Not Just the Ticket — a ticketless entry on Green Day and UC Irvine shows, 1992/1993

Time for a break from the run of stories about shows I have tickets for to talk about ones I wish I had tickets or flyers or photos or something more for — in fact there’s probably an archive of sorts around that I don’t know about, maybe I should do some investigating. It would be typical of me to ignore something that’s probably just a couple of buildings away which has all this stuff.

I’ve written and mentioned off and on — here a bit but also elsewhere on the Net — that UC Irvine has had a renaissance when it comes to excellent shows appearing here on a regular basis. This is down to the efforts of the incredible Acrobatics Everyday team, who have increasingly made the campus a spot on the map for a lot of independent touring acts once more — scroll down to the bottom of their page there to see who they’ve had through in the past couple of years. It’s been wonderful to see and my hopes that this will become a regular effort which will last over time continue to increase — it’s one thing to be inspired to create something like this, quite another to fully maintain it, especially when dealing with a populace that by default mostly changes year by year as new people arrive and older students depart or graduate.

I say ‘renaissance’ and I mention the possibility of things falling apart precisely because I’ve lived through this cycle before thanks to arriving on campus in fall 1992 in what turned out to be right about the middle of a golden age there. Thanks to a combination of well-inclined permanent staffers at ASUCI, a reasonable booking budget and input from a variety of people who wanted good shows in — not least of whom was my friend Jen V., who as far as I could tell either booked or arranged for most of these shows to happen — the campus had a regular run of everything from big auditorium/gymnasium shows (and more about those soon in this series) to smaller shows booked in student center rooms or for noontime performances on the student center plaza. If there’s a lot of well-intentioned if somewhat oppressive nostalgia now about the early nineties and music — and hey, I am helping to feed it all a bit with these stories, I realize — then there’s still no denying that there seemed to be something happening all the time right around this period.

The first I’d heard that UC Irvine was the potential home for anything good like that was when Sonic Youth played there in 1990, followed by the Cocteau Twins with Galaxie 500 the following year, a now notorious show (thanks a spotlight incident involving Dean Wareham) that I really wish I’d seen. Arriving on campus and working with both the student newspaper and the radio station meant I was in the mix of this all almost immediately, especially as I’d swiftly befriended Jen V. and heard her talk about the many upcoming shows pretty quickly after that point.

The first big shows I knew about that happened — big as in mentions on KROQ big — were separate dates by Fishbone and Alice in Chains, both of which I missed. The first small show I missed, though, was apparently one by Drive Like Jehu in fall of 1992 at the student pub. (Thankfully I caught them later on but I’ll yet get to that.) The student pub was one of the key show locales, unsurprisingly enough, though it was a bit of a curious place — vaguely okay beer selections, notoriously bland food, located on the upper level of the old student center complex over the food court, also complete with a balcony area. Like the main building itself it all felt a bit like an eighties hangover.

One thing I did remember hearing about was that the manager of the place apparently — due to liability or maybe due to other reasons — accepted show bookings but didn’t want people to dance or move much. Remember, this is 1992 — moshpits and floaters and all that — but even vaguely pogoing was beyond the pale, as I understood it and later experienced it. Keep all that in mind.

Eventually I got my act and brain together and started making sure I went over to these shows, happening just about ten minutes walk away from my on-campus housing. Who exactly I saw that year and when is a touch of mystery but some memories are clear — the first ever pub show I saw was supposed to be the Breeders, touring for the Safari EP, but they had to cancel, leaving us with the opening band, none other than Unrest. A small but spirited crowd, a great performance, I really only knew the most recent releases but I loved what they were playing and the whole deal, Mark E. Robinson seemed like a pretty happy and confident performer but so was everyone.

