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Monday, May 16, 2011

The Cars Drive 'Em Wild at the Fox

Posted By on Mon, May 16, 2011 at 8:18 AM

click to enlarge The Cars in Oakland on Friday - RICHARD HAICK
  • Richard Haick
  • The Cars in Oakland on Friday
The Cars
Move Like This Tour
May 13, 2011
@ The Fox Theater, Oakland

Better than: Getting a wisenheimer brainstorm

The vibe on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland early Friday evening came as late

vindication of John Lennon's Hard Day's Night quip, "The older

generation are leading this country to galloping ruin." The street

surged with frolicsome fortysomethings on a long-deferred spree, as

steam-pressure from life in cube farm or workaday hustle began to

whistle off in anticipation of a rare, indeed, momentous, event.

Gender distribution in the street and inside the vast movie-palace

venue was roughly equal, but divided into large, mobile gangs.

Plus-ones were naturally hard to come by, so I bought my girlfriend

(who was relieved of photography duties tonight) one of the last five remaining

seats situated way up in the nosebleeds. We were idling there at 8:15

p.m. listening to Archie Bell & the Drells do "Tighten Up" over

the P.A. when the Cars crept onto the darkened stage and piled into a

thunderous, lurching "Good Times Roll."

click to enlarge RICHARD HAICK
  • Richard Haick
The sight of four-fifths of the original New Wave band sent the entire hard-packed mass on the main floor to howling at once. The din as it pounded the ceiling was enough to send the cheap seats into hysterics, and I loped downstairs to investigate its source. On the floor far below writhed a throwdown mass that looked like something these first-wave fans might've staged the last time the Cars rolled through here back in 1985. The few younger folk in sight were plainly grooving on retro-culture, like the guy got up as Dude Lebowski I spied posing for pics at the downstairs bar. He was perfect -- down to the beard, sunglasses, and sweater -- but was for some unaccountable reason sopping up beer and not White Russians.

click to enlarge RICHARD HAICK
  • Richard Haick
It's no faint praise to say the new songs off Move Like This -- especially "Hits Me" -- are well up to Ric Ocasek's old standard, and scarcely damning criticism to note Benjamin Orr's elegantly creepy co-lead vocals were sorely missed, at least by me. There was no pass made at "Drive," their biggest hit, and the late bassist's shaky tremolo still owns "Moving in Stereo," which they saved for the encore. The rest of the show was equal parts flashy showroom display of a retooled act and '80s group singalong as band and fans kept trying to outblare each other. I was back up in the cheap seats when the last song ended at the well-nigh Lawrence Welkian hour of 9:43 p.m. The P.A. began to unload Johnny Cash's take on Vera Lynn's World War II wheeze "We'll Meet Again," which could mean Ocasek is one more rocker who'll never again say never.

click to enlarge RICHARD HAICK
  • Richard Haick
Overheard: Old hippie in leather hat on beholding the "Sold Out" sign: "Boom-boom. Wakka." 

click to enlarge RICHARD HAICK
  • Richard Haick

Good Times Roll
Blue Tip
Since You're Gone
Up and Down
My Best Friend's Girl
Hits Me
Touch and Go
I'm in Touch with Your World
Keep On Knocking
You Might Think
Drag On Forever
I'm Not the One
Sad Song
Heartbeat City
Let's Go

Moving in Stereo
Just What I Needed

click to enlarge RICHARD HAICK
  • Richard Haick
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