Archive for the ‘CONCERTS & VENUES’ Category

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ROCKIN’ ON THE RIVER KEEPS ROLLING

July 1, 2012

If you’re an Ohio resident, or live within the tri-state area, or just happen to find yourself traveling through Ohio this summer and are searching for some excellent music and an outstanding, friendly, festive venue then you need to check out Rockin’ On The River, held every Friday night in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio near the Cuyahoga River and Akron. Now in its 26th season, the 2012 edition kicked off last month and is already considered a success. The series of concerts ends on August 31 with the Rolling Stones tribute band, Satisfaction.
 
There’s more than music as spectators are encouraged to stroll through the ‘midway’ area and check out the many artisans & food vendors. All of this and not one penny is charged for admission to the events.
 
After running successfully for a number of years, the Rockin’ On The River concept got a real kick in the pants and upgraded in a myriad of ways when local entrepreneur Bob Earley was tabbed as the event’s coordinator. But he’s much more than that. Earley oversees all aspects of the events each year and is one of the best promoters around. But he has plenty of experience.

Promoter Bob Earley

Over the decades in northeast Ohio and the Akron area specifically Bob Earley has established himself as a personable, high-energy, honest, dedicated and civic-minded patron of rock & roll and the region. For probably four decades now Earley has been a successful club owner and businessman and has more energy, talent and chutzpah than most men half his age. He can get the job done.
 
He could write a book! And I’d buy one!
 
The area in Cuyahoga Falls that serves as the location for Rockin’ On The River utilizes an amphitheatre, large stage area and a 4,050 square foot pavilion. Sometimes just under 100 tents are used. They have permanent seating for nearly 300 and standing room for 1,000. It’s not unusual for the Rockin’ On The River events to attract upwards of 6,000 per Friday night.


 Each Rockin’ On The River concert is held on Friday nights (see remaining schedule below) and among some of the highlights include upcoming appearances by Almost Queen, the premier Queen tribute band, on Friday July 13, Dashboard Lights (Meatloaf Tribute band) on Friday July 20, the aforementioned Rolling Stones tribute band, Satisfaction on Friday August 31 and many others. The shows start at 5:30 PM with the opening act and run until midnight.

Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens

One standout event that will be a popular gig is the Friday August 17 Rockin’ On The River concert with headliner and hometown star Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, formerly of Judas Priest, who will perform an All-Star Jam when the famed area singer brings in five of his famous rock ‘n roll comrades to shake the house in downtown Cuyahoga Falls. The Summit 91.3 will be sponsoring that highly-anticipated concert.
 
All for…. Free!

PANAMA – The Van Halen Tribute Band

Which is how Earley wants it. The concert series makes money off sponsorship and the many vendors who participate. Earley is all about providing a good time, in a good, positive atmosphere. You never hear of any trouble of any kind at Earley promoted concerts.
 
Earley, who was key in helping to save the American Soap Box Derby in Akron, is also a weekend talk show host (7:00 PM – 10:00 PM) on WNIR 100.0 FM in Akron. Also serving as a substitute host (he’s been on the air doing a yeoman’s work for three straight weeks as this is being written filling in for the late, beloved and legendary Howie Chizek and other hosts until a replacement for Chizek is hired), Earley is a popular fixture at WNIR with his blue-collar attitude and ‘average, every day kinda guy’ persona. The one refreshing thing about Bob Earley on the air is, he doesn’t have an agenda, he doesn’t judge, he doesn’t take sides. He’s just there to entertain and have a good time.


 And it works.

So if you’re in the northeast Ohio area on a Friday evening check out a Rockin’ On The River concert. But only if you’re interested in good music and a good time!

ZOSO – The Ulitmate Led Zeppelin tribute band

REMAINING ROCKIN’ ON THE RIVER SCHEDULE

July 6……………..The Boat Drunks (Buffett & more) w/ Human Nature
July 13…………….Almost Queen with Red Sun Rising
July 20…………….Dashboard Lights (Meat Loaf) with Big in Japan
July 27 ………….Festa Italiana
Aug 3 – Aug 12.. Cuyahoga Falls Bicentennial Celebration
August 17…………Tim “Ripper” Owens & All-Star Friends w/ Opener TBA
August 24……..….Vicious Cycle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) with Kerosene
August 31……..….Satisfaction  w/ Butch Armstrong & Armstrong Bearcat Band
 
For more information on Rockin’ On The River visit the website HERE.

(c)2012 Doc Lehman/Bangagong!

