While recently writing about shows I’ve been playing, it occurred to me that people might find it interesting to know some of the shows I’ve seen in my life. I’m from the old days when there was so much incredible good music out there, and the radio was actually worth listening to.
I encourage other bloggers to make a similar list of great shows they have seen. OK, not really in any particular order but starting with the first show I did see, here is my list:
- Paul Revere and The Raiders, 1966. Opening act: Tommy Roe. I still remember how Tommy Roe struck a single “A” chord on his red Stratocaster, and the crowd went wild. That’s probably when I decided to learn how to play guitar.
- Black Sabbath, with Ossie Osborne, 1971. Opening act: Wild Turkey (with bassist Glen Cornick from Jethro Tull). There were pieces of Laney amp gear thrown all over the place. It looked like a truck wreck, with spare heads laying on their sides, upside down, etc., and speaker cabinets done the same. Weird.
- Led Zepplin, 1973, Tampa Stadium, and at that time, the largest show they had ever played, with more than 50,000 in attendance. No opening act – just 3 solid hours of the Zep. That was back in The Day…. I hitchhiked from St. Petersburg over to Tampa, with 2 girls. Fun. I saw Led Zepplin once more in Greensboro, NC about three years later. John Bonham was in both shows. The later show wasn’t very good, as Robert Plant’s voice spiraled into decline.
- Edgar Winter Group, 1973, with Ronnie Montrose. Opening act: Foghat. I’ve seen Edgar 3 times and he is one of the best performers on the planet. I’ve seen Edgar with three different guitar players: Ronnie Montrose, Jimmy (the guy who was on The Midnight Special television show, and who couldn’t perform for very long due to military obligations) and Rick Derringer! Wow, that was an incredible show!
- I’ve also seen Foghat three times too. Once, believe it or not, in 1973, I saw them as the headlining act. You won’t believe who opened for them – Electric Light Orchestra, and yes Jeff Lynne was right there in front of me. Bev Bevan was on drums. Foghat’s Lonesome Dave could sing his ass off!
- In 1976 I saw The Who with Keith Moon, in Greensboro, NC. They used a laser show that to this day I still wonder about, as some of the lasers were pointing into the top row of seats in the auditorium.
- The next year, 1977, I saw Boston on their first tour. I took my friend Mr. Chen (of Stories of my Past fame) to see what was at that time, the biggest band in the US. I was with my friend Danny Blake and we hung out way past the end of the show talking. As we were leaving, I noticed singer Brad Delp walking down in the stage area. I called to him, saying that he sang a great show. Much to my surprise, Brad walked over to the wall and offered my his hand to shake. We chatted for a few minutes and he then invited me to jump down into the stage area and hang out. As I jumped down, Tom Sholtz came out of the backstage area and introduced himself. We had a very interesting conversation, lasting about an hour, with Brad actually giving me his home address so I could send him tapes of my band. A few days later I sent Brad a letter with newspaper articles about the show, but mostly featuring the backup band. I figured that everyone must send him Boston stuff, but years later no one remembers the backup bands they played with. The thing that really amazed me about Brad is that he just sang an hour and a half show, and they guy wasn’t hoarse. He wasn’t even tired, and believe me, he put everything into singing those songs. I consider Brad to be one of the best singers that ever lived. It’s such a shame that he took his own life…. Brad was one of the nicest people you could ever meet in your life. He was so humble and didn’t think so much of his abilities, even sharing lead vocals with Fran Cosmo, saying that Fran covered “the really tough high parts.” Few people on the planet could sing Boston songs because Brad was hard to copy!
I would meet Tom Sholtz again a few years later when his company began producing a new product called the Power Soak which was designed to let guitar players crank their amps up but control the sound level. Tom had brought the first batch of them to the music store where I had pre-ordered one. He remembered me right off and we got to talking about guitar amps. I told him that I used Orange amps and I thought they sounded like the jack-up Marshalls he used, but straight out of the box with no modification. I can still remember Tom giving me the “thumbs-up” sign as soon as he heard I was using Orange amps.
I’ve met lots of other rock stars, and worked with a few of them in the studio too, such as Ellis Hall and Butchie Tavaras. I have some stories to tell about Butchie later, but those guys were very cool, down-to-earth people and extremely talented. The ones I missed meeting were even harder to take though. No less than 3 times I’ve shown up at studios and clubs there the seats were still warm from where Freddie Mercury and Brian May were sitting. I was late to one place and missed them by mere minutes. Crap.
Maybe I’ll go one some more about the old days, but for now, this is my list of cool shows I’ve seen. I’d love to see your list!