The history of concerts according to Eric Rutin
November 10, 2013
This is a list of concerts that I, Eric Rutin, attended in my life. I will admit, that I have not been to a concert in ages and at this point in my advanced life I really don’t see attending another unless its with my kids as parental supervision. That being said, Cade is already older than me when my parents dropped me off at the gate of Pine Knob to see my first solo concert. More about that in a moment. I am sure I don’t remember all the concerts, some due to their absolute horribleness, others due to alcohol consumption and others just to a fading memory. I encourage any of my friends reading this to add any that I may have missed. Some of the concerts were life changing and others I am pretty embarrassed to admit I went to but all in all there is a wide array of musicians and genres. I have debated different ways of arranging from chronological, to quality to frequency but I couldn’t come up with a clear winner. I will present in a loosely chronological manner with a sprinkle of randomness tossed in. (sorry about the dangling preposition)
Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)
This was my first concert I attended. It was at the Pontiac Silverdome and I went with my friend Eric. So It was Eric Rutin and Eric Somethingoranother. It was 5th grade and we LOVED this band. We called them Eric’s Lovable Orchestra, pretty clever for 11 year-olds. We even had t-shirts made. All I really remember was the band had a huge spaceship that opened up and out they came. Totally Spinal Tap style. But the bigger memory was the priest sitting behind us in full priest attire. He opened his bible and inside it was cut-out for his pipe and stash. Deception would later come into play for myself.
The Guess Who
I saw them on family weekend when we went to visit my brother at Michigan Tech. I actually attended this with my parents. It was on the floor of some arena. I remember them playing These Eyes, I was wearing a Mork from Ork ski vest and that I feel asleep. This also would come into play later.
The Beach Boys
This was my first venture to Pine Knob, the greatest musical venue ever. It has some corporate name now, but I was fortunate to grow up in the 70s and 80s before everything was so blatantly corporate. I blame the Rolling Stones for changing all that with their 1981 “final tour”, but that is neither here nor there. I am not sure who I attended this with but it was some sort of friend and parent supervision. We were allowed the freedom to roam and the Beach Boys were still pretty hip. This was sixth grade.
I was now a 7th grade and obviously ready for my independence. I went with some friend I don’t recall. (I actually have a pretty crappy memory of pre-1981) I look back in horror that, not only were my parents completely comfortable dropping me off at a concert at 12 years old, but a frickin’ Joe Walsh concert none the less whose fame was built on glorifying sex, drugs and rock and roll. But my parents were not as hip as I am. They had no idea who Joe Walsh was. I am a cool dad that belts out Icona Pop effortlessly while my parents listened to talk radio or Nat King Cole. Regardless, all I really remember was the joy of independence and being around all the drunk and stoned people, though I myself was a goody two-shoe. This is how I kicked off the summer of 1980. I remember my friend wanted to go see the Doobie Brothers but I was too afraid to say Doobie in front of my parents, so that was my only concert that year.
The Who/The Clash/Eddie Money
This was the first final farewell tour for The Who way back in 1982. I was a boarder at Cranbrook by now and I was finding out how important music was to an adolescent. I listen to lyrics, they spoke to me personally, they gave me the voice to say what I was unable. I listened to Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, The Police, Buzzcocks, and other early 80s punk, but the two big influences were The Kinks and The Clash. Ray Davies was simply a brilliant song writer and The Clash touched my inner teenage angst like no other. The Who announced their final tour that was on a Thursday night, a particular dilemma for a boarding student. The year before Cranbrook didn’t allow boarders to attend the final Rolling Stones tour and had a backlash of parent anger. So the doors were wide open with a parent’s permission slip for me to attend the The Who. I liked the Who plenty, but it was The Clash I absolutely had to see. I went with John Packer who’s dad owner a Pontiac dealership as well as a box at the Pontiac Silverdome and my freshman RA, John Berger. We hung out in the box enjoying libations and being tormented by Eddie Money. Then came time for The Clash. John and I slipped past the security guards that were preoccupied pummeling other people hopping the wall to notice us casually walk down the steps to the general admission floor level. Somehow I randomly connected with Scotty Lebo who was attending with some of his other friends. Scotty is the only other person I know that likes The Clash as much as I do, so I was happy I was going to experience the greatest concert ever with him. We made our way through the packed crowd to about 15 feet from the stage, so close the fire hose they were using to cool the crowd hit us with an uncomfortable velocity. This was incredible. They opened up with London Calling and my famous or infamous infant bladder came knocking. I was not about to leave my precious spot for a mere bathroom crisis. I pulled out and peed right there on the floor or more aptly on the leg of this big biker guy standing in front of me. Fortunately the fire hose already had him wet so he didn’t notice a little more wetness and besides I figured he deserved it for preventing me from being 13 feet from the stage. When they started playing Should I Stay Or Should I Go (not my favorite by a long shot) when the crowd started chanting GO..GO…GO. WTF? So Mick Jones in a haste, flipped off the crowd, unplugged his guitar and walked off the stage. Show over. For The Who, despite being a pretty big fan of them, we retreated back to some empty seats and as they played in what was at the time record decibel levels, I proceeded to fall asleep. Must be something about bands called the Who that causes narcolepsy in me.
