In 2011, I detailed my profound love for the B-52s in a series of multimedia mega-posts titled ‘Only assholes don’t like the B-52s.’ Consider this one a continuation of that series after a rather long gap…
As was established in the earlier postings, I love the Bs, and I always have, but I don’t think they get nearly enough appreciation as musicians and this gives me the sadz. Sure, they’re an oldies act now—they’ve earned it—but the “tacky little dance band” from Athens, GA was once one of the most forward-thinking and truly far out bands around. They made art. Fun art, but art nonetheless. Art with a capital “Avant garde” to tell it like it T-I-Is. Their cosmic thing is a
national intergalactic treasure
Case in point, this German TV concert taped in Dortmund during the Whammy tour of 1983. Watch the whole thing—it’s great—or just skip ahead to the utterly bonkers version of “Big Bird” at 12:00 in. (As Fred Schneider says introducing the number, “Here’s an ominous song.”)
I had jury duty yesterday, I came home, toked up to relax and I ended up randomly watching this and having my mind blown into a million bits by this performance of “Big Bird.” It was like an eargasm, an epiphany, even. If this post brings that same joy to just one other human being—especially after a day of watching one asshole after another shamelessly pretend to be racist to get out of jury duty—then I’ve done my job. I needed some mental floss and this was perfect.
This show has been going around as a bootleg for years and I was satisfied that I probably had the best copy I was ever going to find until I saw this great quality YouTube upload. I guess it must’ve been on German TV again in the recent past.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Only assholes don’t like the B-52s (part 1)
Only assholes don’t like the B-52s (part 2)
Only assholes don’t like the B-52s (part 3)
The B-52s: Songs for a future generation
Art Against AIDS: The B-52s and Friends (1987)
What’s that on your head? B-52s perform ‘Wig’ on British kids TV, 1987