Squire's Death and Concert Memories
I was shocked upon hearing the news earlier this week of Yes bassist Chris Squire’s death at age 67. I didn’t worship or even revere Squire – the last time I saw him perform, my main impression of him was that he could lose about fifty pounds and definitely lose the leather pants – but he was one of those guys back in the early 80s that inspired me and my love for music. And as I read the details of his passing, it occurred to me that this is only the beginning. If you’re a music fan of the old bands from the 60s and 70s, the next couple of decades are going to be rough.
I went through a mental list of all the performances I’ve seen since I saw Billy Squire at Summerfest in 1981 with my buddy John, followed by Crosby, Stills and Nash and Rush the following year. The truth is that except for a few supporting members like Clarence Clemens and Danny Federici of the E Street Band, Howie Epstein of the Heartbreakers and two of the Wilson brothers of Beach Boys fame, the guys I’ve watched perform are still around and still performing, which is something I never fathomed. When I saw Yes for the first time in 1984 I recall thinking that a whole fifteen years had passed since the band originated and that I was lucky to be seeing them before they call it a day. Well, now more than double that period of time has passed, and lo and behold, Yes will be performing this August in Chicago. Crazy. I mean, who would have thought back in 1982 that in 2015 you could see The Who, Rush, Yes, Paul McCartney, Elton John, and CSN? Insane.
But here we are in 2015, and Squire’s passing has prompted me to try to recall all the concerts I’ve seen over the years. Unlike some of my prolific concert-seeing buddies, I’ve never been a huge live music guy. I see a few big concerts a year, maybe a small one every couple of years, and that’s about it. And with me, I tend to see the same bands over and over (Rush, Rufus Wainwright, Bed Folds). I’m happy to say that most of these guys are still around (I just remembered seeing Big Country in 1993, and sadly, Stuart Adamson is no longer with us). It’ll be very sad to see more of these guys go, as more and more of my record collection turns into a sort of memorial to artists of yesterday.
Here’s my list. Not included are the 12 or 13 times I saw Pat McCurdy, and many of the bands listed were opening acts or part of a larger event (Steve Miller in 1994, for example).
’80 – Off Broadway (from the back! I didn’t realize kids got discounted tickets for lower grand stand seats).
’81 – Billy Squire
’82 – CSN, Rush
’83 – Beach Boys, Supertramp, Genesis
’84 – Yes, Bruce Springsteen, Spyro Gyra, Rod Stewart, Elton John
’85 – Jean Luc Ponty, The Tubes and Utopia, Til Tuesday and Tom Petty, Patrick Moraz and Bill Bruford, Supertramp
’86 – Leo Kottke, Marillion and Rush, GTR, Julian Lennon, The Moody Blues
’87 – Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Tom Petty
’88 – Sting, Bruce Hornsby
’89 – Elvis Costello, BoDeans, Violent Femmes and Cowboy Junkies and Edie Brickell, Joe Jackson
’90 – Innocence Mission, Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffet, Rush
’91 – Blake Babies (I think this year?), Elvis Costello, Al Stewart, The Guffs, Innocence Mission, Rush
’92 – Genesis, John Mellencamp, Indigo Girls, Randy Newman, Wallflowers and 10,000 Maniacs
’93 – Michelle Shocked, Da Da and Sting, Big Country, The Connells
’94 – Rush, Melissa Etheridge and Steve Miller and Natalie Merchant, The Pretenders
’95 – Van Morrison, They Might Be Giants, Elvis Costello
’96 – Wynton Marsalis, James Taylor
’97 – Bar Scott (I think this year?). Generally lost in parenthood, Broadway plays and living in Allentown
‘98 – Lost in parenthood, Broadway plays and living in Allentown
‘99 – Bruce Springsteen, but generally lost in parenthood, Broadway plays and living in Allentown
’00 – Joe Jackson, but generally lost in parenthood, Broadway plays and living in Allentown
’01 – Eve 6, Joe Jackson, Paul Simon, Yes, Ben Folds
’02 – Harry Connick, Jr., Rush, Paul McCartney, Yes, Ben Folds
’03 – Joe Jackson, Leo Kottke, Tom Petty, The BoDeans, Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, Randy Newman
’04 – Yes, Rufus Wainwright and Ben Folds, Patti Austin, Harry Connick, Jr., Barenaked Ladies, Marc Cohn
’05 – Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Indigo Girls
’06 – um…what the heck was I doing?
’07 – Rufus Wainwright, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers
’08 – Randy Newman, Yes
’09 – Steely Dan
’10 – Company of Thieves, Craig Ferguson, Rufus Wainwright
’11 – Yes, Weird Al Yankovic, Rufus Wainwright, Paul Simon, Sting
’12 – The Hush Sound, James Taylor, Rufus Wainwright, Bruce Springsteen, Rush, Joe Jackson, Ben Folds Five
’13 – Sara Bareilles, Rush, Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, Paul McCartney, A Silent Film
’14 – Roger Hodgson, Devo and Arcade Fire, Jackson Browne, James Taylor
’15 – The Who, Rufus Wainwright, Graham Parker, Rush