Lollapalooza Festival: 8/20/1991

Yes, I attended the first Lollapalooza Festival, which was really, really cool. I was living in Miami at the time and the show was in Orlando. I went with these two girls I knew, but it was strictly a platonic thing. I had a car, and they needed a ride, so it all worked out.

We left in the morning and made the trek to Orlando, which was not too bad. We got there plenty early enough and made our way into the fairgrounds well before the music started. The lineup was pretty solid, and I was really looking forward to seeing all the bands on the bill, especially since the only band I had previously seen was Living Colour. Anyway, here is a list of the bands that performed that day:

  • Jane’s Addiction
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees
  • Living Colour
  • Nine Inch Nails
  • Ice T & Body Count
  • Butthole Surfers
  • Rollins Band

If memory serves me correct, Rollins Band played first. I had seen Henry Rollins years ago with Black Flag, which was a wild show. His solo band was cool, and he definitely got the energy going.

Next up were the Butthole Surfers. I remember wondering if they were mentally challenged. The singer would toss bottles in the air and allow them to smash on his head. Anyway, they were entertaining. I can appreciate a good freak show.

I’m pretty sure Ice-T and Body Count were next. Their set I remember vividly. They were so raw, so powerful, and they felt—dangerous. I recall thinking that rock music had become pretty tame, but seeing Body Count filled me with the combined sense of danger and excitement that I had not felt at a concert in a long time. And when they performed the infamous “Cop Killer,” with Ice-T beginning with his rap about taking a cop “into the parking lot and shooting him in his mother-f***in’ face,” it was hard not to notice the rage exuding from the phalanx of Orlando police officers lined up and glaring at the stage. It is an image that was burned into my brain.

Nine Inch Nails played afterwards, and the girls I was with were pretty psyched for them. I had not really listened to NIN prior to this, so I didn’t know what to expect. They were intense; only way to describe them. Not my fav, but I appreciated the energy they had on stage, and their sound was definitely unique.

Next up was Living Colour. Damn, I love that band! As a guitarist, I’m always in awe of Vernon Reid’s playing. They totally rocked, in my humble opinion.

Then came Siouxsie and the Banshees. Siouxsie was so cool. I wished I was closer because I really enjoyed their set. But even from a distance, it was great seeing them.

Finally, Jane’s Addiction took the stage. They were great, and even after a long day of music out in the Florida sun, the pit was still swarming and people were going wild. I thought they played well, and my only disappointment was that they didn’t play “Jane Says.” Otherwise, killer set.

We drove back to Miami that night, so it was early in the morning by the time I dropped my friends off and made it home. Coffee is a wonderful thing.

I was not able to find all the setlists from the day’s performances, but I found a few. Here are the ones I found.

Nine Inch Nails Setlist:

  • Now I’m Nothing
  • Terrible Lie
  • Sin
  • Physical
  • The Only Time
  • Wish
  • Get Down Make Love
  • Down In It
  • Head Like A Hole

Living Colour Setlist:

  • Type
  • Desperate People
  • Funny Vibe
  • Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing
  • Love Rears Its Ugly Head
  • Under Cover of Darkness
  • Time’s Up
  • Sweet Chariot
  • Open Letter (To a Landlord)
  • Memories Can’t Wait
  • Elvis Is Dead
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go
  • Cult of Personality

Siouxsie and the Banshees Setlist:

  • The Last Beat of My Heart
  • Silver Waterfalls
  • The Killing Jar
  • Paradise Place
  • Cry
  • Kiss Them for Me
  • Peek-A-Boo
  • Cities in Dust
  • Switch
  • Fear (of the Unknown)
  • This Wheel’s on Fire
  • Rhapsody
  • Helter Skelter

Jane’s Addiction:

  • Up The Beach
  • Whores
  • Standing In The Shower… Thinking
  • Ain’t No Right
  • Three Days
  • Been Caught Stealing
  • Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey
  • Ted, Just Admit It…
  • Classic Girl
  • Mountain Song
  • Stop!
  • Summertime Rolls
  • Ocean Size

Grateful Dead: 9/13/1987

This was the last of the three-night series of Dead shows at the Capital Centre in Maryland, and frankly, I was glad it was. While on the previous day the Prince George’s County police had engaged in Gestapo-style tactics, today proved to be more of the same. I witnessed a phalanx of officers advance aggressively through the parking lot, actively assaulting and intimidating concert-goers. The worst incident that I saw was a cop walking up to someone who was holding a bottle of beer, taking his nightstick, and smashing the bottle in the person’s hand without any warning. It was so sickening that I felt like throwing up. Thankfully, I was savvy enough to avoid any confrontation.

