Rich Wilhelm

Posts Tagged ‘concerts’

Going Down to Alphabet Street: A Few Princely Thoughts

In 1980s, concerts, music, Music/Memory, Prince on April 24, 2016 at 12:42 pm

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My 18-year-old son, Jimmy, is an ’80’s skeptic. He simply doesn’t believe that the 1980s could have possibly been as great as many of us who lived through it say it was. In short, Jim doesn’t feel that the ’80s were “all that.”

I encourage this kind of thinking, probably because I remember what it was like, in the ’80s, to hear boomers endlessly crow about how the ’60s were so much better than the ’80s. Plus, it’s nice to have warm fuzzy memories of one’s youth, but nostalgia-mongering can close you down to whatever could be going on in your life right now.

So, when Jim disses the decade of Phil Collins, Alf and Hands Across America, I give him a pass to do so. But I will be adamant about one thing:

From a musical/cultural/wow-he’s-just-mindblowing standpoint, Prince was the greatest thing to come out of the ’80s. Or pretty much any decade you care to mention.

It’s hard for me to remember when I was first aware of Prince, though I’m thinking it was during the chart run of his breakthrough album, 1999 — though during the years 1980-1988, practically every album Prince made qualified as some kind of breakthrough. I do remember walking down Market Street in Center City Philadelphia, as a senior in high school. It was one of my first solo trips into the city and I heard Prince’s “Delirious”– has a song every so thoroughly lived up to the promise of its title? — spilling out of one of the downtown record stores I’d come to frequent in college. Hearing it at that moment wasn’t necessarily a huge moment in my life, but it’s also a moment that I never forgot, because it felt like walking by that store at that moment, hearing that song, was the absolute coolest thing I could be doing that day. And it was.

Of course, Purple Rain exploded all over the place in 1984. As far as I can remember, I’ve only ever seen the complete movie once, but it was a memorable experience  — at a drive-in just over the border in Delaware, with three or four friends. Purple Rain was shown that night along with Clint Eastwood’s Sudden Impact. A double feature for the ages.

I was very fortunate to be sitting in the mega-nosebleed seats at Philadelphia’s Spectrum on a Friday night when Prince and the Revolution, with opening act Sheila E, brought the Purple Rain tour to town. I am pretty certain that I was about as far away from the man and his band as I could possibly be but the concert was electrifying, as I noted in the November 29, 1984 edition of the Temple University News:

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Here’s what I wrote about the Purple Rain album in the review:

The Purple Rain album, which defies simple classifications like “rock” and “soul,” will probably become one of the most influential albums of the last 20 years.

20? Try 40. 60. Oh, hell college-age Rich, just call Purple Rain one of the most influential albums ever. It’ll sound like a huge overstatement, but you’ll be proven right.

What is truly amazing is that I saw Prince again in 1988, touring behind his infamous, and unreleased, Black Album, as well as the officially released Lovesexy album. The Purple Rain hype had long passed, but the ’88 concert was even better than the ’84 show, with Prince in full command of his immense musical powers that night. From a purely musical standpoint, it was probably the best concert I’ve ever seen.

I’ve tried to keep up with Prince’s musical journey but since the mid-’90s, the man has made it easy, releasing floods of new music and daring you to follow along with him. The albums weren’t always great but the genius would show up when you’d least expect it, if you were patient. A well-informed box set covering the best of Prince’s post-1995 work would be a really good thing. But then, with hundreds of hours of music locked away in the vaults of Prince’s Paisley Park, we all need to accept the fact that there’s always going to be Prince music that we will never hear.

A final note. I saw a meme floating around Facebook the other day. It read “151,600 people die each day and no one bats an eye. Prince dies and everyone freakin’ loses their minds.”

I think this is a flawed meme. First of all,  I’m fairly certain that the friends and family of many of those 151,600 people were certainly affected by the passing of their loved one. Second, I’m not sure everyone was freakin’ losing their minds, though maybe some fans were going a little crazy, trying to get through this thing called Prince’s death. Finally, the text of the meme was accompanied by a photo of Heath Ledger’s Joker. Ledger’s tragic passing was certainly greeted with much public mourning as well, so I’m not sure if that photo choice was meant to be ironic or not.

As it happens, of the 151,600 people who died on April 21, 2016, the one whose name I knew was Prince. If marking Prince’s passing and acknowledging how his work touched me means I’m freakin’ losing my mind, so be it.

 

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The Dead Milkmen! At Laurel Hill!

