Sunday, May 09, 2010


Click for a little bigger.

Oh, they were so good! This was the Mesopotamia tour, so it was with their original, late and lamented guitarist. They also had a two-man horn section.

This was their first show in Arizona. I had read an article in Rolling Stone about how they loved to go thrift store shopping in new cities, so I hung around Value Village on 4th Avenue, the best thrift store in town, to see, naively, if they'd show up. And they did! There they were, wigless and avidly poring through the clothing racks. Breathless, I went up to them and told them how excited I was to be going to see them that night. They were really nice. God, I almost peed my pants. Thrift shopping with the B-52s!

What was unfortunate was that this was at the University of Arizona Main Auditorium, where you were expected to politely file into your seats and just stay there like you were watching a movie or something. No dancing! No dancing at a B-52s show! Can you imagine? You are allowed to semi-energetically bop IN YOUR SEAT. Naturally, this resulted in a game of dancing cat and mouse as people leaped up to do torrid frugs in the aisles as beefy security guards in windbreakers sprinted to stop them. Finally, a perturbed B-52, Kate I think, stopped and shouted, "This is the B-52s; people gotta dance!"

And we did.


Matty Boy said...

Another story of Padre Mickey and me in our days in a band. We saw James Brown at a country and western bar in San Jose called the Saddlerack. It was black folks and brown folks and punk rockers and the scaredest white boy shitkicker bouncers you ever did see.

People kept trying to dance and the bouncers would stop them. Then James did Sex Machine with its famous line "GET UP! Get on up! Get on the scene like a sex machine!" And nobody got up.

So out comes the announcer, the guy who puts the cape on Mr. James Brown, and he admonishes us. "Do you know that this is Mr. James Brown? Do you know what Mr. James Brown means when he sings 'GET ON UP!'?" We look back at the bouncers and they kind of shrug. So for the rest of the evening, we got to dance to Mr. James Brown.

desertwind said...

They're great, aren't they?

I once had the pleasure of co-shopping with Fred Schneider at the Children's Hospital Thrift Store in LA. I was just there & so was he and I gushed (etc.) & took him to the best "secret" racks & told him about other stores in town. He already knew most of them.

B-52s were always the fun gigs. YouTube has great clips of very early show in Athens gay bar.

Did The Cramps ever come to Tucson, Princess? They were also fabulous live.

That's a a great story Matty Boy. I once went to a big Indian film music god show (me & hubby the only non-Indians there). Small groups of men would flock toward the stage gently dancing while beefy bouncers (looking verrrry confused) sort of shooshed them back until the next wave flocked down. Get on up!

samael7 said...

I love your story.

I'm fortunate to have seen them at the UF bandshell, where I saw many awesome -- and dance-encouraged -- free shows while at UF.

One of the something-Key societies who helped put on these shows wrangled them for this homecoming 1989 bandshell show (under apparent heavy lobbying by the guy I was dating at the time). The Cosmic Thing album was out in June 1989, so someone had the good sense and foresight to bring 'em in. And sure enough, the show was right around the same time that "Love Shack" exploded.

So not unexpectedly, the bandshell was MOBBED. People were quite literally being pressed against the raised stage, prompting the band at one point to stop (flawlessly together), and for Fred Schneider to say in that trademark voice of his, "Y'all gotta move back!"

Happily, people calmed down and the show was excellent. But I'll never forget Fred's admonishment so long as I live (barring any brain damage, of course).

Anonymous said...

Orlando was so messed up, that the first time the B-52s played there it was as opening act for... The WHO!!!??? The Bs and Joan Jett had the privilege of being pelted with beer cans and verbal abuse from 30,000 rednecks at yet another (most ill-advised) Rock Superbowl® in the lovely Tangerine Bowl, sponsored by WDIZ! Needless to say, I was not there.

hughman said...

i once road the hampton jitney (a charter bus that went from manhattan to tony east hampton, long island) with fred schneider. we were 2 of about 5 people on the mid-week bus and no one else recognized him. plus we were the gays. he was very nice and surprisingly shy and we chatted for the 2 hour ride. i love them.

Karen Zipdrive said...

The B-52's are appearing in San Antonio this month. I almost decided to go until I remembered I don't take ecstacy anymore.