Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
Some of my favorite conversations have begun with the question, “what was your first concert?” I’m always happy to talk about my initiation into the world of living, breathing rock ‘n’ roll (more on that below) but hearing about other people’s first concert experience is equally enjoyable. Whether it’s an older friend who had the good fortune of seeing my favorite artists in the prime of their careers or a younger person with very different musical tastes, the thrill we felt the first time the lights went down & the band hit the stage is a common bond that can span generations. If it was up to me, Kiss at Madison Square Garden in 1976 on the Destroyer tour would have been my first show, but my parents wouldn’t allow their 10-year-old son to go (in hindsight a smart decision but not one I agreed with at the time). I held a small grudge against them for 20 years until I finally saw the reunited lineup at that same venue in 1996. I called to forgive them the next day. Ironically, one of the best-known songs by the first band I saw refers to their parents having “my Kiss records out.” I decided to take the conversation a little further this time and discuss my first FIVE concerts, all of which happened between the ages of 13 & 15. For each show I’ve included a copy of my ticket stub as well as a video of the band from that tour.
Artist: CHEAP TRICK
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Date: May 12, 1980
Then Current Album: Dream Police (1980)
Opening Act: The Romantics
There were few bigger bands at the time than Cheap Trick, riding high on the success of At Budokan and the just-released Dream Police. I don’t recall many details about the show itself but I remember the view I had of the stage and I can still “feel” what it was like to be there. I bought 3 or 4 bootleg t-shirts & jerseys outside the venue, along with the official program and a replica Rick Nielsen bowtie, thinking you had to spend lots of money on merchandise at every show. My teenage bank account couldn’t sustain such a pace so that was the highest number of souvenirs I ever purchased. The Romantics, then a new group known for “What I Like About You,” were a solid opening act. All-in-all a great first concert.
Artist: THE RAMONES
Venue: Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park, NJ
Date: August 8, 1980
Then Current Album: End Of The Century (1980)
Opening Act: ???
I’ve never been more than a casual Ramones fan, although I own their first five albums and a 2-LP compilation so I do enjoy their music. It’s just that they were never an important band to me. I only saw them because I was attending day camp that summer and, believe it or not, a Ramones concert in the town that Bruce Springsteen made famous was one of the special events included on the camp calendar. I had a great time at the show and happily joined in the chants of “Hey, Ho, Let’s Go” and “Gabba Gabba Hey.” I don’t remember if there was an opening act but there must have been at least one other band playing that night. If anyone has additional information on that, please let me know.
Artist: THE CARS
Venue: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
Date: November 28, 1980
Then Current Album: Panorama (1980)
Opening Act: The Motels???
The fact that this was possibly the most boring concert I’ve ever attended does not change my opinion that The Cars were one of the greatest bands of their era, or any other era for that matter. They were possibly the only group embraced by old-school rockers and new wavers in equal measure. The combination of quirky-yet-timeless songs, space-age synths, searing lead guitar & powerful harmonies gave them a unique sound that hasn’t been replicated since their decade-long reign from the late-’70 through the late-‘80s. I was particularly thrilled to see them when they were touring in support of Panorama, the underappreciated dark horse in their catalog. Sadly, every song sounded exactly like the studio recording and they had no connection with the audience, but at least the set list was jam-packed with nothing but great songs. I’m not sure who opened for them but someone posted on a website that The Motels supported The Cars on that tour. I probably wouldn’t have appreciated them at the time but in retrospect I would have enjoyed it since I’ve been a fan for many years.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Date: May 18, 1981
Then Current Album: Moving Pictures (1981)
Opening Act: FM
I discovered them via 1980’s Permanent Waves but the first new Rush album I got to hear as an existing fan was the now-classic Moving Pictures. You can imagine the elation of this not-quite-15-year-old drummer seeing them for the first time on this tour, as I joined thousands of air drummers mimicking every fill Neil Peart played. This was probably my first jaw-dropping concert experience and it’s certainly on a short list of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. The set list was perfect, as documented later that year on their Exit…Stage Left live album, and there aren’t enough superlatives to describe the musicianship. The support act was another Canadian progressive rock trio named FM and they were a natural fit for the headliner. I own all of their albums so they made quite an impact.
