Notes on Retro
NBC-TV has gone retro this week, with an Eagles concert last night and a summer series premiering tonight called Hit Me Baby One More Time, a concert/competition featuring various musical celebrities, mostly from the 1980s. It's an interesting premise (based, as so many of these things are, on a series first produced in the UK), and will feature artists who were fairly major for a while--tonight, for example, Loverboy--and those who were footnotes--tonight, for example, Cece Peniston. Promised in coming weeks are Tommy Tutone, the Knack, Vanilla Ice, and others--not that these are the biggest or the best on the bill, but they're the ones I can remember. (The site linked above is not about to reveal any more than the bare minimum, and you might want to mute your speakers before going there.)
We're going retro here in Madison later this summer, too. It was announced this week that Alice Cooper and Cheap Trick will share a bill here over Labor Day weekend, out at the Alliant Energy Center, the venue formerly known as the Dane County Coliseum. Although it was most famous as a hockey arena, the Coliseum is also remembered as a concert venue by anybody who grew up around here. I saw Emerson, Lake and Palmer there twice, Billy Joel, Electric Light Orchestra, Bob Marley and the Wailers, and I'm sure there must have been others. (I actually attended one of the very first shows in the building when it was new, when the circus came to town in 1968.) It was a barn even in its day, and it's definitely retro now--the interior corridors are a hideous shade of yellow that nobody would choose today, the upholstered seats are showing the effects of 35-plus years of butts, and the general ambiance is rundown. It still hosts concerts on a regular basis, however--Green Day was here not long ago, and Neil Diamond is coming in this summer. So are the monster trucks and the rodeo.
Forgotten 45: Although Wham's hits were generally either brain-dead or sugary and sometimes both, "Everything She Wants" was something else again. It's about what happens when it's time to pay for the decisions you made while you were partying, and the bitterness that can come from the realization that what seemed like a good idea at the time might not be so good months or years down the line. But because you can still dance to the synths and the rhythm track, lots of people missed that part. (Columbia 04840, chart peak #1, May 25, 1985)