Friday, August 03, 2007


Concerts I have attended: part 1

I was sitting in a doctor’s office the other week, waiting for my appointment and listening to the music being pumped in. Mostly stuff from the Seventies & Eighties which was pretty much when my musical taste stopped expanding. I’m not saying that there wasn’t anything in the past twenty years I didn’t enjoy, but I think your choice of listening is formed by the time you hit your thirties.

Anyway, while sitting there I started thinking about all the concerts I’ve attended and some of the performers I’ve had a chance to catch live. I started writing down the list which triggered a lot of memories. Don’t expect any great insights, just some random comments amidst the names.

I saw Jefferson Airplane twice: once with Betsy at an outdoor concert & once with Elayne at Radio City Music Hall. That first concert also featured Hot Tuna (w/ “Papa” John Creach) and Commander Cody (George Frayne) & His Lost Planet Airmen.

Betsy and I saw Bette Midler at the old Hartford Civic Center on her “Divine Miss M” tour, with Barry Manilow as her pianist & arranger. While Midler took a break Manilow sang several songs from his first album, plus some of his commercial jingles, which were fun. Who knew that in a few years he'd be making more than Midler on tour and packing in the halls?

Sadly when I went to see Joe Cocker, he was totally wasted, came on late and forget some of his own lyrics. People who set through the two opening acts actually started leaving during his set. I saw him in some hall in Virginia while stationed down there. About a month later he actually collapsed on stage during a performance and I believe ended up in rehab.

Redbone, best known for “Maggie” and “Witch Queen of New Orleans”, opened for Cocker the night I saw him. I think more folks will have good memories of them then the headliner.

Eric Clapton, during his “Derek and the Dominos” tour promoting his “Layla and other assorted love songs” album. Incredible concert! There were four of us who went to a Blood Bank to donate so we'd have enough money to buy tickets for the show that night.

Saw his ex-Cream partner, Jack Bruce years later with surprise guest Phoebe Snow. They opened for the Moody Blues at Madison Square Garden. Snow was good, but I'll always remember her almost getting in a fight with our friend Dorian at a 'wrap party' following a performance by the Firesign Theatre.

Moody Blues, one of my all time favorite bands. I had tried to see them a few years before at an outside concert, but it was rained out after Elayne and I stood around for hours.

Yes, who I was lucky to see twice in the early to mid-70s. The first time with Rick Wakeman on keyboards was in Virginia and then several years later with Patrick Moraz replacing Wakeman. The second time was at a outdoor stadium with my friend Larry Driscoll while we were stationed on the U.S.S. Waddell in San Diego. One of the highlights of that was watching a guy fall from the upper deck above us onto the bleechers. Nasty!

Emerson, Lake & Palmer who were promoting “Pictures at an Exhibition” were absolutely incredible, both musically and in the show they put on. I really don't recall who opened for them, but seem to remember that it was a band that did go on to have several hits and fans of their own.

Chicago, I caught twice in concert, first back in the early ‘70s with Rick Neese a shipmate from the U.S.S. Shreveport and later in Atlantic City (which I talked about in an earlier post last year). When they started they and Blood, Sweat & Tears (who I never saw) were two of my favorite bands.

The Beach Boys, one of the most fun concerts I’ve attended in the past ten years, even if it was at Trump’s Marina in AC. Donna and I attended with Pete and his late wife, Bella.

At a two day “folk” festival in Virginia I saw:

Linda Ronstadt (post Stone Poney’s) looking terribly cute, barefoot with cut-off jeans and a halter-top. Richie Havens and “Country” Joe McDonald, both performed solo sets on acoustic guitars. McKendree Spring, who I hadn’t heard of up to that point but whose set made me run out to pick up their album. There were many other artists some of whom I should remember but sadly can’t at the moment.

I caught Dave Van Ronk, a great folk singer who sadly died a few years ago. He headlined a small folk concert with mostly local artists back in Virginia, and I can’t recall any of the other artists.

One of these days I’ll get around to finishing this.
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