I've never had the urge to see a tribute band, even for bands I like. Beatlemania remains an enigma--- I'm not sure why anyone would want to see it, even though I'm a Beatlemaniac my ownself. Yet last night I found myself at Winter Dance Party, a all-star lineup of dead rockers, being a re-creation of the last concert of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper. (Dion and the Belmonts, who were also at that fated concert, were not featured, presumably because they were not on the plane that augered into that wintry corn field in Clear Lake, Iowa.)
(Quick quiz! Can you think of any rock stars who died in a bus crash? Clearly a bus is a far safer choice than the sort of rented puddlejumpers used by touring bands. Future rock stars of the world--- if you want Mick Jagger's career rather than Ronnie Van Zandt's, please note this simple fact.)
So how did I end up watching a tribute to a bunch of musicians that I'm too young to actually remember? I was in Socorro for another reason altogether, and there are a limited number of things you can do in Socorro on Friday night, and this was one of them.
So there I was for two hours of family-friendly entertainment. Macey Center was packed, with an overflow crowd. There were a good number of people who looked like they remembered Buddy Holly the first time around, and a whole lot of people who might have been their grandchildren or great-grandchildren. It was pleasing that there were a lot of people there who had been born decades after the Day the Music Died.
I initially wanted to complain that the performers playing Holly and Valens didn't really look like them, and then I realized that my complaint was that they didn't look like Gary Busey or Lou Diamond Phillips. If I've seen any video of the actual performers, I can't remember it. I only know their looks and personalities from the biopics.
The Big Bopper was played by Jay P. Richardson, Junior--- which is to say the Big Bopper's actual son, born a few months after his father's death. He sang all his dad's hits, of which there were a surprising number. Richardson Senior was a songwriter who mostly wrote hits for other people, like George Jones.
For the most part I surrendered to the music, which really is too good to die. The people having the best time were the folks from the Tech Swing Dance Club, who filled the dance floor and consistently performed expert moves that had me quite envious. Kathy and I danced also, less expertly.
So, I Raved On. I had a good time. The music was great.
But I still have no urge to see Beatlemania.