09 August 2007

I Danced This Mess Around

I saw The B-52’s at Chastain Park Amphitheater last Wednesday. No, “saw” isn’t right. I danced my a** off and sang my throat raw.

What a great night! I haven’t seen the B’s in maybe fifteen years. Why did I wait so long?
UPDATE: The Beloved Ex just reminded me in the comment box that we saw The B-52's when they played at the 1998 Coca-Cola USA Christmas party — and, yes, we did all sixteen dances that holiday night, WP. Excellent party!
As I wrote last summer, I love the B-52’s. They’ve been on my top bands list since 1980. Their songs are fun, silly, danceable. I saw them once or twice during my late-1970s tenure at the University of Georgia, and I’ve seen them every decade since.

Post-UGA, I next saw The B-52’s at the Agora Ballroom in 1980 during their Wild Planet tour. I was working for our college station at the time, and Cindy and Ricky Wilson came by that afternoon for an on-air interview. They were, of course, adorable. The show highlight was Fred skipping across the stage with a dogless leash during “Quiche Lorraine.” The lowlight was Mike borrowing my Devo flowerpot hat … and never returning it.

Let’s get back to last Wednesday. The show was outdoors — on the hottest day so far this summer. And I hate humid heat. But did I let that stop me? Hell, no. I pulled back the hair, wore the lightest shirt with the least cloth-to-skin ratio, and put on my dancing shoes. Oh, and lugged a jug of Chik-Fil-A lemonade with lots of Absolut Citron. A girl needs to stay hydrated.

There were some jewels in the crowd. Beehives and bright-green hair. Fortysomethings (and oldersomethings) and kids. Every segment of fun Atlanta folks was well represented.

One of the loveliest fans at the show.

The B-52’s kicked off the show with “Mesopotamia,” and we kicked off the dancing. We heard some classics: “Private Idaho” (which Fred introduced as being “like a fine wine”), “Give Me Back My Man” (one of the best heartache songs ever), “Strobe Light,” “Roam,” “Love Shack,” “Planet Claire” (Simeon, where were you?), ending the night with “Rock Lobster.” Fabulous set — and each classic sounded amazing.

My friend and the cool chicks who sat next to us.

The B-52’s have a new album coming out soon, and we were treated to some new tunes. One of the best lines was from a song about shopping at the mall: “Faster, pussycat! Sell! Sell!” I think we heard three new songs, and the samples left me wanting that new album (comes out, I think, next month).

This is their first album in fifteen years. I haven’t seen them in fifteen years. You don’t think my apathetic non-attendances had anything to do with that, do you?

One of my favorite B-52’s-flavored memories takes us back to 1989. I was spending the day with my niece, who was then two and a half. We’d been to the Woodruff Arts Center to see Santa, and were killing time at Jake’s Ice Cream before visiting my friend and her three-legged kitten. In between bites of ice cream, Lauren stopped, glanced around, loudly sang “Love shack, bay-beeeee!”, smirked, and went back to her bowl. She may not be the true fruit of my loins, but that girl is my child.

The band looks good. Can you believe that Kate is 59? Still cute as hell. Cindy had Tina Turner legs, and worked that black mini. Fred looks the same. My old complaint is the Jumbotron didn’t show many close-ups of the ever-hot Keith.

1989 was also a memorable year for B-52’s shows: the Cosmic Thing tour. The band returned to Athens to play a show on Legion Field, a big patch o’ grass on the UGA campus (I think the university has since paved that paradise and put up a parking lot). Here I am a couple of hours before that show, in front of Wuxtry Records, Peter Buck’s former employer (and one of my favorite record shops):

The show was great, of course. How could an outdoor B-52’s show on a field not be? My friend and I picked up a virgin freshman boy sitting next to us; we took him back to his room so that he could show off his score up and down the hall. He impressed.

We later walked over to the 40 Watt Club, where R.E.M. was hosting an invitation-only party for The B-52’s. On his way in, Fred Schneider spotted a friend standing next to me and invited him into the club. Fred looked at me and said, “You come, too!” But my friend — one no longer in my circle — whined that we shouldn’t since we didn’t have an official invitation. She drove, so I didn’t go in. Never since have I let someone else drive to Athens.

My only complaint about the show: about half the audience sat during the entire show. How can anyone sit during an outdoor B-52's show? Sure, it was hot — but so was the music. I haven't given up on Atlantans, though; there was one cool family two rows below us — dad, mom, and three blonde girls between six and ten — and those five danced during the entire show, too.
Many, many, many great B-52’s memories. If you’ve never seen them, what are you waiting for?

