George Benson: 6/28/1979

Wow! I kind of surprised myself when I discovered this stub. I have a strong memory of this show, but did not realize that I had saved the ticket stub.

At the time of this show, I was involved in a youth program. The director of the program also worked at a local radio station, so he got a stack of tickets to take a group of us to see George Benson in concert. As a young guitarist, I was pretty excited to see one of the guitar greats live.

This show was a long time ago, but I remember how tasteful his playing was, how cool he was on stage, and how smooth his tone was on the guitar. He is a definite virtuoso guitar player, easily transitioning between rich jazz chords and melodic solos. On top of that, he is a great singer, too.

At 75, he’s still around, but I rarely hear of him performing; although, what I read online is he has a new album tentatively scheduled and there is talk of a tour in 2019. I would see him again if he came nearby. But I am grateful that I got to see him in his prime.

Sorry, could not find any setlists from this era.

Julian Lennon: 4/2/1985

Julian Lennon had a brief moment in the sun in the mid 1980’s. He had some videos on MTV, and of course, he had a somewhat famous dad. His music was pretty good, but a little on the poppy side for my personal tastes. That said, when he booked a couple of shows nearby, I decided go and check one out, figuring he would likely do a couple of his dad’s songs too.

I went with my girlfriend, and we had decent seats. The Sunrise was a nice small venue, so anywhere you sat was good, but we were fairly close to the stage on the side.

The show was pretty much what I had expected. He focused on his own material, but then tossed in a Beatles song as well as a couple other covers at the end that John would have approved of. In fact, John had also recorded a great cover version of “Stand By Me.”

While definitely not the greatest show I had seen, it was enjoyable and I am glad that I got to see him. Here’s the setlist.

Setlist:

  • Well I Don’t Know
  • O.K. for You
  • On the Phone
  • Lonely
  • Say You’re Wrong
  • Let Me Be
  • Valotte
  • Jesse
  • Space
  • Big Mama
  • Too Late for Goodbyes
  • Stand by Me
  • Day Tripper
  • Slippin’ and Slidin’

The Beach Boys: 5/9/1981

Growing up, The Beach Boys held a key slot on my summer soundtracks. During pool parties, hanging at the beach, it was typical to hear Beach Boys’ tunes rippling over the sounds of splashing and summer fun. So when my friend Jim called me up and said he bought me a ticket to go with him to see the band, I was pretty psyched.

We were in the back row of the lower level at the Sunrise Musical Theatre, which was perfect because we were on our feet, rockin’ and partying and having a blast, unlike the rest of the crowd who were significantly older and more reserved than we were. I would occasionally catch a surreptitious glance from a person nearby, but didn’t care all that much until security showed up and politely asked us to dial thing back a bit. So we did, but still stayed on our feet and had a great time.

I wasn’t able to find the setlist from this particular show, but I found one from the same tour, and it seems consistent with what I remember, so here it is.

Setlist from 1981 tour:

  • California Girls
  • Sloop John B
  • Do It Again
  • School Days
  • In My Room
  • Surfin’
  • Surfin’ Safari
  • Catch a Wave
  • Surfer Girl
  • Long Tall Texan
  • Lady Lynda
  • God Only Knows
  • Don’t Worry Baby
  • 409
  • Shut Down
  • The Little Old Lady From Pasadena
  • Little Deuce Coupe
  • Sail On, Sailor
  • Help Me, Rhonda
  • Be True to Your School
  • Wouldn’t It Be Nice
  • Rock and Roll Music
  • I Get Around
  • Surfin’ U.S.A.

Encore:

  • Good Vibrations
  • Barbara Ann
  • Back in the U.S.S.R.
  • Fun, Fun, Fun

Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band: 6/2/1992

This was my first time seeing Ringo. What can I say—he’s a Beatle and therefore resides in the hall of rock and roll royalty.

He performed at the Sunrise Musical Theatre, a small venue that had good acoustics, and we had fourth-row seats, which was especially nice. I went with my wife, who is a huge Todd Rundgren fan, so she was especially excited that Todd was a part of Ringo’s band. His band truly was an all-star lineup:

  • Ringo Starr – drums, percussion, cowbell, vocals
  • Joe Walsh – guitar, keyboards, talk box, bass drum, vocals
  • Nils Lofgren – guitar, vocals
  • Todd Rundgren – guitar, keyboards, drums, percussion, tambourine, vocals
  • Dave Edmunds – guitar, vocals
  • Burton Cummings – keyboards, guitar, tambourine, harmonica, flute, vocals
  • Timothy B. Schmit – bass, guitar, vocals
  • Zak Starkey – drums
  • Timmy Cappello – saxophone, percussion, keyboards, vocals

What was really cool about this show was that Ringo allowed all the other members of his band to perform a couple of their songs, so the set was very egalitarian. Todd singing “Bang the Drum All Day” and Dave Edmunds singing “I Hear You Knocking” particularly stood out for me.

