The following is an excerpt from the book No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens by Amy Yates Wuelfing and Steven DiLodovico.
Fugazi – March 19, 1991
Pat Baker (The Semibeings): I remember Fugazi would only charge $5.00 at the door, which was great, and when the band played, they had two super-bright spotlights right up on the stage. You always knew that with Fugazi you were in for an amazing, memorable time.
Ian MacKaye (Fugazi): I have a really distinct memory of the atmosphere of the shows. The… I’m trying to think of the right word… the smell of it. Not that it was a bad smell. I have a pretty acute memory, usually. I always remember if something out of the ordinary happened, but the thing I remember most about City Gardens was Randy Now and hanging out with him. We stayed at his house in New Hope. City Gardens is very interesting from my point of view. In the later ‘80s, this hardcore thing really started to take form. And it was not entirely but largely informed by what was happening in New York. The New York hardcore scene and that era of hardcore, which was more of a metal-tinged hardcore… like Samhain and those kinds of bands. City Gardens was not a venue that I really took much interest in or knew much about, because it was similar to Fenders out in Los Angeles. It was a playground for the hardcore madness. Shows at Fenders were notorious for kids beating the crap out of each other. I never played Fenders, ever. Quite pointedly never played it. I kind of felt the same way [about City Gardens], but then, at some point, I talked to Randy. He was a really nice guy, so I thought, “Well, we’ll give it a shot.” But our crowds were getting so big that we needed a room large enough for that many people and that was also safe… not a dangerous room.
Alex Franklin (City Gardens regular): There’s this thing at shows now called “headwalking.” You can pretty much tell what it is by the name. It happens at a lot of “posi” shows these days. Instead of diving, they just run off the stage and see how far they can get walking on people’s heads and hands. Well, [“Kung Fu”] Lou [DeCarolis, a City Gardens regular] would do that. When Fugazi played it was always packed. First, they only charged $5 and second, they always drew a lot of people anyway. I was in the back watching them, and I see Lou standing. He’s walking as if he were walking across a stream of slippery rocks on people’s heads. He’s like ten feet in the air walking on these people’s fucking heads and shoulders trying to make it across the crowd. And what happens? Ian MacKaye [yells], “You! Motherfucker! Stop fucking doing that!” Man, Ian MacKaye… he did not like that at all.
Tony Rettman (City Gardens regular): I had a friend, Dave, who was the first one of us to get out of the “straight edge” thing and start smoking weed. Fugazi were coming to City Gardens, and he was into it. “Fugazi are coming to City Gardens? FUCK THAT! I’m wearing a Champion hoodie, I’m X-ing up... I’M MOSHING!!!” I was like, “Okay Dave, whatever you say.” I was standing by the front door and I saw him walking in with gigantic X’s on his hands, a red Champion hoodie that he probably hadn’t worn in years, camo shorts... the whole deal. Fugazi played, he started moshing, and Ian yelled at him. Dave was loaded! He gave Ian the finger all night.
Ben Vaughn (Ben Vaughn Combo): The first time I saw Ween, they opened for Fugazi. The audience booed them and threw shit at them the whole time. And WEEN’s set got better and better. They really fed off of the negative energy.