OK, OK, so the 28th of December isn’t technically New Year’s Eve, but check out the milestones that made this a more momentous gig than your average holiday show:
- Mark the Animal’s final performance as a Dictator
- Andy’s last show on keys
- “What It Is” live premiere
- “I Stand Tall” live premiere
Yes. The legendary White Castle food fight show.
“Listen, I’ve been thinking lately. I am sick and tired — every time I turn on the radio, every time I turn on the TV, every newspaper I pick up, every PERIODICAL I pick up, all these smart-ass guys are tellin’ me what to eat. They’re telling me, “EAT LEGUMES, EAT BEETS, DON’T EAT MEAT, EAT TOFU!” YOU eat legumes. YOU eat TO-FU! Aren’t there any real men left in the world? Aren’t there any fuckin’ car-ni-vores left in the world? Doesn’t anybody like to eat a nice, fresh, slaughtered, blood-red, fuckin’ cow? Then would you please be my guest for New Year’s Eve and join Mr. Manitoba and the Dictators in White fuckin’ Castle? … NOW YOU ARE MEN! FOOD FIGHT!”
— Handsome Dick Manitoba
Irving Plaza, 12/31/86
Read more about the gig in the February 1987 debut issue of The Breaking Point, courtesy of reviewer CJ Scioscia (who would later become the Dictators’ road manager).
Note: My esteemed colleague Salvi C. still has his White Castle box from that show. I be beyond jealous.
Coney Island High
Review reprinted in all its graphic glory with the kind permission of TheDictators.com and writer/photographer Karen Winter:
A New Year’s Eve Countdown with the Dictators
10 . . .
The Dictators mount the stage well after Dick Clark has bid the East Coast a happy 1999, but the party starts now. The world champions blow the crowd back on its heels with the one-two-three punch of fist-pumping anthems “New York New York,” “Haircut and Attitude” and “Master Race Rock.”
9 . . .
Speaking of punches and fists . . . all the world’s got a one-way ticket to heck! New Year’s Eve is certainly amateur night worldwide, and Coney Island High is no exception tonight. A dazed girl makes her way onstage and babbles incoherently into the mic until Manitoba tires of her. A gangly stage diver in a wife-beater keeps getting busted by security. A blond chick gets her ass kicked in the most amazing catfight I’ve ever had ringside seats to. Other scuffles abound, but alas, no food fight.
8 . . .
7 . . .
The ‘Tators play “Faster & Louder” and “Sonic Reducer” back to back again, with a segue that they’ve been using the past couple of shows. It definitely sounds cool, but I miss their virtuoso display of playing the last few notes of “Faster & Louder” in unison. It’s awesome.
6 . . .
They start the new “What’s Up with That?” — at least that’s what I call it — and all the stage lights go out, except for a flashlight on Adny. When the lights come on a few seconds later, I see that the blond chick who lost the catfight has taken advantage of the complete darkness to make her way back over to surprise-attack the other woman; the returning light, however, forces her to scurry away.
5 . . .
Manitoba announces his intention to run for mayor of New York City. The sole stated issue of his platform: You can smoke marijuana in the street and not be bothered. He is well on his way to being elected.
4 . . .
Manitoba shows off his sassy Stone Cold Steve Austin T-shirt and goes off on what a great wrestler he is. The man next to us keeps yelling, “Fuck Stone Cold!” Many other folks have plenty to say on the subject, but it’s hard to make much out in the din. Still, it’s heartening to know that the guy who repeatedly requests “Back to Africa” is in attendance again tonight.
3 . . .
Manitoba takes a moment to declare his unrepentant heterosexuality. You know, for those of us who might have been wondering.
2 . . .
The band tears into “I Am Right,” and the blond chick has returned to the arena of doom, this time in disguise with a blue hood pulled over her head. Clearly dumber than a box of hay, she repeatedly fails to deliver her can of whup-ass to the other woman.
1 . . .
Returning for the encore, Top Ten is wearing a fashionable handmade T-shirt with “HAPPY NEW YEAR” scrawled on the back and the slightly less cheerful “KILL REPUBLICANS” on the front. With their genius signature tunes “Next Big Thing” and “Two-Tub Man,” the ‘Tators end a terrific show, and a milestone year.