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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Stevie Nicks and Joe Walsh: 11/5/1983

This was a pretty cool double bill, and it was during that period in the 80s when Stevie Nicks was enjoying a solid solo career. It was part of the Wild Heart tour.

We had seats behind the stage, but it was the Sportatorium in the 80s, so essentially you went and sat wherever you wanted (unless someone bigger than you with a ticket claimed the seat). We managed to secure some seats about halfway back on the side, which were decent.

Joe Walsh opened the show, and he was wasted. He slurred his words and was pretty sloppy. This would not be the only time I would see Walsh trashed on stage. He earned his reputation as a lush.

After a break, Stevie came out. She had a tent set up on stage, and I would soon discover what the tent was for. Frequently, between songs, she would go off into the tent, and after a while, come back out wearing a new dress. I don’t mind a couple costume changes, but she was definitely taking advantage. In addition, she would take what seemed like an unusually long time to change her outfit. I couldn’t help wondering if she was powdering her nose also while in there, so to speak.

In spite of the drunkenness and the interminable breaks between songs, it was still a good show. Here are the respective setlists.

Joe Walsh Setlist

  • Rocky Mountain Way
  • Ordinary Average Guy
  • The Confessor
  • Walk Away
  • A Life of Illusion
  • Life’s Been Good

Stevie Nicks Setlist

  • Gold Dust Woman
  • Outside the Rain
  • Dreams
  • I Need to Know
  • Sara
  • If Anyone Falls
  • Leather and Lace
  • Stand Back
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Gypsy
  • How Still My Love
  • Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around
  • Edge of Seventeen

Encore:

  • Rhiannon

Robert Plant: 7/1/1985

So if you are paying attention, you will notice that the date on the stub and the date of this show do not match up. That’s because, even though this was an indoor concert, it was postponed due to rain. If you grew up in South Florida in the 70s and 80s, you would remember the barn of a venue that was the infamous Hollywood Sportatorium, which was such a shithole that when it rained, water threatened to pour down on the stage.

The Sportatorium roof was infamous for occasionally leaking over the stage (and performers) or the audience during heavy rainfalls. Robert Plant postponed a 1985 concert for one day due to leaks in the roof, and remarked to the crowd the following night, “This is the first gig I’ve ever done that was rained out inside the building.”

(Source: Wikipedia)

We had driven out to Pembroke Pines on the Sunday, since we hadn’t heard the news about the postponement, and we were turned away along with a bunch of other concertgoers (read Sun Sentinel article about cancellation). Thankfully, there were no conflicts preventing us from returning the following night. Since this was my first time seeing Robert Plant, I would have been devastated if I had to return my ticket.

Anyway, the next day, we made the trek (again) out to the Sport-hole, and this time we were treated to an awesome performance by Plant. He was touring in support of the Shaken and Stirred album, but he also included a short Honeydrippers set, which was very cool. I was slightly disappointed that he didn’t play any Zeppelin tunes on this tour, but I guess he was trying to establish himself apart from his past. I can respect that, but it would have been cool to toss in one or two songs. But the quality of what he did play certainly made up for it, and I would see Plant perform Zep stuff at future shows, particularly when he performed with Jimmy Page.

Here’s the setlist—there was good rockin’ at midnight!

Setlist

Robert Plant

  • In the Mood
  • Pledge Pin
  • Pink and Black
  • Little by Little
  • Burning Down One Side
  • Too Loud
  • Thru’ With the Two Step
  • Other Arms
  • Messin’ With the Mekon
  • Slow Dancer

Honeydrippers

  • Rockin’ at Midnight
  • Young Boy Blues
  • Sea of Love
  • (Every Time I Hear) That Mellow Saxophone

Robert Plant

  • Like I’ve Never Been Gone
  • Easily Lead

Encore:

  • Big Log

The Cars: 10/24/1987

I don’t remember with whom I went to see this concert, but I remember the show. This concert was excellent. The Cars were one of those bands, kind of like Cheap Trick, that held a warm place in my heart growing up. While not my favorite band, I really really liked them, and even today, hearing their music brings me back to more carefree days.

I recall that the stage show was very cool. I am pretty sure there was some large automaton that came out, unless I imagined that. Musically, the high points for me were “Candy-O,” “Moving in Stereo,” and “Drive.”

While some of the new wave bands sound dated today, The Cars do not. When I listen to them (and I still do), they sound as vibrant and current as they did in the 80’s. I feel pretty fortunate that I got to see them back in the day, especially before Benjamin Orr got sick and passed away. Seeing him sing “Drive” was truly moving.

Here’s the full setlist.

Setlist:

  • Tonight She Comes
  • Touch and Go
  • Double Trouble
  • My Best Friend’s Girl
  • Everything You Say
  • Since You’re Gone
  • Fine Line
  • Let’s Go
  • Strap Me In
  • Candy-O
  • Moving in Stereo
  • Dangerous Type
  • Drive
  • You Are the Girl
  • Good Times Roll
  • You Might Think
  • Hello Again

Encore:

  • Just What I Needed
  • Magic

The Firm: 3/15/1986

Those of you who missed the 80’s (or just have a cloudy memory) may need a little info on The Firm. They were a supergroup comprised of some very notable musicians:

  • Paul Rodgers on lead vocals (from Free and Bad Company)
  • Jimmy Page on guitar (from The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin)
  • Chris Slade on drums (from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Uriah Heep, and AC/DC)
  • Tony Franklin on bass (from Roy Harper, John Sykes’ Blue Murder, David Gilmour, Kate Bush, and Whitesnake)

I went to this show with my friend Mike. Since we were both young guitarists, we were pretty psyched to see the legendary Jimmy Page.