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Blast From The Past Part 2

August 25, 2011

Here is another selection of handbills (flyers) and posters and advertisements hyping some concerts I attended back in the 1970′s.  I’ll scrounge through some boxes and files and try and find more to scan and post. Some f-u-n memories looking at these! Click on images to enlarge!

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Blast From The Past

August 17, 2011

Here are a selection of handbills (flyers) and posters and advertisements hyping some concerts I attended back in the 1970’s. If there is enough interest I’ll scrounge through some boxes and files and try and find more to scan and post. Some f-u-n memories looking at these! Click on images to enlarge!

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Almost Glad I Missed It!

July 26, 2010

Saw & loved the movie (GIMME SHELTER) but ‘almost’ glad I wasn’t able to be at this one!

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The One That Started It All

September 28, 2008

This is the one that started it all. The first ever rock ‘n roll concert. The inaugural Moondog Coronation Ball hosted and promoted by Alan Freed at the Cleveland Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on March 21, 1952. Freed was the host of the popular Moondog House Rock ‘N Roll Party on WJW AM Radio that aired on Saturdays. I wasn’t around then but it would have been so cool to had been there that day to watch a phenom born. Everything you need to know about that day can be found at this Alan Freed web page.

 

Alan Freed - The Father of Rock 'N Roll

Alan Freed – The Father of Rock

 

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What Is Your ‘Dream Concert’?

September 18, 2008

Recently an email exchange with an old pal brought up an age old question that has been bandied about for years by some of us old time rockers: What one concert would you like to attend that you missed out on? I can remember being asked that back in the 70’s too. For years my standard answer was Woodstock, of course. But after seeing The Beatles’ Anthology when it originally aired on ABC and buying the DVD set, I have decided to change my dream choice to seeing The Beatles at Shea Stadium in New York back on August 15, 1965. After seeing footage repeatedly, I dunno, I’d love to have been at that gig. Sure seemed like fun!

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(Richfield) Coliseum Rock(ed)!

August 17, 2008
The Richfield Coliseum 1974 - 1994 20 years of the greatest rock 'n roll.

The Richfield Coliseum 1974 – 1994 20 years of the greatest rock ‘n roll!

 Back in the early 70’s for the most part all of us concert-goers went to see the big name acts at relatively smaller venues, like the Akron Civic Theatre, Cleveland Public Hall, Music Hall, Canton Civic Center and others. With the advent of arena rock concerts nationwide northeast Ohio got their own when in 1974 the Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, OH, halfway between Akron & Cleveland and the brainchild of businessman and NBA franchise owner Nick Mileti, opened for business and served as home for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, WHA’s Cleveland Crusaders, NHL’s Cleveland Barons, MISL’s Cleveland Force, MISL & NPSL’s Cleveland Crunch, the IHL’s Cleveland Lumberjacks, and the AFL’s Cleveland Thunderbolts.
 
Music, particularly rock ‘n roll, figured prominently into the mix thanks to an arrangement with Ohio super-promoters Belkin Productions. The first musical performance to open the Richfield Coliseum was Frank Sinatra. The first rock concert was held soon after with Elton John headlining on November 4, 1974. From there on out during the next two decades it was a non-stop carousel of nearly ever and any band that had a tour bus coming to play the ‘big house’ (seating 22,000).
 
It was a big, big place but, and others may disagree, for the most part the acoustics weren’t that bad (except anytime Aerosmith played). And me and my pals, and dates, and whoever else, were there for the best bands. For instance: KISS, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, The Who, J. Geils Band, Queen, Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, Ian Hunter & Mick Ronson, Rod Stewart, Thin Lizzy, Tubes, Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Foghat, Starz, Sammy Hagar, Boston, Ted Nugent, Babys, Rick Derringer, Angel, Peter Frampton, Black Oak Arkansas, Journey, Michael Stanley Band, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Mother’s Finest, Heart, REO Speedwagon, ZZ Top, Cheap Trick, and the list goes on and on.
 
Most of my experiences were all positive. The police and security were pretty cool as long as you weren’t obvious or just a dumbass. There were plenty of restrooms with the mandatory pools of piss-on-the-floor of course and lots of eye candy and easy access to seats.
 
And you also had the opportunity over the years to see certain favorite bands multiple times.
 
Some of my memories of the Richfield Coliseum:
 
A big brouhaha immediately after the 1974 Elton John concert erupted when Richfield Zoning Commissioner Richard Crofoot went ballistic after seeing someone light up a joint during Sir Elton’s performance. He attempted to pass legislation to ban rock concerts at the Coliseum. He failed. It made all the local newspapers and regional and national rock publications.

