Date: 24 September 1989
Artist: Love And Rockets
Support Act: Pixies
Venue: Recreation Hall
Location: University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
Ticket Price (USD): $14.00
Love And Rockets managed a minor miracle when their single “So Alive” reached 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in August 1989. This achievement coincided with the second leg of a North American tour in support of their eponymous fourth LP. The band partnered with Pixies for this road trip, which wisely included stops at several universities, given both bands’ appeal with college students.
Not long after returning to Penn State in August to start my junior year, I discovered that the Love And Rockets tour schedule included a September date at Recreational Hall, a multi-purpose sports facility on PSU’s main campus. After missing The Cure’s show in Philadelphia at the end of August (see prior post), I hoped an evening with Love And Rockets might provide some consolation. I invited my girlfriend, even though she was not familiar with either band. Over the summer, I had made her a mix tape of my favorite artists in an effort to expand her musical horizons (Love And Rockets was represented by “Love Me” from “Express”); alas, we would not find common ground there. However, a club DJ who lived across the hall from me in the Lyons Hall dormitory expressed interest in attending, so I purchased three tickets.
The 6,000+ capacity Rec Hall seemed pretty packed on the night of the show. Our seats were situated toward the rear of the floor section, a good distance from the stage. I never could get into the Pixies, and consequently did not appreciate their opening set. The Boston-based band had expanded their fan base in 1989 with the release of sophomore album “Doolittle”, and related singles “Monkey Gone To Heaven” and “Here Comes Your Man,” all of which were promoted via a new US distribution deal with Elektra Records.
The Pixies were loud, and Love And Rockets didn’t lower the volume knob. The trio’s heavily amplified, guitar-driven performance touched on all facets of their varied repertoire: rock, pop, post-punk, psychedelic, glam, goth, and blues. Selections from all four of the band’s albums featured in the set, which finished with two encores: a raucous cover of The Clash’s “Should I Stay Or Should I Go”, followed by a campy reading of “Wake Up” featuring Daniel Ash in drag.
Further Reading: Gregory Roth, Love And Rockets And The Pixies Will Rock Rec Hall Sunday, The Daily Collegian, 22 September 1989.
Gregory Roth, Rockets, Pixies Rattle Rec Hall, The Daily Collegian, 26 September 1989.