Stories Told

Rock shows

Who have you seen in concert? Something the disk jockey said on the radio this morning started me thinking about the concerts I’ve been to. I was surprised that I couldn’t remember them all! It’s not like I’ve seen that many shows, and I certainly wasn’t smoking any dope at them to fog my memory. I wrote down what I could remember and Googled to fill in some blanks. You would not believe the detailed tour information people have cataloged on the Internet! I was shocked to learn that I’ve seen Dokken. Good Lord, shoot me now.

Dokken must have had wicked hairspray bills.
Dokken must have had wicked hairspray bills.

My first show was Al Stewart at the Westport Playhouse in St. Louis. You know, “Year of the Cat” and “Time Passages.” My second show was Iron Maiden at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. You know, “The Number of the Beast.” Talk about a change of pace! The Iron Maiden show was so loud that my ears rang for three days. I’ll never forget the newspaper review the next morning: “About as subtle as a baseball bat to the forehead. But to these kids, all zonked to the rafters on Clearasil and beer, it was probably poetry.” It was.

The best performance I’ve seen was Eric Clapton on his 1994 blues tour. His guitar work was as skilled as you’d expect, but it was also unexpectedly emotional. The best show I’ve seen is, believe it or not, Ozzy Osbourne. He may have only three functioning brain cells, but he sure knows how to work his audience. It’s hard to call the worst show I’ve seen, but Ringo Starr and Van Halen totally phoned in their performances, and Metallica was badly off their game when I saw them play in the rain in 1994.

Here’s the list I’ve pieced together, in chronological order. Headliners are listed first. You’ll see that I gravitated toward heavy-metal shows, and then gave up on concerts altogether for nine years while I was busy with my young family.

1986: Al Stewart

1987: Iron Maiden, Waysted | Eric Clapton, The Robert Cray Band

1988: Heart, Mr. Mister | Iron Maiden, Anthrax | Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken, Metallica, Kingdom Come | Metallica, The Cult | Grim Reaper, Armored Saint

1989: Helloween and two bands I forget

1990: Motley Crue, Whitesnake | Paul McCartney | Rush, Mr. Big

1992: Ozzy Osbourne, Slaughter

1993: Heart | Aerosmith, Jackyl

1994: Rush, Primus | Metallica | Ringo Starr | Eric Clapton

1995: Megadeth, Korn, Flotsam and Jetsam, Fear Factory

1997: Metallica

2006: Heart

2007: Heart, Head East

I’m sure I’m still overlooking a band or two. But now tell me who you’ve seen! Leave a comment, or blog about it and link back here.

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12 thoughts on “Rock shows

  1. Dani says:

    1987 – Henry Lee Summer
    1988 – John Mellencamp | James Taylor
    1989 – Rod Stewart | Rolling Stones
    1991 – Sting | Rod Stewart
    2002 – John Mayer
    2005 – Switchfoot
    2006 – Violent Femmes | OzFest (couldn’t tell you specifically) | Jeremy Camp, David Crowder Band
    2007 – Yo La Tengo | Sick Puppies | Third Day, Jars of Clay

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  2. I use to collect the stubs and trade them like baseball cards, seen to many to remember !!

    But I can tell you the best and worst

    Best..
    Kiss with ACDC followed by Def Leppard..
    Bon Scott carrying Angus on his shoulders thru the crowd was amazing and what more can you say about KISS, average music but incredible show !!

    Def Leppard at Market Square Arena with Tesla
    incredible music and show also the first date with my wife !!

    Worst..
    Foreigner.. terrible music and show !!
    Boston.. aliens must have abducted them before the show and replaced them with tone deaf musicians !!

    Ozzy Osbourne three times, you think I would have learned my lesson, he forgot every word to every song he sang and once I thought he began to sing the National Anthem during Crazy Train !!

    There are many more concerts that were just as bad but thankfully I have forgotten them, this is a great topic I hope you get more input on it !!

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  3. Dani: I’ve seen Henry Lee, too; he played Springfest at Rose-Hulman in 1987 or 1988!

    Bernie: I must have seen Ozzy on a lucid day, then! I used to have all my stubs; would have made this post a lot easier if they hadn’t disappeared!

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  4. What?! No Guns N’ Roses?! I’m a pretty big fan of 80’s music. Even though I was only around 6 or 7 years old, I still have the memory of my older siblings wearing Montly Crue t-shirts and listening to their headphones. I also remember watching them fight over Rolling Stone magazine when it came in the mail.

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  5. Ryan: I wanted to see GnR the one time I was aware they were coming to Indiana, but I was probably broke! Those were my starving college student days. As for Motley Crue, I would not have gone had somebody not given me the tickets — they won them on the radio but couldn’t go. My girlfriend at the time was thrilled beyond belief but I wasn’t so excited. It was a good show, though. It was festival seating and my gf and I were early so we were in the first two or three rows — standing in cattle fashion on the floor. The crush of humanity was so great that my gf couldn’t breathe. Wow, what passed for fun when I was 21.

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  6. Josh says:

    “Heart, Mr. Mister” this was actually in December of 1987 (between the 3rd and the 20th). If I know the city, I can tell you the exact date.

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