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The B-52s at the Pacific Amphitheatre - July 19, 2009

3 Ratings: 3.0
The B-52s concert at the Pacific Amphitheatre on July 19, 2009 at 7:30pm           

Tags: New Wave, Concert, B52s, Pacific Amphitheatre
1 review about The B-52s at the Pacific Amphitheatre -...

Rock Lobster - 25 Years Later

  • Jul 24, 2009
I first experienced the B-52's live in concert in 1984 at Eisenhower Hall in West Point, New York.  I was in full military uniform and had my entire life in front of me.  Now, 25 years later, I have seen them for a second time.  Much has transpired in both my own life and the life of the B-52's in the intervening 25 years.  I will attempt to touch on the highlights of this concert at the Pacific Amphitheatre, as well as the reflections inspired by looking back across those 25 years.

While the Orange County Fair isn't exactly the country fair circuit, this concert definitely fits into the "nostalgia tour" category.  Face value for the tickets was $19.50 (but you could get them for half-price at Goldstar!) including entrance to the fair, so there is no confusing this with an A-list show.

Despite the somewhat inauspicious nature of this Sunday night event, the B-52's gave much more than a phoned-in performance.  Make no mistake, there was a marked difference in the energy level and intensity between the two shows.  Kate no longer plays the keyboards, but she was still quite active at the microphone for a 61 year-old!  The three other band members were all in their 50s, so it is to be expected that the frenetic pace of the earlier mid-80s concert was to be somewhat dampened in this 25th anniversary edition.  Nevertheless, I hope I am as energetic as they were on Sunday when I reach my fifties in the not too distant future.  :-)

Although the B-52's released the Funplex album last year, thankfully they were content to play a greatest hits set.  They only played two songs from the new album.  I didn't write down a complete set list, but the following list is mostly correct:

  • Private Idaho
  • Mesopotamia
  • Dirty Back Road
  • Give Me Back My Man
  • Quiche Lorraine
  • Strobe Light
  • Funplex
  • Love in the Year 3000
  • 52 Girls
  • Roam
  • Love Shack
  • Planet Claire (encore)
  • Rock Lobster (encore)

The Pacific Amphitheatre was nearly full and the crowd of 8000 seemed to be mostly older, longtime fans.  And their children.  :-)  In the vicinity of my seats, there were three women sporting wild beehive hairdos.  So the crowd was generally fun and enthusiastic.

It is interesting how so many memories in life are associated with music.  Although my intention was simply to enjoy the music at the show, I found that certain songs would cause me to remember an event or experience that had long been dormant in my memory.  Perhaps that is why they call it a nostalgia tour; it is not just nostalgia for the band and the music, but nostalgia for the times associated with the band and the music.

Early in our marriage, my wife and I attended a friend's wedding at the point in time when Love Shack was a big hit.  Listening to the B-52's perform this song live brought back vivid memories of dancing to that song at the wedding reception.  We had a great time at the reception and especially enjoyed that particular dance.  That was 18 years ago and I had hardly thought about it since, but now here I was reliving that special moment at the concert.

Rock Lobster also brought back memories of my freshman year in high school.  The B-52's have a unique place in the history of popular music.  I know of no other band in my lifetime that has had such a shocking impact on the musical status quo.  When Rock Lobster became a hit in 1979, it took the rock world by storm.  It was completely out of left field in almost every possible way.  This was a time when Led Zeppelin had released a new album and popular music was stuck in the post-disco doldrums.  The B-52's sound, vocals, lyrical content, dress, and personality were so completely unique that people did not even have a category for it.  I vividly remember the buzz surrounding this song, "Have you heard of the B-52's?"  "Have you listened to Rock Lobster!"  It was in a league all of its own.  And it was fun.  Very fun.  And silly.  Very silly.  That was 30 years ago.  I was starting high school and the energy and newness of that song created an optimistic outlook on life.  Things could be new.  Things could be different.

Finally, experiencing the music live again triggered memories of the first time I saw the B-52's 25 years ago.  At that time in my life, I was on a very different path.  A different path career-wise.  A different path socially.  And a very different path spiritually.  I could not help but to remember who I was at that time and where I was headed.  It was sobering to think of those days and yet very encouraging to see all of the changes that have taken place in the intervening years.  Things have been new.  Things have been different.  In ways that I could have never imagined 25 years ago.

The crowd was fun.  The music was good.  The vocals were excellent.  The energy was "age appropriate".  The memories were priceless.  I think it is time to dance this mess around!
The B-52s at the Pacific Amphitheatre - July 19, 2 The B-52s at the Pacific Amphitheatre - July 19, 2

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July 30, 2009
Nice review!! Love Shack baby!
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