My cousin Sue had two extra tickets to the Eagles in 1975 so I snatched them up for myself and a date. We ended up sitting next to my cousin and her date, a young fellow who eventually became a Mayor, State Representative and State Senator here in Ohio. (Dan Fogelberg, who recently passed, was opening act).


KISS mania had taken hold at high schools all across Ohio and everyone had KISS Alive and Destroyer. We hardcore KISS fans had everything they had done of course. For the March 9, 1976 KISS/Artful Dodger appearance at the Richfield Coliseum Flash and I went to the Ticketmaster location at the Belden Village Mall and bought three complete rows of seats. One row was around six rows below the other two rows. So we went to Orrville and sold most of them (at cost) to our pals (so we could control who we sat with). I had people in school (my senior year) who never spoke to me coming up asking if I had any tickets left and pleading for one. The power! A few tickets we gave away to some very charming young ladies and we kept two each. (I’d tell you the ‘details’ of that night but I have five grandchildren who may read this someday.)

Led Zeppelin on January 24, 1975 that saw a mini-riot erupt and thousands and thousands of dollars worth of broken window glass by a group outside who were unable to get tickets. That made the papers.

The Who on December 9, 1975. Nuff’ said.

I think I saw Aerosmith there at least four times at the Coliseum and only once was the sound working right and you could actually hear the band. Guess they were just jinxed there.
 
After a Ted Nugent/J.Geils Band show Bug, Mott & myself shaking hands with Peter Wolfe. As we came out of the Coliseum we walked by a couple limos and in the back of the first one with the window down was Peter Wolfe sitting between two lovely ladies with a drink in hand. We stopped, told him, “You guys kicked ass!” His response? “I know!” He slapped us each a high five and off we went.

I remember the Foghat/Starz show on February 20, 1978 because my pal Rog caught a flying drumstick from Foghat drummer Roger Earl. The two bands always kicked ass live.
 
I remember not expecting much out of Rod Stewart on November 4, 1977 because he didn’t have Faces with him (they were killer in ’75 at the Stadium). Wrong. Stewart kicked ass that night, had everyone out of their seats and had the audience n the palm of his hand.

Led Zeppelin on April 27 and April 28, 1977. Tickets were available via mail order only with a minimum number of tickets per order. So Flash and I got our money orders prepared and each ordered the maximum number allowed for both nights. We went to the Richfield Post Office and at midnight of the date orders could be postmarked we dropped our order in the mail (along with probably 100 others lined up). We got lucky and each got four tickets for both nights. First night was with dates, second night with buddies. The April 27 performance is a huge bootleg bestseller on the black market. Full details on this night can be found here: https://doclehman.wordpress.com/2008/03/09/

New Year’s Eve 1977 was celebrated at the Richfield Coliseum seeing Todd Rundgren’s Utopia and Derringer. A friendly law enforcement officer stopped us on the way home and inquired about our health and sent us on our way after promises of getting to Orrville ASAP and staying there. Derringer owned the night.
 
I remember taking three or four people for their first Angel concert on March 8, 1978 and them being blown away by Angel’s stage show.

I remember the January 8, 1978 KISS concert at the Richfield Coliseum because it took 20-25 minutes to get there and after the show we went to the car to be greeted by a mountain of snow. We had two blizzards that year (the second one, even bigger, in March) and the night of KISS was the first one. It took nearly three hours to get home, dodging sliding cars going backwards down Route 21 past us as I kept the hammer down on the Cutlass trying to get up those big hills with what seemed like five feet of snow and more coming down. We made it back to Orrville and were snowed in for three days.

I remember seeing Alice Cooper again later that year in ’78 because that was the first concert my older sister Cheryl had ever been to (we broke her in with that one!). That was May 5 and Jay Ferguson opened. A good time was had by all, as is the case anytime you see Alice Cooper.

Boston and Sammy Hagar on my birthday in 1978. Boston was good but Sammy laid the smackdown.

In 1978 went to see Black Sabbath and Van Halen. Had heard maybe one or two Van Halen songs on the radio at that point and none of us that went gave them much thought. We were there for Sabbath. Result: Van Halen whipped Black Sabbath performance-wise and musically like a bastard redheaded stepchild.

New Year’s Eve 1978 at the Richfield Coliseum: Bruce Springsteen. Nuff’ said.
 
Ian Hunter & Mick Ronson on September 22, 1979. One of my favorite concerts at the Coliseum. Too many reasons to list. But what a night!

Ian Hunter & the late, great Mick Ronson

Ian Hunter & the late, great Mick Ronson

There’s more, lots more (Tubes, Babys), but you get the idea. I’d like to hear from others about their experiences at the Richfield Coliseum.


