Secret Museum Files
The gods of fate have sent Jim and I on a mondo vision quest to deepest darkest Utah. If you see our wives, tell them we’ll be back next Sunday.
Kelly Clement’s Celtic and Beyond (one of two or three KTAO 101.9 programs worthy of your attention) played a block of Mellow Candle a few weeks back. How many other DJs can make that claim? Tune in Wednesdays 7 to 10 p.m. MST (streaming at ktao.com), and request your favorite Christy Moore, Horslips or Frankie Kennedy songs from The Man himself at: CelticAndBeyond@ktao.com
Here’s Jim on his breakthrough year, 1975-
Diary of a Rock Fan
I started out just keeping the concert ticket stubs from shows I attended. At sixteen years there is no master plan about maintaining a record of anything, let alone the concerts you’ve witnessed. After about twenty-five stubs I began to document the shows in a small spiral notebook. Lately, I’ve wished that I kept a record of every book I read from the same date onward as that first concert- not out of vanity, but I have this vague notion now that, maybe if I could go back and review everything I’ve listened to and read, a pattern will emerge, some insight into what makes me tick, and help me to assemble and make sense out of my own personal puzzle. I know that’s asking an awful lot from a simple list of an evening’s entertainment through the years. The philosopher, wild game hunter, and occasional guitarist Ted Nugent said it best: “You’re born at point A, you’re going to die at point B, in between just kick ass.” Here’s where point A starts for me:
1.) Bad Company/ Maggie Bell
May 29, 1975 The Spectrum, Philadelphia
Bad Company on their first headlining tour played this enormous hockey/basketball arena. A near sell-out crowd, 17,000 in attendance, dance concert format. A huge pyramid stack of amps on either side of the stage. Bad Company kicked ass; Maggie Bell had good pipes, dull songs. I would’ve gotten down here sooner for my first gig, but didn’t have a driver’s license. I knew I would be back to this big airplane hanger and it’s exciting, dangerous vibe, and felt like I’d finally found my tribe after wandering in the desert for sixteen years.
2.) Lynyrd Skynyrd/ Elvin Bishop/ Wet Willie
June 19, 1975 The Spectrum
Elvin & Wet were decent enough, but no real magic during their sets. Skynyrd came out firing with their triple guitar attack and never let up. Free Bird was all it was meant to be.
3.) Yes/ Ace
July 23, 1975 Spectrum
I have no idea why a pub-rock band was opening for Prog superstars Yes. A great stage design by Roger Dean wrapped around the band members like a snake. The set mostly consisted of Relayer; Gates of Delirium featuring Patrick Moraz on keyboards was tremendous. I met the Hare Krishnas for the first time in the parking lot.
4.) Allman Brothers Band/ Muddy Waters
Sept. 18, 1975 Spectrum
Old Muddy sat on a stool in front of 18,000 and did his thing; the crowd dug him. The Allmans were touring on Win, Lose or Draw; Chuck Leavell’s signature tune Jessica among the highlights. Dickey Betts was in fine form.
5.) Aerosmith/ REO Speedwagon/ Ted Nugent
Oct. 5, 1975 Spectrum
Ted opened with his ten-minute-plus symphony Hibernation that took the paint off the walls. REO was just another faceless rock band. Aerosmith kicked tail with all the nuggets from Toys in the Attic.
6.) Blackmore’s Rainbow/ Argent
Nov. 15, 1975 Tower Theater, Philadelphia
Argent had a few FM radio staples that went down well. First solo tour for ex Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Great drum solo by Cozy Powell. No Deep Purple songs. There was a huge rainbow above the musicians on stage that changed colors. Numerous problems with said rainbow (causing feedback from stage amps) stopped the show several times as the always-grumpy Blackmore stormed off with band in tow. The concertgoers booed lead singer Ronnie James Dio- five feet tall including platform boots; he was the only one left onstage.
7.) Allman Brothers Band/ Grinderswitch
Nov. 27, 1975 Madison Square Garden, N.Y.C.
Thanksgiving show at the Garden- rabid New York faithful out in force. Gregg opened with his standard greeting: “We’re gonna play everything we know”, which whipped the crowd into a frenzy before one note had been played. Great gig. One of the members of our road party had to be at work by 6 AM, and sadly we had to catch the last train back to Trenton. We left during Whipping Post. Very painful memory: the morgue-like silence of Penn Station as the Allmans wailed away upstairs haunts me to this day.
8.) The Who/ Toots & The Maytals
December 15, 1975 Spectrum
Toots literally got bottled off the stage, so intent were The Who fanatics to see their heroes. This was the final night of their North American tour and they uncorked a gem. An unbelievable laser show came alive during the Tommy medley half way through the set. Townshend had seven identical Les Paul guitars lined up on stands right behind him; he didn’t wait until the finale to start trashing them. Blazing sound, all the classics, and a righteous mauling of the drums by Keith Moon at the end. The amount of pure magic flowing from the stage was staggering. The band had 18,000 in the palms of their hands from the first note until the last chord faded away.
9.) Foghat/ Leslie West/ Artful Dodger
Dec. 18, 1975 Spectrum
Leslie rocked with Mississippi Queen, but this was Foghat’s night. Slow Ride, Fool for the City and a lot of smoking guitar.
10.) Bruce Springsteen & The E Street band
Dec. 29, 1975 Tower Theater
This was Springsteen at his best. Philly has always been one of his strongholds, and this was a very hard ticket to get. Born To Run had come out in September, and they played the whole damn thing, plus oldies like Quarter to Three. Loose and wild on stage just doing whatever he felt like. Superb.
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