Secret Pop

Mar 10, 2004

All Tomorrow's Concerts and CD Purchases

I think there should be a section on all of those online communities for guilty pleasures. It's hard not to feel pressure, when listing your musical likes for instance, to edit in the hopes of tipping the needle towards "cool cat", or at the very least away from "total loss". You don't want to include everything on your current mixtape. And that's because I (this is where we change pronouns in the interest of honesty) listen to all sorts of music I'm not really interested in. And I'm frequently surprised to learn that I know all the words to song after song that I never liked -- even hated. I like Prince, but I never liked When Doves Cry. But play that track on the jukebox, and I can sing along. The spirit of something takes over. It's like the Banana Boat Song scene in Beetlejuice. Only I don't usually get up and dance. Why was Beulah listening to that Journey greatest hits CD in her car? I asked myself. And yet, there I was singing along. I think I even knew more words than she did. I own the album, as it happens. I may even own two copies of it. One on cassette. But that doesn't mean I ever say, "Journey, man!" when someone asks me what music I dig. And why am I able to tell it's REO Speedwagon's I Can't Fight This Feeling within two notes? And why is there room in my brain for so many Chicago songs? I'm no poseur. I admit to liking all sorts of things that no one else condones. I've seen "Weird" Al live. Come to think of it, I've been to a Jimmy Buffett concert, but I did not enjoy it and I didn't buy the tickets, so I'm off the hook on that one. And in the heyday of my concertgoing youth, I even went to see many heavy metal hair bands. And no I wasn't always wearing a blazer. Although on at least one occasion I was.

A partial list of the bands I've paid to see -- including non-optional opening acts and what I can remember of the handful of festivals I've been to -- would include: INXS, UB40, Sting, Social Distortion, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Scorpions, Trixter, AC/DC, L.A. Guns, The Alarm, The Fixx, Oingo Boingo, The Black Crowes, Slaughter, Jellyfish, Morrissey, Cocteau Twins, Concrete Blonde, Jimmy Buffett, Acoustic Alchemy, Billy Joel, Elton John, Weezer, No Doubt, Jane's Addiction, Soupdragons, Chemical Brothers, Ozomatli, Fatboy Slim, "Weird" Al Yankovic, Gangstar, Sigur Ros, Photek, Blonde Redhead, Pedro the Lion, Paul Oakenfold, Nikka Costa, Peter Gabriel, Stereo MCs, Cousteau, Tenacious D, Naked Trucker, Spinal Tap, Smokey & Miho, Starlight Mints, Steve Burns, T.V. Eyes, Seksu Roba, Vagenius, John Vanderslice, Jonatha Brooke, David Bowie, Macy Gray, Pete Yorn, Tori Amos, Rufus Wainwright, Joe Jackson, Duran Duran, Willie Nelson, Beulah, Calexico, Frames, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, White Stripes, Raveonettes, Neil Finn, Dolly Parton, Peter Murphy, Deerhoof, Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, Erasure, Ex-Girl, Future Bible Heroes, Lisa Germano, Jurassic 5, Incubus, Audioslave, Lake Trout, They Might Be Giants, The Shins, !!!, Iggy & the Stooges, The Mars Volta, Har Mar Superstar, Spoon, Cat Power, Liarbird, Jackie-O Motherfucker, Shonen Knife, Pinback, Aspects of Physics, Van Stone, NOFX, REM. So many more that I can't remember. And even more -- you may be dismayed to hear -- that I bought tickets to but couldn't go see or forgot to go see. Many here that I saw more than once. Some bands I won tickets to see but just didn't bother to go pick them up. I think I pay more attention to the omissions than to the entries. The shows I never saw are the ones most dear to me.

This is just recordkeeping. I try to see live music as often as I can. I love it. I'm the perfect temporary groupie. I often fall in love with a band upon hearing them for the first time. I buy a t-shirt and all their CDs and then never listen to them. Such fleeting devotion. I would hate to have someone like me for a fan.

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