Bootleg City: The Posies in San Francisco, September ’98

Written by Bootleg City, Music

Who doesn’t love The Wizard of Oz? (That was a rhetorical question. Put your hands and middle fingers down.)

Last week in Bootleg City, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the classic MGM film about a girl named Dorothy and her three bachelor uncles, I put together a special outdoor screening in MacArthur Park. To make it even more special, I trucked in a bunch of poppies and planted them right in front of the screen.

Unfortunately, almost as soon as Leo the Lion finished roaring, people started passing out left and right. It turns out those poppies were opium poppies, just like in the movie. But can you really blame me for thinking sleep-inducing flowers were a fictional device created specifically for the film? Honestly! Munchkins? Flying monkeys? A land where gay men are granted basic human rights? All that stuff is make-believe!

But opium poppies, as it turns out, are real. And now I’ve accidentally put 2,000 taxpayers in a coma. And when they wake up, most of them will be opium addicts.

Hmm … I wonder if I can keep them asleep until after November 3. I have a feeling a few of them might not vote for me if they wake up in time for the election.

Posies don’t have opium in them, do they? Good. Because this week the featured bootleg is “The Last Show,” a document of the Posies’ farewell performance on September 19, 1998, at San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill. Of course, the Seattle power-pop group then reunited in 1999, 2000, 2001, and every year after that, culminating in 2005 with the release of their first album in seven years, Every Kind of Light.

That same year the Posies’ two core members, Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, teamed up with Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens for Big Star’s reunion album, In Space. Surprise, surprise, that lackluster fourth LP isn’t part of Rhino’s new Big Star box set, Keep an Eye on the Sky, which came out on Tuesday. But Auer and Stringfellow have been performing with Big Star for 16 years now, more than five times as long as original members Chris Bell and Andy Hummel. They may not have written the songs that children by the millions fall in love with whenever they hear #1 Record (1972), Radio City (1974), and Third/Sister Lovers (1978) for the first time, but they’ve clearly made their mark as latter-day members of the group.

Apology
Love Letter Boxes
Throwaway
Please Return It
Somehow Everything
Any Other Way
World
You’re the Beautiful One
Suddenly Mary
Terrorized
Dream All Day
Precious Moments
Hate Song
Flavor of the Month
Solar Sister
Grant Hart
Surrender
Daily Mutilation
Ontario
Flood of Sunshine