Archive for July, 2008

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Akron Civic Theatre – Best Damn Rock Concert Venue

July 31, 2008

The 1970’s were my heyday of attending rock concerts. I went to tons of them throughout that decade and one of my favorite venues was the Akron Civic Theatre on Main Street in Akron, Ohio. The Akron Civic Theatre was, and is, a historic landmark theatre (built in 1925) and during the 1960’s and 1970’s rock fans were treated to some pretty tasty concerts.  Holding barely over 2,000 people (counting the balcony) the atmosphere was second to none (and the smell of ‘smoke’ was thick and permeated the historic grand old dame).
 
I started attending concerts at the Akron Civic Theatre around 1972 and over the years I saw such bands and performers at that intimate theatre like Suzi Quatro, Bruce Springsteen (a four hour show in ’75!), Glass Harp, Sammy Hagar, Starz, Artful Dodger, Foghat, Bad Company, Mahogany Rush, Triumph, Montrose, Todd Rundgren, BB King, Michael Stanley Band, Robin Trower, Sweet, Babys, Blue Oyster Cult and many others. I remember seeing Journey there three or four times, the first couple prior to Steve Perry joining.


One of the best shows I saw there was one of the first I attended, the December 19, 1972 Mott The Hoople concert with Fleetwood Mac opening. What an experience inside the Civic that night! I became a lifelong Mott The Hoople fan after that concert and immediately went out and bought all the albums I didn’t already have plus a couple imports.


In 1973 one of the highlights for me was seeing the J. Geils Band again after seeing them the previous year. They were even better and had the house rockin’! Lots of Orrville hometown people there that night.
 
One of my favorite concerts of all time at the Akron Civic Theatre was when KISS appeared there on April 8, 1975. Myself, Flash, Bug and Rick all went and this was the first time Bug and Rick saw the band. We sat in the third row, center stage and the whole evening was just heavy metal bliss. As you can see by the advertisement posted here the Heavy Metal Kidz opened the shows that tour (Flash and I and two dates saw them at The Palace in Cleveland a couple days later as shown in the ad) but at the Akron Civic Theatre that night Rush was added onto the bill.


Bug and Rick both commented after Rush’s performances that KISS had a challenge ahead of them trying to outdo Rush. Then KISS came on. KISS saw, they conquered and left the theatre victorious. Basically, after the show, Bug and Rick were, ‘Rush who?’. They became KISS Army members that night.
 
One cool thing about that night, which I only discovered a couple months ago, was that future KISS drummer Eric Singer (from Cleveland) was there that night as well and had front row seats! He was all of 17 years old. If he only knew what lay ahead for him! (Currently Eric Singer, still a part of KISS, is on tour with Alice Cooper). Who knows, the way those doobies were being passed up and down the isles maybe we shared a toke on one.


Another good one that year was on November 19, 1975 with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. I saw them again in Cleveland but that night at Akron Harvey was insane. He lived up to his reputation, we’ll put it that way.

Another highlight at the Akron Civic was on December 10 when Artful Dodger headlined. The band was great, the whole night was perfect and a lot of it had to do with the company I was keeping that night. Nuff said!
 
I’ll never forget those nights at the Akron Civic Theatre. Some nights it seemed like every rocker from Orrville was there. Akron used to really rock in the 70’s and we’d go to the Civic and the theatre at the University of Akron for shows and would often make trips up to visit Arsenic & Old Lace, a killer record shop and head shop where we often bought concert tickets.


That KISS concert memory came back to me twenty years later when attending Daytona International Speedway for the first time for a NASCAR race. The sheer force of the cars coming off turn four and down the front straight as you stand along the fence, at 200 MPH plus, is incredible with the pounding and vibrations against your chest so very evident and exhilarating. It was the first time I felt such a powerful force of noise physically since that April 8, 1975 night at the Akron Civic Theatre when KISS’ sound system beat the hell out of us. I can vividly remember the shockwave pounding on my chest from that stack of Marshalls and all those pyro explosions.
 
Damn, I miss those days!
 
Visit: http://www.akroncivic.com

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Born To Boogie, Indeed!

July 29, 2008
The cover of the BORN TO BOOGIE deluxe DVD set. Buy it!

The cover of the BORN TO BOOGIE deluxe DVD set. Buy it!

 My all time favorite film is A HARD DAY’S NIGHT featuring the Beatles. My second all-time favorite film is BORN TO BOOGIE despite having only seen it once, back in 1974 and then again in late ’77. It took from ’77 until 2006 until I was able to see it again when it was released in a deluxe DVD package.
 
I recall reading about it when it was first released back in the early 70’s in CIRCUS, CREEM, HIT PARADER and ROLLING STONE magazines and then remember a couple months later that myself and others were pissed because we read in (Cleveland) SCENE that it wasn’t going to be distributed in the USA. Until 1974 and I caught it. And then one Saturday evening circa late 1977 a buddy, myself and two dates were headed to Cleveland for dinner and a night out when an advertisement on the radio announced a special one-night only Midnight showing of BORN TO BOOGIE at the Mellett Mall theatre in Canton, OH. I freaked! Needless to say we ate, had fun in Cleveland and then headed south to Canton to catch the film.

 

Marc Bolan - The man behind T.Rex and T.Rextasy!

Marc Bolan – The man behind T.Rex and T.Rextasy!

 

Wish they had camcorders then cause I would have bootlegged it.

And then, decades later, they finally released it in the USA on DVD.

It’s a great film and really showcases Marc Bolan as a true rock ‘n roll star. Hell, he epitomized being what a true rock star was (no one has/had more fun being a ‘rock star’ on stage than Bolan and perhaps Paul Stanley).
 
Directed by Ringo Starr, who makes several appearances (along with Elton John), it’s basically a concert film interspersed with some sublime segments. Also in the package are two T.Rex concerts and a killer documentary hosted by Bolan’s son Rolan Bolan.
 
Worth the price of admission!
 
You can find out more about it here: http://www.borntoboogie.net

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