I'm calling this list...HOW DID I GET HERE?
Here are five unusual, surprising, regrettable, or just unexpected musical artists I've seen perform, with some type of explanation which may be vague, defensive, or half-remembered.
1. Richard Marx. I'll start with the most embarrassing show. I think he did an Elvis medley at one point. In my defense, he wrote that Vixen song, "Edge of a Broken Heart," which totally holds up.
2. Cypress Hill. Wedged between Pavement and Sonic Youth at Lollapalooza one year during undergrad. I felt like every song was about pot, the stage design focused on pot. Okay, we got it, you like weed. I guess in their defense, it was hard to fit with the "too cool for school" style of just about every other band on the bill and then they couldn't really outdo the outrageousness of the recently widowed Courtney Love, also performing that day at the place formerly known as Pine Knob, who was picking fights with roadies and talking shit about Kathleen Hanna and pretty clearly strung out.
3. Rusted Root. Twice. File this under "unexpected" because, well, jam bands. My cousin Cathy took me to see them at some point and, later Nicole and I saw them on the strength of the two songs that had gotten some airplay: "Ecstasy" and "Send Me on My Way," super catchy and fun before they were used to advertise rental car agencies and what not. Anyway, they opened with those two songs, prompting Nicole to say, "Jeez, we can pretty much leave now."
4. Sarah McLachlan. The first Lilith Fair. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
5. Phantom Planet. In Oxford, OH., right after The O.C. blew up. They seemed unsure how to incorporate a super-recognizable and trendy TV theme song into a fairly deep catalogue of solid indie rock. Clearly a weird moment for a good band.