What was really bizarre, though, was Burton Cummings. I’d seen him with the Guess Who, and he was cool. He sang and performed well at this show, but he was doing some strange things on stage. He kept licking the microphone stand, like he was performing fellatio or something, then stroking it furiously in masturbatory fashion. Not that I was offended—all’s fair in rock and roll as far as I’m concerned—it just seemed out of place with the rest of the band and what they were doing.

As far as Ringo’s songs, he sang a nice mix of Beatles’ tunes and solo material. The only song that was noticeably absent was “It Don’t Come Easy.” That was one song I pretty much expected to hear, but didn’t. Still, it was a great show, and I would see Ringo perform “It Don’t Come Easy” the next time I saw him.

Here’s the full setlist.

Setlist:

  • I’m the Greatest
  • No No Song
  • No Time
  • Girls Talk
  • Look at Us Now
  • I Can’t Tell You Why
  • Shine Silently
  • Bang the Drum All Day
  • Don’t Go Where the Road Don’t Go
  • Yellow Submarine
  • Pretty Maids All in a Row
  • Love of the Common Man
  • Keep On Tryin’
  • Wiggle
  • Black Maria
  • In the City
  • You’re Sixteen
  • Weight of the World
  • Walkin’ Nerve
  • I Hear You Knocking
  • American Woman
  • Photograph

Encore:

  • Act Naturally
  • With a Little Help From My Friends

Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe: 8/3/1984

I was really psyched for this concert. It was a great double bill and the Sunrise Musical Theater was one of my favorite concert venues at the time in South Florida. I went to this show with my girlfriend Enid, and another couple from our apartment building, Glen and Linda.

We got to the Sunrise and took our seats, which were in the lower section and pretty decent. Nick Lowe came out and totally rocked. I distinctly remember what seemed like the entire place singing along to “Tempted.” He was even called back to perform an encore, something that is not very common with opening acts.

After intermission, the lights went down and Elvis came out. As soon as he took the stage, Glen and Linda engaged themselves in something which they should not have done. Very swiftly, police descended and escorted the group of us out to the lobby. After a short consultation among themselves, they informed us that we were all going to be kicked out of the concert. At this point, I spoke up.

“Awwww, come on! Give us a break. We will all behave. You can keep an eye on us. Just let us stay and see the show. Please!”

The officers looked at each other, and then said, “OK. But we will be watching you.” So we humbly walked back to our seats in time to catch the last half of the second song, “Watching the Detectives.”

Once back at our seats, Glen finally broke his silence: “Fuckin’ pigs! What the fuck? Why do they have to bust our balls like that?” I looked at him with dismay. “Relax, man. We got to stay and see the concert. You should be happy.” The sullen and defeated look on his face showed that he knew I was right, but was probably just being pissy because his party got spoiled.

Thankfully, we did not get booted, because Elvis’ show was phenomenal. He played great and blasted through a nice long set. The show ended with a medley of tunes that included “Pump It Up,” which was the perfect way to end the night.

I was able to find both artists’ setlists online, so here they are for those who are interested. Rock on!

Nick Lowe Setlist:

  • Stick It Where the Sun Don’t Shine
  • Saint Beneath the Paint
  • Marie Provost
  • I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock ‘n’ Roll)
  • Tempted
  • Cracking Up
  • Ragin’ Eyes
  • Half a Boy and Half a Man
  • I Need You
  • How Long
  • Burning

Encore:

  • You’ll Never Get Me Up in One of Those

Elvis Costello Setlist:

  • Lipstick Vogue
  • Watching The Detectives
  • Let Them All Talk
  • Mystery Dance
  • Shabby Doll
  • Girls Talk
  • I Hope You’re Happy Now
  • I Wanna Be Loved
  • The Greatest Thing
  • Worthless Thing
  • So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star
  • Everyday I Write The Book
  • King Horse
  • The Only Flame In Town – fast version
  • Shipbuilding
  • Waiting For The End Of The World
  • Beyond Belief
  • Clubland
  • Inch By Inch
  • The Deportees Club
  • Man Out Of Time
  • Alison
  • Home Truth
  • Room With No Number
  • Young Boy Blues
  • Getting Mighty Crowded
  • Peace In Our Time
  • (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?
  • Pump It Up (medley, including Ain’t That A Lot Of Love and Tears, Tears And More Tears)

The Pretenders with The Alarm: 3/28/1984

This concert ranks among my top shows. It was nothing short of amazing! Two great bands for $11.75. This is why I am glad I grew up when I did.

I went to this show with my girlfriend, Enid. We both liked the Pretenders, but I was really psyched. I had a secret crush on Chrissie Hynde.

