This week we revisited the story of Friday’s, a legendary venue on Tate Street in Greensboro, in Nicole Crews’ column.
Her article brought forward other people’s remembrances, including Loring Mortensen who was there for the venue’s final show.
“I was going to Guilford College at the time and found out it was the last night at Friday’s and the owners arranged for REM to come play,” he said. “I think I was 18. I shot these images with my Minolta without flash and pushed the film in the dark room the next morning.”
It’s been 30 years, and these are the only photos that survived, though Mortensen said he still has some of the negatives.
He was studying photography at the Quaker college, and wasn’t sure he could bring his flash into the venue so he left it behind. He still came away with four great shots that survived over the years, showing the different band members mid song.
“They played flawless, better than I expected,”Mortensen said. “I think Genesis was playing at the coliseum that same night. Not Phil Collins, but actually Genesis if I’m not mistaken. Funny the things you (think) you remember.”
He also took a dreamlike portrait of singer Michael Stipe, below, who back then had hair like Greensboro’s Sam Martin of Three-Brained Robot and what appears to be an arresting stage presence.
“Stipe had tied flowers together (like clover) and had it in his hair (yes, he had hair) and around his neck,” he said. “It was hippy-dippy but very cool and you see how close I got. He didn’t seem to mind.”
Mortensen remembers camping out that afternoon by the venue to get in and the power of the show, but some aspects of the night have faded.
“The end of the night was a blur,” he said, “which is how most nights on Tate ended I guess.”