Miscellaneous Rumbles

What Concerts Do You Wish You Could Forget?

51

Although I'm glad I was there for these, the most disappointing shows I've seen were the two GNR shows.

1st at Starplex outdoor arena in Dallas 1991. Skid Row (were great) opened and then we sat for over two hours while Axl must have been whining about something in the back. We WERE treated to many young women baring their breasts for the cameras broadcasting on the giant monitors on the the sides of the stage. (I hear that's frowned upon now days) I was a senior in high school and GNR were my favorite band of all time. The band sounded terrible and Rose's voice was so off key it hurt your ears (Rose blamed the sound on damaged equipment from the Riot at the previous concert). He started the show threatening to leave for any reason and was just generally in a bad mood. They started so late, they only ended up playing 15 songs before they had to get off stage. Oddly enough, my wife (whom I'd meet 7 years later was also at that show somewhere). MTV even did a short news clip on it. https://vimeo.com/308887157

Next, a few buddies and I drove to Houston to see them with Soundgarden. It was OUR senior trip. We had a blast making the trip, unequalled memories. This should have been a great concert, but Soundgarden was SO LOUD and MUDDY you literally could not distinguish individual notes and sometimes couldn't even recognize the song. I'm sure they were great...just couldn't hear it. GNR late again but generally in a better mood when they hit the stage. Again, Axl was out of key (this must have been before IEs) so bad that it ruined the songs. The experience was great and I don't want to forget either show, but I think the idea of the thread is bad performances?

On another note, I saw Billy Idol shortly after his motorcycle accident. He played the show on crutches and killed it. Given this, no excuse for the other bands.

52

It's sad to hear stories like this about BB and Chuck but it's not the first time I have. They both should have retired years ago and just let the magic shine.

53

Did some wiki-ing. Der Nüge was born in Dec 1948, making him 19 when "Journey" was a hit in 1968, and 21 in 1969 for Survival of the Fittest - Live. That run may qualify as the work of a young, hungry rock & roller. For my taste, it's the only part of his career in which he did anything original (other than having a distinctive lead style).

By spring 1975, when I saw him - several months before the first TNB album, Ted Nugent, was released, kicking off The Rest of His Career - he was 26. I didn't hear youth or hunger in that part of his career, I heard the discovery and adoption of a formula, and lots of re-treading. In the iconography of rock, both before and since the mid-70s, isn't 27 some kind of upper limit for those who truly burn fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse?

54

Colorado Sun Day, Mile High Stadium, summer '76. The Beach Boys, with Fleetwood Mac opening. Mac? They sounded hung over. Since this was long before they had extra players behind the curtain, not to be paid attention to, it all sounded sorta like the record, but more like bad out-takes.

But The Beach Boys(they were all there, including Brian), plus their half dozen extra players, did the best tribute I ever hope to see...…... To Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. Sludgy, untogether, and lame. I'd seen them twice before, in the early Sixties, and they rocked harder than their records. Said way back when that Mike Love would be singing "Surfin' USA" every night for the next 50 years. He has.

55

Did some wiki-ing. Der Nüge was born in Dec 1948, making him 19 when "Journey" was a hit in 1968, and 21 in 1969 for Survival of the Fittest - Live. That run may qualify as the work of a young, hungry rock & roller. For my taste, it's the only part of his career in which he did anything original (other than having a distinctive lead style).

By spring 1975, when I saw him - several months before the first TNB album, Ted Nugent, was released, kicking off The Rest of His Career - he was 26. I didn't hear youth or hunger in that part of his career, I heard the discovery and adoption of a formula, and lots of re-treading. In the iconography of rock, both before and since the mid-70s, isn't 27 some kind of upper limit for those who truly burn fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse?

– Proteus

Kurt Cobain might have presented something of a challenge to all the undertaker's skills and powers......

56

I'd say Ted Nugent writes and sings more about "nature, hunting, freedom, independence, etc.," than he does about "getting laid," but if we're going to judge the Motor City Madman's music due to being too much "tits and ass," subject matter, then we may as well judge just about every rocker who ever lived.

I still would have loved to see the Nuge when he was young!

Addendum: My favorite era is the "Charlie Huhn" era, even over Derek St. Holmes, but both were good singers. Ted's voice, well, not so hot, but writing and playing licks was his peak.

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– indianation65

My band opened for Ted in the late '70's. He was an ass-hat then, and has not gotten better with age.

