Show Review: The Cars @ Showbox SoDo

The audience at the Cars last night was so thrilled to be there. People were dancing and smiling as if, well, as if the Cars were playing their first show in twenty-four years in a venue where you could actually see the band. I’m convinced the Cars are one of the most influential band of their era. You can hear their sound all over so many bands, whether the bands realize it or not. So how does the original stack up? Absolutely sleek, shiny, strong and joyful. Move Like This, the band’s first album in quite some time (since 1987 if you want to count back), is a brilliant work, one that you can recognize right away as a Cars album – and there’s everything right in the world with that. Also, Showbox SoDo introduced a new sound system last night, and it absolutely worked with the Cars in producing a crisp, perfect delivery. Singer/guitarist’s Ric Ocasek’s vocals were record sharp, and all instruments were clarity itself. The band has an elegant presence that shone through with familiar and less familiar songs, including the opening “Good Times Roll,” “Let’s Go,” “Touch and Go,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Sad Song” and “Keep on Knocking.” The song “Moving in Stereo,” which might just be my favorite Cars song, got two plays as the band didn’t seem happy with performance one. It was incredible to hear the song even once, but twice was an ecstatic godsend. “I’m Not the One,” and “Just What I Needed” exquisitely went through the roof. Deceased bassist/singer Benjamin Orr is missed – a loud contingent of the audience screamed for “Candy-0” – yet the Cars continue their relevant beauty.

The Cars

Review by Dagmar


40 thoughts on “Show Review: The Cars @ Showbox SoDo

  1. Thanks for the review and I am soooo happy to hear they put on s a great show. The Cars were my first concert EVER in 1984 and I was hooked. 500 shows later I look forward to the Boston show in a few weeks.

  2. They definitely did not play “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” last night…

    These are the songs they played, but they are not in the exact order:

    Good Times Roll
    …Blue Tip
    Since You’re Gone
    Best Friend’s Girl
    Up And Down
    Keep On Knocking
    Touch And Go
    I’m In Touch With Your World
    I’m Not The One
    You Might Think
    Let’s Go
    Drag On Forever
    Heartbeat City
    Moving In Stereo (f’d up version)
    Moving In Stereo

    Sad Song
    Just What I Needed

  3. I’m so excited for this show! They are playing First Avenue here in Minneapolis. Question: was there an opening band? How long did they play for?

  4. Love, love, love them. Can’t wait to see them but will have to wait for Lollapalooza in August. So glad they’re back.

  5. Their new album is amazing…not so much that it is a classic or the best ever but that it sounds like it could have come out in the 80’s and they never miss a beat…loving it!

  6. Setlist:
    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
    Heartbeat City
    Let’s Go
    Moving in Stereo
    Moving in Stereo (again)

    Sad Song
    Just What I Needed

    The band sounded great, all the more when you consider how long it has been and how relatively little time they had to rehearse – without a bassist. Great to hear 6 tunes from the new album, and was especially pleased to hear the rare “Up and Down” from Panorama. A few thoughts on the Seattle show…

    If anybody was wondering why Elliot Easton didn’t solo more on the new record, it certainly isn’t because he can’t. He absolutely tore it up in the Seattle show, so I’m thinking that Ric felt this new batch of songs just didn’t call for solos in the sense that Elliot provided on past albums. But fine guitar work is still there on the album (listen to “Drag on Forever”).

    Elliot and Greg were clearly having fun and seemed most comfortable, which makes sense since they were the ones who (a) really wanted to tour and (b) had toured relatively recently with TNC. Ric was mostly stoic, as he shouldered heavy responsibility with all the lead vocals and hadn’t toured in some time, but at times he definitely seemed to enjoy playing and was very gracious to the crowd. I mean, how many huge rock stars would actually insist on playing a song again to get it right? Ric sang Ben’s songs well, though the crowd drowned him out “Let’s Go” and “Just What I Needed”. David was working really hard (notice that lack of ballads on the set list) and it sure didn’t sound like he had taken two decades off. I also liked that they had one of Ben Orr’s basses on stage under a spotlight…

    Aside from “Let’s Go”, the set had a somewhat darker tone, which was perfectly OK by me – ie., no “Shake It Up” or “Magic”. Also no “Drive”, which I didn’t mind either; it’s a Ben Orr vocal but one of my least favorite of their hits. All in all, an amazing show.

