Vale, REM.

September 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm (Uncategorized)

It was time for this to end, sadly.

I bought my first REM album in early 1985 when this jerk at a record store insisted that I do so. (Said jerk became one of my best friends and is one of the great humans on the planet.) Didn’t play it much and didn’t become a fan until that spring when I was headed towards high school graduation and it felt like liking REM was what a college-bound youth was supposed to do.

First REM concert my girlfriend and I sat all the way at the back of the Kiel Opera House. It was the Fables Of The Reconstruction tour, and 10,000 Maniacs opened and I decided at that very moment that the Maniacs were a bunch of pretentious goofballs I wanted no part of–a stance I remain steadfast on to this day. The next year was Lifes Rich Pageant, and my girlfriend and my buddy Alan tasked me with getting tickets for REM, this time playing at the Fox theater in St. Louis, a gorgeous and huge restored music hall/movie theater from the 1920’s that had just reopened after a multi-million dollar renovation. I had to blow off a football weekend at Mizzou to come to St. Louis to get tickets, and on a drizzly Saturday morning I headed up to MusicVision in Cave Springs to buy a ticket. I was kinda stunned and bummed to find a line snaking around the outside of the store, with folks huddled under the building’s overhang. Doors were still closed, but there was a huge line! I went all the way around to the back of the line and waited, kind of discouraged, but one dude also at the back with me told me “Don’t worry, they’ll do line tickets, as long as you’re in line you have a chance to get up front and get good seats for this.”

So ok, cool; there’s a chance. Finally the MusicVision folks come out, and the manager is shouting as he walks the perimeter of the outside of the building. “We know you all are very interested in this concert, and tickets will be on sale in ten minutes or so. We’re coming through and handing out line tickets right now.” Got my line ticket….and then they announced the order by random draw….and dammit. I was still stuck at almost the very back of the line. At that point the Manager calls up the first 10 line tickets in the order that was drawn, and they’re let into the store. I’m pretty bummed, because by the looks of it this REM concert is going to sell out and we’re gonna be watching from the balcony or worse. Just then the manager comes back out. “Hey, we’ve got one thing we should probably do first. Is anyone here at all for REM tickets? ”

There were 4 of us. The other hundred or so folks? Yeah, they were in line to buy tickets to see Triumph. Us REM folks got ushered inside, and were told to pick a number between 1 and 20. I got the number dead on. Just as the clock struck 9 am and the tickets went on sale, I scored 3 seats, 2nd row center to see REM with Camper Van Beethoven opening for them at the Fox Theater. That show was amazing all around, and remains one of the 10 best live rock and roll shows I have ever seen.

This is how I shall ever choose to remember Berry, Buck, Mills, and Stipe:

1 Comment

  1. Beth C. said,

    …and I still regret never seeing Triumph live…

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: