This one was a pilgrimage for my husband and I as we grew up in Akron. I thought of it as Bethlehem all summer long--and the summer was SO long. (I told my friend Joanna the entire season was like 3 months of Christmas eve in a family where your parents make you wait til morning to open anything).
From one of the City Centre Hotel windows I could see the hospital where I was born, the roof of my high school and the hill to the left that marks the location of my first apartment. Crossing the Cascade plaza to get to Main street brought back many memories of the Friday night concert series during my teens where bands like I-tal and Revolver would play. I thought the downtown area looked much improved over when I left it 25 years ago this September. Frequent public tazings and a cast of characters out of a David Lynch movie aside, I wasn't too ashamed of my hometown.( despite the lack of good food to be had---did everyone find their "inner tapeworm"?)
Akron was/is a hard place to grow up. The best thing to recommend it in my opinion is the obsessive focus many people have on music. It kept me going and is still the centerpiece of my life long after I escaped to a warmer more carefree, calorie infused place.
To live in Northeast Ohio during the mid-Seventies through the mid-Eighties was to never have anyone in your high school ask "Todd WHO?" Everyone went to see the shows TR and Utopia gave at least three times a year. When M TV had their local 1 year anniversary show at Blossom Music Center in the summer of 1982, Utopia was the headliner--get your mind around that!
When I heard AWATS was beginning at the Akron Civic Theater ( I ushered there in 1983) welllll- that information had the effect many things in our One World had on me: There are no coincidences.
This is happening as it should, as it must, and as someone very dear said to me in Hawaii: "Todd brings me everything I need"...
-as goofy and self conscious as that feels to write, there is some undeniable alchemy here that even a cynic like me is forced to absorb.
So I surrender.
Almost one week after these first two shows, I'm left thinking two things : I can't believe it happened and I can't believe it's over.I could write for 6 months and never capture half the things that are in my head.
The Utopening band was nearly enough. I had caught whispers and rumors in the weeks before but to hear that Morse code skittering across the dark theater- it made me swoon-seriously, I F'ing SWOONED.
And then BOOM! there they were-looking so great and sounding strong.
Those guys are still here and we are all still here and they didn't hand our happy memories back to us begrudgingly. They gave it their all and seemed to enjoy the white-knuckle ride of playing songs together they hadn't in more than 15 years--my kids were babies when Utopia last played, now they're grown and I was given the chance to return 100 percent to my 15 year old summer last Sunday night. How can you thank someone who's taken you from carpool back to crayons?
I'm going to stop now--I want to include comments about the 2nd set --especially the visuals and I WILL, soon, but if I don't make myself unpack, there'll be no reason not to proceed to the airport for the next flight to Chicago for this evening's performance.
THANK YOU TODD, KASIM, JESSE, PRAIRIE, GREG, ROGER, BOBBY, MICHELE, RANDY, GREGG, BEN, PHIL, AKRON, HEAVEN, PROCREATION, RESPIRATION, THE ETHER, MY FRIENDS and RUNDGREN RADIO!!!