This was the first of five times that John and I would see this band. We were still not quite ready to join the slam dancing, so we stayed toward the back to observe the craziness. I don’t think it was as violent as the X concert (First Avenue 10/15/84), but according to the MN Daily (the University of Minnesota’s newspaper) it was “loud, fast and furious”.
I was able to consult the MN Daily review (dated 2/1/85 by Steven Perlstein) of the show because of the magic of the internet. The internet is so handy. The reason I wanted to see that review is because I wanted to see if my memory was serving me.
The main thing I recall of that concert is something my art school friend, Gene, did. Gene was quite the committed punk. He had the mohawk and the leather and the boots. And he loved slam dancing and stage diving.
We, John and I and the rest of the art school gang, had been going to the Cabooze for a while by this time. The Cabooze was another Minneapolis club that booked some cool acts in those days. The old art school gang would head down there to see The Urban Guerrillas frequently. The Urban Guerillas were a local favorite that played their own unusual blend of punk, ska, reggae and whatever. We would slam dance to those guys, but it was a more gentle style of slam dancing. And the Cabooze would let people stage dive, while First Avenue wouldn’t.
I’ll write more about The Urban Guerillas later on in this blog series.
Anyway, Gene was at the Husker Du show with Eric, another art school friend, and possibly a couple others whom I can’t remember. When the Huskers took the stage, Gene and his group were at the opposite side of the main floor from John and me. The band just started into it’s first song when Gene (quoting the Daily review) “provided a poignant argument against drugs by leaping onstage, dancing for about 15 seconds, and doing a Greg Louganis-like swan dive into the crowd. What fun.” It was a beautiful stage dive. Gene put his all into it and I’m sure it would have received all 10’s from the judges. Had there been any.
My memory serves! In my outline notes for this series, I had written about the Daily article and had quoted “Greg Louganis-like swan dive”. After 23 years, I still remembered that review. I did, however, spell Louganis wrong.
Gene disappeared after the dive. He had no sooner gotten back to his feet when the First Avenue security staff grabbed him and said, “You’re out, pal!” Gene was booted from the club. He should have waited until later in the show to do his dive, so he wouldn’t have missed the whole thing.
To set the record straight, Gene was not on drugs when he pulled his stunt. He was on the punk rock.
I’m not sure if John And I actually sat with Gene at this show, but he did give us a ride there. I think his seats were elsewhere. At least, John and I got to ride in his way cool Jeep.
U2 were just starting their climb to superstardom. They put on a great show. At one point, Bono asked if anyone in the audience could play guitar. They found some kid and got him onstage to play along with the band for one song. It must have been awfully thrilling and nerve-racking for the kid.
Bono did all his Bono theatrics. He grabbed a baby spot light to shine at the crowd, he wrapped himself in the Irish flag, he walked on water. You know, his usual stuff.
Let me just say this right away… Die Kreuzen sucked! Sucked! Sucked! Sucked! They played some brand of crappy metal, hardcore slop. The lead singer couldn’t keep the microphone anywhere near his mouth for more than three seconds at a time. They were boring!
So, there I stood, leaning against the front of the stage, chin in my hand as this lousy band actually managed to slow the passage of time. A young woman, obviously a fan of this dreadfully, awful band, noticed my state of absolute boredom. She gave me a sarcastic “poor baby” look. I refrained from giving her any reaction.
Well, Die Kreuzen finally finished making noise and dragged their talentless asses of the stage. The stench of their horrific appearance was still evident as Husker Du took the stage to clear the air. Interestingly enough, the gal who was unsympathetic of my plight had disappeared once the truly talented headliners began to play.
This was our second time seeing Husker Du and John and I were ready for the slam dancing. It was a blast. Knocking around in the pit, getting aggression out without doing any serious damage to anyone.
My friend, David, had brought a date to a Husker Du concert once. She hadn’t heard of the band before and when she saw them she said they looked like garbage men. Possibly, but what talented garbage men.