Let me set the scene.
My best childhood chum and I are headed into the city in the splendid comfort of my Mom’s land yacht of a 1972 Catalina Wagon. Ten Buffalo winters hadn’t done the Queen Mary much good, but we had wheels. It is December 1981, and we are pulling through the snow into the lot at Kleinhans Music Hall. I moor the boat into a parking space, turn off the engine and in no time, we are greeted with a rapid knock at the passenger side window. It being dark outside and the Music Hall lot wasn’t very bright (apparently neither were we), it was a little tough to see and imaginations run a little amuck. I thought we were about to get kicked out of the lot. It turns out, we were just encountering our first unlicensed vendor of concert t-shirts. $5 got you a black baseball jersey style J. Geils Band tshirt! Of course, we bought em. You HAD to wear your trophy to school the next day and who’d have these.
This was already a little special because of the setting. Who’d a thunk J. Geils would have been at Kleinhans? A month earlier, the conductor stopped a Philharmonic performance to yell at an audience member for coughing?!?
Centerfold hadn’t arrived yet, but radio, okay, 97 Rock, was playing a lot of the wild r&b stuff J. Geils did and it was awesome to my ears. Never had much thought about Freeze Frame or Centerfold, more of a Musta Got Lost or Whammer Jammer fan myself, but I remember them putting on a really fun show, and maybe being in Kleinhans made you feel like you blasting some party tunes the folks’ stereo while they were away and a friend snuck some drinks over. J. Geils disappeared not long after that and haven’t recorded since, but periodically get together for some shows. Apparently, the namesake guitarist isn’t with them this time out, but I’m pretty sure if you head to the Harbor to hear them, a good time awaits. Hell, might even be a Houseparty.
Best part? In school next day, “Where’d you get that shirt?”