Mott The Hoople ’74 @ Masonic Auditorium | Cleveland – 4-6-19 [part the first]
[…continued from last post]
Following our delicious meal at Empress Taytu, we were, in theory, close to the venue. Next it came down to getting on the boulevard where it was and trying to find it! The first time was inconclusive – how can you miss a large venue? Nevertheless, we managed to. We took another swipe at it and saw it better on the return trip. Then it became a question of parking. There were no obvious parking lots nearby. Some options looked dicey to me. We eventually paid $20 to park at a nearby museum that was closed by that time, but rented their lot out for events. We hoofed it to the Masonic Auditorium; a grand old venue that had been around since 1921. I can vividly imagine Mott playing there on their last US tour in 1974!
We were there about 30 minutes before showtime after finding/parking and such. We always review the merch but it was hands down the worst such scenario we’ve ever experienced. Three large tables with goods only visible on the tables. And the tables were surrounded by a writhing amoeba-like mass of people; frantic for a t-shirt. None dare call these “lines.” I could neither view the merch for sale nor what was happening, so I lifted my device above my head and squeezed off a few blind photos such as seen above that capture the insect chaos of it perfectly.
My wife managed to reach a limb in on the table and grab a a selection of t-shirts for my review. XL and maybe even the large ones were not to be found. I picked a medium design of my preference while she put the others back and then I stayed in the blob [none could dare call it a line] until I got close enough to pay the people taking money behind the tables for the short. I then saw that there were some CDs for sale as well and – wow! Morgan Fisher’s Miniatures vol. 1/2 as re-released by Cherry Red in a 2xCD was there for $15.00! I had wanted the first “Miniatures” album since its release in 1980 so this was a purchase I was happy to make along with the shirt. But wow – did it ever feel good to get away from that table and make our way to our seats, which had good sight lines.
At 8:00 sharp, Dream Syndicate ambled onstage and proceeded to alienate my wife and I. I was aware of them only by reputation as part of the “Paisley Underground” movement from L.A. in the early 80s, with more than a nod towards the Velvet Underground. I’d never bothered hearing them since I got so much enjoyment out of The Three O’Clock, I felt it was pointless to pursue this other [lesser] Paisley Underground band. What I didn’t know at the time was just how much lesser they were! My wife could not take Steve Wynn’s vocal style. I can’t even remember what I thought it sounded like.
But both of us were far more concerned with the overly loud bass drum hits or “bass fracking” as commenter chasinvictoria so succinctly puts it. The sound was unpleasantly loud. My wife has said that were we at the end of a row, she would have gotten up and left the auditorium for their set. As it was, we gritted our teeth and the pit of my stomach contemplated that if Mott The Hoople sounded this awful, then we would be getting up and leaving the venue that we had spent an inordinate amount of time, money, and effort to be in. I’m merely not making idle, theatrical threats for effect. We once attended a festival out of town just to see John Cale again and bolted from the horrifying sound at the venue. We have no hesitation to vote with our feet if it comes to that. After about six songs, it was all over and we fervently hoped that Mott would sound better than Dream Syndicate had.
Next: …Spoiler Alert: They Did!