The Psychedelic Furs – Majestic Theater, Madison Wi – Sept. 11 2013

Oh man.

With only a weeks notice I got an e-mail from the Majestic that The Psychedelic Furs were coming. What?!! There wasn’t even a tickets by snail mail option, so I chose will call so I could get stubs. I learned my lesson at The English Beat show. Cindy and I were actually off on Sept 11 to run errands and have a food tasting and visit The Wintergreen again, so she got drafted into going with me. We would go right from Spring Green to Madison. The timing should be perfect.

The night before the show Cindy was with Deb and Jody and mentioned going to see The Psychedelic Furs (and how excited she was?) and Bret overheard. His reaction was also: What?!!

When Cindy got home that night she told me how excited he was and suggested I take Bret instead of her. Not the she didn’t LIKE the Psychedelic Furs of course, but that Bret clearly liked them MORE. Mmm hmm. So I called and offered the ticket. He was in 110%.

The day of the show, after our errands and tasting and visit to The Wintergreen I turned my van towards Madison and sped off. I was LATE. My GPS took me through towns I had never heard of and I gunned it whenever I could eventually arriving at the parking garage a few blocks away from The Majestic 3 minutes before the doors open time of 7:30. I ran halfway to the box office, then walked fast like a mall walker the rest of the way. I passed Bret who was waiting in line, got my tickets from the box office and made it back to him just as the line started moving into the building. If I hadn’t of driven like Sammy Hagar I would never have made it. As it was the timing was perfect. We got wrist banded and got the last table at the front before the standing area.

I didn’t even have time to get a marquee shot. I would have to get that later.

After a minute to catch my breath, I headed down to the bathroom to scout for show posters. There was one!

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I had brought “The Psychedelic Furs – Forever Now” album sleeve and a sharpie with me (more on that later) and the show poster fit in there nicely and was kept safe for the evening. I also fell prey to the merch table and purchased a signed pair of drumsticks from the current Furs drummer Paul Garisto. Our table was replete with Furs fandom.

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I was not the only nerd to bring vinyl to the show, as was evidenced later, but I might have been the only one displaying it at a table. Several people stopped and checked out the album. “Oh man, I had that one!” was the common theme.

One gentleman stopped by and asked to see the drumsticks. Turns out (and forgive me if I get this all wrong) that he was a Ludwig rep who had signed The Psychedelic Furs back in the day to use Ludwig drums. He told us that he had picked them up in a blue car when they came and they made reference to it in the song “We Love You”

I’m in love with Catholics
I’m in love with your blue cars
I’m in love  with the words that scream
We are so stupid, we all dream

I forgot his name, I am so bad at that, but that’s him behind me in our “we were here” shot on the left hand side. I gave him the AuralRetentive business card and explained a bit about what I do and that photos from the show would end up there.

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Yeah, that’s me and Bret psyched to see The Psychedelic Furs!

The openers actually opened right away and were called The Technicolors. They were good! I may have to get their CD from Amazon. It’s called “Listener”. Go check out the song “Sweet Time”.

They started out the night rocking hard. The vocals were drowning at first, but they fixed it. Bret and I both looked at each other after the first song with an approving grin. Live music is good, good live music is awesome.

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The drummer reminded me of Dave Grohl in the Nirvana days and the guitarist on the left had Slash hair. The sound of the band reminded me of Oasis meets The Black Keys with some Foghat mixed in. Remember Foghat? Regardless, they were good.

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I went down by the speakers to get a closer shot.

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They rocked hard, and then surprised me by playing a mid tempo version of Chris Issac’s “Wicked Game”, and making it work. I loved it. I would recommend these guys if they are in the area again. They were solid. Good job Technicolors!

At the break I went outside to get a marquee shot.

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Art Paul Schlosser had taken up residence on the street outside. Hi Paul.

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Then it was time for The Psychedelic Furs.

The lights dimmed and the band (minus Richard) took the stage and started right in. I recognized Tim Butler on bass on the right. There was a woman keyboardist (Amanda Kramer), a guy on guitar (Rich Good), a sax guy (Mars Williams) and drums (Paul Garisto). They warmed us and the equipment up and then after a bit Richard Butler came out and started his performance.

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I say performance because he was all over the stage. Going from one side to the other and back to the drummer and back up front, he was moving and gesturing and posing the whole show. Even between songs he was shimmying in preparation for the next beat to come from the amazing bass of Tim (his brother) and beats from Paul.

It was so fun to watch! He was expressive and his voice was strong after all these years. I was amazed. They played hit after hit after hit. The crowd was going crazy and so were Bret and I. I would alternate between watching in awe and taking pictures and going down by the speakers to try different angles.

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Of the 100 shots I took the handful you will see here are all that came out non-grainy. All the close-ups were horrible. The lighting there is just too extreme for my phone. I did get a few nice shots though.

I swear Tim is looking right at me!

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Richard doing his shimmy move.

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Stage left. Does he not look like Gary Oldman in this shot?!

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He commanded the microphone, taking it and holding it about hald the show so he could move around.

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It was amazing to watch and to listen to. The drums were seriously the most thumping I have ever felt at a Majestic show. It was beating my heart for me. I love this shot with the light reflecting off of Tim’s bass.

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The sax guy wailed hard and at one point he was playing sax and the clarinet at the same time. It was so cool.

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The show was in short amazing. The music was great, the venue was good as always and Richard Butler was a dancing emoting stage god who took our 80’s memories of the Furs albums and made them happen again, with a solid backing band and his ever present brother on bass. There was only one song I didn’t recognize throughout the whole show. Even that one was great. I could not have dreamed that it would have been this good.

