Forty- and fifty-somethings nostalgic about the soundtracks to their younger years got a bit of good news this week and, no, I'm not talking about a Hair Club For Men coupon in today's Val-Pack. According to Live 105, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is "bringing back their Friday night free concert series," and the lineup includes acts I am certain every person born in the 60s and 70s had on a mixtape. Acts that are, improbably, still touring! Let's take a look.
June 16: Eddie Money
Come on, you've "waited so long, waited so long" to see this guy perform, right? Maybe because in 1978 (when "Two Tickets to Paradise" was released), you were left with a babysitter while your parents went to that Money show. Now it's your time to get the babysitter or, better yet, make your parents watch your kids. Payback's a bitch, Grandma!
June 23: Brian Howe (former singer of Bad Company)
Based on YouTube clips like the one above, it appears Howe retained the rights to perform Bad Company's "Can't Get Enough of Your Love," even though he wasn't the original vocalist on the 1974 hit that I recall blasting from the T-topped sedan driven down my South Orange, NJ street by this Tony Manero-looking guy who ended up dying of obesity-related apnea a couple decades later.
June 30: Great White
Yeah, so Great White's most popular song is a cover of a tune first released in 1974, but their 1989 rendition is apparently iconic enough that here they are, touring some 28 years later. The jeans on the girls in that video all look pretty current to me! The hair on the men do not.
July 7: Quiet Riot
Google claims that "Bang Your Head (Metal Health)" is Quiet Riot's most popular song but eff that, "Come On Feel The Noize" is where it's at and you know it. This is such a great summer song that I want to get in the car and drive around with the windows down as it plays right now. As I own a Smart Car, not a Camaro, I know how this will look and do not care. This song came out in 1983, when I did not appreciate not having to worry about rent, oil changes, or getting enough calcium.
July 14: Blue Oyster Cult
"(Don't Fear) The Reaper" is one of the greatest songs of all time. I will fight anyone who disagrees. Literally, fight. (I am thinking about the beginning of the TV adaptation of The Stand right now, too, are you?)
Plus I know, more cowbell, etc. Ha ha.
July 21: Eric Burdon & The Animals
Are you serious, these guys are still alive? Look, nearly all of us are too young to properly recall this song's release (1964) but its use in pretty much every montage-heavy TV show or movie makes "House of the Rising Sun" a perennial.
July 28: Los Lobos
I'm sure these guys have lots of other songs, but their cover of "La Bamba," used in the 1987 Ritchie Valens biopic of the same name, is why many of us know who they are. My drivers' ed instructor was suuuper into that movie's soundtrack, which had just come out when classes began. I still hear it in my head as I parallel park.
August 4: Y&T
I have NO MEMORY of this song or its absolutely amazing video, maybe that is what went wrong in my life to send me on the terrible path I walk today. Y&T, which hails from Oakland, dropped "Summertime Girls" in 1985 and it "received tremendous airplay worldwide, played frequently in the Baywatch television series, is featured in several feature films, received heavy rotation on MTV as well as MTV’s top video playlists, and gets regular airplay today on classic rock radio stations throughout the United States." How did I miss this? I assure you, it's not like I was busy doing something cool at age 14.
August 11: Pablo Cruise
I remember hearing this song about a zillion times in the summer of 1978, and if you're my age I'm sure you did, too. A popular one at the roller rink, as I recall.
August 18: Gin Blossoms
Forget "Hey, Jealousy"...hey, Gin Blossoms, how did your asses get here from 1992? That said, after I found the link to that video I left it on and, yup, sang along. Does it help if I say that I feel bad about that?
August 25: TBA
They say they'll announce this act on 6/18. Given the lineup thus far, may I suggest adding a little more color to the mix, if you know what I mean? Things are looking a little pale up on that free stage.
September 1: Papa Doo Run Run
I'm not going to say anything mean about a Santa Cruz-based "beach party band" that's apparently best known for a song called "(Santa Cruz) Beach Party." To do so would be anti-summer and anti-fun.
So there we have it! According to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, each band will play two free shows on their scheduled night: one at 6:30, and another at 8:30 p.m. Plenty of time for you to get home before bedtime! Just watch out for all the damn vampires.