Flashback~Forget About it-Friday

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:


22 responses

  1. There are so many. Some of the bands were beyond recognition by the time I saw them, therefor warrant no inclusion here.

    The Grateful Dead, my first show in 1985, my last was in 1991. Met a lot of great people and was a great excuse do go west in the summers.

    Jane’s Addiction, right after their second LP was released. Some buddies from Chapel Hill insisted I see the show with them. Still very appreciative the overcame my Southern boy objections…..

    Stevie Wonder!!!! goes without saying, I hope I get the chance again

    • Stevie is still touring, so you’ve got a chance!

      Good point about the band sometimes being “beyond recognition”–I probably could have included the Red Hot Chili Peppers on my list. When I first saw them (and many times at that) they were playing with the original line-up–Hillel Slovak on guitar and Jack Irons on drums. I think I saw them once with John Frusciante and Chad Smith, but wasn’t the same.

  2. Saw BB King in Evansville Indiana a few years back, too. I was in Athens for the Widespread release party, but Panic is still around, so it is kind of hard to count that.

    I saw Peter Buck play with the Flyers at Allen’s many, many times.

    • You are on a roll!

      The older we get (sigh) the more likely some of these acts are not going to be around any longer. Especially if they lived the “life.” Really sad when they die like two of the members of the Ramones did, of cancer, young.

    • I bet that was great. Pretty sure the original line up from Guns & Roses will never be in the same room again, let alone play together, very cool that you caught them when you did. I would really like to see the Cult.

  3. Two great concerts that fit the bill happened within the last few weeks. My wife and I saw Tom Petty a couple of weeks ago and I am very glad that we did. Always been a Tom fan, but never saw him in person. Great performer in addition to being a talented writer, singer, etc.

    Saturday night my wife, son and I went to see Paul McCartney. Amazing and quite possibly the best concert I have ever seen. Yeah, he’s 68 years old, but he played full speed for 2 hours and 48 minutes. My son, who was exhausted after staying up until 3 at a birthday party the night before, was dancing and singing in the aisles as Paul lit it up with Helter Skelter in the first encore.

    Shows from the past include seeing REM perform Lifes Rich Pageant under an assumed name and the B-52s at Legion Field. Great memories.

  4. Hey Jennifer,

    Enjoy the blog…

    In retrospect, I would have given a toe to see the Ramones in the late ’70’s, early ’80’s.

    I’ve been to hundreds of live shows starting with Van Halen on their Diver Down tour…Bob Seger at the Civic Center in Augusta and BB King at the Bell Auditorium.

    Michelle Malone opened for Drivin n Cryin on their Mystery Road tour…incredible show.

    Shows in Athens that i will not forget – Cowboy Mouth, the Cowboy Junkies, and Bob Mould. I was at all the Super Jams out at the fair grounds…i just don’t remember too much about any of them?!?

    Also saw the late, great Jeff Buckley 2 years before his untimely death.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting Dan. I appreciate it!

      Have to agree with you about a toe in exchange for seeing the Ramones circa 1978-1981. I am really grateful (hence the post) that I got to see them when I did albeit the late ’80’s.

      I never saw Drivin’ N Cryin’, would have loved to. Did you ever see Dash Rip Rock in Athens? Fred LeBlanc played with them prior to joining Cowboy Mouth–great, great band. They put on a fantastic show.

  5. I love how much you love music! Side note: will you kill me when I tell you I’ve never heard of The The? I saw Echo & The Bunneymen in 8th grade. Doubt they’re still together.
    I never saw Michael Jackson which makes me terribly sad!

  6. Didn’t get to see them in Athens (although they were a mainstay when I was in school), but I did see them in New Orleans…after Fred had formed Cowboy Mouth.

  7. How about Dream So Real? They played a party at our fraternity some time between ’84 and ’86. If I remember right (and believe me, those years are somewhat hazy), we had originally booked the Kilkenny Kats and they cancelled on us at the last minute. One of our brothers had been to a couple of DSR gigs and knew some of the band members, and got them to come play a couple of sets. DSR brought a whole entourage that probably didn’t spend a lot of time hanging out at fraternity parties, but the music was excellent and everyone had a great time.

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