In Uncategorized on September 7, 2014 at 3:44 am

The Dead Milkmen wrapped up their Laurel Hill Cemetery concert just 24 hours ago. I have spent a good part of today contemplating what a profound experience last night turned out to be.

Yes, I just used the words “profound” and “Dead Milkmen” in relation to each other. Not a shred of irony was used in the construction of those sentences.

The Dead Milkmen concert at Laurel Hill Cemetery last evening was a profound experience for me. But, I’m thinking, not just me.

When the show was first announced in July, I very briefly thought that I might be the sole inhabitant of the center of a Venn Diagram showing fans of Philadelphia’s favorite satirical punks and the city’s most celebrated cemetery, where I happen to be a volunteer tour guide. How undeniably, blissfully wrong I was about that! Best thing I’ve been wrong about ever.

I realized the error of my thinking within minutes of sharing Laurel Hill’s Facebook post that the Dead Milkmen would be playing. Ecstatic comments popped up immediately from Dead Milkmen fans who also happen to love Laurel Hill in the way that I do. It was semi-jokingly suggested that I ought to do an LHC tour the afternoon of the show. But that particular joke was, in fact, an excellent idea and within an hour I had announced through my Facebook page, that I’d be doing a pre-show tour.

Let me stop for a moment to describe my history with both the Dead Milkmen and Laurel Hill Cemetery. Way back in 1985, Dean Clean, Joe Jack Talcum, Dave Blood and Rodney Anonymous released their first Dead Milkmen album, Big Lizard in My Back Yard. Soon thereafter, I journeyed from my dorm room at Temple University, via the Broad Street Subway, to one of the now-legendary Sounds of Market record stores in Center City Philadelphia. There, as the clerks exhorted customers not to go to mall record stores, I purchased my own personal vinyl copy of Big Lizard. It would spend many happy hours on my turntable in Room 232, Johnson Hall, blaring once- and future-classics like “Bitchin’ Camaro,” “Tiny Town” and “Serrated Edge”–the best song about Charles Nelson Reilly ever–for my friends and me. Good times. No, great times.

I followed the Dead Milkmen through their next few albums and their classic “Punk Rock Girl” but never managed to see the band live. Until last night.

Which brings me to Laurel Hill Cemetery. Founded in 1836, LHC is a National Historic Landmark, one of the few cemeteries in the country to have that distinction. It covers well over 70 acres in the East Falls neighborhood of Philadelphia and is filled with unique memorials to both well-remembered and little-known Philadelphians. Though I have been a cemetery tourist for years, I managed to not visit LHC until 2012, but I’ve made up for that by becoming one of the cemetery’s approximately two dozen volunteer tour guides. I’ve since given several tours, showing the cemetery to first-time and repeat visitors alike.

I flat out love Laurel Hill and the staff and volunteers associated with it.

Laurel Hill also happens to be the perfect venue for a Dead Milkmen concert. The guys in the band certainly knew that. They love the place as much as the LHC staff and volunteers do.

Now you’re up to speed and I can tell you about the tour and the show and just how profound the whole thing was. My tour ran from about 4:20 until the fairly intense heat and humidity melted us and we fled back to the air conditioned gatehouse before heading down to the show. I had a total of eight people on the tour. My wife Donna and our Phoenixville-area friends Jennifer, Tina, Laura and Laura were there. In addition, we had three serious Dead Milkmen fans from out of town–husband and wife Ed and Grace from York, Pennsylvania; and Sean, who had taken the train down from Boston.

The tour was great fun–yes, cemetery tours can be fun! Thanks to something I had learned from another LHC guide, Kerry Bryan, I was able to show the tour group a milkmen-relevant gravesite–that of Mary Engle Pennington, “the mother of refrigerated transportation.” Pennington, who is in halls of fame devoted to both women and chemists, invented technology that made refrigerated boxcars, and thus the transportation of milk and beer over great distances, possible.

Everyone got to talking during the tour. The Phoenixville friends had a new experience to share and the very obvious shared interests-the Dead Milkmen and old cemeteries-made for easy conversation that led to new friendships.

All of this was reinforced by the concert itself. More than 900 fans came to see the Dead Milkmen and opening act S.T.A.R.W.O.O.D. Just walking among the crowd, I got the feeling that, while everyone was just there to have a good time listening to the music, there was also this sense of what a cool and unique experience seeing the Dead Milkmen among the tombs and mausoleums was.