Other pub shows crowd up in the memory, and some might be from my second academic year there so I have to be a bit careful. I got to be aware of a number of upcoming shows thanks to my newspaper work, so quite often a preview story served as my own reminder that someone was coming through. Tiger Trap definitely played a lovely afternoon set there, maybe only to ten people but we all adored it. Mecca Normal kicked major butt with their nighttime show, and I loved how the whole crowd busted out into the “I Walk Alone” chorus when Jean Smith did her walk-through-the-audience part. Naked Soul headlined a set as well — quite possibly headlining over Refrigerator or Diskothi-Q or maybe that was separate. I do definitely remember Nothing Painted Blue playing a set at some point, and also Franklin Bruno and Peter Hughes fake-charging the stage in between sets one night, I just can’t remember which night. But getting back to Naked Soul — Mike Conley asked me to introduce them, something I was both surprised and touched by, and I know someone taped the show because there’s this YouTube clip:

I’m not in that but I’m around there in the audience, somewhere.

And then there were the noontime shows, though again I’m trying to recall who did play that year and who played the following. fIREHOSE played a set, the second time in as many years (and on as many UC campuses) I’d seen them do a noontime show — this would have been spring 1993. Xtra Large did a show, even if that’s mostly of local Costa Mesa interest (but hey, they were signed to Irving Azoff’s label, to my eternal surprise). I absolutely remember the Melvins noontime show — how could I miss they were coming through, after the Mr. Bungle show the previous year — though I couldn’t actually watch it, as I was stuck in a seminar. The windows were open, though — it was a beautiful spring afternoon — and I remember that day going like this:

“And as we study Nadine Gordimer’s work in more detail –”

*BOOMBOOMBOOMYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGGGGGH*

“–the damage of apartheid–”

*SCREEEEEEEEEEEWHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAA*

“–comments? Mr. Raggett?”

“Could you repeat the question?”

It wasn’t quite like that but it was close. Later I passed Lori Black on what looked like a pretty bad trip sitting outside on the steps next to the radio station’s home building and then walked up into the station to find King Buzzo joking around on the air. Fun day, really.

However, the absolutely most legendary show of all these ones I saw or attended (or just heard) was one that didn’t actually happen. Shortly after I arrived at KUCI I started hearing about this band called Green Day, who I didn’t know about at all. Either whoever was at KLA who was into them didn’t run into me or they just weren’t big there at all, but KUCI had a happy fanbase and then some. One thing led to another and sometime in midwinter 1993 I was deep in conversation with Tre Cool for an interview for the student paper about a forthcoming show. (I have a variety of Tre Cool memories around this time as he was around campus for a couple of stretches — long story.)

At the time there was major interest in the group from various labels — the bidding war was on and of course we know how it all turned out and what happened with them, so no need to belabor that point. In 1993, it was all up for grabs, and so Sony, Geffen and Warner Bros. were all anxious to secure the band’s services (there might have been others, not sure). Therefore, the show that they were scheduled to play at the UC Irvine pub was something of a showcase performance, as reps — and allegedly David Geffen himself — were due to make an appearance. I remember Jen V. being way anxious about the show for that reason, as well as for the fact that the pub manager was getting pretty antsy about having a bunch of punk fans at his place. This was all compounded by the fact that the other two bands on the bill had their own following — the Women, a great Costa Mesa act that never quite broke through, were going to open, while Face to Face, a couple of years away from their own major label leap, were in the middle.

And to top that off, Green Day had to cancel a show the previous night in the Inland Empire but apparently told the crowd to go to the UC Irvine show instead as it was cheap and/or free, I forget which. So there were going to be even more people there that night than before.

And to top THAT off there were a lot of police and security folks on campus that very evening because one building over was a huge presentation and speech by recently defeated independent candidate for president H. Ross Perot.

I got over there early and remembered thinking ‘this is not going to be a normal evening’ when I was out on the balcony looking at the HUGE line of people waiting on the student center terrace to go up the narrow staircase into the venue. Do keep in mind, Green Day were not yet famous in the all-over-radio/MTV sense; Dookie wasn’t even recorded yet. But I pretty much assumed there and then that they were going to be famous by default if they could pull in that kind of a crowd.

