Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Passing by the Beasties

Everyone has a Beastie Boys story, don't they? No? It's never good when anyone only 47 dies of cancer, but I have to say that the band left a very light impression on me. Except for the time I rode in the same El car as a number of Beastie Boys fans. It was a fairly crowded car, but they stood out. How do I know they were Beastie Boys fans? They weren't shy about it.

No property damage or fights occurred during their ride, but they sounded like they were up for either. After a few minutes of noise, the lads got off to see the band at the Aragon Ballroom, which is on the North Side of Chicago, within sight of the El. I did some looking around, and that must have been during the Beasties' infamous 1987 tour.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine writes in Allmusic: "In fact, Licensed to Ill became the biggest-selling rap album of the '80s, which generated much criticism from certain hip-hop fans who believed that the Beasties were merely cultural pirates. On the other side of the coin, the group was being attacked from the right, who claimed the Beasties' lyrics were violent and sexist and that their concerts -- which featured female audience members dancing in go-go cages and a giant inflatable penis, similar to what the Stones used in their mid-70s concerts -- caused even more outrage. Throughout their 1987 tour, they were plagued with arrests and lawsuits, and were accused of inciting crime."

Remarkably, I'm able to pin it down: They played the Aragon on Friday, March 13, 1987, according to this fellow, who claims to have documented the many concerts he's been to. I'll go along with that. I don't have any record of what I did that night, but I was out doing something, and it's what I think of on those rare occasions when I hear about the band, such as this week.

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