Monday, July 24, 2017

Happy birthday Metro! Here's to 35 more years ... at least!

I still can't believe I happened across this and was able to snap a photo on my way in Saturday night. 
The Metro is celebrating it’s 35th anniversary this year, and last weekend was it’s official birthday party. It was a fun-filled evening of DJ sets from people with deep ties to the venue, film retrospectives of various eras of the club’s history, and a number of folks were invited ahead of time to share some of their own memories of what the club has meant to them. For some reason I was asked to join that latter esteemed group (I could not have felt more honored to be able to participate).

As I thought back to my own history with Metro I was amazed, though I really shouldn’t have been, how entwined out musical histories are. I tried to share some of the my personal firsts and highlights as I hit the stage for my allotted five minutes; which, of course, I sped through in three … how punk rock of me! Here's a video of it!* Oh yeah, and the intro got cut off, so magine Don Halls over-the-top energy when readig the following.

DON HALL: Our next speaker says about his first show at Metro, “If I remember correctly my first Metro show was House Of Love in 1990, and the venue had me thinking it was the hugest, coolest place to eve see a show. Obviously as the years have passed its still the coolest, but now I realize how awesomely intimate the space is.” Please welcome Jim Kopeny to the stage.

Now that you’ve seen what I actually said, here re my unused notes from the night. I had planned to go onstage and refer to my phone to make sure I didn’t miss any pertinent highlights. That was my plan until one of the earlier speakers, a teenage poet, went up there and absolutely stayed with an excellent pom he had memorized, with nary a cheat sheet or note card in sight. So I caved and braved it sans notes. And of course in doing so, missed a couple memories I wish I hadn’t skipped over.

So, now that you’ve seen the video, read the original notes below and you can probably fill in the missing pieces with my voice.
Thoughts on Metro - 7.22.17
Relative newcomer to the The Metro. I've only been coming here for 27 of its 35 years. 
Didn't get out much in the '80s, too busy collecting and building shows in my own head 
House of love - Guy Chadwick guitar string almost took my eyes out
Moved south so missed the early '90s
Hovercraft / Foo Fighters / Mike Watt - May 1995 (FF album July 4) - 1st show back in Chicago
Alanis Morrissette -1st photo pass - July 1995
Tuscadero - danced to rock music in SmartBar
Sloan - heard the heavy rock in their live sound made them one of my favorites 
Sarge - First band interview in green room (Elizabeth didn't recognize me ha!)
Flaming Lips through all various incarnations freaky 5-piece guitar band to trio
First celebrity meet and greet - Afghan Whigs 98 or 99 (learned celebrities hate meet and greets)
Naked Raygun - taste of what I missed the first time around
Triple Fast Action final show
Wife photographing band for first time
Carly Rae - broke perfect record of never getting kicked out of a show (misunderstanding over press pass and let back in)
Foo Fighters again - full circle
Written about and photographed so many bands and I felt lucky to witness every one even the ones I ended up not liking at the time 
Jane's Addiction - met Barb Glomski through Mich later and learned just how legendary that night was
Gish album release
Those are my only regrets. Why? Because Metro is the best rock club in the world. Everyone wants to play here. 
And the simple reason is every show here is special. I know that sounds like a cliche at worst and disingenuous at best, but it's true. 
There's a magic in the walls. A vibe in the room. An inescapable feel that everything in here MATTERS whether it's to a room of 5 or packed to overflowing. 
Oh yeah. Tonight is another first. This is the first time I've ever stood on stage in this room, looking out. Metro did it again. Always surprising me with new things no matter how long I've been coming there. 
Thank you again to all The Metro staff I’ve encountered since the first day I walked into that amazing room. And thank you most of all to Joe Shanahan, the man behind the legendary room. It is not an understatement to say that without Joe, your understanding of modern music might not have been the same. I’m not kidding. When you see the list of bands that have played that room, often before they were popular and still needed nurturing from the handful of clubs that could help sustain nascent touring careers, you will find you have to agree with me.

And the astounding thing is the man is a pioneer and you still see him in the balcony at shows more times than not, because the guy is just that in love with music.

Happy birthday Metro. I wouldn't be who I am now without you.

*Yes, it's shot vertically. Get over it. It was shot as a favor for me so if I can live with it so can you. Now if you want to complain about the dude talking, I can't do much for you there.

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