57

Wango Tango and I don't mean Ted Nugent. It was a concert consisting of a bunch of Top 40 acts put on at Dodger Stadium about 2001. The only cool thing was a non musical act and that as the Blue Man Group. Some of the acts were Jessica Simpson, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears among others were there. It was excruciating painful to sit thru that. Why as I there? Because the girl I was dating at the time wanted to go and went. To think just 10 years earlier I was at Dodger Stadium watching a great concert, Bowie's Sound & Vision Tour. Even the opening act Lenny Kravitz wasn't so bad.

58

Ted Nugent is awesome, always was, always will be!

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59

Ted Nugent is awesome, always was, always will be!

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– indianation65

I like his music. I agree.

60

Concerts I wish I'd never went to? Yeah, there have been a few:

Eric Clapton in 1987 at Alpine Valley Music Theater - I'm not the biggest Clapton fan (once you get past the Cream-era stuff, he doesn't do much for me), but my boyfriend at the time had tickets, and I figured, "sure, why not? - I'll at least get the chance to say that I saw Eric Clapton perform." It was boring and dull - he basically phoned in his performance playing the same old warmed over BB, Albert and Freddie King licks he's played for decades. Oh well, at least the crowd was polite and well-behaved, unlike at a certain show I will soon mention.

The Beach Boys at Summerfest in 1983 - I got dragged to see the Beach Boys play at Summerfest (the big music festival held on the shore of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee) in 1983. This was during their briefly successful resurgence, due to their song "Kokomo Joe" ending up on the Top 40, due to it being a part of the sound track for the movie "Cocktail", which starred Tom Cruise and Brian Brown. The Nylons (who had a brief brush with fame due to their a capella hit version of "Hey, Hey, Hey, Good Bye") opened. They were kind of weak, and got booed off the stage by the crowd. The Beach Boys came on VERY LATE - as in almost 10 pm. I'm not even sure if they played for an hour, and they were dull, sloppy, and lackluster, and of course they had to play their "big hit", "Kokomo Joe." Ugh!!!

Metallica at Alpine Valley Music Theater in 1988 - I liked Metallica (and still do to an extent). I didn't go to the show to see them (while it was cool for me to do so, I'd already seen a great show by them a few months previously), but to see The Cult, who was opening for them, and had just released their most successful album - "Sonic Temple." Despite ordering tickets for reserved seats, my boyfriend and I got stuck so far off to the side, we could only see the band, when they stepped out in front of the PA speakers (Alpine Valley did NOT allow you to choose your reserved seat location), the sound mix was mediocre at best, and Billy Duffy played a Les Paul Custom instead of his White Falcon. I remember going into the ampitheater (after walking past a car with a semi-caved in window, with a guy passed out on the hood, with a bloody nose - he'd obviously been in a fight), seeing the grass hillside where people also sat, and wondering how long the grass was going to last before rain and foot traffic turned it all into a mess. Well, that wasn't going to happen. During the intermission, between The Cult, and Metallica, the crow started ripping out chunks of sod, and tossing them around. When Security announced on the PA that the show wouldn't start until the sod throwing stopped, the crowd booed, and threw even more sod around. My boyfriend and I got fed up, and left, before Metallica started playing.

61

Jefferson Starship, International Amphitheatre, Chicago, IL c. 1975: i'd seen the pre-Balin Starship on their inaugural tour in 1974 at the Auditorium Theatre and it was fantastic. this was not. Marty could be really great or terribly self-absorbed, and given that he was so prominent in the success of Red Octopus his ego, always prominent, rose to new heights. he was in full-on preen that night, quite intolerable. the problems with the show were exascerbated by the hall's horrible acoustics, which made the Cow Palace look like Carnegie Hall. the only show i ever saw there with good sound was in 1974 when the Grateful Dead brought an indoor version of the Wall of Sound, and i saw everyone from Alice Cooper to Dylan to Lynyrd Skynyrd there. this was the worst sound i ever heard there. Commander Cody opened, which i was really up for, but they were totally unintelligible. the world became a slightly better place when they tore that sucker down.

Bob Dylan, International Ampitheater, Chicago, IL, 10/17/78: this was the Street Legal tour, but it could have been called the Fat Elvis tour. Dylan wore pancake makeup, was extremely mannered, and the band was Las Vegas bland. this was also the start of Dylan's obsession with twisting up his old songs until they were barely recognizable. the only thing i liked was "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." during the interval my first wife and i talked with the folks around us in the front of the balcony, and we semi-seriously decided that it wasn't actually him on stage: "he doesn's look like Bob Dylan, he doesn't sound like Bob Dylan, he doesn't act like Bob Dylan..."