And, while this isn’t necessarily meant to be a music review, I can assure you that the Dead Milkmen rocked, playing many beloved classics, along with a few very promising tunes from their upcoming album, Pretty Music for Pretty People.

I think what will linger with me about last night is how the venue, the audience, the bands, and even the spirits of Laurel Hill’s permanent residents all merged into an experience that we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives. And, though some people might find the idea of a punk rock concert in a cemetery to be disrespectful, I beg to differ. The founders of Laurel Hill built it for the living, as well as the dead. Those of us at the show were simply extensions of our weird Victorian ancestors, who would bring picnics to Laurel Hill and other cemeteries. In the end, both the tour I gave and the concert were celebrations of life in all its odd glory, as well as an opportunity to build on a community that revels in the eccentricities of life.

Plus, it was all just plain cool, in the best sense of the word.

The Dead Milkmen concert at Laurel Hill Cemetery was a profound experience for me. But, I’m thinking, not just for me.

I Partied With The Fixx

In concerts, Music/Memory on November 26, 2013 at 5:01 pm

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The original version of the following expose into the rock’n’roll lifestyle as seen in action during a post-concert meet’n’greet by The Fixx appeared in my college newspaper, Temple News, in the autumn of 1987, just after the events in question occurred. Then I added a bit of grown-up perspective to make it the 27th entry on my blog on Sept. 29, 2000. I used to get the occasional email from someone doing a search on “Pulsations,” the name of the nightclub where the Fixx played that night, but that hasn’t happened for awhile.

Just a few years ago, I further updated it for the previous incarnation of my Dichotomy of the Dog blog. And now, thanks to a recent conversation with my good friend Tom Kvech (a former Pulsations employee) at our 30th high school reunion, I again turn my attention to the night that I partied with the Fixx, with further minor updates.

I do not have any further grown-up perspective to add at this point.

On October 2, 1987 I partied with the Fixx.

It happened at a nightclub called Pulsations in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. At this point, you need to know two things:

1. The Fixx was a “new wave” pop band that hit it big in the early 1980s with hit songs like “Red Skies,” “Deeper and Deeper,” and “Saved By Zero.” The Fixx was sort of the missing link between the Police and Duran Duran. Their vaguely philosophical lyrics (a couple of their other songs were called, “Are We Ourselves?” and “Less Cities, More Moving People”) were brainier than Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon singing about “Girls on Film,” but not quite as pointy-headed (or as catchy) as Sting wailing about Jungian psychology in the Police’s “Synchronicity.” By 1987, the Fixx’s biggest charting hit, “One Thing Leads to Another,” was already four years behind them.

2. Pulsations began life as a Longhorn Steakhouse. In the early ‘80s, it was reborn as a glitzy discotheque several years after disco had been declared dead. The night Pulsations opened, a lighting fixture suspended from the ceiling fell on a patron’s head, killing her (I wish I was joking about that, but unfortunately, it’s true). This tragedy seemed to foretell the future of the ill-fated Pulsations. It was reinvented a few years later as a new wave nightclub, not long after new wave bit the dust. Pulsations was always a few years behind the times.

And now, on with my story…

I was the entertainment editor at the Temple News when the postcard arrived at the office. “Pulsations Cordially Invites You to Join The Fixx for a Post-Concert Party.” The concert and subsequent party was scheduled for October 2, 1987. The dress code, according to the postcard: “Dare To Be Different!”

Now, as the entertainment editor, I could have passed this little gem of an invitation on to anyone else on the newspaper staff, but I decided this was an assignment I had to take on myself. The invitation was for me and a guest, and it seems to me now that I could have waved an invitation to party with the Fixx in front of practically any woman in school and gotten an instant “yes!” out of them. In fact, with an opportunity to actually meet the Fixx, I probably could have gotten lucky, or at least luckier than I had been up to that point in my life. As the Fixx themselves said, “One thing leads to another…”

Curiously, though, I journeyed to Pulsations alone on October 2, 1987. History does not record why I didn’t try to make a date out of it.

The concert itself was fairly nondescript, or as I said in my review, “The Fixx just aren’t much fun live.” We ran a photo of the band with the review. Being smart-allecky college journalists, the caption we put under the photo read, “Party! At Pulsations! With Rich Wilhelm! We’re there dude.” I don’t think the caption was my idea, but even today I laugh when I look at it.

