Lost In The Stars

On Tuesday, Live Nation announced that Starwood Amphitheater was being sold, and that the 2007 concert season would be cancelled. I can't really say I'm broken up about it. I quit enjoying shows at Starwood years ago. The only time I'd been there in the last five years was for the Curiosa festival. In the past few years there just weren't enough acts playing there that made dealing with the the traffic, the exorbitant parking fees, the overpriced concessions, and the overzealous security worthwhile. But once upon a time I enjoyed seeing concerts there, and there were quite a few good ones over the past twenty years. So in tribute to Nashville's soon to be departed summer shed, here are my top five most memorable shows at Starwood.

5. The Monkees, 1986 - My first concert at Starwood, and also my first rock concert (though I'm probably stretching the definition of "rock"). I went with my mom, and I remember being incredibly disappointed because they used their theme song as a prerecorded intro track instead of playing it live. Other than that I remember the sets by Gary Puckett & The Union Gap and Herman's Hermits better then I do the headliners.

The Wedding Present - "Pleasant Valley Sunday" (mp3) from Hit Parade 1

4. Eric Clapton, 1990 - One of the problems with seeing an act that has such a massive catalog to pull from is finding a song that you don't care for as much during which you can go to the bathroom. I was on the hill with my dad, and had been putting off a potty break for about half an hour when I finally decided I didn't care what the next song was and starting hiking up the hill. I had just got to the top when Clapton starting playing the opening riff to "Layla" and I turned around and raced back to our spot. He followed that up with "Crossroads" and "Sunshine Of Your Love," so it was another twenty minutes before I finally got relief.

The Dirty Mac (John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards & Mitch Mitchell) - "Yer Blues" (mp3) from The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus

3. Spinal Tap, 1992 - In addition to being hilarious, this concert was memorable for how woefully underattended it was. My friend and I had lawn tickets, but since they didn't come anywhere close to selling out they closed the lawn and had everyone sit in the reserved seats. There couldn't have been more than 2000 people there, as the seats were only half full. The best moment of the concert took place during "Break Like The Wind" when they brought out Bela Fleck. Christopher Guest stood absolutely spellbound while Bela tore off an absolutely blistering banjo solo. Seriously.

Spinal Tap - "Back From The Dead" (mp3) internet only single

2. R.E.M. w/ Radiohead, 1995 - How many people can say they saw Radiohead with their Dad? Originally we had lawn seats, but we ended up getting reserved seats under the roof from one of my Dad's former clients at the last minute. It's a good thing we did, because halfway through R.E.M.'s set the sky opened up, ironically during "Undertow." Michael Stipe singing "I'm drowning!" during an absolute downpour was kind of a cool moment, at least if you were staying relatively dry.

R.E.M. - "Undertow (Live)" (mp3) from the Bittersweet Me single

1. Tom Petty w/ The Replacements, 1989 - One of The Mats most infamous shows. Their management thought that putting them on the road with the Heartbreakers might help them become more professional, but the plan was a spectacular failure. They came out dressed in drag, played for twenty minutes, then dared the crowd to boo them offstage. Wally Bangs posted about it in more detail last last year at
Soulfish Stew. The Replacements would have been memorable enough, but Petty's set was absolutely fantastic. It was the first time I realized what a great drummer Stan Lynch was.

The Replacements - "Ought To Get Love" (mp3) from Don't Buy Or Sell, It's Crap (promo CD)

More reminiscing here, and here, and here, and here.

post title by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson

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Unfortunately Starwood hasn't had a good show in a long time (Read. DMB, John Mayer, numerous mainstream country acts) I'm not sad, I never saw a good show there.

Good riddance
I can't tell you how strange it was to see a lovely Wedding Present track in a post about Starwood. I saw the Cure there, with my mother of all people, about ten years ago. Fantastic show. Thanks for the memories (and song!)
Oh my - 1986 - that was a l o n g time ago. It was still a fun evening.
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