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Summerfest Lineup

Summerfest Lineup

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Change text sizeLarger SmallerClick to close view 5 images :: enlarge Iron Maiden had to apologize to members of Spooner, which opened for Iron Maiden in the early 1980s, for fan behavior toward Spooner.

- print :: commentloading ratings...related linksSummerfest side stages boast big talent, blasts from the pastUnited Sons of Toil's political, brainy rock invading Summerfest alongside big actsHard rockin' Soraia warms up Summerfest for Bon Jovi Thurday nightYes, others have Summerfest memories dating back to the fest's origins 42 years ago.

Me? I go back about 30 years, when my family began its annual trek to Milwaukee's musical bash.

I haven't stopped going since.

I've gone to the event as a patron, a reporter, a reviewer, a Milwaukeean and (gulp) a visitor from Illinois.

That gives me a list of lakefront fest memories as long as the tongue of Gene Simmons, whose band Kiss headlines Saturday's Summerfest lineup.

Past and present collide for any Summerfest fan.

I remember seeing Bon Jovi on a side stage as a fledgling act with two albums.

Since then, Jon Bon Jovi has seen millions of faces and, of course, rocked them all.

To open Summerfest on Thursday, June 25, Bon Jovi plays the 23,000-capacity Marcus Amphitheater, which sold out quicker than it takes to hum the chorus of "Runaway." The 11-day musical mayhem, continuing through July 5, has evolved with the times.

Go ahead and romanticize about the pre-Marcus Amphitheater days, but I remember the post-show bottlenecks at the old location for major headliners.

Here are some of my favorite, funniest and oddest memories from three decades at Summerfest, most of which I saw in person and others I learned while reporting on the event:Local heroes • In the early '80s, Madison pop band Spooner (which included future Garbage members Butch Vig and Duke Erikson) was set to open for the playful Greg Kihn Band.

Three days before the gig, Kihn canceled, and Summerfest brought in heavy metal titans Iron Maiden.

Maiden's fans hated Spooner and tossed cups at the trio during its set.

After the show, Iron Maiden's members, despite their nasty image, politely apologized to Spooner for their fans' behavior.

• When John Mellencamp played the Marcus Amphitheater in the early '90s, he wanted a juggler as an opening act and booked Madison's Truly Remarkable Loon, who performed in the children's area at Summerfest.

Loon stood backstage while a capacity crowd gathered at the amphitheater.

Mellencamp's tour manager told him he couldn't talk onstage.

Loon cringed; his act depended on his constant stream of patter and joke-telling.

They also limited the objects Loon could juggle to such a degree that Loon chose to spin plates on wobbly poles.

The reaction? The first rows enjoyed it; thousands of others called out for Mellencamp.

• One year in the early '90s, Marques Bovre & the Evil Twins had a prime 3 p.m.

booking on a big side stage and enjoyed a large crowd.

Thirty minutes into the set, rain pummeled everyone for 15 minutes.

The Madison group returned when the precipitation stopped, played Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Who'll Stop the Rain," and the sun broke through the clouds.Stars and more • In 2003, Prince promised his best behavior.

"Love," Prince told the crowd, "is the only four-letter word you'll hear onstage tonight." At the same show, which started almost two hours after its scheduled 7 p.m.

showtime, he continued playing during Summerfest's incredibly loud opening-night fireworks.

To counter that noise, Prince offered an extended jam while covering Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." IF YOU GOWhat: SummerfestWhen: Noon to midnight Thursday, June 25 to sunday July 5Where: Summerfest grounds at henry J.

Maier Festival park, MilwaukeeAdmission: $15 after 4 p.m.

on weekdays, and all day during weekends; $8 from noon to 4 p.m.

weekdays; $3 seniors 60 and older at all times; $3 children ages 3-10 at all timesInformation:• Alanis Morissette opened her first national tour at Madison's tiny Club de Wash in 1995.

Less than a year later, she sold out her Summerfest show at Marcus Amphitheater in 20 minutes.

• The hard rock band Problem Child, unable to rely solely on music to entertain fans, used a plastic bat to swat stuffed animals into the audience in 1992.

Compliments • Last year, a Chicago Sun-Times entertainment writer offered this summary: "(Taste of Chicago) is a mess of sweaty people in Grant Park stuffing themselves as if they are on a collective Death Row.


Summerfest is what Taste should be.

Summerfest lines are shorter, the lake breeze is cooler and the music bookings are more adventurous." • Early this year, Michael Guerriero, author of the book "Party Across America: 101 of the Greatest Festivals and Celebrations in the U.S.," called Summerfest "the best-kept secret outside of the Midwest."BoDeans • The Waukesha band has been a Summerfest staple since the mid-'80s.

They've played the Marcus Amphitheater six times, remarkable for a band with one hit ("Closer to Free").

A Summerfest spokeswoman said they've played the event 17 times.


18 is at 10 p.m.

Saturday, June 27, on the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse stage.

• Bruce Hornsby co-headlined with the BoDeans in 1992 at Marcus Amphitheater.

A year later, Hornsby cringed when recalling the gig, as the crowd loved the BoDeans but were indifferent to Hornsby, who played jazzy pop.

"There were a lot of people out there who had no use for what we were doing," Hornsby said.

"The BoDeans did great.

They were playing three-chord rock.

That's the people's music.

But, hey, if you can't win over a crowd playing that (expletive), you stink." • In 1997, a rare year where BoDeans didn't play Summerfest, the fest officials hired Naked, a BoDeans tribute band.Culture • The 2005 Summerfest featured a midday act called Bach & Rock, featuring 135 cellists playing together.

• In the afternoon a few years ago at the nearby Milwaukee Art Museum, I spotted a very seriousFred Schneider, the zany B-52s singer, studying the museum's collection.

Later, I passed the B-52s gig, where thousands of fans danced wildly during "Love Shack."Funny business • He faced a tiny crowd of a few dozen people standing on concrete in 1984.

It was a humid matinee show.

He was in his second day of performing, and that day's Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper had ripped his previous day's performance.

The relatively unknown comic's name? Billy Crystal .

• Amused by the noise of a wailing guitar on a nearby stage, Lewis Black interrupted his routine in 2004.

"Wait," he told the crowd with mock enthusiasm.

"I feel like dancing." • Former Milwaukeean Will Durst used to perform four shows over two days for many years.

At one gig in the early '90s, he described residents in Milwaukee's 414 area code as being the place "where beer is one of the four major food groups; 'cow poke' is a verb; and when you ask for espresso coffee, they think you want it really quick."Marcus Amphitheater lineup (Additional charge for each concert)Thursday, June 25, 7:30 p.m.: Bon Jovi w/ SoraiaFriday, June 26, 7:30 p.m.: Keith Urban w/ Counting CrowsSaturday, June 27, 7:30 p.m.: Kiss w/ ChevelleSunday, June 28, 7 p.m.: Stevie Wonder w/ John LegendMonday, June 29, 7 p.m.: George Strait w/ Blake Shelton and Julianne HoughTuesday, June 30, 7:30 p.m.: Chicago and Earth, Wind and FireWednesday, July 1, 7:30 p.m.: Bob Dylan w/ Willie NelsonThursday, July 2, 7 p.m.: No Doubt w/ Paramore and Bedouin SoundclashFriday, July 3, 7:30 p.m.: Kenny Chesney w/ Miranda Lambert and Lady AntebellumSaturday, July 4, 7:30 p.m.: The Fray w/ Jack's MannequinSunday, July 5, 7 p.m.: Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd
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