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At 8/09/2007 09:51:00 AM, Blogger BeckEye said...

A friend of mine just told me that they are playing somewhere near Coney Island tonight. I thought it sounded like fun and planned on going...until I only got 3 hours of sleep last night. I feel like a, uh, rusted tin roof. So I think I'll just crash when I get home tonight.

And I'm so honored that I'm your hero. It is me, right? Although I couldn't blame you if you actually meant Glenn.

At 8/09/2007 09:54:00 AM, Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

Of the thousand of concerts I've been to - I've never seen the B52's.

I need to take care of that.

Glad you had fun!

At 8/09/2007 10:27:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I am so jealous. I'll roll around like a wild potato to get over it.

At 8/09/2007 11:35:00 AM, Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

But did you do all sixteen dances?

At 8/09/2007 12:38:00 PM, Blogger Artful Dodger said...

"Oh, and lugged a jug of Chik-Fil-A lemonade with lots of Absolut Citron." <--- That was the best line I've ever read in a post. ^_^ I need to go a concert with you, you know how to party. Now if only the B-52's would come down here.

At 8/09/2007 01:34:00 PM, Blogger Richard said...

Interesting song title, I wonder if it is based on the film of similar name: Faster pussycat. Kill! Kill! easily the absolute worst movie I have ever chosen to see (and I've picked a lot of stinkers).

At 8/09/2007 02:01:00 PM, Blogger Michael K said...

I saw them a few years back and was disappointed. I know that Bouncing Off The Satellites is universally panned since it came out after Ricky died but it has a few of my favorite songs on it. Girl From Impanema , Detour Thru Your Mind and Summer of Love are great songs but they never get any play in concert.

I know it's stuoid but I get all geeked up for concerts and when I don't hear my favorite songs I'm bummed even if the show was really good. Same thing happened with the Pixies show 2 years ago. They played Dig For Fire but I was still pissed cuz they didn't play Alec Eiffel. I shouldn't have even expected them to play it. Nobody loves that song but me.

At 8/09/2007 02:03:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Ack! Write Procrastinator beat me too. And then you used my other line in the labels. So I'll just say 'why won't you dance with me? I'm not no limburger!'.

Sounds like a fantastic time and I'd have been dancing my ass off too even though I am never supposed to dance in public, doctor's orders.

At 8/09/2007 02:04:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

...beat me to it is what I meant to say. It must be the heat.

At 8/09/2007 05:26:00 PM, Blogger Grant Miller said...

I went to Wuxtry in 1998. If blogs existed back then and I knew you, I would have looked you up. Sorry.

Who's playing guitar for the B52s nowadays?

At 8/09/2007 05:40:00 PM, Anonymous gifted typist said...

On saturday I'm off to see Buddy Guy and James Cotton at an outdoor venue. This will be the highlight of my summer.

I understand that frustration with the sitter-downers. You want to light a stick of dynamite and stick up their ..

At 8/09/2007 06:26:00 PM, Blogger Dan said...

Yo Coffey, I think you forgot about the Coca-Cola gig they played when you work there. I was there right next to ya when they played "Rock Lobster!" So, whittle that 15 year stint down to 8 or so.

At 8/09/2007 06:52:00 PM, Blogger Eebie said...

Awesome write up!

I bartended weddings to pay my way through college many moons ago, I used to hear Love Shack 4-5x/weekend. Still love it! (After sometime away) Roam is the song that takes the prize for me; I have a wanderlust and Roam says it all.

At 8/09/2007 09:38:00 PM, Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Can't say I've ever really been into the B-52s. Glad to hear you had a great time, though.

At 8/09/2007 10:53:00 PM, Blogger Tenacious S said...

Both my babes have seen the B52's at an outdoor show, although it was probably about eight years ago. We saw them on a double bill with the Pretenders. How's that for cool? Glad you had fun.

At 8/09/2007 11:48:00 PM, Blogger chelene said...

59???? She is 59?! Wow.

I adore the B52's and I hope they come back to NYC because I would love to finally see them live.

At 8/10/2007 12:56:00 AM, Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

Wow! So many awesome B-52 memories - recent and not so. I'll certainly be checking out their new album. They are just way too much fun.

I have never seen them in concert and what am I waiting for, you asked? They never come to see me, waaaaa!

