Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ain't Nothing But a House Party: Central Park 1979

Peter Wolf is sensational. The J Geils Band is one of the top live acts ever & Peter solo blows me away. Bruce Springsteen, Garland Jeffreys, John Hiatt & Peter send me home with a shit-ass grin every time I see them perform. Each one, inspiring in countless ways.

My favorite J Geils memory: In 1979, my friends and I struck gold in Central Park. A group of us played rugby for St. John’s, we were good friends with one of John Scher’s bouncers at the summer Doctor Pepper concerts in Central Park’ skating rink space. Tony rucked for the Long Island Rugby Club. The deal: we met Tony at the VIP gate and as each of us shook his hand; he palmed the five dollar bill we each gave him. This was simultaneous with the entrance of the general admission crowd giving us access to the third row in the orchestra right behind the press and special guests. Unfortunately, this routine was cut short when Tony relocated in fall 1980. But for two years we had boss seats for all concerts.

J Geils was our band. They played Central Park the summer of 79. When we vamooshed a cocktail hour inside an apartment before the parents came home, “I’m Looking For A Love,” was our go out song from the Lp “The Morning After.” Important element for beginning a solid evening.

It rained weakly for an hour before the J Geils show. Since it was a sprinkle they let us in at the normal time. In the third row, we used our shirts to dry the rain off the seats. As I turned to sit down over the Plaza Hotel I saw a breath taking cloud racing towards us and a minute later it dumped buckets of rain. So intense, I laughed and let it run over me. A stream from my head to my chest to my lap to my feet. My Converse sneakers were squeaking, my tee-shirt and shorts were attached to me like suction cups. After a “It’s never going to stop,” ten minutes suddenly the sun burst through and pushed the cloud away. It was over but there was three inches of water under our seats.Canceled I thought.” We sat there waiting for them to tell us to leave.

Two minutes later, Peter Wolf came out on stage looked us over and the less than half filled place and started laughing then the band joined him. He looked down at us then out at the audience and directed us to do the canoe, and his arms went back and forth like he was traveling upstream without a paddle but thought he had one. So we did the same thing and Stephen Jo Bladd banged the drums and the band went into “Ain’t Nothing But A House Party.” They played for two hours and forty minutes. We did The Canoe. Life is good.

I have no J Geils button from that year but I do have The Cars & Southside Johnny buttons below. Here's Evelyn Champagne King for nothing. 1978 was pretty good too.

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