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1997 - Concert Dates

The Presidents Of The United States Of America (PUSA):

Lineup: Chris Ballew (Vocals, Basitar), Dave Dederer (Guitbass, Vocals) and Jason Finn (Drums, Vocals)

1997-01-09 Viper Room, Los Angeles, CA


Special midnight show.
1997-01-10 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Los Angeles, CA

Poster / Pictures / Photo / PUSA / Presidents Of The USA

photo: Presidents with Jay Leno


Chris Farley, Shannen Doherty, The Presidents of the United States of America

Pro-Shot Video

1997-01-27 Late Night With Conan O'Brien, New York, NY

Setlist? Correct Date??

Max Weinberg played drums.

Pro-Shot Video

1997-02-06 The Fillmore Theatre, San Francisco, CA

Poster / Ticket - Presidents Of The USA / PUSA


Opening for Tom Petty

Audience Tape


"Petty's shows set off a host of rumors about various "special guests," particularly since the opening act for the first few shows was the Wallflowers, a band led by the son of Bob Dylan. (Dylan himself was a no-show, and the final performances will be opened, alternately, by Pete Droge, Roger McGuinn and--bizarrely-- the Presidents of the United States of America, Beck having backed out at the last minute.) " - Metroactive Music 

1997-02-07 The Fillmore Theatre, San Francisco, CA

96 Fillmore - Tom Petty  - PUSA - POTUSA


Opening for Tom Petty

Audience Tape

1997-02-17 Rosie O'Donnell Show, Rockefeller Center, Manhattan, New York City, NY


Rosie O'Donnell Show (with Drew Carey, Billy Crystal)

Pro-Shot Video

1997-02-22 Liberty Lunch, Austin, TX


1997-02-23 White Rabbit, San Antonio, TX


1997-02-24 Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX


1997-02-27 Diamond Ballroom, Oklahoma City, OK

Poster - 97 - Presidents Of The USA / PUSA - Tour


Message from the road - 2/27/97

Hi kids and grownups and octagenarians!! this is Chris talking .....typing to you and I'm on our huge-whopper tour bus sippin some tea and dreaming of a hot white sand beach somewhere.....but I find myself in the cold wet texas countryside plowing forward in a mobile far the tour is a good'n and the three shows have been rockers extraordinaires.....I brought my four track on this tour so I can write all new songs all the time...spent the whole day slappin some ditties on wax.....ok I'm gonna pass the compact- computer-system-network-machine over to Dave....and remember to read some non-fiction every once in a's good for ya......

Dave here, on the same damn bus with Chris, Jason, Craig (tour manager/sound engineer), Sparky (stage manager) and Allison (lighting designer). Just the six of us, traveling north from Dallas to Oklahoma City. I'm sad to be leaving Texas, which I love for its kind people, great BBQ and tasty Shiner Bock beer. Only 27 more shows to go on the whirlwind U.S. tour. Trying to stay in shape on this tour, for a healthy change from last year. Went to a rock climbing gym outside Dallas last night that was unbelievable. All the climbing was on the inside of four emptied-out grain silos. Oh, the things you see out on the road.

1997-02-28 616 Club, Memphis, TN


1997-03-01 328 Performance Hall, Nashville, TN

1997 - Tour - Postcard - The Presidents Of The USA (PUSA) concert dates

photo from PUSA fan club postcard featuring Presidents of the USA tour dates.


1997-03-03 Five Point Music Hall, Birmingham, AL


"I went to a show by the Presidents of the United States of America on Monday night, and towards the beginning of the set, Chris Ballew (the bald lead singer) looked toward the back of the club and said "Hey, isn't that a Defender machine back there? That's the coolest game ever!"
Made me feel all warm 'n' fuzzy inside" - Darin P.

1997-03-04 Masquerade, Atlanta, GA


1997-03-05 Jenny McCarthy Show, MTV

1997 - Jenny McCarthy Show, MTV - First show with The Presidents Of The USA (PUSA)

Photo: Chris Ballew wearing a dog costume. Picture scanned from PUSA fan club letter.

Photo from fan club newsletter. Could the original recording date be early as 1997-01-22?

Volcano (youtube)

Broadcast date.

The Presidents played Volcano on the Jenny McCarthy Show on MTV recently. Chris Ballew wore a Dog costume (see picture) and they had "The Captain" form the 70's group The Captain and Tenille on keyboards.


