Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined buying a ticket to a live rock concert with a coupon! Welcome to the cost-cutting-if-it-ain’t-cheap-I-don’t-want-it modern day America. We’ve been slogging through a recession for years so naturally start-ups have seized the opportunity to create deal-of-the-day websites. You can purchase services and goods for a steal. Groupon recently offered a ticket deal for British alternative rock 80s band, The Psychedelic Furs at the Wellmont Theater in NJ. As a teen, I loved their music and have always had an affinity for lanky, pale, chisel-faced British men with spiky, disheveled hair.
I rounded up 9 of my friends on a cold, dreary rainy April Friday night, perfect weather for a band formed in a country which rarely sees sunlight. When I attend concerts of 80s bands, which regroup and reemerge, I marvel over the wide age range of the audience. Even more exciting is running into people I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. That’s when I know that the night will be memorable, nostalgic and dreamy.
Usually, I don’t head to the front of the stage since I loathe crowds and it is hard for me to see. I can’t view the stage above or through people, given my main focal view is someone’s posterior. So, I head back to the special velvet-rope VIP section for the disabled in wheelchairs. For whatever reason, I chose to ignore my usual vantage-ass-point and wait for the Furs to deliver music up close. Better to take close range photos.
“Age is only a number” is an axiom that I like to embrace. Judging by the appearance of all the members, I was happy that my axiom rang true. Original members Richard Butler (lead singer) and his brother, Tim ( bass guitarist ) were dressed in black, were fit and trim. They were joined by Rich Good (guitar), Mars Williams (saxophone), Amanda Kramer (keyboards), and Paul Garisto (drums) who wooed the crowd within minutes. “Heartbeat” opened the night with “The Ghost in You” following my favorite song. A welcome addition was “Little Miss World“, a new song which hopefully will attract more followers since they haven’t recorded anything new since the 90s.
Looking around the venue, fans were content to see Richard Butler’s jovial countenance and eagerness to shake hands with the crowd. He still had the swagger and emotion he put into his songs in the 80s, sung in a raspy, sexy voice delivering all the notes I remember.
When they sang the 1981 originally recorded song “Pretty in Pink” I felt nostalgic for the John Hughs movie and song, which was re-recorded in 1986 for the movie. How could I not be nostalgic for a song I first heard when I fell in love for the first time with a pasty, lanky, skateboarding, punk rock love-letter writing imbecile?
After a few somber moments of introspection about high school love, I realized Mars Williams was hovering two feet over me with music’s most glorious instrument, the saxophone. I don’t play the sax and may never, but that instrument captivates me. I couldn’t take my eyes off his strong solo performances in “Danger,” “All of This and Nothing,” and “Pulse.”
I was surprised when they chose “President Gas” and “India” as encores. “President Gas” is one I haven’t listened to in decades and is probably their most political, written in the Thatcher- Reagan era.
“…You’ll say yeah to anything If you believe all this but Don’t cry, don’t do anything No lies, back in the government No tears, party time is here again President gas is up for president Line up, put your kisses down Say yeah, say yes again Stand up, there’s a head count President gas on everything but roller skates It’s sick the price of medicine Stand up, we’ll put you on your feet again Open up your eyes…”
I was hoping they would perform more than the 16 songs they chose. I longed to hear “It Goes On”, and “Until She Comes.” But then I noticed something I had not seen the entire evening. Richard Butler was wearing saddle shoes. SADDLE SHOES! I never see men wear them and absolutely adore when they do. I have worn them since high school and even bought a new pair within the past two years covered in polka dots. Even though they put on a great performance for their adoring fans, I couldn’t stop shaking my head the rest of the night while muttering “saddle shoes.” Currently they don’t list tour dates past April, but I have a feeling they will add some new dates soon. Make a point to see them live.
[Tweet “Real men wear #saddleshoes. #RichardButler @pfurs http://bit.ly/1etL6Hs”]
Screw stilettos ladies. Wear polka dot saddle shoes. Say NO! to bunions. Long live flat shoes. via @PrettyCripple pic.twitter.com/BmhvU6PDpc
— Magda (@PrettyCripple) April 10, 2014
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April 17, 2014 at 8:36 pm
Has anyone written better lyrics than the Furs’, “Nature abhors a vaccuum, I have read, Tell me how do you explain your empty head”? N/A to the blogger, not one bit. MM
April 17, 2014 at 11:29 pm
The Furs sing that? I thought it was Echo and the Bunnymen. I love them more than the Furs and they are playing NYC in August. Their music is poetry. Having an empty head isn’t so bad though. Less burdensome than a head that is constantly spinning and never stops. I prefer my spinning head though. Much more exciting. Never a dull moment.
April 9, 2014 at 5:24 pm
Great post, Mags! I wish more of my favorite 80s band would visit B’more — you always look like you’re having a great time. (P.S. Thank you, thank you very much for the shout out. Velvet Elvis has left the building.)
April 9, 2014 at 3:25 pm
SO jealous of all of the above. I love your outfit, especially when you stand on the Wellmont’s black and white checkered floor. And “9” on the jealousy scale of your saddle shoes… it would be a 10 if they were in navy blue for me, of course.