AJC Flashback Two-fer!
Shortly after I started working for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta’s daily newspaper, in 1993, I was assigned to review a concert by Stone Temple Pilots, who were just then reaching arena-filling popularity. It was a fun show with lots of rock-and-roll pyrotechnics, and the assignment went well enough that I became sort of a reserve concert reviewer for the paper’s Features department, covering shows that the staff critics couldn’t attend for whatever reason.
In the coming years I reviewed a wide variety of live acts, everyone from John Tesh to White Zombie. I cite those two not only because they’re extremes but because you’ll never guess which show was scarier. Sure, the White Zombie audience was aggressive and testosterone-y and I felt a bit intimidated amidst all the moshers in my little Peter Murphy t-shirt. But the John Tesh show was potentially life-threatening. Not the new age music, which was harmless enough, and on a sultry summer evening in Atlanta’s Chastain Park Amphitheatre, verged on pleasant. No, it was the explosive finale that gave the audience a fright to remember.
After Tesh had hit the last keyboard note in his encore and the applause had died down and attendees were making their way to their cars, the park set off fireworks overhead. I don’t know if they exploded too soon or were calibrated to go off in the wrong spot (I’m not a fireworks logistics expert), but soon enough huge flaming embers were raining down on the exiting concertgoers. People sprinted through the parking lot, beer coolers hoisted over their heads, desperate to find cover as apocalyptic fireballs detonated on the pavement and sparked in nearby trees.
As far as I know, no one was hurt, thank goodness. But who knew you needed to wear protective gear to a new age concert? And no way could White Zombie top that ending!
Anyway, I’ll spare you a John Tesh video, but here’s a clip of my favourite STP tune, plus some White Zombie for you to mosh to.
Stone Temple Pilots — Interstate Love Song
White Zombie — More Human Than Human