All was increasingly packed and somewhat chaotic inside — Jen V. was running around like mad making sure everything was okay, the pub manager was already looking like this was the last thing he wanted. The Women played a sharp set — I was actually right near the front for it, to my slight surprise but everyone was more or less behaving themselves, since again, no slamming, no pogoing, no dancing, nothing. This while the line of people continued to slowly file in and make everything more cramped.

I remember stepping away from the stage when Face to Face got ready — and after that it’s ALL a blur. I wasn’t caught up in anything, in fact I really don’t know how I missed it, but things went ridiculous pretty swiftly. I think Face to Face lasted about a song, half a song, before the pub manager figured that the crowd was not going to stay still (in a word, duh) and called the evening over. So, no rest of the Face to Face set, no Green Day set…nothing.

I’ve heard various stories about what exactly did happen — apparently Geffen or his rep was reached by phone in the big limousine heading down to OC so they turned back around and went home, while the Sony rep was apparently maced. (Or was that an Interscope rep after all?) The police and security people who happened to be around took great delight in the fact that they were needed and while this wasn’t Black Flag being assaulted by the LAPD in the slightest, there was all sorts of squabbling, nonsense, annoyed punks, happy to be annoyed policemen and so forth. I just remember walking away home past the nearby ATMs, or maybe I went up to the student newspaper offices to type something out.

To top it all off, Mike Dirnt then broke his ankle when the band were going over to where they were staying for the evening. Apparently a Dookie song obliquely references that incident but I can’t remember which.

So again, it wasn’t a Green Day show but a nonshow, and it wasn’t like they didn’t show, they just couldn’t play. A year later “Basket Case” was in permanent rotation and the band haven’t needed to look back since but I do wish I could have at least seen them then along with all those other, retrospectively amazing pub and noontime shows.

And taken photos and kept any flyers or SOMETHING.

Advertisements

Not Just the Ticket — #40, Mr. Bungle, April 17, 1992

Mr. Bungle, Celebrity Theatre

Then-current album: Mr. Bungle

Opening acts: the Melvins, Grotus

Back of ticket ad: Fox Photo, will you EVER stop.

And one day after the Verlaines. Definitely had a lot of energy at that time.

And this show. THIS SHOW.

This is easily the most notorious show I’ve attended, I’m pretty sure, not because there was death or doom or stupidity or anything but because of how it all went down. I’ve talked about it plenty of times, including a blog post on here from two years ago which I’m going to quote and repost in its entirety because it’s all there anyway. But I should preface it a bit with something I haven’t talked about before much, namely how the day had already been a little surreal.

So my friend Steve M. and I were the ones going to the show. As it was down in OC, where he was from, the idea was that we were going to stop his house in Huntington Beach first because it was Passover, and a Seder was being observed that night by his family. I was actually pretty excited by this, since I knew of the Seder but had never attended one.

Steve was — and is — one for stone-faced humor. He’s a master. And he got me good that night, helped by the fact that I am often too easily bamboozled. Halfway down on the drive he made a random mention about how one needed to wear a Passover uniform. I was abashed and apologized that I didn’t realize I needed one and I hoped I would not give offense. Steve looked at me sidelong and realized that he had a golden opportunity and proceeded to spin a yarn about how the uniforms and what they were like and ‘maybe there was one at the house that could fit’ and the like. And oh did I ever fall for it, hook line and sinker.

I didn’t fully occur to me that he might have been lying until much later at his house when I noticed that his younger brother, in high school at that point, was wearing a 1000 Homo DJs T-shirt to the table. Which might not have been so outre had the image on the shirt not been one of Madonna topless.

It was a hilarious evening already — Steve’s dad, clearly bemused in an old-school West Coast Jewish American way at his three deeply sarcastic children (counting Steve’s sister as well, who gave as good as she got), led the Seder with an air that I really can only describe as the living incarnation of ‘oy vey.’ I don’t think any line from the ceremony was delivered without some sort of interruption, it was like a living MST3K skit. Steve’s mom rolled with it and, unless I miss my guess, encouraged it. There wasn’t anything fractious or mean about this, it was more like ‘oh so THIS is how this family operates.’ And it explained Steve perfectly, of course.

