Friday, May 02, 2014

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: Special Like a Virgin Edition

[I first posted this one back in 2007 -- which in and of itself fucking amazes me -- but I'm re-posting because we probably have some readers who were mere toddlers at the time. In any case, please try to enjoy. Especially the Larry "wide stance" Craig joke. -- S.S.]

Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental valet Hop-Sing and I are off to some airport in Minnesota, where we will be checking out the facilities at one of the popular public restrooms. It's some kind of trendy tourist spot, apparently -- can't imagine why. In any case, posting by moi will necessarily be sporadic until our return.

Meantime, here's a fun project for you all:


Be it horribly uncool, be it sublime, be it whatever -- as long it's the first one you ever personally experienced.

Okay, mine would be -- and no "he's so old that" jokes, please --

The Beach Boys.

Asbury Park Convention Center, June or July 1965.
(If there's a Beach Boys scholar out there, I'd love to know the exact date)

An amazing day. My friend Ritchie Brenner and I drove from Teaneck to Asbury Park with the top down on his MG convertible on a glorious summer afternoon with history's best ever Top 40 blasting from the AM radio. When we got to the Boardwalk, we made it over to the Convention Center to see where the show was going to be, and suddenly up on the roof there were the Beach Boys themselves, turning the letters over on their name on the marquee. The fan in me went absolutely mental, especially at seeing Carl Wilson, who was 17 like me, and thus my favorite guy in the band.

As for the show itself, it was pretty amazing. I didn't know it at the time, but the guy subbing for Brian Wilson was Glenn Campbell...

...and they played a great hour or so set pretty much like the one on the "Beach Boys Concert" album, but with more hits. They were really loud, but the vocals were crystal clear, and Carl and Dennis played brilliantly.The big surprise was a song we hadn't heard before -- the premier of "California Girls," which would be released to radio as a single a week later. Blew us away (I recall Carl switched to a Rickenbacker twelve-string for it, which was the first time I had ever heard one live).

Incidentally, the girls in the audience were already going bonkers an hour before the show even started. Total raving Beatlemania style hysterics when the band hit the stage, of course. It was the only Teen Scream concert I ever actually attended, and it was a weird marvel to behold.

On the ride back, I think I felt high for the first time in my life. Unforgettable.

Okay -- enough of my yakking. What's your story?


Dave said...

July 10, 1965.

cthulhu said...

The Eagles, on the Hotel California tour; Jimmy Buffett opening up and the mix was ear-shatteringly shrill (in retrospect, he probably suffered the fate of so many opening acts and didn't get a soundcheck). By the time the Eagles hit the stage, the reefer smoke in the arena was so thick you couldn't see across to the other side; us squares were getting a secondhand smoke high. Show was really good though; Joe Walsh was fantastic. And I didn't know just how big a dick Don Henley was yet (I was 16) so I enjoyed his singing and drumming.

I've experienced many much better shows since, and can't be called an Eagles fan by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a pretty good first concert.

Dave said...

I had to go to the Internet to find the date, too. My first concert was at a Dick Clark Caravan of Stars.
8/30/1959 Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA

Talent: Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Anita Bryant, Dody Stevens, Skip & Flip, Strangers, Duane Eddy, Freddie Cannon, Jan and Dean, Bobby Rydell, Jack Scott, Ray Sharpe, Jerry Wallace, the Young Lions

Clark's Caravan sold out the Bowl with over 5,000 being turned away. Variety reported that police set up loudspeakers six blocks away to tell people the show was sold out. It set an all-time attendance record.
Three memories stand out:
3. Ray Sharpe duck-walking across the stage while performing "Linda Lu" --

2. Bobby Rydell's hair.

1. At the time, I was crazy about "Baby Talk," Jan & Dean's first hit. They walked onto the stage, where there was a portable record player on the stage. Jan proceeded to lift the tonearm, put it on the 45, and lip-sync their #1 hit (in Los Angeles). And as I recollect, I didn't mind.

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

My brother took me to a concert at Madison Square Garden in either 1971 or 1972. 'twas a Rock 'n Roll review, and the bill included the Temptations, the Four Tops, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and a few others. All were great. The Temps were, in a word, awesome. Awesome. Did I mention they were awesome?


steve simels said...


I must confess to never having heard of either Ray Sharpe or "Linda Lu."

Jeebus, what a great record.

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

Like Steve, I had never heard Linda Lu. Double Jeebus: great record. Annnnnnnd....according to the Wiki-tubes, that's the great Duane Eddy on guitar. who knew.


wayne fraizer said...

