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Madison Square Garden, 1987. Which Two Shows Do You See?


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Need to remember, you're seeing them in 1987.  The two great albums, Into the Great Wide Open and Full Moon Fever don't yet exist.  Obviously Petty still has a great catalogue before that.  Beastie Boys haven't yet made Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head, or Ill Communication.  

Pink Floyd has returned to form after a 4-year breakup with Roger Waters.  The Grateful Dead are enjoying a renaissance of live performances that will last until 1990.  Those are my two shows.  Eddie Murphy is still the funniest person on the planet, but his 1987 tour is a shadow of what he was doing '83-'84 in terms of standup.  While it'd be fun to see Clapton at his playing peak, he's trading on "It's in the Way that you use it" album/soundtrack.  It's good, but it's not 3 hours at MSG good.  The Cars are already well on their decline curve at this point.  Paul Simon, Tom Petty, and David Bowie are putting on stellar shows though.  But I am seeing Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead.

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U2 would have been been on the Joshua Tree tour.  That was a really good show.  
Petty was "Let Me Up I've Had Enough"  following on the Southern Accents tour.  (THAT was a great show, but any Petty show was great)
Bowie was on the Glass Spider tour on the release of Never Let Me Down.  I think Frampton was in that touring band that time around. 

I saw the Cars on the the one before (83/84ish).  Great band...TONS of great songs.   Their concert was just kind of boring.  Maybe a bad night, but they just seemed tired and going through the motions.  I never heard that album that came out in 87.   

 

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I’d say Floyd but would roger waters be better?  I don’t know what they each played at that time. That was around the time Floyd had the album with On the turning away and learning to fly, so it may have been heavy on  post-breakup material. 
 

my 9 year old self in 1987 would choose crue/whitesnake and…probably Bon Jovi. 

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Posted (edited)

Gotta go with Yes, and Pink Floyd/ Roger Waters.  Seen Clapton, the dead (multiple x), Petty (multiple x) those would have been my other choices.  Bowie would be another pick out of that group.

For the record, the Cars suck in concert. They play their songs just like on their albums, no musical deviations at all.  I couldn't care any less about the rest of those acts.

Edited by Onboard 2.0
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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Lobo said:

Beastie Boys haven't yet made Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head, or Ill Communication.  

The Beasties had just released License To Ill and Run DMC had just released Raising Hell ~1 year prior. That show in MSG would have melted your goddamned face.

 

#1 - B-Boys and Run DMC

#2 - Billy Idol and The Cult

 

 

edit - It was also the final show of the tour:

 

 

 

Edited by smuggs
fuck yeah
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Posted (edited)

Pink Floyd's setlist for that mSG stay was:

Shine on you crazy diamond, signs of life, learning to fly, yet another movie, round and around, a new machine 1, terminal frost, a new machine 2, sorrow, the dogs of war, on the turning away, one of these days, time, on the run, wish you were here, welcome to the machine, us and them, money, another brick in the wall 2, comfortably numb, one slip, run like hell.  

First set heavy on "A Momentary Lapse of Reason", Second set much older stuff.  

That U2 Joshua Tree tour is more tempting upon further review.  I never saw "that" U2.  Saw them years later on that ZOOtv circus they called a concert.  Which is basically what turned me off of them forever.  But yeah, '87 would have been peak U2---the setlist I just found looks phenomenal.  

Agree on Beastie Boys, I just don't think they were at their peak yet...and I only get to pick two shows.  

Edited by Lobo
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Holy shit, look at the Bowie setlist for '87 at MSG.  I don't have the words: 

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/david-bowie/1987/madison-square-garden-new-york-ny-53d0eb85.html

Since I can obviously travel through time in this scenario, can I go back and keep another poster's parents from meeting and I get their two shows to attend as well?  

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30 minutes ago, Lobo said:

Holy shit, look at the Bowie setlist for '87 at MSG.  I don't have the words: 

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/david-bowie/1987/madison-square-garden-new-york-ny-53d0eb85.html

Since I can obviously travel through time in this scenario, can I go back and keep another poster's parents from meeting and I get their two shows to attend as well?  

Yeah I changed my mind on my #2. I'm a Billy Idol homer and The Cult at their apex would have been fun, but that Bowie show would have been incredible.

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I saw Bowie on the Serious Moonlight tour when Stevie Ray was supposed to tour with him.  That MSG setlist is incredible.  I LOVE that opening number, "Up The Hill Backwards."  About the only song I see missing that I would want to hear would be Cracked Actor.  

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9.18.87 is a legendary Dead show (probably the best of the year and arguably Top 10 of the 80s).  9.19 is excellent as well so those are my picks.
 

Well, I know what I am doing tonight.
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Its a three-way tie for me.   The Dead for obvious reasons.  U2 at the absolute top of their game playing their best material (plus the Pogues).   And the one that nobody has mentioned -- Paul Simon touring his Graceland material with a giant band of African musicians.  That show would have been epic. 

Petty, Clapton and Floyd are always great . . . but there are other points in history that those shows would have been significantly better.  

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52 minutes ago, Ollie Slatt said:

And the one that nobody has mentioned -- Paul Simon touring his Graceland material with a giant band of African musicians.  That show would have been epic. 

Yeah, that was my first reaction.  I've seen both Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo separately, but 2 hours of that band would have been pretty bad ass.  

I saw the Joshua Tree tour in Austin that year.  Great show.  I saw the Cars on the tour before this one (Heartbeat City), and like everyone else pointed out, it was a pretty low-energy show.  Several of these acts I've seen multiple times (Petty, Clapton).

The two hall-of-famer acts on there that I never saw live are Bowie and Rush.  

