- Toad the Wet Sprocket, 'Something's Always Wrong'
First of all, it's good to be back -- this once. Second, I haven't missed blogging as much as I thought I would. It's kind of nice to have a thought and then tuck it away (for later use). But I do miss my regular readers/commenters. To you loyal few, I thought I would just mention that I am now (love it or hate it) on Twitter (me handle is StanBernadino). So I'm still injecting nonsense into the universe. I'm just injecting it in much smaller doses.
Basically I've come back this once because I thought of a post I always wanted to get to and never did. Also, technically I'm free to come back whenever I want. For you see, when I went back through some of my old posts, I noticed I had actually posted 600 and ONE times before my (at the time) final post (making this post #603). It's a technicality, but does provide the legal framework for my return, should I choose to return...which right now is doubtful.
But I am back right now, so for the moment let's go with it.
This post, the post I've always meant to write, involves a rock and roll show I saw back in 1994. It could have been in 1993, but that doesn't sound quite right to me. It took place here in Minneapolis at the venerable Uptown Bar & Cafe on Hennepin. Besides serving heap-loads of hash browns with every glorious breakfast, the Uptown doubles as an entertainment venue. It's even possible The Replacements once played there, back in the day. As entertainment venues go, it's high on atmosphere, a little muddled when it comes to acoustics and not overly roomy as far as floor space.
This particular night I was there with friends to see some band that was hip at the time. But it's not them I remember. In fact, I don't remember them at all. What I remember is the guy who opened for them. He had a band behind him, but he was the show. It was his band the same way The Dave Clark Five was Dave Clark's band. For an opener, I thought he was really good. He had a strong voice and the songs were catchy. However, no one else in the place was listening. Pretty much everyone except for me and him were focused on drinking and their own conversations. He made multiple attempts to engage the crowd and received exactly nothing for his efforts, valiant though they were. At some point you could tell even he realized the show was over, though he and his band were still stuck onstage, playing in vain.
Which brought him to his closing song -- a cover of 'Wonderful Tonight.' Except this cover was unlike any other cover of 'Wonderful Tonight' I've ever heard. This cover was littered with profanities and obscenities. It also wasn't sung in the spirit Mr. Clapton probably intended it. This cover was laced with acid and venom and the singer made no effort to hide his sheer disdain and dislike of the crowd he had just performed before. At the end of the song, he may have even told us to go ---- ourselves. If he did, I wouldn't have blamed him.
When the band started breaking down their equipment (in preparation for the hip band's set), I kind of felt like walking over to the singer. I wanted to apologize and also applaud his efforts. Again, I really liked his music. As it happened, he was surrounded by a number of his friends (I'm assuming) and it looked like they were giving him plenty of support and reassurance.
He was a little bit older than your average rock and roller, and part of me suspected (and still suspects) that might have been his last rock show. If it was, then it was a little sad and a lot more bitter than sweet. But I've thought about that guy a lot over the years and I think now it's alright. If he did depart the stage for good that night, that's okay. He went out on top as far as I'm concerned. I mean, all you can do is sing your song. If no one's listening, that's their problem.