In a way, though, the concert itself didn’t matter. The whole point of the evening was to party with the Fixx after the show. Soon after the last note was played I flashed my special invitation in front of what I’m sure was a burly security guard (actually, I don’t remember) and found myself in a darkened private room, eating ham and cheese sandwiches on very small rolls and hanging out with record industry folks and fellow press people, all of us anxiously awaiting the arrival of the guys in the band. It was just like a new wave This Is Spinal Tap, except this time it was real.

The room had fluorescent lighting that highlighted the paintings of stained glass windows on the walls. These paintings looked just like the kind of windows you’d see in church except that they featured cartoon characters like Yosemite Sam and Pink Panther, rather than pictures of saints or scenes from the life of Christ.

A balcony off this exclusive room provided a great view of the various lighting fixtures and the spaceship that were suspended from the ceiling above the main dance floor. All the unfortunate partiers who weren’t allowed to hang out with the Fixx were getting down and getting funky (in that uptight 1980s way, of course) to the sounds of a popular disc jockey who was broadcasting his radio show live from the Pulsations dance floor.

Of course, the very private and wonderful post-concert party I was attending didn’t kick into high gear until the band arrived. The guys in the Fixx didn’t actually look too much like rock stars. In fact, after the band members had dispersed throughout the room, the only two I recognized were vocalist Cy Curnin and guitarist Jamie West-Oram.

It was all very exciting though. Cameras flashed and public relations people introduced themselves to the band members. “Hi. The name’s Joe. MCA Records. Right, we met in Chattanooga.”

Meanwhile, I had run into a guy named Peter, who was the managing editor of the newspaper on another one of Temple’s campuses. Eventually, Pete and I decided to try to ask Cy Curnin a few questions. As Pete began to interview Cy, who appeared to have a bit of a cold, I heard a woman next to me say to her friend, “I will talk to him, as soon as I get these two guys away from him.” By the way she said “guys,” I knew that if she had still been in high school she would have substituted the word “fags.”

The moment this groupie wannabe saw an opening, she interrupted Pete and said, “Cy, have you seen the Tower Records here?” I didn’t really ponder this question at the time, but with the wisdom that comes from many additional years of life, I now think that was a completely lame opening line with which to get Cy’s attention. In any event, Curnin spent the rest of the night politely nodding to everything Ms. Groupie said, and probably wishing he could just get back to his hotel room or tour bus and blow his nose.

Anyway, after being banished from Cy, I wandered over to Jamie West-Oram. Not knowing what else to say, I blurted out that I enjoyed his work on Tina Turner’s Private Dancer and Break Every Rule albums. He just nodded and said, “Yeah, well, it pays the milkman.” Then West-Oram autographed my special invitation, as I stood there wondering whether I should have mentioned how much I love the Fixx rather than his session work with Tina Turner. Oh, well. There I go, offending another famous rock guitarist.

The party broke up soon after that, but Jamie West-Oram’s words haunted me forever. OK, so they didn’t haunt me forever but I did think about them for about a week. “Yeah, well, it pays the milkman.” It made me realize that rocking and rolling isn’t always as glamorous Bon Jovi made it out to be. For guys like the Fixx, rock’n’roll was just a job. It was a good job, but sometimes it sucked as much as anyone else’s.

And here we are, 26 years later.

Believe it or not, the Fixx still exist. They still have a legion of hardcore fans who call themselves fixxtures. The Fixx’s latest album, Beautiful Friction, was released in 2012. Hopefully it is helping to pay Jamie West-Oram’s milkman, since Tina Turner has retired.

I visited Pulsations one more time, to review a concert by another new wave pop band, Human League (headline: “Humans Pulsate at Suburban Nightclub.”) Right before it closed forever in the mid-1990s, Pulsations’ owners were trying to turn it into a “gentlemen’s club,” but the Glen Mills community wouldn’t allow it. Eventually, the place simply shut down and is now gone. An assisted living facility now exists on the site of the legendary Pulsations.

And me? I’m just sitting here, daydreaming about the night I partied with the Fixx.

The Night I Walked Deborah Harry To Her Car

In journal, Music/Memory, not quite Walden on October 4, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I have been telling people about the night I walked Blondie lead singer to her car ever since the day after it happened. Since some people seem to think that I am exaggerating or, in fact, fabricating the event, I now present, unedited, the original journal entry I wrote on Nov. 5, 1989. The show was a Friday night, Nov. 3. This exclusive journal entry may very well appear in my forthcoming book, Not Quite ‘Walden’–Selected Journal Entries by Richard F. Wilhelm.

