Concerts are returning to Portland Meadows. After a decade of dormancy, the 70-year-old horserace track is getting back into the live music game. Admittedly, it's off to a pretty underwhelming start, with hard-rock fossils Bad Company and .38 Special. But considering it's hosted some of the biggest shows in Portland, the news is encouraging. Here's five of the most notable concerts from Meadows' past.
1. No on 9 Benefit: Nirvana, Poison Idea, Helmet, Calamity Jane, hosted by Jello Biafra (Sept. 10, 1992)
At the height of its post-Nevermind powers, Nirvana played the biggest show it'd ever do in its second home—screw it, we're claiming them—in opposition to an appallingly homophobic ballot measure that would've made North Carolina's bathroom bill seem progressive. (The concert was originally scheduled for Aug. 22 but was moved to accommodate the birth of Frances Bean Cobain, forcing Mudhoney to drop off the bill.)
2. The Grateful Dead, Chuck Berry (May 28-29, 1995)
Sure, Jerry was at the end of his long, strange trip—he'd die three months later—and the shows from the last year of his life aren't well-regarded among hardcore Deadheads. But these were the band's first Portland gigs in a decade (and last, as it turned out), and according to media reports from the time, the whole city turned into a giant, two-day hippie tailgate party.
3. Lollapalooza '93 (June 20, 1993)
The only installment of Perry Farrell's traveling alt-rock carnival to pass through Portland boasted the super-aggro trifecta of Rage Against the Machine, Alice in Chains and Tool—and, because the early '90s were so wacky, Timothy Leary. "You're going to learn how to reprogram your brain, how to turn chaos off and on," The Washington Post reported him telling the crowd. "Then we're going to talk about Socrates."
4. Metallica (July 20, 1994)
"When they finally did get around to playing 'Fade to Black,' there was a kid in a wheelchair that got lifted up and was being passed around crowd-surfing style," one attendee recalled on Reddit. "Also I puked."
5. Tie: Warped Tour (July 6, 1999); KUFO Rockfest (July 17, 1999); KNRK Big Stink (Aug. 8, 1999)
Summer of '99 was an embarrassment of riches for Portland teenagers with anger issues. In the span of a month, you could've moshed the pain away to Eminem, Blink-182, Deftones, Rob Zombie and System of a Down. And also Moby. What a time to be alive and pissed at your parents and secretly into vegan techno.
SEE IT: Bad Company plays Portland Meadows, 1001 N Schmeer Road, with .38 Special, on Wednesday, Aug. 31. 7 pm. $40 general admission, $100 reserved VIP seating. All ages.