Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
23rd September 2022

It has been more than ten years since I originally saw Rammstein, an event which still ranks at or near the top of the greatest concerts I have experienced. Mind you, it has been more than two years since this event was originally scheduled to take place: it was supposed to happen in September 2020, before things went a bit pear-shaped. For both reasons, calling this “eagerly anticipated” is likely an understatement, and probably plays into why I didn’t feel like it quite lived up to expectations. Oh, it was still good: certainly worth the 750-mile round trip. But not quite the life-altering experience, redefining the entire concept of a live show, which was the 2012 event.

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Duran Duran + Nile Rodgers & Chic

Footprint Center, Phoenix
7th September, 2022

Another band gets crossed off the bucket list – more likely theirs than mine. Though it has to be said, Simon Le Bon is looking very impressive for someone who will start collecting his old age pension next year, after a long career of unrestrained debauchery. Well, I’m assuming there was debauchery involved. I’d be quite disappointed if he and his colleagues had spent the last forty years leading a monk-like life of aesthetic restraint and celibacy. Especially since, going by the audience at this event, I suspect quite a few women would still be willing to die on that particular hill. Maybe some men too. I don’t judge.

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Heathers: The TV series

I was a huge fan of the original movie, one which only improved with repeated exposure. We reviewed it not once but twice, then wrote in depth about the original script in Trash City #12 and it’s undeniably a case where the film could simply not be made today. It came out a decade before Columbine pushed school violence front and centre. While I can hardly call that “a kinder, gentler time,” its pitch-black humour regarding the topic would be considered thoroughly inappropriate these days. Though as writer Daniel Waters points out, “No one wanted it to be made in the late 80s, either.” Still, it became a musical, about which I have absolutely no interest. Then, in 2018, a TV series was made – the third attempt to do so – and that’s when the shit truly hit the fan.

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Howard Jones + Midge Ure

Farnsworth Hall, Mesa
June 26th, 2022

I got to cross off two eighties icons for the price of one here, and also visit a venue we’d not been to before. Looking at their schedule (or even the marquee outside, above), they seem to specialize in tribute groups, e.g. Ronstadt Revival, The Magic Of Manilow or – and I quite liked this one’s name – Shania Twin. These caused one friend to wonder if we were sure these were going to be the real Howard Jones and Midge Ure. I am pleased to confirm we did not have to accept any imitations.

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Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

Paramount Theater, Denver
March 14th, 2022

It took a very long time before I got to see OMD live. I think I became aware of them in the autumn of 1980, when their first hit, Enola Gay, hit Radio 1. I was certainly a fan: Architecture and Morality was on very heavy rotation on my bedroom record-player, though they drifted off my radar after Paul Humphreys left the group in 1989. Their re-formation in the mid-2000’s was well off my radar, but a few years ago, I bumped into a documentary about the group on YouTube, which re-ignited my interest. In January 2019 – a mere thirty-nine years after first hearing them – I finally got to see OMD when they played Tucson, Arizona in support of an art exhibition about, of all things, dazzle camouflage.

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