Artist: BLUE ÖYSTER CULT
Venue: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
Date: December 30, 1981
Then Current Album: Fire Of Unknown Origin (1981)
Opening Act: Foghat
I was a big BÖC fan by the time I saw them, although I was mostly aware of their more recent work and wouldn’t discover the insane genius of their earlier material until many years later. That didn’t affect my enjoyment of the show, as they were visually & aurally one of the best arena bands in the world. How many music-loving teenagers wouldn’t be enthralled by a giant fire-breathing Godzilla on stage? Of course, it didn’t hurt that they were a seasoned live band of fantastic musicians with a clutch of amazing songs. I was only familiar with a handful of Foghat songs but they were a solid opening act.
That was a pretty good first year-and-a-half of concert-going. I’m sure there were other shows I would have loved seeing during that time, but scarcity of funds and not being eligible for a driver’s license meant I had to be very particular about the concert tickets I bought. The following year I saw another five concerts that were all extremely memorable, including an unforgettable New Year’s Eve ’82-’83:
The Police (+ Black Uhuru) at Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ (April 21, 1982)
Genesis at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, Forest Hills, NY (August 22, 1982)
Jethro Tull (+ Saga) at Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ (September 30, 1982)
The Who (+ The Clash and David Johansen) at Shea Stadium, Flushing, NY (October 12, 1982)
Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY (December 31, 1982)
Now that you’ve read about my early concert experiences, I look forward to hearing about yours. Please share your stories in the Comments section below, and let me know if you attended any of the shows listed above.
Hi Rich. What a great topic, bound to set the comment section ablaze I’d imagine. My very first concert was a double bill by two Canadian new wave bands that most will be unfamiliar with unless you lived in Canada in the early 80s: Blue Peter and the Spoons. Both were fantastic, Blue Peter being more of a power pop band and Spoons more of the electro pop variety.
Second was The Kinks, opening act an unknown INXS who just released Shaboo Shoobah. Fantastic, so lucky to see both.
Third was The Clash. A reggae band opened for them, can’t remember who though.
After that Clash gig the flood gates opened and I was fortunate enough to witness gigs by a ton of great bands ranging from Spinal Tap (I believe the year was 90 or 91) to The Smiths (twice) to Primal Scream to Motörhead to The Beastie Boys to The Beat to The Psychedelic Furs (twice) and The Fixx (Reach the Beach and for Phantoms tours). Too many to remember, but that sounds like a great exercise for the next rainy day!
Thanks, Rich, for jogging the memory banks. Cheers.
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Side note: I also saw Rush on the Moving Pictures tour, at Maple Leaf Gardens, and for Signals. So freaking good! I have also heard the Cars were basically stiff on stage, still would have loved to see them though. Cheap Trick and the Ramones: I am jealous as hell!
Glad we both got to see Rush at what was arguably their absolute peak. I’ve only seen them once since then, but I own all the live DVDs & Blu-rays so I feel like I’ve seen them a lot more frequently.
That’s an interesting set of initial gigs for you, Ian. Nope, never heard of Blue Peter or The Spoons. Are they worth checking out all these years later? I wish I had seen The Kinks at that time, between Give The People What They Want and Come Dancing, right? I finally saw them on the Word Of Mouth tour but Ray was “under the weather” so they cut the show short.
Your comment about the bands you’ve seen more than once has me thinking about a topic for an upcoming post. I’ll have to go through my stack of ticket stubs first, though.
Also, I loved The Fixx back then but never saw them live. Consider yourself fortunate.
Wow, Rich, what a fantastic First Five Concerts! I’m surprised that The Cars were boring. Their music is so solid that they must really be lacking in stage presence.
Godzilla! I would have loved to have experienced that one!
As to mine…I’ll have to give it some thought.
Hi Danica. I’ve spoken with other Cars fans who felt the same way about their live performances. If they didn’t want to interact with the audience beyond the occasional “thank you,” they should have at least been more animated on stage…or perhaps added a fire-breathing creature to their show. Looking forward to hearing about your early concert-going experiences.
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Maybe they’re all shy? Like Jim Morrison. 🙂 I agree that a fire-breathing creature would have been the way to go!
You went to the best day camp ever! The Ramones must have been fantastic in concert.
My first concerts would have been at fairs…I’m getting closer to some memories….
Not sure if they were shy or if that was just part of their act. Clearly Ric Ocasek had no shyness issues when he first approached his supermodel wife.
That was a pretty good day camp, with the Ramones show being the coolest event. We also went to a dude ranch and a Catskills resort.
Hope those memories start flooding back soon.
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Hmm…I don’t think I’ve been to a dude ranch. It must have been interesting.
Loverboy was in there.
