Aerosmith: 12/18/1984

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Aerosmith was playing two nights at the Sunrise Musical Theater, and I had gone the first night, which was awesome (click here for my memories of that show). I was expecting another great show, but was surprised by what I witnessed at this evening’s performance.

I had taken a woman I worked with, Lisa, to this show. I was interested in her and this was like our “first date.” I’d seen the show the night before, knew what to expect, and figured the way to a woman’s heart is through good music. What could possible go wrong?

The show started pretty much the same as the previous night, but that changed once the band started playing “Big Ten Inch Record.” This evening, Steven Tyler brought a stage prop along with him—a 3-foot dildo. During the song, he held it to his crotch and dangled it off the edge of the stage. At that point, two young women in the front decided to demonstrate their oral capabilities on the big rubber phallus. My first thought was: “That’s one way to get invited back stage.” I glanced over at my date; she did not look amused. The rest of the show and the seemingly long drive home felt awkward. Needless to say, we never went out again after that.

While this was not the most outrageous thing I have seen on stage, it was up there. I guess rock and roll is supposed to be outrageous, right?

Rush: 3/10/1979

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I’ve seen Rush several times in my life, but here is the ticket stub from the first time I saw them, back in the late 70’s at the infamous Hollywood Sportatorium. The scanned image does not do the ticket justice. There is glitter mixed in with the ink, which at the time I thought was the coolest thing I had ever seen done with a concert ticket.

What can I say about Rush that hasn’t already been said. They are amazing in concert, and as a teenager, seeing them live was a big deal for me. I remember when I had bought “All the World’s a Stage,” Rush’s double live album years before I finally got to see them. That album stayed on my turntable for weeks. I played air guitar along with it, dreaming of becoming a guitarist.

UFO was the opening act for this show, and they were excellent. At the time, I had not heard of them, but I quickly came to appreciate how great they were.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Rush timeline, this was the Hemispheres tour and they had an impressive stage setup which included a video screen, which is common now but back then was pretty cool. Some of the songs that really stood out for me were “Cygnus X-1,” “2112,” and “Working Man.” But the whole show was great. I remember being really impressed by how three musicians were able to create so much music.

If you’ve also seen Rush in concert, feel free to share your memories in the comment section below. Thanks for stopping by, and have a rockin’ day!

REO Speedwagon, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, and The Godz: 6/10/1978

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This is one of my earliest ticket stubs, possibly my oldest. I was very young when I went to this show and it was pretty crazy.

My mom drove my friends and me to the Suffolk Forum in Commack, Long Island, NY. We got there early and waited in line since it was general admission. I was with two of my friends: Tommy and Schnook. We went in and found seats in the stands for the first act, The Godz.

The Godz may be the archetype for bad 70’s hard rock. Years later, when I saw the film “This is Spinal Tap,” the mock metal band featured in the film reminded me of The Godz. They were so bad and so cheesy that they were actually good, if that makes any sense. I still have a vinyl copy of The Godz’s album, if you can believe that.

Next up was Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. This was actually the band I was interested in seeing and the reason I went to this concert. At a young age, I was a big Deep Purple fan, so seeing the legendary guitarist’s new band was huge for me. At this time, Ronnie James Dio was the lead singer for Rainbow. Dio later went on to sing with Black Sabbath and after that he had a successful solo career.

My friends and I decided to go down onto the floor for Rainbow. It was insane, but we managed to get fairly close to the stage. Toward the middle of the set, Ritchie Blackmore took hold of the body of his Stratocaster and started smashing the neck of the guitar against the edge of the amplifier stacks. Soon pieces of guitar neck were sailing out into the crowd. Then, a piece flew toward us. I watched as the piece of guitar travelled through the air in slow motion and landed right in Schnook’s outstretched hand. He looked at me with a huge smile on his face, which lasted just a moment. Immediately, a fist came out of nowhere and punched Schnook in the face, and his rock and roll prize was snatched from his hand. We went back to the stands and Tommy and I watched as Schnook’s eye blackened and swelled shut. He told me that he actually saw stars when the guy punched him. I felt bad for him.

REO Speedwagon played next. I can’t tell you much about them other than they were OK. But I kept wondering why Ritchie Blackmore was opening for this band, which I had never heard of before. Of course, a few years later, REO would become super popular.

I learned an important lesson that day—concert’s were dangerous and if something sails into the audience from the stage, best to move out of the way.

Rock on!