Good dinner, too. I was pleased to be a part of it and while I may yet attend a Seder in the future, if this is the only one I’ll ever attend then as far as I’m concerned I couldn’t have asked for better — family, food, wry commentary and the uniforms that weren’t.

And from that it was on to the show. And Steve and I had NO idea about what was about to happen. Nobody did.

The following account consists of my original writing up of this story about ten years back for a private mailing list, with input from my very good friend Mackro, who also attended the show but who I had still not met yet. (I should say that there’s plenty of things in my writing style in this piece that I cringe at a lot now, given how old it is, but there’s no point in a full rewrite.) It contains further edits thanks to a couple of lucky breaks — a few years back I got a bootleg recording of the concert from a Bungle freak, allowing me to square my memories with the record of the event (too bad there’s no video, at least to my knowledge), while a couple of years ago I had the sublimely fortunate break to interview the Melvins, who opened for Mr. Bungle that night — a crucial fact given where the evening went. Both Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover remembered the night VERY well and happily filled in some background details. This is as near a definitive story as to what I saw that night that I have, but I’m always wanting to hear more information.

Enjoy.

Down in the sweet balm of Orange County, at the long-gone and unlamented Celebrity Theatre in Anaheim, a ye olde theatre-in-the-round, Mr. Bungle announces a show, to considerable excitement in certain sectors. The lingering KNAC crowd is especially drawn to this, due to the Faith No More connection, which is about all most people have actually heard (those wondering about KNAC need know only this, that it was a station which nowadays in its online only format pretends it was all Metallica back in 1987 when in fact Ratt and Poison and so forth were its bread and butter more so than our favorite Napster-lovin’ combo — but I digress). In the meantime, feckless young innocents as myself and Mackro, though we did not know each other at the time, who actually had heard the album and loved it, considered this a Distinct Blessing, as FNM were about to fire up the Angel Dust tour and Bungle would have to disappear for a while. Off we all went.

As friend Steve and I fended our way past the leathery-faced 35-and-up permatan David Coverdale rock dude and dudette types, as well as the more understandable young semi-proto grunge/whatever crowd, we concluded that this was perhaps going to be a strange evening. (MACKRO — don’t forget the Red Hot Chili Peppers/Fishbone dorks..) Grotus was the opening band, so we settled on in as they Did Their Thing, and it was a fairly fine thing at that, industrial rock hoohah of a gone sort. Viva, etc., off they go, the Young Gods’ TV Sky plays on the monitors, and the next band sets up.

Said band are them glorious Melvins, who do their thing — which is not what the crowd came to hear. As time passes, said crowd turns ugly, as cheerful cries of “You suck!” increase in volume. The Melvins mostly laugh their asses off and keep doing what they do, finally leaving to the general crowd’s delight. (MACKRO — Joe Preston didn’t seem to care, Buzzo tried to make the songs slower and more grueling, AND AND AND Dale Crover went up to the mike after their set and said to the crowd “Mr. Bungle says fuck you”) Myself, I was new to them and didn’t know entirely what to think, but I thought most folks were being way too harsh.

As it happened, Bungle very clearly agreed with me.

[2008 EDIT — Mackro and I had heard a couple of stories about this but here’s the full skinny: as Buzz and Dale confirmed to me, Mike Patton saw how the Melvins were treated, immediately tore up the setlist for Mr. Bungle and wrote out a new one directed at the audience which read “TONIGHT THEY WILL PAY.”]