My sleeper would be the double bill of Billy Idol (who I think is an underrated songwriter) and the Cult (who wrote a lot of great rock songs in the 80's).  In fact, I might put that one above Rush.  

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34 minutes ago, Paul Wesley said:

Yeah, that was my first reaction.  I've seen both Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo separately, but 2 hours of that band would have been pretty bad ass.  

I saw the Joshua Tree tour in Austin that year.  Great show.  I saw the Cars on the tour before this one (Heartbeat City), and like everyone else pointed out, it was a pretty low-energy show.  Several of these acts I've seen multiple times (Petty, Clapton).

The two hall-of-famer acts on there that I never saw live are Bowie and Rush.  

My sleeper would be the double bill of Billy Idol (who I think is an underrated songwriter) and the Cult (who wrote a lot of great rock songs in the 80's).  In fact, I might put that one above Rush.  

Billy Idol and the Cult would have been pretty good. I saw Billy at the Erwin Center the tour after his motorcycle accident. He wasn't 100% physically, but he put on a great show and the amount of attractive young women in the crowd was pretty incredible.  1987 would have also been the year The Cult released "Electric". I have no doubts that would have been a great show. 

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Here's the Clapton setlist from that year at MSG:

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/eric-clapton/1987/madison-square-garden-new-york-ny-13d205e5.html

Middle of the set isn't my bag.  It's only 15 songs with no encores.  In case my time machine gets stuck back there and I can only see the two shows and am marooned, I am not only getting quality, I'm getting quantity.  Not risking it for 15 songs.  

Tom Petty's is more varied than I was expecting:  

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/tom-petty-and-the-heartbreakers/1987/madison-square-garden-new-york-ny-53dc7f25.html

Hits on several albums and has covers by Chuck Berry, Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds, and the Clash.  Makes a strong case for itself despite its brevity.  

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Pato del Muerto said:

I’d say Floyd but would roger waters be better?  I don’t know what they each played at that time. That was around the time Floyd had the album with On the turning away and learning to fly, so it may have been heavy on  post-breakup material. 

Floyd would have been playing all Pink Floyd stuff, and I liked a lot of Momentary Lapse of Reason, but I'd bet that 3/4 would have been classic stuff.

Without looking at his setlist, but basing it on the time frame, Waters would have been playing plenty of Floyd (both PF and Waters were still playing to the crowd and/or trying to prove who the "true" Pink Floyd was), but probably would have been more heavy on Pros & Cons of Hitchhiking and probably Radio K.A.O.S. (I think it was out by then). While I've seen him in concert playing Floyd stuff  and was okay with it (I prefer Dave/Rick/Nick), I don't think I would have cared for P&CH or Radio K.A.O.S.  He might have thrown in some Final Cut stuff as well. 

I could be wrong, but Rogers would have benefitted more financially from P&CH and RK.

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1 hour ago, Lobo said:

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/roger-waters/1987/madison-square-garden-new-york-ny-bd705d6.html

Looks like Waters went about 40% solo stuff, 60% Pink Floyd material. 

That sounds about right, and the Pink Floyd lawsuit was settled late in '87 (after these concerts).

It's not that I hate Waters' solo stuff, but Radio K.A.O.S......well, I always loved this album description:  "The album follows Billy, a mentally and physically disabled man from Wales, forced to live with his uncle David in Los Angeles after his brother Benny was sent to prison after an act intended to support striking coal miners results in the death of a taxi driver, following his dismissal from his mining job due to "market forces." The album explores Billy's mind and view on the world through an on-air conversation between him and Jim, a disc jockey at a local fictitious radio station named Radio KAOS."

That's peak Roger Waters, about the most Roger Waters a Roger Waters' album could ever strive to be, but not what I would have wanted to listen through during a MSG concert.

 

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2 hours ago, Lobo said:

Tom Petty's is more varied than I was expecting:  

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/tom-petty-and-the-heartbreakers/1987/madison-square-garden-new-york-ny-53dc7f25.html

Hits on several albums and has covers by Chuck Berry, Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds, and the Clash.  Makes a strong case for itself despite its brevity.  

Yeah, that Tom Petty concert would have been great as well.

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9 hours ago, Pato del Muerto said:

I’d say Floyd but would roger waters be better?  I don’t know what they each played at that time. That was around the time Floyd had the album with On the turning away and learning to fly, so it may have been heavy on  post-breakup material. 
 

my 9 year old self in 1987 would choose crue/whitesnake and…probably Bon Jovi. 

Roger Waters is a better concert, Pink Floyd is a better show.

I saw Waters for the first time in 1987 too on the Radio KAOS tour in Columbus. He jammed out on Money for a good twelve minutes. Great show. The lead singer for Squeeze opened. 

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8 hours ago, Lobo said:

Holy shit, look at the Bowie setlist for '87 at MSG.  I don't have the words: 

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/david-bowie/1987/madison-square-garden-new-york-ny-53d0eb85.html

Since I can obviously travel through time in this scenario, can I go back and keep another poster's parents from meeting and I get their two shows to attend as well?  

No Golden Years? Not a dealbreaker but come on

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On 6/24/2021 at 7:59 AM, smuggs said:

The Beasties had just released License To Ill and Run DMC had just released Raising Hell ~1 year prior. That show in MSG would have melted your goddamned face.

 

#1 - B-Boys and Run DMC

#2 - Billy Idol and The Cult

 

 

edit - It was also the final show of the tour:

 

 

 

I saw the Beastie Boys/Run DMC show twice that year.  Once in Miami and once in New Orleans.  It was pretty great.  The following year Run DMC played at our Grad Night in FL (where they open up Disney World after hours to graduation seniors). The played Mary Mary for the first time before any of us had ever heard it.  Also pretty great.

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