It Is What It Is.

Show Notes, Volume 1: The Eighties

By S J Holetz


The other day I was thinking about a great concert I attended sometime back in ‘91 or ’92, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out exactly when
it took place. I went on the interwebs in order to dig a little deeper, and to my surprise found absolutely nothing about the show in question. And
so it was that I decided to list all the concerts I have attended right here, along with a few notes about what made each show memorable, in order
to create a record of some of the excellent, if ephemeral, musical entertainment I’ve witnessed. If your memory is better than mine, or you notice that
I made a mistake, please let a brother know and I’ll add it to the account.

Night Ranger w/ Black N Blue               Jackson County Expo Hall                 Medford OR                  Sat 9/22/84

The first real concert I attended. Fun show, shared with good friends. Hilarious moment, when one of the chaperoning fathers got caught
surprised while singing along to Black N Blue: “Wicked! Bitch! What did he just say?”

The Tubes                                                   Civic Auditorium                                   Portland OR                  Sun 8/14/85

Gord and I hit this one on a trip to Portland to buy school clothes before our senior year.  On display were great versions of "Talk To Ya Later"
and "Sushi Girl". Just one highlight of a great week. 

Oingo Boingo & The Untouchables     Freeborn Hall UCD                               Davis CA                       Sun 2/23/86

Another great gig with Gord, as we rolled to Sac to hang with our friend Bill, and check out this show and another featuring Goth group Specimen
the night before. I still have the vinyl from glam opening act Macabre Shocks, whose tune “My Girl and Whiskey” spent the summer in heavy rotation
on my turntable. Oingo rocked a packed house, tight and energetic as always. “Who Do You Want To Be” was scorching.

R.E.M. w/ Guadalcanal Diary                 EMU Ballroom                                         Eugene OR                     Thu 10/2/86           

The first of several shows I caught while attending the University of Oregon. Guadalcanal Diary opened, but I don’t remember much about them.
set was notable for the several deep album cuts from Life’s Rich Pageant, such as 'Underneath the Bunker" and "Flowers of Guatamala",
very cool. The show ended oddly though, as one of the fans in front appeared to make a grab for Michael Stipe’s top hat. Stipe promptly stopped
, glared at the fan for a full minute, then stormed off the stage, leaving Peter Buck and Mike Mills to finish the song with a befuddled
Uhhh…Thank you. Goodnight.”    

Slayer w/ Overkill                                      Pine St Theatre                                     Portland OR                      Sat 11/1/86

This was one infamous evening, as I borrowed a buddy’s van and cruised the hundred plus miles to Portland, joined by fellow metalhead Bart.
We shotgunned several beers a piece in the van prior to entering the club to check out Overkill, who was most memorable for frontman Bobby "Blitz"
Ellsworth's drooling all over himself during songs.
Then Slayer comes on (to Hell Awaits?), and is absolutely crushing. Early in the set
the band is kicking 7 kinds of ass, but I am finding it difficult to focus as this punker kid keeps jumping up and hitting me in the back of the head.
I sit there and take it for several songs, until enough is finally enough. I turn around and push the guy back, yelling “Knock it off!” for emphasis.
I return to the metal, and a few seconds later, I feel a hand grab my shoulder. I pull away, annoyed and the next thing I know, I am spun around and
get punched square in the head by a skinhead built like a dumpster. Somehow, I get knocked back through the crowd and over the Merch table,
"The Dumpster’s" fists in hot pursuit. The merch guys tell the skinhead to bugger off, (Thank You!) and I spend the rest of the show bleeding and
watching Slayer from the relative safety of the bar.  Bart missed the whole thing. Incidently, I ran into "The Dumpster" again afterwards on the
street, who imparted,
along with the lump on my head that would take several years to go away, the following sage advice: “Next time don’t act
like an asshole”. Words to live by.   

Iron Maiden                                              Portland Memorial Coliseum              Portland OR                        Wed 2/11/87 

Maiden on the Somewhere In Time Tour. Great show. They played Rime and Powerslave, Awesome stage show. But they could, and would,
do better.

Fishbone                                                 Pine St Theatre                                        Portland OR                                     1987

Don’t remember the date of this one, but man, was it electric! ‘Bone frontman Angelo damn near took a roadies head off flinging a trombone off
stage after a solo, simply insane. The rant during "Lying Ass Bitch" alone was worth the price of admission. 

Dylan and the Dead: Alone and Together       Autzen Stadium                     Eugene OR                            Sun 7/19/87

I’ve never really been a fan of either, but when in Eugene… An hour long meal break between bands sucked hard.  Blacked out at one point due
to an excess of alcohol, heat, and hippyness.
“Touch of Grey” was cool though.  And I still made it to work on time, crushing a full graveyard shift.

Aerosmith w/ Dokken                         Portland Memorial Coliseum                 Portland OR                        Thu 1/21/88

Show was fun, but not particularly memorable. Aerosmith's "Dude Look's Like A Lady", "Dream On', and "Toys in the Attic" were the highlights.

Iron Maiden                                           Cal Expo Amphitheater                          Sacramento CA                    Mon 6/6/88

One of the finest concerts I have ever attended. In the height of my teen Iron Maiden worship, I traveled five hours by bus to Sacramento to see
the band on their Seventh Tour of a Seventh Tour with my friend Bill, who had scored both tickets & backstage passes for the occasion. Maiden
was in tremendous form that evening, and would proceed to play for almost 3 hours in a torrential downpour. I still remember singer Bruce Dickinson
screaming “As long as you will stay here and listen, we will keep playing!” as the opening riff to The Trooper rang out over an insane crowd.  Simply
In the afterglow, my hero worship was tarnished not in the least by the fact that upon meeting the band that had towered over my world
for so long, I discovered that they were about the same size as my little sister

The Untouchables 
/ The Skeletones, No Doubt and The Donkey Show     John Anson Ford Theater   Hollywood CA     Sat 4/1/89

Truly a fantastic Ska Show, in an incredible outdoor theater. Donkey Show and a pre-preposterous fame No Doubt were solid, but simply couldn’t
measure up to fellow openers The Skeletones, who have never been as good on CD as they were that night. The UT’s were at the absolute height
of their powers, running through amazing versions of "I Spy (For the FBI)", "I’m Not Your Stepping Stone", "City Gent", and "Wild Child", keeping
the crowd on their feet throughout. A brilliant way to close out the decade.

To Be Continued...

  Copyright 2009     S J Holetz

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