New Barbarians, International Ampitheater, Chicago, IL, 4/30/79: they really weren't together and coherent as a band. Woody was good, but he's not really a headline-level front man; Keef hardly did anything, nor did McLagan; and the rhythm section had this weird approach where Stanley Clarke would play a note for every accent, tick, and cross-stick Zigaboo played. it never seemed like everyone was going in the same direction at the same time. the sound was actually relatively intelligible as different to the Starship concert. it didn't help. it also didn't help that the rumor mill had floated Dylan, Jagger, and Clapton as potential surprise guests...the crowd wasn't really with the band because they were waiting for Star Time, and when the Special Guest turned out to be Chicago bluesman Junior Wells you could feel the air go out of the room as if a balloon had been popped. (in researching this post i learned that the crowd at their Milwaukee show rioted because no special guests appeared.)

Aretha Franklin, Lane County Fair, Eugene, Oregon, summer 1982: don't get me wrong, i love Aretha, but this was when her career was at a low before "Pink Cadillac" brought her back into the charts. she sounded tired and dispirited, and one of the background singers had to cover her high notes. it was very sad.

Grateful Dead, Boreal Ridge Ski Area, Donner Summit, CA, 8/24/85: this is legendarily the worst venue the Dead ever played. background: by 1985 it was increasingly difficult for Bill Graham to find places to book the Dead in the Bay Area. the Oakland Auditorium Arena (later the Kaiser Center) was being renovated, the SF Civic wouldn't have them after the lumpen Deadheads caused problems hanging out with the homeless people at their encampment in Civic Center Plaza during the 1984-85 New Years' Eve stand, and the city of Berkeley was getting nervous about the scene around the Greek Theatre. in 1983 they went as far afield as Grass Valley and Watsonville. so the idea of a show outdoors high in the mountains had some appeal. unfortunately, the site was very poorly chosen: it was literally a bare slope under the ski lift with a uphill tilt of about 28 degrees and good-sized shrubs randomly scattered around the crowd area. in the High Sierras you really don't have soil per se on slopes; rather, you have rock, gravel and granite dust. since they didn't water down the area before the show, the inevitable dancing Deadheads whipped up clouds of dust so fierce that they affected Garcia's voice. they didn't provide water for the audience, either. the music wasn't bad so much as that nothing happened. the only good thing that came out of that gig was that i adopted a cat from the people i stayed with the night before the show. she was a very good kitty.

Bill Monroe, Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA, c.1996: Bill was about half dead at this point, and painfully weak. i pretty much went just so i could see an originator while he was still alive. i had similar experiences with Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar (at separate concerts)...Ravi's daughter Anoushka played rings around him.

but the most painfully awful performance i ever saw was in 1972, when Sailcat--the one-hit wonder who charted with "Motorcycle Mama"--was middle of the bill to Captain Beefheart at the Aragon Ballroom. the singer/guitarist/nominal frontman was so drunk that he keeled over mid-set and fell into the drum kit. IIRC he almost went down a second tame later in the set.

most boring? Foghat. went to see other acts on the bill and walked out on them. twice. and i kind of liked their records. but live they just weren't happening.

62

Jefferson Starship reminds me that I saw something like Starship, though I think not with that name. I forget which venue, maybe a college auditorium in Columbus. Mahogany Rush opened for them, if that helps nail the era.

It seems to me it was after Blows Against the Empire (a landmark record in my psyche) but before the officially named Chaquico version of the band. I'm sure (or pretty sure) both Grace and Paul were there, as well as others of their usual crowd. 6 or 7 people on stage, at least. (Seems I'd remember if Jorma and Jack were involved.)

Anyway. The sound was phenomenal - maybe the cleanest and clearest live music I'd heard - and the band was supple, muscular, and nuanced. Kind of a magic night. To hear the whole of side two of BAtE - that clean, and that loud - was a once-in-a-lifetime pleasure. I think the rocket noises and XM were played from tape, mixed with live contributions (feedback drones, etc). Shook the building.

My one chance to see Garcia was similarly good, also with excellent sound, at a nice mid-sized theatre in Columbus. This was the Jerry Garcia band, must've been in 1976, as Keith and Donna were part of it. Great show.

