When principal Skinner said “Oh God, we’re at the corner of Cesar Chavez Way and Martin Luther King Boulevard” on The Simpsons the other night, I couldn’t help but think of this concert.
I went to this show with my brother. I was 18 and he was 16. We were living in San Diego and drove to the show on our own. Our directions for getting to the Sports Arena had us exit on Martin Luther King Boulevard, which we were naively surprised to find out was in the middle of a pretty, um, urban area. Unsure of where we were going, I pulled into a gas station to ask for directions.
In my memory, every single customer and employee at the gas station, as well as every passer-by on the street, was a black man wearing a shower cap on his head. I later learned that the caps were part of jheri curl maintenance but at the time had no idea what was going on.
You’d think that a man wearing a shower cap in public would look like a wuss, but somehow it made these guys look more intimidating to me. It was like they were so bad-ass that they could wear a ridiculous-looking thing on their head, practically daring you to laugh at them.
I made my brother get out of the car and ask directions.
The concert was great fun. It was a sold-out show, the first of three nights at the arena. I was a big U2 fan at the time, and Bono was years away from becoming annoying to me. He was still very earnest, of course, and when a male fan climbed on stage and was grabbed by security, Bono instructed the bouncers to let the fan approach him for a hug. Awww.
Here’s the set list, pulled off the Internet:
11 O’Clock Tick Tock, I Will Follow, Seconds, MLK*, The Unforgettable Fire, Wire, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Electric Co., A Sort Of Homecoming, Bad, October, New Year’s Day, Pride. Encore: Knocking On Heaven’s Door, Gloria, 40.
* It’s not true that Bono introduced the number by saying, “I wanna give a shout out to the men in shower caps on MLK Blvd.”