Bungle take the stage, dressed entirely in combinations of wrestling masks, Aztec outfits and other oddities — no surprise there, per se. The crowd is cheering, pumped, the pit is ready, bring it on. The band acknowledge no-one and nothing, finish setting up and launch into…

…a twenty-minute low-key jazz noodle (MACKRO — eeh wouldn’t say that… it was more of a Melvins/Earth type guitar buzz except even more minimal and grueling/MY 2008 EDIT: Mackro’s right, as the recording confirmed.). Patton wanders around the stage, apparently speaking in tongues to himself. The band then play the closest thing to a cover version of Spinal Tap’s “Jazz Odyssey” there is, only without the energy and pace. It’s…interesting, true. The crowd vaguely quiets down, then starts to get more and more impatient. Bungle, of course, ignore their feelings entirely. It gets to the point where the pit starts crowd-surfing even when there is *no* music remotely approaching pit/mosh/surf levels, which apparently increases the band’s utter contempt for the crowd. (2008 EDIT: both Buzz and Dale remembered that as well!)

After that, for the next thirty minutes or so, Bungle proceed to play one of the most fucked-up sets I’ve heard in a while. Ignoring their album entirely, they proceed to amuse themselves with some indescribable nonsense, interspersed with equally indescribable cover versions. Thus, we are entertained at points by a cover of Tom Jones’ Bond theme “Thunderball,” sung by Patton in a strangled roar (2008 EDIT: Dale remembers that there were a bunch of older ladies in the audience, which is where he must have been watching the show and laughing at the festivities; he had no idea why they were there — ‘must have been somebody’s moms or something’ — but that when “Thunderball” started they all got excited and went “Tom Jones!”), and that one Alan Parsons Project song that goes, “Time…keeps flowing like a river…to the sea…,” except Bungle turned up the amps and Patton practically yells out, “TIME…KEEPS FLOWING LIKE A RIVERRRRR…TO *THE SEA!!!*”… (MACKRO — they also did a song without any instruments, just this Negativland-ish sample loopy thing.)

Somewhere in all this, while starting at last to do songs from the first record, the drummer busts out the Queen “We Will Rock You” beat or its equivalent and Patton gets the crowd going with claps and shouts, leading to this priceless exchange:

Patton: “All right everyone, REPEAT AFTER ME! (in time to the beat) BUD-WEI-SER!”
Crowd: “BUD-WEI-SER!”
Patton: “MICH-EL-OB!”
Crowd: “MICH-EL-OB!”

This goes on, other music and songs are performed. Then all of a sudden there’s a pause:

Patton: “All right, now! I LOVE THE MEL-VINS!”
Crowd: “I LOVE The mel…” (fading rapidly as they realize what they’re saying)
Patton: *bending back, in full madman voice* “AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!” *turns away and ignores crowd*

They end up doing a few first album songs, but only that — “Travolta,” “Love is a Fist,” “My Ass is On Fire.” They abandon the stage. To my semi-surprise, there’s enough cheering and callbacks for an encore, as many others have been booing lustily and complaining loudly. So the band come back for an encore…logically, it’s another weird-ass crazy jam of something nobody recognizes.

And then this happens:

As one, the rest of the band stop what they’re doing and turn to the drummer. Initially he looks confused, as far as anyone can tell with his mask on. The others then start singing, enjoyably, “Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to…” etc.

The drummer stands up, a look of fear showing through his mask. He immediately throws his sticks down and runs off. Remember that this is a theatre in the round, with the band set up center, playing to one half of the venue, the other half roped off and empty. So the drummer charges up one of the empty aisles as fast as he can.

The other band members are displeased with this. They therefore drop *their* instruments and charge after him. To Steve’s and my utter amazement, we see them catch up with the drummer and, as best as we can tell, completely beat the living shit out of him!

And that was it. No ‘good night,’ no final announcement, nothing. Shortly thereafter the lights go up, so we all leave.

Steve and I were utterly, totally amazed, we had clearly seen one of the best shows of our lives, something Mackro agreed with me on when we compared notes much later. All around us the leathery types and moshpit morons and others were bitching and complaining and saying what shit it was — we realized that they had completely and utterly missed the joke on them. It was conceptual art terrorism of a high degree, and I’ve never seen anything like it since.

