D— came rolling into the bar; I mean “rollin”. High on his own supply. “Godsmack is playing at the Casino! Ten bucks at the door!” Nobody paid attention. D— was always yelling about something. I was interested. They were the only good music being played on the local radio station. “Classic Rock” was getting old.

WHEB was promoting them hard because they had just signed a deal but their album hadn’t come out yet and they were from Lawrence, Massachusetts. That was a big deal in our corner of the country.

“Fuckin’ right! I’m in!” I tilted my glass back until it was empty and walked towards the door. D— was trying to round up a few more but I guess nobody wanted to leave their drinks. Fucking slackers!

When D— was in the mood he wanted everyone to feel the same and didn’t mind sharing. I’m not sure if he ever broke even. We both took the E-Train for a mile and a half to get to the Casino.

We arrived just in time to beat the crowd. A quick stop at the ticket booth and ten bucks later we were at the top of the stairs on the second floor of the ballroom with a clear path to the stage. We headed straight to the front and grabbed hold of the railing. Soon we were smoshed by the crowd behind us. Everyone trying to be the closest to the action.

That asshole from the radio was talking some shit into the microphone. “Number One Morning Show in New Hampshire?” You are the only fucking radio station in New Hampshire. Guy thinks he’s a celebrity. My friend met him and he offered to sign an autograph. Da faq? I think my friend should have given him an autograph, it would probably be more valuable today.

Then came the real surprise. The lights dimmed and a bunch of kids walked onto the stage and one of them said into the microphone, “Hey, we’re Reveille” and that was all the introduction they needed before they proceeded!

They all jumped into the air and simultaneously their feet, the drums, the bass, the guitars hit! That is all it took! On the next downbeat two thousand pairs of feet landed on the ballroom floor. That’s how it went for the next hour. Long hair swinging, heads banging, and the joint was jumpin’! You could feel the floor flexing with all of us bouncing in unison. It felt like the place was going to collapse!

Reveille? Who the fuck are these guys!?

Oh yeah, I guess Godsmack was pretty good too.

[The Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom was built in 1899, it is a post and beam construction with hardwood floors. When people say a band “brought the house down”, in this case it could have been quite literal.]

— I don’t tell this story a lot. Usually when I meet someone and we talk about music and they say, “Oh yeah, I love Godsmack! I’ve seen them live 5 times…. (That’s it? That’s your story?) Oh yeah, I saw Godsmack once… They are usually not interested in hearing about how Reveille blew them off the stage. But they like when I end with “My claim to fame is I got kicked in the head by “Sully’s” Redwing boot when he dove off the stage.” (It’s true, that is my one brush with greatness) Don’t get me wrong, I like Godsmack, I have them on my playlist. I don’t have any Reveille because the albums don’t capture the live experience.–

–I put Godsmack on to get me in the right frame of mind when I started writing this and I started thinking about “Euphoric Recall”, people telling me I only thought I was having fun because I was drinking and drugging. I wondered if anyone had filmed that show and put it on YouTube. That happens a lot. I couldn’t find that show but I did find Reveille Live at the “Palladium” in Worcester, MA. (2001) Ummm… Yep. Pretty much exactly what I remember. I planned on only watching a few minutes but ended up pouring another coffee and bouncing in my chair until the end. Then I was really ready to write! I don’t know? Click on the link and take 45 minutes out of your day and tell me if it looks like a good time.–

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