Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Whole Point of No Return

Tonight is a very special night for me here in the (212). You see, back in the summer of '85, my friend Nina and I had tickets to see The Style Council at Pine Knob in Clarkston, Mich. In high school, the two of us were just obsessed with Paul Weller and everything he was about. The shoes, the sweaters, the bangs (oh, and the music!) -- we ate it all up. Even though we knew The Jam would ultimately be his legacy, in some ways his new, more pretentious, jazz cum white-boy Teddy Pendergrass wannabe music suited where we were in life (know-it-all 17-year-olds) much better. Then tragedy struck when Nina's parents ended up scheduling the family vacation back to the homeland, Austria, at the same time as the concert. We were devastated, but my hopes were still alive when my (non-fan) friend Mark (doing his best Mick Talbot opposite my Paul Weller, below, circa 1985 Toronto) ended up agreeing to go with me in Nina's place -- only to have the band's entire U.S. tour scrapped. The Style Council disbanded five years later and Nina and I were forced to swallow the bitterest pill of never having heard those classic songs performed live.

A couple years later Paul Weller began putting albums out on his own. Although I appreciate his solo work, it's got a completely different feel from his two previous bands and has never been my favorite. I've seen him live once or twice -- and Nina's seen him seven times -- over the years, but you were lucky if he performed more than two Jam songs, much less any TSC.

Jump ahead to 2006. Word comes out that Weller is doing a few gigs in New York and Los Angeles -- only there's a twist. He'll do one Jam night, one Style Council night -- and one solo night. Nina and I did everything we could to go all three nights -- but all hell broke loose and tickets were gone almost instantly (they're now going for an arm and a leg on eBay). As fate would have it, though, Nina was able to get tickets for one night: The Style Council!

So tonight we will try to prove that you can go home, as we right a 22-year-old wrong. And that Nina flew in from Chicago for this very special occasion makes it all the more special, both of us ready to speak like a child ...


Steve Reed said...

I only have one Style Council album, "Confessions of a Pop Group," which I grabbed when it was sent to my college newspaper as a review copy. For the most part, I love the first side and hate the second. Wildly uneven, but interesting.

thegaycurmudgeon said...

I came across your blog via the Paul Weller site. I'm hoping to go to the Style Council show tonight. (A friend of mine works at Irving Plaza.) Great blog! (And great pics!)

Anonymous said...

Ok, this is going to make me sound tragically unhip, but I stumbled into the Virgin Record Store in Times Square on Sunday and it was packed with screaming fans of someone. I kept asking people, "who is performing" and all I head was, "Pauwel" or "Plaw." Finally, my friend Dan, after several attempts heard "Paul Weller." We looked at each other and said, "never heard of him" and walked out. Sounds like that was a mistake...

Wayne said...

Pine Knob! Now THERE'S a blast from my Michigan past. (Lived in Shelby Township for while from 1975 to 1978).

My mom, having grown up in Detroit, was a big Spinners fan. We went to see them and the Sylvers at Pine Knob in 1977.

I was only 10 at the time, but it was my first concert and we had a great time!

Glad to hear you and your friends were finally able to see the concert so wrongly denied you.