The recently launched Fugazi Live archive, where 800 of their shows from 1987 to 2002 will eventually be made available to download, has lots of people reflecting on their past experiences with the band. And so now I will too: This one time, in high school, my art teacher, an attractive young creative type stuck in the hell that was a straight-laced all-boy Catholic high school, asked me and my friends to get her a ticket to an upcoming Fugazi show at a long since closed Long Island venue called the PWAC. We met her there, and I smoked a cigarette as I spoke to her outside afterwards, so that was really cool. Then this other time, also in high school, I saw them at Irving Plaza on tour for Red Medicine, and MCA from the Beastie Boys stood behind me for the whole show, apologizing each time the movements of the crowd caused him to bump into me.
Another time, in college, I saw them play the last show ever at the Palladium. Ian Mackaye was annoyed by the over-zealous guy operating the lights—kept telling him to tone it down, threatening to walk off the stage if he didn’t. The following night, they were playing NYU’s Loeb Center. I didn’t have a ticket, wasn’t a student at the university, but I went down there anyway. I still don’t know how I got in, but I did, and the show was the best I’d ever seen: Still angry about the previous night, Ian told the story of the cheeseball lighting guy and requested that the house lights be turned on. And so they played the whole show with plain, harsh room lighting shining down on them just as it shone down on the rest of us us. I thought it was the perfect Fugazi experience. Still do, actually.
I wasn't at this show, but there's somehow not a single video from any Fugazi show I've ever been to.