Note on the Channel: The station has changed format as of Jan. 15, 2001. It is no longer playing 80s music. Thus, Days of Decadence are probably a thing of the past. To read my Small Notice of Protest and more info on the subject...Visit my 80s Music News section!
It's Sunday, Sept. 5th, 1999. I've just taught the first week of school, and already seem to be infected with the first bug of the season, since my throat is feeling like a three-alarm fire. I've been waiting for this day...the Day of Decadence...for like almost 5 weeks now. The local 80s station finally has put together their first awesome, fan package of a concert, and I intended to be in the crowd upfront most of the day.SO I gargled, firgured if I got worse, I'd just come home early. But I definately was not going to miss out. You just don't know sometimes what could happen.
I made it to my friend's house around 1pm, just a few miles from the venue...Bay Meadows Race Track in San Mateo, California, USA.(Heah, the internet is international now, right?) After calling cabs, mixing some vodka with orange juice, my friend Liz offers me some which I decline. "Got a sore throat, not a great day to consume." But others partaked since we we're all of the designated driver generation--we were all taking cabs over to the race track.
Upon arriving, Liz, our friend John, and I all joined the huge line to get into the meadow in the middle of the race track where all the concerts and action was happening. Liz started talking with another rather cute fellow behind us in line, which joined us as well for the day. The whole atmosphere was pretty friendly, with the whole late 20s, early 30s generation degressing backwards. Of course, there were some other ages around, and the kids were there as well. There was afterall a huge sectioned dedicated so they could play, and parents could enjoy the concerts.
It was 1:30pm now, and most of the lawn was taken up. Only space left was behind the sound booth. Flock of Seagulls were on, which for some reason we didn't recognize.(Found out later there was only one original member left. Could be the prob.) We planted down with the small group we came with, and when we found out Berlin was next, Liz, I and the new fellow Jeff, all went to the front to join the crowd.(After all, I'd mostly came for Berlin.)
THus began the tradition of going through the crowd. But surprisingly, most were friendly, talking about 80s times gone by. Got alot of comments about my Depeche Mode 88' concert shirt I wore myself. Other people tried to recapture some styles. Hair jel was worked into some styles, and sweater vest to all black decor was spread around. I even spotted jelly bracelets a few times. Plus, the big difference was the basic friendliness and layed back attitude. Some people, including a women in front of me, had their children with them.
So as Jeff ate his lunch beside me with plenty of elbow room, Liz and I entertained the 3 year old infront of us as we waited for Berlin to start. As we waited, Corey Feldman(you remember, the fellow in Goonies and Lost Boys) would come out and update us on the festivities, who was playing next, etc. He seemed to be having a good time, flaunting a nice caboose.
Now Liz started to flurt with some cute techies(ok, known as roadies too, but they prefer techies) which wasn't too hard since we were like 2nd row in the crowd. We also worked on a sign to hold up that said "UTAH GIRL" for Teri NUN. Liz was under the impression that she was from UTAH, where Liz is as well.
So, out come Berlin finally, totally AWESOME! They played alot of their old songs...like Metro, Take My Breathe Away, and a few new ones as well. Unfortunately they had to stop, as did the other bands, every 3 songs or so because of the horse races. THey couldn't play as the horses ran each race around the field we were all frollicking in. So in the break as we're waiting, Liz and I start to shout for SEX, which all of us Berlin fans know is a song that Berlin is known for.
So we start to chant with Liz starting...."What do we want...". I'd shout "SEX". Liz: "When do we want it?" TIFF: "Now". After the first few times, others in the crowd joined us. I mean, what else do you do as you kill time while the horses have to run around the field. Needless to say, this seemed to be cracking up the techies backstage. So I go..."Liz, I dare you to get us backstage." She'd told me stories of partying with Oingo Boingo and other bands in Utah, so I figured, let's see if she can. Should make the day interesting at least?
