The Blade's blog Culture Shock is a three-times-a-week riff by Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird on pop culture news, events, and trends. The blog will appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, with the odd night or off-day posting if something is merited.
The rules are simple: one and one. As in, one rock band/singer/musician and one performance, anytime, any place. So who would you see and why?
Now, to be fair, I'll open up the genre restrictions ever so slightly to include Johnny Cash and some of the outlaw country singer-songwriters like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. I'll even throw in Miles Davis. But that's all the artistic slack you'll get.
Would it be historical? I have a friend's mom who was at the final Buddy Holly show in Clear Lake, Iowa, hours before he, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" died in a plane crash on a snowy night Feb. 2, 1959. But, let's face it, the cool factor of seeing such a show has vanished along with Gary Busey's career.
Would it be small and exclusive? I saw the Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. play in a dude's living room in Las Vegas. Seriously. The band needed a place to crash overnight between destinations and offered to perform in a house for free room and board. The living room spectacular -- the stage consisted of vintage shag carpeting, with the three musicians positioned between the couch and several chairs -- was as weird and interesting as the band's guitar-fueled psychedelic music.
Perhaps you would want to be there at the beginning of something big. My editor Rod Lockwood saw Bruce Springsteen just after "Darkness on the Edge of Town," a concert my boss says changed his musical DNA.
Or, it could be something you missed out on. My wife skipped a Talking Heads show because she didn't want to miss her mid-terms, never mind that she graduated with a 3.5 gpa or something and easily could have afforded to miss the test. As I tell her, "Do you remember anything about the exam or class?" "No, not really," she replies. "Yes, but you would always remember seeing the Talking Heads."
Yeah, it's always cool to hear someone say they were at Woodstock. But really, how much of it do they actually remember vs. what they've seen and read over the years? Fact isn't always fact.
I guess for me, I would want to be at the end. I would pick the Beatles rooftop concert on Abbey Road studios. Sure, there are much better bands to see live. And, frankly, it wasn't much of a concert, with onlookers crowding the streets below the building until police broke up the show. But, think about it. How many people were actually there that day? A few hundred? And this was the last real rock-n-roll moment of the greatest rock band of all time, when John, Paul, George, and Ringo put away their differences and acted like young, eager musicians again, just having a blast without all the pretensions and mental baggage of stardom.
Anyway, that's my choice. Feel free to chime in with your own in the comments below.
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