Max Koch Uncorked

Wine-soaked adventures through a twisted life…

Retro Futura Show at the Greek

So some how, some way, my wife managed to rope me AGAIN into attending a night of 80’s acts at the Greek Theatre.  A lotta my friends crack my nuts because they think I don’t feel burdened at ALL to patronize these bands and that I love ALL 80’s music because, of course, I came of age in the 80’s.  It’s. Not.  True!

I mainly listened to The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, and the Violent Femmes in the 80’s.  Primarily DARK shit. I was NOT a Howard Jones fan (although “What is Love” is okay), and now, thanks to my 80’s-obsessed wife, I have seen the damn dude perform live TWO years in a row now (at the 2013 Regeneration Tour, which was also held at the Greek). I mean, love him, mean it, I GET IT.

Well, this year, my wife couldn’t help herself. It appeared that Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins (WITHOUT the blond chick and the black dude) had signed up for the 2014 Retro Futura tour.  My wife was a MAJOR Thompson Twins fan and she’d never seen Tom or any of ’em live before.

God help me.


Look, how can I really complain? I mean, I love going to concerts and I live to people watch.  Especially 45-year-old women who show up channeling their outer Go-Go.  Plus I know what makes my wife happy and so I agreed to the evening.  But I was excited about NONE of the acts…


Katrina and the Waves???  KILL ME NOW!!!  I HATED that stupid “Walking on Sunshine”.

I love my wife with all my entrails but she has to be two hours early at every event.  Especially concerts. It doesn’t matter that we already have tickets with assigned seats.  Two hours early.

So we get up to the Greek and upgrade our seats to aisle seats (thank cripes) and the next thing you know, we learn that the Greek’s credit card machines are ALL down.  Now 90% of the reason I agreed to show up was because I like to sit with a giant beer in my lap and survey the crowd as they filter into the amphitheater.  So if I don’t have enough cash to keep the night flowing (including frequent trips to the men’s room), I’m SUNK!

I tried not to panic.  Nic had enough cash for supper so we decided to picnic prior to showtime.  If worse came to worse, I could always hit the Greek’s ATM machine and get cash.  See, THIS is why I worry I might have a slight touch of the alcoholism going on inside me.  I mean, there I was, PLOTTING how I was going to be able to drink for the rest of the night!!  SCHEMING, even!

Here’s my biggest problem with the Greek.  The wine they serve at concessions is Woodbridge.  Now I have nothing but respect for the Mondavis.  Why. they’re the Trumps of California wine.  But Woodbridge Chardonnay you may as well serve to your hefty Aunt Barb visiting in town from Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland.  Like SHE’D know the difference.  Plus I’m not a real fan of HEADACHES when I’m at a concert, even though I always make sure to wrap a few Advil in a sheet of Kleenex to keep in my pocket.

My wife, however, sucks it up and hits the Woodbridge every time.  I pass no judgment upon her for that.

Franny Greek

When I go to the Greek, however, it’s usually beer for me.  And, sorry, fellas, this may come as a shock to you…but ol’ Max Koch is NOT a suds slurper!  Hardly. I don’t mind the Tecate so much, I have to say.  But usually I start out with a Heineken.  They serve Pabst there, too, but I’m just not that brave.

No Beer

Dinner was fine.  But we were constantly being attacked by wasps which made my wife rise up and flail her arms like crazy and scream a lot.

Greek Supper

They set up a band outside the venue proper to warm up the crowd.  Never seen that before.

Outside Band

Now I have to tell you about something MAJOR that happened before the show.  At the Regeneration show last year, there was a dude who stood in front of us and danced the ENTIRE time.  Now normally that would be really, really annoying.  But this wasn’t just any dancer.  This was, I have since come to consider…my All-Time FAVORITE dancer!!

So here’s where it gets NUTS.  My wife wouldn’t recognize Tom Cruise in public if he was standing straight under her nose.  But she TOTALLY called out dancer dude from last year when we were upgrading our tickets!  He had RETURNED to grace us all with his stunning moves once again!  So I KNEW I not only had to totally stalk him… but also get my picture taken with him!  And I did!

This was my approach once I spotted him inside the amphitheater-proper.  Standing in the aisle of the EXACT same row he got down in last time…

ME:  Excuse me, sir?

MAN:  Yes?

ME:  I just want you to know that I am a MASSIVE fan of yours.  I saw the show last year and sat behind you and watched YOU the entire night.  Not the bands.  YOU.

MAN:  Oh…

ME:  Do you mind if we take a photo together?

MAN:  Sure.

I hand my camera to some random lady.

ME:  What the hell is your NAME??

MAN: (softly… after a pregnant pause)  Howard.

ME:  Howard!!

My night was made.  I was quite sincerely STAR-STRUCK.

Max and Howard

Another beer later and the next thing I know, Katrina was on stage thanking the Bangles for something. She actually seemed pretty cool and invited the audience to come shake her hand near the merch afterward. I hope she brought plenty of hand sanitizer because this was a relatively unique crowd. Including Frick and Frack here who plopped down right in front of me and nearly blocked my ENTIRE view of the stage:

Big Blues

It was like sitting behind a gigantic BLUE screen.  I mean, you coulda shot 30 “Star Wars” movies on these dudes’ backs.

Odder still was the flying-solo fellow sitting DIRECTLY to the right of my wife.  He introduced himself and proceeded to launch into his claim to fame:


He meant it, too!  I kept trying to stump him on bands he hadn’t seen and couldn’t.  He’d seen EVERYONE!!!

Oh, wait.  Except Van Halen.  Robert had no qualms admitting he HATES Van Halen.

Van Halen

Soon China Crisis hit the stage (never heard of ’em), followed by Midge Ure of Ultravox (my favorite performer of the night, I guess), Howard Jones (who, I’ll admit, I liked better this time… he had dancing mummies…), and, finally, Nic’s new crush, lone Thompson Twin, Tom Bailey.  Oh, my wife fully copped to finding him engaging and sexy!  With his grey hair, his artsy-fartsy hand gestures, his dark sunglasses, and Veteran New Waver weave.

Tom Bailey

(Ssshhhh… we won’t tell her he wasn’t that interesting…)

No doubt, I’ll be dragged to the Greek for more 80’s flashbacks next year.  Only this time, I’m packing my own vino!  

Wait, do they make wine flasks…?