Patti used to play every year at this time. The 29th was the show for the diehards, we’d huddle in the cold outside for an hour or two before sprinting up the stairs for the front. I used to joke that we could bowl inside Bowery Ballroom on those nights, no one else bothering to get there much before the show started. (That was until “Just Kids” and the book award and god bless, the world suddenly started showing up at the Bowery in December.) The 29th was usually loose and sloppy, mistakes, chatty Patti. The 30th was “the birthday,” and she was usually on her game for that. Then there were the New Year’s Eve shows. I would either go to the 29th and the birthday or the birthday and New Year’s, but always at least two, how on earth could I be living in proximity of the possibility and not go to at least two? I would go solo to one and the boyfriend would come along to the other.
In the late 90s, I used to have this recurring dream about seeing the reunited Clash again. At the time, I was living in Seattle, so in the dream I was always in the back of Mercer Arena and I was always standing near some Seattle rock luminary: one time Mark Arm, another time Kim Thayil, one time Eddie Vedder and his wife Beth. (Their presence in the dream was actually not the fantastic part; had there been a Clash show in Seattle, I can pretty much guarantee all of those people would have been there somewhere.) I remember the red and orange of the lights and I could hear Joe’s voice clear as a bell. The dream always came in on the middle of songs, never the beginning, and I never heard an end. But the feeling was always the same, every time, that sense of awe and waves of rolling thunder emanating from the stage.
I wrote an in-depth look at the new Springsteen album announcement for Billboard.
To quote Backstreets, “They couldn’t go back to Australia without a new album, right? Right.”
I was thrilled to be able to attend last night (invitation from a colleague) and filed my report over at Backstreets.
Back in the early 80s, I was lost in the back alleys of Amsterdam on a dark, foggy night. I opened the door to a bar, just to find my bearings and take a break. The interior was dark and smoky and I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea or not. Then, the jukebox kicked into “Vicious” and I relaxed, knowing without a doubt that this place would be just fine.
Variations on this scene have been repeated in Germany and Boston, Tel Aviv and Atlanta, and of course, right here in New York fuckin’ City. Lou Reed on the jukebox says, we are different here. Lou Reed on the jukebox says, different is okay here. Lou Reed on the jukebox says ‘home’.
I wrote a track-by-track breakdown of Quadrophenia on Billboard.com for its 40th anniversary this month.
This was, quite simply, a fantastic show. The performance was tight but still full of life and energy. The band was in excellent spirits. And most importantly, the songs are not only ready to play live, they are so much better in person than they were on SNL or that 30-minute aftershow. I walked out thinking, “Wow, now I am excited for the album” as well as, “Wow, that TV special did not do them any favors.” The difference, at least to me, was night and day.
There has been excitement and there has been anxiety and there has been sheer fucking joy leading up to this first Replacements show since 1991. I walked through the gates of RiotFest and had a moment. I had another one when I purchased an official t-shirt. It was one of those I can’t believe this is actually happening but it is actually fucking happening moments that just well up and take your breath away.
I didn’t know what to expect when the boys finally walked out on that stage. Would I burst into tears? Would it fall flat? Did it possibly stand a chance of meeting my expectations?
The answer to the last question was a hearty FUCK YEAH, said with as much volume and emphasis as you can muster.