Archive for the Late HS to College Category

Steve Miller Band

Posted in 1986-1992, Late HS to College on March 10, 2009 by concertproject

steve-miller-bandBand: Steve Miller Band

Venue: Cal Expo Amphitheater, Sacramento, CA

Date: Summer 1990

Whenever I hear a Steve Miller song on the radio, I think about my college days at UC Davis. Bike circles, the Coffee House, the Grad, and Chem 194. But if I was to listen to Steve Miller’s Greatest Hits cd, a more specific, yet certainly less wholesome vision of my past filters into my hazy memory. Fraternity brothers, sticky green bud, bong hits, high. Ah, to be young and wasted. And with our stoner soundtrack dutifully playing in the background of each group gathering, the hits, both musically and inhaled, kept on coming.

steve_miller_act_300xWhen the fellas and I heard that the Steve Miller Band was coming to town over the summer, those of us who were still in Davis decided to attend the show. As cruel fate would have it, we were completely out of weed the day of the concert so we decided to pair up and scour the rapidly filling Cal Expo parking lot in hopes of finding anyone willing to sell us a bag, a joint, a bud, anything. All we were able to score was a pathetic excuse of a roach, which when we tried to smoke it, yielded barely one miniscule toke before turning into ash.

steve-miller-band1So, here we were, at arguably the summer’s biggest party this side of a Dead show, and my buddies and I were stone cold sober. But by the time Steve Miller hit the stage, my state of mind became a mere afterthought. As the band churned through hit after hit after hit, I began to take notice of the people singing and dancing around me. Men and women and children of all ages were grooving along to the music that warm summer evening, having the time of their lives. It was only then did I realize that I didn’t need to smoke anything to get high that night. All I needed was the music.

A joint would have been nice, too.


The Pandoras

Posted in 1986-1992, Late HS to College on February 9, 2009 by concertproject

c4083747061Band: The Pandoras

Venue: The Coffee House, UC Davis, Davis, CA

Date: Sometime in 1989

Okay, all right, I admit it: I was a frat boy in college. In fact, ten days into the start of my freshman year, I was a pledge of the Theta Omicron chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity. And it’s not like there’s anything wrong with being a member of a greek organization in college, it’s just that anyone who knows me at all doesn’t figure me for the prototypical frat boy. I suppose that’s one of the main reasons I joined the brotherhood known for having members of “different temperaments, talents, and convictions”: for a fraternity, they didn’t seem to fit into any overall category (jocks, nerds, pretty boys, etc). Either that, or they threw a kick ass toga party during rush week , I can’t remember which.

Anyway, it was sometime during my third year of college that one of my brothers, Dominic Hanchette, roamed around our cleanliness challenged fraternal community dwelling looking to recruit some of the fellas to join him in attending a concert on campus. Dominic managed to persuade several of us, such as Paul Jacobson, Jon Lee, and yours truly, into heading out to the Coffee House to check out this all-female hard rock band from L.A. called the Pandoras. In my case, it wasn’t a real tough sell to entice me to go: several hot and trashy looking women playing loud rock music in the place where I usually ate my bagel and cream cheese while reading my California Aggie newspaper. You had me at hello.

pandoras_roxyAs far as the show was concerned, the Pandoras certainly didn’t disappoint. The tunes were catchy, the energy was high, and the view was unobstructed (since all one hundred or so of us in attendance had nearly front row seats). I even went out and purchased their EP-length cd entitled Rock Hard from a store in town the next day (I still have it, btw).

But the real excitement came after the show. You see, at the time Dominic was a deejay at KDVS, the local college radio station, and it was his assignment to deliver the ladies in the band to the station’s studio for a post-gig, live, over-the-air interview. Being the thoughtful, concerned, and caring brothers we were, Jon, Paul, and I offered up our highly refined entourage services and accompanied Dominic and the girls to the studio. My chivalrous and gallant nature really shined through that night when I carried lead-guitarist Rita’s guitar for her from the Coffee House to the station.