  7. are you on crack? that was the worst show i’ve been to in years. the sound was atrocious (whoever put mattresses over the speakers should be fired) for starters. and the set was short, no encore (although there seemed to be some confusion about that, since the lights stayed down for a good 5 minutes before coming back up after the techs started pulling cables). and the audience – smiling? dancing? what show were you at? not the one i was at, that’s for sure. i didn’t see anyone dancing at all, except a small group of three in the lounge area. attempting to dance on the floor got me scowled at and shoved, twice. it was just plain hostile. i’ve been at friendlier punk shows. if i hadn’t been there with good company, i’d’ve left. such a bummer to have jumped through the presale hoops, found a sitter, and hauled myself down to seattle for such a disappointing performance.

  8. PLEASE come and play Cleveland!!! The House Of Blues would be perfect!!! You’ll be in the Hall Of Fame soon enough!!!

  9. Oh My!!! I’m still pinching myself!! I can’t believe I was at the concert last night!! I’ve waited 31 years for this!! It was AMAZING! Thank you for making me feel like I was 16 again! You guys Rock! Thanks for the autographs after the show! LOVE you all! Michele

  10. I was there and it was incredible!!! No opening act. Just the cars – they came on about 90 minutes after the doors opened. So fun to hear all these songs again. When they started playing Since You’re Gone, I had a total flashback and thats when they shifted into high gear. I want to go to every show, it was so fun. As far as the crowd goes, it is Seattle, so not alot of dancing and singing…Seattle has pretty laid back crowds, but the crowd went crazy during certain moments, especially during Lets Go…I love when Ric Ocasek smiles. He has the best smile ever.

  11. Please come to San Diego!!! Easy trip from LA and lots of great venues to choose from in San Diego!

  12. Not to step on anyone’s toes, but the Encore was that thing that happened after the Cars waved goodbye and actually left the stage for a solid 5 minutes after the second run of “Moving in Stereo” and before “Sad Song.” So yes, there was an encore, and true to the Cars, it was short, tight, clean, thrilling, and left the place on a huge high – so much so that even after the roadies starting pulling cables, people were still pushing past me to get closer to the stage just in case they came back one more time. I didn’t see anyone who wanted to leave after “Just What I Needed.” If they were playing a second night in Seattle tonight I’d be doing my best right now to get tickets. There’s nothing better than seeing legends reconnect with that intangible something that launched them in the first place. Aside from technical problems during the first “Moving in Stereo,” which were fascinating and cool to witness in and of themselves, the show was flawless.

  13. hello ,there going tomorrow . Did the whole band come out ? Also did you wait a while to get the autograph

  14. One of my best friends from grade school was a huge Cars fan back in the day, but neither of us has ever seen them live. We’re meeting a week from today to see them in Chicago. Woo hoo!

  15. I am looking foward to the show tomorrow night . I have a question Michele did the whole band come out? Also did you have to wait a long for the band to come out ?

