Concert MemoriesFEBRUARY 9, 2008
- Bobbye Larson
- (Courtesy Bobbye Larson)
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More From Millie Jefferson
More From Jim Gates
In the 70s, when I lived in Austin, Texas, some friends and I drove to San Antonio to see Frank Zappa. San Antonio is a confusing city, and we got very lost trying to find the auditorium (it didn't help that we were very stoned.) We saw a skinny little guy with wild hair walking down the street with a guitar, and we stopped and asked him for directions. "Give me a ride and I'll show you there," he said, so he hopped in and directed us to the auditorium. He got out, said "thanks" and went in. It wasn't until he came out on stage that we realized we had given Frank Zappa a ride to his own concert!
Back in 1984 or 85, I went to the Hollywood Palladium to see a Ramones show.
When I arrived, LA police cars, like covered wagons, surrounded the entire Palladium, with lights a-flashing.
I asked the officers what was wrong, because I thought there had been a riot. Instead they just said, "move along." This was a pre-emptive deployment. So I knew this was gonna be a good show.
My hair was down to the middle of my back, and I was wearing a purple t-shirt; not typical of the Ramones' fans with their short, straight black punked-out rocker hair and their leather jackets.
As the Ramones crashed into the first stroke of their first number, I suddenly found myself simultaneously plunged toward the stage and pushed to the top of the crowd by a tidal wave of energy. Someone grabbed my t-shirt and ripped it off of me. I never saw it again. I tried to get down from the crowd surf, but instead I was steadily being pushed toward the stage and got right to the edge. There, I could see a burly bouncer with large jagged demonic rings on each finger. Unicorns, devil's horns; I don't know what they were, but if the guy hit me, I was gonna be hurtin'. He glared at me with a menacing "No" in his eyes as his head rocked left to right.
I bailed-out by diving head first down to the floor, then squiggled my way through the crowd to get back to somewhere where they were not crushing the air out of me. At that point I felt something under my feet. I reached down and pulled up a 5 foot 3 punker chick who was being trampled. She screamed "Fuck You" into my face and turned back toward the stage to enjoy the show.
It was awesome. Now that's rock and roll.
I've only ever been to three. The most memorable was the first, but not for the reasons one might think. The story actually starts one month previous to the concert.
We all lived in north central Arizona, 250 miles away from the warm mecca of Phoenix. When we could afford the gas, we would migrate south to Phoenix to escape the snow and cold of our home, if only for a few days. We had friends and family in Phoenix and so, when we could, we piled into their apartment and crashed on their floors.
This sad weekend, we awoke on Saturday morning, hung over, to find our car had been stolen. As you might imagine, phone calls, police reports and "back home" transportation arrangements stole the joy of that weekend. A complete list of items lost (in addition to the car) is not necessary here either. We lost all we had brought, most importantly, our finest "city" clothes.
The following month, we had resumed our lives, replaced a few essential items and got on with life. The car had been found by police, stripped and abandoned in a desert wash. New wheels, tires, tail light lenses and engine parts had been purchased and we had our ride back. Lesson learned.
A Waylon Jennings and the Outlaws concert was on the horizon: the absolute ultimate number one best thing in a mountain cowboy's life to attend! Tickets were obtained, and we all marked the days on our calendars. Oh boy! So many things have to fall into place for an event like this to even be possible for people like us to attend. The odds are akin to winning the lottery.
Friday night around midnight again found us in Phoenix. Sober this time and car secured "in the carport," we visited, then fell into individual dreams of Waylon, Willie and the boys.
Saturday evening found us all painted, powdered, shaved and cologned, entering the doors of the Coliseum. There were literately thousands of milling people - much activity that all was just a pleasant, exciting blur. YAHOO!
Then it happened! My friend's wife Dawn tugged HARD on my shirt sleeve. "Ted," she whispered. "He has your shirt on. The shirt I made for you!" By then, this fellow, who only Dawn was seeing, had found a door to the concert seats and disappeared through it. Dawn was in pursuit and the rest of us followed her path with our eyes and feet as best we could. I was passing the scant information on to her husband and it was passed along to the rest as we traveled through the door into the arena.
