Favorite Moments At First Ave…
I have four (am I allowed that many?):
The First Time: Monday September 14, 1992
I moved from eastern Wisconsin (the wrong side) to River Falls for my freshman year in college just two weeks before my favorite modern band at the time, Toad The Wet Sprocket, was to play First Ave. I remember having to scrounge for the $8 ticket price since I was a truly destitute student even from day one, but I made it. Two of my new college friends scored guest passes from the campus station (WRFW), so they came along for the ride and paid for parking in the payslot lot a block away. We crammed in as soon as the doors opened and found our spots front and center (funny how some things never change, huh?). Being young, foolish, and immortal, we sat on the floor for an hour and a half waiting for the openers, The Gin Blossoms (anyone who would try this in later years is mad). Around showtime, the floor was packed tight, and I got my first taste of what a sardine can in a toaster oven The Ave can be sometimes. Some all-important self absorbed teeny bopper decided it was her mission to squeeze up front after the show started, and she wedged her body against mine, assuming I'd be polite. To hell with that! I leaned hard against her for half an hour, refusing to budge from the spot I'd earned…and eventually she left. I got a Mad Magazine collector's card from the pack the Gin Blossom's singer was tossing about, and Glen from TTWS handed me a cup of water when it got insanely hot in the pit, and that's about all I remember.
Jeff Who?: Thursday October 30, 1997
On the second leg of the "Being There" tour, Wilco came to First Ave and rocked the house. This one is a simple favorite: Tweedy happily announced, "This show is going to be almost exactly like the one we played last night, so everyone who was here then can just go ahead and leave after the first four songs…We're also a lot more heavily medicated tonight…" And what followed was Everything A Rock And Roll Show Should Be: whirlwind guitar licks, scissor kicks, mic stands flopping around, screaming, bodypassing band members into the crowd, tossing equipment offstage, handing a torn shirt to an adoring fan, and "Passenger Side" done in every musical style known to man. KICK. ASS.
Tokyo Son Volt: Monday November 15, 1999
When I was still a member of Postcard, a very nice girl from Japan named Satomi Takashima posted, asking for help on her upcoming concertgoing tour of the US. Would someone give her pointers on what to do and see during her stay in MN? I responded and offered her all the help I could give her, from taxiing her about to hanging out with her at the show. I met her downtown, we visited Let It Be on Nicollet, and then…we went on a pilgrimage to the holiest site in all of Jayhawkdom… Hollywood Town Hall. We took pictures, laughed, and had a grand old time on the prairie, after which she said she was "deeply moved." And to top the day off, we even got to see Son Volt afterwards! Satomi talked with both Peter Bruntnell (the show's opener) and Dave Boquist. I think it's safe to say she had a good time. I know I did.
Love The Jayhawks: Saturday December 18, 1999
This is a LONG story which some of you already know, so I'll shorten it: I sat next to a girl at the Hawks' New Year's 98-99 show. I thought she was cool, but she left before I could mention that to her. A year later, by chance she posted to the Jayhawks mailing list, and I knew it was her. We talked, decided something like fate was at work, and went to see the Jayhawks together in Fargo. A few days later, she came down here to see them again at First Ave. We held hands before the show, hugged and swayed to the music during the set, and went home, where we decided…"You know, I think this could work." We dated for almost four years, and I can safely say she's the best thing that ever happened to me. So much for the music… It's the place itself that counts sometimes…
Christ…this might just be the "Longest Post Ever." If anybody actually makes it this far, PM me or something. I have to stop running on at the mouth, I think.