This issue of the Daily Tar Heel, University of North Carolina's student
newspaper, featured a scathing review of the
27 Feb 1987 Hüsker Dü
show in the student union. At this stage of the Warehouse tour, the band
was playing the album
Songs And Stories) start-to-finish in sequence, omitting almost all of
their prior body of work. More than a few fans found this approach unsatisfying.
Photo: Tony Deifell.
HÜSKER DÜ show
It was blatantly obvious Friday night in Memorial Hall that Husker Du is still
working out some of the kinks in their tour.
This Chapel Hill date was only the third show of the band's current tour. It started last week with two dates in Virginia.
Almost as soon as the curtain opened there were problems. While the light show had a few interesting effects on the walls adjacent to the stage, the people manning the spotlights had problems hitting the band members. It's understandably difficult to put a spotlight directly on a guitarist who is always moving and jumping around, but a stationary drummer should be a cinch.
There were also problems with the sound. The vocals were not very clear and overall the sound of Bob Mould, Grant Hart and Greg Norton was just not very crisp and clean. Maybe it's just that the smooth production of the group's album "Warehouse" spoiled this listener.
One reason for the sound problems could have been the suicide of the band's manager, David Savoy. The band postponed the first five dates of the tour, and the members are not doing any interviews until sometime in mid-March. The tragedy has surely had some effect on the band's musical abilities.
The sound and light problems are all minor things that can be expected in the early segments of any band's tour. Husker Du's performances will no doubt get better when they get used to being back on the road.
The biggest disappointment of the evening wasn't these small problems; it was the song list. Husker Du played every song off their newest album, "Warehouse: Songs and Stories," which isn't unusual except that they played them in the exact same order as they appear on the album.
They started with "These Important Years," "Charity, Chastity, Prudence and Hope," and kept on going through each song on side one. Then they flipped to side two not stopping until they finished "Friend You've Got to Fall." At this point they threw in an oldie the only song sung by Norton 1. After the oldie they picked up where they left off, finishing sides two and three. After "No Reservations," the band played another oldie 2 but then went on and finished the material on side four. In summary a 24-song set with 22 songs from "Warehouse." 3
What's the deal? It was almost as if the band just played the record and lip-synched to it in "Putting on the Hits" fashion. Is the band preparing for an appearance on "Solid Gold"? Maybe the idea was meant to be a novelty. A little more creativity would have been a lot better.
The opening band, Christmas, put on a great stage show, though their music was nothing special. The crowd of 600 sat down during the band's entire set. Guitarist Michael Cudahy's antics were hilarious. He played his guitar while lying on the stage and, at one point, he even banged the strings on his head. Is this where the phrase "head banger" came from? The highlight of the set, though, was when Cudahy backed into a stage prop column and nearly knocked it over.
For those who couldn't get to the show because of the weather, just listen to "Warehouse" and you'll get an almost identical replica of the concert. Right now, it's a much better buy than a Husker Du concert.
1. The Greg Norton tune "Everytime" was an album outtake/single B-side, not an oldie.
2. "Flexible Flyer" (from Flip Your Wig).
3. The reviewer's numbers are a little off (there are 20 songs total on Warehouse), and apparently he didn't stick around for the encore, which featured five additional non-Warehouse songs.