My Story of the Cars in Concert 1979

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Janet, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. Janet

    Janet Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    United states
    I love the Cars and I think their first and second albums (they lost me after Panorama) are among the finest of the era.

    In 1979 I was a wee tyke and I loved all the Cars hits. When I would listen to them on the radio (the only way I could hear them), for some unfathomable reason, my mother was horrified. When she heard Good Times Roll she informed me that I did not, in fact, like it and that it was a horrible noise. So it was a real coup that I was able to talk my father into taking me to see them.

    I had the privilege of seeing them during their prime, on the Candy-O tour. I was in love with the then current single, Let's Go and in fact had saved up enough money to buy it and played it nonstop despite my mother. While in line at the Philadelphia Spectrum, I was so young and my father was so old that, several other concert-goers asked us if we were really there to see the show (I'm not sure why else we would be there).

    Neither I nor my father had previously attended a concert and he brought a 6 pack of Fresca, expecting us to waltz in and chug the disgusting soda while we kicked back and enjoyed the show. When informed that was against the rules of the venue, he argued for what felt like 15 minutes until they finally told him they would hold it for him and give it back after the show was over (never happened, of course, but that didn't deter him from chastising them for reneging on their promise. They must have been amused.)

    I don't recall the opening act, if there was one, but once the Cars took the stage the entire venue filled with the unmistakable and strong odor of cannabis. I didn't know what it was at the time, but looking back I'm surprised that there was so much of it, as I don't associate the Cars as a stoner band. I would expect that more at a Led Zeppelin or Grateful Dead show. Speed or cocaine seems more appropriate for a Cars show, but who am I to judge.

    Admittedly, the Spectrum was known for having bad sound and I'm sure that contributed to my judgment of the experience, but I thought they were boring. They looked like they didn't want to be there, they didn't engage the audience and even when they performed my favorite numbers they seemed lifeless. They weren't playing well, perhaps they were having an off night, but I preferred the records.

    It wasn't until later that I learned that many others had had a similar experience (sans old father and Fresca) in seeing the Cars live. There is an interview on the excellent Musikladen DVD in which all of the members reunited, including Ben Orr, who was very ill at the time and looked it, during which Elliot Easton and Ric Ocasek addressed their reputation as a less than stellar live band.

    They said something to the effect that they didn't want to engage in anything Pavlovian. I get that, and Roger Waters wrote an album of lyrics that specifically addressed how he despised it (The Wall). However, I think there's a difference between ignoring an audience, playing a show as if no one were there vs. perhaps sharing stories with them. There is a way to engage the audience without doing the Spinal Tap sort of "How are you doing Philadelphia? Are you ready to rock?" pap.

    For those of you who have seen them live, what was your experience?
     
  2. saturnsf

    saturnsf Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I never saw them but have previously read that they were a less than engaging live act. Terrific in the studio though.
     
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  3. Pennywise

    Pennywise Forum Resident

    I saw them on the Candy-O, and Panorama tours. I thought they played really well, but showmen they weren't. I do remember it being a positive experience, though. The reunion tour was another story; they were boring on all counts. The word 'plodding' comes to mind.
     
  4. CirculationUnderflow

    CirculationUnderflow Forum Resident

    Location:
    florida
    Everything I have seen by them is a snoozefest, the 79 musikladen thing, the 84 heartbeat city thing, the 80 Panarama ld thing. I can see if you made music that was dead but how can u do dead versions of Night SPots -Dangerous Type -even Heartbeat city.

    ANyone see Ben Orr (that solo album is top notch) did he bring anything to party when he did solo tour (if he ever did one)

    BTW I love you dad arguing to bring in those frescas
     
  5. Janet

    Janet Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    United states
    Exactly. They had top notch material and it is difficult for me to reconcile how it was even possible for the performance to be anything less than exhilarating.

    As far as the Frescas, I wasn't sure if anyone else would remember that saccharine tart soda, but I would much have preferred a 6 pack of orange Crush to be confiscated, perhaps making us seem less uncool, than Fresca.
     
  6. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Ric Ocasek isn't the most high energy guy. Elliot Easton does shine on every live recording I've heard of them, though. Maybe he's standing still, but he plays great.

    I don't think their style would bother me, though. I don't need everyone to be Iggy Pop on stage. I love their songs, and if they want to stand still and play them, that's okay with me.
     