The dude ranch wasn’t really my thing. I also wasn’t much of a Loverboy fan (the girls fawned over Mike Reno a little too much for my liking), but I really like the song “Take Me To The Top” (at least I think that’s what it’s called).
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I’m not sure…you know, I saw them not too long ago and the audience sang along to every song. Nostalgia shows. 🙂
I think it’s great that a band like Loverboy is still out there bringing their music to fans. How big a crowd did they draw?
I’m not sure…it was an outdoor venue and possibly over capacity. The crowd loved them, but I didn’t think they sounded very good. I’m not sure whether that was due to the absence of Bob Rock and Bruce Fairbairn, or it was an off-night, possibly complications with tech…. Even so, they made a lot of people very happy that night.
Were those ’80s Loverboy albums produced by Rock & Fairbairn? I didn’t realize that. Unfortunately, I believe Fairbairn is no longer with us, which would explain his absence from the concert.
Making people happy with your music is all that should matter for a gigging musician, so I’m glad they delivered.
The first two were Rock & Fairbairn, Fairbairn on the 3rd, and Rock & Fairbairn on the 5th.
Making people happy with your music is something special.
Rich what a awesome first post after your sabbatical! These shows you saw in MSG are just killer! To have seen Trick in there heyday crazy good as well as Rush of course! Man oh man …
The Cars like you said wrote and performed excellent studio albums but the live clips I have seen on YouTube are boring! But the audio sonics are awesome!
Everything you seen here is awesome…..
Thanks, Derek. I definitely chose my concerts wisely, and it’s amazing to realize how many of those artists are still touring 35 years later. So who were some of your early concerts?
The Ramones were with a band called Rattlers. Setlist says they did 3 encores and over 30 songs that night. Cool. And on my birthday too. That would have been an awesome present.
I think The Romantics again opened for The Cars.
For me it was
Triumph Thunder Seven w/ Honeymoon Suite.
Van Halen 5150 w Loverboy & BTO
Thanks for letting me know about Rattlers. Never heard of them but perhaps I did see them open up for The Ramones. I doubt it was The Romantics who opened for The Cars when I saw them, since I would have remembered seeing the same opening act twice. At this point I’ll just assume it was The Motels.
I’m a huge Triumph fan but never got to see them live. They were still kicking ass at the time you saw them so consider yourself lucky. Wish I could have seen the 5150 tour. That was at the tail end of my Van Halen obsession that started with Women And Children First. And based on the other shows you mentioned, I’m guessing you saw Rush on the Power Windows tour. How was that show?
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Triumph was the best first concert to go to. Gil Moore and Rik Emmett both had amazing voices, and Rik is still in my top 10 guitarists of all time. It was such a throwback, 70’s style arena rock concert with lots of pyro mixed with big hair. Luckily there were no hair fires. 5150 was outdoor at an open amphitheatre in August, the weather was hot, and so were the bands. Van Halen really wanted to put on a show. I’m said I missed the Diamond Dave first go around, but 5150 remains the peak of Van Hagar for me. Eddie was on fire, and Sammy was energetic. It really was a good show, mixed with a couple of good classic rock bands just before they trailed into the sunset.
Every single time I have seen Rush it has been technical excellence, including in 2015. This was an amazing show, but I think that the R40 show in 2015 was my favourite as they went from newest album to oldest. Such a good show.
I completely agree regarding Gil’s & Rik’s voices. I tend to prefer Rik’s songs but they both contributed so much to that band. I also agree that 5150 was the peak of Van Hagar. I listened to it again recently for the first time in years and it didn’t hold up as well as I had hoped. I think that album needs to be remastered. It sounded too thin & lightweight.
Although I haven’t seen Rush since ’94, owning all their live DVDs & Blu-rays has allowed me to somewhat share in the experience. I just got the R40 3-CD/Blu-ray set and the performance, as always, was impeccable. I won’t be able to watch the Blu-ray until I buy a house & set up my new media room, but it will be worth the wait.
Thanks again for the feedback. This is such a fun topic for conversation.
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When you watch the video, I’m the 40 something guy with the A Farewell to Kings t shirt. (Your welcome for narrowing it down so much.) 😉
R40 concert review on my blog if you want to check it out sometime.
Thanks for posting this.
Thanks for narrowing down the search for you on the video. You might as well say, “I’m the guy air-drumming during YYZ” (haha).
