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Did you see them at Berkeley Square on University? That place was awesome.I saw Soundgarden open for the Meat Puppets in Berkeley around 1987. Nobody knew who they were, and the Meat Puppets fans (who were a mix of punks and young deadheads) mostly mocked and jeered them due to their retro metal god style. To be fair, I thought they were leaning into the metal thing ironically and the crowd didn't seem to get the joke. Curt at one point put one foot up on the monitor let out a Robert Plant wail, then started twirling his long hair in circles like a helicopter blade. But then he kinda smirk/winked at Kim Thayil. Despite the crowd mostly ignoring them, my friend was super into them. He was a midwestern rocker and they were right up his alley - he was especially excited when they covered Communication Breakdown and Tom Sawyer.
The Meat Puppets, by the way, were incredible.Their whole set was like a jam band freakout played at hardcore tempo with virtuoso musicianship. It was a perfect blend of the punks and deadheads in the crowd.
I did that too many times in my life and wear earplugs to loud shows now.I won't comment on the Spin Doctors, but there's no shame in Soul Asylum. I saw them at CBGB in 1988 and it was the loudest show I've ever been to - my ears were ringing for about 48 hours after. And in fact, that freaked me out enough that I vowed to walk out of any show that loud again if I couldn't find a quiet place in the venue, and I have done so.