I cant really tell you what my next concert was so I will get random for a while taking a trip through the rest of high school and college.
This was where I applied the knowledge I learned from my first concert experience. Yet another concert at Pine Knob. We sprung the extra couple of bucks for the $18 seats versus the $12 lawn seats. I filled a two-liter bottle with 7-up and Seagrams borrowed from my parents full bar and tossed in in my backpack along with some powdered sugar donuts, a couple of ding dongs and other delicious goodies. Pretty much the essential concert eats. When we went through security we watched as booze bottle after booze bottle was confiscated. When the burly guy got to me, he opened up my backpack and pulled out a bag of donuts, and saw the scattering of other junk food and laughed. He handed me back my backpack and said “knock yourself out kid”. We then enjoyed 7 and 7’s while listening to Oye Como Va. I think this stratagem was originally executed in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.
The Grateful Dead
I always thought that being a self-proclaimed teenage rebel (disregard my upper-middle class upbringing and the fact I attended boarding school) and that I should like The Grateful Dead. It was kinda like Jack Kerouac. But truth be told, I didn’t like them at all, but Liz, my first girlfriend, liked them and I liked everything she liked so she would like me. Normal teenage rational. I went with Liz and I think her friend Norah, but it could have been someone else or even two someone elses. Well without going into too many details, the security showed Liz and I the exit for doing what I considered perfectly appropriate Grateful Dead behavior (no, not drugs). So Liz and I had to sit outside the gate and wait for the concert to end to collect the third wheel that I think was Norah but maybe wasn’t. Maybe the fourth wheel too. This just confirmed that I simply didn’t, nor do, like The Grateful Dead. Nor do I like endless riffs. I wish I had saved the $15 I spent on my ticket. While I still can’t say I like Kerouac, I can at least say I appreciate him. Tom Wolfe’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is far better than On the Road for what it is worth. Oh wait, I digress.
The Monkey’s Reunion
Back to music. I went with Andy Wildermuth who looked a lot like Peter Tork and a couple of other Fac brats. Yes I went to a Monkeys concert. Deal with it.
The best concert ever, but not for the music, which wasn’t bad, but for the experience. I went with most of the Fac Brats, Rose Domas, Margie Goldman and Beth Grossman. Before the concert we hung out at my house getting properly liquidly enthused. As we were driving to Pine Knob (surprise) Christopher started one of his legendary rants claiming if he had to get a girl pregnant in high school and have to marry her, he would want that girl to be Helaine Scholnik. Disregard that Helaine had been spending the summer skillfully avoiding him. It wasn’t just a random comment, he kept repeating it and adding more and more detail, more sure each time. But one thing for sure, Helaine was the one. We got to the concert and found a place on the lawn to spread our blankets and enjoyed the music. The sun had set and Simple Minds had concluded. The guys got up and went to pee on the perimeter fence (an advantage to being a guy) still listening to Christopher’s love rant. Upon concluding our pee, we bumped into some girls. Christopher hit it off with one of the girls remarkably fast and before we knew it, was making out with her. She came back to our blankets and the two of them obliviously mauled each other for the entire Pretenders set. If this was the Grateful Dead they would have been tossed. The music ended and Christopher took down the girl’s phone number before she left to reunite with her friends. We all walked off in awe. But we had no idea what awe actually was until Christopher, without missing a beat, resumed professing his love for a hypothetically knocked-up Helaine.
This time there was no The Who, no Eddie Money, no John Parker no burly biker to pee on, just Scotty, Ned, Tony and me (and of course maybe others I don’t remember) and the intimate Fox Theater. Someone may have opened for them, but who cares, I don’t remember, I was there to see The Clash finally. It was the best concert of my life. It was raw. It was loud. It was hard. It was The Clash. No pissed off Mick Jones. There were also no side stories or antics, just a couple of guys getting to see The Only Band That Matters.
Simon and Garfunkle
This was their reunion tour and a trip back to The Silverdome. Scotty and I went with Margie Goldman and Beth Grossman. It was a pretty good show and little historic. Kinda like Kerouac for me. Didn’t love it, but appreciated it. Afterwards we went and got Marty’s Cookies. Yum.
I am sure I went with some of my friends, but I just remember going with Chrissie Mathias. The significance of this was I was on a date with the one and only babysitter I ever had. Maybe it would have been more appropriate going to the Simon and Garfunkle concert with her. Coo Coo Ca Choo. As Mrs. Robinson as this sounds, Chrissie was only two years older than me. She was the girl that lived down street that I had my first middle school crush on that also worked at my dad’s pharmacy. For some horrifically inexplicable reason my mom decided that at 13 I needed a babysitter one night and they picked 15 year-old Chrissie for no other reason that I can imagine other than to permanently scar me with unrepairable embarrassment. My parents that believed in teaching their kids independence had been leaving me at home alone for years and yet this night they had to get me not just a baby sitter but Chrissie. Well five years later I was actually on a date with my babysitter. It was cool and without a cent of therapy, I someone recovered some of my shattered esteem. Oh yea, it was Pine Knob.