  16. I saw the show last night. It was pretty damn epic to see the actual, real Cars (minus )Ben Orr play. The smallish venue at Showbox Sodo was jam packed to the gills and everyone was legitimately happy and let their faces show it too. A beautiful sunny pacific northwest evening with music legends… What could be better. Well, here’s my offering:  They played a great sampling of all records (except Door to Door). They opened with the classic “Good Times Roll”  followed with new hit “Blue Tip.” BTW, The first few measures into the first song you could see/hear the drummer David Robinson struggling with playing along (to the bass sequencer track). So, every so often you could pick up a little “whoa, is the drummer f’ing up?” but, it didn’t affect the overall performance or mood of the room. Unbelievably they played some epic classics from my personal favorite ‘Panorama’ and even more unbelievable they played “I’m in touch with your world” (yes, you read that right). It sounded awesome and was a great reminder that these guys wrote interesting/ quirky songs (and not just the pop hits). Oh, When they got to the “big fat macaroni” line, everyone shouted the lyrics too (lotsa fun!).
    Sonically, they sounded a bit muddled with the use of the bass sequencer. This wasn’t really noticeable until Greg Hawkes played bass. Then, you were like, “THAT’S the punchy, clear bass line which made the cars sound so full & dynamic.” but, conversely, I applaud them for not hiring some young, Johnny come lately to play Bens parts live in concert. Personally though, I wouldnt blame them if they did. After hearing how much better it sounds when they had a live bass, it made me wish they had more. Speaking of the Ben Orr void, his vocals were missing on a few classics where you knew that Greg & Eliot just couldn’t quite handle that heavy load & giant void left by one of the best, under appreciated vocalists/ bass players in rock music. But, they made no bones about it and Greg mentioned a very sweet segment to how they all missed Ben. The crowd loved it. Greg was 5 stars last night.
    Mr Eliot Easton was awesome as expected. He missed a few note strokes but you wouldnt have noticed because every time he played a solo, no matter how large, the place went nuts. Eliot has a huge fan base & let him know it. I loved it. Every time he would solo “rahhhhhhhggggg!!!” the crowd went nuts. He looked like he was genuinely happy and excited to be on stage. Ric was Ric. Everyone around us all said the same ” Ric is so cool.” he looks like time & age passed him by unaffected. His vocals were spot on. I mean, spot on. Sounded just like the records. He looks & sounds so cool with his two old Gibson SGs and his slow-hand bar chords. Not enough coolness can be said by how well he played, sounded, looked. He was very gracious & friendly to the crowd. He did drop the F-bomb on the place tho:
    Here’s why: the drummer was sluggish, struggled and seems a bit over his ski’s at times. I am not sure if he was having a hard time with is headphones trying to find the click track or the bass sequencer in the mix (which he was no doubt playing along to). I just kept wishing he was playing a real acoustic drum kit and not an overly triggered & sampled electronic drum kit. Admittedly, this was the first time they played a live concert in nearly 24 years but as a fellow drummer, you could just sense that there was an issue with Davids playing last night. So, now that I’ve mentioned that. This deviation in drums to the sequence track completely (and I mean completely) derailed last night during “moving in stereo.” it was a collapse in epic proportions. The keyboard was playing to the bass track/sequence, Ric was trying to follow that train wreck while Eliot (being closer to the drummer) was trying to play with the drums (worse idea). For some unknown reason, David tried to remove his heads phones while playing and just started playing to no one in particular. Those headphones were his cue to play along with the bass track but he decided he was just going to play it by ear. They rode that mess for a full 4 uncomfortable minutes. It was awful. But, they didn’t panic, freak or act like amateurs. Nope, they straightened out their gear, chatted with each other briefly and Ric walked up to the mic and said “why don’t we try playing that f’ing song again.” Again, the crowd went nuts. These fans were happy and excited to see the Cars. I mean, the Cars! When they finished the song (the second time) the place again went nuts! That song, more than any of them, truly & legitimately needed Ben Orr. Not only for his milky smooth vocals but for that punchy, sporadic bass line. But again, it was the Cars! It was awesome and we all loved it. They came out for an encore, crowd went nuts. Even after their encore, people didn’t start to leave for another 10-20 minutes. Even when roadies were unplugging monitors & taking guitars off the stage, we all just hoped, hope on hope that they would come back out and play another few songs.
    Aside from the apparent need for a live bass sound on stage and the giant void left by Ben Orr, they sounded wonderful. I can finally say “I saw the Cars.” not only that but their first show in nearly a quarter century. Oh, the new album is great too. 

    Highlights- in touch with your world, up and down, let’s go & Blue Tip, moving in stereo PT 2, Greg hawkes.
    Great time & a wonderful night.

  17. I will be at tomorrow night’s show in Los Angeles. I can’t wait. Do they sell t-shirts at the show?

  18. I’ve got tickets for the only Canadian stop on the tour…. can’t wait for the Toronto,Ontario Canada show on the 20th!

    It’s going to be great!

    John Nizman
    Last Chance Auto

  19. One of my favorites, Cruiser, I do not see on the set list. 🙁 But seeing Up and Down brings joy to my heart in spite of not being there. 🙂 I hold out slim hope they’ll come near Omaha, but am thrilled with the new album and want to thank them for giving us another go-round.

  20. I’ve been a fan since 1978. I love these guys and the music and am so thrilled the show did so well, but it’s The Cars so i expected nothing less. I’m glad they didn’t do drive though as no one but Ben could have done it seriously. Congrats guys you deserve the love and the accolades.

