MORRISSEY: Journey to perform at Wrigley Field? I’d like to stop believin’
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How much more can Wrigley Field take?
Already suicidal after years of having to listen to the awful “Go, Cubs, Go’’ song, the old barn now will have to sit through a live performance of the just-as-awful “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” this summer.
The chances of Wrigley collapsing into the ballpark fetal position are 100 percent.
Journey and Def Leppard will play at the venerable stadium July 14. Besides “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Journey has given us “Who’s Crying Now,” “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ ” and “Open Arms.’’
When these sappy songs come on over the health club’s sound system, I pray for the bench-press bar to fall on my windpipe and finish me off.
The unofficial theme song for the 2005 White Sox’ playoff run was “Don’t Stop Believin’.” I had a conversation back then with catcher A.J. Pierzynski, one of the ringleaders in making it a fan favorite. I tried to get him to see reason and renounce the tune, but he would have none of it.
“It’s a great song, isn’t it?” he said.
No, it’s not, I told him. It’s the opposite of a great song. It’s dreck.
“It started out as a big joke between [Aaron] Rowand and (Joe) Crede and I,” Pierzynski said. “What happened was we were out in a bar one night and there was a lounge singer. Crede started yelling, `Play some Journey!’ ”
I’ll stand by what I wrote then: Recipe for trouble: bars, lounge singers, Journey.
“And it kind of took off from there,” Pierzynski said. “There were a couple of other guys who got in on it, and now we kind of go into bars more as a team and try to get them to play it. We always seem to be able to finagle a way to get them to play it.
“We see [TV] reporters on the street trying to get people to sing it.”
I was on the unpopular side then, and I’m on the unpopular side now. People loved the song when the Sox won the World Series, and people loved the song when it was played at San Francisco Giants games and Detroit Red Wings games. And fans will pack Wrigley to hear it in July.
I’d say it’s time to retire Wrigley concerts, but I know that’s not going to happen. The Cubs have never been known to turn down a dollar. But I do wonder if the concerts are going to turn into something like the seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley, in which any celebrity with 5,000 Twitter followers gets to belt out (and possibly botch) “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.’’
Was Whitesnake not available for a concert this summer? Foreigner? Poison?
Look, everybody has a guilty-pleasure band. I get it. I even went to a Journey concert when I was 18. I’d like to point out that I saw the band before it started releasing the syrupy songs listed above. And Journey guitarist Neal Schon was 15 when he joined Santana. So he had great chops.
But then he helped write “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” and sang backup vocals on “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’.” And iwas all over. (What’s with all the “g’’ dropping in Journey’s song titles? Regular-guy Gov. Bruce Rauner will have a real hankerin’ to go to the concert.)
I know what it feels like to be a massive fan of a band that passed its prime decades ago. But that band is The Who. No matter what you want to say about them – old, unable to let go, etc. — they’re still the bloody Who, OK?
In a way, Journey and Def Leppard are the logical end to what began when the Cubs decided to play “Go, Cubs, Go’’ at the ballpark after each victory. Having been forced to listen to the song for years at games, I have teeth that are down to nubs from grinding over the following lyrics:
Hey, Chicago, what do you say
the Cubs are going to win today.
But the Cubs already did win today! It’s nonsensical as a victory song! Doesn’t anybody see that? Doesn’t that bother you? No, it doesn’t. I see people rapturously singing the song as players high-five each other, everyone blissfully unconcerned about the absurdity of it all. It’s never going to end. Just shoot me, please.
I’ve run out of space to address Def Leppard. I’ll say this: Ryne Sandberg’s new hair is going to have major self-esteem issues if he goes to see what is, perhaps, the hairiest of all the hair bands. And Def Leppard’s music? The band has brought us timeless ballads like “Wasted,’’ “Pour Some Sugar on Me’’ and “Make Love Like a Man.’’
It could be worse. It could be Kid Rock.