We had great seats close to the front: Row F, which I suppose was sixth row. The Alarm opened and played a kick-ass set. They were on acoustic guitars and I remember thinking how hard these dudes rocked on acoustics. I was familiar with a couple of their tunes from the radio, but I bought their record not long after seeing them live.

Then The Pretenders came out and opened with “The Wait.” Oh… My… God! Seeing Chrissie on stage clad in leather pants was like the vision of a rock and roll goddess. I was in complete lust. But my appreciation for the band’s musical talent quickly took precedence. They were tight, high energy, and rocked from beginning to end.

I had an opportunity to see Chrissie solo a few years ago, but I passed. This concert was so great and so perfect, I did not want to taint the memory. I want to keep the image of her singing “Bad Boys Get Spanked” pure and adulterated.

Here are the set lists from both acts. Rock on!!

The Alarm’s Setlist:

  • Shout to the Devil
  • Declaration
  • For Freedom
  • Third Light
  • Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke
  • Reason 41
  • The Deceiver
  • Howling Wind
  • Blaze of Glory
  • The Stand (Prophecy)
  • Sixty Eight Guns
  • Marching On

The Pretenders’ Setlist:

  • The Wait
  • Message of Love
  • The Adultress
  • Time the Avenger
  • My City Was Gone
  • Show Me
  • Talk of the Town
  • Private Life
  • Thin Line Between Love and Hate
  • Thumbelina
  • Back on the Chain Gang
  • Pack It Up
  • Bad Boys Get Spanked
  • Mystery Achievement
  • Middle of the Road
  • Up the Neck
  • Precious
  • Room Full of Mirrors

David Gilmour: 7/5/1984

Before I would have the opportunity to see Pink Floyd, I was fortunate enough to see David Gilmour solo. He played the Sunrise Musical Theater, which was a small venue in South Florida, and it was mind-blowing. Gilmour’s guitar work is totally cerebral, unlocking areas of the psyche with his rich tones. I left the concert feeling like my mind was expanded. While I wished he would have played a few more Floyd tunes, it was great seeing the legendary guitarist in an intimate setting.

Unfortunately, most of the details have faded. I can’t even recall with whom I went to this show. But, I managed to find the setlist online, so here it is.

  • Until We Sleep
  • All Lovers Are Deranged
  • Love on the Air
  • Mihalis
  • Cruise
  • Short and Sweet
  • Money
  • Out of the Blue
  • Let’s Get Metaphysical
  • You Know I’m Right
  • Run Like Hell
  • Blue Light
  • Murder

Encore:

  • Comfortably Numb

The Kinks: 8/23/1980

kinks_8-23-80

Some people seem to be pretty down on The Kinks, which is understandable. They think that their music in the 80’s was too commercial, and some people are upset over Ray Davies’ relationship with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. That said, I am glad that I got to see the band before they collapsed. I thought they were really good live, playing a nice mix of old and new songs with the same energy and enthusiasm.

Since this concert was almost 37 years ago, a lot of the details are fuzzy, but I remember the playfulness of the band on stage. They would tease the crowd with a few chords from a song, stop, and then play something else, returning to the song later to satisfy the hungry audience.

Some of the songs that stand out in my memory are “Lola,” “You Really Got Me,” “Paranoia,” and “All Day and All of the Night.”

I was not able to find the setlist online, but I did find a site where someone took photos from this show and posted them. Pretty cool! Here’s the link if you want to check them out.

The Allman Brothers Band: 10/22/1980

allmans_10-22-80

Throughout the years, I have seen the Allmans many times, but this was the first time seeing them live, and it was awesome. I went with my friend Mark and we had to rely on our parents to shuttle us to and from the show. But what a show it was! The Sunrise was such a small, intimate venue, and our seats were very close to the stage. They played for a long time, even though the number of actual songs was relatively small, but they jammed each song to the fullest, including a version of “Whipping Post” that must have been at least 20 minutes.

I was able to locate the setlist from the show, so here it is.

  • Don’t Want You No More
  • It’s Not My Cross to Bear
  • In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
  • I Got a Right to Be Wrong
  • From the Madness of the West
  • Angeline
  • Southbound
  • One Way Out
  • Jessica
  • Whipping Post
  • Midnight Rider

Bachman Turner Overdrive (B.T.O.): 1/31/1986

bto_1-31-86

I don’t remember a lot about this concert. I did love B.T.O. as a kid. One of my early albums that I bought was “Not Fragile” and I listened to it over and over and over. The song “Rock is My Life, and This is My Song” was one of the first songs that really made me want to become a musician and pick up the guitar. I recall sitting in front of my stereo with my cheap starter guitar and figuring out the riff to “Not Fragile.” I was really proud of myself when I got it.

Wish I had more details to share, but alas. I’m sure they rocked, because I saw them several times afterwards at free outdoor concerts and they were always solid.

Rock on!