What I remember about the performance was that they were awesome. I personally would have liked to have seen them do a Led Zeppelin tune, but alas. Page did do a really cool guitar solo, though, using the violin bow, with a pyramid of lasers encasing him, reminiscent of the solo featured in “The Song Remains the Same” movie. That was the high point for me.

After the show, we were making the long drive back from the Sportatorium along the two-lane road that took you out of the boonies and back to civilization. We saw two young women hitchhiking, so we picked them up. Mike immediately began chatting them up, clearly hoping to get lucky. When he asked them what they were into, one of them replied, “We’re into each other,” and began making out in the back seat. We could respect that. We drove them as far as we could and dropped them off, then headed home to recover from the killer night of rock and roll.

Here is the setlist, courtesy of the internet.

Setlist

  • Fortune Hunter
  • Closer
  • Someone to Love
  • Make or Break
  • Prelude (Chopin)
  • Money Can’t Buy
  • Satisfaction Guaranteed
  • Radioactive
  • Live in Peace
  • All the King’s Horses
  • The Chase
  • Cadillac
  • Midnight Moonlight
  • You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

Rush: 2/28/1992

I was a big Rush fan in the 70’s and early 80’s. Some of the later stuff did not speak to me the same way, but the Roll the Bones album was pretty good, and Rush always puts on a great stage show, so I figured I would go and see them again.

Primus was the opening act. I had not heard of them (yet), but the friend I was with was pretty excited about them. They came out, and honestly, I was not impressed. I did not think Les Claypool was that good, personally, but my friend was diggin’ it, so I hung out.

Rush came out, and as always, had a very visual-intensive show. Great lights and videos, and the band was tight. I had not seen them since the Moving Pictures tour (sorry, no stub from that show… gates were crashed and teargas deployed, but got to see them anyway), so it had been a while. They still sounded great and performed well. I would have liked to have heard more older tunes, especially “Working Man,” which was noticeably absent, but it was still a great show.

Afterwards, my friend was convinced that Primus blew Rush off the stage. Personally, I was inclined to disagree. Although it was not the Rush I saw on the Hemispheres tour, they were still great.

Here’s the full setlist.

Setlist:

  • Force Ten
  • Limelight
  • Freewill
  • Distant Early Warning
  • Time Stand Still
  • Dreamline
  • Bravado
  • Roll the Bones
  • Show Don’t Tell
  • The Big Money
  • Ghost of a Chance
  • Subdivisions
  • The Pass
  • Where’s My Thing?
  • Drum Solo
  • Closer to the Heart
  • Xanadu
  • Superconductor
  • Tom Sawyer

Encore:

  • The Spirit of Radio
  • 2112 Part I: Overture > Finding My Way > La Villa Strangiato > Anthem > Red Barchetta

Roger Waters: 3/13/1985

This was my first time seeing Roger Waters. I had seen David Gilmour solo prior to this, which was very cool, but I was definitely excited to see Roger.

Unfortunately, we were on the second leg of this tour. The first leg, which happened in 1984, featured Eric Clapton on guitar. Instead, we had Jay Stapley. Oh well… such is life.

I went to this concert with both of my brothers, one of whom traveled a considerable distance to attend. But that brother has always been a huge Pink Floyd fan, so he was not going to pass on the opportunity to see Waters.

The show was basically broken into two sets: the first set was all Pink Floyd stuff, and the second set was “Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking” in its entirety. Then they did “Brain Damage/Eclipse” as the encore, which was awesome.

The sound was about as good as it could be, considering it was in the Hollywood Sportatorium, notorious for its crappy acoustics. The stage show was very cool. Lots of freaky visuals, props, and theatrics. Basically, everything that you would expect from a Roger Waters concert. High points for me were “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” “If,” “Pigs on the Wing,” and of course, “Brain Damage.” Here is the full setlist. Rock on!!

Set 1:

  • Welcome to the Machine
  • Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
  • Money
  • If
  • Wish You Were Here
  • Pigs on the Wing 1
  • Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert
  • Southampton Dock
  • The Gunner’s Dream
  • In the Flesh
  • Nobody Home
  • Have a Cigar
  • Another Brick in the Wall Part 1
  • The Happiest Days of Our Lives
  • Another Brick in the Wall Part 2

Set 2: (The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking)

  • 4:30 AM (Apparently They Were Travelling Abroad)
  • 4:33 AM (Running Shoes)
  • 4:37 AM (Arabs with Knives and West German Skies)
  • 4:39 AM (For the First Time Today, Part 2)
  • 4:41 AM (Sexual Revolution)
  • 4:47 AM (The Remains of Our Love)
  • 4:50 AM (Go Fishing)
  • 4:56 AM (For the First Time Today, Part 1)
  • 4:58 AM (Dunroamin, Duncarin, Dunlivin)
  • 5:01 AM (The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Part 10)
  • 5:06 AM (Every Stranger’s Eyes)
  • 5:11 AM (The Moment of Clarity)

Encore:

  • Brain Damage
  • Eclipse