"The first musical guest on MTV's new "The Jenny McCarthy Show," premiering 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, is the Presidents of the United States of America."

Pro-Shot Video

1997-03-05 40 Watt Club, Atlanta, GA


with Crumbox


They've been on Letterman and the Rosie O'Donnell Show. Cripes, they've even been on the Jenny McCarthy show (in squirrel costumes).

Like most big name bands' shows, this one started a little earlier than I anticipated. When I entered a little late and saw the lights out, lighters raised and busty women on men's shoulders swaying to and fro, I thought I was in the wrong place. But this was PUSA, and they were merely imitating '70s arena rock. Lead Singer Chris Ballew was mouthing the Peter Frampton "Do You Feel Like We Do" solo, using his vocal cords and not his guitars'.

Then the band roared into "Tiki God" from their new album, and I realized I was in the right place. Drummer Jason Finn (who looks like a Tiki God) hammered away on the drums while (grinning from ear to ear) guitarist Dave Dederer flicked guitar picks into the front row. All the lights were then focused on the mirror ball while the band played the opening chords of the Buggles' early '80s hit, "Video Killed the Radio Star." Once again, frontman Ballew used his voice (he plugged his nose) to recreate the echoy parts of the song ("It's in my mind...").

When PUSA broke into "Peaches," the crowd went absolutely mad. When the entire audience sang in unison, "Millions of Peaches, Peaches for me," my heart absolutely melted. When the band went right into "Mach 5" (the ode to Speed Racer!), the rambunctious audience began colliding into one another in a masochistic display of camaraderie.

Jon Galucki
1997-03-07 Music Farm, Charleston, SC


1997-03-08 Ziggy's, Winston-Salem, NC


1997-03-09 9:30 Club, Washington DC


1997-03-10 New 9:30 Club, Washington DC


1997-03-11 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA


"Was actually at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. I know, I was there, and I remember it originally supposed to be at the TLA (Theatre Of The Living Arts) but it was moved to the Electric Factory." - Joltman

1997-03-12 Webster Hall, New York, NY

Presidents of the USA Webster Hall



1997-03-13 Avalon, Boston, MA

1996 Presidents Avalon Ticket



1997-03-15 Lee's Palace, Toronto, Canada


Can anyone confirm this show? This date is on PUSA fan club postcard. See 1997-03-01 show for details.
1997-03-17 Ogden Street, Buffalo, NY


1997-03-18 Odeon, Cleveland, OH


with Redd Kross
1997-03-19 Metropol, Pittsburgh, PA


1997-03-21 Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH


1997-03-22 St. Andrew's Hall, Detroit, MI

Poster - Presidents Of The USA / PUSA - 97 - Concert


With Redd Kross

1997-03-23 The Asylum, Toledo, OH


1997-03-25 Cabaret Metro, Chicago, IL



Message from the road - 3/25/97

Hello everybuddy...This is Chris typing to you and we are STILL out on tour in our old ramshackle camper-van corn-traption...I think we are in Ohio at the moment....barrelin down the road to ruin....the days kind of blur into each other so I don't know what day of the week it is...I think it's Rockday We just went to Canada and played our acoustic guitars on the Canadian version of MTV called Much Music...and guess what kids...they actually play videos all day long!! so if you have a satelite dish at home like we do on our little fold-out-camper-van watch Much Music instead of MTV....So far the best thing about this tour has been the people who come to the shows...I get SOOOOOOOO much inspiration from looking at the faces in the if you were one of those faces in the last few weeks...THANK YOU!!...I'll type to you later rok-fans,until next time.....sieze you later......

Dave here, rolling across northern Ohio and Indiana. Terminal road boredom has set in. Bought a used copy of "Smokey and the Bandit II" today at a pawnshop in Toledo. The tape's all messed up and won't track but we're watching it anyway. I just like to listen to Jerry Reed talk. My favorite record right now is a greatest hits tape of his that I bought at a truck stop for five bucks. I don't think anyone's ever recorded a better song than "Amos Moses." If you've never heard that song, go find it right now and play it over and over again -- it'll put some funk in your trunk. Most happy today because we're finally heading West in earnest. I feel a great relief every time we cross to the home side of the Mississippi. More space, fewer people. And ever closer to Seattle.

