Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Joan Jett And The Blackhearts @ 24th Street Stage, Va. Beach, VA (7/4/02)

The triple-doppler forecast of horrendous humidity brought upon by tightly packed New Jersey tourists, scattered showers from the spit outta these people's mouths and threatening thunderstorms courtesy of the Greekfest reunion on 19th and Atlantic Avenue made me wanna stay inside by the record machine. Must've been about 17 minutes later when fellow Jett-ite jOhn A. told me to gather my dimes for the in-person jukebox. Oh baby, I could tell it wouldn't be long until the Queen of Rock 'N' Roll was with me...yeah, with me! But before our dance, it would take a little time to find a parking space. Rather than waste coin on a meter that needed constant nourishment, jOhn fed an officer of the law seven crisp one-dollar bills at the Vaaa Beeech Pavilion's entrance. The gentleman was on a paper diet and willing to share his weight-loss secrets in the form of tickets. jOhn had already pigged or cowed out, therefore, he kindly said no gracias to the gun 'n' badger. After a 35-minute walk on a path adjacent to pocket ghettos, surf shops and two old farts singing about a little deuce coupe repossessed from Charlie Falk Auto, the stage was in our sights. Sure enuff, a fair amount of fairweatherers had taken their spots on the grass. Some folks were waving stars 'n' stripes; others were wearing them. A drunken Filipino man on crutches, donned in Uncle Sam gear from head to toe, had his Polaroid snapped with some boy in a wheelchair. Not a split second later, Mr. I Want You was back at the beer tent -- Ain't that America? Though the fireworks laxtravaganza had been the weakest display of Chinese-American togetherness since my meal at the Happy Buffet several months prior, the throng surrounding us gave its collective chopstick salute to the not-so-crackling conclusion. Backfire from a '76 Pinto would've excited these easy-to-pleasers.

At approximately ten Pee Em, Miss Jett and the Blackhearts came out to the cries of The Who song NOT called "Teenage Wasteland" playing on a Library of Congress-sized bookshelf system. With the "Family Feud"-esque ending portion of the track complete, the band opened with one of the five numbers on my checklist ("Bad Reputation"). Most of the crowd probably didn't give a damn about this Ramones-y rock 'n' roll anthem, but those dolts need a Francis Scott Key to improve their station. 96-X? Oh no, not me. "Cherry Bomb" (check #2) made some of the daddies and mommas say hello. Despite my association of this paean to teen-age fun with Cherie Currie on vox, Jett had me and grabbed me until I was sore. "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)," the third mark, gripped with glitter gloves and a molesting chorus. She didn't have to ask me twice. Yeah. Oh yeah. "I Hate Myself For Loving You" (#4) broke free, ran and came back to me. My cee dee copy of the el pee from which this cut appears on (Up Your Alley) came with a carefully placed sticker on the jewel case (97-Star...Plays More Hits!). To loosely quote a promo blurb of this long-gone spot on the dial, Jett always "gives us the phrase that pays." "I Love Rock 'N' Roll" (#5) had spent seven weeks on Casey's countdown as the numero-uno song in the Ewe Es Aye (1981 or 1982...nine-year-old naughty boy or ten-year-old troublemaker). Without a doubt, the majority of those with green stains on their white shorts had reserved sod seats just to hear "I Love..." before moving on. That's exactly what happened. Never mind the Blackhearts had at least five more tunes to perform; the view of lawn chairs folding, umbrellas closing and feet walking was upsetting to jOhn and me. But only briefly, for we moved forward to get a closer look and feel of a still-relevant rock 'n' roll legend. You can keep your Iggy Pop going like a weasel with his nu-found metal nuances, Aerosmith (brought to you by the Chrysler Corporation) performing children's music on Nickelodeon, and the Rolling Bones (thanks, Terry!) osteoporosizing their way through the 30,000th live version of "Not Fade Away" and charging $250 for the decomposition. Me, I'll take Jett -- who is still doing alright with the boys in my estimation. "Don't Abuse Me" and "The French Song" were the evening's surprise "deep cuts," while "I Wanna Be Your Dog," "Roadrunner," "Love Is All Around" and "Everyday People" were different strokes by different folks made Jett's own with her first vocalization.

Near night's end, I made a comment to jOhn that few people on Earth have more rock 'n' roll in their blood than Joan Jett -- the artist known as Pink could sure use a transfusion.


  1. Great way to conclude that piece, G! The irony is that when Sunday Night Football appropriated one of Ms. Jett's signature tunes for its theme song, the person they picked to sing it was...Pink.

  2. Sunday Night Football on NBC. Al and John are the best on TV...