63

that's the same tour i saw in Chicago. it was the band from Dragon Fly, the Starship sans Marty. which is to say the last Airplane lineup with Chaquico and Pete Sears (with Freiberg depping on bass) in place of Jorma and Jack. yep, it took two bass players to replace Casady. that album was successful, but not so much that they played bigger theatres than the Airplane did on their last tour. Red Octopus was a hit, with a Top Twenty single on it, so they played the mass-appeal halls after that.

64

I got paid to work concerts for over 30 years. 18 hour days, lots of labor, and more often than not, terrible bands. The good ones were outstanding, tho.

Of course, there were some I wish I could remember.

65

Airplane got my attention with "Somebody to Love," and secured it with "White Rabbit." The first album I heard was Baxters, which I checked out of the county library while it was still current. (Don't ask me what it was doing there. "ReJoyce," maybe?)

Then I was all in with Airplane and all the offshoot projects from there on out. I thought Dragon Fly was a fine album, and approved of the slightly sleeker, slightly less political/creaky cranky configuration. Buddy of mine - a bit of an anarchist at the time - did his doctoral thesis (don't ask me how) on the "Hyperdrive Theory of History," inspired by the song. He ended up the corporate historian for Raytheon, with a Pentagon clearance, and sent me a pic of him astraddle a Scud missile after the Gulf War. Whaddaya know, huh.

I was still in for Red Octopus, and apparently liked it enough to buy Spitfire, but after that I deplaned. Grace was right to bail when she did. For artistic and political integrity, she might have done so earlier. But I fully respect and get a kick out of her trajectory since then. She's aged on her own terms, more or less gotten and kept her personal act together, and is smart and irascible as ever - and more successfully subversive in her own way. It's a good model.

66

"Then I was all in with Airplane and all the offshoot projects from there on out. I thought Dragon Fly was a fine album, and approved of the slightly sleeker, slightly less political/creaky cranky configuration. Buddy of mine - a bit of an anarchist at the time - did his doctoral thesis (don't ask me how) on the "Hyperdrive Theory of History," inspired by the song. He ended up the corporate historian for Raytheon, with a Pentagon clearance, and sent me a pic of him astraddle a Scud missile after the Gulf War. Whaddaya know, huh.- Proteus"

Strangely, not the first time I've heard of such a thing. A fellow I knew once upon a time (who came into a locally well-liked graffiti band as replacement singer-lead guitar when the original leader left) left the band after a year or so to pursue a Masters in Rockabilly. Thesis published, he started off on his PhD, writing his thesis on San Francisco Psychedelic Music, and for the past decade plus has been teaching at Concordia in the music dept and gets to be called "Doctor M"..

And when I met him, he was touting the benefits of dried seaweed and playing a pawnshop Strat in that graffiti band mentioned above.

67

I went to a concert and a prizefight broke out:

Ted Nugent/Foreigner/Mahogany Rush (aka Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush) - July, 1977: A memorable event, if not musically. The acts were a badly matched set, with Ted touring Cat Scratch Fever, Foreigner touring their first album, and Mahogany Rush....well, they were there. The audience was there mostly to see Ted, and by the second song of the Mahogany Rush opening set, the chants of "You suck!" were drowning out the band. Having watched that, Foreigner went through their setlist quickly, and with a minimum of jeering.

Then the main event started. It was quickly obvious that there was a conflict between Ted and Derek St. Holmes, as they were shouting at each other between (and during) the songs. Late in the set, both the guitars and the vocals stopped mid-song, while the bass and drums continued, and Mr. Nugent and Mr. St. Holmes began providing an impromptu demonstration of the pugilistic arts. After a few minutes of that, Ted was landing some serious punches (watch out for his right, folks) and Derek left the stage. Since he was also doing the vocals, the last two songs were Instrumentals. It was an improvement. I think the audience cheered the fight louder than they did any of the songs.

Malcolm Young gave me guitar advice:

AC/DC - November, 1977: When AC/DC first came out, much of the US music industry didn't know what to make of them. Given the timing of their arrival, and the brevity of their songs, they tended to be lumped in with Punk Rock by most US radio stations. In other words, no airplay. So, as they set out to do their first US tour, with the recent release of Let There Be Rock, there was little, or no, airplay and little, or no, promotion by their record company.

I'd been a fan after being sent one of their Australian albums by a relative, and managed to get front row tickets for their show in a small venue in Atlanta. less than a thousand seats, and that was only half full.

