Monday, February 06, 2012

Monday Morning Stories with Mookie - Episode 2

The Time Mookie Saw The 1970's British Rock Group "Sweet" In Concert

February 6th, 1994 -  Exactly 18 years ago today - I went and saw the group Sweet in concert.  You might be asking yourself, "Who the f--k is Sweet?"  Well, I'm going to f'n tell you.

Sweet is the group responsible for the songs "Ballroom Blitz," "Fox on the Run," "Action," and of course the college bar favorite: "Little Willy." 

Right now I imagine you are going "Ohhhhhh yeahhhh.  I love those songs."  Of course you do!  How can you not like these songs?  I'm going to go on record right now and say you are a TERRORIST if you don't find yourself singing along to "Fox on the Run" if it came on the radio right now.  Anyway..back to the story.

I get a call from my friend "Rick"(*) in Cedar Falls, and he says "Mookie!  You have to come up to Cedar Falls this SUNDAY!  The group Sweet is playing at Shagnasty's!"  Rick tells me that "Cooper"(*) is going too, and he is getting the tickets for three of us if I can go.  There should have been no question whether or not I was going to go.  I was "in" the second he said "Sweet."

(Note:  For those that don't know what "Shagnasty's" is, it used to be a bar in Cedar Falls, IA that was famous for having fish bowl drink specials, a dance floor with lights underneath it, an over-priced cover charge, and a tremendous amount of hoes on the weekends.  Your usual college meat market.)

Sunday arrives and I am excited.  As I get ready to leave my Cedar Rapids apartment, my roommate "Russ"(*)  asks where I'm off to.  I tell him I'm going to Cedar Falls to see Sweet, and understandably - he is pissed.  I apologize and say that you have to be 19 (he was 18), and that we tried to find a fake ID for him but came up short.  He understood, but I'm sure he hated me.

My then-girlfriend-now-wife says she wants to ride along with me to Cedar Falls and go visit her friend that lives there.  We make our way to Cedar Falls, pick up Cooper and Rick, we drop the lady off at her friend's place, and head to Shags for our evening with Sweet.

We get to Shagnasty's and there are at most 100 people there.  We make our way into the place and head for the front of the stage.  The dance floor is sunken in the middle of the place, and the stage is at an upper edge of the dance floor.  Finally, they announce Sweet and the crowd of 100 goes crazy.  I'm looking around and everyone is essentially sitting up on the sides of the dance floor.  Other than MAYBE 7 other people, Cooper, Rick and myself are the only ones on the dance floor.  Plus we were the only ones right up front.  It was awkward and hilarious, but dammit we are going to get our $8 worth here.

Sweet comes rolling out and these dudes are OLD.  We eventually find out that  the only original member of the band we are seeing here is Andy Scott, the guitarist.  He's dressed in some weird get-up and has leg warmers too.

(Note:  There were four original members of Sweet.  At that time, there was Andy, plus one that was dead, one that was dying, and the other had his own touring version of the band Sweet). 

They kick into their hits and its actually pretty awesome given the fact these are some middle-aged British dudes.  "Wig-Wam-Bam," "Blockbuster," "The Six-Teens,"and "Teenage Rampage" are their heavy hitters.  They pepper in their big hits like "Little Willy" and "Action" as they go.  When they play the ones everyone knows, the dance floor gets crowded and people come out to dance. 

It goes without saying that the three of us (Cooper, Rick, and I) are having fun.  We are rocking out and don't even care.  The whole show, Cooper, Rick and I are slapping high-fives with the lead singer and Andy Scott because we are RIGHT in front of them.  It was hysterical.  I look to the back of the bar, and there is a guy holding up a cardboard sign that says SWEET on it with an old record jacket glued to it.  This guy is shaking it wildly and screaming at everything.  Clearly he is a bigger fan than my compadres here and its a big night for him. 

Finally, the band wraps up their set with "Fox on the Run" and leave the stage.  As lame as these cats are, I just remember thinking the show ruled.  However, everyone knows they have left one song out of their set list for the night.  Being the up front fanatics we are - Cooper, Rick and I started chanting: 


The entire place starts chanting along with us. 

Finally about 30 seconds later, the band comes tripping back out with these cheesy ass grins like they know they are "the shit."  Andy and Company give the crowd what they came for, and proceed to crank out "Ballroom Blitz."  The dance floor is then packed with virtually everyone in attendance and the whole place is singing the song.  They ended with the dramatic flair that only a British bubblegum rock group can, and the show was over.

The entire way back to Cooper and Rick's place, we were yelling:

"OHH SHIT!!  WE JUST SAW SWEET!"  It was constant exclamations like this for about an hour.

The "We just saw Sweet!" comment went on for weeks, if not months from the three of us.  I'm pretty sure people thought we were stupid.  Which we were. 

But GAWWWWWD DAMMIT!  We saw Sweet.  And you didn't.

And it was epic.

(*)  Names have been changed to protect the guilty/innocent.

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Episode 1

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