Unkind History

Twenty-nine years ago this week (1/10/80), Styx appeared at the San Diego Sports Arena, with opening act the Babys.

“When a band as seamlessly mediocre as Styx can draw one of the larger crowds assembled at the Sports Arena in recent months,” wrote Reader concert critic Steve Esmedina, “it is an indication that any looming notions about the advanced sophistication of today’s rock audience are pure whimsy.… Styx displayed no appreciable chops, a diffident stage persona, and no imagination. The band members played their stupid songs exactly as they sound on record.”

Two days later (1/12/80), the Tubes played a 14-song set at the Catamaran near Mission Beach, which was just starting to book national acts. Sans their usual cabaret stage props, singer Fee Waybill playfully mocked one audience member, calling him a “surfer Nazi” with the explanation that “They sit on the beach and drink blood.” He also singled out police in attendance, earning cheers whenever he referred to San Diego’s “dumb cops.”

The set list featured around a half dozen then-new songs, as well as “White Punks on Dope” and “Mondo Bondage.” The encore was a medley of two Who songs, “Baba O’Reilly” and “The Kids Are Alright.”

— Jay Allen Sanford

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In some more current STYX news...the last few concerts the band has played in town, have sold poorly. That might be because fans are now aware that Dennis DeYoung is no longer with the band. And neither is most of the line-up from the early days. But, with the Chargers playing the Steelers, and Pittsburgh using the song Renegade at games, well, that got the band there this weekend to do the National Anthem.

I'd love to see them slip Mr. Roboto in there. Guitarist Tommy Shaw, in a news release, said "We love the way the Steelers use our song. We especially love their video montage of 'Greatest Hits' using 'Renegade' as the music bed as they hammer opposing team members carrying the ball."

I just got around to reading the full story on these. And..I'm not sure if this is the same Tubes concert...but years and years ago, when I did bar/nightclub reviews for the Reader, I did a write-up about the Catamaran. Someone that worked there, told me about a conversation they had with someone they worked there back when the Tubes played, and how singer Fee Waybill was so angry about something. I can't remember all the details. Something like him not being allowed to walk thru the kitchen, even though that was one of the main ways to get to the stage, and a big argument with management. So Fee started to crank call the Catamaran, and even send a package of fecal matter to the club. Now, I have no proof of this. And the guy that told me the story doesn't, either. IT was just told to him by the person that worked there back when The Tubes played there. Bizarre, if it's true.

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