Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chrissie Hynde and Friends Benefit Akron

Chrissie Hynde went back to Ohio to find her city a more vibrant place than before. The train station is still gone, but the Akron Civic Theatre stands almost completely renovated. In the grand lobby, you can see the line where grime ends and an exquisite repainting begins.

Inside under the swirling stars and milky way ceiling, Chrissie and Friends performed in a benefit for this illustrious and magnificent theatre. The friends included such notable Akron bands as the Diffi-cult, The Bizarros, Half Cleveland (formed from members of Tin Huey, The Waitresses, and Chi-Pig) as well as The Numbers Band (38 years old and still going strong).

Back in 1974, I had just graduated from Akron U, and was sharing an apartment downtown with another young woman who happened to be a Numbers Band fanatic. It wasn't long before I was hanging out with her at JBs in Kent, watching this very hot band play long sets to packed crowds. I can't remember the girl's name, but I thought about her tonight at the concert and wondered if she were there somewhere, probably like me -- unrecognizable after so many decades.

It was an evening to remember -- all the great music that came out of this town. Some that took wing and flew around the world, while other music stayed here and kept us all coming back to the bars and the clubs every weekend. Also memorable was the sight of Chrissie in her PETA tee shirt, giving the old silver wolf of a mayor a smack on the cheek. (The mayor's concept of casual concert wear was about as far from cool as one could get. At least he didn't wear a tie!)

Also spotted in the crowd and not wearing a suit and tie -- city councilman Marco Summerville. David Giffels, on stage leading The Diffi-Cult, pointed toward a seat in the front and announced "the legendary Jane Scott!" She was the Plain Dealer's rock critic who looked older than the hills way back in the 60s!

Most of the musicians on the stage made their first appearances in the Akron scene during the years I was no longer living here, during the late 70s and early 80s. I first discovered the Bizzaros in a record shop in San Francisco, where I came upon their delightful album. I immediately recognized the rubber factory on the cover and had to buy it. I was amazed that suddenly great music was coming out of my home town. Years later, I finally got that album cover autographed by the extant band members at a Bizarros reunion show at the Lime Spider.

I'd never seen Chrissie perform before, but of course I've heard lots of the Pretenders' music. (I still don't get how and why Rush Limbaugh chose her song to use as his intro music.) During her acoustic set, she seemed very happy to be at home, reminiscing about old times and commercial jingles from the 50s and 60s. I am very glad she has chosen to open a vegetarian restaurant in Akron and I expect to be dining out there quite a bit. Thanks for the restaurant and the show, Chrissie! Everything was great, all the way through the Jerry Lee Lewis finale.

"A, O, way to go Ohio!"

1 comment:

terra said...

Excellent concert! It was such a fun, energetic evening at the Civic.