Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Marcus Amphitheater Memories

It was a rainy, spring Monday… and what better to do than reflect on the Marcus Amphitheater. What I forget is that the Amphitheater opened on the Summerfest Grounds in 1987. Yes, think back, 1987. That year the Beach Boys were the first headliners, and we all wanted to go down to Kokomo. What is even wilder, think of the other groups that played in those early days that are still touring: Eric Clapton, Rick Springfield, The Go-Go’s, and Jimmy Buffett. With all those pop culture clues, it should bring you back to those days of massive hair and the excitement of a new music venue in the city. Not to mention taking the Park & Ride – AWESOME!
Depending on how old you are and your musical taste, the shows you have seen at the Amphitheater will probably vary. The experience you have at age 17 can be very different from being 35 at a show. Another thing that’s really caused change is the Internet. You can get set lists, even links to recordings from the show the same night as the performance, in some cases. What it doesn’t change is that you have the bands you really want to see coming to Milwaukee, and we all have our favorite memories.

In 1997 I was so excited to see Iggy Pop at the Marcus. Of all people, my Dad somehow had awesome 2nd row seats for me. I got to touch Iggy Pop, which was so strangely awesome I cannot even begin to explain. In 2005 I saw the Pixies and Weezer there. What struck me at that show was that all the “youngsters” weren’t in the Amphitheater for the Pixies – so you knew who the old fans were. Especially when you see a few other people standing in the crowd singing along to Caribou. When you make eye contact with them, there’s such a shared enthusiasm! As the Weezer fans streamed in, the energy continued to ramp up, but there was something so very nice about that old fan camaraderie.

Now that we have rain instead of snow, it’s time to start planning what shows you’ll see at the Marcus Amphitheater this year. New memories to be made, revisiting groups you’ve seen play or checking out something new. Whatever you see there, I guarantee you’ll have some tidbit that makes for good storytelling material. With 22 years of musical adventures under its belt, the Marcus keeps on supplying the good times!

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