The Best Rock Show Evah!
It's true that I’m famous internationally for having seen many major stadium rock shows, but maybe the best show I ever saw was in the modest venue of downstairs at the Middle East Club (in Cambridge, MA), way back in the mid-1990s.
OK, if you must press me for details: the occasion was a benefit concert for the drummer of the band Morphine and (I think) his girlfriend (or maybe just his friend), who had been in a tobogganing accident together (or maybe it was skiing, or neither – look, it was a long time ago). In any event, the drummer for Morphine was certainly injured in some or other fashion because Morphine played without him or any other drummer, just to illustrate the loss.
The opening act was Dan Zanes of Del Fuegos and, later, kid-music fame. Then came a band I’d heard of but didn’t know called Groovasaurus, then “Morphine Jr.” (Morphine sans a drummer), and finally Soul Coughing. This was my first time seeing Soul Coughing and was easily the best of the many shows I saw. They were young and hungry, and Mike Doughty kept stopping the band in the middle of songs to kick jerks out of the mosh pit for throwing their elbows around, trying to draw blood.
As if seeing the now-dearly departed Mark Sandman of Morphine on the same night and in the same venue as early Soul Coughing wasn’t enough to give this show serious “rock cred,” getting treated to Groovasaurus beforehand sealed the deal. This was a band with a name that was apt, as their songs were long and groovy, and their singer, Anita Suhanin, could really bring it. Check it, from a show at T.T. The Bear’s in that same smoky era.