1997-03-26 Metro, Chicago, IL



1997-03-28 First Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Poster - 97 - The Presidents Of The USA / PUSA

TV Eye (Stooges) / Volcano / Feather Pluckn / Lunatic To Love / Back Porch / Tiki God / Naked And Famous / Lump / Froggie / Candy Cigarette / Bath Of Fire / Dune Buggy / Twig / Boll Weevil / Bug City / Peaches / Mach5 / We're Not Gonna Make It / Kitty / Toob Amplifier / Kick Out The Jams

Redd Kross opened

Fan review:

"The (PUSA) show started at about 8:15 (going by what the set-time sheet I stole from first avenue says), and kicked off with "T.V. Eye", a tune by Iggy Pop. I must say, I have never heard this by iggy, but after hearing the PUSA do it, I will definately attempt to find it! The next song in the fun-filled set, was "Volcano". Chris opened it up by saying "This song is about something that you people here in BEAUTIFUL Minneapolis Minnesota DON'T have!". They included the crowd in every way they could throughout the show, including the singalong "VOLCANO!!" part!!

"Feather Pluckin'" was next, and it included the extra verse, with the changed lyrics "Redd Kross had a drum set to share!". "You're all Lunatics To Love" was Chris' intro to the next song (Guess what it was!). He was a bit screwy with the verses, and kept messing them up, and finally got to the chorus, which he also screwed up. It was rather entertaining! He then announced "MR. JASON FINN ON DRUMS!" and jason replied "Thank you MINNEAPOLIS!!".

"That song makes me want to play this song" Chris says before launching into "Back Porch". He included Minnesota again by chaning the lyrics to the spoken solo to "I bought myself a little cabin right outside of Minneapolis,MN...".

"MAN! You folks are GOOD!" Chris congradulates us; "That makes me wanna play a song called TIKI GOD!".. He gets the crowd into this one by initiating a sing along during the Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah part. It was too cool of an effect. The whole crowd just jumped right in. Chris and Dave both held the mikes out for the audience, too. After Tiki God, there was a bit of commentary about our team, the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the final four tourney (We lost, unfortunately..:( ), and wham-bam, there was "Naked and Famous", complete with intro about how the song is about hating the STATE of California, NOT the people! Right before going into the solo of "Naked..", Chris stood right at the edge of the stage, and yelled "Does Minneapolis know how to bang their heads!?!?!", and the crowd just went INSANE, and bashed their heads thru the solo!

"Lump" was seamlessly integrated into "Naked.." via a power chord, but otherwise, it wasn't as big of a sing-along as I thought it would be...

"Froggie" was one of the major highlites of the evening, because of Chris going into the "Improv" mood..All the way from the intro to the end, it was spectacular! Dave had some commentary on this song. Chris was babbling about what froggie was laying face down in backstage, and Dave kept yelling "QUINCE! QUINCE!", as in the old T.V. Show "Quincie, M.D.". It was funny for me, but I don't think anyone else got it, really...:-|. Also, there was an added part, where Chris describes what happens when froggie wakes up. It went like "He wakes up and says 'whoa'! 'Damn!'" followed by a quick guitar blare, and a drum crash.. Too COOL!

Next was one of my personal faves (I forgot to yell for it, but at least someone else did!), "Candy Cigarette", which absolutely ROCKED THE HOUSE!! Dave did a funny intro to it, telling everyone how it was about a guy and a girl and the guy was suckin' the guy's candy cigarette, and it was NO JOKE! It really WAS a candy cigarette!

After crashing through "Candy Cigarette", up came the unexpected "Bath of Fire", which Chris described as "A song our good friend Steve Miller could have written if he hung out on the back porch long enough..".

Dave said something like "By the looks of the setlist, things are gonna get slooowwww...", and then started into "Dune Buggy". After "Buggy..", chris goes "Slllllllooooooowwwwwwwww it dooowwwwnnn..." in mock-slo-motion voice, and goes into "Twig (in the wind)".

After much yelling from my section of the audience, the band members all had a little "Chat" up on stage. Chris walked over to Jason, and Jason relyed the message to Dave. They were gonna play "Boll Weevil"!!!! I Couldn't belive they'd actually listen to my request! COOL! They did it, and I was just going too insane to tell what was going on on stage..

