Thursday, May 24, 2012

No. 742 – Suite Madame Blue

Performer: Styx
Songwriter: Dennis DeYoung
Original Release: Equinox
Year: 1975
Definitive Version: Caught in the Act, 1984

My high-school-graduation trip was the farthest West I had ever been; in fact, it was the first time I had been west of the Mississippi River. But San Francisco held my record for western-most point for less than two years, because in the summer of 1984, Dad and Laura decided to take me, Jin and Scott to Hawaii.

Laura is from Hawaii, and at the time her parents still lived in the house she grew up in in Ewa Beach, so we had free room and essentially board. Dad would pay for the plane tickets.

It would be a three-week tour, which sounds awesome, but this actually wasn’t an ideal situation for me. Beth and I had finally consummated our relationship the past December, and that summer we spent every moment we could finding ways to enjoy further consummations. Three weeks without that? It might as well be three decades!

But Beth took it upon herself to leave me with enough memories before then, so I would be able to have the situation, ahem, well in hand while I was gone. (Am I sharing too much here?)

Anyway, sexual fulfillment wasn’t the only way I prepared for the trip. I needed some music for the long plane trips. When I bought my stereo, I got a combination record player, radio and 8-track tape recorder. But what had made perfect sense in 1975 was hopelessly outdated by 1984 (OK, before then).

Jin, however, when she made a similar purchase years later, got a combo stereo with a cassette tape recorder instead, so I spent a weekend day over at Dad and Laura’s house making tapes. Jin’s room was Dad and Laura’s bedroom when they moved in, but they switched when they realized that Jin was going to be there full time, I wasn’t spending the night anymore and the kids’ room was the larger bedroom.

I brought over a few records that I wanted to tape a few songs from, but I also went through Jin’s collection. I already had a tape of The Who’s Woodstock bootleg, but I wanted to see what else might make it onto a couple of mish-mash tapes. Let’s see here, we have Split Enz, Rio by D-squared, and oh, Under a Blood Red Sky by U2—I’ll have some of that.

And she had the new Styx live album. By this time, Styx was so far over on the other side of the shark tank, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Chachi was their stage manager. Styx was cool up until Cornerstone, which was OK, I guess. But I couldn’t stand Paradise City, and as for Kilroy Was Here … enough said.

But the live album had a few good old songs on there, so I recorded this one, Crystal Ball and Come Sail Away onto a burgundy Aiwa tape that I still have in my tape collection packed neatly into kiwi crates in my storage garage. Those tapes became the official soundtrack of Hawaii, and after one more night with Beth for good measure, I was ready to embark on my great South Pacific Adventure.


  1. Oh man, "Paradise Theater" is an awesome album - but you are correct about "Kilroy" except for "Mr. Roboto."

  2. If by "awesome," you mean "sucks worse than the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise," you are correct, sahr!