 I know I saw well over 100 bands there during the 70’s and very early 80’s. A couple performances I missed that I always regretted were not seeing George Harrison (’74) and Paul McCartney (’76) on their respective tours because tickets were mail order and my orders didn’t get picked. I also went as far as making plans to buy tickets to see Elvis in 1977. One of my cousins saw him at the Coliseum in ’75 and convinced me I had to see him at least once. But right before the Cleveland tickets went on sale he died.
 
Lots of good memories there and lots of good bands came through many times. I think I saw KISS there four or five times, Aerosmith the same, Alice Cooper four times, Fleetwood Mac four times, the list goes on….
 
With the opening of Gund Arena in Cleveland the Richfield Coliseum was doomed. It shut down in 1994 and in 1999 was demolished and the property returned to woodland and under stewardship of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  You can find more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richfield_Coliseum  


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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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Chippewa Lake: A Baby Boomer’s Paradise

February 23, 2008

 

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Back in the 1960s and 1970s when I was growing up there was a spring/summer tradition that brought a gathering of the tribes, if you will, to a place called Chippewa Lake Amusement Park located in Chippewa Lake, Ohio. A well known and impressive amusement park that began life in 1878, by the time the swinging 60’s arrived there was an annual ‘Fan Appreciation Day’ that was at first hosted and sponsored by the famed WIXY 1260 AM radio station and then later hosted by WHLO 640 AM radio and each station brought in some of the biggest names in rock n roll for performances.

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My first visit there was in the mid-1960’s sometime when I was staying with an aunt and uncle for several weeks. One day we went to Chippewa Lake Amusement Park to drop my cousin and her friend off and decided to stay awhile. While I was fairly young I remember having a lot of fun on the rides, eating the good food and checking out the lake and then I heard the music! I know that song! From the spacious ballroom came the thundering and melodic sounds of Tommy James & The Shondells!

 

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 Throughout the 60’s annually top bands would come in to Chippewa Lake when that appreciation day was first known as the Galaxy of Stars Teen Fair. During the 60’s those lucky enough to attend could see, among the top local and regional bands, such national acts as the aforementioned Tommy James and The Shondells, the Outsiders, Music Explosion, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Neil Diamond, Left Banke, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Chylds and many, many others. Cost? Anywhere from 50 cents to a buck and a half would get you in for a full day of music and fun.

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 Somewhere around 1970 I returned with my pals and made it an annual trek during the 70’s. In fact, it often seemed the entire town of Orrville would show up among the thousands of others from the neighboring towns and cities. My first time back there as a teenager was to see Alice Cooper and in the ensuing years bands and performers such as Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Glass Harp and many others made their way to Chippewa Lake Park. 

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One of my fondest memories attending WHLO Fan Appreciation Day came in 1973 when a large caravan of cars left Orrville and headed about 20 minutes north to Chippewa Lake Amusement Park. It was a hot, sunny day, perfect weather, probably a dozen cars and vans from Orrville packed with people parked together and I had a very special young lady with me that day named Lauren, a beautiful, beautiful, classy young lady who made the day special. She was better than I deserved.

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The radio station also had several promotions going and the one I remember each year was when they would drop probably hundreds of ping pong balls with prizes on them, usually a 45 record of which I won several. Each time I attended, with a sweltering mass of thousands of people, was a positive experience. How could a teenager go wrong with beautiful weather, a first class amusement park, terrific food, a friendly staff, some of the best rock n roll music and thousands of pretty girls everywhere you looked?  

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Alas, Chippewa Lake Amusement Park is no longer in existence. After 100 years the park shut down in 1978 and has been idle since then. Unfortunately, the ornate ballroom was victimized on June 13, 2002 when vandals set fire to it. But when it was alive and well, it was booming and thriving and a wonderful place for baby-boomers to create memories. And I have plenty! 

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For more on Chippewa Lake Amusement Park visit: Chippewa Lake There is also an active & passionate Yahoo Group devoted to Chippewa Lake Amusement Park: Chippewa Lake Yahoo Group

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Contact Doc at: DocLehman99@gmail.com

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1970’s Outdoor Rock Concerts/Festivals: How Did I Survive?

February 14, 2008

1970’s Outdoor Rock Concerts/Festivals: How Did I Survive? – Doc Lehman

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge!

The Rolling Stones’ stage.

