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Craig Schaller

CRUE, BLUE & BOO HOO

 

I did something pretty stupid yesterday.  I had procured tickets for the Motley Crue concert at Tags in Big Flats on Wednesday, switched a work shift to open availability, getting off doing newscasts on Saturday morning, and off my wife and I went for the concert.

 

After listening to "Best of..." and "Live" Crue CD's all the way there to properly get in the mood, we find Tags, and pull in the parking lot.  Having never been to this venue, I was a little surprised that there were actually spaces in their parking lot, but I told myself that we were more than a half hour early.  Maybe it's a late arriving crowd down here in Hicksville, errr, Big Flats.

 

We walk up to the door of this place--it's really just a bar--and there is a taped up sign on the door that reads:

 

"Attention concert goers!  The Motley Crue concert scheduled for tonight has been rescheduled for July 23rd due to weather.  Tickets for tonights show will be accepted on that night.  Thank you for your understanding."

 

Our hearts sank.  "What a waste", I thought.  Nearly a two hour drive each way to get to this place, and all for nothing.  We hopped in the car and drove back home, grumbling under my breath the whole way. 

 

We never even THOUGHT to check before we left if it was still on.  I thought, "who cancels a concert due to weather when it's not even supposed to rain?"  "I mean, sure it was going to be chilly, but wear a freakin jacket" I complained to my wife about the decision.  

 

Anyways, the four hour drive gave me plenty of time to think about my favorite concerts I have ever been to.  I know it's not a sports topic, but I thought I would share them with you in my usual top ten format.  Feel free to comment and let me know what some of yours are or if you agree with any of mine.

 

10b,  Asia & Chris DeBurgh.    May 1983.  Rochester Community War Memorial.

 

You always remember your first.  Not that this was that great a concert, but since it was the first one I have ever gone to in my life, it holds special meaning.  Asia was the "supergroup of the 80's" and had recently released their 2nd album, Alpha.  "Don't Cry" was a huge hit the previous winter, and "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" was currently on the charts.  Chris DeBurgh had two big hits--Don't Pay the Ferryman and "Lady in Red".  You probably know the 2nd, and may remember the first as soon as you just saw the title.

 

10a.  Journey/Foreighner/Night Ranger.  September 2011.  Fiddlers Green in Denver, Colorado. 

 

This would have been in my top three if it was 1985 instead of 2011, but the fact that it was those three bands, and I liked all of them, and I was with my wife, sister in law and future brother in law, it was a great time.  Makes my list more for the pleasantness of the memory than for the concert itself.

 

9.  Billy Squier & RATT.  October 1984.  Lakeland Civic Center in Lakeland, Florida. 

 

Squier was nearing the end of his popular career, but was still in the midst of huge success with his "Signs of Life" album and the hit song, "Rock Me Tonight".  RATT had a huge hit at the time with "Round and Round".  Squier in particular put on an amazing, energetic show.  I will never forget the image of him coming out for the encore and ripping his wife beater T-shirt off as he ran to the middle of the stage, making all the teenage girls go wild.  Was just a very good show.

 

8.  Jimmy Buffett.  July 1991.  C-MAC.  

 

I went to college for four years in Florida.  Whether you want to or not, you just become a Parrotthead, or Jimmy Buffett fan.  It just happens, like sunburn and mosquito bites.  Buffett rarely plays up north, so when he came to C-Mac a few years after I graduated, I was stoked.  Plus I was going with my then girlfriend Heidi and her cute friend Susan.  After the concert, the three of us were going down East Lake Rd to my summer cottage on Canandaigua Lake for the weekend.  I think I was more excited for that than I was for the concert.  Alas, there would be no "Margara-three-taville" for me after the concert.  The show though, was awesome.

 

7.   Starship and Night Ranger.  March 1987.  Lakeland Civic Center in Lakeland, Florida.  

 

Starship was in the midst of a career resurgence with their monster hit "We Built This City", which you couldn't leave the house without hearing in your car stereo.  They were headlining because of that, but Night Ranger was the main reason I was going to this one.  Loved so many Night Ranger songs, and I honestly feel they are one of the most underappreciated rock bands of the 80's right now.  Both bands were great and put on an excellent show.  Still liked Night Ranger better though.

 

6.  AeroSmith & Whitesnake.  November 1987.  Lakeland Civic Center in Lakeland, Florida.

 

This was a great combination for a concert.  Both bands were on fire.  Aerosmith was enjoying a career resurgence with their "Permanent Vacation" album, and Whitesnake had just made one of the hottest music videos in history with Tawny Kitaen and "Here I Go Again" as well as a bunch of other hits.  They were both at the top of their game, with a clean and sober Steven Tyler rocking it out and running all over the stage and David Coverdale waving his long mane of hair all over the place while belting out his hits.  Awesome show!

 

5.  Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney.  August 2006.  Darien Lake Performing Arts center. 

 

McGraw and Chesney were both at the zenith of their popularity.  It was really two headlining acts, as Chesney opens for McGraw but both play about as long as the other and Chesney comes out and duets with McGraw during Tim's set.  2nd best country show I have ever seen.

 

4.  Boston.  May 1987.  Rochester Community War Memorial. 

 

The uniqueness of this concert was the best part of this show.  Boston had been on a hiatus from recording and touring from 1979 to 1987, and had recently released their comeback album, "Third Stage", with hits like "Amanda", "We're Ready" and "Catcha' Say".  They opened their comeback tour right here in Rochester and I was there, hearing Brad Delp's amazing soaring vocals and Tom Scholz's distinguishing guitar riffs before anyone else.  And I was on a date I was very excited about.  Good memories.

 

3.  Van Halen and Bachman Turner Overdrive.  March 1986.  Lakeland Civic Center in Lakeland, Florida.

 

Like Boston, the uniqueness of this concert made it special for me.  It was the third concert on their "5150" tour, which meant I got to be the third group of people to see Sammy Hagar lead my favorite rock band from my childhood.  I will never forget Sammy Hagar climbing into the rafters for "Ain't Talking Bout Love" and hanging over the crowd for the "I've been to the edge...then I stood and looked down..." part.  The crowd went wild.  Sammy was and the rest of the guys were at the top of their game.

 

2.   Bon Jovi, Winger, Warrent and Skid Row.  July 1988.  Silver Stadium. 

 

If Van Halen was my favorite rock band of my childhood, Bon Jovi was my favorite rock band of my late teens and 20's.  This show on the "monsters of rock" rour in 1988 was nirvana.  I worshiped Bon Jovi.  I loved Winger and Warrent and I liked Skid Row a lot.  Bon Jovi was in the middle of their "New Jersey" tour, and their "Slippery When Wet" hits were still pretty fresh.  You could say each of the three bands were at the helix of their popularity, and all put on a truly memorable show on a sultry summer night in 1988.  

 

1.   George Strait Chevy truck tour.  June 2000.  Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, NY.

 

I know most of the names on this list are from the rock genre, but I also have an affinity for country and it doesn't get any bette than this show.  George Strait is the reason I got into country music in the 80's.  Joining him at this show were Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Jodee Messina, Mark Chestnutt and Leanne Womack.  A virtual who's who of country greatness at that point in time.  Womack opened and had just released "I Hope You Dance".  She would headline shows a half a year later.  All the other artists were at their popularity peak.  Strait played for two hours and everyone in the crowd knew every song he played.  It was an amazing day and night, and the best value for money of any concert I have ever seen.

 

Well, there's my list.  What about yours?  Now lets just hope the Motley Crue concert on July 23rd doesn't get rescheduled again!

 

 

donate to research for clinical trials of my blinding eye disease at www.curechm.org

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