Wow did I ever find a gem today on YouTube.
For almost 20 minutes this evening I flashed back to one of my favorite concerts ever 12 years ago. I remember the line up vividly. It was The Gray Race Tour featuring Bad Religion with special guests Unwritten Law and Dance Hall Crashers at the infamous Cleveland Agora.
I was fresh out of high school, reckless, and an avid punk rocker. I went to the show with a big group of friends….we took our friend’s mom’s van that had the worst suspension ever. In fact we had to turn around on route 422 and swap the van out with another friend’s mom’s van.
One thing I recall about that show was there there were cameras all over the place, professional cameras. The cameras were on the balconies of the Agora as well as on the shoulders of cameramen. My friends and I got excited because we were going to be filmed during the performance. We hoped it would be released on VHS (that’s right kids, DVDs did not exist back then).
I owe that tour for introducing SoCal Surf/Skate punk rockers Unwritten Law to me. I am still a fan of them today. During their performance I noticed the cameras were not rolling so we all agreed that the camera were there only for Bad Religion.
When Bad Religion took stage we all went insane. I remember moshing and dancing and just acting like a complete fool. At times I was just falling on people and letting them push me around as I sang at the top of my lungs. I was being a carefree 19 year old and was loving every moment of it. For the record, I was sober too…I got carded when I tried to buy beers….haha.
As the years passed I slowly forgot about that show. Since none of us could ever hunt down that footage of the show we all figured it was lost. A few weeks ago one of my buddies who went to that show with me called me telling me he saw some footage of the show on YouTube. I was in disbelief yet thrilled that it surfaced. Well thanks to my busy like I completely forgot about that phone conversation until today when I logged onto YouTube and looked it up.
Sure enough, it’s Bad Religion at the Cleveland Agora 1996. It was a sold out show. My friends and I were front row slightly to the right of center stage. I laughed when I saw the pit because I know I was a part of it. I remember it so clearly and now you can see what I experienced…