My husband, who is a tad bit older than I, has attended some truly great concerts. I am envious of more than a few of the acts he was able to see that I wasn’t. Most of those bands no longer play together either because they can’t stand their former band mates, or because a key member, or two, (or three), is no longer alive. One of those groups, XTC, doesn’t play live because lead singer Andy Partridge suffers from stage fright. This got me thinking about the shows I’ve been fortunate enough to attend, as well as the ones that got away. Today I am going to focus on the former, next Friday, the latter.
Flashback– Three bands I am glad I got to see before they imploded, or expired.
The Ramones, the Roxy, New York City, 1988. This show was part of an early college graduation trip I took with friends to the Big Apple. Seeing the Ramones, their line-up comprised of all original members save the drummer, in their hometown of New York, was beyond great. The fact that I endured a mosh pit thumping in order to retrieve Dee Dee’s bass pick (had word Ramones emblazoned across it) put it over the top. One of my favorite bands ever. Saw them again in 1990, but at this point, Dee Dee was out and the kid (C.J.) was in, and the Ramones were essentially no more. Chance of a reunion–none. Sadly, Joey Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Ramone are no longer living.
The Cars, Richmond Coliseum, 1984. I didn’t go to a ton of concerts when I was in high school so it is easy to recall the few I did. I remember listening to the Cars as early as 1979 when they released their second album, Candy O. At the time of this show, the Cars were huge. MTV constantly played their videos and the album Heartbeat City had spawned five American Top 40 hits. Four years later, the band was done. Chance of a reunion–with Ric Ocasek, not likely. Benjamin Orr, who provided vocals (he sang several of The Cars’ greatest hits, including “Bye, Bye Love”, “Just What I Needed”, “Moving in Stereo”, “Let’s Go”, and “Drive”) and played bass, died in 2000.
The The, Center Stage, Atlanta, GA., (early 1990’s). I always enjoyed The The but seeing them live was a real coup, especially because Johnny Marr, formerly of the Smiths, was playing guitar. Matt Johnson, the brain/power behind The The, had, up until this tour, been playing in the band by himself and as a result rarely played live. Kind of hard to pull off the whole band thing when there is only one person in it. Thankfully, this tour included Marr and others. By the time this show rolled around, I was practically a professional concert goer. Working at a radio station and writing a music column will do that to a person. The fact that that The The (in this incarnation) makes my top three means it was indeed a memorable night. Chance of a reunion–not sure. A quick turn on Google let me know that The The is still active, though the chance of Johnny Marr joining again might be slim. Marr, who also played with bands such as The Pretenders and Modest Mouse, is currently focused on being a member of the Cribs.
Which bands/artists are you glad you had the chance to see, before it was too late? While you think back, I’ll leave you with this: