Def Leppard and Ratt: 5/20/1983

I had seen Def Leppard open for Ozzy on the Blizzard of Ozz tour, which was cool. But “Pyromania” was the band’s mega-album, so this was a tour worth seeing.

My girlfriend at the time really wanted to go to the show, and I was totally down for it, especially for $10. I thought “Pyromania” was a great album, even though I could tell the band was going down the commercial pathway. And I was right, and to date, this would be my last time seeing them live.

I had no recollection of the opening act, but according to what I found online, Ratt was the opener. Hah! I went most of my life thinking I had avoided seeing Ratt in concert. I suppose it’s another band I can now check off the list.

Def Leppard definitely rocked. This show was a long time ago, so many of the details are gone, but I remember parts of it vividly, including the kick-ass version of Creedence’s “Travelin’ Band.” Glad I got to see them at their peak. Rock on!!

Setlist:

  • Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)
  • Rock Brigade
  • High & Dry (Saturday Night)
  • Another Hit and Run
  • Billy’s Got a Gun
  • Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)
  • Foolin’
  • Photograph
  • Rock of Ages
  • Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
  • Switch 625
  • Guitar Solo
  • Let It Go
  • Guitar Solo
  • Wasted
  • Stagefright
  • Travelin’ Band
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Iron Butterfly: 7/6/1987

Crown Rockin’ Lounge was a crappy, hole-in-the-wall bar in North Miami that had live music, usually bands that were only enjoyable after a significant amount of cheap drinks, which the establishment offered in abundance. But occasionally, there would be a decent band. For this reason, I was kind of surprised when I heard that Iron Butterfly was playing there, and the lineup included Mike Pinera on guitar, notably from Blues Image, and also he was guitarist for Alice Cooper for a bit. The band’s lineup was:

  • Ron Bushy – drums, percussion
  • Mike Pinera – guitar, vocals
  • Kelly Reubens – bass
  • Tim Von Hoffman – keyboards

The bar was close by my friend Jon’s house, so we decided to go check out the show. My expectations were not too high, even though I knew Pinera was no slouch on the guitar.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. The band sounded solid, and Pinera’s guitar work was excellent. They played a decent set of mainly obscure tunes, but then cranked out a nice long version of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” to finish up the show. That alone was worth the $5.50 cost of the ticket.

AC/DC: 3/18/2001

After I heard that the great Malcolm Young passed away at the age of 64, I figured I needed to shuffle through the pile of stubs and locate an AC/DC stub (I’ve seen them several times). As fate would have it, I came upon the stub from the last time I saw the band, which was in 2001 on the Stiff Upper Lip tour.

I went to this show with my friend Jim, who was a die-hard AC/DC fan. We went to the National Car Rental Center which was in the Fort Lauderdale area. It was your typical arena.

Honestly, I was expecting a mediocre show, some old dudes wheezing through a set, trying to recapture their earlier energy—but I was pleasantly surprised. The band exploded on stage and ripped right into “You Shook Me” and just kept tearing it up for the entire show. I kept worrying that Angus was going to hurt himself as he flung himself around the stage, but he was like the rock and roll Energizer Bunny… he just kept going and going and going…

The band played all the standard hits, and broke out some unusual tunes which I really got into, particularly “Shot Down in Flames” and “Get it Hot.” Even my die-hard buddy was impressed when they played those.

I can still picture Malcolm at this show, hair hanging over his face, steadfast and pounding out the relentless rhythm amid the rock and roll chaos. Rock on, Malcolm, and thanks for all the kick-ass music.

Here is the setlist from the show.

  • You Shook Me All Night Long
  • Stiff Upper Lip
  • Shot Down in Flames
  • Thunderstruck
  • Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be
  • Hard as a Rock
  • Shoot to Thrill
  • Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution
  • Sin City
  • Bad Boy Boogie
  • Hells Bells
  • Get It Hot
  • The Jack
  • Back in Black
  • Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
  • Highway to Hell
  • Whole Lotta Rosie
  • Let There Be Rock
  • T.N.T.
  • For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

Alice Cooper: 7/17/1980

This is my ticket stub from the very first time I saw Alice Cooper. This was a huge deal for me, because I was a major Coop fan and was psyched beyond words to see the man live. This was the “Flush the Fashion” tour, which was not my favorite album at the time, but I have learned to appreciate it over the years. Anyway, on to the story.

I was living in Miami at the time, and West Palm Beach was a bit of a hike. I worked with a guy named Floyd, who was a bit of a redneck but he liked rock music, and he had a car. He agreed to drive me and my two friends Vinnie and Leanna, so the four of us piled into his car and headed down the road.

We were driving up I-95, Vinnie and Leanna were in the back, I was shotgun, and the three of us were talking and laughing while Floyd was driving. Then he suddenly pulled off onto the shoulder and started yelling at us: “STOP LAUGHING!! My license is expired and if I get pulled over by the cops, I go to jail.”

I looked at him. “Umm, the cops probably won’t pull you over if we are laughing, but they might if you are stopped on the side of the highway. But if it makes you feel better, we will be quiet.”

An uncomfortable silence ensued for a while. After a bit, Floyd said, “It’s ok. Y’all can laugh if you want.” At that point, I was failing to see the humor in anything.

We got to the West Palm Beach Auditorium, hung around the parking lot a bit, then went inside. It was a triple bill, so the first act to play was Billy Squire. He was OK. Next up was Mike Pinera’s Sea Rock. Mike was also playing guitar with Alice on this tour, but it was cool to see his solo band. For those of you who don’t know, Mike Pinera was from the Blues Image, so of course they played “Ride Captain Ride.”

While we were waiting for Alice to come out, Floyd asked us to kick in money towards gas, since he filled the tank prior to the drive and we had agreed to give him some money. I gave him $3 and Vinnie gave him $3. Leanna didn’t have any money. Gas was cheap back then. Floyd had spent $12 to fill the tank. Anyway, he stood there, looking at the money, and said: “Hey. I put $12 in the tank. There are four of us, and 12 divided by 4 equals $3 each, so you all owe me another $3.” Vinnie had no more money, and all I had was $3 to my name. I told him that Leanna didn’t have any money, explained our cash situation, and told him I would give him a few dollars at work when we got paid that week. He responded by saying that Vinnie and I could get a ride back, but he would not drive Leanna because she didn’t pay. At that point, I lost it and got in his face, yelling and cursing at him. People were backing away because the argument was getting really heated. Finally, I gave him the last of my money and said, “Here you go, asshole! Take my last three fuckin’ dollars. Cheap fucker! Hope you’re happy!” At that point, he tossed the $9 at me, turned around, and walked away.

Now I started to panic. West Palm was a long way from Miami, especially in the days before cell phones and Uber, and $9 was not going to pay for a cab. I envisioned us hitching, which was not what I wanted to do. Alice came out, started rockin’, but I was obsessing. Visions of me kicking this guy’s ass at work were dominating my thoughts. I tried my best to enjoy the show, but each song seemed to fuel my anger more and more.

Finally, after a few songs, who shows up beside us, but Pretty Boy Floyd. “Hey guys! WOOOOOOO! Killer jams!” I looked at him with a feeling of disgust, but had enough common sense to keep my mouth shut. After a while, my anger subsided as I realized that we were getting a ride home, and he didn’t even ask us for a penny. I figured that this guy must not be playing with a full deck. I would be sure to keep that in mind.

The show was awesome. Extremely loud, but I was lovin’ it to death. The stage show was scaled back, no guillotine or anything like that, but the fight scene in “Gutter Cat vs. the Jets” was very cool. I would see Alice many times after this, but there is nothing quite like the first time.

The ride home was uneventful, thankfully. Here is the setlist. Rock on!

Setlist:

  • Model Citizen
  • Grim Facts
  • Go to Hell
  • Guilty
  • Pain
  • I Never Cry
  • Talk Talk
  • I’m Eighteen
  • Gutter Cat vs. the Jets
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Clones (We’re All)
  • Nuclear Infected
  • Under My Wheels
  • Dance Yourself to Death
  • Road Rats
  • Elected

Encore:

  • School’s Out

Tom Petty: 7/25/1987

When I heard that the great Tom Petty passed away today (10/2/2017), while we were all still reeling from the massacre at the concert in Las Vegas the night before, all I could do was shuffle through some old stubs until I found one from Petty. I saw him a couple times, and he was great each time. This particular show was a triple bill, with Tom Petty, the Georgia Satellites, and the Del Fuegos. I have fuzzy memories of this show, but I recall distinctly how much I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I could not find a setlist online. After 30 years, the details are gone, but I know I was happy with the set.

Tom was a great musician and songwriter. He will be sorely missed. I am certain he has briskly ascended to Rock and Roll Heaven.

RIP Tom!

Dokken: 7/27/1986

My friend Jim asked me if I wanted to go to this show. “Hey man! Let’s go rockin’ with Dokken!” I have to say that this band was not even on my radar, but I figured, what the hell. Button South was usually a fun place to hang out, and I’ll go see just about any band once.

I did not know a single song that they played. My thoughts were – meh, they were an OK metal band. Not really my thing, but not the worst band I had seen. I know there are people out there that really like this band, and I have seen lots of praise on the various guitar email newsletters to which I subscribe, but personally, I just never saw the attraction. To me, they were just mediocre. Still, saw them and another band to check off the list.

Rock on!

Judas Priest: 7/1/1984

Judas Priest was one of those bands that I needed to acquire a taste for. A lot of my metal-head friends were die-hard Priest fanatics, but I was lukewarm towards them for a long time. I didn’t hate them, and I didn’t love them. I’d rock out when they came on the radio, but never bothered to buy any of their records. Anyway, when I saw they were coming to the Hollywood Sportatorium, I figured I might as well go and check them out, because there’s nothing quite like a good thrashing metal show, right?

The concert totally kicked ass. While there were a lot of songs I didn’t know, I knew enough to enjoy it, and the stage show was truly impressive. They were totally high-energy live, which is important. There is nothing worse than going to a concert where the band sounds like they would rather be watching TV in a hotel room. These guys wanted to be on stage, and it showed in ever scream and every shredding guitar solo. I left drenched in sweat after having completely rocked myself out.

Over the years, since this show, I’ve listened to more Judas Priest and definitely gained a deeper appreciation for their talent. I even downloaded some of their stuff on Apple Music. I have some fun memories now of driving with my kids and rocking out to “Breaking the Law.”

Here’s the setlist from the show. Rock on!

Setlist:

  • Love Bites
  • Jawbreaker
  • Grinder
  • Metal Gods
  • Breaking the Law
  • Sinner
  • Desert Plains
  • Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
  • The Sentinel
  • Rock Hard, Ride Free
  • Night Comes Down
  • Electric Eye
  • Heavy Duty
  • Defenders of the Faith
  • Victim of Changes
  • Freewheel Burning
  • The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)

Encore:

  • Living After Midnight
  • Hell Bent for Leather

Encore 2:

  • You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’