Dopes of the year goes to the Golden Gate
Bridge directors, who rejected Graham's plan to stage a concert with Huey
Lewis and the News and the Grateful Dead to celebrate the span's 50th
The Really Big Shows
Madonna at Shoreline (ho-hum) . . . Bob Dylan
and the Grateful Dead at the Oakland ballpark (ditto) . . . U2 at the Cow
Palace in April and, again, at the baseball stadium in November, although
the group's free "Save the Yuppies" concert at Vaillancourt
Fountain was the most fun, spray-painting brouhaha notwithstanding . . . The
transcendent evening of "Graceland" music by Paul Simon at
Berkeley Community Theater (Peter Gabriel watched from the front rows) . . .
Los Lobos at the Warfield could have been the single finest performance of
Other Good Shows
Tom Waits at the Warfield . . . Ry Cooder at
Wolfgang's . . . Echo and the Bunnymen, Gene Loves Jezabel and New Order at
the Greek Theater . . . Hank Ballard and the Midnighters at the Last Day
Saloon . . . Crowded House at Wolfgang's . . . James Brown at the Venetian
Room . . . Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick at Concord Pavilion . . . K.D.
Laing at the Great American Music Hall . . . Cyndi Lauper at Henry J. Kaiser
. . . Suzanne Vega at the Warfield . . . Bruce Hornsby at Concord Pavilion .
. . The revised Pink Floyd at the Oakland Coliseum Arena.
Some Foul Shows
Billy Idol at the Cow Palace . . .
"Dylan: Words and Music," a misguided theatrical production that
ran at the Zephyr Theater . . . Duran Duran at Shoreline . . . The reformed
Moby Grape at Flint Center (an embarrassing spectacle) . . . Fleetwood Mac
at the Cow Palace.
Good News and Bad
The good ol' Grateful Dead experienced a
fantastic year: top 10 album, great local shows at a variety of locales, the
brief tour with Dylan and a Broadway box-office record-breaking run by a
solo show from guitarist Jerry Garcia, which also hit the Warfield . . . The
Starship struck the top of the charts this year again with "Nothing's
Gonna Stop Us Now," courtesy of the production magic of Marin's Narada
Michael Walden (clearly producer of the year with three No. 1 records under
his belt), although the group's subsequent album fizzled . . . Carlos
Santana was the subject of an exhibition at the Mission Cultural Center,
celebrating 20 years of his fabled rock bands . . . Dozens of Bay Area rock
musicians got together to film a video extolling the idea of the San
Francisco Rock and Roll Museum.
Wolfgang's burned down . . . The Farm, home
to alternative music shows, closed after a dispute with the landlord . . .
The Old Fillmore came back to life, under the ownership of Burt and Regina
Kortz . . . Banks foreclosed on the Circle Star Theater, and San Carlos car
dealer Jim Birney bought the white elephant and reopened it before the end
of the year . . . The year's great jams: John Fogerty and Chris Isaak (Bay
Area musician of the year) at the Bammies and Robert Cray with Albert
Collins at this year's S.F. Blues Festival.
The Doobie Brothers reunion at Shoreline sold
more tickets than the band's farewell show five years earlier . . . David
Bowie returned to big production extravaganzas with his "Glass
Spider" tour, which played San Jose's Spartan Stadium, although the
results were far from spectacular . . . Neil Young did a few local club
dates, disguised as a bluesman fronting a band called the Blue Notes,
earning himself a Bammie nomination as Best Blues/Ethnic Act . . .
Foul-mouthed and obnoxious counts: The Beastie Boys began the year playing
Wolfgang's, but by summer the three rapsters were headliners over Run/D.M.C.
at a sold-out Shoreline show . . . Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts
brought an elegant 33-piece jazz band to the Galleria . . . A crippled Ronnie
Lane, the former member of Small Faces sufferring from multiple
sclerosis, made a poignant performance at Wolfgang's, where he had to be
carried on and off stage . . . A five-hour video shoot of old Stax-Volt
performers at Wolfgang's was worth it if only for the duet on "When
Something Is Wrong With My Baby" between Jeffrey Osbourne and Sam Moore
of Sam and Dave.