The song this week is Here I am Babyby UB40.  I was never super sure if they were an A level band or not, but I do remember this song being a hit in 1990.  Or at least I remember it when I hear it.  By now you know I’m not the Billboard charts or Dr. Demento so you won’t be getting lots of facts about the songs.  But anecdotes?  I got those up the wazoo.  So here is my sad sad story about UB40.

There are two arenas that are bigger than high school gyms in the city of Portland, Maine.  The BIG one, the one they built for the minor league hockey team, is the Cumberland County Civic Center.  It holds 6733 people.  That’s the size of the biggest arena in Portland.  To give you a little perspective, 15,000 people WORK in the Empire State building every day.  But yeah, the Civic Center is the big place.

The Expo, pictured above, is way older and way smaller.  I used to go to cheer for my high school at the indoor track meets.  I bought the best thing I ever owned at a flea market there (way different story).  And I have pretty positive memories of the place.  Until UB40 ruined it.  How?  Well I’ll tell you.

See, sometime in the late ’90s my roommate and I heard that UB40 was going to play in Portland.  And for some reason, this was advantageous to us.  Might have been something about some girls or something or maybe the tickets were cheap but anyway we decided we were going to go.

Now, back then, there were these books that told you what day it was.  We called them CALENDARS and we hung them on the wall.  And we wrote things on them that we had to look forward to.  Like pay day or the day that my house arrest ended and stuff.  You would circle the date and make a smiley or some crap.  We had a calendar (I think his girlfriend bought it for us) and we circled the big day.

Then we found out that it was moved from the Civic Center to the Expo.  So even though they moved it to a venue where the bleachers come out of the walls, we were still excited.  Except we didn’t buy the tickets.  I mean, come on.  It’s Portland.  What could sell out in Portland?  Nothing, that’s what.  So instead we just sat around not buying the tickets.  Maybe we wondered what Red Red Wine would sound like live.  And maybe I remembered a third song of theirs back then like I don’t now. We had plenty of time.

Except we didn’t.  We didn’t have time.  But not because it was sold out.  It was because it was canceled.  CANCELED!  How did we find out?  Well, back then, websites were written on paper and we read them and then threw them away.  And we read in this offline site that the concert was canceled because they didn’t sell enough tickets.

They didn’t sell enough tickets.  What if they were two short?  Mine and my roommates?  And what if they were four short but we planned for him to bring his girlfriend and for me to find some drunk chick to go with me?  She could have maybe barfed during Red Red Wine!  But instead we got nothing.

See, this story isn’t about a band that is very well known who couldn’t sell enough tickets to have a concert in a big gym.  It’s about the fact that I wanted to see how they did concerts in the expo AND I wanted to hear at least Here I Am Baby.  The song below.  This is as close as I will ever get now.  Well, according to this they still tour.  But if they couldn’t sell out the expo in the late nineties I am pretty sure  I could get them to play at my house if I make them some steaks.  Poor sad UB40.  I’m sorry.