Maritime Hall , San Francisco , Saturday February 28th 1998

reviewed by Kathryn Watson

I'm going to start with the audience and the general atmosphere.. We get there and there's all these goths everywhere...snobbery city, and not at all dressed for the occasion, in fact the occasion they were dressed for would have to be the dead House of Usher or Rodrick's Chamber...but there were a few punks here and there and a lot of losers. Show was supposed to start at nine, but that wasn't gonna happen...and of course the opening band was Man Will Surrender (not my kinda music, but the band seemed a nice buncha guys) and they played...for a long time, me bored to death. I stayed where I was the whole time cause I wanted to catch Captain when he came out...he never did bother the support band, even though the lead singer broke a guitar string. I was sure he'd come out and bug them...but none of it. They were proud to be playing for the Damned and when someone hollered out "You suck! Get off the stage!" he replied "You know what really sucks? You're not up here!" and I thought that was a great attitude.

They left and we waited and waited and waited and FINALLY Garrie then Monty came out and Patricia. Garrie and Patricia looked bored, and Monty of course had a silly smile...I think it must be permanent, because other than that, he looked bored too...or tired, really they all did. Then Captain came out in a sommersault....but even he looked tired! Dave was last...and best looking, despite the cartoon hairdo. They started and I don't recall the first three songs at all....again, back to the audience. What a bunch of creeps! These are NOT punks...but because they were at the Damned show they instantly thought they must be gods. They picked fights with people SMALLER THAN THEM, JUST because ordinarily they would never have the courage.. One in particular was trying to take photos with a crappy little toy camera (won't he be surprised when they don't come out and it turned out to be wasted film and bruises!) and he was elbowing me and another very very small girl in our I punched him in his head...see how he'd like it.

Captain didn't remember me...which is sad. He had emailed me before he left promising backstage passes cause apparently he wanted to talk about his computer...I never did make it. The show was...passing. If I had to grade it, I'd give it a D+. It was energetic, bit entirely flawed. Most of the trouble came from Captain's guitar...way too loud..drowned out the rest of the band, and Captain was going wild with it...I had a hard time recognizing songs. This also due in part to the fact that Patricia doesn't seem to have near the power a bassist should. At first I thought she was doing alright, becuase I didn't notice any problems...then I realized it was because I couldn't hear her at all...finally at the beginning of what turned out to be Love Song, I could hear...barely audible and VERY wrong! So there's that. I hate to criticize things I dont' do myself, but I know how that song should start and it seems pretty plain and simple to me...and I didn't recognize it at all. I also noticed that she played with a pick and she seemed to favor the thickest cord and not touch the others...that seemed odd as well. So if you're a bassist you tell me.

Anyway...there were a few incidents I suppose I could note. First that the stage was flooded in one corner with beer. I do NOT exaggerate! It was a standing pool...and it didn't help that the bit that was getting hit with all of it was a seperate added on bit that stood out and deeper...also that it was by Captain's brand new pedal (that has been mentioned in a previous review and in Captain's tour reports) so they were sliding around not looking very together. Eventually Captain had enough of that and took a mouthful (of his new favorite Samual Adams) and sprayed the offending section of the audience. There was plenty of stage diving, of course...since this is "what's expected" and these INSTA-PUNKS fully intended to make asses of themselves "being real punks" for one night.Dave made the mistake of stopping a song dead in the middle to ask one of these farts up on stage to make a comment...he slurred someting along the lines of "Take it down, there's a philosopher here who needs to make a comment" and drug him up and handed the drunken retard the mic to state "THE DAMNED ROCK LONG LIVE PUNK" and jump...and from that point on everyone wanted to take the mic away from Dave.

Captain never got naked (not that I saw), but he did eventually put on the pink dress. Dave took a fall in the beer-pool and he recovered but I think very tired and drunk and he stared directly at me for a long moment and I thought he was going to fall over dead on us...he was just looking right through me. This was on Captain's side of the stage. Finally Captain got fed up with Dave invading his side of the stage. He said to Dave "Dave this is my side. Those are your birds over there and these are my birds over here, okay? Is that okay with you girls?" To which Captain got screams of approval (I'll admit I had to join in was finally getting fun, once I gave up on expecting a Damned show and settled for a Captain and Dave Comedy show, as mild as it was for them) Dave then kissed a girl on "His Side" of the audience which was met with a disapproving glare from Patricia, then he went to her and fondled her a bit....began looking as though he was going to be sick or fall down out cold again...but he made it..somehow. I can't say if it was because he was drunk, or bored to death. (I liked his Mafia HitMan double-breasted coal-grey pinstriped number...very nice, I've been wanting one like it for some time.)

And so it went...sadly. I think they did the best they could...but I hardly remember the songs and some I never did figure out. When it ended we left, down a long winding stairway/hallway among a couple hundred others...while one girl bleated like a sheep...can't say I blame her. I don't think most anyone was disappoinhted and I believe my problem was that I was expecting the Damned as a band...and to play good music and there to be some rioting of course and wild mayhem...fine, but this was nothing but stress and hate and confusion. I believe it came from one simple factor. What I'm familiar with is the stories and reccolections of shows in the UK, where they're more active. The english fans think "Oh, I'm going to a Damned show. Cool!" and they have fun. In the US they haven't been around in a long time, and there were VERY FEW people in this audience who had ever seen them. So they were thinking "THE DAMNED! OH FUCK!". Well, I believe I have nothing more to say... Good luck to the Damned for the rest of the tour! I hope they get more energy and some more respectable audiences! (perhaps I'll go see them at the El Dorado if they show after all here in Sacramento...I know the place and I can go alone.) -

Kathryn Watson