My brother Mike and our friend Jon, who were with us for the first two nights, had left to head back to Florida. It was just Julie, Miriam, and me. We made it safely into the venue for what turned out to be a great show, in spite of all the violence and tension outside. The parts that really stood out for me were “Fever” in the first set and “Throwing Stones” in the second set. I would learn later on that this was the Dead’s only performance of “Fever,” which Bob Weir sang. As far as “Throwing Stones” goes, the crowd sang along with such fervor and anger directed to the authorities outside and the politicians in nearby DC, that the anti-authoritarian sentiment was palpable in the air.

The next day, the three of us would catch a train to New York City for four more shows at Madison Square Garden, but that part of the long strange trip is for another day and another stub. For now, here is the full setlist from the last night at the Cap Centre.

Set 1:

  • Iko Iko
  • Little Red Rooster
  • Brown Eyed Women
  • Fever
  • Stagger Lee
  • When I Paint My Masterpiece
  • Bird Song
  • Promised Land

Set 2:

  • Scarlet Begonias
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Drums  > Space
  • The Other One
  • Stella Blue
  • Throwin’ Stones
  • Good Lovin’
  • La Bamba
  • Good Lovin’


  • Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Grateful Dead: 9/12/1987

This stub was from the second night of a three-night series of Dead concerts at the Capitol Centre in Maryland. After the first show, my friends (Julie and Miriam) and I went to crash at someone’s apartment, this guy Harmon that Julie knew from high school who was attending college in Maryland. I immediately caught a bad vibe from this guy and his friends. But I was grateful for a free place to sleep, so I laid down and closed my eyes. But as I was somewhat over-stimulated from the night’s festivities, I lay there, staring at the insides of my eyelids. It was during this time that I heard Harmon and his friends talking amongst themselves, making crude and disparaging remarks about my friends, while also talking about what they should do to them. I felt the anger swelling inside me as I entertained visions of kicking their asses. I kept still, pretending to be asleep. Eventually they shut up and went to sleep themselves. I decided not to say anything to Julie and Miriam about what happened, but figured I would just stay aware in case any issue arose.

The next day, we went back to the Cap Centre for the show and met my brother Mike and our friend Jon. Like the previous day, the Prince George’s County police were out in force, only this day, things got ugly. As we were entering the arena, the police were mounted on horses and had formed a gauntlet. As semi-conscious hippies fumbled to find their way inside, the police made the horses stomp and kick at the people to keep them in line. I was terrified and appalled. These were not people who were acting violently or being unruly. It was just a blatant example of authority using Gestapo tactics to intimidate people and ensure that they stayed in line. We made it through without incident and found some seats inside.

The show was very good and unique in the sense that the band played two songs for an encore—something which I had not seen the Dead do before. High points for me were “Hey Pocky Way,” “Truckin’,” and “Morning Dew.”

After the show, I had the joy of being the person who had to drive the intrepid crew back to Harmon’s Hell Hole. This proved challenging. For those of you who have driven in the DC area, you know about the traffic circles. These were not things that we had in South Florida. So I ended up inside one of these circles and struggled to get out of it. I kept driving around and around and around for what seemed an eternity. Eventually, I safely veered the rental car out of the loop and we made it back without further difficulty.

Here is the full setlist from this concert.

Set 1:

  • Hell in a Bucket
  • Loser
  • Me and My Uncle
  • Big River
  • Ramble on Rose
  • Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
  • Hey Pocky Way
  • Cassidy
  • Might As Well

Set 2:

  • Cumberland Blues
  • Samson and Delilah
  • Ship of Fools
  • Man Smart/Woman Smarter
  • Drums > Space
  • Truckin’
  • I Need a Miracle
  • Morning Dew
  • Turn on Your Love Light


  • One More Saturday Night
  • Black Muddy River

Grateful Dead: 9/11/1987

This concert marked my first deep dive into the Grateful Dead counter culture. While I had been listening to the Dead since the 70’s and had seen them numerous times prior to this, this marked the transition into lengthy travel to catch a long string of shows, as well as engaging in the sale of arts and crafts in the parking lot to offset the costs.

