Guns n’ Roses with Soundgarden: 12/31/1991

I was never a huge GnR fan, but I like some of their stuff. When I heard they were holding a big New Year’s Eve concert with Soundgarden, and some of my good friends were going, I figured this would be the time to check them out and scratch them off the list of bands to be seen.

The concert was being held at Joe Robbie Stadium, which kind of sucked. I’m not a fan of stadium shows, but such is life. One thing that made me chuckle, though, upon getting my ticket, was the statement *Showtime Approximate*. Axl was notorious for showing up late for performances (or not showing up at all), so the audience was duly warned.

We got there and our seats were straight back, lower section. Soundgarden came out and started their set, and some asshole in the upper deck started tossing down M-80s, one of which exploded at my feet. I was beyond pissed and stormed upstairs, seeking out the jerk with every intention of having an altercation, but alas, I could not find him. He either moved on or ran out of ammunition.

After what seemed like an unusually long time, GnR took the stage and kicked right into “Welcome to the Jungle.” I have to say, I was pretty impressed by the energy with which they opened the show. Reminded me of how I felt when I saw The Clash and they exploded on stage with “London Calling.” Even sitting at the back of Joe Robbie Stadium, I felt the power of the music emanating from the stage.

The band played a long time, and the show was killer. I gained a new level of respect for the band, and understood why people liked them so much. I still don’t own any Guns n’ Roses albums, but I have good memories of seeing them live and tend to turn the volume up a bit when one of their songs comes on the radio.

Here’s the setlist.

  • Welcome to the Jungle
  • Mr. Brownstone
  • Live and Let Die
  • Attitude
  • Nightrain
  • Bad Obsession
  • Double Talkin’ Jive
  • Civil War
  • It’s So Easy
  • Patience (w Wild Horses intro)
  • Rocket Queen
  • November Rain
  • You Could Be Mine
  • Matt Sorum Drum Solo
  • Slash Guitar Solo
  • Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather)
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine (with Sail Away Sweet Sister… more )
  • Don’t Cry
  • Move to the City
  • Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door  (w Only Women Bleed intro)
  • Estranged
  • Paradise City
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The Clash: 3/31/1984

Clash_3-31-84

As you probably know by now, I have seen a lot of concerts, but only a few bands totally blew me away the moment they took the stage. The Clash was one of those few.

I was really into The Clash at this time. In my opinion, they were one of the best punk bands ever. I was really psyched to be seeing them, even without Mick Jones.

They opened with “London Calling,” and like I said, I was blown away from the first note. It was like an explosion of energy shot from the stage and shattered every cell in my body. And I could tell it wasn’t just me. The entire Sunrise Musical Theater erupted. I doubt there was a single person in their seats.

As was to be expected at a punk concert, people were climbing onto the stage and diving into the crowd. I suspect that the security was not prepared for this. Police and Sunrise concert security decided to stop it and seized a kid who had clambered onto the stage. Joe Strummer, ever the anarchist, stopped and got in the faces of the security and began yelling and gesticulating at them. I wish I knew what he said. Regardless, they released the kid who ran and did a swan-dive into the crowd. Everyone cheered, and then Joe stepped up to the microphone and said, “I don’t know what you all are doing, but you have the police really nervous.” At which point they broke into “The Guns of Brixton.” It was pandemonium!

As far as the rest of the show goes, there were no weak spots. It was kick-ass right up to the last note of “White Riot.” For those of you who are interested, here is the full set list from the show.

Forces have been looting
My humanity
Curfews have been curbing
The end of liberty

Hands of law have sorted through
My identity
But now this sound is brave
And wants to be free – anyway to be free

(Excerpt from “This is Radio Clash”)

Big Audio Dynamite & Public Image Limited: 3/15/1992

BAD-PIL

This is one of those amazing shows that really stands out in my memory, and the ticket stub only tells a small part of the story. This was a big show that included a total of four bands, all of whom I was so psyched to see. It was an outdoor show at Miami’s Bayfront Park Amphitheater and I went with a big group of friends.

The first band to perform was Blind Melon. They were very good and performed an amazing set. The band suffered a tragedy a couple years later when the lead singer, Shannon Hoon, died of a cocaine overdose on October 21, 1995. I feel fortunate to have seen them.

The second band to perform was Live. Wow! I remember being blown away by the energy this band had on stage. It did not surprise me that they later rose to stardom. I had heard some of their music on the alternative college stations, but when I saw them live (pun intended), I immediately went out and bought “Throwing Copper,” which is an amazing CD.

Finally, we got Public Image Limited (PiL). Johnny Lydon, also known as Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols, commanded the audience in a way that is difficult to describe. He stalked the stage, engaged the crowd, and got everyone’s hearts pumping along with the music. When they finished, I was so psyched, but not quite able to grasp that there was STILL MORE! The main act, Big Audio Dynamite (or BAD), was still up next.

For those who are not familiar, BAD was formed by Mick Jones of The Clash after he left the band. I really like BAD and was virtually crawling out of my skin with anticipation. Was I in for a disappointment.

They came on stage, and immediately I could tell they were really wasted. The musicians staggered around the stage, slurring incoherently into the microphones, and getting tangled up in guitar cords. It was so anticlimactic after three amazing performances, each more energetic than the one before. The contrast was stark. And then, as if it couldn’t get any worse, the drummer fell over backwards and knocked his drums over. I felt like I was watching Cheech and Chong! I looked around and noticed people leaving in droves. We decided that we had to join them. There was no way we were going to sit through that kind of pathetic performance.

I was really bummed out about Big Audio Dynamite’s lack of professionalism. But I did not let that ruin the show as a whole. I got to see three great performances that day and have a great memory to go along with my ticket stub.