This was my first high priced concert. It was the Born in the USA tour and Rose got four tickets. I forget who the other two tickets were for but they bailed so we decided to scalp the tickets. I think we got a hundred bucks for them (huge money in 1985). The concert was his return to Detroit on a world tour right before our senior year. The seats were directly stage right and we had as good of a view of the roadies behind the stage as we did of the band. While it was nice that Rose sold the tickets at a little profit, she sadly sold them to a guy that turned out to have a 350 pound friend that sat next to me. Well, he more sat on me. He oozed over the arm rest and I had to wait for him to stand before I was able to. (there I go with the dangling preposition again) While most people found Springsteen’s endurance, providing a 3 plus hour concert, amazing, I was praying for the show to end as I was tired of being sweated on by the large mammal next to me. But I discovered Bruce will do an encore even if only one person in the back row requests it. No Cortney Cox dance along either.
This was down in Tucson at the Convention Center. I went with Jill, Dan, Liz, Erich, Michelle and Michele. I am still to this day 25 years later reminded that we didn’t bring Mark along. The concert was filmed and Bono acted like a cowboy. That is all I remember other than I liked it and we went to Red Robin before. I had a Red Robin Monster Burger.
The Specials played on the mall on a makeshift stage at U of A’s Spring Fling festival. It was officially a concert but I think I was the only person that was actually standing still listening to them and not simply passing by on their way to something else. It was a good night for me despite going alone. I also met Christine Applegate during her Married with Children glory days. Oh yea, it was free.
I will lump the four shows together. 1st show was college. We drove up in Erich’s 1972 Monte Carlo to Phoenix. He got a speeding ticket in Casa Grande on the way back to Tucson. Second show was at the Hollywood Bowl that I went to with Michele. Then two shows at Desert Sky Pavilion. I used to be a Parrot Head and they were all equally awesome. I am not a Parrot Head any more.
LA Guns and Megadeth
Our buddy Andy Alkire was a bouncer at Tucson Garden, a rock bar in Tucson. They needed extra security for the show, so of course they asked all 140 pounds of me to protect the stage. Along with the half a dozen other ill-equipped security we locked arms stood in front of the stage, speakers prematurely reducing my hearing capabilities, and leaned forward holding back the pressing crowd. The music was awful but I was paid $50 bucks and given free drinks afterwards.
The Guess Who and BTO
Back at the Tucson Garden but this time paying I went to this with Tucker Wildermuth and Dan. Not sure what Tucker was doing in Tucson. There were only about 50 people there so getting close to the stage was not an issue. For two hours there was no bigger fan of either band than myself. I was given the set lists from each band and the pick from the lead guitarist for The Guess Who. I also was able to break the cycle and I stayed awake for the whole concert.
I admit I am pretty much a lesbian when it comes to much of my musical tastes. I enjoyed Sarah McLachlin, Jewel, Indigo Girls (not really), Sheryl Crow, Tracy Chapman, Fiona Apple and Natalie Merchant. I was also one of I think three guys attending.
I went with some people from work. I don’t hate them, but I can’t say I like them. Not even sure I appreciate them really. What I like most about them was how my next door neighbors my freshman year had convinced this annoying kid you pronounced it Depashay Mowday. I made the mistake of wearing a red polo shirt to the concert. They were work tickets given to us by a radio station so of course they were good. I was more of an unicorn at this concert than at the Lilith Fair not wearing all black and sans eyeliner. I was standing as everyone else was, but anyone who knows me, I don’t dance, and certainly not in a crowd with out signed waivers by anyone near me. Half way through the show this goth girl grabbed my arm and asked “excuse me sir, are you OK?” I assured her I was. I didn’t tell her I would be better when the show was over. Thank God they didn’t subscribe to the Bruce Springsteen school of encore etiquette.
The Dixie Chicks
Michele was pregnant with Emma and we were invited to the box of local country station, KNIX. Emma loved them and spent the entire show rocking out in the womb.
Dave Matthews Band
I went to this concert with Carolyn. We were way late and couldn’t find parking. We were frantically looking for a spot and ended up parking quite far but still close enough we could hear the music. As we were making the long walk to the gate listening to them play Crush. Well this is when I learned that Dave Matthews likes his riffs. A lot. It took us at least 15 minutes to get there and they were still playing Crush. We got though the gate, past security and found our seats and they were still playing Crush. In fact, I think they are still playing it.
This was the last concert I saw. They were playing in Chrystal City after the Marine Corps Marathon. I was looking for my usual post race tuna sub at Subway. I have no idea, why I need to have that overly mayonnaise saturated tuna delight when I finished a marathon, but I do. I never eat them any other time, but damn I want them after 26.2 miles. Oh yea, Spin Doctors. Well when I got down to the “strip” in Chrystal City looking for my sandwich I discovered the concert. Well it was was called a concert at least. It was about 7 people standing on the street listening to Two Princes. I made 8.
There it is. I am sure I forgot some concerts. Confused some people that attended. But regardless, this is the best I remember. If you made it through all of this just remember, The Clash is the only band that matters.
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