I will definitely read your Rush R40 concert review soon. Here’s a link to that post for anyone who’s interested:
Not only have you returned, you’ve returned in grand style! Well done! You’ve got an impressive list of shows there.
My first concert took place in a small town hockey rink, it was Eight Seconds (remember Kiss You When It’s Dangerous?) and Frozen Ghost. My next gig was Gowan on his Strange Animal tour…
Thanks, Aaron. I do not remember Eight Seconds or Frozen Ghost. How was that show? I have a couple of Gowan albums but don’t remember if Strange Animals is one of them. I’m guessing he/they put on a great show. Do you recall any of your other early concert experiences?
Both of those bands were 80s pop stuff, but I was a kid. Maybe 10 or 11? Maybe younger, I don’t remember. I thought it was the big time, anyway! 🙂
Strange Animal was Gowan’s big record, tons of singles onit. I’d recommend it, if you’re into some fun stuff. At this point, if you’re new to it, a listen would require remembering context and time period… haha I still love that record. It’s a life time record for me, I’ll always have a copy.
After those two concerts? Well, I didn’t get out to too many shows, I lived in a small town of 350 in the middle of farm country, so we didn’t get to the big towns too often. I guess the next would have been Glass Tiger on the Diamond Sun tour at Center In The Square in Kitchener. Then Gowan again on his Great Dirty World tour. They filmed the video for Awake The Giant at the show I was at! Haha claim to fame.
It’s interesting that you saw Gowan twice among your first five concerts. Clearly you’re a fan. Do you enjoy him with Styx as well? I just checked my inventory list and I own “Strange Animal” on vinyl. Whenever I buy a new house & get my media room set up, I will give that record another spin. I remember liking it but it’s been several years since I heard it.
Although Rush was also one of my first concerts, it was on the Signals tour. I saw two shows back to back, then not again until 2004 (where I can be glimpsed in the Rush 30 video, shot in Frankfurt, when I still had hair). I’ve since seen them twice more (Snakes and Arrows and Clockwork Angels). (The gap was due both to moving to Europe, where they rarely played in the 1980s and 1990s, and also due to the fact that they lost me after Signals, although the newer stuff is much better.
The only overlap is Jethro Tull. I also so them on this tour. The stage was a pirate ship. Martin Barre still had the full beard. Those were the days. Broadsword and the Beast is, I think, the last of the “old school” Tull albums, though some might argue for one a few albums previously. I remember Saga. I saw them again a year or two ago, on a double bill with Marillion. Neither group really does it for me, though.
Since then, I’ve probably seen Tull more often than any other band except Fairport Convention. Sadly, Tull are no more, and while Ian’s current solo stuff is quite good, his voice is no longer what it was. Far from being just the novelty flute player, he is a good flute player and an excellent acoustic guitarist. However, in the old days he was also a truly excellent singer. Fairport, in contrast, are still good both live and in the studio. Simon Nicol’s voice has even improved with age, and he is seriously underrated as a guitar player.
Hi Phillip. I’m guessing Rush was still pretty amazing on the Signals tour, since their obsession with synths hadn’t taken hold just yet. I lost interest in them for several years during the ’80s although I’ve come around to those albums and really appreciate them now. It wasn’t until Presto that I came back on board the good ship Rush and haven’t gone overboard since. Believe it or not, I’ve only seen them one other time, in 1994 on the Counterparts tour. I don’t see many arena shows anymore because they’re too expensive, and I get to see them the following year on the obligatory live DVD or Blu-ray for much less money.
Yep, that Tull show with the pirate ship stage set was awesome. Saw them about a decade later and they were very good, but it didn’t have the excitement of the Broadsword show. I’m glad we both got to experience them at that point in their career. I love both Saga and Marillion but I understand that they won’t appeal to everyone. At least you’ve got an open mind and gave them a shot.
I only saw Fairport once, in a small 400-seat club in NYC, probably in the mid-90s. I was incredibly drunk at the time and don’t remember much about the show, sadly. At least I’ve seen Richard Thompson numerous times, and I’ve always been sober for those shows. Saw him last week opening for Glen Hansard. It was a great night.
I wanted to see Blue Oyster Cult and Foghat back then but my company commander decided that we must all go to the field. So, I missed it. You have some really great concert memories!
As with anyone who’s ever served in the military, you’ve sacrificed so much for your country, but missing out on BOC and Foghat could be your biggest sacrifice. Okay, maybe not, but you did miss a killer show. Thanks, as always, for your service.
