Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Worst Shows Ever #4

As a music lover, I've been to A LOT of shows - huge sold out stadium shows, tiny bar shows with a handful of people, awesome shows that lived up to and exceeded all expectations and shows that were great but for a reason I never could have anticipated.  But this isn't about those shows...this is about the AWFUL shows.  The shows that make you feel like you wasted your time and money...the ones that leave a pit in your stomach and may even make you dislike a band that you used to love.  Sometimes its the band, sometimes other factors but no matter what the cause these shows were terrible.  These are my top 10 horrible shows.*

4. Prince - Hilton Colosseum, Ames January 28th November 21st, 1988

This was my first concert.  Well, I had been to other concerts like stuff at free stages of the Iowa State Fair, and went to a few shows like the Foggy River Boys at the Civic Center with  friends of the family.  But this was the first concert for which I specifically bought tickets.

This concert was disappointing for several reasons.  First, I was disappointed in the seats that I got...I've since had worse tickets, but this being my first real concert I wanted great tickets.  Tickets for the concert went on sale 10 months before the show.  Unfortunately, I was 13 when the tickets went on sale.  This meant that I had no income and I had to beg my mom to pull out her credit card and buy me tickets.  With fees, it ended up being around $21 a ticket...not too bad now a days, but back then it might as well have been $1000.  But, it wasn't just my ticket that I had to pay for - I also had to pay for tickets for my older brother Kelly and his date (as I wasn't old enough to drive and my parents wouldn't just drop me off) and I bought a companion ticket for me...thinking I could be all cool and get a date**.  I did end up taking my neighbor and friend Kristina with me, but I was neither brave or bold enough to consider it a date.  I don't remember exactly what I promised my mom, but the on-sale date was around my birthday, so I know I gave up birthday presents, allowance, future Christmas presents, and probably my first born (I still owe you that one, Mom).  This negotiation took a long time.  It was probably a week or more after tickets went on sale, before the details were worked out and my begging paid off and my mom agreed to order tickets.  So yeah, Balcony 8, Row 9.  There were worse seats in the arena...but not many.  It was a loooooong way to the stage (and Prince is short).  This was a very minor inconvenience that added to the suckiness, but it was not the reason that made the show suck.

It was gonna be a beautiful night.
I have since learned that for the right show, the right performance, the right atmosphere that any seat can be great.  This should have been the right show and the right performance.  Kelly and I had a VHS tape of an earlier Prince and the Revolution concert (live at Red Rocks, I think) and it was amazing.  It rocked and was high energy and emotional.  The only thing that I didn't care for was the assless-pants that he wore throughout the show (Prince seriously, what was up with that phase?).  Kelly and I pretty much wore out that tape when we were younger and this was the show that I was expecting.  Actually, I was expecting more because when tickets went on sale in 1987 Prince was on the Sign O' the Times tour.  Sign O' the Times is my favorite Prince album.  It has so much variety and depth that I just listened over and over.  Purple Rain is epic and awesomely rocking, but Sign has more character and connects with me in a way that Purple Rain doesn't.  I was really excited to see it live.  So how did it turn into a suck-fest?

Ummm...this is not what I wanted.
After already waiting for over 6 months for the concert, Prince decided he didn't want to do a full US tour and cancelled all US tour dates.  No reason was given and I was young and naive at the time, so I assumed that Prince had a good reason for cancelling...nope not really, just being a baby.  Supposedly he was really excited to make a new album and recorded The Black Album, but then had a spiritual epiphany and decided it was evil and shelved it.  He then instead recorded and released Lovesexy which is "the spiritual opposite" of the black album.  Personally, I too like to think of them as good and evil.  Black Album = good, Lovesexy = evil.  If you liked earlier Prince, you might be thinking to yourself Lovesexy?  I don't remember Lovesexy.  Two words: Alphabet Street.  Even as an allegory for oral sex, it is still an awful song.  This album was recorded in only 8 weeks, and I thought it sounded that way.  For me it was the beginning of the end.  It was the building blocks for the New Power Generation and "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince" era.  Bleh.

Finally after waiting with tickets in hand for nearly two years, the rescheduled concert was finally at hand.  Can you imagine how much anticipation builds in two years when you are that young?  I didn't really like the Lovesexy album, but I figured that Prince still had enough amazing older music to fill two or three concerts.  And he would have, had he played it.  We were "treated" to the entire Lovesexy album, a mix of unreleased stuff from both the Batman CD, and Graffiti Bridge, and then a couple medleys.  Yes, Prince turned every song you wanted to actually hear into a couple 10 minute long medleys.  You want to hear Little Red Corvette?  Here are two lines, right after a stanza of  U Got the Look, and a couple lines of Darling Nikki, and then finishing off with a couple choruses of Let's Go Crazy.  I remember sitting there thinking "That's not it, right?  He's going to go back and play the whole song, right?"  Wrong.  During the two hour show, I think he played two maybe three songs that I wanted to hear through to their entirety.  I could be wrong (20+ years ago and all) but I think he played all of Kiss, I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man, and Dove's Cry.  Everything else was shortened and molested.  It was so frustrating.  I really was an awful concert experience.  It was basically my hero kicking me in the nuts.  A little part of me died that day, within a few weeks all the Prince posters were removed from my wall (more room for GNR and Megadeth).  After this experience, I am surprised that I kept going to concerts...luckily my second major concert, Jane's Addiction, was much, much better.

*These are off the top of my head, I am sure that I could go through my stubs and find more.  I don't think I left out any major suck-fests though.
**I often continue to make this mistake to this day.  I can't tell you how many tickets I have purchased that have ended up not being used for lack of a date.  I ask people, and sometimes they even say yes...but even so, most times they cancel and I end up going alone for twice the price.  In fact, this just happened a few months ago.  I am also never cool.


kelly said...

Plus I got a $120 something ticket in the Cutlass in Huxley driving us all home. I remember I was SO into Prince in middle school and thinking that 1999 seemed so far away at the time when listening to that song. Purple Rain was the pinnacle for me, and I was out after Around the World. I never could follow you with Cherry Moon and those other terrible albums. U2 took over for me completely in '85.

If the little weirdo would pick up the damn guitar again and quit being tarded, I'd give him a chance.

Michael said...

Yeah, the speeding ticket also sucked.

You dumb bastard. There is no Cherry Moon album. The Parade album was the soundtrack to the film...which I have never seen even though I tried watching it like 10 times. I never made it past 5 minutes.

I was still in middle school, so I stayed into Prince for the next couple albums. Parade was decent but Sign O the Times was awesome, it surpassed 1999 & Purple Rain for me...although you can see the transfer to crap artist begin, but he was still playing guitar.

Supposedly the double/(triple?) album that was sold exclusively through Target a couple years ago had one disc of crap and one disc of guitar rock. I couldn't bring myself to buy it though...still feel totally burned by this concert and a little angry that everyone who subscribed to the newspaper in England got a free copy why should I pay $20? I haven't bought a Prince album since Batman (1990?).

The funny thing is, a couple months ago when I was contemplating this post, I thought I may have judged Prince too harshly and went to check out some stuff on youtube...and if I liked it in the least, I probably would have bought some. But Prince was getting ready to announce that the internet was over and had everything with Prince music pulled from youtube. Way to block your own promotion Prince!

Shannonnicolle said...

Where's this week's post?!? I need to know who #3 is!

Anonymous said...

Please let me know if you want to sell your Prince 1988 concert ticket.
I am very much interested,as I collect Prince tickets
Roald Bakker
The Netherlands