  7. Dr. Funk

    Dr. Funk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fort worth tx
    I didn't care for them live. I saw them on their Door To Door tour, and I was expecting much more. I recall quite a bit of yawning and looking at watches.
     
  8. notesfrom

    notesfrom Forum Resident

    Location:
    NC USA
    So how old were you when you saw them? 'Tyke' sort of implies 4 years old.

    Cars definitely had one foot in the 'stoner rock' realm.
     
  9. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Sounds like it came off about as well as the album. They were bored and going through the motions at that point.
     
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  10. henry babenko

    henry babenko Well-Known Member

    wow,, checked out some you tube stuff from 78-79 seemed ok,, but that was being recorded for live tv so many they stepped it up a notch..
     
  11. Janet

    Janet Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    United states
    I was 11 years old. I kinda fibbed when I said this was my first concert. It was my second. My first concert was the Osmonds in Allentown, PA. As much as I love the Crazy Horses album, I know it makes me uncool to like them. That said, I love the Crazy Horses album and think it should be played on classic rock stations just as frequently as Stairway to Heaven. But I digress. The Cars don't have much in common with the Osmonds.
     
  12. Isamet

    Isamet Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New York
    I've seen around 150 concerts or so in my lifetime and without a hesitance, The Cars were by far...i mean not even close...the worst concert I've ever seen
     
  13. Coricama

    Coricama Forum Resident

    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    I love the between song raps, Springsteen is the king of that and it enhances the concert experience. Heck, I even enjoyed the canned between song raps that Kiss did. Those almost became part of the songs. Well, enough for for now, I need a Fresca!
     
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  14. notesfrom

    notesfrom Forum Resident

    Location:
    NC USA
    The Cars and Osmonds barely, just barely, cross over in a post-Glam kind of way, c. 1976.
     
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  15. Janet

    Janet Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    United states
    Somehow your observation gives me a sense of relief, as if I'm less of a pariah. I concealed my love for the Osmonds all my life and it feels liberating. Oh, as long as I'm outing myself, I love Yoko Ono too. Back to the Cars.
     
  16. Janet

    Janet Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    United states
    I think Easton is one of the most underrated guitar players out there. His solos for the Cars are so good that they become part of the fabric of the song and one can't imagine them without his contribution. There is a documentary about him made during the Cars days in which Roy Thomas Baker says he'd put Easton up against any other guitar player. I agree.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  17. Janet

    Janet Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    United states
    Just curious: what specifically about the Cars concert turned you off? Was it for the same reasons that I cited or something else? Also, did you see them in their heyday or later when they were programming everything on their albums?
     
  18. Isamet

    Isamet Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New York
    Same reasons as most...got on statge, sang their songs, got off stage. No communication with the audience at all. I think they maybe plaed for an hour and 20 minutes as well. That doesn't mean I don't like the Cars. They are one of my favorite bands and I think they should be in the RORHOF. But as far as a live act goes, they were awful
     
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  19. Janet

    Janet Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    United states
    Unfortunately, playing for that short a period of time seems predictable/appropriate although disappointing given that their debut album was only 35 minutes (albeit glorious ones).
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  20. geddy402

    geddy402 Active Member

    Location:
    Baltimore
    Thanks for posting that link! This looks like it will be good!
     
  21. Janet

    Janet Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    United states
    You're welcome. The documentary is one I've never seen anywhere else and features lots of rare Cars footage and interviews with the people who were in the inner circle during their formative years, including the local DJs that helped break their first album, as well as Easton soloing in the studio on a song I've never heard.
     
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  22. utopiarun

    utopiarun Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Staten Island NY
    I saw them in at MSG in 1980, a week after I saw a wonderful Boz Scaggs at Radio City. One of the most boring shows I ever saw.
     
  23. dead of night

    dead of night Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northern Va, usa
    I don't know, it's obvious your father was in a party mood, bringing in those Frescas. Was he going to pass them around, offering everybody a little taste?
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  24. swandown

    swandown Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Warm Fresca is terrible.
     
  25. Janet

    Janet Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    United states
    I'm sure we were greedy and intended to keep the warm Frescas to ourselves despite the fact that the stoners around us would probably have been generous enough to give us a toke from their joints had we asked. I'm not sure my dad even knew what the smell was. Being 11 years old, I sure didn't, but I'd like to think that perhaps I got a contact high.
     
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