Spiritus Mundi #58, July 1980, page 27

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Spiritus Mundi #58, July 1980, page 27


This section contains an account of a concert attended by Lillian and his wife, Beth, to see her favorite band--namely, The Who.


Guy H. Lillian III


Spiritus Mundi, #58 July 1980




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Just after entering the Greensboro Coliseum on July 13th, I stopped & bought a cup of Coke. Addictions are addictions, after all. In a moment, though, I found the Coke sloshing as my shoulder received a number of enthusiastic whaps ...

It was Beth, the wif’. Half her life ago, she’d bought an album called Magic Bus. Until 7-13-80 she’d listened to hundreds of songs by that album’s creators, and worn out copies of Tommy and Who’s Next. Yet she had never, she claimed, even seen the artists responsible perform ... not even on television.

Tonight she would. Let the Coke slosh and my shoulder ache. She had a right to be excited.

The tickets I’ds originally secured were balcony seats, a little behind and to the right of the stage. OBSTRUCTED VIEW was printed over the seating information. Fortunately, one of the pharmacists at Beth’s hospital job had superb seats he couldn’t use, so traded his for ours and sold those to some college kids. We were in beautiful seats, a tad higher than stage level. Finding the seats, we noted that the band’s suspended sound system and complex system of lights would have blocked our view had we kept our original tickets.

The Greensboro Coliseum holds about 14,000 people, and it was packed, of course. A few firecrackers went off across the vault from us, but mostly the audience amused itself by sailing Frisbees into the void and punting about beachballs. Only occasionally did the rich aroma of cannabis slice through the ozone. As usual at concerts, I felt much older than those around me. Maybe that’s because I was alive when Live at Leeds was new. Some burly types held up a painted sheet: a British flag with THE WHO inscribed upon it, rousing hoots of anticipation from the crows. And the lights went down.

There was a lead-off band, a bunch of kids from New York – you know you’re old when the band looks like kids to you – their music was adequate, I suppose, although most of the applause they garnered was for finishing & getting off the stage. I left during the set for a slice of pizza and got to witness this concert’s drunk-kid-throwing-up act.

Then I rejoined Beth, who was still, smiling calmly. We watched the cluster of concert-goers gathered over the entrance to the area behind the stage. Technicians and roadies bustled about on stage, setting up a humidifier, laying out sweatcloths, adjusting microphones. When a Frisbee sailed onto the stage they simply dumped it aside, apparently so as not to invite more.

Then there were camera flashes and shouts by the stage entrance, and the lights went down again, and spots came up, and Beth was on her feet, never to leave them again for the next two hours plus ... except when she jumped for joy. What she declares to be the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world assumed center stage.

I think the ringing has gone away now. For two days after the concert my ears felt as if they were full of metal foam, and clasping my hands or folding a pillow about them sent me into the doorbell factory ... It was loud, too loud, said some staid local crit-

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