Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Paul McCartney - Cincy, 1989

In anticipation of a big sold-out one stand at the Riverfront Coliseum, I decided to buy as many tickets as I could for an upcoming Paul McCartney show. I slept out overnight with a buddy (Ed Montgomery) of mine in front of a department store in downtown Dayton. When they opened the doors, we charged to the ticketmaster machine in the back of the store easily outrunning everyone in the place. We each bought 8 tickets (the maximum). Our plan was to scalp them without even going to the show. Just put up a few flyers around campus. Needless to say, we got rid of them in no time. People at the back of the line were quite upset when they announced the show had sold-out in a record 45 minutes. Not the fastest sell-out by today's Hannah Montana standards, yet rather impressive for the late 1980's.
Anyway, one of the calls I got was from a sophmore girl who lived a floor below me. She was very interested in buying 2 tickets and taking her mother to the show. I told her I was out of tix, but still planned on going to the concert if she was interested. This was back in the day where we'd go to Bogarts (a club on Vine Street near UC) and purchase 3 buck tickets for some kind of waltzing fest. Then, we'd just use them at the coliseum. It worked just about every time. In fact, I used that same method to get in to my first dead show (also at Riverfront). Anyway, I explained the process to her and she was very skeptical but still wanted to go to the show. I think her name was Linda. Anyway, we got together and made plans. I asked to borrow this guy Steve's Nissan Stanza provided I fill it up and give him a case of long neck Bud bottles - that was the price. In retrospect, not that big a deal.
Anyway, we made it down to Cincinnati and tickets were going for big bucks. All of downtown was really whipped into a frenzy for this one. I think the mayor even gave Paul McCartney the "key to the city" - whatever, the fuck that meant at the time. Wow - what an honor to bestow upon someone - the city with the highest percentage of rapes, violent crime and murder per capita. Nice.
We merged into a huge line of people waiting to get in. They actually had a "checkpoint" set up to verify that you did indeed have a ticket. We flashed our tickets and walked right through. Linda, or Lisa, or whatever her name was confided that she was very nervous and didn't think it was going to work. I assured her we did this all the time. Just follow my lead. I looked for the oldest ticket-taker. It was a 75 year old who probably had never even heard of the Beatles. I made some small talk as he ripped my ticket - I honestly think it was a 3 dollar ticket stub for some kind of dance/waltz contest or maybe something called Buckwheat Zydeco. Anyway, not bad considering tickets were going for a couple hundred right outside.
Anyway, we looked for seats on the upper tier in the back of the arena but like I said, totally sol-out. So we sat in the aisle which made us fodder for the flashlight police. When the lights went out, the place erupted. They opened with a generally mellow song - Figure of Eight, which to this day I still like. The setlist is from a live recording of "Tripping the Live Fantastic" - an absolutely killer live cd.
Anyway, the Linda girl ran into someone she knew and they crowded her in with them a few rows ahead as the flashlight dude persisted. Fortunately an older couple saw my plight and "took me in to their row." I felt bad since my presence made it a little cramped, but I didn't have much of a say in the matter. They even got me high. Unfortunately, I put my finger on the top of the pipe instead of the side carb thing. It burned the fuck out of my finger and made the rest of the evening very uncomfortable. My finger actually throbbed in pain the entire night - it was that bad. No exaggeration.
This concert is definitely in my all-time top 5. Great show. Great crowd. Super-charged atmosphere. As we drove back to Dayton, I couldn't help but notice "how dark it was outside.
I asked Linda why I couldn't see any of the cars that would pass us. She ignored my questions and kept talking about how great the show was and how she wished she could have seen it with her mom. We were on two totally different wavelengths. I persisted about the "degree of darkness" and asked her to get me a beer out of the cooler in the back. When she turned around, she looked back at me and said, "Eric, do you know the trunk is up?" In retrospect, maybe that's why the ride home was a black-out.

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