(2008 EDIT — I just realized I forgot to ask Buzz and Dale to fully confirm that last part. If it was only a fever dream of an ending, well, it only seemed appropriate.)

Up at the Quietus — a brief Melvins/ATP piece

Did the interview with Buzz O. while he was out on the road with the band — more staccato than the Metal Edge piece I did with him and I’m not entirely happy with my writing on this one. But you can be the judge!

A little story about the Melvins, Mr. Bungle and me

So I’ve just finished up a couple of interviews with Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover of the Melvins, one of the greatest bands of time and space — more about that piece when it runs! Both very personable guys and while I’ve no doubt I was just one of a million interviewers they talked to this week they had some good thoughts and great quotes.

They also remembered one of the most amazing shows I’ve ever seen, ever. Good friend Mackro saw it too; he and I were a few months away from meeting for the first time but I had gone down to OC with my friend Steve to see the show and he likewise had come up from UCI with friend Dave to see it.

What follows, originally typed up some years ago (and with a lot of tics and quirks that frankly I cringe to see now), is my story, modified by Mackro’s memories, as well as what Buzz and Dale confirmed just now, plus the prompt of a recording of the show I got from a hyperBungle fan a few years back (much of the detail of the show I’d remembered perfectly, though not all of it). Enjoy:

Down in the sweet balm of Orange County, at the long-gone and unlamented Celebrity Theatre in Anaheim, a ye olde theatre-in-the-round, Mr. Bungle announces a show, to considerable excitement in certain sectors. The lingering KNAC crowd is especially drawn to this, due to the Faith No More connection, which is about all most people have actually heard (those wondering about KNAC need know only this, that it was a station which nowadays in its online only format pretends it was all Metallica back in 1987 when in fact Ratt and Poison and so forth were its bread and butter more so than our favorite Napster-lovin’ combo — but I digress). In the meantime, feckless young innocents as myself and Mackro, though we did not know each other at the time, who actually had heard the album and loved it, considered this a Distinct Blessing, as FNM were about to fire up the Angel Dust tour and Bungle would have to disappear for a while. Off we all went.

As friend Steve and I fended our way past the leathery-faced 35-and-up permatan David Coverdale rock dude and dudette types, as well as the more understandable young semi-proto grunge/whatever crowd, we concluded that this was perhaps going to be a strange evening. (MACKRO — don’t forget the Red Hot Chili Peppers/Fishbone dorks..) Grotus was the opening band, so we settled on in as they Did Their Thing, and it was a fairly fine thing at that, industrial rock hoohah of a gone sort. Viva, etc., off they go, the Young Gods’ TV Sky plays on the monitors, and the next band sets up.

Said band are them glorious Melvins, who do their thing — which is not what the crowd came to hear. As time passes, said crowd turns ugly, as cheerful cries of “You suck!” increase in volume. The Melvins mostly laugh their asses off and keep doing what they do, finally leaving to the general crowd’s delight. (MACKRO — Joe Preston didn’t seem to care, Buzzo tried to make the songs slower and more grueling, AND AND AND Dale Crover went up to the mike after their set and said to the crowd “Mr. Bungle says fuck you”) Myself, I was new to them and didn’t know entirely what to think, but I thought most folks were being way too harsh.

As it happened, Bungle very clearly agreed with me.

[2008 EDIT — Mackro and I had heard a couple of stories about this but here’s the full skinny: as Buzz and Dale confirmed to me, Mike Patton saw how the Melvins were treated, immediately tore up the setlist for Mr. Bungle and wrote out a new one directed at the audience which read “TONIGHT THEY WILL PAY.”]