Back in the 1970’s if I wasn’t at a race track I was at a rock concert. In fact, my fever for rock ‘n roll was at thermo-nuclear proportions throughout the 70’s and I must have seen over 100 bands during that decade, many of them three, four, five, six and more times each! I recall seeing Aerosmith five times in one year once. And while my regular haunts to see rock concerts was usually the Akron Civic Theatre, Cleveland Public Hall, Allen Theatre, Music Hall, Cleveland Agora, Canton Civic Center and the Richfield Coliseum, I also attended numerous outdoor ‘festivals’ during the 70’s.

My run of huge outdoor rock concerts during the 70’s began in 1972. After the huge success of Montery Pop Festival and Woodstock in the 60’s, and despite the 60’s ending concert at Altamont Speedway with the Rolling Stones, big outdoor concerts or ‘festivals’ became the norm for much of the 70’s and my buddies and I were all for them.
 
1972:

After returning to Ohio in June after a three-month stay in Colorado I was lucky enough to attend several outdoor mega-concerts with my cousin Sue who is about six years older than I. My first outdoor concert was at the Akron Rubber Bowl on July 3 for The Faces and Badfinger and then a few days later on July 11, 1972 featuring the Rolling Stones with Stevie Wonder as support.

The Faces with Rod Stewart totally rocked the joint and Badfinger had a real good recepetion. It was my first ‘mega-concert’ and it hooked me. The icing on the cake came a week later when the Rolling Stones invaded the Akron Rubber Bowl.  By then I knew it was only rock ‘n roll, but I sure as hell liked it!


What was memorable most about this concert were all the details we learned afterwards. There was a riot going on! Apparently, according to the media the day after, police busted a little more than two dozen people for drug offenses and that incited a large portion of the crowd that was aware of what was happening. It was quite a scene and we later found out about the number of arrests and that seven police officers were injured. 42,000 rockers were there and yes, the massive numbers blew this then 14-year-old away!


Luckily my parents didn’t find out about the ‘hippie riot’ and the following month, August 5, 1972 to be exact, my cousin, her friend and my pal Mike H., were headed back to the Rubber Bowl for the Alice Cooper School’s Out show. Supporting acts were Dr. John and the J. Geils Band.   

Dr. John was better than I expected and prior to J. Geils starting their session lead singer Pete Wolfe came out on a Harley-Davidson, parked it center stage, bellowed something now forgotten to the crowd and it was on! I was a J. Geils Band fan from that day onward.

Alice Cooper was great. He had all the original members and the stage act was more than I expected. The hanging, the snake, ripping up huge Alice posters and throwing them into the crowd, throwing handfuls of dollar bills into the crowd and the musical performance just kicked ass all the way. The highlight was during the School’s Out encore when a helicopter flew overhead, started slowly circling the perimeter of the stadium and then strangely these white things started flowing out of the copter and floating down to the crowd.

Akron Rubber Bowl

My pal Mike was lucky enough to catch one and they turned out to be faux ‘lace’ panties with A.C. ’embroidered’ on them.

So cool.

The following week at the Rubber Bowl I was offered tickets but declined. Just couldn’t get into Yes and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. And who the hell was that warm-up act the Eagles?

A couple weeks later it was return trip to the Rubber Bowl for the Jefferson Airplane and damned if I can remember the support acts (it was one of those days, ya know?). What I do remember is partway through the Airplane’s gig something happened, didn’t know what at the time but there was a ruckus happening up front and then onstage. Next thing we knew swarms of police were headed for the front of the stage and this strange ‘smoke’ started filtering through the air.

It was tear gas as we soon found out the hard way. We left.

A couple weeks later Rolling Stone magazine reported the details of what happened (as did the local newspapers but not in as much detail). Long story short, apparently the tour manager got into it with the police and started shouting and calling them ‘pigs’. The cops were antsy because of a supposed bomb threat that was phoned in prior to the concert. It was on then and then the rocks started being heaved towards the cop cars.

Naturally band members went to assist their associate and when it was all over Grace Slick and Paul Kanter were maced and Jack Cassady was not only maced but hauled off to jail literally kicking and screaming.

I’m not sure but I think that was the last rock concert at the Akron Rubber Bowl until the late 80’s or early 90’s when Bob Dylan and Tom Petty played there. (I didn’t go to that one.)

1973:

The following year outdoor concerts were still available just not in Akron. Massillon, OH, home of Paul Brown Stadium, was the next venue to pick up the gauntlet and despite objections from the local police department and the Fraternal Order of Police I got to see the Edgar Winter Group, James Gang and Frampton’s Camel at Paul Brown Stadium just ten miles or so from home on July 21, 1973. Around 12,000 attended and it went off pretty much without a hitch.

