Monday, May 12, 2008

Elvis Costello and oh yeah, the Police

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....oops, wrong story. Let me try again. Before now, a long time ago, when I was young(er), I had the chance to see a lot of very cool, relatively unknown-at-the-time musicians/bands. I had friends in bands and since 1) I had a car that ran well, and 2) I was a sober individual (no drinking and no driving, no drugs), I was very popular. I was frequently the 'designated driver' and ended up carting my friends around and ended up back stage and hanging with some pretty darn cool people. When I could summon the courage to ask for autographs, I did - U2 for one, but so many times, I was just hanging and couldn't in my wildest dreams say something like, "hey, here we are just hanging and on the off chance that you become really famous, could I have your autograph?" People like The Clash, X, Gang of Four, Gary Numan, the Psychedelic Furs, Squeeze, Echo and Bunnymen, Julian Cope, The Jam, Bauhaus, Duran Duran, etc. To put it in perspective, I saw REM when they were still an opening act. And they were pretty good! (Hehe)

I had an aversion to (what I called) arena bands. Once a band made it big and played venues larger than 1500 people, they were off my list. I made two exceptions in my life - one was to see Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music. The only way that I would see him would be to suffer through the arena venue of Cobo Hall. The other exception was to see the Cure and it was worth it.

So eventually, my focus changed to more serious things, I got married and wandered off into life. A great life by all accounts, with gratitude. But in the back of my mind and buried in my heart is this large jukebox of really cool music that resurrects every time I turn on my iPod. When I heard that the Police were coming to Grand Rapids, I was mediocrely interested. Then, I heard that Elvis Costello was playing. So I couldn't pass it up. Really, I went to see Elvis and the Police were just a bonus. And both were great.

I have seen Elvis at least 4 times that I can recall. Once, Gang of Four opened for him; another time, Men at Work opened for him. (Now it gets fuzzy). I think, I think that we were seeing him with Gang of Four at Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor and a photographer was trying to avoid the ticket police. Since I had front row seats ( I always had front row seats), I grabbed him and shared my seat. I don't know why they cared - when the bands came out, everyone rushed the stage. He was a really nice guy and to thank me for sharing my seat, shared his pictures of Elvis - great pictures of Mr. Costello. Can't remember the photographer's name but he worked at Sam's Records in Ferndale. So I have these old pictures of Elvis Costello, with hair, singing something from his Almost Blue album. I believe that he is one of the most underrated musicians of all time. I LOVE his music.

So, the concert was really good. I was sad that the Police didn't sing Synchronicity. Apparently, they didn't sing it here in GR or in Chicago. But I had lots of 80s flashbacks, for me driving to concerts and clubs, trying to avoid arenas. I acquiesed this time, to see an all time favorite. He sang Watching the Detectives. He sang Allison. He sang Radio, Radio. He sang Everyday I Write the Book. He sang What's So Fun about Peace, Love and Understanding. He sang what I thought he would NEVER sing. He sang Pump It Up. HE SANG PUMP IT UP!! YEAH! Go Elvis.

Oh and Go Red Wings. :)


Big Johnny said...

Rachael the Groupie....I love it...

Lisa said...

I got to hang out backstage once at a Jefferson Starship concert. Actually, that's not so notable as being able to say I hung out with the band when they were Jefferson Airplane. Worse yet, it was after they'd changed their name to "Starship," and attempting one last comeback. Ok, so we didn't hang out so much with the band as the roadies, but, well...that was mid-80's, college days, and a bit blurry now for any number of reasons.

So glad you guys had a wonderful time. Love the vintage photos!!


Deirdre Honner said...

I love those pictures. I tell you Elvis Costello is just a fabulous musician. What a treat. Late night,but was a treat.