Dawn had followed the man to his seat, taken a seat directly behind him and began to study the shirt. She had hand made the shirt, as a present, for me. She knew every little mistake she had made. After 15 minutes, she rose from the seat, gave a big nod of yes and worked her way back up to us. "It's your shirt all right," she said breathlessly. "The one that was in the car the night it was stolen." Now what to do? We weren't sure. He was as big as I was, the shirt fit very well. How many in his party? Would they fight? Would others be hurt in the close quarters?
Crooks seem to have an instinct for danger. While we pondered, the girl with him had whispered into his ear. We all were but a dot among other dots, no way they knew we were there. What are the odds anyway! He was on the move, working his way to another, far, exit door. One of the members of our group had done security here, so he knew to go back into the lobby and run around to the far side.
"Follow them" he told the rest. He and I left to run through the crowd. It worked. We stopped him on the far side of the lobby. I won't bore anyone with the he-said, I-said. Suffice to say, he was busted. He also had my western belt on, with MY name tooled into the leather. My shirt, my belt and no good explanation. I figured it was time for a little western justice. Before I could get a punch in, security arrived. As the whole dog and pony show wound its way down into the tombs of the security office, we could faintly hear Waylon's opening song. Another three tunnel turns, and all we heard for the remainder of the concert was a dull thumping of the bass speakers and the cheers and yips of the audience.
The interrogations and red tape lasted as long as the concert. Only half of the others ever got to hear any of it. I heard none of it. The police came; we had to go through it again and again. The man was arrested. The shirt and belt were held for evidence. We all found one another as the concert let out and went home. None of us were ever called to testify, we never heard what (if anything) was done to the culprit. We never got any of our things returned; however, three years later, I did get the belt and shirt in the mail.
No concert, no justice, no sense of satisfaction in any way. I remember my first concert like it was yesterday.
Butte la Rose, La.
I was asked to go to a concert -- Hall and Oates -- in the late 70s, by a very hot guy. We were both at the University of Minnesota and I was super excited that he asked me out on a date. He came to pick me up in a big old car and I watched him walk up to my front door, looking forward to getting to know him better and enjoying the concert. As we walked back to the car, I could see movement in the back seat, and realized there were two heads in the back. Thinking that we were double dating, I asked him, "oh, who's coming with us?" and realized that what I was seeing were two girls, as he nonchalantly introduced us to each other. I got in the front seat without a word, and he talked to us as if nothing unusual was happening. I figured it out he was taking three girls to the concert. When we got to our seats, he went off to take pictures by the stage, and the three of us sat like mummies staring at the crowd -- it was awful. Afterwards, he dropped me off first and walked me to my door. All I could think of the whole time was "this will make a great story some day!"
This was a long time ago and in Baltimore, Md. It was Elton John with the "Yellow Brick Road" tour. And he was at his most flamboyant. The show was great, and we were loving it. And he was having a great time too. Then, near the end of the show, he wanted the people closer. So he told all the security guards he didn't need 'em down front anymore and to leave and for everyone to come on down. Then he breaks into "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting," and soon hundreds of people swarmed the stage. You couldn't even see the performers. Some people even jumped on the piano! It was totally out of control. Finally, Elton stopped, told everyone to get off the stage, and ended the show (I don't remember if he played another tune or not).
Well, after the band left the stage, and the crew started to tear down the equipment, there was no security to keep anyone away. Apparently Elton pissed 'em off. So, my group of friends decided to jump on stage, and sneak in back and meet Elton and the band. I was fairly nervous about doing this, but me and another friend were the last to jump up and go back. We wandered around backstage un-bothered by anyone until we found the band room.
We knocked, Dee Murray opened the door and let us in and found the rest of our gang, but we also found a very sad and dejected Elton John and band mates. He was told (I think yelled at) by the management there at the Civic Center that he would NEVER be allowed back in Baltimore again. Shortly after, their manager came in, yelled at us for being backstage, told Elton the limo was ready and they were gone. Such a great show ended on a very weird note.
My husband, Ed, and I met at two concerts. In March of 1991, we met at a Fugazi show outside Albany, N.Y. I saw him from across the mosh pit and knew I had to slam into him. That night, between bands, we were immediately best friends, skipping the small talk and diving right into the important matters of life. But we were seniors in high school so that really meant dreams, college, parents, and ideals. We soon started going out and felt an emotional bond I never forgot. But alas, I went to a small school in North Carolina, and he went to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. We broke up Christmas break of freshman year.