But a week later another concert was scheduled for Paul Brown Stadium that I HAD to see! Mott The Hoople, one of my favorite bands of the 70’s (and still today) was coming to headline along with the New York Dolls, Rainbow and Dr. Hook. I think half of my hometown of Orrville, OH turned out for that one. Everything seemed to go along just fine, the music was great, Rainbow was exceptional, the Dolls were insane and Mott The Hoople just, plainly speaking, kick-ass. What a show!

Ian Hunter & Overend Watts of Mott The Hoople

Later we found out that there were an abundance of calls to the police for a variety of complaints and reasons (to wit; drug overdoses, 5 men injured, 1 car theft, 1 grand larceny, 1 attempted grand larceny, 28 calls for trouble) and the City of Massillon banished concerts from Paul Brown Stadium after that.

It was fun while it lasted.
 
1974:

When 1974 rolled around Belkin Productions in Cleveland had scored a deal with Cleveland Municipal Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns and Indians, to stage rock concerts they dubbed ‘World Series of Rock’. The World Series of Rock were held for six years and I went to a majority of them.

The first World Series of Rock was held on June 23, 1974 featuring The Beach Boys with Lynyrd Skynyrd, REO Speedwagon & Joe Walsh. I didn’t have much interest in the Beach Boys but a buddy, Tim, was into them so we went. Skynyrd, REO and Joe Walsh were all good but I don’t remember much about the Beach Boys (it was the 70’s, ya know!).


The second one of 1974 that I attended was held on August 31, 1974 and headlined Crosby, Stills Nash and Young and damn if I can remember who the support acts were (another lost ticket stub!). I barely remember CSN&Y playing but I remember Neil Young being ‘so cool’ on stage.

Had tickets for the ELP headlined World Series of Rock but didn’t make it. The boss wouldn’t let me off work that day!

1975:

On June 1, 1975 my buddy Bill Evans and I headed off for Bowling Green University’s Doyt Perry Stadium in his Volkswagon for the Poe Ditch Music Festival that featured Golden Earring, Johnny Winter, Montrose, Styx, the Outlaws, Richie Havens, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Pure Prairie League.

Montrose in concert at Poe Ditch.Big crowd at Poe Ditch.

A hot day baking under the sun, but we were maybe 20 feet center from the stage on the football field surrounded by friendly and generous concert goers and one young lady in particular who spent most of the day topless. Never was a big Nitty Gritty Dirt Band or Pure Prairie League fan, or so I thought, but they put on a good show. The original Styx line-up was on hand and they were mildly OK and Montrose just kicked ass and Richie Havens impressed the hell out of me.

Guitarist Ronnie Montrose performs at the Poe Ditch Music Festival at the Doyt Perry Stadium on June 1, 1975.

An swarm of concert-goers crowd Doyt Perry Stadium for the Poe Ditch Music Festival on June 1, 1975. Of the estimated 33,000-40,000 people in the crowd, only 3,300 were students. Even worse, there was only one law enforcement offiver for every 6,000-7,000 people, as stated by then Wood Country Sheriff Raymond Coller in a BG News Article dated June 3, 1975.

But right as Golden Earring was getting ready to go on stage a thunderstorm hit and everything came to a screeching stop and that, putting it mildly, pissed a good portion of the crowd off. Thinking it was cancelled they launched beer bottles at the stage.We made our way through the crowd, headed for the parking lot and walked right past Johnny Winter who had just arrived. As we approached the car a group of fans set the press box on fire in protest and that was the end of rock concerts there.   NOTE: Awhile back there was an article published in a newspaper in the Bowling Green, OH area about the Poe Ditch Music Festival 35 years later. You can read it HERE.

On June 20, 1975 with nothing to do and no tickets, Flash talked me into heading to Pittsburgh for the Pink Floyd concert at Three Rivers Stadium. It was sold out but we found a deal with a scalper and took the show in. Never a fan, I went for the party and eye candy and actually had a good time. They be crazy in Pittsburgh but friendly as I recall.

 

 

 

 We were right down on the field not too far from the front of the stage, it was h-o-t as hell and the women were looking good (and nearly naked). 33 years later my memories consist of Aerosmith kicking ass with Steven Tyler wearing a skintight black outfit with a black cape! He looked like Batman but it was one of Aerosmith’s better gigs that I have seen. Foghat were awesome, Jim Dandy and Black Oak were insane and I recall Blue Oyster Cult getting a great reception. 