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Thanks. Thinking about it, my first five concerts were:
The Guess Who- if you accept that they were a pre game treat before a baseball game
Johnny Van Zant Band
A Festival in North Carolina whose name I can’t remember. Nantucket were the headliners.
Monsters of Rock Festival, 1983
Black Sabbath with Quiet Riot.
What year was that Guess Who pre-game concert? Was it still all the original members at that time? What an underrated band.
Monsters Of Rock must have been an amazing time for your 4th concert. Very impressive list.
It was 1974 and it was the Phillies vs Giants.
I don’t know a lot about their history but I have to imagine most or all of the original lineup was still intact at that time. Do you remember much about the show?
Not that much, I was only 12), except they did bring on Anson Williams from Happy Days fame to do a song with them.
When Anson Williams joins you on stage, that’s pretty much the ultimate seal of approval…right? Hehe.
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Yep, hee hee hee
What a corking comeback post. Loads of great anecdotes and I’m very envious of you in quite a few of these cases. Have to say, The Police supported by Black Uhuru takes the biscuit though…
Thanks, Matt. I’m so glad I was able to see The Police on that tour. I didn’t appreciate Black Uhuru as much as I would have a few years later. I felt bad for them because they tossed copies of their album into the audience and people threw them back on stage. A white rock & roll audience wasn’t ready for a real reggae band at that time.
So, can I assume that your “takes the biscuit” comment is an “O My God” reference?
Ah, well spotted sir! I will take credit for that though must admit it didn’t cross my mind… I forgot that funny lyric. Very English. I wonder if Black Uhuru had Sly and Robbie with them when you saw them live.
It looks like Sly & Robbie were the rhythm section on the Black Uhuru album released at the time of that tour. That doesn’t mean they were part of the touring band but it’s a possibility. I wish I could have appreciated seeing them at the time but I didn’t become a fan until a decade later.
Welcome back Rich! Great post to return with too…
Those are just amazing shows to have attended full stop, never mind then being your first gigs. I never got to see Cheap Trick or Rush until much later on in their careers.
My first was Slayer and then KISS but after that my chronology is a bit rusty! It was probably Skyclad, Megadeth and Maiden after those. Not totally sure on which order I saw them in though! I never keep tabs or tickets!
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Thanks, Scott. Even though you didn’t see Cheap Trick or Rush until years later, they’ve always delivered the goods so I’m sure those were great shows. When was the Kiss show that you saw? As I mentioned in this post, I didn’t see them until 1996. I’m so glad that was basically a re-staging of the Alive II show that I wanted to see two decades earlier. Didn’t get into Slayer until about 10 years ago but I’m guessing their shows were always pretty intense.
Wow, you didn’t save your ticket stubs. What kind of obsessive music collector are you? Haha.
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Yep the wait to see Trick and Rush was definitely worth it! The KISS show was the Revenge tour but I did see them twice in the reunion tour: at Donington and in Manchester. I saw Slayer on the Seasons in the Abyss tour. It was a great show but I’ve never been a huge fan to be honest so it was a bit of an odd one to start out with!
Yeah the tickets thing… I was never fussed! But I do wish now that I’d kept a better track of what I’ve seen and that would have been an easy way of doing it! Ah well.
I’m guessing Kiss was really good on the Revenge tour, even if it didn’t have the same impact as the reunion shows. What made you go to a Slayer show if you weren’t much of a fan?
Kiss were phenomenal on the Revenge tour. The reunion tour was half and half. They were tired and dull at Donington but really good at Manchester.
I did like Slayer but just not a big fan. It was just time to start going to gigs I suppose! It was a big “must-see” show at the time and all my friends were going so I tagged along. It was a bit scary as first gigs go…
I’m glad you didn’t become a devil worshipper after seeing Slayer at such a young age. I’m sure the band would be disappointed to hear that, though. Haha.
True, but they did turn me into a flesh-wearing serial killer so they shouldn’t feel too bad.
Good to know. You’ve obviously spent numerous seasons in the abyss.
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Great post, Rich – a smashing topic to mark your return! Some great bands there, though I’m surprised and disappointed to learn that The Cars were awfy boring. I think my first 5 gigs were:
Manic Street Preachers
Maybe not in that order …
Interesting first five shows there, J. You’re clearly younger than me (how dare you!) but I know most of those were big artists for a lot of people. I’ve been curious about the Manics for a while but haven’t checked them out. I always read articles about them in the UK music magazines & I have a feeling I would like them. I felt the same way about Mark Lanegan and finally picked up the 2-CD compilation that was released a year or two ago. Great stuff. I will definitely be getting more of his albums.