Since nothing really ever went wrong in the relationship, we maintained a good friendship for a year or so then the distance played its part. He dated crazy girls in college and I compared every boyfriend I had to him.
In March of 1996, Ed was at a Front Line Assembly show in San Francisco when he turned to his friends and said, "I used to date that girl". I was hugging a friend when she told me, "Someone is calling your name." I turned around and saw Ed. The past, present and future all flashed before my eyes in an instant, and when he tugged on my dog collar at the end of the night, I knew it was meant to be.
Rebecca Woodhouse Allard
The summer of 1977, I had just turned 19 and was a student at the Great Lakes Naval Training Command near Waukegan, Ill. My roommate and I went down to Soldiers Field to one of those multi-band concerts: REO, Ted Nugent, 38 Special, Lynyrd Skynyrd.
We were on the field, about three-quarter way back from the stage. Remember, in those days, there was little security. People came in with blankets, food, plastic milk jugs of water, cameras, etc. After baking in a long, hot, sunny Chicago day, the sun finally dipped below the rim of the field and Ted Nugent came on as the final act.
Suddenly someone threw some watermelon down from the stands behind us. The guy behind us threw it back up into the stands. This started a back-n-forth of stuff being thrown -- mostly the empty plastic milk jugs. Soon, more and more people got into the act of throwing jugs. This quickly evolved into the entire stadium throwing these jugs into the air and the entire Soldiers Field transformed into a giant air-popcorn machine. I was inside a popcorn machine listening to 10,000 watts of Ted Nugent! We were laughing so hard!!
So then Ted, seeing this, says something like, "Hey all you motherf*****s, throw those motherf*****g jugs up here!" Suddenly the popcorn turned into a rolling wave heading for the stage and in no time, the band was chest deep in plastic milk jugs. They stopped the show. The band left the stage. The roadies came out with push brooms which proved futile. But after several minutes, they pushed all the jugs off stage and into the pit between the stage and audience and the show resumed.
This is the only one of these Soldier Field concerts I went to that summer (or any other concert for that matter ever) where this happened. It's such a vivid memory I can see it to this day! Thanks for asking!
When I was around nine or 10 years old, I was a huge Elvis fan. He was just starting out and appeared on local venues like Louisiana Hayride. Think Grand Ole Opry if you've never heard of L.H.
Back then anyone could wander around backstage. My friend Jackie and I followed Elvis everywhere except the bathroom. We always walked a few feet behind and couldn't look him in the eye for more than a fleeting second, he seemed so glorious to our young eyes and hearts.
One night Elvis put ONE empty soda cup on the counter instead of the trash can because he probably knew we'd want it. Men never were good at math. One cup, two fans. Jackie and I both dived for the cup, and in seconds the air was rent with screams as two formerly delicate Southern flowers proceeded to try to kill each other.
The paper cup was destroyed and we were thereafter banned from backstage. We were possibly the first two females to battle over an Elvis souvenir. It was a pyrrhic victory for me since the prize was shredded, but at least I did win bragging rights.
I've attended dozens of major and minor concerts and seen nearly every major act to come through Southern California for four decades. Seven years ago my wife Dana and I reserved tickets over the phone to a U2 concert. They were boycotting TicketMaster at that time, so we called in the second tickets went on sale. We had no idea of where the seats were located. They turned out to be on the railing alongside the main floor. The catwalk extended out from the stage, a third of the way onto the floor, and ended directly in front of us 15 feet away.
When Bono and the band strolled down the walkway, my energetic wife leaped over the railing. Security staff rushed toward her, but Bono waved them off. Alone, she danced in the spotlight with Bono, even offering him a Tootsie Roll Pop! He smiled and sang and danced with her. Our friends in the nosebleed seats watched her on the big screen. I was ecstatic, and we laughed and screamed and danced for two hours. What a concert.
That same year I (and 15,000 other concert goers) sang two verses of "Break Down" at the top of our lungs. The trifecta in that awesome concert year was the best musicians of all, Dire Straits. What a concert year!
- Music Bridge:
- Sara Smile
- Artist: Hall & Oates
- CD: Daryl Hall and John Oates (Buddha)