I can’t verify any of the dates (or a few of the venues) but I’ll try to be as accurate as my weed and beer-addled brain will allow.
King Crimson- Agora Ballroom, Cleveland Ohio summer 1974
This was my first rock concert ever and I was absolutely the youngest person in the venue. Crimson were stunning in the Fripp/Wetton/Bruford/Cross lineup. The electric violin was amazing to me as a 16 year old... the albums had not prepared me for the occasionally free-form nature of the music, but the band always slammed back in with vicious ensemble playing in the nick of time. Awesome encore of “21st Century Schizoid Man”.
Dizzy Gillespie and his All Stars- Mountain State Cultural Center, Charleston WV 1979 or 1980
Not only did I get to see this high-powered Latino-tinged bop jazz extravaganza, I also got to eat dinner with Dizzy and interview him for the college paper. What a great dude… spent half of the interview complaining about the US State Department (they were giving him shit about the Cuban musicians in the band) and the other half telling really bizarre jokes. He also juggled fruit at the table, causing oranges and apples to fly everywhere. (ME: “You ever juggled before, Dizzy?” DIZZY: “Not until just now”) Unforgettable.
REM- The Paradise Boston MA spring 1983
Prime Murmur-era REM, fresh-faced and flush with their first wave of success, this was a truly memorable show in a medium sized club (it was also broadcast live on the radio, so I also have a copy of the show that I have enjoyed many times since). We were so close, we could smell Stipe’s rancid Converse high tops. Rock and roll heaven, kids.
Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians- The Paradise, Boston MA late 80s
Hitchcock’s first US tour following his near-retirement, this was a terrific selection of songs from his first four solo LPs with a smattering of Soft Boys classics. Hitchcock’s onstage repartee was unmatched and the band was enthusiastic, propulsive and tight. Usually, I get “worn out” before a band finishes their set, but that night, I wished they would never stop. I have seen Hitchcock many times since, but this stands out as the best.
The Fall with Howard Devoto and Luxuria- The Channel Boston MA 1986
My second Fall show, and the first time I saw the Brix-era band. MES began the show by hectoring the crowd through a police bullhorn while the band cranked into the then-unrecorded “Cab It Up” and there was no let up throughout the set. The version of “Hit The North” from this show appears on the B-Sides box set.
Devoto’s band was decent, but the Luxuria material was very unmemorable. Fortunately, the second half of their set was solid standards by Magazine and Buzzcocks and was awe inspiring.
Faust with CulDeSac, Keiji Heino, Thurston Moore, Gate- Real Art Ways, New Haven, Ct. May 1994
Probably the strangest concert I ever saw. The gig took place in a big field next to an art gallery. There was a bunch of bulldozers in the corner of the field and a railroad track next to it, separated only by a fence. The bulldozer area became the de facto “weed smoking area”, and the crowd of 20 or so of us in that area were soon joined by Zappi Diermier and Jean-Herve Peron of Faust.
Faust were really great, especially for a band coming off of a 15-year layoff. Peron stripped naked and did an instant action painting onstage early in the set on a big piece of wood (it was cold, so he fortunately put on clothing for the rest of the show). The band played old favorites (good version of “Je Mal Vous Dents” from Faust Tapes, wretched and amateurish version of “The Sad Skinhead” though) and some excellent new tracks (“Listen To The Fish” was a standout). Zappi’s drumset was augmented by a crazy collection of scrap metal and oil drums and his playing was a high point, powering the somewhat under-rehearsed band through the set. Faust had put contact mics on the train tracks, and every once and a while a train would pass, causing an indescribable strange sound to emit from the speakers at odd times. At the end of the show, Peron grabbed a chainsaw (also miced into the PA) and destroyed the impromptu painting from earlier in the show quite spectacularly.
The Who with Toots and the Maytals- Riverfront Stadium Cincinatti, Ohio 1975
Not the infamous stampede show (that was a couple of years later). A great set from one of rock’s greatest bands, featuring Keith Moon on his last US go-around. The band was loud and somewhat sloppy, but still sounded great. The Quadrophenia stuff, which I always found disappointing and flat on record, crackled to life in these thunderous renditions… never sounded better. I saw God during “Baba O’Reilly”. Townsend seemed vaguely pissed-off throughout the show, perhaps angry about the bad reception Toots and the Maytals received from the crowd of Ohio rednecks. As for me, I thought they were ace and I went out and nabbed a copy of Funky Kingston the following weekend.
Minutemen with Prime Movers, Lyres and others I forget- The Channel, Boston MA 1984 (I think)
What a great show! D. Boon walked out to the mic stand, and taped the top of the setlist to the pole. He released it and the list stretched from the mic to the floor. They then proceeded to blow us away with a countless number of short tight nuggets of punk/jazz/funk/squonk rock, including a loud and blasting version of CCR’s “Green River”. This great show made the loss of Boon in a van accident shortly thereafter much more acute. In a more just universe, Michael Bolton and Kenny G would have been in the van instead of D. Boon.
Motorhead- The Channel, Boston MA 1985 or 86
A great set from the Orgasmatron era, made even more memorable by the fact that I almost got killed in a car accident 10 minutes after leaving the venue. Our car hit some ice and almost spun off the Congress Street Bridge into the freezing black water of the Fort Point Channel. The car spun 240 degrees and the front end of the car ended up dangling over the edge of the bridge. I like to imagine that the snaggletoothed beast on Motorhead’s album covers put his big hand up and kept us from spinning into the drink!
Volcano Suns with GG Allin- Bunratty’s Allston MA sometime in the late 80s.
GG, of course, took the stage and proceeded to wreck the place. The band was loud, sloppy and drunk and GG’s onstage antics included shoving a Shure SM 58 mic up his ass and buttreaming himself with it for the length of an entire song (I’d like to know what kind of lube he was using… purely for (ahem) musical research purposes of course). GG closed his set by threatening the crowd with violent mayhem. Such a charming gent!
When the Volcano Suns came onstage, drummer/vocalist Peter Prescott began sniffing the microphone he had been provided. You guessed it! Prescott demanded a microphone change right then.
Sun Ra and his Arkestra- Nightstage, Cambridge MA
I saw Ra so many times at this venue near the end of his life, I actually used to say hi to John Gilmore when I showed up for shows. Sun Ra and his crew always served up big blocs of amazing space noise and sophisticated improv sounds. But the last time I saw the band was the most memorable, and also very sad. The band took the stage without Sun as his health was failing. They did several numbers (many of them based on themes from Disney film music, oddly enough), but I kept wondering “Where’s Sun Ra?”. Finally, the crowd parted, and four men entered carrying a sedan chair bearing the great man himself. He looked very sick, as pale and ashen as a black man could be. He barely was able to mount the stage. The band launched into “Take The A Train” and it was like all of Sun Ra’s illness fell away. For 10 minutes, he played like a brilliant maniac, belying his poor health. Then the sedan chair reappeared and Sun Ra was carted off as the band played on. It would be my last glimpse of him. He died a couple of months later.
Last edited by king feeb
on 04 Apr 2006, 21:00, edited 2 times in total.
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