  21. To the person who posted come to Cleveland, I’m origianally from Cleveland and saw them live there and at the Richfield Colliseum for the ‘Door to Door’ tour. I do hope they come there. I seriously doubt they’ll come anywhere near Tn where I live now.

  22. @carsfan. You’re a MORON! How come YOU are the only one bitching the show was bad? People like you should not call themselves fans jackass.

  23. “The band has an elegant presence that shown through with familiar and less familiar songs…” The author surely meant “…that shone through…?” How can the editor let that slide through?

    I was there last night, and as great as it was to finally see The Cars, the venue was atrocious. Got in early, beer was ungodly overpriced (to be expected), but even though they are a restaurant, they refused to take orders, telling our table every time we asked, “Oh, we will take orders in another 15 minutes,” or after asking about 6 times, “It doesn’t look like we are going to take anymore orders for food.” This asks two questions…One, why were some people getting food delivered to their table, and the rest of not even being able to order anything? And second, in Washington state, if you serve booze, you have to sell food. Isn’t that worth cracking down on the Venue for that lack of food service?
    I will never attend another concert at this establishment.
    And the author is dead wrong. The Cars did not sound all that good. I was not disappointed with the band, but highly disappointed with the venue on many levels. Their sound system was terrible.

  24. Made the drive down from Vancouver to see the show. Had an awesome time. Amazing to be so close to my favorite band from the 80’s. That trademark Cars keyboard sound was fun hearing live – Greg Hawkes was quirky and hilarious. Ric Okasek was great – the last few old songs were Ben Orr vocals and he did fine. I guess showing his age as he referred to a teleprompter. And, while I saw Elliot Easton once before in Creedence Clearwater Revisited, much better seeing him in the Cars – great solos, especially Touch and Go. Hard to figure why a Cars fan would not have thoroughly enjoyed last night. I sure did!

  25. To Keith: There was no opening band and they played for exactly one hour. The tickets said it started at 7, but they didn’t come out until 8:20. We really enjoyed ourselves, and everyone seemed to be having a great time and the crowd we were in was very friendly. They were not super “tight” yet and I heard a lot of mistakes on the instruments, but I’m sure the show will get better each time.

  26. As far as carsfan. You must have been at some other concert. People including me were dancing everywhere & all were smiling. As far as the encore, it was a little confusing, but all in all, it was a great show.

  27. carsfan has good points though i’m not that down on the show. Pros: Great legendary band, great songs, lead vocal was strong, solid performances, new material held it’s own. Sad facts: sequenced bass sounded mushy all night, mix took half the night to get right (lead guitar buried and too wet (on right side of stage where I was, about 35 feet back)), vocals smothered in processing for many songs, background vocals a bit weak, and performances seemed tentative in places (i.e. Rick reading lyrics from an ipad-like device on a stand). Noted, this was a first gig, most of this will be better in a few shows, but regarding last night, an honest review of show could not be any more then a B.

    About the original reviewer, I also think there’s some crack intake going on. The reason that “moving in stereo” was done twice was because they got out of sync (massively by about 2-4 measures) with the bass sequence and it took the a full half a song to recover. It was the biggest train wreck I have ever heard from a touring band. So the band asked if they could do a retake and essentially used the gig a paid rehearsal. Didn’t bother me but that’s what happened. No one could say the first version sounded anything but disastrous, IMO.

    All that said, I had fun, enjoyed the great songs, ripping solos, and seeing a band I grew up with. No regrets.

  28. Fantastic show. Ben was certainly missed, vocally AND on bass. Elliot kicked ass, it’s probably the most animated I’ve ever seen him play. Greg was his incredible mad scientist quirky self. Ric was Ric. He sounded great and will hopefully be a little more energized as the tour goes on. The drums need to improve and I think they will. The first song was rusty then they got very tight with the exception of “Moving In Stereo” take 1. I would have liked to have heard “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” and also “Hello Again” but they couldn’t play everything. The new songs were crisp but definitely lacked the power and punch of the older classics. “Let’s Go”, one of my favorite songs, was odd without Ben but sounded great with Ric delivering. Everyone was wondering if/when they were going to do any Ben songs. The timing in the set on “Let’s Go” was perfect, the crowd went nuts. It was an older crowd with a older Seattle crowd snootyish attitude, if you wanted beer you should have stayed at Hooverville across the street. However there were plenty of older and younger fans thoroughly enjoying themselves.
    People were definitely dancing. Playing “Moving In Stereo” twice was the highlight of the night, they NAILED the second take. Every real Cars fan there loved it. Me and my skinny tie did.

