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Continuing our series My Best And Worst Gigs Ever, X singer and bassist John Doe talks about two shows that stands out in his mind as being particularly memorable – and one that went tragically wrong.
“This is hard – I could think of 10 shows right now that might be our best. But I'm going to go with two as being the greatest, both for their own reasons. I kind of put them in ‘then and now’ categories. The first one goes back to 1981, after we had released the album Wild Gift. It was a pretty important time for the band. We had really established ourselves in LA and had, I think, firmly planted a flag in the ground for West Coast punk rock.
“Up to this point, everybody thought you couldn’t have punk rock in LA: ‘It’s too nice and sunny Everybody’s got a Porsche and a Mercedes and a swimming pool. What can you be bummed about?’ People didn’t realize that downtown LA was one of the scariest places in the world.
“So we released Wild Gift, we did a US tour, and we came back to LA to play the Greek Theatre – six or seven thousand seats. And we sold the place out! We sold out the Greek. To do that and not even be on a major label – we were just this scrappy punk rock band – that was pretty great.
“We were in the open air, which made the sound a little strange for us at first – we were only used to playing little clubs. And we played our hearts out, too. It wasn’t one of those gigs that played itself. We were very conscious of what we were doing the whole time, but in the end, it was exalting. Things went exactly as they should.
“More than just a great gig, though, it was kind of a benchmark moment. I actually felt as if we achieved something. We had arrived and reached some sort of higher level as a band. Maybe we all felt like that… or maybe I just did. [Laughs] I thought we had proved a point, but not in a mean way – in a very cool and meaningful way.
“And hey, even my mom was there. [Laughs] I made mom proud. That’s what we all wanna do, right?”