Three of us had decided to embark from Miami to catch three nights at the Capitol Centre in Maryland, followed by four nights at Madison Square Garden in NY. (The band was playing five nights at the Garden, but we could only manage four.) It would be me and my friends Julie and Miriam. In preparation, we spent long hours making beaded necklaces and woven bracelets to sell while on tour. Luckily, we were able to sell a fair amount prior to getting on the road, just at local concerts and events in Miami.

We took a flight from Miami up to the DC area (I forget which airport) and rented a car when we got there. Julie had also secured us a place to stay in Silver Spring near the venue with someone she knew (more on that fiasco in a subsequent post). I have a great memory of Julie helping herself to some little bottles of booze on the plane as the service cart was alongside our seats. We imbibed and enjoyed flying the friendly skies!

Upon arrival to the concert venue, we began our tour of the parking lot, hawking our beads. Julie was the ultimate salesperson. She somehow managed to lure dazed hippies our way who eagerly parted with their money in exchange for a strand of beads.

While we were wandering the rows of cars and campers, I noticed two people walking briskly toward us. It took me a moment to realize that it was my brother Mike and our friend Jon. Unbeknownst to me, they drove up from Gainesville, Florida for the shows, intending to surprise me. After some warm embraces, we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out together and catching up. Already, it was feeling magical.

Despite the festive mood, there was an undercurrent of tension that was palpable. By this time, the merry band of intrepid deadheads had swelled in number and authorities in cities where on high alert. Prince George’s County’s finest were certainly out in force, and before the three-day stint was over, there would be problems.

But that is another stub and another story. For this show, we went inside without any problem, found some seats together, and danced our asses off. It was also Mickey Hart’s birthday, which made it even more special.

Here is the setlist. Check back soon for my memories of the second night.

Set 1:

  • Bertha
  • Promised Land
  • Candyman
  • New Minglewood Blues
  • When Push Comes to Shove
  • Tons of Steel
  • Desolation Row
  • Deal

Set 2:

  • Happy Birthday Mickey
  • Sugar Magnolia
  • Sugaree
  • Estimated Prophet
  • Eyes of the World
  • Drums > Space
  • Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
  • Dear Mr. Fantasy
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Wharf Rat
  • Sunshine Daydream


  • Touch of Grey

Grateful Dead and Sting: 6/26/1993

This was the second of a two-night stand at RFK Stadium. Before the show, we decided to go and check out the National Gallery. On the way there, we had to make a quick exit from the train because my friend must have eaten something that didn’t agree with her. Thankfully, she recovered quickly and we had a good time checking out the art before the show.

The concert was packed, and Sting opened the show. He changed his set up from the first night, only repeating a few songs, which I thought was cool. And again, Jerry came out and jammed with Sting on a couple tunes.

Just like the first night, Bruce Hornsby also played accordion and helped with the vocals. The Dead’s set was solid, and they played “Spoonful,” which was a really nice surprise. That’s not one they play all that often.

They closed the show with “Liberty,” which is not one of my favorite Dead tunes, but I can understand why they picked it as an encore. We were in the nation’s capital, after all.

Here are the set lists.

Sting’s Set

  • All This Time
  • Why Should I Cry for You?
  • Synchronicity II
  • Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
  • Roxanne
  • Fortress Around Your Heart
  • Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)
  • Penny Lane
  • Purple Haze
  • When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around
  • Walking on the Moon (with Jerry Garcia)
  • Consider Me Gone / I’ve Been Down So Long (with Jerry Garcia)

Dead’s Sets

Set 1:

  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Brown-Eyed Women
  • Spoonful
  • Lazy River Road
  • When I Paint My Masterpiece
  • Bird Song
  • Picasso Moon

Set 2:

  • Iko Iko
  • Way to Go Home
  • Playing in the Band >
  • Terrapin Station >
  • Drums >
  • Space >
  • The Last Time >
  • Days Between >
  • Throwing Stones
  • One More Saturday Night


  • Liberty

Grateful Dead and Sting: 6/25/1993

I had seen the Dead quite a few times by this point, but never in a stadium setting. I was a little hesitant to brave the stadium crowd, but figured I might as well. My friend Erin wanted to go with me, so we got tickets through mail order. I had a good friend, Julie, who lived in D.C. and offered us a place to stay, so we were on our way.

The drive from Miami to D.C. was long. Erin slept most of the way and I drove through the night, powered by a steady stream of caffeine. We arrived at Julie’s and had enough time to sleep for a bit before the show.