  29. I liked your review Bob. Simple, to the point and you must have been at the same show I was. Skinny ties and THE CARS forever!

  30. I posted this elsewhere but it’s always good to spread the opinion and I added a little more to this one.
    Let’s start off with, I am a HUGE Cars fan. Back in high school, they were my band. I collected everything of theirs I could get my hands on. I got every solo project and b-side. You want Cars pins, shirts, videos, promotional posters? I had em. What I didn’t get to do is see them on their Heartbeat City tour. I tried to catch them on the Door To Door but they broke up during the tour so I was out a concert and a ticket master charge (only $5 back then).
    So, when I found out they were touring, I gladly paid the $48 + rip-off charge to go. I was disappointed.
    Keep in mind this is all from memory so I’ll do my best to stick as close to my reality as possible.
    The show was suppose to start at 8:00 but they were a little late (8:20). It happens. As you read from the setlist, they played 4 of their new songs. I guess the 5th one would have been off the new album. Keep in mind that I think only two of them were released as videos. Since the new album wasn’t released until the day of their first tour date (Seattle), which was the one I was at, I didn’t even have a chance to get to know them. We all know that unless bands are actively releasing albums, no one wants to hear the new stuff as much as they do the songs they grew up with.
    They played some hits and some b-sides that I was a little puzzled about. Could just be my taste in the b’s but “I’m in touch with your World”, “Touch and Go”, and “Heartbeat City” aren’t the ones I would have chosen off their album. I mean, Heartbeat City had 5 videos made and Heartbeat City wasn’t one of them.
    Also mentioned above was that they flubbed “Moving in Stereo”. I did like CarsFanSince78’s analysis of David Robinson’s difficulties but I heard it was because he really hadn’t played the drums since they broke up.
    They did play the song again but when they quit at 9:47 (including a encore break), I felt a little cheated. That is not even 1.5 hours and even less if you consider they did the same song twice so their setlist must have been even shorter. If not, they just said, “We gave you your X amount of songs. We’re done. Good night”. Most of the audience members stood around and they seemed to be as stunned as I was. People didn’t really clear out until the roadies really started to pack up.
    I’ve heard that The Cars don’t move around much on stage. I’d have to concur. Elliot and Greg did most of the movement. Ric just seemed to be going through the motions and not the Emotion in Motions. 😉 David, well, he was behind a drum kit so what do ya want.
    If I had to make the setlist, I would have told them to play the two new songs they released, play most of the hits, and give us two hours. It’s been around 25 years since they played live (Well, 87’s Door to Door was a partial tour so…), give us that “We’re back. Did ya miss us? You know you did!” experience.
    I liked the new songs and I probably would have purchased that CD, but now, I just feel like I’ve already given them enough of my cash.
    I’ve been to a TON of concerts, and this and GnR (with just Axl) were the only ones where I didn’t my money’s worth.

    PS: Judith Taylor, Carsfan ain’t lying from my point of view. I was dancing but I didn’t notice many around me doing the same. I’ve seen a few videos from that night and there wasn’t much movement from the crowd. They pretty much stood there. I don’t need people to dance but I just wanted to say that he wasn’t the only one to notice that. I did hear a lot of singing. I think the Seattle crowd was very forgiving and I don’t think The Cars could have asked for better (unless they wanted more dancing 😉 )

  31. Like Michael G, growing up the Cars were MY band too. I’ve been a fan since ’77, owned all the trinkets and record store give-away swag (as I worked in one in ’77,)I’ve seen them 14 times, + Ben solo, & Elliot with The New Cars (which was awesome). The Cars have NEVER been an active band onstage, and frequently in the 70s & 80s I was one of the only ones up & dancing (always front row getting stuff thrown at me). My biggest regret is not being able to attend a show now – I too was one of the very disappointed during the Door to Door canx tour era. PLEASE COME TO VEGAS! Everybody loves to play Vegas! Do a pool show at the Mandalay Bay – its the BEST venue EVER! And I’ve been to over 600 concerts! Couldn’t make the LA show with short notice and life committments, but sure appreciated all the details / set lists everybody shared. Made me feel a part of…. since I’m gone.

