Friday, September 23, 2011

R.I.P. R.E.M.

I was very saddened to learn that one of my all time favorite bands decided to call it quits earlier this week. I became a big fan of R.E.M. back in the mid 90's after the Monster record came out. Before then I wasn't a huge fan. When I was in junior high and high school, the time they first started to get popular, I was into heavy metal and didn't appreciate their "college" sound. But once I started listening to those early albums again, I started to really get into them. My wife and I got to see them twice. The first time was in St. Louis on their Up Tour in 1999 with Wilco opening up. It was a good show but it was heavy on songs from the most recent album which was hit and miss in my opinion. Four years later they came to Kansas City on their tour promoting their greatest hits record and played the wonderful Starlight Theatre, in my opinion the best outdoor venue in KC. We got really good seats not too far back from the stage.
Since this was a sort of greatest hits tour, they played songs from their entire career. Here's what they played that night just over eight years ago. Star 69, These Days, World Leader Pretend, Drive, Animal, Fall On Me, Gardening At Night, Maps And Legends, Bad Day, The One I Love, The Great Beyond, Daysleeper, Electrolite, Losing My Religion, I've Been High, She Just Wants To Be, Imitation Of Life, Man On The Moon, Encore, Everybody Hurts, Nightswimming, Country Feedback, Walk Unafraid, and It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine). I was extremely happy to hear Nightswimming, which was and still is my favorite song of theirs. I didn't expect them to play it but it was the highlight of the night. Here's a video of them playing it on the Jools Holland Show in England around the same time. Thanks to ladyleide. I was also happy to hear Maps And Legends, a song I just started to get into at the time of the show. Here it is from a show in Germany earlier that summer. Thanks to RyanGosling. Even though I'm sad there won't be any more records from them, the greatness of R.E.M. will live on through bootlegs and the internet. Of course there'll probably be a reunion tour in 5-10 years. In the meantime I think I'll break out my worn out Automatic For The People CD right now.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Metal Memories Part 1

When I was in high school and college in the late 80's-early 90's, my friends and I went to a lot of concerts. At the time most of the big acts came through Kansas City at least once a year and if they were loud and heavy, you'd usually find me and my metal buddies there. I was a little more into hair metal at the time and Motley Crue were at the top of my list. Their Dr. Feelgood album had come out in 1989 and they launched a huge world tour in November. I worked right by a ticket outlet at the time and the girl there had a crush on me so she pulled the first line number (remember those?) for me and I managed to score front row seats. I was super excited. I had never been that close before. My college buddy and I couldn't wait for the big day. The show sold out really fast and I was really paranoid about not losing the tickets. The big day finally came, November 21, 1989. The two of us and his cousin headed down to Kemper Arena to catch the most anticipated show of the year. Warrant opened up the proceedings and rocked the house but we came for one thing and one thing only, the mighty Crue. Of course, being a kid who had a job that paid pretty good for a 19 year old, I had to get a shirt. I wore this puppy out in college after the show.
The show was great and we were blown away (literally, we could feel the heat from the pyro). It was one of the best concert experiences of my life. Little did I know that several years later, a bootleg of the footage shown on the arena scoreboard would surface. I could now relive this great show. Here are a few songs from the show courtesy of Youtube member Rattmaster86. Needless to say I was hooked on metal shows after this barnburner. Concerts are fun now but when you're 19 and headbanging without feeling awful for the next week, it was truly special. Stay tuned for more concert memories as I remember them!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Wonderful World Of Aurora Models

As a kid I was known as by far the most hyper and impatient kid on my street. Some people say I haven't changed a bit. Needless to say, I never had the patience to build models but if I had, I definitely would have been totally into these great superhero models Aurora put out in the mid 60's. The design of them captured the characters really well and the ads in all the comics were very compelling. This Lone Ranger ad is particularly well done.
This ad was my favorite. It showed all the ones you could get at the time. I would have loved to have tackled that Zorro or Captain America kit. Maybe someday I'll see one of these beauties at a con and attempt to put them together. I think I can be patient enough to get them done. I am over 40 now. Don't laugh Todd. I'm serious!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Monsanto's Adventure Thru Inner Space

I've always loved classic Disneyland and one of my favorite attractions of yesteryear was Adventure Thru Inner Space. Located where Star Tours is now, ATIS "shrunk" its riders in their Atomobiles in order to discover the secrets of inner space. It opened in 1967 with the revamping of Tomorrowland and closed in 1985. I was fortunate to ride it the last year it was open. It was my first visit to the park and as a 15 year old kid, I didn't appreciate it as much as I should have. I wish I would have had more chances to experience this great attraction. The wonderful classic Disneyland site Yesterland has more info about the attraction. Also check out the very cool ride through project video. It's incredible. I wish I had more stuff from ATIS but the cool postcard above will have to do for now. It's one of my favorite DL postcards. I liked it so much I made it my blog background. Adventure Thru Inner Space, a Disney treasure that is definitely missed.