Last night at the San Diego County Fair, I went to go see the B-52’s perform with some of San Diego’s bear community. Roughly twenty or so of us went and we squatted out a section of free seats in the grandstand with a great view of the stage even though we weren’t that close. The tickets were amazingly cheap. Entrance to the fair was $13, but if you hit an Albertsons grocery store, you could get $11 tickets. The concert was included in the fair admission price, and there was an opportunity to upgrade the tickets for reserved seating, but where we saw the group was just fine.
I wouldn’t consider myself to be a giant fan of the B-52’s but I do like them a lot. I’ve never been obsessive about getting all their albums. I would say my B-52’s collection consists of a greatest hits album, the “Cosmic Thing” album, a single for “Good Stuff”, and the “Funplex” album from last year. Oh, and the “Flintstones” movie soundtrack where the B-52’s became the BC-52’s to perform “The Flintstones Theme” and “The Bedrock Twitch.” Not quite the obsessive fan I tend to be about other groups. However, I think I may be adding a few more of their albums following the show.
One of the guys from the group I attended the show was very surprised to see I haven’t seen the B-52’s before as I am someone who loves going to concerts and do enjoy their music. I’ve had a few opportunities to go in the past, but something always came up that took precedence so I didn’t attend the show. I see now that was definitely a mistake on my part. I had a feeling the B-52’s would be an awesome band to see in concert, but didn’t know how much that would be true. They seem like one of the best “party” bands out there. They just have great fun music, that is perfect for a party vibe. Another band I would consider to be a great party band is the Barenaked Ladies. That could be an awesome concert combination, the B-52’s and the Barenaked Ladies if they ever wanted to tour together.
One of the things I really like about the B-52’s is that they can sing about the strangest things and make a great song about it. Like some of the songs in the show last night, “Quiche Lorraine” normally a breakfast entree, but the B-52’s make it a song about a dog. “Planet Claire” is an outer space theme. “Private Idaho” takes the name of a state and makes it a state of mind. “Rock Lobster” is loaded with odd combinations that would raise eyebrows elsewhere, here it’s a classically brilliant song with a great sense of humor. “Love In The Year 3000” about the future of sex with eroto-bots and booty-bots. And of course, the ultimate “Strobe Light” where they sing about making love under a strobe light. It’s definitely the only band in the world that could have the unique vocals of Fred Schneider can counter the almost ABBA-eque blending of Cindy Wilson’s and Kate Pierson’s vocals. The girls of course get to shine on their own as well. And Keith Strickland’s musical prowess on the guitar.
The B-52’s played for about an hour and half including the encore. It was a fun set mixing up a lot of songs from their entire career, from some of the oldest tracks to the latest, never seemingly stopping anywhere for too long. About the only song absent that I wish they had played was “Channel Z” but otherwise, it was perfect. I will definitely be making time to see them in concert again. A nice touch was before the show, the band came on stage with a microphone to dedicate the show to Michael Jackson, who died earlier in the day. Quite a shock, but a great performance to honor a musical legend.
Another thing to note was the organizer of the concerts for the San Diego County Fair also came out on stage to announce that Governor Arnold Schwartenegger has announced plans to sell the Del Mar Fairgrounds as part of his way to help balance the budget of the state of California, which would mean the ending of the fair as the land gets sold. They were urging attendees to fill out opinion cards to be presented to the governor’s office. I definitely think it’d be a bad idea to sell the fairgrounds and the organizers have set up a website with additional information. Help San Diego keep it’s Del Mar Fairgrounds and racetrack by clicking on the link, www.SaveTheDMFairgrounds.com