Saw Iron Butterfly summer 69 at the Buffalo Aud. also on the bill were Blues Image who blew the Butterfly right off the stage

Anonymous said...

Ten Years After, the "Watt" tour. 5 songs spread out over an hour. Leo Lyons was one of those bassists who nod their head double-time to the beat. Amazing that he didn't snap something.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Jethro Tull, "A Passion Play", 1973, with Steeleye Span opening.

Blue Ash Fan said...

Montrose, touring on their third album, their first without Sammy the Scream, in my high school gymnasium. My best friend and I were leaning on the stage and, yeah, we loved it.

But, I could've been at another concert that night. My girlfriend won tickets on the radio to see Bruce on the "Born To Run" tour fifty miles away. Neither she nor I was old enough to drive and we couldn't talk any of our siblings into taking us. So, I missed out on having "Born To Run"-era Bruce be my first concert. I try not to think about that too much.

Shriner said...

Very simple. Never to be forgotten.

KISS. January 1977. Cobo Hall.

Went with my parents (!). Upper bowl. I was 12.

When Paul Stanley said (probably 2/3 of the way through the concert) something to the affect of "everybody move on down", my parents had to physically restrain me from what would have been an extremely misguided (and probably dangerous) attempt to rush the stage with thousands of others. I was beyond swept up by the spectacle.

Great, great concert to start off my love of live music. There have only been a few other concerts that have ever blew my mind since then.

(I'm sure somebody probably opened for them, but I don't remember who. Would it have mattered?)

Gummo said...

It was either 1972 or '73 - Buzzy Linhart at Valley Stream Central High School. He had two great songs: "Friends," which was made famous by Bette Midler, and "The Love Still Grows," a very stoned song indeed.

My first concert NOT in my high school gym was a triple-bill at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester co-headlined by Edgar Winter's White Trash and the James Gang. Winter was fantastic (this was the original White Trash with Rick Derringer), the James Gang were pretty boring and the opening act is lost to the mists of time.

Gummo said...

Buzzy, The Love's Still Growin'

edward said...

Blue Ash, I feel your pain. When I was 12 I won tickets to see The Doors at (I think) the Honolulu Bowl. Too young to drive to the radio station to pick them up, too young to go to drive to the concert.
First real rock and roll concert was Frank Zappa and the Mothers 1974 Overnight Sensation tour, with Dion as the opening act. DAR Constitution Hall. Most memorable thing about the show was Dion getting boooed and telling the audience "Hey, I was INVITED here."
My next concert was also at DAR--Bruce Springsteen with Orleans as the opening act. That was a life changer.

Gummo said...


Saw Orleans in my college gym right when their first album came out. I musta stood about 10 feet away from future Congressman John Hall.

The opening act was a couple of guys just starting to get noticed. Their names were Hall and Oates.

Bob said...

Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs AND Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels at Belpre Skateland in Belpre, Ohio. My parents dropped me and my sister off out front...and I've never been the same since.

Rockett Davey said...

This is BAD!
My HighSchool Girlfriend bought a whole row to see...
That's Big in Kansas City Mo 1978?
Fuck, I hated this band. REO
I Loved this woman (became my first wife)
Of course II have to go. Right?
I still To This Day HATE REO Speedwagon
Something called NO DICE Opened
Memories, Ah
p.s. I'd do it again, In a heatbeat

Billy B said...

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1972 at the college in my hometown. It was my 1st date with my old HS girlfriend.

The first "real" concert I went to was Elton John in 1972 on the "Don't Shoot Me..." tour.

Gummo - I love EWG's live album "Roadwork" which was probably recorded from the same tour you saw the band.

steves said...

I'm glad you specified "rock" concert because my first concert is a blur to me. I have a vague recollection of seeing Pete Seeger play in a school auditorium when I was very young (my Mom took me). I was never certain if that actually happened or not. Next, I saw Tom Paxton play at a park in Manhasset when I was about 10 or so. But my first rock concert was indisputably Loggins & Messina, the Doobie Brothers, & Steely Dan in 1974 at Nassau Coliseum. IIRC, the Dan even had Elliot Randall playing on "Reeling in the Years." Probably paid all of $7 per ticket, too.

Anonymous said...

the doors, november 1967, eagles auditorium, seattle; magic fern opened, i believe. i was 11 years old, and it still kinda boggles my mind that my mother let me take a bus down to see the show. my air force father was stationed in thailand, otherwise he'd certainly have put the kibosh on it. that jim morrison was DRUNK was readily apparent even to me, and, being all star struck and shit, i made my way backstage afterwards and spoke with john densmore and ray manzarek, who were both friendly and not at all patronising.

