The Portland gig is at another great old theater, called the Crystal Ballroom, in a part of town nicknamed “Bumside” (actually Burnside). But the area has succumbed to the creeping gentrification which appears to be happening in every city I visit these days.
P.I.L. cira 1986
The Portland gig is at another great old theater, called the Crystal Ballroom, in a part of town nicknamed “Bumside” (actually Burnside). But the area has succumbed to the creeping gentrification which appears to be happening in every city I visit these days. Take one shithole, take a bunch of squatters, idealists, and people who just simply don’t want to participate in high rent or ownership stupidity, let them work together and create a “squares free” area for them to get on with is what they wanna do. Then take one fucking idiot who thinks that the area needs a shop selling a slice of organic carrot cake for $3.95, and you have the beginning of the end for the real artists, freaks, and weirdos. In come the pretend liberals who think exactly like the fucking Chino Guy, but are wearing an ironic Iron Maiden T-shirt instead.
George Orwell wrote this in 1942:
“All left-wing parties in the highly industrialized countries are at bottom a sham, because they make it their business to fight against something which they do not really wish to destroy. They have internationalist aims, and at the same time they struggle to keep up a standard of life with which those aims are incompatible. We all live by robbing Asiatic coolies, and those of us who are ‘enlightened’ all maintain that those coolies ought to be set free; but our standard of living, and hence our ‘enlightenment’, demands that the robbery shall continue. A humanitarian is always a hypocrite.”
I can’t add anything. (I told you I would get that in somewhere Gavin!)
Anyway, apart from that annoyance, the venue was great, as were all the local blokes too. It was an upstairs ballroom with just one small lift which required about 25 trips to get the entire circus up to the hall. After the load-in we had a bit of time to kill. There was a fantastic record store across the street, Everyday Music, which required a visit. They had second-hand vinyls, reissues, headphones, those cloths to clean records, accessories, the lot. And it’s like the ’70s when you walk in — well, in my head. Anything that doesn’t have a bright orange logo and a corporate-style “Mission Statement” these days is like the ’70s to me. I wonder how long Everyday will remain there. Well worth a visit if you find yourself in Portland.
I can’t remember much about the gig, except that the crowd were a bit subdued throughout the show and Bruce had a bit of a rant from the stage for them to “get into it and react” type of thing. It’s weird when you aren’t performing and you watch musicians reacting to stuff. They are in The Zone (as they would say in the USA) and it appears to be life or death at that moment. The guitarist’s Cord might fall out of his pedal or guitar, and his reaction to the tech may be as if he is actually on a battlefield:
“I’m not leaving without my men!” or “Quick! She’s gonna bloooowwww!”
This stuff is serious!
Check out Mick Jones in the Clash film Rude Boy when he tells the cameraman to “Ge’OffTheFahggingStaaaage!!!” It’s nuts! You may think that Jonesy is auditioning for a remake of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers — the end scene in which Kevin Macarthy tells the viewers that they are already here.
My favorite rock reaction is when Keith Richards takes off his guitar and wallops some bloke who decided to be in the Rolling Stones for 20 seconds in the film 25×5. Keef just looks at Sir Mick, shrugs, puts guitar back on, and whacks out the next chord.
Bruce’s pep talk seemed to have the desired effect as, for the remainder of the show, the crowd perked up and by the time the encore was done, they were extremely appreciative (i.e. bonkers).
The show passed without any loss of life.
We are on our way to Salt Lake City.
Read part II of the tour diary here