Of those first five shows, was there a clear favorite?
The Manics are worth checking out. I’m not their biggest fan, but I liked a few albums. Though I didn’t really go beyond Everything Must Go.
My favourite of those shows was Lanegan. That was incredible. Scraps at Midnight hadn’t long been released and I loved that album right from the first note! I decided I was going to whether that be on my own or with friends. I bought my ticket as soon as I learned he was playing. The others were very much “hey, let’s go see ….”.
Do you know if there’s a good Manics compilation that would work as a primer for their discography? As for Lanegan, I only have the aforementioned 2-CD compilation. Are there any particular albums you would recommend for me to listen to next?
Forever Delayed is a good compilation – a CD and DVD set. As for Lanegan, the discography is rich! Any of the Sub Pop albums are wortg your time (particularly Scraps at Midnight and Field Songs), and then Bubblegum and Blues Funeral for a bit more of an edge!
Thanks for the recommendations. They’ve been added to the ever-growing list of albums to check out.
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I have a list just like that!
The day I don’t have a music wish-list is a day I check myself into a mental health facility.
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I’m not ashamed to admit it my first concert was REO Speedwagon with Survivor opening. Oakland Arena, Wheels Are Turning tour. They kicked a 12 year old kids arse I’ll tell you what! 😉 After that my mind is a bit hazy but my 2nd show was definitely Rush onthe Presto tour, Mr. Big opened, same venue. That may have been the best, setlist was a little weak in hindsight but at the time it mattered not. I was a high school kid who had Rush lyrics written over all his notebooks. Picked up the bass to play even half of what Geddy could play but never quite got that good. I was a music head since as far back as I can remember. Even had a little band when I was like 6 or 7. We once played the Garden…yeah the garden, aka my dads back yard! 😉 Between ’90/91 and about 2002 I probably saw about 150 concerts, of course working at a major music venue didn’t hurt a bit! 😉
Although I’ve never been an REO Speedwagon fan (Kevin Cronin’s voice was my kryptonite for a long time, although my feelings about that have mellowed over the years), that’s still an excellent first concert…especially since you saw them during their prime years. And you caught Survivor at a great time as well. I might be writing a post about one of their songs soon. Stay tuned.
That’s so cool that you saw Rush on the Presto tour. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, that was the album that reignited my love of their music. I enjoyed the post-Signals albums but wasn’t as passionate about them through most of the ’80s. That changed with Presto, and it remains my favorite from their Atlantic years.
What was the name of your band that played “The Garden”? And which major music venue did you work at…and for how long?
My group was called the Monsters. Or first single was I’d Like To be an Old Monster b/w Another Hole In The Wall (By Hulk). I had a Bee Gees drum-kit that got smashed up pretty well. Our main influnces were Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem and the Monkees.
I worked for half a year ar Shoreline Amphitheater and almost 2 years for Bill Graham Productions until they were bought out by Clear Channel.
I have to say that “Another Hole In The Wall (By Hulk)” is one of the best song titles I’ve ever heard. You should be proud.
“I have to say that “Another Hole In The Wall (By Hulk)” is one of the best song titles I’ve ever heard. You should be proud.”
Obviously reminds me of Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”, which in turn reminds me of one of the best filks I’ve encountered, on the toilet wall (where else) at Philmont Scout Ranch, around the time The Wall came out. After a couple of weeks on the trail, purifying spring water (which was probably OK to drink as it was) with iodine pills, the Scouts got back to base camp where they could pig out on Ruffles and a Pepsi (repeat until full) and read the following while relaxing afterwards:
We don’t need no purification
We don’t need no drink control
No dark spots in the drinking water
Ranger leave those pills at home
Great story, Phillip…and now I know what “filk” is. Never heard that term before. Thanks.
Tom Cochrane, Rush, Metallica, George Thorogood, Don Henley, ZZ Top, Colin James, AC/DC….
Floodgates, Rich 🙂
Danica, are you Canadian? I may have known that but subsequently forgotten. The fact that you saw Loverboy recently and your list of early concerts includes Tom Cochrane, Rush and Colin James makes me think that must be the case. Was it the Colin James big band era, or his rock/blues period?
Some of these were in Canada. I used to go on a lot of road trips — and should take that up again, come to think of it. The first time I saw Colin James was in the US…I’m trying to remember the show/set list and can’t say for sure. I like his blues/rock music the best as I’m not really taken by big band in general, although if anyone could change my mind it would be Colin James.