I recall the evening coming to an abrupt end as soon as the interview wrapped and we said our good-byes near their tour bus slash van. And although the Pandoras most likely won’t even remember the starstruck twenty year old fanboy in Davis with the look of admiration in his eyes that seemed to be saying, ‘wow, you were playing music for a living’, I know that I will never forget the experience. I mean, how could I? It was the only time I have ever been a groupie.

Cue Tiny Dancer.

Living Colour

Posted in 1986-1992, Late HS to College on January 22, 2009 by concertproject

rs590-rs1Band: Living Colour

Venue: Freeborn Hall, UC Davis campus, Davis, CA

Date: Early 1989

I vividly (get it?) recall the hype surrounding this show as being immense and the collective anticipation of the on the cutting edge of the college music scene hipsters as being downright palpable. I mean, who wouldn’t be, right? Not only was the new vanguard of the not yet mainstream hard rock/funk acts coming to town, they were going to be playing on campus. What’s your favorite color, baby? Living Colour!!!

So we partied like it was 1989. A bunch of us had gathered at my friend Martin Taxera’s apartment to drink cheap and bitter beer and smoke slightly more expensive yet harsh on the lungs weed from a four foot water bong. Having achieved the appropriate (for a concert) level of intoxication and inebriation, we headed off, on foot, to the center of campus to catch the show.

50786610vernon-reid-living-colour-1991-sizedBecause the band had only their debut album’s material to draw from, I remember the concert being relatively short in length. They even included, as a part of their repertoire, covers of popular Tracy Chapman and Talking Heads tunes. Vocalist Corey Glover bounded about the stage in his signature Body Glove wetsuit and guitarist Vernon Reid positively shredded it up on all of his mind-blowing leads.

As the lights turned on and people began filtering towards the exits, I was stopped in the lobby by a friend. Apparently, the word had been circulating that I was looking to score a bootleg vinyl copy of Prince’s legendary and unreleased Black Album and he knew someone who had one for sale. My friend then introduced me to the owner of a downtown record store and I quickly made arrangements to secure my copy the next day.

Twelve hours and twenty-five bucks later, the album was mine. (I still have it, too).


The Ramones

Posted in 1986-1992, Late HS to College on January 7, 2009 by concertproject

ramones_cbgbs_oct3019771Band: The Ramones

Venue: The Stone, San Francisco, CA

Date: September 1987

I had no idea until I’d arrived at the show that night that The Ramones were playing at The Stone. At the time, I was spending most of my weekend evenings up on Broadway checking out punk and glam shows at any of the three or four rock clubs that were in the same two block area of North Beach. In those days, it didn’t matter who was playing as long as there was a mosh pit and a loud band rocking out, I was cool.

So essentially, it was just business as usual for me and a few friends to head up to the City and take in any show that caught our fancy. This particular evening was more momentous than most because, for me, this night was slated to be an end of an era in my life. You see, this was going to be the last time that I would be hanging on Broadway because I was shipping off to college the next morning. So, deep down inside of me, I knew that this night was destined to be special, just not The Ramones playing at The Stone special.

Now just imagine a name on the marque and people milling around.

The not-so-crowded entrance of The Stone

As I mentioned earlier, I had no idea that arguably the greatest punk band on the planet was playing that night at one of my favorite clubs. When my friend Mike Xavier and I arrived that night and saw what was happening, we were both downright giddy with excitement. There were so many people congregating around the front of the club, it was difficult to tell where the entrance was, which in hindsight, worked out quite nicely for me.

As a matter of protocol and club policy, people purchased their tickets from a little box office window on the left side of the entryway and then bought their drink tickets at the door to the right as they entered the club. Amidst the chaos and confusion with so many people gathered out front that night, I completely “forgot” to buy my ticket at the window and instead purchased a $2 drink ticket at the door. I was admitted in to the show at that point without ever once being asked to see my real ($18) ticket.

Once inside, my friend was beyond pissed at me because he had paid twice, like almost everyone else. But his hurt feelings didn’t last long once the lights were dimmed and the show began. For the next two hours, we were treated to The Ramones signature song beginning, “One, two, three, four,” about thirty to forty times. Not only was it a great show full of songs that everyone knew and loved, I had an incredibly awesome story to tell anyone who would listen to me the next day at my new school.ramones