San Diego Streetscene - 12 Sep 1998
It was yet another gorgeous day in one of America's prettiest cities. The Saturday dawned bright, sunny and hot. I'd been in San Diego, at the southern tip of California for 11 days already, but this was to be the highlight ! Cheap Trick, headlining on the VH-1 "Rock Across America" stage on the main night of the event.
I'd wandered down to the Streetscene area on the Friday morning, just to check it out. Streetscene is an annual festival held in San Diego since 1984. About 10 blocks or so of the downtown Gaslamp District are fenced off for the 3 day event, this year had 10 different stages or "event" areas, ranging from Mardi Gras, VH-1 rock stage, Jump'n'Jive Club, Louisiana Heritage stage, Jazz Cabaret stage and House of Blues Festival. The VH-1 stage was in a large parking lot at the south west corner of the grounds, just across from the Convention Centre. As I stood and looked at the stage, the Convention Centre was behind to the left, a tall, modern but elegant hotel was behind the stage, with a garden terrace, and there were palm tree's and shrubs in the background too. Very nice. Hot, sunny...... a wonderful setting.
It was fun to meet up with a number of fans/friends who travelled down the 150 miles from Los Angeles for the Sat show. Around 3.15 pm I decided I'd go and stake out my front stage spot early, in between Rick and RZ. Yeah, I guess I was still in typical British queing mood. It was a long, hot afternoon, and I probably needn't have bothered for 2-3 hours.... First band up were a local band called Zoe's Garden, VH-1 Guitar Center Contest winners. They were pretty good, I liked them. About an hour later, LA band The Tories came on, who were also good. At one point, the lead singer asked if this was Dallas - the building at the rear of the lot looked so much like the Texas School Book Depository ! During the set, we spotted Robin Zander side stage watching. A few minutes later, he wandered down from the stage, to stage front and stood and watched the band with us CT fans. That was so cool, RZ was very relaxed, said hi and shook hands, and for about 10 mins just enjoyed The Tories. He then wandered off to explore the rest of late afternoon Streetscene. For a while, the world's greatest vocalist was just another relaxed music fan, having a good time.
Next up around 7pm, as the light was fading, was British singer songwriter Beth Orton. She was pretty mellow, and struggled against both a cold and the noise from other stages, drowning out her quiet accoustic songs.
By now, the crowd was noticably swelling, as both Cheap Trick and BoDeans fans were down to nail their spot. Its difficult to guess how many bodies there were, as I could get no sense from the front of how far back the crowd went. But I'd guess the parking lot could hold several thousand. I hadn't heard of The BoDeans, but they seemed to have quite a following (mostly women it seemed). They took to the stage around 8.20, and played a high energy, well received set. I was impressed, they were great and really put everyone in the mood for the highlight of the night, Rockford's finest. I was glad to be getting to the main event too at last; it was a very long day standing at the stage... to the end of the CT show, around 9 hrs.
Early in the afternoon, a copy of Cheap Trick's set list was posted at side stage. By straining my eyes, I could just make it out. Cool !! It was to be a Complete Budokan Show ! (The list was:- Hello, C'mon, ELO, Speak Now, Eyes, Lookout, Downed, Can't Hold On, Caroline, Surrender, Aufie, Need, Roller, Southern, IWYTWM, Cal Man, Goodnight // Shame, Clock). But later in the afternoon, it got replaced with a "regular" set list.
The set played was:-
I Want You to Want Me, C'mon C'mon, She's Tight, Anytime, Ain't That a Shame, I Know What I Want, Wrong All Along, If You Want My Love, Hard to Tell, Voices, Need Your Love, Southern Girls, Surrender ------ Shelter, Dream Police, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodnight Now
Our boys hit the stage around 10.20 pm, to delight a vociforous, enthusiastic and impatient crowd. Rick wore his black, pinstripe-checked suit, yellow ITFL t-shirt, with "SD" (I think) on his beard label. RZ wore the purple velvet suit and bottle green shirt. Tom wore black shirt and pants, the large cross, and the striking maroon jacket. Bun, as usual, wore a predominently white flowered shirt, black pants and cap.
I thought the band looked full of energy, and playing as well as at any other of the 10 shows I've seen earlier this year. They put on a great show, with Rick playing up to various people in the crowd as usual. All too soon the show was over, and though we hung around a while, the band had gotten away straight from the stage. They were apparently due to head straight out overnight for their next show in Salt Lake City, so hardly surprising I guess. As always, a great show from the band. Thanks to them, and to Carla too.
We were all on the usual Trick high at the end ... boy, if you could bottle and sell it ... Us fan's ended up looking at the spectacular view of the San Diego harbour from somebody's hotel room, and talking Trick talk until 2.30 am or so. We met up again next morning for a fun "brunch" and photo's at Denny's, before the others headed back to LA.
That was about it for Streetscene. Definitely the highlight of my 2 weeks in San Diego. I very much hope to go back down there again in the not too distant future, its a terrific place to visit. And I'd LOVE to be sharing that wonderful city with other Trick fans... now THERE'S a place to hold TrickFest 3 !!
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