I have two Colin James big band albums and they’re excellent. Well worth checking out if you’re a fan of his music.
Nice post! I admit that the Ramones one sounds the most appealing to me. I love the Phil Spector-produced End of the Century a lot, and the previous albums as well.
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Thanks, Ovidiu. It’s hard to argue the appeal of The Ramones in their prime. I think I prefer the first four albums but Spector did a nice job expanding their sound on End Of The Century. I’ve heard that the relationship between the band and Spector was not a good one.
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Yeah, pretty shocking stories behind the making of that album. Spector pulling guns on them for wanting to leave the studio and making Johnny re-record the opening chord of Rock ‘n’ Roll High School a couple of dozen times. But somehow understandable – I don’t think any of the Ramones nor Phil (obviously) really is Mr. Reasonable.
Those recording sessions must have been quite a battle of wills. In the end, the guy with the gun probably won most of the arguments.
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I saw Blue Oyster Cult in 1972 when they played the student center ballroom at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. They played a great show promoting their first album. The opening act was an excellent local band who played some rock and soul music and then closed their set with an amazing like-the-record performance of the second side of The Beatles’ Abbey Road.
Saw Jethro Tull in concert two times–1975 & 1976. Same show, different venues. This is one of the shows I’ve seen in concert–very tight professional band with an entertaining performance.
Nice blog you have here. I found it when I was looking for information about Alice Cooper.
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out
Hi Arlee. Thanks for stopping by. Your early concert history sounds great. It’s interesting that we had a couple of bands in common, but the eras were very different (even though they were less than a decade apart). Do you know if that local band that performed the second side of Abbey Road (or any of its members) ever made it beyond Knoxville?
Your blog looks great. I hope anyone checking out this Comments section clicks through to check it out. The A To Z Challenge sounds interesting but I don’t have the time to devote to it. I’ll stop by throughout April to check out what you & the other participants come up with.
Unfortunately I can’t recall who the band was or what happened to them. So I don’t know if they ever recorded or what, but I do recall that Beatles set was phenomenal and apparently it was something that they were know for performing live.
If you find that you can allocate time for A to Z we’d love to have you. There have been some wonderful music series in the 7 years we’ve been doing the Challenge and I’ve made some great blogging friends. And if you can’t participate with your own blog we hope you’ll stop by to visit those who are doing the Challenge.
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out
I will definitely stop by throughout the challenge, Arlee. My blogging time is limited these days so I know I won’t be able to participate. Sorry.
Late to the game as usual, but still want to play. Your post was a real joy for me as my first concerts were in 1980-81 as well, and saw some overlap with yours. Looks like I was two years older than you were when you started though, a fact I lament to this day thinking about the bands I might have been able to see in 78-79 had I begun my live music journey at 13/14 as you did… Anyway, here are my first five concerts, all of which were in or around Salt Lake City:
– Robin Trower (album: Victims of the Fury)
– The Who (Kenney Jones on drums) (album: Who Are You)
– Blue Öyster Cult (album: Cultösaurus Erectus) ((Note: This was to have been a “Black and Blue” show with the newly Dio-fronted Sabbath, but Bill Ward had some drug relapse that caused Sabbath to cancel the Salt Lake and Denver shows, much to my chagrin, and led to Ward’s replacement by Vinny Appice for the rest of the Heaven and Helltour dates and the next album.))
– Cheap Trick (album: All Shook Up); with Molly Hatchet (album: Beatin’ the Odds), Sammy Hagar (album: Danger Zone), and Krokus (album: Hardware(?))
– Blackfoot (album: Marauder); with Def Leppard (album: High n’ Dry)
That was a kick-ass start to your concert-going years. I didn’t realize The Who were still touring behind Who Are You in 1980. I remember hearing radio ads for those Black And Blue shows in ’80 but I wasn’t yet a Sabbath or BÖC fan. In hindsight that would have been an amazing show, with both bands at the peak of their powers. Are you saying that Molly Hatchet, Sammy Hagar AND Krokus opened for Cheap Trick? Where was that show? I know you said it was in/around SLC, but with that lineup I have to imagine it was a special show, perhaps at a stadium. I’m glad I saw Cheap Trick when I did, but I loved All Shook Up and I’m guessing that was an excellent tour.