At 8/10/2007 09:46:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

BECKEYE: Poor child; you missed a good chance to work that skirt. Glenn is my great love; you’re my hero. Just don’t go breakin’ my heart.

KEITH KENNEDY: You really should. It would be a fun night of dancing with your adorable wife.

DR. MONKEY: Brilliant use of lyrics. And, damn, would I pay to watch you wild potato it!

WRITE PROCRASTINATOR: Points to you, too, for the lyrics pull! I hippy-shaked … did the Aqua Velva … the ever-popular dirty dog … but I skipped the escalator since you were nowhere to be found.

ARTFUL DODGER: I would LOVE to hit a shot with you! A half ‘n’ half of Chik-Fil-A lemonade and Absolut Citron is the only way to roll in the summer.

At 8/10/2007 10:00:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

RICHARD: I’m sure that’s where Fred got the lyrics. I’ve never seen the movie, although I’ve been tempted. Now I’ve been warned; thanks!

MICHAEL K: You listed three excellent songs from Bouncing off the Satellites; in fact, I think I included “Summer of Love” on my first Mix Tape post. I used to get peeved, too, when I didn’t hear a fave song during a concert … until I saw Paul McCartney for the third time … was happy to hear yet again different Beatles tunes … and realized he still hasn’t hit them all. Warren Zevon was always mindful of that, knowing his fans came out to hear certain songs. AND … “Alec Eiffel” is one of my fave Pixies tunes, too.

DALE: “Why won’t you dance with me? / I’m not no limburger” is one of my favorite lyrics evah, so you get three points, Mr. Passion. I bet your doctor would have given you a pass had you joined us last Wednesday. I gotta see that bee suit hippy-shake.

DALE: You were right the first time; WP always beats me. He’s tough, that one.

At 8/10/2007 10:03:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

GRANT: That photo shows me waiting for you. I was just nine years too early. Keith Strickland is still playing guitar for them. Gang of Four’s Sara Lee is no longer playing bass with them, though.

GIFTED TYPIST: I’ve seen Buddy Guy before; you’re in for a great Saturday!

DAN: I’m getting’ old, Beloved. How could I forget that fun night! We frugged all night long, didn’t we?

EEBIE: Thank you, sir! I love “Roam” … but my faves off that album are the two Athens songs — “Dry County” and “Deadbeat Club” — because they sing about things from my UGA days. I also love “Follow Your Bliss.”

At 8/10/2007 10:07:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

THIRD WORST POET: I guess B-52’s love depends on time and place … and love for pretty vintage dresses.

TENACIOUS S: I have no doubts that your wee ones have hit a B-52’s show. You’re my pick for Mother of the Decade. I missed that Pretenders/B-52’s show … and I have no good excuse for missing it. You are way too cool, Ten S.

CHELENE: Yep, she’s 59 — and still sexy as all get-out, with a few more pounds. They were at Coney Island or somewhere earlier this week. They’ll be performing in Atlantic City soon. You would SO love their show!

BARBARA: I wonder why they never come your way. Canadians dance, don’t they?

At 8/10/2007 11:40:00 AM, Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

We DO dance! Not well, but that doesn't stop us from trying.

At 8/10/2007 11:42:00 AM, Blogger Allison said...

I love reading your concert recaps/ music memories, make me feel like I was there. Sounds like it was a great show, too bad more of the audience didn't put their dancing shoes on.

At 8/10/2007 12:59:00 PM, Blogger Coaster Punchman said...

YOU'RE jealous? I'M jealous!! What a great night you had!

"Give Me Back My Man" is one of my all time favorites. Love the goofy lyrics. It's on my "40 at 40."

At 8/10/2007 04:20:00 PM, Blogger Moxie said...

I don't know a lot of B-52s songs but I do enjoy them. They always seem to be having so much fun being goofy. And I like goofiness. I could do without hearing "Love Shack" at karaoke ever again, though. Oh my ears!

At 8/11/2007 04:26:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

BARBARA: Not dancing well has never stopped me.

ALLISON: They should have been spanked.

COASTER PUNCHMAN: You prove your Uber-coolness yet again, CP>

MOXIE: I love their joie de vivre!

At 8/14/2007 10:24:00 AM, Blogger Claire Fisher said...

I *love* the B-52's. I saw them 4 times in one year in NY/NJ back in 199? (same year I saw Debbie Harry 3 times) B-52's at Radio City Music Hall was the best show I ever saw.


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