The Beastie Boys and other concerts I have seen

I won’t do an Adam Yauch memorial, because other writers will have by this time done it far better than I. But his death did make me recall that he was part of my formative years, and therefore I dedicate this blog post to his memory. RIP, Adam.

The Beastie Boys were the very first concert I ever attended, wayyy back in 1986. They opened for Run-DMC at Red Rocks, which I think might very well be the greatest concert venue in the whole world. I went with my friend Nat and I couldn’t believe that my folks even allowed me to go unsupervised. There was alcohol! Pot! And it was being passed around! My memory of the Beasties is that they were all extremely drunk, to the point that they couldn’t quite stand up onstage. They were also opening beers by squeezing them until they burst, and threw some at people in the stands. And a good time was had by all. Video link: Beastie Boys – 2007, Red Rocks

That got me thinking about some other concerts I’ve attended, all of which had their own memorable events attached to them. Lots of video links follow. I’m not identifying the songs. Explore. Take a trip through time with me.

In 1988, I went to see the one-hit wonders Pseudo Echo at the Glenn Miller Ballroom at Colorado University. This one was memorable because it was the first concert I ever went to with a girl: my girlfriend of the moment, a band chick named Sarah who had odd tastes in music, television (She dug The Young Ones) and boys (me). You probably don’t remember Pseudo Echo, but this was their one hit, a cover tune (naturally): Pseudo Echo – 1987

In the summer of 1990, I saw Rush for the first time with a drummer friend of mine named Troy. We caught them at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater, which I still refuse to call by any other name. This was a turning point for me, because it launched me on my love of progressive rock. A band called Mr. Big, fronted by bassist Billy Sheehan opened for them. Video link: Rush, 1990

1992, I saw Rush again with my friend Jeff. What I recall specifically about this concert is that it had been a stormy, rainy day all day, and the moment they came out to play, the rain stopped. Video Link: Rush, 1992

I also saw Van Halen in 1992, with Alice In Chains opening for them. My memory is that Layne Staley of AiC was having a very difficult time holding his trademark drawn-out notes due to the combination of altitude and whatever brand of heroin he was on at the time. Video Link: Van Halen, 1991-1992

I also saw Tesla in 1992 (it was a good year for me for concerts) with my friend Keren. This was the second concert I attended with a girl (who was, unfortunately, not my girlfriend at the time – though if she ever reads this, I’d totally have been your guy if you’d ever dumped that slimeball, Keren). It was another Red Rocks show, and they played four encore tunes, which was pretty frickin’ cool. Video Link: Tesla, 1992

Then there was a long drought where I didn’t go to any concerts at all. The next one I recall attending was Rush in 1997. This was special because it was the third concert with a girl and the first one with my wife Richelle. Rush, 1997

Between work time and starting a family, we neither had the finances or the time to attend concerts for several years. We missed Rush (the only band I’m really excited to still see live) in 2002, but we caught them at Red Rocks again in 2004. I remember that Geddy Lee had a bank of clothes dryers instead of amplifiers behind him, and after the encore, he and Alex Lifeson opened them, took out t-shirts, and tossed them into the crowd. Video Link: Rush, 2004

In 2006, I went to see the New Cars and Blondie at Fiddler’s Green. This was memorable primarily because I won the tickets from 105.5 JACK FM, and since I’ve almost never won anything in my life, this was a big deal. Great show, brought back lots of memories. I came home with a 102-degree fever, but I didn’t care. Video Link: The New Cars, 2006

2008 brought Rush back to Red Rocks again on their Snakes & Arrows tour. We were there. Geddy Lee’s clothes dryers had been replaced with chicken rotisseries. This is because he does the bass through digital output instead of analog, so he doesn’t need giant stacks of speakers behind him, but doesn’t like to have nothing back there. During the intermission, a little girl in a chef’s hat came out and basted the chickens. There was also a moment when a pair of helicopters overflew the venue at an apropos moment, although I don’t believe that was part of the show. We had to stagger down to our car through dark fields with only our cell phones to light the way. Video Link: Rush, 2008

Then in 2010, we caught them yet again at Red Rocks. It was an outstanding show, with lots of cyberpunk styling onstage (and a sausage making machine replacing the rotisseries). This one was fun because we brought along my wife’s uncle, who hadn’t seen Rush perform in probably 30 years. Video Link: Rush, 2010