Yeah man, I imagine they would have said then that Molly Hatchet and Cheap Trick were co-headliners, but Cheap Trick went on last and they were indeed fantastic despite Tom Petersson having abandoned the band about the time All Shook Up was released. It was a day-long affair at the Bonneville Raceway, west of SLC out near the salt flats where they set the world land-speed records.
Re The Who, I’ve read they did two full tours following the release of Who Are You before they could finally get themselves settled to do their first post-Keith album. Mine was the second of those and I swear I remember it being billed as something of a “farewell tour.” I didn’t realize it at the time but the internet informs me that Pete Townshend had put out his excellent solo album Empty Glass just one day before the concert I attended. (No songs from that album played that I can recall however.)
I had forgotten that Petersson left Cheap Trick around that time. For some reason I thought he stayed on for one more album. That was the era when I lost interest in them, which was reinvigorated in the mid-’90s. Was he not the bassist for the All Shook Up tour?
I find it amusing that the Who show you saw was part of a “farewell tour,” which was the same for the ’82 tour which I saw at Shea Stadium. It’s ironic to think that they were “only” around for less than two decades at that time, and here we are in 2016 with The Who (or what’s left of them) continue to tour.
I’m a huge fan of Pete’s Empty Glass but didn’t realize he did any shows (solo or with The Who) at the time it was released. Thanks for the info.
Unfortunately, Petersson left just as All Shook Up was released and so the band hired a guy named Pete Comita to play bass for the tour I saw.
I knew about Pete Comita but didn’t recall when he played with them. Thanks for clarifying.
Olivia Newton-John – Physical tour – Tom Scott was both bandleader and opening act – Fall 1982?
Hall and Oates – H2O Tour with Marshall Crenshaw – Summer 1983 – AMAZING
Night Ranger with “Weird Al” Yankovic – August 1983 – Illinois State Fair – Al blew Night Ranger off the stage
Heart – Passionworks tour – June 8, 1984 – Six Flags over St. Louis – again in 1985/6 with Autograph for Heart- Heart was great the first show, somewhat less the second time
Van Hagar – May 18 1986 – 5150 tour with BTO – A lot of energy, a lot of fun.
What a cool (not in the traditional sense but more for us open-minded music folks) first five shows. I had no idea the awesome Tom Scott was musical director for ONJ and even opened for her. What a weird pairing, on paper at least. Of all of them, I would love to time travel back to that H&O/Crenshaw show. Two favorites at particularly great times in their careers.
Marshall Crenshaw had PA problems but Hall & Oates were amazing. GE Smith, Tom Wolk, Mickey Curry and H&O were professional in the best sense of the word: they knew what the audience wanted and they totally delivered.
I love that era of the H&O band. I think there was a live video (possibly on HBO) at the time which I watched multiple times. Hall’s voice was at its absolute peak.
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Hey Rich, found this post via your latest, felt the need to chime in 2½ years later. I’m glad I’m not the only person who thought The Cars were capital B Boring on that tour. They just had no personality at all.
I also saw Cheap Trick on the Dream Police tour, at The Summit in Houston. Next to Ozzy, they were the loudest show I’ve seen. And I also saw The Who on the same tour as you, about two months earlier, in the Astrodome, which was just a waste with terrible sound. The Rolling Stones weren’t much better a year earlier for the same reason. For some reason I remember how crazy expensive the Stones tickets were — $20!
My first show was probably in 1978, Judas Priest. I was 13, I wanted to see a concert, any concert, and I knew my older brother liked the Priest. God it was awful! I was so scared, all the weird people, the smoke, the noise, Rob Halford came out on stage on a Harley, I wanted to cry and go home. A good story to laugh about now, but not my cup of tea, not then, not ever.
Thanks for the memories, keep up the great work.
Hi David. Nice to finally meet someone who saw some of the same bands on the same tours. Glad you agree about The Cars. I love them but live shows were not their strength. Still glad I got to see them, though. Sorry your Who show had terrible sound. They were surprisingly great at Shea Stadium (which was not the case with The Police the following year, but that may have been because my seats for the latter show were about a mile from the stage). I had tried to get Stones tickets on the ’81 tour, which was one of the first times they did one of those ticket lotteries, where you register to be eligible to buy tickets (in an attempt to stop scalping)…but I came up empty. Didn’t see them until the Steel Wheels tour in ’89 (or was the ’90?). I love your Judas Priest story. Most people would probably lie and say it was awesome. I appreciate your honesty.
Thanks again for the feedback. Hope you’re doing well.
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