Though it is not mentioned here, I sold my stamp collection in order to pay for the Debbie Harry ticket. My proceeds just covered the ticket cost. I later wrote a poem, “The Last Stamp,” in which I mention this sale.

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11/5/89
Friday night was the Deborah Harry concert at the Chestnut Cabaret. I left here early, stopping at South Street first to check out the singles at Tower. They had some I wanted to pick up (Linda Ronstadt, Thompson Twins, Prince w/Sheena Easton) but I’m really, really pinched for money right now, so I used some self-restraint. However, I did go through the dollar boxes at Book Trader, which are now 3 for a dollar, and wound up buying six albums there, including a Donny Osmond LP. Also got Lipps Inc. LP w/“Funky Town,” the long version, on it.

Drove to the Chestnut and arrived there at 8:00. The show didn’t start until 10:30 but I wanted to make sure I’d be able to get a good place to catch it from.

It’s strange being alone at a place like the Chestnut Cabaret, surrounded by happy socializing people. It wasn’t quite as strange once I had a drink in my hand but it wasn’t real fun. On the other hand, it was interesting to watch everyone (mostly college students and recent college grads) as they partied. Lots of drinking, it seemed.

About 8:30, no around 9:00, I positioned myself on the dance floor up by the stage with the other hardcore Deborah Harry fans. The people who came to see Deborah Harry, not necessarily to drink, socialize and then maybe catch the Debbie Harry show.

It was a long wait. Earl “’MMR” Bailey was there and he played mostly good music but I basically just wanted to see Debbie. The ad in the paper said that Young Fresh Fellows were opening but, unfortunately, they didn’t. Instead four women Cure fans dressed in black played gloomy synth dance/rock. OK, but not the Young Fresh Fellows.

Deborah Harry and her band (including Blondie guitarist Chris Stein) hit the stage at midnight. The opening number was “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game.” A mini-hit parade followed, which included “Rapture,” “The Tide Is High,” “Heart of Glass,” “Dreaming” and a number of cool-sounding songs from her new album, Def, Dumb and Blonde.

The show took a hardcore turn toward the end with some punky songs from the new LP, along with “Cautious Lip” and “Detroit 442” from the second Blondie album. They also snuck “(I’m Always Touched by Your) Presence Dear” in somewhere.

Encores were “Call Me,” the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting For My Man” and the Ramones’ “Pet Sematary.” It was a very loud, surprisingly raucous show. I wasn’t sure what to expect, since it has been 10 years since Blondie was at its height. I could have been like a Debby Harry-in-Vegas revue (which is how I imagine latter day Belinda Carlisle shows are) but it wasn’t, which is heartening to me, since I’ve been pretty anti-nostalgia lately.

She didn’t move around much at first, but by the end of the show, she was go-go dancing as only Debbie Harry can do and imitating a drug addict hungry for a fix during “Waiting for My Man.” She looks fantastic these days. She looks incredible in fact.

I didn’t leave right after the show was over. Instead, I waited with about 10 or 15 other true believers, hoping to get backstage or something. I had my three single picture sleeves in the lining of my jacket, just in care an autograph opportunity did come up. As we were waiting at one side of the stage, they emerged from backstage on the other side and slipped out the door. Debbie got out first and made it to the waiting car, but Chris Stein wasn’t so fast and got besieged by the raving fans.

Actually, Debbie did too; even after she was in the back seat we gathered around and shoved thing for her to sign through the opened-a-crack back window. Chris said we should come by the next night, I guess implying that maybe we could stay longer. He said something to a girl about going to CBGB and “I’ll look for you there.” I guess he still hangs out there occasionally.
I stood between the car and Chris, trying to decide whether to try to get Debbie to sign a sleeve or to get Chris to sign a sleeve or simply to tell him that Parallel Lines is my all-time favorite album.

I didn’t do any of these things though, I just took in the scene. I thought ramming something in Debbie’s face, without really getting a chance to at least say hello to her would be a little crass, so I didn’t do it. It was fun just being a part of the scene. One of the guys with Chris called his name a couple times to get in the car because he was getting a little too involved in hanging out with the fans and I guess they had to go. So he climbed in the car and they were gone. So I went home then, got home around 3 in the morning.

Steve and Me, 33 Years Down the Road o’ Life

In Music/Memory on March 29, 2013 at 4:03 am

The voice on the other end of the line was incredulous.

“How old are you?”

“I’m 15 but I’m a really big fan.”

