When I was 22 I finally moved out of my parents’ house, and out of West Virginia at the same time. On what felt like a whim, I just packed up all my shit and moved to Greensboro, NC. I was going nowhere fast and needed some kind of dramatic shakeup. So, I got a job in Greensboro stocking shelves at a Food Lion grocery store, and was fairly miserable and sad for a while. I think I moved in October, and Thanksgiving that year was especially tough on your corpulent correspondent. Oh, I was having a pity party to rival all previous such events combined.
But I now had access to some interesting live music. In West Virginia it was just stuff like Journey and Kansas and Jefferson Starship. But I was suddenly living in a place where I could actually see some of the crazy underground bands I listened to. If I dared to go in search of the venues, that is… I had no idea where anything was, and was mildly intimidated.
The first such show was R.E.M. and The Minutemen at a high school auditorium in Winston-Salem, on December 8, 1985. I remember I asked my roommate (now deceased) if he wanted to go with me, His ears perked up when he thought I said R.E.O., but lost interest once I clarified. So, I went by myself.
It was great, and I couldn’t believe I was actually seeing it. I was probably the most appreciative sumbitch in the hall that night. It was so much cooler than Foreigner/Wet Willie/Nantucket at the Huntington Civic Center. I remember the crowd wasn’t very kind to The Minutemen, which I didn’t care for. Do you know what you’re witnessing, people? Do you know how thankful you should be?! Indeed, D. Boon, one of the leaders of the band, died exactly two weeks later in a traffic accident. Hey, my conscience is clear. But I can’t speak for anyone else there that night. Sheesh.
Anyway… a few days ago I did a Google search for the exact date of that show for some reason, and found something that blows my mind. Check it out. It’s some kind of home decorating piece for yuppies and assholes who care deeply about quartz counter tops and his & her sinks in the en suite. It’s bizarre. Why would they choose that particular band, that particular show, in that particular city? The chances are remote, right? We’ll probably see the Property Brothers hanging one of those things soon, during the fake rushing-around segment right before the “big reveal.” One of them will hang it on a wall, the other will do a final karate chop to an accent pillow, and invite in the couple.
It’s weird. If I were the high-horse type I could probably fashion some kind of self-righteous protest about phony nostalgia, or corporate America appropriating and profiting from my cherished life experiences, or something. But I’m clearly not very good at such things. Does it bother me that shitheads all over the world will probably have that poster hanging in their houses and apartments, but didn’t actually attend the show? No. What do I care? Fuck ’em.
Here’s the actual poster for that concert, by the way. The new poster isn’t even a reprint of the original, it’s some kind of cool and with-it modern thing. Hey, whatever. I’m probably going to buy one, anyway. The smallest one, for the bunker. Right? Gotta do it. I was there, goddammit! BTW, the photo above was taken during the 1985 tour, but NOT in Winston-Salem.
Speaking of buying stuff, it’s time to start reminding you guys to please use one of our Amazon links while doing your holiday shopping. Or your personal shopping. It’s all the same to me. Just click through, shop like normal, and Amazon will give me a small percentage of whatever you spend. It’s painless, and costs you nothing extra. Thanks in advance!
I don’t really have a Question. If you’d like to help me with my high-horse protest, that would be OK. My brain doesn’t work that way, I don’t find great joy in being aggrieved like many people do. Also, I’d be interested in knowing about the times you’ve been truly homesick. That Thanksgiving I reference above was terrible. I had dinner by myself in a Shoney’s restaurant that was filled with laughing and smiling families. And I was off to the side at a table for one. The waitress was clearly taking pity on me, and I lashed out at her during a disagreement about pie. It was ugly. The woman was just trying to be nice, but all I could think about was my family back home in Dunbar, sitting around the table without me. So I was mean to a waitress who was working on Thanksgiving, and trying to be friendly. Good job! Or we can go with the most memorable concert you’ve seen. I’m not sure the high school R.E.M. show was my most memorable, but it was definitely one of ’em.
I’ll see you guys again on Monday.
Have a great day, my friends.
Now playing in the bunker
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Swami Bologna says
What happened to this?: “I’m going to Philly tomorrow, so I’ll tell you about that adventure next time.”
I moved to Winston-Salem 3 years ago. I WISH we had good live music like this now!
Makes me think of this:
After closing, the old CBGB venue remained open as CBGB Fashions—retail store, wholesale department, and an online store—until October 31, 2006. CBGB Fashions moved to 19–23 St. Mark’s Place on November 1, and closed nearly two years later in summer 2008.
Ooh, I had just moved to Charleston WV to start a new job. I was dirt poor and knew no one..that Thanksgiving, alone in my nasty motel room with spotty black and white TV coverage of the parade, I had a feast of a quart of beer and a box of screaming yellow zonkers. Worst Thanksgiving ever.
I was 12, and had gone away to a week-long summer camp. I wasn’t very well prepared, and it was very hot, which combined to make me miserable. The cabins were 3-sided, which meant sleeping around spiders, of which I’m terrified. I left early. My misery was extreme. It was not my finest moment.
wtf do 3-sided cabins have to do with “sleeping around spiders”?!
Wisey in Ttown says
My guess would be 3 sides are walls and one side is open to nature.