Mr. Minimac said...

We had a gorgeous progressive church in our town that decided that their youth group could make a little spare money by staging concerts in the church. Their first stab at it was on Oct. 13, 1968 with bunch of Brits by the name of Procol Harum. My mind remains blown.

racymind said...

1978. Triple bill. Opening act an unheard of Judas Priest. Middle act, a declining BTO. Headlined by Foghat. A 1970 Camaro with an 8 track tape was involved. At this backward place in time, the big concerts played in Fort Worth because Dallas didn't have a decent big indoor concert venue... no problem driving 35 miles for a concert, right? The place was a cloud of pot smoke, frisbees flying, too many black tshirts. Hey, it was a first concert.

Alzo said...

1973. Aragon Ballroom, Chicago. Mott the Hoople- in my pantheon to this day. Opening were the New York Dolls; I didn't appreciate them until much, much later.

John F said...

Many virgin experiences to be jealous of in this list…
Mine, not awful, but not one of any great note.
Doobie Brothers, Farewell Tour, 1982, Six Flags Over Georgia; Junior year in HS. Loved these guys at the time, was so excited to convince my folks that seeing a rock band at a theme park was probably the 'safest' place possible...

Remonster said...

I won two tickets from San Francisco's reigning AM station KFRC when I was thirteen to see The Rolling Stones at the Cow Palace in 1975. Opening act was The Meters whom were repeatedly booed at in an attempt to get the Stones out. My older brother had just been discharged from the Army after being OD'ing on heroin and barely surviving in W. Germany. He was in a bad state coming home, but when I won the tickets it cheered him the hell up. On our drive there I got drunk on a disgustingly sweet bottle of wine by the reknown ventnor Strawberry Hills Farm and felt like a real teenager. The crowd was ugly and a tad surely, but the naked boobs were real and my mind was blown from there on out. Hence my posting this story on a Saturday night by myself except for the company of my cat who does not particularly like me.

Mark said...

Fever Tree at Cafe Au Go Go, somewhere in November 1968.

In 1968, not all Village clubs had liquor licenses, and consequently, on slow nights, spotters posted outside the Cafe Au Go Go and the Bitter End would stop people with a line like "Three dollars. See Fever Tree for three dollars!" The fact that my friends and I looked no older than 17 didn't stop spotters from eyeing us a fresh meat.

My friends and I had been looking for a spot like this to see what goes on inside such a place. At the time, these venues weren't rock clubs; they were merely clubs. For the past few weekends we had been hanging out on weekend nights in the Village to soak up the atmosphere and search for a live music place. At the time, The Scene was THE place, but The Scene -- in the West 40s -- had a liquor license and 17 year-olds like me couldn't get in, even though the drinking age in NYS at the time was 19. Max's was not yet on my radar.

So we took the plunge, paid the three dollars, and walked inside. The place was half-empty and the few patrons there were waiting for Fever Tree to go. There was no background music, and the place kind of smelled. Not as bad as CBGB's; just kind of dusty.

That's when we learned the deal. The deal at Cafe Au Go Go (and the Bitter End at the time) was that there was a cover charge. Since there was no liquor license, you were offered a variety of ice cream sundae-type concoctions, ranging in price from $3 to $5, all overpriced, and all partially melted by the time they reached your table, which was a wooden picnic table, if I recall correctly.

So there I sat, sneaking glances at the other considerably older patrons, trying with my friends to recall the name of the second single Fever Tree released, until Fever Tree came on. At The Cafe Au Go Go, you couldn't actually say that bands "hit the stage," because the stage and the venue were tiny, even though I see description of the place online as holding 300 people. In my memory, maybe 120, tops.

So Fever Tree played songs from what at the time was their first album, and we waited until they did San Francisco Girl, a minor hit during the summer of 1968, and then, the whole thing was over. By "over," I mean that we were ushered out to clear the Cafe for the next show.

The next time, also in 1968, we got into The Bitter End to see McKendree Spring, where each patron got a promotional Spring 45 (which I still possess), and I grabbed a Bitter End menu, which I too still have today.

The third show I saw was at either The Bitter End or Cafe Au Go Go on Christmas Day in 1968 to see Tim Hardin. This was memorable to me because my friends and I were fans of Hardin, and we would often spot Hardin drinking at a Village bar called The Dugout. On this Christmas night in particular -- and I've got my ticket stub somewhere -- there were no more than 20 patrons, and Hardin invited all of us to sit on stage with him as he performed.