After a little "Boll Weevil" freakout, they did "Bug City", which they dedicated to "All you people in Minnesota..You all must have bugs like THIS BIG <motions with hands..> with big jaws and stuff..COOOL!". They also incorperated the city once again by saying "..And they're all going to MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA FOR THE ROCK EXTRAVAGANZA!". Incorperating the last chord of "Bug City" into the first notes of "Peaches" was absolute genious. Later in the song, Chris says "Dave Dederer on Lead guitar!" and dave responds "DAMN STRAIGHT!". During the outtro, Dave comments about Phil Rutt (famous drummer), and Chris does a little something with the "Millions of peaches.." verse like this: "Millions of peaches, peaches 4 me, billions of peaches, AC|DC! LOOKOUT!!". Too Cool.

Putting two ht songs together seems to not be a problem for the presidents, because they blend "Peaches" and "Mach five" together PERFECTLY!. The song was nothing out of the ordinary, except for the spoken solo, which kinda startled me when Chris shouted "OH my GOD!!".

"We are not going to make it" seemed like it would be the closer for tonight, with Chris changing the end lyrics to "LOOKS LIKE WE MaaYYyyyDDDee ITTTT!!!", but I knew better. We wanted an encore, and the crowd let them know it by chanting "U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" Until they Finaly came back for the encore we yelled for.

Chris came out first, and said the usual "Thanks", and then freaked out on the drums for a couple seconds. I thought they were gonna do "carolyn's Booty", but I was wrong. Dave then came out and commented on how he didn't wanna get up this morning, but he knew he had to, he was playing to a FINAL FOUR AUDIENCE! That just set the crowd off. . We got "Kitty" after that little rant by the two of them.

"Hey, you know WHAT!?" Chris asked the audience in anticipation. "I got myself a toob amplifier", he tells the audience, and then launches into the ever rockin' "Toob Amplifier".

I completely flipped after I heard the opening chords to "Kick out the Jams", which is usually a set OPENER!. After jumping all about through the song, Chris breaks it down, and asks the audience if they know what it feels like when they get cheered to at a rok show. "You know how that makes us feel!?" he demands over and over, until finally reaching the next verse. After kicking it out completely, and the song starts to wind down, Dave starts to play this really high-pitched version of "Kick out the Jams", and Chris yells "GO CRAZY!" followed up by Dave going "OOOHHH S*IT!!!". They launched into a short punk rendition of "Kick out the Jams" before the final "goodbye"..

We attempted to cheer them back on stage with some more "U.S.A.s", but it didn't work. I had to come to terms with it. The show was over, the band was gone..Well sort of. I met them outside the club after the show. Just sort of a "Hey, how's it goin'" sort of thing..No autographs. Dave was almost left behind by Chris and their insane driver. They didn't board the tour bus, but rather left in a bronco! Cool.

And that's all I have to say about that?

I am very tired. This thing took me about 1 and a half hours to complete. My brain has exploded, my eyes imploded, and my tiny heart has gone piddly-pop. "

1997-03-29 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN

TV Eye / Lunatic to Love / Feather Pluckn / Volcano / Back Porch / Tiki God / Naked and Famous / Lump / Froggie / Cat Scratch Fever Kitty / Dune Buggy / Let’s Lynch the Landlord / Twig / Bug City / Peaches / Mach 5 / We Are Not Going To Make It / Stranger / Toob Amplifier / Video Killed the Radio Star / Kick Out the Jams /

Audience Tape

1997-03-30 Granada, Lawrence, KS

Press / VIP / Poster / Photo - The Presidents Of The USA - PUSA 97

Phptp: Backstage 1997 Tour VIP Pass


1997-04-02 Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO


1997-04-04 Electric Ballroom, Tempe, AZ


? Video Tape

with Redd Kross, Custard


The Presidents of the United States of America, and Redd Kross: Seattle's Presidents are idiot-savant pop stars who specialize in bursting the bubble of '90s-pop pretension; California's Kross is a whip-smart debunker and defender of '70s-pop excess. Custard shares the stage. The all-ages show starts at 9 p.m. Friday, April 4, at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Tickets are $15, available at Ticketmaster.
1997-04-05 Glass House, Pomona, CA


1997-04-06 El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

Naked & Famous / Video Killed The Radio Star / Kick Out The Jams / Spoonman

incomplete setlist


Presidents Show Need for Touring Limits

By Sara Scribner, Special To The Times

On their 1995 debut album, the Seattle-based Presidents of the United States of America punctured the depressed heft of grunge with hyperkinetic songs teeming with froggies, chickies and kitties. The album sold 2 million and spawned three hits, and the Presidents became fast frat-house favorites.

