Yes, sports fans, that is a Barry Manilow picture on Surviving Grady. I apologize for the assault on your senses and musical taste, but the-man-who-writes-the-songs-that-make-the-young-girls-cry won my personal award for most embarrassing concert I ever attended. That’s right, good old Denton at the old Boston Garden, Miller Lites stuffed down my pants, watching and listening to the lanky one.
On this gloomy November day, you get the pleasure of reminiscing with me about some of the best and worst concerts I’ve seen. Come, let’s walk…
Worst Concert: Hands down, unanimously, and never-to-be-surpassed in terms of pure suck: Billy Squire. Two words: Stroke Me. I wanted to pull my own ears off to make the noise stop. To kick it all off, the concert was at the old Providence Civic Center, but I drove north on 95 until I hit New Hampshire and realized my mistake. Yes, alcohol was involved.
Most Disappointing: The Cars. This was “back in the day” when the Cars were considered pretty good. We had 12th row floor seats at the old Garden, and what a buzzkilling letdown. The walked on stage, performed their songs with absolutely no emotion or animation, then left. It could have been cardboard cut-outs of Ric Ocasek and company for all the crowd knew.
Most Fun: Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes at Rocky Point Park in Rhode Island. Seven bucks got you a ticket to ride all the rides and then watch the outdoor concert. Throw in 24-ounce draft beers for two bucks a-piece, and you’ve got a party. If the only work you know of Southside’s is “Havin’ a Party” you’re missing out.
Best Overall: Springsteen and the E-Street Band at Gillette. I saw The Boss for the first time when he was touring for The River album back in 1980 or ’81. Seeing him 20+ years later was no letdown in the energy or stage presence he and the band bring. These guys rock, and have fun doing it.
Honorable Mentions: Bob Seger at the Garden. Great show, I’m considering seeing him when he comes around in January. Jackson Browne, before he sold out to do a movie theme song and then got all political, he was a lyrical genius. Check out his older stuff. John Mellencamp at Great Woods – good stuff, no TV commercial jingles.
First Concert: The Fools and The Knack at the Orpheum. Actually, a pretty good take at what is still a pretty good venue for live music.
Most Obscure: Robert Ellis Oral at Fitchburg State College. He was a one-hit-wonder whose one hit escapes me and I’m not interested enough to Google. The highlight of the show was actually the opening band, The Lines. They did a rocked-out version of the Charlie Brown Theme which was pure magic.
That’s it for now. You’ve all got a few skeletons in the closet about concerts you’ve seen. It’s a crappy, dismal day in Boston. Perfect time for a little nostalgia that might give others a laugh. Can anyone top Barry Manilow for most embarrassing?