Hey, I’m just happy for an update — I shouldn’t be complaining about it. But I know that you know how to use the subjunctive mood, and you know that your readers know how to read the subjunctive mood. What I suspect is that the subjunctive mood has become like event appropriation protesting: they’re both too hoity-toity for 2017. If we don’t confine our speaking and writing to what’s-his-name’s vocabulary and grammar, we sound queer, or at least peculiar. And if the Property Brothers are flippers, they are entirely welcome to fuck themselves.
Other than that, this was a fine short narrative of a time in life that most of us share. Thanks.
This is where I like to add I was also at that R.E.M. show. I didn’t boo The Minutemen, but I wasn’t familiar with band. D. Boon was entertaining as hell.
I also didn’t know Mr. Surf Report at the time. I would later find out he, too, was entertaining as hell.
I just took my teenage daughter the Imagine Dragons concert here in Dallas, Texas. I was very impressed, they’re great live, and seem like really decent people!
When I turned 18, I was informed by my folks that the free ride was over. No money for college and in 1967, jobs that paid a “living” wage for an late teen wastrel were few and far between. So I enlisted in the US Navy. In 1968, 1969 and 1970, I celebrated Christmas underwater on a submarine in the very north Atlantic. Homesick? Geez! …but not for home. I just wanted to get back to anywhere other than were I was. After a Dickens-poor, post Navy college experience, things have gotten better every year since. Not looking back…
A submariner? I know this is a little late, but thank you for your service.
There are people who don’t know that in WW2, not all that long before you served, the submarine branch of the Navy had a higher fatality rate than the Marines, the Rangers, or any other branch of the armed services. Of course, we owe a lot to the Marines and the Rangers, and all those who served, but the submariners have always been special people.
Well said sir.
Thanks for your kind words. Many of my instructors were late in their career, WWII sub vets. We all knew their history and exploits…they were special to us and we were proud to be considered “one of them.”
Compared to WWII era diesel boats, 1960s nuke subs were still very cramped but far better equipped and far more comfortable. However, these improvements meant much longer deployments for us (4-5 months underwater). The long patrols were psychologically tough on the crew but not necessarily WWII dangerous. Thanks again.
I went to college and grad school at the same Shenandoah Valley college, and through that time amassed a terrific group of friends through academia and restaurant work. There was always someone to hang out with, no shortage of things to do (when not working or going to school), it was like a young single person’s paradise.
Then I took a job an mountain range away. I knew nobody. I rented a house that I’m now sure was haunted and was for sure freaking creepy.
I would sit at home alone at night with a couple of beers and records on the stereo (my middle name is in fact Methuselah), pretending I was OK but missing the hell out of my Valley family.
It was a pretty dark time in my young generally sunny life.
That REM thing you found looks weirdly specific. Maybe it’s an auto-generated product that gets produced only when ordered? By the way, have you seen this: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2017/11/spatial-audio-is-the-most-exciting-thing-to-happen-to-pop-music-since-stereo/
In 1984 I had moved back home after separating from the 1st wife, and woke up on Thanksgiving morning to a note on my bedroom door explaining that they had found cancer in my younger brother and the family was at the hospital. Spent that great holiday in the hospital, and the next few months filled with worry. Everything turned out OK though, but that has become our family’s signature – always save emergencies for a holiday. Spent 2 or 3 in hospitals now.
Barry Wooldridge says
I saw R.E.M. with The Minutemen in Columbus, Ohio right at that time – probably just days before or after the show you saw, because I remember it was only a couple weeks later when D. Boon was killed. I LOVED The Minutemen, and still do, even though they espoused commie bullshit in most of their music – saw them four times live. I can remember at this particular Columbus show the crowd wasn’t too kind to them, either. The Minutemen were really the only reason I was there – after their set my girlfriend and I just left – didn’t even see REM. I didn’t care, really, because I had seen REM twice before – including them playing on their very first US tour (with The English Beat), promoting the first two records which I loved at the time. By the time they came with The Minutemen I was WELL over them and Michael Stipe became one of the most major annoyances in my entire music-loving life with the possible exception of Bono.
Could I add Morrissey to that list?
The Divine Miss E says
In 2005, I moved to Tampa Bay, Florida for the same reason you moved to North Carolina. I felt I needed major life upheaval. By the time Christmas rolled around, I had only been there three months, so I didn’t really know anyone yet. I was homesick anyway, but Christmas Eve is when my entire extended family gets together every year, so that first one was rough. I went to the late service at a local church just to be around other people, then watched TV and cried. I found a way to fly home for the following Christmases.
And now Malcolm is gone. I’m sure Angus isn’t far behind. I feel old.
Ok,never mind. Keith Partridge is next.
Mel Tillis and Charles Manson. That’s a strange threesome.
Jim Workman says
My R.E.M. experience in Charleston WV, 1987. The Document Tour. But it was in the smallish Municipal Auditorium with 10,000 Maniacs opening.
14 October 1987 – Municipal Auditorium, Charleston, WV
support: 10,000 Maniacs
set: Finest Worksong / These Days / Welcome To The Occupation / Disturbance At The Heron House / Exhuming McCarthy / Orange Crush / Feeling Gravitys Pull / King Of Birds / I Believe / Fireplace / Driver 8 / Cuyahoga / Superman / Auctioneer (Another Engine) / Oddfellows Local 151 / It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) / Begin The Begin
encore 1: Strange / Lightnin’ Hopkins / Fall On Me
encore 2: The One I Love / 1,000,000
encore 3: Red Rain – So. Central Rain