Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Concert Flashback: The Black Crowes in Spartanburg, SC, 1992

I was back in my Texas hometown last week, seeing family.  I rarely listen to radio but I ironically almost exclusively listen to radio while I'm there.  I listen to only one radio station when I'm there because this particular station kicks ass and I always add several songs to my playlists when I'm back home, due to 106.3 The Buzz.

I was driving to meet a friend for dinner and I heard this old gem.  As soon as I heard that guitar riff, I started car dancing. This is still some really good shit, y'all.  It just hasn't aged. It doesn't have that early 90's feel that makes me cringe now.  Don't get me wrong.  There's a lot of really good early 90's music but a lot of it just feels really dated now when you hear it.  At least to me, it does.  This song still holds up

I was a newly married young lady, celebrating my first wedding anniversary in Spartanburg, SC during the summer of 1992. My husband had been transferred there by the Texas company he worked for.  I stayed in our hometown as long as I could, holding down our amazing housing deal and my full time job as Accounts Payable/Human Resource Bitch at a trucking company.  That's a difficult thing to do when you've barely been married a year, to be separated like that.  So I quit my job, we gave up the amazing rental house, and I found myself on an airplane holding a frozen piece of our wedding cake because that's what you do on your first anniversary - eat 1 year old cake that's freezer burned and tastes like shit.  Ahh, love.

I was out of my element in South Carolina, for sure.  I didn't know a soul besides my husband and he worked very long hours. I missed my family.  That was the first time I realized that Texas wasn't the South.  At least, not the true deep South.  That kind of hurt.  But things got better.  My husband became friends with another engineer, Karen, who worked with him and we became good friends with her and her husband, Stan.  We'd go to their house or they'd come to our apartment to play board games and watch football.  They were both Clemson grads and we would watch Clemson football with them.  They were a really fun couple.

The Black Crowes are from Marietta, Georgia, which is right next door to South Carolina. Karen was a really big fan of them and I liked what they had put out so far.  Karen heard the band was coming to town so since I was the only unemployed adult in our little group, I was nominated to traipse my ass down to the ticket booth to buy the tickets while the responsible adults worked.  Yeah, you young fucks.  We had to hoof it down to the concert venue, talk to an actual person, pay with cash, look at a laminated chart to make split second seating decisions, and take actual paper tickets home, praying to God we could keep up with that shit and remember where we'd put the tickets when it came concert day.  Fall on your knees and thank the rock gods you don't have to endure that hardship in this day and age.

The concert was on a Friday night, September 25th, 1992 at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium.  We arrived and found our assigned seats.  I don't remember who the opening act was or if there was an opening act.  The auditorium wasn't even 1/3 full. We were several rows back from the closest people to us.  It was actually pretty disappointing, as the previous rock concerts I'd been to had all been in the Dallas, Texas area and jam packed.

The Black Crowes came on stage and sang their first song.  Everyone pretty much sat politely in their seats and listened. Chris Robinson, the lead singer, wasn't having any of that shit and told us "You mother fuckers need to stand up".  So we did. The band then proceeded to sing their next song. Chris was still very unhappy with our (lack of) response. He said "You mother fuckers need to move your asses on up here."  We didn't seem to understand so he said "There's no seat police here. You won't be arrested.  Move the fuck up here, come on, get your asses closer to the stage.  We're gonna have a good time tonight." We all moved up to the front and no one sat down again the entire concert.  He turned the entire atmosphere around and made it a great concert experience.

I didn't like the band's later stuff but I'll always remember this concert.  That concert taught me that rock stars don't have to act like divas. They can be pretty cool dudes (or chicks) who just want to perform and put on a good show, no matter how many fans are in attendance.

I've been to a lot of concerts since then.  I've seen a band, one that I was very much looking forward to seeing live, sing only three songs out of a full set because they were pissed off that their early show time at a music festival wasn't as well attended as their entitled asses thought it should be (I'm looking at you, Cold).

The Black Crowes did what real rock stars do: They respected and appreciated the fans who were there and put on a show I not only remember but am writing about 24 years later.  

Now, go listen to that kick ass song I posted above, which happens to also be my favorite Black Crowes song.  And don't you dare suppress the urge to car dance.  We do not sit stoically still when "Twice As Hard" is on in my car.  

Till next time, y'all.


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