Neil Young and Crazy Horse: 10/29/1986

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I had gone to see Neil and Crazy Horse the night before (click here for my memories of that night). I don’t recall as much about this night as the first night, but there are a few things that stand out.

I had second row center for this show, so I was very close to the stage, and the Knight Center was a small venue anyway. Neil and the band played two sets, just like the first night, and mixed up the songs a bit, which was nice. But this evening, there was a special guest.

To appreciate this guest, I need to talk a little more about the stage show. The stage was set up as a garage, which is fitting since Crazy Horse is a garage band par excellence. On the first night, while the band was playing, there were mock phone calls between songs from an irate neighbor insisting that they turn down the music. This was the same during this show, but the voice was different, and familiar, but I could not place it. Even the words sounded familiar: “AHHHH!! OH! OH! Turn that shit down! I’ll come over there and kick your ass, you fucker! AHHHHHHHH!”

When the “irate neighbor” stormed into the “garage,” I immediately made the connection. It was the great comic Sam Kinison, aka the screamer. He got in Neil’s face and screamed obscenities at him while Neil responded by turning his guitar up louder. It was hysterical, and very rebelliously rock and roll.

I had brought a camera in with me (yes, this was before the days of cell phones with built-in cameras). Here is the picture I snapped of the late, great Sam Kinison getting all up in Neil’s grill.

Rock on!

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Neil Young and Crazy Horse: 10/28/1986

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I love Neil Young, and while this was not the first time I saw him in concert, it was the first time that I saw him with Crazy Horse. They were scheduled to play two nights at Miami’s James L. Knight Center, so I planned on going both nights. My friend Chris decided to go with me to the first night, so we camped out in front of Record Land and got great seats. Although the ticket says Row B, it was actually front row center! I also got myself a ticket for the second night, but that’s another story.

Chris and I went to the show, along with his then wife, Helene. We took our seats front and center and were very psyched, Neil came onstage with the band and thundered into their first set. They were loud, heavy, everything I expected from Crazy Horse. I looked at Chris, who appeared to be as psyched as I was, and then I noticed his wife, slumped in the seat, asleep. And I was not the only one who noticed this. Neil Young walked up to the front of the stage, looked at her, cranked his guitar a little louder, played a bit, came back, looked at her still asnooze, shook his head, and went back to playing. It was… strange.

They took a break, at which point we tried to wake Helene, but she was out like a light. When the second set started, Neil checked on her again, shook his head, and continued to jam. I wondered how it must have felt, to be playing with all your might, rocking your heart out, and seeing someone in the first row snoring away. It did not seem to faze Neil too much though. The second set was even better than the first. He rocked right up until the final note of the encore.

When the concert was over, Chris and I had to carry his wife out. He lifted her from under the arms and I got her legs. But she decided this was the right time to wake up and started kicking at me. So I dropped her. She got to her feet and had some very unpleasant things to say. I have to say that Chris was very supportive, offing to assist his wife, but she was being pretty nasty. I guess we all have our bad days.

In spite of everything, I had a great time at this concert, and a great story to tell afterwards. But I had a ticket to see them again, the next night! Check back soon for my thoughts on the second night.

“Hey Hey, My My. Rock and roll will never die.”

Pink Floyd: 11/1/1987

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Yes, I paid $20 to see Pink Floyd, row 38. How times have changed in regard to ticket prices.

When it was announced that Pink Floyd had reunited and would be playing at the Miami Orange Bowl, you can imagine that it was a big deal for concertgoers, even if it was Pink Floyd sans Roger Waters. My brother Mike and I made plans to get tickets and go to the show together. Now, this was back before there was the internet to buy tickets and such, so if you wanted to get tickets, you had to go wait in line outside the record store, which for us was Record Land near the 163rd Street Mall. My brother secured a spot a couple days before the tickets went on sale and we stayed there in shifts, watching as the line grew and grew.

It was the night before the tickets went on sale, and the crowd had swelled exponentially. The line snaked along the sidewalk and I could not see the end, but we were close to the front, so I was psyched, knowing we would get good seats. For the home stretch, it was my brother, his friend Roger, and myself, and we were having fun taking part in the revelry that night. But then it started to rain, that heavy subtropical Miami rain. A torrential downpour. But we were OK because we were under an overhang, so we watched people scrambling and running about in the storm. Now Roger, my brother’s friend, was quite the prankster. One might even say he was a smart-ass. So this poor girl was making a dash to her car and Roger yelled: “Hey! You dropped something!” She stopped in the midst of the deluge and started looking around on the ground. “Where?” she asked. “Right there!” More looking. “Where?” “Right there!” We could not help starting to laugh and she finally realized what was happening. She glared at Roger and said, “You think you’re really fuckin’ funny, huh?” Sadly to say, that only made us laugh more.

Anyway, the next morning we got our tickets. We were going to see the Floyd!

The day of the concert arrived and we went to the Orange Bowl early and got our seat. Unfortunately, we would be paying our karmic debt. It rained, and it rained. So we stood out there with the thousands of others and got drenched while the band played. Thankfully, it was not that cold, and the rain had the bonus of making the lasers all the more visually stunning, as the rain caused the lasers to glimmer like little diamonds that were floating like cosmic stardust within the waves of light. It definitely added to the surreal experience of seeing Pink Floyd.

The show opened with “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” which was great. The band played two sets, performing a nice balance of old classic tunes and new material from the “Momentary Lapse of Reason” album. They ended the show with “Run Like Hell.”

But the adventure did not end when the lights came up. We still had to drive home, and I was the one who had to drive, in the rain, and feeling dazed from the show. So we piled into the car and started out. It was dark, raining hard, and very few streetlights. I was driving carefully when all of a sudden I saw someone standing in the middle of the road, right in front of me! I hit the brakes and skidded to a stop, maybe a foot away from the police officer standing in the middle of the intersection trying to direct traffic. He stepped forward and slammed his fist on the hood of my car, screaming things at me that I could not understand. My heart raced as I sat there. Still, I could not help but wonder at the logic of this officer standing in the middle of the intersection, at night, in the rain, with no flashlight or reflective clothing. I waited, trying to calm my nerves, and then witnessed another vehicle driving on the cross street fly through the intersection and almost hit the cop. The officer literally had to dive out of the way of the vehicle. I really felt scared for the officer, but still wondered why he did not use his flashlight. Finally, he waved us through and I carefully navigated us home without any further incident.

While this was the first time I saw Pink Floyd, it would not be the last. I ended up seeing them two more times, and each time it was an experience. But those are other stubs and other stories, which I will share in the future.

Shine on!