Not knowing any better, I thought that this was m-a-y-b-e unusual, but not particularly special.

What the hell did I know?

Dennis said...

Not counting the numerous Barbershop Quartet shows my dad took me to, the first real concert was the The Eagles at Lock Haven State College in the Fall of 1972. Their first album was just out, and they opened with "Take it Easy." It was great show, and I distinctly remember how cool Bernie Leadon was on stage. It was all downhill for them for the most part after that. I like to think I saw them at their peak....

steve simels said...

Fever Tree. At the Au Go Go.

Wow -- and I mean that sincerely.

Brooklyn Girl said...

My parents took me to see Harry Belafonte when I was really little.

But the first show I went to without adult accompaniment was the Beatles, Shea Stadium, 1965. This was back in the day when you put your check in the mail and hoped for the best. Tix were $7.50.

Saw them there again in 1966.

Also went to a Murray the K extravaganza in 1967 at which The Who and Cream made their US debuts.

FD13NYC said...

My very first concert as a very young pup was The 4 Seasons at Freedomland in 1962. Saw Bobby Darin there around the same time, give or take a half a year or so. Yes, waaaay back. Also met The Lennon Sisters there in the petting zoo. Now of course it's Co-op City.

John said...

Mpls.'67? I can't remember the venue. It was large, tho. Shadows of Night, Jefferson Airpliane, Buffalo Springfield. I do remember they had go go girls above the stage. My Mom drove us up and sat in the lobby of the Leamington till the show was over. That was the night Bruce from BS got busted, I believe.

Anonymous said...

Ok Steve, you already know this….. mine was the Myddle Class at Summit High School, December 1965. Their hit was Free as the Wind written by Goffin-King.
Third on the bill was the Velvet Underground in their first ever public performance. They drove the crowd out of auditorium.
Yes, we are had at work making the short doc of this
Tony J

danny1959 said...

Cheap Trick opening for Uriah Heep in 1978. It was before Budokan. I ran out and bought Heaven Tonight the next day, I think. The friend who came with me disappeared, and I later found him blowing a shotgun at a pregnant girl in the crowd. Unbelievably, I found a listing for the concert at a website called Setlist, so I even know it took place on June 4th!

pete said...

My parents took me to see Mahalia Jackson when I was maybe ten, at the Academy High School football field in downtown Erie, PA. They tell me I wept, and we were the only white people there. My first real rock concert was in a roller rink in Cleveland, 1969, the trio version of the Youngbloods. Opening for them was a local horn band that did a lot of Blood, Sweat and Tears and kept telling us about their regular gig at the Psychedelic Lounge in Geneva-on-the-Lake. After their set their Dual Showman amps and double-kick drum set were cleared away for those tiny Macintosh amps the Youngbloods used - the volume was halved, the musicianship doubled.

That summer in Cleveland I also saw the Mothers and, the night men first walked on the moon, Led Zeppelin. But the first time I really had my "mind blown" at a concert was that December in London - Delaney and Bonnie with Eric Clapton and the Dominoes band at the Albert Hall, sitting a few rows away from George Harrison.

Phil Cheese said...

My first concert was Paul McCartney & Wings at the St. Paul Civic Center (Minnesota) in June 4, 1976 was I was 16, and Paul was 33. 450 concerts later, I can still say it ranks as #1.

Anonymous said...

First Rock Concert:

Dick Dale, along with a big cast of other surf groups, including the Chantays and Tornados. At the same show were Dick and Dee Dee, April & Nino, Jan & Dean and the Beach Boys. It was at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino circa 1963. I was 8, danced and loved it. Nothing was ever the same. When I got tired I laid on the floor and stared up at the silver garlands and how wonderfully they were draped from the ceiling.

First concert:

Maria Callas Shrine Auditorium with my parents. She rocked and made a huge impression on me. I was three and a half but will never forget. I knew to shut up and listen.

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Holy crap, Mr. Minimac! Are you saying Procol Harum played the Fountain Avenue Church in GR??!!! I never knew that!! I was living with a guy out that way circa 1974. I remember driving past the church. Is it still there?

When you referred to a church you didn't specify. Am I correct in my assuming it was the Fountain Avenue Church?

I used to hang out at the White Rabbit and the East Town Saloon on Wealthy Drive. A friend told me they tore those places down. Do you remember a local band out there circa mid-1970's named Blue Sky?


Vickie Rock