Saturday, September 13, 2008



9/12/82 - The Go-Go's/A Flock Of Seagulls @ Merriweather

I think this was during the Vacation tour. I was just starting my senior year of high school. I remember we had some kind of marching band event up in Baltimore that afternoon, so I drove up there with my parents. I later hopped in a car with a few friends to head to the show afterwards, rather than head straight home. A Flock Of Seagulls were MTV darlings at the time. They were better than I expected - but I didn't expect much. Don't get me wrong - I liked them back then, but I wasn't exactly expecting them to come through in a live setting. They did surprisingly well. The Go-Go's were one big summer party. It just doesn't get much more fun than this. I wish I had a setlist from this show. I imagine it's pretty much all of their first 2 records. I remember buying a t-shirt and giving it to my girlfriend, wishing I could keep it for myself. sigh.... I'm still a huge Go-Go's fan. A Flock of Seagulls... well...more of a fan than I care to admit.

9/12/90 - The Grateful Dead @ The Spectrum in Philly

Night 3 of the Philly run. After being so close the night before, it seemed like we were miles away. It didn't matter though. We were still riding high from the previous night. Again, we sat next to the same people from the previous 2 nights. I was listening to this show last night on ride down to The Black Cat. So nice. We got our first "High Time". My first of only 2 times I would ever see that song. For some reason in the Fall of 1990 they decided to start singing the "gondola/Coca-Cola" verse in "Masterpiece". They always left that out before. Everyone was a bit befuddled when that happened. They again dropped it soon after. There's a great post-drums jam. It sounds to me exactly like "Handsome Cabin Boy", but it's labeled everywhere as "Two Soldiers Jam". Whatever. It's a beautiful jam on an Irish theme that's just as sweet as can be. Following that with a nice "Morning Dew" was killer. Another song I didn't see nearly enough. The encore was "Brokedown Palace" - sort of a tradition on the closing night of a Spectrum run. A typically great 1990 show. We were spoiled by this era of The Dead. They were on top of their game.

9/12/93 - The Grateful Dead @ The Spectrum in Philly

The first of another 3-night fall run at The Spectrum. We were seeing the band a lot at this point. This was already my 11th time in 1993. I don't really remember much about this one. '93 wasn't quite as stellar as 89-91. They seemed more hit-or-miss. The new songs weren't terribly exciting and Vince was starting to get a little annoying. Listening to the show at the link above, it sounds like they were fairly "on" this night, although Jerry seems to stumble on the words to "Stella Blue" a bit. I think at this point we weren't really appreciating what we were getting and started being a little too critical as fans. They were definitely slipping though. I had kind of written this one off. Maybe I'll download this one and give it another chance.

9/12/08 - Black Cat 15th Anniversary Party - Gray Matter/The Shirks

Gray Matter was one of the earlier Dischord bands, playing in the mid-80s around DC. Their drummer, Dante Ferrando, is the manager/owner(?) of The Black Cat. I loooove Gray Matter. They helped Dischord start to shed their purely hardcore stigma. They were still loud, fast and furious, but there was a bit more songcraft involved, IMO. Last night they blasted through the Take It Back EP and followed that with a few random songs from both Food For Thought and Thog. The even threw in my favorite Three song "Swann Street". Nice. I'm sure it was no comparison to back-in-the-day, but they sounded great. They drew a big crowd - much better than last time, as I recall. Good for them. They deserve it. Everyone should own the Take It Back/Food For Thought combo cd. Buy it and thank me later.

I guess I timed things poorly, because I missed most of The Shirks' set. I'm not sure what time they came on (I was counting on 10:30) , but they were done by 10:50. My loss. I really like these guys. They have a great old-school punk feel. Loud, fast, to the point and a lot of fun. You really need to go see them.

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