When they left the stage the crowd literally began a clap and stomp chant. I have seen several shows this year and that has not happened once. I joined in and clapped with all my might, as if my clap would turn the tide.

They came back of course and went straight into “Pretty In Pink”.

There are 2 types of people in the world. Those who know the song “Pretty In Pink” because they saw it in a movie, and those who knew it before that. You know who you are.

A few more songs and Richard left the stage as the band played on for a bit, then the music disintegrated and picks were thrown and the stage emptied. The lights came up and it was over. I was paralyzed and blissed out.

Deep breath.

Normally that would be the end of the story, but Bret rallied and we decided to do the groupie thing. First we headed to the backstage area. There was nothing going on back there. I did spot this gear box that was clearly marked REO Speedwagon. Interesting.

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We went out back where the tour busses park and joined some other vinyl toting folks who were waiting already.

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The first person out was Amanda Kramer who was talking to some folks and seemed quaintly embarrassed to be asked to sign anything. She was saying she had been with The Furs for 11 years.

Then Mars Williams came out. He good-naturedly signed too. The dude wailed at the show. He was in The Waitresses! Remember “I Know What Boys Like”? Check out his role in the video:

Then came Paul Garisto. He was the one who signed the drumsticks I bought. He also wandered out and stood off to the side chatting and signing and was very cool. Bret got a picture of me with him.

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He is just a little guy, but he made a hell of a boom on those drums.

Bret shook hands with him.

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and after a bit, the guy who had talked to us about the drum sticks, the Ludwig rep (?) had a conversation with him. I hope he gets to see this picture.

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I also got Rich Good to sign. He humbly thanked us for our ovations of “the show was fantastic” and “great job” and “you jammed up there”. He seems so young to be representing The Psychedelic Furs, but his sound was top notch.

Eventually Tim Butler came out. He seemed puzzled that we were all still standing around. He signed a few things, my album included, asked us if we had heard if the building (The Majestic) was haunted, and then turned and walked to the bus.

One of the road crew told us that Richard was already on the bus and that was the end of it. Behold the signatures:

In blue is Paul Garisto, in red is Amanda Kramer and Mars Williams.

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Rich Good

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and last but not least… Tim Butler.

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The complete package.

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It is already in a record frame and packed away for the future man cave. As well as the ticket stub from the night.

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I had the signed drum sticks in my pants pocket the whole time we waited outside.

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I may have to dust off the drums and make some noise with them before I vacuum seal them in a display case.

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The show was fantastic. Period. The experience, the music, the signatures, the memorabilia.


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  1. Truly unbelievable show … I am still thinking about it and find myself singing snippets of Furs songs when my mind wanders. Thanks for being wise to buy the tickets and letting me go with you!

  2. Amanda Kramer was a member of Information Society, if we are talking about the one and the same. How eighties/borderline nineties can that get?

  3. Dear Michael,
    My Name is Rick Lakin.
    I’m the Ludwig Drums guy. We met and talked at the Psychedelic Fur’s show.
    My girl friend, Ann and I enjoyed meeting you and Bret at that wonderful gig.
    Thanks for the pic’s of the show and the one you took of Paul Garisto and I talking after the show. I had gave him the back story about Vince Ely,( original drummer). How I had pick them up at O’har Airport on there first American tour in my blue car. They were cracking jokes about Americans and there love of driving blue cars. Vince had told me how that lyric came to be on the song (We Love You).

    I drove them to their hotel, Whitehall Hotel downtown Chicago, Then I took Vince to Ludwig Ind. plant and to meet with Bill Ludwig III and give him a tour of Ludwig’s manufacturing Company.
    At the end of the tour… We surprised Vince a Psychedelic Red the (drum finish) drum kit. He was so happy having a new kit for the tour. Vince and I stayed in touch over the years. What Great guy.
    Boy, Paul Garisto is a great drummer, enjoyed meeting him.
    Thank You,
    Rick Shaw Lakin. Stage name when I was drumming for the band from Chicago called, The Cut-Outs.
    I really dig what you are about, and love what you are doing to keep (it) alive.

    LUV the Furs Man.

    1. Rick! Awesome, I am so glad you visited the blog and got to see your picture with Paul. And thanks for telling your story again. That was a great show. Probably one of my favorites of all time. Thanks again for stopping in and commenting! Michael

    2. Hi Rick, Vince Ely here, I have been trying to contact you over the years and by chance stumbled upon this article.

      I still have the letter you sent me in 1981 while I was living in London, but I’m still waiting for the Psychedelic Red kit (it was the blue oyster finish kit you gave me for the tour).

      Hope to catch up with you soon,


      1. Wow Vince, I am in music nerd paradise right now. I’m honored to have a comment from you here on my blog. Even if you are just looking for Rick. 🙂 I can forward your e-mail to him if you’d like. Not sure if Rick is monitoring comments for this post. I’d be happy to try and get you two in touch with each other. Just let me know if sending him your e-mail is okay.

        and thanks for stopping in… any past, present, or future Psychedelic Furs members are always welcome!


      2. Hello Michael.

        Yes, please forward my mail to Rick. That would be appreciated.

        In truth I did ‘stumble’ upon your blog. I was trying to reach Rick and googled: Rick Lakin, Ludwig, Chicago (as I had done unsuccessfully in the past) and your blog was top of the list and I was pleased to find it..

        Thanks and best wishes, Vince.

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