  32. Saw them in Oakland on Friday 5/13. Michael G hit the nail on the head. The last time they toured here in the Bay Area was ’85. So what do we get? An odd set, bass sequencer, and 80 minutes of stage time. What the #@$*!. After 25+ years I expect just a bit more. What really should have been a great show, was basically ho-hum. Yes they’ve always been a bit static on stage, but for $#@*! sake, a bunch of zombies would have been more lively for this big “renuion” . . . disappointing

  33. I grew up a big Cars fan and was looking forward to the Seattle show in a big way. I left feeling like I wasted my money and my time. The set was REALLY short, Rick looked like there were 1,000 things he’d rather be doing and the set list was FULL of slow songs. I have to agree with Paul L’s comment – what should have been a great show was disappointing. I watched the first half from just in front of the sound board and the second half from back near the bar and there were very few people dancing. Lots of head bobbing and polite applause, that’s about it. It was sad to see a band with that many great songs decide to only play a handful of them. I’d say they were great for about 1/3 of the show, the remaining 2/3 was very forgettable…

  34. Sounds like the reviews for the 5/10 CARS Seattle concert (SHOWBOX) are a tad disappointing/a little mixed! Nonetheless, I’d have honestly loved to have had the chance to attend (hope I get another shot one day). I didn’t even KNOW that THE CARS had a new album/tour until 2+ WEEKS later after watching Late Night With Jimmy Fallon tonight 5/25 (the band played Blue Tip/I recorded it). I must say, it was as stylish/eclectic as they’ve always been known for!

    Benjamin Orr was definitely a favorite (Bye Bye Love, All Mixed Up, Think It Over, Cruiser etc…solo too); he can’t ever be replaced but I’ll bet Ric was terrific as always (would’ve been cool to hear a couple songs from This Side Of Paradise (nice touch on the Emotion In Motion rif MSG). But I guess this wasn’t designed as a Ric Ocasek solo outing, was it?!

    Michael G (if you come back to this page again), I’m almost certain you’re my old close friend from T-Town. We both were VERY big Cars fans: I’d put you 1A to my 1B! Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) opened the door to my CARS fascination (Moving In Stereo montage: Phoebe Cates in pool/Judge Reinhold laugh!…although I must say J.J. Leigh was much hotter! I’m probably one of the few who think so, but who cares really?

    Then around ’83-84 I befriended an obsessed CARS fan in yourself, and that certainly fed my intensity! Don’t forget, you had MTV as well so you video-taped lots of World Debut Cars Singles that hit the air-waves! I wonder if you kept your GHOSTBUSTERS (Ray Parker Jr) video that you played to DEATH!

    I remember when the ’86 Greatest Hits (Cassette!) came out and we were happy it included a brand new song (Tonight She Comes): She’s takin’ a swipe at fun (fun…fun, fun, aagghh). I believe we listened to its live debut on the radio (in the living room on your Mom’s console stereo after school!) Lots of fun searching the used record stores for b-side 45’s and the Hello Again LP which I didn’t have yet (including long 6+ minute version with witches’ cackle)! I think I found a couple 45’s you needed (Slipaway, That’s It, Don’t Go To Pieces).

    Thankfully, that CARS ANTHOLOGY brought them all to CD in one fell swoop! Also, the Ric Ocasek song on the SPEED soundtrack I bought for ya on your b’day (I don’t recall if that was any good?) Do you still have the guitar books to all the albums (I know you collected those as well; it’s how we could distinguish some of Ric’s eccentric/cutting edge lyrics that we botched from time-to-time!) I still have THE CARS Houston Concert, that was a re-play on National Radio that you had me audio-record back then!

    Once I began reading the reviews tonight and stumbled upon yours, and you mentioned the cancelled concert/disappointment in 1986-87 (Door To Door/Tacoma Dome), I knew it HAD to be YOUR REVIEW! I hadn’t even read who it was from, but I said to myself that’s GOT to be Michael (and sure enough it said Michael G)!

