Dr. Know: Civic Negativity, Pete Rose’s Speeding Ticket, and Concert Mis-Matches

The good doctor holds forth on troubling issues, including our low opinion of our city, a traffic violation by Pete Rose, and that time the Beastie Boys opened for Madonna.

I moved west from Cincinnati many years ago. Whenever I return for a visit, everyone badmouths this town! I’m shocked at the low regard Cincinnatians have for their own city; I think it has the best traits of big and small towns. Why such negativity about such a wonderful place? What’s up with this attitude? —NASTY NATIS

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

We normally bypass submissions of philosophical Jerry Seinfeld-ish questions, but such passion deserves a response. Your story is a little surprising, because the Queen City usually gets its insults from afar. A native New Yorker once sincerely asked us if Cincinnati had sidewalks and traffic lights. You’d think that Americans would at least remember we’re urban enough to have launched dozens of turkeys from a helicopter.

It’s as easy to list a city’s shortcomings as it is to list its benefits; staring at only one column is a false choice. Even as we struggle with painful circumstances in 2020, Cincinnatians revere our many beautiful venues and generous residents. We can only posit that a discontent with one’s surroundings may say less about the surroundings and more about the discontentee.

You are invited to decide whether or not this overheard sentiment is productive: Cin­cinnati may have a lot of big-city problems like crime and traffic congestion and failing infrastructure, but let’s not forget that at the same time there’s nothing here to do.

I swear I remember a TV news story from the late 1980s about Pete Rose getting a speeding ticket on Pete Rose Way. He was even interviewed, joking about it. But I can’t find anyone else who remembers this, and my Google searches come up empty. Can you get me some kind of authoritative answer? —MY BET ON BASEBALL

We shall attempt to assuage your anguish by launching the Doctor’s mighty Contacts app. Our first stop is with Jerry Springer, who anchored Cincinnati’s local TV news during the period in question. Today’s Judge Springer says he cannot recall such an incident, and, as we all know, he has a sensitive memory when it comes to misdemeanors.

Our next source might know more about Peter Edward Rose than does Pete himself: Dennis “Wildman” Walker, former WEBN-FM sports savant. Through all of Pete’s travails, Wildman’s support has never wavered; his son, you should know, is named Peter Edward Walker. Wildman’s Contacts app includes Pete himself, so he bettered the Doctor and went straight to the source. Pete texted back that no, he was never pulled over, but in 1988 he did receive a parking ticket on the street bearing his name for parking his Porsche by an expired meter at Flanagan’s Landing. That’s probably the light-hearted news story you saw. If Pete confesses 20 years from now that he actually did something far more serious, we’ll let you know.

I saw Madonna at the Cincinnati Gardens in 1985, and the opening act couldn’t have been more incompatible: the Beastie Boys! Nobody had a fully fun night. I wonder now which Cincinnati concert had the worst-ever mismatch of headliner with opener. There must have been some awful ones. —WOULD YOU STAND UP AND WALK OUT ON ME

Others may be slowly emerging from quarantine, but you have just sentenced the Doctor to endless solitary confinement. A full accounting is impossible, but randomly checking through hundreds of shows has revealed these top candidates for concert incongruity:

The Who and Herman’s Hermits. That is, emerging British rockers The Who opening for the declining British teenyboppers Herman’s Hermits in 1967, both bands out of place at Music Hall anyway. There’s sex-rocker Rod Stewart at Riverfront Coliseum in 1977 paired with the mushy love-song oatmeal of Air Supply. But first prize for musical in­compatibility must go to the Grateful Dead at the U.C. Fieldhouse in 1970, warmed up by the Lemon Pipers. In fairness to the Oxford-based Pipers, their one-hit-wonder “Green Tambourine” was a song forced upon them by their record company, forever tarring them as a bubblegum band. Still, an audience mostly on hand to see the Grateful Dead might have preferred the Beastie Boys.

Regardless of musical style, however, every performer’s nightmare was to be partnered with the Cincinnati Gardens. That place was built for hockey games, and concerts there always sounded like one.

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