At the El Rey Theatre on Sunday, the band looked weary as it whipped out its trademark two- and three-string guitars. Singer-guitarist Chris Ballew seemed to be losing his voice, and the Presidents showed the wear-and-tear of two years in the spotlight and long-term touring.

Ballew, "guitbass" player Dave Dederer and drummer Jason Finn worked through a fun yet sometimes faltering set of hits and songs from "II," their less successful sophomore effort. The peak was an older tune, "Naked and Famous," a song about L.A. that moved all three band members to pound the drums and inspired the crowd to pogo in perfect sync.

After a while, however, the in-jokes became tired and the critter songs began to sound alike. When the Presidents revealed more enthusiasm for non-originals (the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star," the MC5's "Kick Out the Jams," Soundgarden's "Spoonman") than they did for their own new songs, it seemed that perhaps the Presidents will never move beyond their role of party band--a role that seems to be grinding them down.

1997-04-07 El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA


1997-04-09 The Huntridge Theatre. Las Vegas, Nevada


with Redd Kross and Custard

1997-04-10 Fillmore, San Francisco, CA


1997-04-11 Fillmore, San Francisco, CA

Poster - 97 - Fillmore - Tour - Presidents Of the USA / PUSA


with Redd Kross, Custard

1997-04-12 Salem Armory, Salem, OR


1997-04-13 Mercer Arena, Seattle, WA


1997-04-14 The Rage, Vancouver, Canada


1997-04-15 Mercer Arena, Seattle, WA


Correct date?
1997-04-16 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA


with Redd Kross and Custard


Presidents Come Home By Tom Phalen

Special To The Seattle Times

The Presidents of the United States of America with Redd Kross and Custard, the Paramount Theatre, last night.

When the Presidents came back on stage last night for the first of several encore numbers, guitarist Dave Dederer looked into the near capacity crowd pogo-ing in the Paramount and said ""I've wanted to play this place since I was a tot. Maybe we should quit now like Soundgarden did. I think they got it right."

That said, the band ground into its own special version of Soundgarden's "Spoonman," which included the retooled lyrics:

"All my friends are big and tall, they hang out at shopping malls, Spoonman!"

It was that kind of irreverent but sincere good humor the Presidents - Dederer, bassist Chris Ballew and drummer Jason Finn - displayed from the beginning to the end of their 90-minute, moto-driven show. Months on the road had the band's minimal but meaty music well-buffed and that they were home doing the final night of a long run showed in the ceaseless smiles on their faces and the energy they exuded.

The crowd, which ranged from 7 to 70 - although the majority were closer to the former - responded in kind, singing along with every number, dancing as much as the seats and security would allow and enthusiastically participating in the show. That remains one of the most enjoyable aspects of any Presidential performance, that the audience gets to play along too.

The band collectively thundered through most of its powerhouse material, with "Lunatic to Love" and "Volcano" blowing things out early and a particularly frisky version of "Back Porch," from its debut release, really driving the first section home.

Chris Ballew, whose voice has rarely sounded stronger, had the audience eagerly singing along to the chorus of "Naked and Famous" and screaming on cue, while "Lump," offered up midset, had almost everyone hopping up and down. "Twig in the Wind" - complete with Ballew's Deee-Lite falsetto - was almost eerie by contrast but a nice change-up. "Kitty," the party-mongering "Bug City" and the sticky but anthemic "Peaches" were among the best played and received songs of the night.

After "Spoonman," the band generously finished its encore with the worldly "Stranger," "Toob Amplifier," a raucous and appropriate version of Chuck Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business" followed by "Video Killed the Radio Star" and "Kick Out the Jams," which especially summed up Jason Finn's playing throughout.

1997-05-17 Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis


The Offspring, Social Distortion, Stir, L7, Presidents of USA

1997-05-24 KXTE-FM's "Our Big Concert",  Huntridge, Las Vegas, NV

Peaches / Kitty

Incomplete set list.

KXTE-FM's "Our Big Concert" Festival


"More than 10,000 people attended KXTE-FM's "Our Big Concert" Saturday to see 15 bands perform in a day-long concert.