    And YES, I’d have been a little miffed at their selection of b-side cuts at the recent show too (those 3 you mentioned were not songs I listened to a whole lot: I’m In Touch With Your World, Touch And Go, Heartbeat City), although being a passenger in your 1st truck I often had to listen to the entire cassette play thru (no matter what!) Typical Michael, along with your dreaded Beef Jerky that no one got a chance at except maybe your dog (still funny)! Although, once in a while you budged & I got free reign over the ADVANCED/TRACK SEARCH on your (hi-tech tape deck)! Up And Down (Panorama) sounds like that would’ve been great to hear LIVE! Too bad, a slew of Candy-O songs weren’t included (Nightspots, Lust For Kicks, Dangerous Type (all Ocasek vocals so would’ve been perfect). And I KNOW, A Dream Away (Ric Ocasek/Shake It Up) would’ve been special (I think you liked that song quite a bit too).

    It did sound in other reviews that Ric WAS receptive to the crowd, albeit zombielike? But isn’t that just prototypical Ric at his finest? It’s clearly a disappointment to hear the concert lasted barely 1 Hour 20 Minutes but after 24 years I’ll bet it was pretty anticipated/exciting leading up to it (then a bit of a letdown surely)!

    Once again, I hope I get another shot at seeing THE CARS (LIVE) down the road (along with Gary Numan, the other musician/group you & I BOTH liked a lot). I know he played the Seattle Fenix (Underground) in late 90’s, not sure how that was? That song Cars played to death on the radio in ’79 (10 years old), but I loved it & I consider The Pleasure Principle a classic (check out the film (Urgh: A Music War) for a live/strange Numan performance in techy gizmo car! I caught it for the 1st time at the Grand Illusion Theater (Seattle) as part of a Punk/New Wave Quad movie Marathon (Valley Girl, Get Crazy, Class of 1984, Urgh: A Music War) in 2010.

    In closing, I’ll definitely buy THE CARS 2011 album/CD Move Like This soon & the samples on Amazon are enough to tell me I’ll really like it! I know this review turned out to be NO MORE than a CARS love-fest, but I just couldn’t help it! Once I saw the live performance on Fallon (1:25 AM), I had to see the Concert schedule (& just missed out!) I’m glad to see some die-hard fans got that rare opportunity to catch them after SO MANY years!

  35. Sounds like the THE CARS 5/10 concert in Seattle (SHOWBOX) was a little disappointing/mixed reviews?! No matter, I’d have still loved to have seen it. Unfortunately, I didn’t even KNOW of the new album/tour until 2+ weeks later. I caught Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last evening (5/25), the band playing a cut of Blue Tip, which was as eclectic as they’ve always been!

    Michael G, I’m almost CERTAIN you’re my old close friend from T-Town! Upon reading the reviews and stumbling upon yours, once you mentioned the 1986-87 breakup/Door To Door Concert cancellation (Tacoma Dome), I said to myself this has GOT to be Michael! If I remember, I didn’t buy TIXS in time so I missed out (but then the show got CANCELLED anyway). I know you were completely bummed. In a way, it lessened the blow for me as I was upset I couldn’t go to begin with!

    You and I were VERY big CARS fans, I’d put you at 1A to my 1B. And don’t forget, you also had MTV during that era and videotaped several (if not ALL) of THE CARS/Ocasek/Orr World Premiere music videos (and SNL appearances to boot). I wonder if you still have the Ghostbusters (Ray Parker Jr) music video (that you played to DEATH)! My fascination with THE CARS began with the Moving In Stereo montage in the 1982 film Fast Times At Ridgemont High (THE Phoebe Cates topless pool scene/Judge Reinhold…laugh!) I believe J.J. Leigh was MUCH hotter in her scenes though, and certainly I’m one of the few that did (fine with me)!

    Then in 1983-84 I met an obsessed CARS fan (Michael) and that only escalated the intensity for me. It was fun shopping at used record stores and looking for the elusive b-side 45’s (I found a couple of these for you: Slipaway, That’s It, Don’t Go To Pieces). Plus, I found the Hello Again LP that I didn’t have yet (which included the 6+ minute re-mix with the witches’ cackle) & Greg Hawkes solo album (that I gave you). Years later, the CARS Anthology CD (Just What I Needed) gave us all the rare CARS singles together in one fell swoop (which was nice, although the Hello Again re-mix was NOT included)! BTW, Tower Records (Tacoma/Seattle) was undoubtedly THE BEST record store of the era!

