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A Review Y'All May Have Missed


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Box Tops/Raspberries Live Milwaukee, WI

Who would have thought that a reformed version of the Raspberries would be any good more than 30 years after their swan song "Starting Over" was released? Not me. Sure they were playing with all original members, but I'd seen enough poor reunion shows to keep myself cautiously guarded going into this. Reports that their Cleveland show was incredible had my curiosity piqued, but what sold me was the fact that all four original members were playing together after years of acrimony. Fuck, there was NO WAY I could miss what could very likely be my one chance to see the band that recorded "Fresh" and "Side 3." Even if they did butcher the tunes, just seeing them play together would be enough.

When my traveling partner Fever B and I rolled into Milwaukee, we met up with my buddy Mark who was our guide to the outdoor fair where the Raspberries were playing. We got there right in the middle of the Box Tops set, and while it was cool to see Alex Chilton in the flesh that was about the only positive thing I can say about what took place on that stage. They played a lot of inappropriate covers and sounded more like a bad lounge revival act than a rock n roll band.

The Raspberries, however, were more than enough of a take-no-prisoners, ripping rock n roll band to make up for the Box Tops' shortcomings. My god, it was incredible. From start to finish they played all of the hits and a good number of LP cuts as well. Mark, Brian and myself were able to sneak up to seats in the front row, where we sat for the first few songs until something happened that made me and Mark both spontaneously jump from our seats and start pogoing like madmen. Without warning, the Raspberries launched into a version of "It's Cold Outside" by the Choir (which, for those of you not versed in your pop music history, was a band that featured 3/4ths of the Raspberries original lineup) and the smile on my face was as wide as the state of Texas. From there on out Mark and I went over and stood by Lastname and Paul Reject's contingent and watched the Raspberries play classic tune after classic tune sounding as fresh and energetic as they likely did 30 some-odd years ago. Eric's voice was pristine as ever, Wally hadn't lost a step on guitar, Dave's bass playing was rock solid, and Jim did an admirable job on drums. Not even the presence of side musicians could hurt their performance, as the sidemen seemed to be buried in the mix. Words can't do justice to what an amazing show this was, but to suffice to say it was more than worth the drive to get to see one of the originators of power pop play their best songs like it was 1973 all over again.

—Steve Strange, Terminal Boredom

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WOW! Thanks for finding this!!! "Like it was 1973 all over again." Well, that's exactly what happens when you go to a Berries concert: what seems totally impossible not only becomes possible, but they make it sound EASY!

And this guy went expecting the Berries show to be substandard. That says everything, right there! "Pogoing around", huh?! There's another believer born again right before our eyes.


:) --Darlene

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This was indeed a great review...although Eric might not be too thrilled about the way the Web page programmer tagged his picture...because my dialup is slow, I got a gander at it before the image finally scrolled in.

The image tag? "Old guy playing guitar."

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Fresh - If you talk to John M. again anytime soon, please tell him that Jennifer Carr says "Hello" (claims she used to date him, but she tends to exaggerate, and most of her friends take everything she says with a tub of Morton's salt....) Then again, I need to find out her maiden name....if she's really telling the truth, John wouldn't have known her by her now-married name!

P.S. Also, Shoes wrote tons of killer tunes....singling out just one doesn't do these guys justice! What's John up to nowadays? Jeff's solo album from last year was good, but, IMO, it isn't Shoe-ish enough....

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