Billed as "Our Big Concert," was the first rock festival featuring young bands to play in Las Vegas since Lollapalooza in 1994.

The concert was held at the Sam Boyd Stadium practice field and the weather, which had been unseasonably warm, cooperated. Concert-goers got to enjoy mild temperatures and sunny skies while listening to the bands or strolling through the display booths.

The bands were introduced by Gary "Ba Ba Booie" Dell'Abate from the Howard Stern Show.

Featured bands included The Might, Mighty Bosstones, The Presidents of the United States and Gravity Kills.

Additional bands who played the festival included: Sevin, Puzzle Gut, Lifter, Orbit, Nerf Herder, Chronic Future, Gouds Thumb, Bloodcub, Attaboy Skip, fluf, Sevendust." - Las Vegas Sun


The Presidents of the United States of America took the stage at 8:30 p.m., prompting guitarist Dave Dederer to marvel, "We've got the prime slot. The sun's down, it's cooling off ..."
And the trio was the festival's closest thing to a headliner with its fun, personable stage presence and concise pop songs. Singer and two-string bassist Chris Ballew kept the loopy humor going between songs as well as during the more absurd ditties, such as "Peaches" and "Kitty."

read the whole festival review.

1997-05-30 San Antonio, Texas


1997-06-13 Experience Music Project, Seattle, WA

Poster - EMP - PUSA / Presidents Of The USA

Kick Out The Jams / Feather Pluckn / Back Porch / Volcano / Tiki God / Naked & Famous / Lump / Stranger / Kitty / Boll Weevil / Dune Buggy / Twig / Peaches / Mach 5 / We're Not Gonna Make It

with The Kingsmen, Mudhoney


"The Presidents of the United States of America performed as part of the groundbreaking ceremony for Experience Music Project, an interactive music museum in Seattle, on Friday. The museum honors musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Ray Charles and Pearl Jam, who created a music scene in the Pacific Northwest in the first place. Mudhoney and the Kingsmen joined PUSA."

1997-06-14 Chicken Soup Brigade, Seattle, WA

The Presidents of the United States of America, Thelma Houston and Bjorn Again are slated to perform at a giant fundraising sock hop in Seattle. Care To Dance 1997 will take place on June 14 hosted by Chicken Soup Brigade, a charitable organization that raises funds for people living with AIDS. To find out more, check out their Web site at

1997-06-19 New Berlin, Illinois


1997-06-21 Rockfest '97, Texas Moter Speedway, Del Mar, California


Farmer Brown (the only unsigned band to perform at the concert), The Nixons, 10,000 Maniacs, Matchbox 20, JackoPierce, Soak, Toadies, Presidents of the United States of America, Sponge, Third Eye Blind, The Wallflowers, Jewel, Sugar Ray, Collective Soul, Paula Cole, Counting Crows, No Doubt, and Bush
1997-07-16 The Backstage, Ballard, Seattle, WA


with Jon Auer (Posies) on one song.

22min Soundboard Tape


Backstage: It Was A Fun Finale

The Backstage in Ballard, one of Seattle's longest running and respected live music venues, took its final bow last night.

It was a party; it was a wake. But as senior sound man Irish McKinney, an 11-year veteran, said during his opening benediction, a wake is a celebration. "We celebrate what has gone before, we celebrate the future. A toast to the Backstage!"

Five hundred fortunate fans, some of whom began lining up at 11 a.m. for an 8 p.m. door, raised their beers in kind and cheered wildly.

Ironically, probably half the mostly twentysomething attendees, had never been to the Backstage. Ryan

Rogers, the first person in line, has been coming to the Backstage for three years, but for his friend Pace Evvesen, recently moved here from San Diego, it was a first. It was the same for many who waited in a line that wrapped around the block, eating pizza and talking on cell phones. But in the end, nearly 400 got in, new and old fans alike.

"I've been coming here since it opened in 1983," said Pat Wickline. Asked where he'd be going with the Backstage closing, he said he no longer plans going to shows. "There's no other place where the stage is so low and close. Where else could you stand right in front of Robert Fripp? Besides, it was nice not having to go downtown. You felt safer."

Besides the first-come-first-serve guests, all of whom got in for free, there was also a considerable guest list of friends, former employees and local musicians. It was an impressive showing of those who had enjoyed the club and the hundreds of artists who played it over the years

"We wanted a party," said Lora Gastineau, the promotions director who had started at the club five years ago working the ticket window. We didn't want to just shut the doors and go away without making some noise. We all needed it. It's sad enough to have to say good bye. We had to do something."

