Here’s something to warm yer little American heart: On June 25, the Missoula Osprey will play their first home game in their very own brand new stadium. Makes ya wanna belt out a tune, doesn’t it? “Buy me some peanuts and Craaackerjaaacks…” You don’t even have to buy the hotdogs—on June 5, the Osprey will be giving those away to people who swing by the team’s office to pick up their season tickets or purchase tickets to the first ball game. The Osprey aren’t hosting a grand opening this year because the stadium isn’t totally complete, says Osprey Vice President and General Manager Matt Ellis, but you can tell they’re kind of excited anyway. The woman who answers the phone when you call greets you with the number of days left until June 25, which was at 38 when we called (dead on, though she admits she’s bungled the number on occasion). You’re supposed, we’re told, to “root, root root for the hooooome team.” But some park neighbors seem to have misheard Kevin Costner instead: If you build it, they will complain. On Monday night, Tracy O’Reilly, who lives in the neighborhood, announced during City Council public comment that she’d seen the news lights looming high over the stadium, and she wasn’t happy. Said the lights didn’t really look like the ones in the original plan. Bull honky, Ellis retorts (we paraphrase). “They’re going to find us over time to be good neighbors,” he said. As for the lights, Ellis insists they’re “first class.”
The big buzz going around town this week seems to be about the events that took place during the last live show at The Ritz (R.I.P.) on Saturday night. Those who attended may remember (or just as well may not) a crowd so large that people were literally squishing out the doors. At one point, patrons inside jumped on tables to avoid getting smushed by the ever-increasing crowd. It likely didn’t help the situation that UM’s graduation had commenced earlier the same day, and the audience of recently minted post-grads was ready, to say the least, to get it on. The party, that is. But before the debauchery fades—like so much of what we learned in school—into the irretrievable mists of memory, let’s take a moment to make note of just a few of the evening’s highlights: Headliner The Big Wu takes the stage; an already large crowd increases; pierced nipples are flaunted bare on the stage; the dance-floor temperature rises in a stifling simulacrum of localized global warming; a naked dude makes an uninvited (and uninviting?) appearance; and what looked like a dance-orgy ritual on stage climaxes this night in history, after which the Ritz will be (as it presently is) no more. At least no one can question that Missoula’s latest live music casualty went out with a bang—even the cops who finally showed up around closing time seemed stunned and bewildered at the wreckage that remained: broken booze bottles, overturned chairs, random articles of clothing flung far and wide. Yes, occifer, there was a party. Did anyone expect any less?