I don't like or trust Steve Wozniak, but I sure as fuck love Mac computers. I wouldn't believe the Apple sonofabitch if he told me my name was 'Mark S. Tucker' and would check my ID just to make sure, but the bastard sure knew how to throw a great fest, and this 1983 reprise of the 1982 blow-out is a 2-1/4 hour potpourri studded with what might otherwise have been a too broad array of styles…except that each group was chosen with care and all put in some damn fine performances. When I got the disc from the MVD people, I was tempted to turn it down: too many groups and the cover art's far from exemplary, but when I sat down and really looked at what was being run, well shit, who can say no to Judas Priest, Berlin, Stray Cats, Divinyls, Triumph…hell, I even like Rindy Ross and her Quarterflash showed up, not to mention Missing Persons. As for Stevie Nicks…um…well…gasp!, let's just say I was over-run on her about ten minutes after Rumours was released and leave it at that.
The '83 US Festival is part documentary, part concert mash-up. The documentary segment features cheeky wisecracking drunk and stoned guys, lovely swimsuited babes, an incredibly huge ocean of fans, and the usual panoply associated with this sort of thing (Woodstock, Glastonbury, etc.), but the centerpiece is of course the riot of great acts. I'm one of those weird fukkerz who actually likes rock docs, so I'm happy with both sides of the house on this one. A bunch of groups were omitted (Quiet Riot et al) but what was preserved is more than sufficient.
Day 2 appears to have been Metal Day and features Judas Priest, Triumph, and the Scorpions, quite a change-up from the first day's English Beat, Stray Cats, Clash, and etc. Day 3 was slanted more to hi-charting acts (Quarterflash, U2, Nicks, etc.), but, regardless of who's up, the fans go crazy from start to finish. I'm sure copious quantities of mother nature's herbal and chemical resources helped quite a bit, not to mention the fruits of the esteemed Mr. Daniels' and Mr. Seagram's, but it hardly matters 'cause each act's set was obviously vigorous and spirited through and through even though you get only one to three songs from each.
Not an inch of the entire affair was the kind of stiff formal crap parade you see in those highly staged Hollywood abortions with glitzy rhinestone curtains and walking talking Pepsodent smiles calling themselves 'human beings' within a day-glo chintzy vibe that could only be called 'Catholic'. God help ya should Hollywood decide to memorialize you and your work, musos.
Regardless, this extravaganza occurred three decades ago, y'all, and so we're all a good deal older and drowning in the shitstorm capitalism has wrought on the world, thus, hmmmm, if you have even the tiniest desire to take a time machine back to better days, this ain't a bad way at all to do it. Light up a doob 'r two, throw back a few Jagermeisters & whiskey and act like ya never had no good sense whatsoever. The crowd itself will help with that, the oft loony and sometimes insightful opinings of the fans and promoters respectively should produce a grin 'n a grimace here and there, and the music…well music is always a better Sopor than pharmaceuticals themselves (I mean, hell, think of what woulda happened had 1 million intoxicated tunes-hounds showed up and just had to stare at each other for three days; wicked ugly), so it seems to me you have no choice unless you think visio-cerebrally vacationing on Gilligan's Island just off the Jersey Shore constitutes a rewarding return on the hours of your life.
Get wrecked on music instead.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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