It was a truly an educational day today! Rocket dropped by to help me out on Project Aaauunold. It’s down to the wire (intentional pun) around here to get through about 10 more phases of the project before this upcoming Thursday. Lucky for me I have slightly deranged friends (and family!) willing to waste their free time to give me a fighting chance of actually pulling these tasks off. The cool thing is I’m picking up all new skilz.. umm that may be a little too strong, let’s go with knowledge. My college days were spent playing around in the 5-10v arena – not so much in the 120 range. As a result I’ve always been a little hesitant when it comes to house wiring. Thanks to Rocket, I am now pretty comfortable with most of the wiring scenarios and probably most amazing – I FINALLY understand the three way switch. It has taken him about 20 times to explain it, but it finally sunk in today – thanks to getting all my wiring tasks done early today I can spend a few minutes cranking out a new post.
Let’s go with a recollection from our most recent concert outing. I was about to categorize it as the last concert of the season but looks like we’ll be heading back to Vegas later in the year and Linda is already researching all the venues for things to see. This particular recollection is from August at the Illinois State Fair. As you know we have been hitting the “classic” tours this season (link here and here). This year the Fair was featuring a combination of bands I grew up with and one dark horse. We tend to head down to Springfield to see the Butter Cow anyway and decided to catch the concert. My expectations were pretty high based on the entertainment value of the previous concerts this year…well, at least ONE of the bands delivered that night. Fortunately for me, I can always resort to people watching when things go bad.
Since we are all about observations around here, I thought it would be interesting to visually show you the definition of success in the Rock and Roll field. Starting off the night was none other than the Georgia Satellites (the dark horse). If you just said the who? then you are probably in good company. They really just had two songs of any popularity – Keep Your Hands to Yourself (one of Linda’s favorites) and the cover Hippy Hippy Shake. The fact they actually produced a greatest hits album is quite shocking. Now let’s see what the downhill side of a two hit band looks like.
Ugh.. not good. I’ve seen more fans at a local bar with an 80’s hair tribute band. To their credit they did play their signature songs and actually filled up the rest of their set with a bunch of other covers. Say goodbye to #5 in 1986.
Hit the Jump for the rest of the bands!
Next up was the Soft White Underbellies. Actually you might know them from the new name they took in 1971 – Blue Oyster Cult or BOC for short (sorry, no umlauts today). Now this band had a few more hits than the Satellites – well, one more since they really hit it with three songs of which their flagship was Don’t Fear the Reaper. The other ones being Burning for You (which I like better) and the over-rated Godzilla. Now let’s see what three songs bring you on the negative tangent of life.
I would guesstimate that in the 2x vicinity but still a crap load short of the arena days. They eventually got through their three songs as everyone impatiently sat through their new and filler songs. Oddly enough, the best part of their set centered around their new guitarist. Kasim Sulton. Turns out he has spent time with Todd Rundgren and Joan Jett (among many). As a treat they let him play some of those songs which turned out to be the best part of their entire set!
Okay, it was finally time to start bringing out the big guns. Next up was Night Ranger. This three piece band hailing from the broke state of California (San Fran none the less) owned the 80’s with their power ballads and steady stream of hits. They were a little more mellow than my tastes in the 80’s but they put out quality stuff that has stood the test of time. Add in the fact that these guys had very successful side projects they have plenty of material to pull from. That is exactly what they did, finally giving their fans some payback on their ticket fee. They not only played the songs people were there to hear, but they also interacted with the crowd – this is a band that knows where they came from. The Damn Yankees additions were a bonus, but I had forgotten their lead guitarist spent time with Ozzy – he filled in after Rhandy’s death. One thing for sure, that dude can play guitar! They busted out some Crazy Train and got the party started. What does a career of hits look like compared to what we’ve seen so far…
Not what I would have expected. I’m putting this at a 3 to 4x range with the fact the grandstand was starting to fill up. I should point out that I noticed something very unusual about this time. They actually had a lady signing for a group of fans. She was having a great time interacting with her group and signing the lyrics to the songs. I’ve actually never seen this before – any else ever witness this unique feature?
So now the crowd is pumped and the Boys from Illinois are due to take the stage. Oh, for those outside of our broke and poorly managed state that would be Cheap Trick hailing out of Rockford. I question whether they are really considered bigger than Night Ranger, but clearly in Illinois they rule and in recognition, by now the place was packed. All I have is crappy shot thanks to the darkness setting in but clearly you can tell the numbers were up.
I am going to cut to the chase on this one since it is late and I’m running on 4 hours of sleep. They totally sucked! First off, the lead singer looks like he is going to get a hernia hitting those high notes littered throughout their songs. They have also forgotten WHY people are there to see them. The days of new song interest are long gone – people are shelling out hard earned money to relive good memories, not listen to “filler” songs. Halfway through their set Linda was getting perturbed and asking me when they are going to play songs she recognized. I was busy surfing the web on my phone because I was already bored – was busy looking up Night Ranger trivia. Eventually, the night started coming to a close and they FINALLY played Dream Police and Surrender. Zander provided ZERO crowd interaction preferring to stomp around in his Elton John designed military garb. This is no different that putting their CDs on, but being able to spend the ticket money on a nice dinner…. not to mention I can skip the filler tracks.
I guess in closing I’ll reference another classic band, the Who. They summed it up pretty well. If you forget your fan base, you know, the ones who stood by you on the up slope of your career, well, you just might find out they’ll just “F-Fade Away”