We took the train to RFK Stadium and the place was insane. Way too many people for my comfort level, but they were all having a good time, so it wasn’t too bad. It was very hot and muggy, though. I saw quite a few people struggling from a mixture of intoxicants and heat exhaustion.

We walked around the parking lot for a while, and I bought a couple shirts from vendors. One in particular was really creative and included a bunch of cartoon characters frolicking around. After a while, we headed inside. We had general admission tickets for the field, which felt like we were swimming in a sea of people.

Sting came out and opened the show. He was really good, playing a nice mix of Police, solo material, and some cover tunes. Jerry Garcia came out at the end of Sting’s set and played a little with him, which was very cool. But seeing Jerry in shorts was a strange sight, indeed. Still can’t get that image out of my mind.

The Dead came out and the first thing that struck me was that there were more people on stage than I was used to seeing. I quickly figured out the Bruce Hornsby had joined the band and was playing accordion. It sounded really good and added a unique feel to the music, especially on songs like “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” and “Cumberland Blues.”

During intermission, Erin and I attended the Wharf Rats meeting, which was unbelievable. It was great to see so many people there. Forming a circle at the end of the meeting was impossible, so everyone just huddled together in a massive group hug which made me feel a part of something larger than myself. It was deeply moving for me.

Second set was great. I’m always happy when I hear “China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider.” For an encore, they played “The Weight” on which they did a round-robin, everyone taking a turn singing a verse, then joining together for four-part harmony on the final verse. It was a great was to close an amazing concert. I was already looking forward to the next night.

Here are the full set lists.

Sting’s Set

  • Driven to Tears
  • If I Ever Lose My Faith in You
  • Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)
  • A Day in the Life
  • Fields of Gold
  • Synchronicity II
  • Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
  • Roxanne
  • Saint Augustine in Hell / Straight to My Heart
  • King of Pain
  • When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around
  • Tea in the Sahara / Consider Me Gone (with Jerry Garcia)

Dead’s Sets

Set 1:

  • Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
  • Little Red Rooster
  • Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
  • Althea
  • Cassidy
  • Cumberland Blues
  • Promised Land

Set 2:

  • China Cat Sunflower >
  • I Know You Rider
  • Saint of Circumstance >
  • Uncle John’s Band >
  • Corrina >
  • Drums >
  • Space >
  • I Need a Miracle >
  • Wharf Rat >
  • Sugar Magnolia


  • The Weight

The Police with The Fixx and Eric Burdon and the Animals: 10/28/1983


As the ticket stub shows, this concert was originally supposed to be at the Miami Baseball Stadium. But because of the huge demand for tickets, the concert was moved to the Orange Bowl, a much larger venue. Even in the big stadium, it was a packed mob scene.

I went with my girlfriend at the time and my brother Mike. We got there plenty early, since it was general admission and I wanted to see The Animals, who were opening the show. The Animals were great and Eric Burdon’s voice was strong. The only downer song was “House of the Rising Sun.” They kind of changed the arrangement around and it felt like they were playing it half-assed. I felt like, really? I’m sure you are getting tired of the song, but if you are going to play it, at least put some energy into it and realize that it is such an iconic song that futzing with the arrangement  is akin to Led Zeppelin playing a reggae version of “Stairway to Heaven.”

The Fixx played next, and they were cool. They had some hits at the time: “Saved By Zero” and “One Thing Leads to Another.” They definitely had a good energy and light show. Plus, their style fit in well with The Police.

So I have to say that The Police were way better live than I expected. They always seemed more like a studio band than a good live act. But I was pleasantly surprised. They were really high-energy and sounded great, even in an acoustic hell hole like the Orange Bowl. My big complaint, though, was the overcrowding. It was really uncomfortable to be mashed among so many people sweating in the South Florida heat for the entire day. But other than that—good times!

Here is the Police’s setlist, courtesy of

  1. Voices Inside My Head
  2. Synchronicity I
  3. Synchronicity II
  4. Walking in Your Footsteps
  5. Message in a Bottle
  6. Walking on the Moon
  7. My God
  8. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
  9. Wrapped Around Your Finger
  10. Tea in the Sahara
  11. Hole in My Life
  12. Spirits in the Material World
  13. Invisible Sun
  14. One World (Not Three)
  15. King of Pain
  16. Don’t Stand So Close to Me
  17. Every Breath You Take
  18. Murder by Numbers
  19. Roxanne
  20. (encore) Can’t Stand Losing You / Reggatta de Blanc
  21. (encore) So Lonely

The Clash: 3/31/1984


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”)