Two tickets to paradise (Part One)

There’s an older, British gentleman who comes into my bar every so often.  He sits on the patio and smokes a cigar.  Before settling into his comfort zone, he orders a Guinness, straight pour into a chilled glass, for himself and a pinot grigio for his wife.  He rarely orders anything different.

Considering he comes into the bar quite frequently, one evening long ago, I engaged him in a conversation about music.

I asked him, somewhat closemindedly in retrospect, which he thought was the best band to come out of England, giving him only three options: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin.

To be perfectly honest, I was taken aback by his initial reaction, which was “Fuck the Beatles.” One would think most reasonable audiophiles consider them the best, if not most influential, band to come from across the pond.  Clearly, this man had a beef with the Fab Four. 

His second answer was even more surprising.  He selected none of the bands I’d mentioned, opting instead for Black Sabbath. He had good reason.

After throwing the Who and Queen into the mix for good measure, he proceeded to tell me that, as a 16-year-old lad, he’d stumbled into a pub in his native Birmingham after hearing raucous music coming from inside.  Who did he find?  Black Fucking Sabbath, who also hails from Birmingham, playing in some tiny venue to a crowd of a few hundred if that.  Can you imagine?

I think about 96.3% of us can agree that Black Sabbath is NOT the greatest (however, arguably as influential) band to come out of England but seeing them, in that bar, at that time (Ozzy Osbourne would have been about 21) would have to be pretty wild.  You should have seen how his eyes lit up telling me this tale of fifty years ago, as if he was sixteen all over again.  I neglected to ask him the obligatory questions required of many Sabbath fans like how long his hair was at the time, what sort of drugs he was on and whether he’d sacrificed any animals on the way to the show.

Our conversation reminded me of another I have with many of my customers that I figured I’d now share with the internet.

I’m giving you a ticket and a time machine.  You have to tell me how you’re going to use them.  If you had one opportunity to see any band at any venue at any point in time, who would it be and why?

These answers are strictly subjective which means there are no wrong ones.  You might want to travel back in time and see Prince or Michael Jackson.  How about the Beatles at Shea Stadium in ’65, James Brown at the Apollo Theater, Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock or perhaps Live Aid?  Van Halen’s first tour where as an opening act they blew the headliners off the stage, Led Zeppelin anywhere, at any time, or perhaps some early punky Police would rank high on my list.  How about the first time Billy Joel debuted Piano Man at whichever bar he wrote the song?  Or Marvin Gaye in Washington, D.C. in 1972, the only time he ever performed the entire What’s Going On album from start to finish, or maybe a ticket to see Super Bowl XXV and the chance to hear Whitney belt out the national anthem.

Personally, I’ve always gone off the grid with this answer.  While seeing a young Zeppelin play some tiny, smoky London bar in the late sixties would be a tough ticket to pass up, as would say a Mozart concerto in the 1700s, sneaking into see early Rage Against the Machine, before anyone knew their name while they were perhaps one of the angriest, funkiest and most energetic rock bands on the planet might just be the ticket I cash in.  I’m not too sure I could handle the mosh pit but drop me in a safe zone on the outskirts of some L.A. dive bar and let me watch them shred. 

Now it’s your turn.  SportsChump is graciously giving you your tickets to paradise (not to see Eddie Money, although I did see him in the mid ‘90s for $5 a ticket).  Who are you going to see, where are you seeing them, when during their careers and why?

I considered giving away a prize for this contest but there are no wrong answers… unless of course you chose Milli Vanilli, for which you may be banned from this site for an undisclosed period of time and recommended for intensive musical taste counseling. 

(Stay tuned for Part Two: A Dream Come True)

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12 Replies to “Two tickets to paradise (Part One)”

  1. Well, I was going to go with music and a GNR for $8 @ Santa Monica Civic Center moment of course but then you throw out a SBXXV reference. .Let’s see I was staying at the Sportschumps himself’s residency to see my NY Giants tand their backup qb of 5 years take on the Buttfalo Bills at the Big Sombrero.
    My mother and Sportschumps other mother took me to see our GMEN (on my 21st bday) take on the Bills. Witnessed the amazing Whitney (From Newark,NJ) belt out the best rendition of the anthemn and then watch my GMEN pull of the amazing win in the Bay.

  2. Tool
    JC Dobbs – Philadelphia

    I would also like to have some of whatever Maynard was on that night, the guy doesn’t blink once during the entire set, heh. This was right before they released Undertow, probably one of the most influential albums in Prog Rock.

    The energy that Tool puts out is phenomenal, it’s like a wall of sound that smacks you right in the face. I couldn’t imagine seeing them in such a small venue, when they were just coming out of the gate.

  3. I love this question because every time I’m asked, I give a different answer. There’s just too many concerts…

    Right now? I want to go see Elvis in Vegas in the 70s. I just watched the (((googles right spelling))) Baz Luhrmann biopic and I loved it and remembered a lot of the music I heard in my childhood…thanks to my dad, I was not even alive in the 70s xD

  4. JRR…

    Might take the second coming of Whitney Houston before the Giants become relevant again. ZING!

    I guess I never realized you were at that Bowl. Pretty damn sweet though.

    And at a point in our nation’s history where rock and roll was almost dead, it was that first GnR album that reminded us all that rumors of the art form’s demise were happily premature.

  5. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band…at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park NJ…in the summer of 1982. They literally spent that summer at the Jersey Shore, performing 33 times at five different locations including the Stone Pony. They were white-hot at the time. I’ve never seen them in concert, but that would have to be the ideal time and place.

  6. I would have a hard time passing up seeing Miles Davis in a small club during his Kind Of Blue period.

  7. 1969 side of stage watching Elvis in black leather
    (Since I already saw Eddie Money)

  8. Brian…

    I think that’s a common theme we’ll find here, fans wanting to see acts right before they break.

    Kinda like the first night you sang karaoke at the Joyce.

  9. Teej…

    I still haven’t seen the flick but will when it hits the cable channels. I’ve heard nothing but good things.

    Instead of Elvis, I’d opt for a live James Brown show when he was at his absolute funkiest, which would probably be around the late 60s, early 70s.

    Hardest working man in show business.

  10. Bruce…

    The Boss is coming to Tampa next year.

    Normally, when big acts come to town, despite the hubbub, you can still generally land tickets.

    I hear that’s not the case with the Bruce show. Any tickets you’d be lucky enough to find are gonna cost you your first born.

  11. Dawk…

    Nicely done, sir.

    Not only would that be a killer show to see but I imagine the people watching at the show might be equally as entertaining.

    What to wear, what to wear.

    On a related note, I wonder the drug of preference among concertgoers at that gig.

  12. DB…

    Years ago, I tended bar for a married couple. It was a private gig.

    Every year for the wife’s birthday, the husband would hire an Elvis impersonator to perform for the party. It was quite a deal, and she was quite the obsessed fan.

    She had an entire room of her house decked out in full Elvis regalia, including of all things, an Elvis Presley pinball machine.

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