Unfortunately, the very thing that was closing the club, a lack of funds, seemed to be in the way of getting anyone to play. "We couldn't pay anyone," said Gastineau. "All we could do is ask people to play, offer some free beer and hope they'd donate some music. But for weeks nothing happened."

But Gastineau eventually contacted Dave Dederer of the Presidents of The United States of America. Dederer thought there might be a scheduling conflict, but they'd think about it. For days, Gastineau heard nothing.

"Then out of nowhere," she said, "Chris Ballew (the President's bassist and lead vocalist) called. It was so funny. He said: `Hello, this is Chris Ballew of the Presidents of The United States of America and my friend Dave told me you need a band for a party.' That was it."

"We love to play parties," Ballew said later. "That's how we started. And playing clubs is always fun. It's just something we really like."

Through local publicist Barbara Mitchell, Gastineau also got singer/songwriter Marc Olsen and pop quartet Micro Mini. Then Dederer brought in The Cowboys, a popular Seattle band during the New Wave era of the early '80s who had recently re-grouped.

It was like the completion of a cosmic circle. Two members of the Cowboys - keyboard player Paul Brownlow and drummer Mark Gunther - had played in the Lonesome City Kings, the first band to play the Backstage.

"It was the first week of 1983," said Gunther. "They were still sawing things as we were setting up. I don't remember what the audience, but the beer was free."

At 9 o'clock, the Cowboys kicked off the evening with a mix of hard rock and reggae. Though many were unfamiliar with the band, they responded warmly. Micro Mini got the house on its feet and dancing and Olsen quieted things down a bit before the headliners.

The Presidents were at their bouncing best, starting off with their biggest hits "Lump" and "Peaches," quickly taking requests and throwing in some unexpected numbers, too. There was no encore. It wasn't necessary. Gastineau eventually took the empty stage and smiled at the satiated crowd.

"Thank you all for coming, we really appreciate it," she said adding, "you don't have to go home yet, but you can't stay here.

"Good night, everybody," she finished. "Good night, Backstage."

1997-07-19 Harrington, Delaware, DE


1997-08-02 Luxemburg, Wisconsin, WI


1997-08-03 Jackson, Mississippi, MI


1997-08-05 Sony Party, Cyber Cirque,

1997-08-05 - The Presidents Of The USA (PUSA) at Cyber Cirque


1997-08-22 Seattle, WA

Peaches / Kitty / Supersonics / Lump

Incomplete setlist, and in wrong order. Songs confirmed by a fan.

Free show after Mariners game.

with 10,000 Maniacs

1997-09-17 Mercury Lounge, Melbourne, Australia

Poster - PUSA / Presidents Of The USA - Australia

1997 mercury lounge pusa setlist

 Poster / Ticket - Presidents Of The USA / PUSA

setlist & ticket from


With Jebediah

1997-09-18 Chisholm Hall, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia


With Jebediah, Custard


Well, I have to consider myself lucky, cuz I got to see these guys for a SECOND time on Thursday, 18th of September 1997 at Chisholm Hall, Monash University in Melbourne! Again, they were EXCELLENT! They were full of energy, up there having a ball and absolutely rocking! As for their support bands, Jebediah were great, but CUSTARD, well, all I can say is that on this particular night, they SUCKED BIG TIME! They were very loose, making alot of mistakes, messing up their lyrics etc... they were just not into it at all! I mean, they didn't even play any of their well known tunes and just didn't seem to give a shit! :( I have seen them twice before, and they were awesome... hopefully next time I see them (Yes, I'll give them another chance) they will be back to their old selves. - Trashin's Pleasure Dome
1997-09-20 The Zoo, Long Jetty Hotel, Australia

Presidents Of the USA / PUSA - Ticket - 1997-09-20 - The Zoo, Long Jetty, Australia with Custard, Jebediah

ticket by hutch


With Custard, Jebediah

1997-09-22 ARIA Music Awards of 1997


The Presidents didn't perform? Only presented an award?