 

 

 

 

 A couple weeks later it was back to Cleveland Stadium for another World Series of Rock on August 23, 1975 that headlined Rod Stewart & the Faces. I had wanted to see the Faces for a long time and finally got my chance and it was worth the wait. Rod Stewart had 80,000 people on their feet all singing and dancing in unison. Stewart & the Faces gave an incredible performance that day in spite of performing in such a huge facility. Support acts were Aerosmith, Uriah Heep, Blue Oyster Cult & Mahogany Rush. All bands were great and I remember the lead guitarist Mick Box playing awesome lead guitar with a broken wrist and a cast on. 

’75 World Series of Rock headlining The Faces & Rod Stewart

Another shot ffrom The Faces headlining World Series of Rock

1976:    Outdoor concerts were minimal for me that year as a full time job hauling milk and a steady girlfriend kept me at bay for the most part (except for LOTS of indoor concerts at the aforementioned venues mentioned at the beginning of this missive). One outdoor concert that was highly enjoyable was the Mosquito Dam Jam near Warren & Cortland, Ohio at Mosquito Lake.   

Banner made for the occasion by Cindy Morelle & her posse of Orrville chicks.

The Mosquito Dam Jam was headlined by Blue Oyster Cult on August 28, 1976 with support acts Bob Seger, Starz, J. Geils Band, and I think Derringer and Styx (another lost ticket stub and fading memory, plus had a r-e-a-l good time that day!). This was another gig that seemed to have everyone from Orrville and Wayne County there as I recall. Another outdoor concert happened near Tiffin, OH (no ticket stub remains and I can’t remember the date). I only have vague memories of this but some enterprising promoters rented a farm with lots of wide-open land and off a bunch of us from Orrville went in Flash’s Lincoln Continental Mark IV (and a caravan of other cars followed). All we had was a flyer to go on and eventually we found the place but played hell getting to it. We had to park the car in a field, then walk through another large field, walk through some woods, cross a creek (no bridge), climb up a hill and at the crest was wide-open spaces and a huge stage.I don’t remember all of the bands but Foghat headlined over Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Mitch Ryder and several other bands. A good time was had by all which accounts for my cloudy memories and lack of specifics.  

1977:  

1977 was a busy year of attending outdoor concerts at Cleveland Stadium. Most of the concerts drew close to 80,000 people. On June 5, 1977 we planned to see Aerosmith headline the World Series of Rock but they cancelled and Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes came on board with Ted Nugent, Nazereth and Todd Rundgren. 

Legendary Murray Saul of WMMS getting the crowd primed to ‘GET DOWN!!!’

1978: A ‘family tragedy’ you can call it kept me away from the July 1, 1978 World Series of Rock with the Rolling Stones setting an attendance record at 83,000. Tickets were a whopping $12.50. Kansas (yawn, according to a friend whom I gave the tickets to) were the support act. 

  1979:
 
My only World Series of Rock for 1979 came on July 28, 1979 with 80,000 jammed in for a bill that consisted of Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Journey, Thin Lizzy and AC/DC. The top three all put on a good show but I recall being extra impressed with Thin Lizzy and AC/DC that day as I didn’t have the chance to see them too often.

 1980:   Even though 1980 wasn’t part of the 70’s I attended my last two outdoor concerts that year. As you can see going through this as the 70’s dwindled down towards the 80’s my outdoor concert attendance began to wane and that was due to marriage and a couple of kids. 

Legend Valley!

A couple weeks later it was back to Cleveland for another World Series of Rock that was held on July 19 and headliner Bob Seger put on one of the best concerts I had ever seen him do. More amazing because of the size of the venue he nonetheless had the place rockin’ along with J. Geils Band, Def Leppard & Eddie Money. 

 ©2008/2012 Doc Lehman/Bangagong! 

NOTE: I would encourage everyone to read the comments left here. Some great, funny & entertaining stories from other folks’ adventures at outdoor rock concerts. 

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My Last Rock Concert Promotion

February 14, 2008

Way back in the early to mid-1970’s local and regional bands were plentiful here in north central and northeast Ohio as were the venues for them to ply their trades. Having known about such successful and famed concert promoters like Bill (Fillmore) Graham and others the thought would come across my mind (and some of my buddies) that it would be a cool way to make money.

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Hell, the Belkin brothers with their Belkin Productions were getting rich in the Cleveland-Akron area.

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My first experience in ‘promoting’ a ‘concert’ was very, very basic. In the spring of 1977 as my kid brother and then-girlfriend were about to graduate I thought a celebration would be in order. Enlisting the help of my pal Rick G. we rented out the Sportsman Club that is located several miles outside of town, hired a local band (named ‘Soily’) and proceeded to sell tickets for the graduation ‘party’.

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It was a hit!

