped off!!! It cost $12 but I lied and told my Mom it was $6 since she made a huge deal about the ripped off neck and sleeves. I wish I knew where that shirt was now. Not that I could wear it, but I did love it.

I was lucky enough to see a number of shows at the Fox Theater before Mike Illitch bought it and fixed it up and didn't let us punks in anymore. For people who have been to the Fox within the past few years, ha! I've actually walked up the big staircase in the front lobby! So there! (it's always freaking closed these days) There was nothing downtown in those days, not like today where you have Hockeytown right next door to the Fox on the one side and the State Theatre on the other. Back then the State was still boarded up, but once we (punks) were kicked out of the Fox someone figured out there was a market and the State opened as one of the premiere (term used kind of loosely here) venues, along with St. Andrew's, for punk/new wave shows. The State is bigger than St. Andrew's so they got the bigger acts. (This is the history according to Kathleen's perception, so there are probably glaring errors, deal with it.)

Concerts seen at the Fox:

New Order (with an extremely godawful local band called Gargoyle Sox opening). New Order didn't make/keep a lot of fans that day as they played for a total of 20 minutes. Honestly. 20 minutes and NO ENCORES. There were a helluva lot of pissed off punks there. They came on-stage around 9:15 and were gone by 9:35. That was it. They were roundly booed.

Echo and the Bunnymen – Still love them. Hell, I even have Ian McCulloch's Candleland solo album.

I know I saw a bunch of other bands there, as I remember the bloody awful Gargoyle Sox opening for some other band as well. And it seemed like I was there all the time. My father always had a fit that I was going down there as "it's not safe," but I told him it was perfectly safe. Nobody was going to pick on one punk when there were thousands around. Just wasn't going to happen. I never had any problems downtown (other than the annual Freedom Festival Fireworks, but that's a whole 'nother story).

For some reason I would get the same shitty opening bands a lot (more than once counted as a lot). I saw Joan Jett open for Bob Seger and, I think, The Police. God, she was awful. And then there were the inimitable Gargoyle Sox. Okay, it only happened twice, but they were so horribly horrible that I'm still thinking of them 20 years later. Sad, so sad.

I guess I'll continue this list another time – when I have time to go through my tickets and give you an accurate accounting of my concert life. I think it's naptime, or at least, I'd like it to be naptime.

*The only people who call it by its corporate name, DTE Energy Centre, are people who have to, i.e., radio DJs who would probably be fined if they didn't toe the corporate line, people who work there, etc. Everybody else in Detroit still says, "We're going to Pine Knob." I hate corporate names on stadiums, arenas, etc. The Detroit Tigers technically play at Comerica Park, but I still call it Tiger Stadium. The Lions play at Ford Field and I don't have too much of an issue with that since the Lions are owned by a Ford.


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