    Another highlight was the arrival of the 1986 Greatest Hits (cassette!) that included a NEW SONG (Tonight She Comes): She’s takin’ a swipe at fun (FUN, fun, fun, aagghh!) If I’m correct, we listened to the premiere of that song after school (on your Mom’s flip-top console stereo in the living room)! The Elliot Easton solo album I also liked (Tools Of Your Labor..Wah Wah!) Did you hold onto your guitar books of all the CARS albums (I know you collected those too). They actually helped to distinguish Ocasek’s eccentric/cutting edge lyrics that we both botched occasionally!

    And YES, I too would’ve been a little miffed at the b-sides they played in Seattle (I’m in Touch with Your World, Touch and Go, Heartbeat City). These are songs I didn’t listen to a whole lot (yet driving in your 1st truck I had to sit thru ENTIRE albums as you’d play them thru completely no matter what! Along with your dreaded Oh Boy! Oberto (Beef Jerky) that NO ONE had a crack at except maybe your dog (still funny!) Once in a while though, I’d get free reign to the ADVANCED SEARCH/TRACKS button on your hi-tech tape deck & find my favorites! Wow, did those cassettes get beat up fumbling about on the console/floorboard amongst the BK cups/burger wrappers etc! Remember the ORIGINAL BK Chicken Tenders (NICE)! Had to have the honey with them (myself anyway).

    Benjamin Orr was a favorite of mine: Think It Over/Cruiser (faves), Just What I Needed, Moving In Stereo, All Mixed Up, Let’s Go, Candy-O, Stranger Eyes, It’s Not The Night, Drive (nice song but WAY overplayed)/solo career Stay The Night.. You just can’t replace him & after checking out the various YouTube Concert footage (5/10 Showbox) I definitely confirm that! I must agree however, that bringing in a young dude to replace Orr’s vocals would’ve been a HUGE MISTAKE, so I totally support their choice of including ONLY the Original members doing the best they could I guess! Or how about not doing ANY of Orr’s songs? Ric certainly has MANY terrific songs to choose from for their set!

    Misfit Kid/Slack (Ocasek) would’ve been nice choices (faves), along with a few of Ocasek’s selections from Candy-O (Nightspots, Lust For Kicks, Double Life, Dangerous Type), Shake It Up (Maybe Baby), Heartbeat City (Magic, I Refuse) and a few songs from This Side of Paradise (True to You, Look in Your Eyes, Mystery); Nice Emotion in Motion rif MG! I guess it’s not a Ric Ocasek show after all, it’s a CARS show but still would’ve been cool! I KNOW the song A Dream Away (Shake It Up) would’ve been special (one we both liked a lot). Nice they DID do Since You’re Gone at least!

    The OTHER musician/performer we both liked a lot was Gary Numan. I know he played Seattle’s Fenix Underground (late 90’s) that you attended (I don’t recall if it was good? Shouldn’t matter honestly on a RARE U.S. performance like that). Check out the underground film Urgh! A Music War that features Numan driving a little car around (STRANGE)! It played at the Grand Illusion Theater (Seattle) as part of a Punk/New Wave Quad-Movie event (Valley Girl, Get Crazy, Class of 1984, Urgh! A Music War) in the winter of 2010. I remember when I was 10 years old (’79), the song Cars (Numan) played constantly and I recorded it off the radio at the time it peaked (audio cassette), later acquiring the album. I consider his album The Pleasure Principle a groundbreaking CLASSIC! One b’day of yours MG, I bought you the SPEED soundtrack that included Ric Ocasek (Crash)/Gary Numan (CARS ’93 Sprint), a rare 2 FOR 1 (BONUS)!

    In closing, I hope I’ll get another shot at seeing THE CARS one day (as they HAVE reunited hopefully for the long-term)? But it’s nice to know a few die-hards got to see them in Seattle for their VERY 1st Show, after 24 years! Definitely special, despite the disappointment of the actual concert. Best, Dave

  36. Forgot to include: I still have THE CARS (1986 Houston Concert) as well (audio cassette). It was a re-air on National Radio that you asked me to record! Pretty neat at the time, huh?

  37. And for anyone wondering why I left 2 very similar pieces, the 1st didn’t post for 12+ HOURS so I got worried and decided to re-write it from memory. Once I submitted the 2nd one, the 1st popped up along with it! Oh well, ENJOY!

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