The band was way too big for the room, the sound was terrible, the band was tired, and the audience, in large part, uncertain what they were watching. Angus' school uniform was definitely not something they'd seen before. All together, a forgettable concert, but for one thing: When Malcolm noticed that I was watching his left hand pretty much every note, he came to the front of the stage between songs and said: "Don't watch me, watch him!", indicating Angus. As Dirty Harry said: "A man's got to know his limitations"; Knowing mine, I continued to watch Malcolm's playing, and I've always been glad I did.

"There's unrest in the forest, there's trouble with the zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz":

Rush - April, 1979: Touring their Hemispheres album, Rush came to Atlanta late in their tour, playing the marvelous Fox Theater without an opening act. Unfortunately, it became quickly obvious that they were just going to play Hemispheres, in its entirety. Not my favorite album, then or now, and their delivery was so flat and workmanlike that, without physical (or chemical) causes, I fell fast asleep sitting in the tenth row, center.

I saw them before that show and I saw them after that show and always enjoyed their shows, but that's one I don't regret sleeping through.


For a decade, I lived in University City, MO, right behind the Blueberry Hill venue where Proteus' Chuck Berry story took place. It was a five minute walk from my door to theirs.

I met Chuck once there, at the bar, and found him to be a fairly nice fellow. However, I saw him play the Duck Room (aka, the 100 year old basement) of the club probably 50 times. It was kind of the case of: "There's nothing on TV. I'll go see Chuck."

Every show was a train wreck like Proteus describes. Every. Dang. One. It became a challenge to get to see all the different permutations of bad behavior Mr. Berry was capable of. He once got so upset at the backing band that, instead of walking off as per usual, he flipped his guitar over and played it left-handed. As it turned out, it wasn't that different. The shows were always memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.

All I can say is that the owner of Blueberry Hill, Joe Edwards, was far more loyal to Chuck than Chuck ever was to Joe. After I left, Joe opened a much better venue and booked Chuck there, but by all reports it didn't improve the quality of the show.

68

Strangely, not the first time I've heard of such a thing.

Jeff "Skunk" Baxter of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers became a highly-paid consultant on weapons systems, and testified in that capacity before the US Congress. and Jerry Rubin became a stockbroker.

69

Well, I suppose we've heard enough chuck Berry stories...but I'm not gonna let that stop me! I was in the audience for this performance:

The first 3:30 shows what you others have already described. Something interesting happened when he finally handed his guitar over to have it tuned, around 4 minutes into this clip. He launches into a poem that I imagine he memorized as a school boy. It goes on for four minutes!

But that show - very glad I got to see him play, but I'm thankful it didn't cost much!

70

Mr. Timthom62, You actually saw Ted Nugent and Derek S. come to blows, a real fistfight on stage?

Wow!

That is sad to hear, but exhilarating at the same time.

Addendum: Next separate topic: Let's Hear About Your Band Fights...real Fistfights!

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71

Mr. Timthom62, You actually saw Ted Nugent and Derek S. come to blows, a real fistfight on stage?

Wow!

That is sad to hear, but exhilarating at the same time.

Addendum: Next separate topic: Let's Hear About Your Band Fights...real Fistfights!

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– indianation65

Yes indeed. Although, it was less exhilarating than just kind of embarrassing and uncomfortable at the time. Two skinny guys wearing guitars trying to have a fist fight is not very impressive. The rest of the audience seemed to approve, though.

The odd thing was that St. Holmes didn't leave the band until the following year.

72

Ha, I just looked up Derek and Ted regarding the good and bad times.

He said Ted shot him twice!

Both were accidents, but once was when they were out hunting, and the second was at a target range. Clearly Derek liked/likes guns as well. So do I!

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73

Ha, I just looked up Derek and Ted regarding the good and bad times.

He said Ted shot him twice!

Both were accidents, but once was when they were out hunting, and the second was at a target range. Clearly Derek liked/likes guns as well. So do I!

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– indianation65

Twice?!?! After the fist time you'd think he'd learn, Bad enough being careless (and clueless) while hunting, but at a target range?

74

The target range incident was a ricochet.

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75

The target range incident was a ricochet.

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– indianation65

Badly designed range, freak shot, or carelessness? Ricochets should NOT happen in a controlled environment. There's been too many cases of "the gun just went off" and of little kids shooting each other, too many incidences of unsafe practices.


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