Monday, March 8, 2021

Well, I'm a Just a Pretty Thing that You Wanted for a Day*



 OK, not food, at least the down the gullet kind. But perhaps food that hits the gut, if you're as old as Pops Yatch. That's been my alter-ego on KCSB for the latest round of radio for me, doing a show called "C-90! Go!" on which I dig out old mixtapes--there's a hefty box of them in the garage--and re-create them each week.

The ditty above, studio version, is part of this week's tape, "Only the Lorn-ly," for who doesn't love a good wallow, especially if that who lived through all the synthesizers the 80s threw at him. The tape is from 1990, and at the time I wasn't probably particularly lorn-ly even, but why should that stop me? 

But enough about about Eurythmics? To be honest, while I like them I've never like liked them, no doubt partially because they were actually kind of popular, and especially in the 1980s I would have none of that. Never wanted to be part of any fandom that had more than me as its member. (And if you think that's a dick joke, well, it sort of is.) But I did get to see Eurythmics live once, and while that was even longer ago than this tape, than the recording of this video, it's still one of the best shows I've ever seen. Because it was a show. I mean, before they even appeared at Merriweather Post Pavilion, the stage had a curtain that looked like it was zippered together at the front. Much edgier than opener Howard Jones and his mime. (He really did his show with a mime! I guess the roadies liked having to schlep his gear.) And then the zipper unzipped and Annie Lennox came out full butch laced into leather dominatrix, and we were all just putty in her hands.

You can catch a lot of that aiming to please in this clip for "The Last Time:" the clearly choreographed bits (I'm a sucker for a band when the musicians move like they are in the same group--another favorite '80s memory is Peter Gabriel doing pretty close to aerobics with his band on "I Go Swimming"), Dave Stewart, cool in his shades, slashing his guitar (more on him in a bit), a background singer that can belt with Annie, so much leather there are probably cows outside the venue in protest. Energy, everywhere. 

You know, I miss live shows. 

You know, I never forget live shows. 

For that July in Columbia, MD in 1984 when I got to see the band, two wondrous things happened. One was Lennox pulled some folks up from the front row, and lo and behold one was a long-haired friend of mine who danced so madly I thought his flopping lengthy locks might hurt somebody. He was the happiest grinning fool, and in normal life his radio show back in the day played what that station called NAR--Not Available Radio. (Indeed, a Residents reference.) Ken worried not a whit that he shimmied next to a pop star. I wish I could say such a revelation changed me.

And then there was the bit where I could just close my eyes, which often seems counterintuitive at a live show--"dummy, you can do that when the record is playing"--(note, this was 1984, so even pre-CD), but just as often is necessary for a moment, when it can get to be too much. As it was as Stewart didn't just go through the rockstar catalog moves but unleashed a wholly unholy solo at the tremulous end of the brilliant "Jennifer" that built past the place where building seems possible, something nearing noise and heaven in the same arcing sustain. 

I'm going to go close my eyes now, as I need to be at a live show right now.

*Yes, that does mean 2 out of my last 3 posts have titles nicked from the same band.

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