Cloaca Melodia

My life in concerts, by Mike Sauter.


Neil Young & Crazy Horse/Sonic Youth/Social Distortion

Brendan Byrne Arena, E. Rutherford, NJ

It was a couple years before Neil was bestowed the "Godfather of Grunge" moniker, but this tour made clear he had an affinity with noisy, scruffy bands of younger vintage. A great show all around.

It was my first time seeing Neil, so I was pretty psyched. He had snapped out of his weird '80s era with a vengeance on 1989's Freedom and 1990's Ragged Glory albums. I was pretty blown away with how hard he rocked at the show. My most vivid memory of the concert was a giant microphone with a yellow ribbon on it getting a lot of applause (due to the Gulf War being still in progress at the time).

The opening acts were pretty memorable as well. I was struck with how low-slung Mike Ness played his guitar. And during Sonic Youth's feedback-drenched finale, Thurston Moore used his guitar as a bridge between the front of the stage and a security barrier and he carefully shimmied across it, all the while spewing caterwauling noise with every move.

This concert was part of Neil's "Smell The Horse Tour," with back-up by Crazy Horse (Frank Sampedro, Billy Talbot, and Ralph Molina).

Neil Young's setlist:
Hey Hey, My My
Crime In The City
Blowin' In The Wind
Love To Burn
Cinnamon Girl
Mansion On The Hill
Fuckin' Up
Cortez The Killer
Love And Only Love
Rockin' In The Free World
Roll Another Number
Tonight's The Night

On a note of personal history, I had just been hired at WHTG mere days before this concert to be the station's production director. Earlier this Sunday (the day of the concert), I had done a short appearance on the air for my first full time radio gig (under the guidance of DJ Brian Billy) and would fill-in in the morning show the following day, just hours after this concert ended. I was supposed to do the morning drive shift for a week until a new host was found, but, as it turned out, I would "temporarily fill-in" as morning show host for eight years.

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INXS/Soup Dragons

Continental Airlines Arena/Meadowlands Arena/Brendan Byrne Arena, E. Rutherford, NJ

I had just reported for work at WHTG as the Production Director two days before this show, and was suddenly handed tickets to both this show and for Neil Young, both taking place the same weekend at the same arena. On top of it, the previous morning show host (Bart Cross-Tierney, who I later got along quite well with when he returned to FM 106.3 with his own specialty show) had departed on my first day on the job and I was asked to fill in on the morning show during the following week (and a week turned into eight years).

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So I decided that I really liked this job.

INXS was at the very peak of their success during this tour (The "X Factor World Tour"). The X album's second single, "Disappear," was a top ten hit just then. No small amount of the crowd was teenage girls, swoony at the drop of a beat for Michael Hutchence and his Jim Morrisonesque looks.

So I found it hilarious when Hutchence did a Cab Calloway-type call and response thing with the packed arena. "Heeeey-aaay!" he chanted. "Heeeey-aaay!" the crowd responded.

"Yeaaaa-eah!" called out Hutchence. "Yeaaaa-eah!" fed back the audience.

"Pooooh-seeee!" he gleefully sang. "Pooooh-seeee!" replied the unsuspecting fans.

"Madonna's pooooh-seeee!" he blurted. "Madonna's pooooh-seeee!" came the dutiful return chant.

The band sounded great, as did opener The Soup Dragons who were then on the ascendancy.

I went to the show with my friend Chris, who had hooked me up with a ticket to a couple of shows in 1989, including the Rolling Stones' "Steel Wheels" tour at Shea Stadium.

INXS setlist for Nassau Coliseum show on 2/18: "Suicide Blonde," "Calling all Nations," "Guns in the Sky," "Hear that Sound," "Wild Life," "Bitter Tears," "Need You Tonight," "Mediate," "Shine Like it Does," "Faith in Each Other," "Tiny Daggers," "Know the Difference," "The Loved One," "Lately," "What You Need," "New Sensation," "Disappear," "Kick," "Devil Inside," "The Stairs," "Original Sin," "Never Tear Us Apart," "Don't Change"

External links:
  • Hear "Bitter Tears" from the Rock in Rio concert one month before this one (requires flash).

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Beacon Theater, 74th & Broadway, New York, NY

One of the main things I remember about this show was sitting a few rows behind Dennis Miller (or someone who looked remarkably like him!).

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I also recall the lights going down halfway through the set, and then hearing the distictive opening chords from Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" (in a way, it's like rock 'n' roll's own Beethoven's 5th). As the lights blaze back on, Sting and his band pull off a fairly fiery version of the classic.

I got the call to start my new job as production director at WHTG the very next morning. I would show up and discover the Program Director doing the morning show, having just fired the DJ. The PD would ask me to fill in on AM drive for the following week, and I ended up "filling in" for eight years.

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