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The people turned out in big numbers and hell, we paid the band more than they ever received and we even had money left over after the rent was paid. Of course we took our profits from that night and sent someone on a beer run and spent the few hundred we made buying beer for everyone but hey, it was fun and it could work.

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We did a couple more ‘shows’ at the Sportsman Club until one night when the Sheriff’s Department showed up to tell us to turn it down. The one ‘mistake’ we made was having good friend Bug Jones, already fairly liquored up, work the door to take everyone’s $2.00 admission. When the deputies showed up Bug refused admission until they each paid $2.00 and needless to say, it took some real talking and sweating from me to get them to take off the cuffs and let Bug go.

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They did.

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After that on one or two occasions myself and others would rent a farmer’s field (or just show up unannounced) and bring in a couple bands and party all night for a small fee from everyone. We could always get the best bands from a two or three county area (there were a lot of bands back then) and have our own mini-Woodstock for a weekend.

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The last concert I was involved in took place at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, OH. A couple years prior someone rented the track and held a concert and it flopped due to the concert promoters acting like the Gestapo and…gasp…not allowing anyone to bring in beer! People were pissed for a long time over that deal and maybe we should have re-thought the location but myself, my kid brother and a fellow named Doug M., from Wooster, calling our ‘company’ Stone Valley Productions, plowed ahead and hired a ‘big name’ band for the show, Savoy Brown.

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Now Savoy Brown was and is an awesome band.

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Fronted by the great Kim Simmonds the British band started in the mid-1960’s as an excellent blues-rock band and over the years various members went on to other things, including three of the four founding members of Foghat (yep, ‘ol Lonesome Dave, God rest his soul, was part of Savoy Brown). I had nearly all of their records and they had name recognition.

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The details are too fuzzy to remember but at the time for several months there was some type of legal wrangling going on with Simmonds and either management or his record company and when we were about to start advertising the concert we were informed that we had to use the name Kim Simmons Band instead of Savoy Brown, although we could use the term: Formerly Savoy Brown in the advertising.

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So we went ahead, did all the work, took care of a million logistics and finally had the concert on September 1, 1979 at Wayne County Speedway.

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We hauled in two semi-truck trailers for a stage, brought in Rodney Ray as security (he did a fine job!) and had us a concert with a big name star.

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We had a pretty decent crowd although we lost a few bucks due to two of our ticket takers stealing us blind (we still remember their names!) but what a weekend! I had never been so exhausted and wore out as the three days of non-stop work and no-sleep kicked my ass.

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But it was fun!

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And Kim Simmonds was one bad ass on that guitar. What a show! He was simply amazing and put on an hour and a half show that rocked the speedway and everyone there. He also had one hell of a crew of roadies and if I didn’t have kids and grandkids I’d write more about them but I don’t want to ‘admit’ anything.

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Simmonds was amazing. He could rock your ass off and lay down some of the thickest, coolest blues licks you could ever hope to hear. And what he did to that guitar with that bottle of beer….what a show!

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We brought in two of the better local bands to play support. One was called Broke and they were very professional. I don’t remember any members of Broke other than band leader Craig Walton who was one of the most gifted and talented guitarists to come out of Wayne County.

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The band Damage was a great hard rock band that I spent time with. They had a great following and all of the members knew their stuff.

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Damage consisted of guitarists Jerry Kirven and Mark Good, drummer Tom ‘Bones’ Morrison, bassist Michael Johnson and singer Rick Thistlethwaite. These guys were always damn good and Simmonds even expressed positive comments on them, especially the talent and potential of bass player Michael Johnson. (Simmonds commented that Johnson in particular could go to the ‘big time’.)

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I’ll never forget how exhausting that weekend was when I finally made it home to my apartment. After a shower and a cup of coffee I could barely move. But what a blast!

 

 

 

 

We thought about doing another concert and had even gotten a contract from the book agency that represented some new band called The Cars. Now there was an idea: have a concert with he Cars at the speedway! A natural. But life, wives, babies and everything else took precedence and that show never got passed the preliminary planning stages.

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A couple years ago I made contact with Kim Simmonds and it was pretty cool that he remembered that gig at the speedway.

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We even had T-Shirts made up and my brother still has one or two left. Unfortunately I never got any photos from that day and one girl who was taking photos, Pam W., I haven’t seen since then. Would be great if she still had those photos and I could find her!

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(You can find more about Kim Simmonds/Savoy Brown by visiting: http://www.savoybrown.com)

 

Below is a copy of the flyer/poster that we used. (I made up the poster/flyers by using those infernal rub-off lettering you could find in office supply stores. This was made one-letter-at-a-time! Remember, this was before the age of computers!)

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