Essays/opinion·Music

Summer concert leaves lasting memories — or not

I was 16, dumb, and ready to pitch some forks.

It was June 1994. I had kicked off the Summer Concert Tour of ’94 a week or so earlier with Pink Floyd at the Vet and now I was fueling up for Metallica, Danzig and Suicidal Tendencies at the Mann Music Center.

Unfortunately, when a middle-aged, undercover cop asked me for one of my Rolling Rock ponies in the parking lot, well, I even opened it for him. Again, I was dumb.

I started mouthing off when the bass from Suicidal Tendencies was rattling the windows of the small Philadelphia Police trailer that had been propped up to bust hardened criminals such as myself. I eventually got out and my skinny ass moshed to Danzig and Metallica for hours with a summons in my back pocket.

Lollapalooza at FDR Park made me wonder why they hold festivals in the summer. I wandered around aimlessly for hours, broiling. I recall hearing the Breeders and L7 and trying on these new-fangled virtual reality glasses in the misting tent, but I didn’t see or hear the Beastie Boys or Smashing Pumpkins even though I tell people they were great.

The tour ended with Woodstock, which ranged from a pain in the ass to life-threatening. The crew I went with, all a few years older than myself, adhered to the rules and decided not to bring alcohol or a tent. The other 500,000 people did.

This is what I remember about the show.

-Cypress Hill smoked a lot of weed.

-It started raining when Henry Rollins came on.

-The mud hole that looked like so much fun on TV sucked.

-Someone announced in the middle of the night that the Rolling Stones were coming on — except -it was the Violent Femmes. Real funny, you dick.

-I heard Aerosmith while I was sleeping under a tarp and wished they would stop.

-Any naked people I saw were hideous and I yelled if they got too close.

-On the last night, I slept in the back of a pick-up truck. The next morning, I sliced my foot open while pushing that truck out of the stupid mud. I returned with a pair of shorts, underwear, and my empty wallet but I have since convinced myself that it was fun.

I’ve asked a few friends if we saw any other shows that summer — I have vague memories of the Rollins Band, Helmet and Primus, but frankly no one can remember, so that’s it.

It could have been 1995.

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