Monday, April 28, 2014
A Band Apart
Last year, the band Led Zeppelin, of bombastic supergroup fame, was honored at the Kennedy Arts Memorial.
President Obama was there.
And Heart, the female rock duo of the 70's, played an incredible rendition of Stairway to Heaven.
It had Jimmy Page in tears.
And it had some of the military generals muttering, "damn long hair hippies."
Watching the tribute took me back to the summer of 1980. When my buddies and I nabbed four tickets to see Zeppelin at an outdoor stadium in Philadelphia.
Mind you, this was before the Internet and ticket brokers and Stub Hub and all that nonsense.
Scoring tickets to a big show, and at the time they didn't get any bigger than Led Zeppelin, required knowing a guy who knew another guy who could possibly, maybe, get his hands on some tickets but it meant a trip to the sketchy parts of Camden to retrieve them.
Picture Damone from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, only the dealer's name was Tyrone.
And instead of a cute cap, he had half a fro.
The other half of his head was impaled with an odd comb.
And in his waistband he had his two skilled partners, Smith and Wesson, who helped "negotiate" the price.
But the ordeal was all for naught.
On the day we were scheduled to see Zepellin from our appropriately labelled Seats ZZ 17, ZZ 18, ZZ 19, and ZZ 20, in the uppermost level of the stadium just below the 1000 degree halogen lamps, the band was in Northern England laying their legendary drummer John Bonham to rest for his eternal dirt nap.
Bonham liked his drink. And a week before the concert he liked it a little too much, eventually drowning in his own vomit.
Short of being discovered with an object up your butt, foreign or otherwise, I can't think of a more ignominious way to go.
So we never saw Led Zeppelin perform live. But, I was fortunate enough to see many of the great bands of that era, including: Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Santana, the Grateful Dead, Yes, The Allman Brothers, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raite, and many more.
I mention all this because last week my daughter returned home from Coachella, where she spent two days in the blistering desert heat listening to bands I've never heard of. Hipster, flighty bands whose music will not stand the test of time. And who will never find themselves standing next to the President at the Kennedy Arts Center.
Maybe I'm wrong.
I was wrong once in 1998, it could happen again.
Only time will tell.
So ten years from now let's see what happens to the following musical luminaries:
The Crotch Monkeys
Cheese for Motor Oil
The Woozy Woos
Needle Nose Plier
Broken Lens Cap
Five Legged Donkey
Mumford & Sons