"The 1997 ARIAs are, of course, best remembered as being the ones where the three members of Presidents of the United States of America flew 22 hours to present an award. "


1997-09-27 Uni Bar, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia




With Custard, Jebediah

1997-09-27 Suncorp Piazza, Brisbane, Australia

Ticket / Poster / Presidents Of The USA / PUSA


With Custard

1997-10-29 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR

Poster- PUSA / Presidents Of the USA - 97

Lunatic To Love (YouTube)


67min Soundboard Tape / Pro Shot video

1997-11-08 St. Andrew's Hall, Detroit, MI

Poster - Presidents Of The USA / PUSA 97


With Love Battery
1997-11-16 Tokyo, Japan

Shout It Out Loud / Volcano / Phenomenon (LL Cool J Cover) / Back Porch / Twig / Naked And Famous / Lump / Dune Buggy / Lunatic To Love / Bug City / Boll Weevil / Kitty / Too Much Monkey Business / Feather Pluck'n / Tiki God / Peaches / Video Killed The Radio Star / Japan / Toob Amplifier / Let's Lynch The Landlord / Mach 5 / Kick Out The Jams

Audience Tape, Released on CD "Get Happy!"

1997-11-17 Liquid Room, Tokyo, Japan

Volcano / Back Porch / Supersonics / Naked And Famous / Lump / Let's Lynch The Landlord / Twig / Bug City / Kitty / Feather Pluckn / Dune Buggy / Froggie / Video Killed The Radio Star / Mach 5 / Peaches - Momo No Uta / Kick Out The Jams / Tiki God / Toob Amplifier / Shout It Out Loud / We Are Not Gonna Make It / You Got Your Head On Backwards

Audience Tape

1997-11-19 Club Quattro, Nagoya, Japan

Japan / Lunatic To Love / Volcano / Back Porch - You've Got Your Head On Backwards / Supersonics / Naked And Famous / Lump / Twig-Groove Is In the Heart-Bug City / Kashmir-Cat Scratch Fever-Kitty / Too Much Monkey Business / Feather Pluckn-Baby You're A Rich Man / Dune Buggy / Froggie / VKTRS / Mach 5 / Peaches-Momo No Uta / Kick Out the Jams-Voodoo Child / TV Eye / Toob Amplifier / Let's Lynch The Landlord / Spoonman / Tiki God

Audience Tape

1997-11-20 Club Quattro, Osaka, Japan

Japan / Lunatic To Love / Volcano / Back Porch / Supersonics / Naked And Famous / Lump / Twig - Groove Is In the Heart / Bug City / Kitty / Feather Pluckn (original) / Dune Buggy / Froggie / VKTRS / Mach 5 / Peaches-Momo No Uta / Kick Out The Jams / Too Much Monkey Business / Toob Amplifier / Tiki God / We're Not Gonna Make It

Audience Tape

1997-11-21 Drum Logos, Fukuoka, Japan

Japan / Lunatic To Love / Volcano / Back Porch / Supersonics / Naked And Famous / Lump / Twig-Groove Is In the Heart / Bug City / Cat Scratch Fever-Kitty / Feather Pluckn-Baby You're A Rich Man / Dune Buggy-What I Like About You / Froggie-Whole Lotta Love / VKTRS / Mach 5 / Peaches-Momo No Uta / Kick Out The Jams / Carolyn-Jason Finn's Bootie / Toob Amplifier / Too Much Monkey Business / Tiki God / We're Not Gonna Make It

Audience Tape

1997-11-23 Penny Lane 24, Sapporo, Japan

Japan / Volcano / Lunatic To Love / Back Porch / Supersonics / Naked And Famous / Lump / Twig - Groove Is In the Heart / Boll Weevil / Cat Scratch - Fever Kitty / Bug City / Feather Pluckn / Dune Buggy What I Like About You / Froggie / Video Killed the Radio Star / Mach 5 / Peaches Momo No Uta / Kick Out the Jams / Toob Alifier / Man / Lets Lynch The Landlord / Tiki God / Stranger / Too Much Monkey Business / You Shook Me All Night Long / Candy Cigarette / We Are Not Gonna Make It

Audience Tape

1997-12-08 Water Street Music Hall, Rochester, NY

Lunatic To Love / Feather Pluckn / Baby You're A Rich Man / Volcano / Back Porch / L.I.P / Naked And Famous / Video Killed Radio Star / Twig / Bug City / Boll Weevil / Peaches / Mach 5 / Kick Out The Jams

Soundboard Tape, Released on CD "All Access"