It was late on a Friday night, October 10, 1980. After years of trying to win radio station contests, I had gotten through to the disc jockey at WIOQ, Philadelphia’s premiere “progressive rock” station at that time. I was on the verge of winning a pair of tickets to see singer-songwriter Steve Forbert, but it looked as though my age could be a deal breaker.

“Do you have a way to get there?”

“Yeah,” I said, though I wasn’t entirely certain that I did.

A brief pause.

“OK, you got ’em. Your name’ll be on the list. Tomorrow night at Widener College.”

I hung up the phone and fairly exploded with excitement, yelling to my parents that I had just won Steve Forbert tickets. I don’t remember their reaction, though they may have had the same concerns the DJ had: what about the fact that you’re just 15? How are you going to get there?

Mom and Dad must have been cool with the idea though, since the next day, when I was at Granite Run Mall with my old grade school friend Dave, I mentioned that I had these Steve Forbert tickets for that night and told Dave that my dad would drive us down to the concert if wanted to come with me. Dave tentatively agreed.

Later, after we’d gone our separate ways for the day, Dave called to tell me that his parents didn’t want him going to the show. Just coincidentally, I think that was the last time I ever spoke to Dave. We were attending different high schools and the drift had already begun.

With Dave out of the picture, we decided that Dad would go with me to the show. I’m not sure how excited Dad was by the prospect, though he undoubtedly knew a few Forbert tunes: “Going Down to Laurel,” and other tracks from Forbert’s debut, Alive on Arrival, had gotten decent radio play on WIOQ. Forbert’s second album, Jackrabbit Slim, yielded a genuine hit single, “Romeo’s Tune,” and his third album, Little Stevie Orbit had recently been released.

And so it was that Dad and I drove to the gym at nearby Widener College that autumn Saturday evening nearly 33 years ago. Walking to the gym doors, there was predictably trouble with “the list,” as it initially appeared that my name wasn’t on it. This caused me some consternation, but my name was eventually located and we were in.

It was Dad, me and a few thousand college kids, nearly all of whom were smoking pot. It was the first time I’d ever encountered that particular aroma. Neither Dad nor I indulged.

Forbert’s show that night was great. Later that night, I breathlessly wrote in my diary that Steve Forbert was “fantastically superb.” What fifteen-year old uses that combination of words? Not a phrase I’ve used since, but I was excited. I had just seen one of my first rock concerts.

I can’t be sure, but I’m pretty certain Dad enjoyed the show that night as well. I think he enjoyed experiencing live music, but I remember him being somewhat cranky about the process of getting to and attending concerts. I can count on one hand the number of shows that just he and I attended (beginning with the Forbert show), but each one was a memorable experience.

Going to see Steve Forbert with Dad is one of my favorite memories of my teenage days with Dad. It was also the only time I ever saw Forbert. Since Dad’s passing in 2003, I’ve occasionally returned to that 1980 evening and it occurred to me that if I ever got the chance, I’d like to let Forbert know the role he played in the lives of Dad and me three decades ago.

Last Friday night, I had that opportunity. Forbert was playing an acoustic set, opening for Paul Thorn at the Colonial Theatre, right here in Phoenixville. I decided to go, on my own, and was able to grab a front row seat. I could have brought Donna along, or even Jimmy, but seeing Steve Forbert for the first time in 33 years felt like something I wanted to take in on my own.

After Steve’s performance, I strolled out to the lobby, with the covers of his first three albums in hand. At the merchandise table, I bought Forbert’s latest CD, Over With You, which was released last September. (I’ve listened to it several times over the past week and it is excellent.)

When it was my turn in line, I introduced myself to Steve and told him the story that I’ve just told you. It was a condensed version, as I didn’t want to take too much of his time, but he was very gracious and friendly. After he signed my album covers I stepped away, but then decided to step back in line to ask if I could have my picture taken with him. Again, he graciously obliged:

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After meeting Steve, I headed back to my seat for Paul Thorn’s show. I had not heard of Thorn before, but he and his band immediately won me over. As I listened I thought that Dad would have enjoyed Paul Thorn, as well as Forbert’s opening set. It was then I noticed that the seat next to me had been empty throughout the evening. So maybe, in some way, Dad was indeed at the Colonial last Friday night.

I plan to see Steve Forbert again. Sometime sooner than 33 years from now.

Here’s my Cheap Red Wine video from a few years ago, in which I tell the story of how I won the tickets back in 1980:

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