Monday, March 9, 2009
A Rocking, My Town Monday Post
This week's My Town Monday post is somewhat of a stretch, as it's more personal than educational, but until I have a functional camera for research, I'm going to rely in memories from the deep recesses of my brain.
The Amarillo Civic Center Coliseum, also known as Cal Farley Coliseum, is nothing special when it comes to arenas. With a permanent seating capacity of slightly less than 5000 it fails these days to draw most top-notch touring acts. Besides being a rather smallish venue, a lot of dates are taken up by the two sports teams that call the arena home. The Amarillo Gorillas of the Central Hockey League and the Amarillo Duster of Arena II football.
I am a huge hockey fan and once upon a time I followed the local franchise, (Back when they were called the Amarillo Rattlers) but Gorillas is a foolish name for a sports team in the dusty, windblown Texas Panhandle. and truthfully the hockey is bad. As a Dallas Stars fan I've become spoiled by the talent of NHL players.
And as far as the Dusters go, I simply do not like Arena football. The game resembles the true sport of football about as closely as WWE does collegiate or Olympic wrestling. But to each his own.
Back to the civic center coliseum. Once upon a time it was almost a home away home for me. You see my mom worked there. She counted tickets and coordinated the ushers and ticket takers, and as a single mom she had little choice but to take me with her most nights.
Many a time I sat at a table in the foyer and finished my homework as roadies scurried about wrapping up the final touches for that evenings shows. From George Strait to George Thorogood. Judas Priest to Jesus Christ Superstar. Liberace to the Lipizzaner Stallions.
In thsoe days the civic center drew quite a few shows, and after finishing my school work, I got to sit back and take them all in, from what I considered the best seat in the house.
My mom wasn't about to plop me down in amongst the metal heads, drunk cowboys, or Tom Jones bra-flinging women, so she ushered me to to the catwalk which circled the top of the arena. Under strict orders not to get up from my seat, I sat up in my heavenly perch with the guys who ran the spotlights and watched both the show, and audience below.
Up there I saw Huey Lewis and the news sing about there desire for a new drug. I sang along as Kenny Rogers crooned about knowing when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. And laughed at the way grown women swooned with Wayne Newton's every corny line. (As a sidenote, my mom met most of the performers and to this day considers Wayne Newton to be the rudest, most pompous SOB to ever grace the earth. And this is a woman with two ex husbands. Ricky Van Shelton and George Strait came in a dead heat for the nicest.)
I was never one of the uber cool kids at school, but getting to see shows like Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, and Blue Oyster Cult long before my friends were old enough did give me a bit of star power in the halls of Oakdale Elementary. But by far, my coolest childhood experience came in the Fall of 1984.
At the time I was a sixth grader. MTV was all the rage and unlike now the television network showed actual music videos around the clock. At the top of the spin cycle was this little ditty that answered the question, What do you want to do with your life?
Like most adolescent boys of that age I loved that video and song and in the fall of 1984 what band was headlining at the civic center? You guessed it Twisted Sister led by frontman, Dee Snider.
And late in the show just after they'd come back on stage for an encore, the prepared to sing We're not Going to Take It. Dee Snider urged everyone to get on their feet. 99% of those in attendance did that very thing, but way in the back one small cluster of concert goers remained seated.
In true rebellious glam rocker fashion, Snider said something to affect of, "Hey you in the back, Get up on you effing feet." And when the people still didn't stand he said. "What's the matter are you effing deaf. I said get the eff up! Don't make me come back there and kick you effing asses."
The people stood. The band played the song and everyone was happy.
Except the Amarillo Police. As soon as the song was finished two officers trotted on stage, handcuffed Dee Snider, and led him away. No one really knew why until the next day when on MTV news a blurb said Dee Snider had been arrested in Amarillo, Texas for lewd and indecent conduct for cursing and threatening concert goers.
None of my friends had been allowed to go, therefore I was the lone expert. Being as that I am a natural born bullshitter and storyteller, not to mention I was an eleven year old boy at the time I probably embellished in my retelling of the incident but that didn't really matter, because I was there and no one else at my school was.
Check back here for links to other My Town Monday posts from all around the globe. I also forgot to announce that Jenn Jilks created this nifty little My Town Monday badge for everyone to use if they so desire, so be sure and stop in to tell her thanks.
Jenn Jilks -- Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
David Cranmer -- Cameroon, West Africa
Mary -- Olmsted Falls, Ohio
Barrie Summy -- San Diego, California
Patti Abbott -- Detroit, Michigan
Debra -- Village of Peninsula, Ohio
Clair Dickson -- Livingston County, Michigan
Reb -- Old Strathcona-Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Chris -- Hong Kong, China
Paul Brazill -- Hartlepool, England
Barbara Martin -- Toronto, Canada
Cloudia -- Honolulu, Hawaii
Junosmom -- Kentucky
J Winter -- Cincinnati, Ohio
Linda McLaughlin -- Las Vegas, Nevada