A few days ago I received one of the intermittent emails I get from the DEVO mailing list every now and then. It touted DEVO‘s only appearance this year at an upcoming festival called Desert Daze happening in Southern California. Curious, I clicked on the link in the email to see the home page.
I blanched at the fine print under DEVO‘s name…farewell tour!! Well, I can’t say that I had not been warned of this event. They’ve been around for almost 50 years. Mark Mothersbaugh has been a busy soundtrack artist for almost 35 years now. His artwork takes up a lot of time, I’m sure. In spite of Gerry Casale being ready to tour at the drop of a hat, Mr. Mothersbaugh needs space in his schedule for events like touring. When I saw him give a panel discussion last year at Western Carolina University, he floated the idea of one big last “stick-a-fork-in-it” tour by DEVO one of these days, and sooner than later. That day has apparently come.
I first heard DEVO in 1978. I have had
three four possible chances to see them live. In July 30, 1980 they played at the Great Southern Music Hall. A venue immortalized as the site where Pat Traver’s “Boom Boom – Out Go The Lights” was recorded live just a year or so earlier. I was not driving nor were my friends. So none of us saw the “Freedom Of Choice” tour! On November 25, 1988, they played a “Total DEVO” tourdate at Visage nightclub. I didn’t go because I was a jerk! I figured by that time that I’d missed them at their peak… why bother now? Which was a really immature attitude to have at 25 years of age. The stinging irony was that a year later I got that album and enjoyed it a lot! By the time I was 30, I never thought that way again. Live gives you chances – you take them. Just now, I was looking on setlist.fm to get these show dates and I discovered that there was a third Orlando date at Pleasure Island [Disney] for New Year’s Eve 1990, so that makes all the sense in the world why I didn’t go to that! There was no way I’d ever attend such an event. Even for that band. I didn’t even bother to remember that in passing! And the final chance was at the 2010 Moogfest held in my current city. I wrestled with the idea of buying a ticket just to see them before Bob 1 hurt his thumb badly a day or so before their scheduled concert. Rendering moot the notion.
So the Desert Daze show will kick off a farewell tour. I’m guessing the full tour will start in 2020 and we’ll find out more about it eventually. I will do whatever it takes to finally see DEVO live. And report back with my findings. They have remained one of the prime movers in my musical universe and yet in spite of their intermittent activities in the last 25 years, I’ve not had the pleasure. This must change.
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