Bungle take the stage, dressed entirely in combinations of wrestling masks, Aztec outfits and other oddities — no surprise there, per se. The crowd is cheering, pumped, the pit is ready, bring it on. The band acknowledge no-one and nothing, finish setting up and launch into…

…a twenty-minute low-key jazz noodle (MACKRO — eeh wouldn’t say that… it was more of a Melvins/Earth type guitar buzz except even more minimal and grueling/MY 2008 EDIT: Mackro’s right, as the recording confirmed.). Patton wanders around the stage, apparently speaking in tongues to himself. The band then play the closest thing to a cover version of Spinal Tap’s “Jazz Odyssey” there is, only without the energy and pace. It’s…interesting, true. The crowd vaguely quiets down, then starts to get more and more impatient. Bungle, of course, ignore their feelings entirely. It gets to the point where the pit starts crowd-surfing even when there is *no* music remotely approaching pit/mosh/surf levels, which apparently increases the band’s utter contempt for the crowd. (2008 EDIT: both Buzz and Dale remembered that as well!)

After that, for the next thirty minutes or so, Bungle proceed to play one of the most fucked-up sets I’ve heard in a while. Ignoring their album entirely, they proceed to amuse themselves with some indescribable nonsense, interspersed with equally indescribable cover versions. Thus, we are entertained at points by a cover of Tom Jones’ Bond theme “Thunderball,” sung by Patton in a strangled roar (2008 EDIT: Dale remembers that there were a bunch of older ladies in the audience, which is where he must have been watching the show and laughing at the festivities; he had no idea why they were there — ‘must have been somebody’s moms or something’ — but that when “Thunderball” started they all got excited and went “Tom Jones!”), and that one Alan Parsons Project song that goes, “Time…keeps flowing like a river…to the sea…,” except Bungle turned up the amps and Patton practically yells out, “TIME…KEEPS FLOWING LIKE A RIVERRRRR…TO *THE SEA!!!*”… (MACKRO — they also did a song without any instruments, just this Negativland-ish sample loopy thing.)

Somewhere in all this, while starting at last to do songs from the first record, the drummer busts out the Queen “We Will Rock You” beat or its equivalent and Patton gets the crowd going with claps and shouts, leading to this priceless exchange:

Patton: “All right everyone, REPEAT AFTER ME! (in time to the beat) BUD-WEI-SER!”
Crowd: “BUD-WEI-SER!”
Patton: “MICH-EL-OB!”
Crowd: “MICH-EL-OB!”

This goes on, other music and songs are performed. Then all of a sudden there’s a pause:

Patton: “All right, now! I LOVE THE MEL-VINS!”
Crowd: “I LOVE The mel…” (fading rapidly as they realize what they’re saying)
Patton: *bending back, in full madman voice* “AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!” *turns away and ignores crowd*

They end up doing a few first album songs, but only that — “Travolta,” “Love is a Fist,” “My Ass is On Fire.” They abandon the stage. To my semi-surprise, there’s enough cheering and callbacks for an encore, as many others have been booing lustily and complaining loudly. So the band come back for an encore…logically, it’s another weird-ass crazy jam of something nobody recognizes.

And then this happens:

As one, the rest of the band stop what they’re doing and turn to the drummer. Initially he looks confused, as far as anyone can tell with his mask on. The others then start singing, enjoyably, “Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to…” etc.

The drummer stands up, a look of fear showing through his mask. He immediately throws his sticks down and runs off. Remember that this is a theatre in the round, with the band set up center, playing to one half of the venue, the other half roped off and empty. So the drummer charges up one of the empty aisles as fast as he can.

The other band members are displeased with this. They therefore drop *their* instruments and charge after him. To Steve’s and my utter amazement, we see them catch up with the drummer and, as best as we can tell, completely beat the living shit out of him!

And that was it. No ‘good night,’ no final announcement, nothing. Shortly thereafter the lights go up, so we all leave.

Steve and I were utterly, totally amazed, we had clearly seen one of the best shows of our lives, something Brian agreed with me on when we compared notes much later. All around us the leathery types and moshpit morons and others were bitching and complaining and saying what shit it was — we realized that they had completely and utterly missed the joke on them. It was conceptual art terrorism of a high degree, and I’ve never seen anything like it since.

(2008 EDIT — I just realized I forgot to ask Buzz and Dale to fully confirm that last part. If it was only a fever dream of an ending, well, it only seemed appropriate.)