Than Cory came on a mentioned that fact.."Ok, let's all get naked." WHich we knew he was joking in an MC fashion, but of course, Liz and I took one look at each other and started to lift up our shirts.
Well, Berlin came on, and finished their set. They ended with SEX as well, in which Teri got awefully comfey with the lead guitarist, laying underneath him as she song, and holding the microphone close to her chest as they both sang. It was a riot. Than Liz dashed off to go talk to the cute Techie she'd been conversing with in shouts and gestures so far. I was going after her when I bumped into a friend I used to do PR with in college. (I used to work at the college radio station KSJS from 86-88.) So, I hung out with my friend a bit, and than decided to go find Liz, promising maybe to return to watch the Smithereens.
Well, I swung back to the lawn space our original pose was camped out at, grabbed some water, and went for a pee break. When I returned, still no Liz. SO went back into the crowd.
The Smithereens started, rockers as ever. Corey mentioned asked if we were having a great time? He listed off several good points, good music, that he got to see women naked. I mentally noted that one, with a small smile. Next, this totally cool, flaming fellow beside me started to get into it, so I joined him, rocking out. But than Corey mentioned,from announcing on-stage, that Berlin was signing autographs over at a table yonder, and I had to go investigate.
Above signature: Scott Warren-Keyboardist of Berlin
I managed to get my ticket signed, and than rodeo'ed back to find list on the lawn. Bumped into more friend from my late 80s days and chatted, and than saw Liz standing by the pose. She mentioned that Joel(the technie now had a name) could get us in, but we had to wait a bit since it was crew passes he was going to use. Needless to say, the pose was not really convinced. But I knew Liz, and how these things can work. I figured he'd have to wait to make sure he didn't need them, and get us in at the end of the show.
So, meanwhile, we got Liz in at the table to get Berlin to sign something. All she had was a business card for "Big AL's"(IT's this sex shop in San Francisco she tries to reccomend everyone to go to.) So she gets Dallon, Berlin's lead guitarist to sign it. And we're off to the front to talk to Joel, and his assistant--Ben.
From left to right, Rodger Carter-drummer of Berlin, Teri Nun-Vocals of Berlin, and Dallan Baumgarten lead guitarist of Berlin.
So, being a temporary venue, the backstage and stage is constructed by rental stage and barriers of temp. chain link fence. So it's pretty easy to converse with others backstage. We launch into talking with Joel and Ben, who turn out to be these awesome dudes. We get Dallan to come over and talk too, and others around us notice that you can talk to the bands this way. Plus, impromptu discussions start with others around us, the secruity folk behind the barrier, and Joel and Ben, our favorite techies. As it turns out, the best people that we hung out with were mostly backstage and in the crowd, since everyone was in a good mood and friendly.IT was the best atmosphere I've ever seen for a concert.
But the Smithereens ended, and Joel signals us it's time. This girl hanging with us, that seems to prompt Dallan over a lot, I invite to come with us. "Heah," I say, "You want to come with us backstage?" "Sure", She comments, and all three of us link arms and walk over to the opening which is the entrance to backstage. THe new girl, that I find out later is named Marge, asks "Are we really going backstage?". I mention, "Yes, we've been talking with him all day, and have just been waiting till it's ok to go back."
So we walk up to the entrance, in which a rather largely set man stops us. When we tell him that Joel the stage manager is coming over with passes for us, he doesn't believe it, shaking his head because I'm sure he's heard some good ones today. But as we're telling him, Joel is really come, up he walks, handing us crew passes through the gate. The poor fellow let's us in and I go..."Don't worry, we know you were doing your job. I'm sure you've heard stuff like that all day. HOw are you to know it was true?" And he launches into a story how one of the band members forgot his pass earlier and tried to say he was with the bands. HOw was this fellow suppose to know? I mean, a lot of 80s bands have reformed without the original members, so even some fans might not know.
Part I ends here. If you want to find out what happens once Liz and I are backstage, preceed to PART II>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>. Thought it was best to divide the story in half so it doesn't take forever to load.
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