Posts Tagged ‘Bob Seger’

h1

‘Big Time’ Rock N Roll In A Small Town Pt. 2

August 6, 2012

Back in the 1960’s Wayne County, Ohio was your typical Midwestern rural/farming community. Amish buggies dotted the outlying areas (and even in the towns & cities.. And still do!). And you wouldn’t think a mellow-appearing rural-type county would have many, if any, rock & roll culture back then, but it did, especially the Wooster & Orrville communities.

Back in the 60’s Orrville hosted various sock hops and dances with local bands, and on occasion bigger named bands like Terry Knight & The Pack came to town, usually before or after an Upbeat TV Show taping in Cleveland. In 1979 Kim Simmonds’s Savoy Brown performed at Wayne County Speedway.

But Wooster, Ohio, the county seat of Wayne County, was at times a hotbed of live appearances during the 60’s and into the 1980’s. With plenty of local bands springing up in the wake of Beatlemania in the area, like JD and the Malibus, The Streys, Me & The Guys, The Repercussions, Spoonjobs, Olivers, Blue Steel, Blue Prynts as well as bands from neighboring counties like the Es-Shades from Ashland and Music Explosion from Mansfield.

                       The Spoonjobs, a band from Wooster, OH

Those bands, and others, brought the teenagers in to local venues, like school gyms, the Wooster Armory and the YMCA. But bigger named regional and national acts performed during the 60’s at both the YMCA and Wooster Armory. Bands like the Amboy Dukes with Ted Nugent, the James Gang with Joe Walsh, Glass Harp, The Outsiders, Terry Knight & The Pack, Damnation of Adam Blessing and the Bob Seger System, among others.

                                    Amboy Dukes w/ Ted Nugent

(Club 42, The Ranch (El Rancho Grande) in Wooster, The Dugout in Ashland, and the Mixer in Bucyrus were other venues that local & regional bands performed at.)

                                                        James Gang

Once the 70’s hit the powers that be at the College of Wooster loosened up and started bringing in national acts open to the public. I was able to catch a couple of these and the performances and venues on-campus like the Timken Gym & Lowry Center were outstanding. I can recall Vanilla Fudge playing there and a little later on Sly & The Family Stone, Spirit (saw that one!), Styx (saw that one, too) and Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express during the early years of the 70’s.

Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express

I remember wanting to see Emerson, Lake & Palmer (with opening act Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show) on April 9, 1972 but the Old Man dragged the family to Colorado just in time to miss it. However, as I later discovered the next several months or so of listening to more of their music, I never could get myself to get into ELP. Still can’t. Also passed on the Charlie Daniels Band.


One College of Wooster show I caught, at the last minute and thanks to my cousin Sue, was Ike & Tina Turner and the Ikettes on June 30, 1972. Between the band, Tina and the Ikettes, it made up for missing out on Sly & The Family Stone.


On May 13, 1974, the Beach Boys played and a friend talked me into going with dates. Went expecting to be bored, but it was a pretty good show and they were on.

My cousin got a handful of tickets for the November 3, 1974 Souther-Hillman-Furay concert. She wanted to see them because Richie Furay had just left Poco, a band we saw at the Akron Civic Theatre. Was surprised when on stage was former Derek & The Dominoes member Jim Gordon and Al Perkins and Paul Harris were in Stephan Stills’ Manassas. Livingston Taylor was the support act.

                                          Souther – Hillman – Furay

In February 1980 the Michael Stanley band, on top in northeast Ohio and surrounding regions, played at the College of Wooster’s Timken Gym to a jam packed crowd and a roof-raising performance. My kid sister, who was there, brought it up in conversation just a few days ago. The last show I attended
was David Johansen on April 22, 1983. Ronald Koal & The Trillionaires were the support act.

In the late 70’s the Wooster Theatre, originally known as the Lyric Theatre,  became the Schine’s Theater and renamed Wooster Theatre under the Shrine chain. After closing it sat dormant for a considerable length of time before local investors Henry & Chell Bishop purchased the property in 1976 put Henry Bishop in the Manager’s position.

Bishop managed to give it a facelift by renovating the restrooms, main offices, improved lighting, carpeting, painting and other improved amenities. Bishop, who also held down a full time job at White Jewelry, began showing films, offering $1 movie nights. The Bishop’s closed won the theatre in 1981 due to declining attenance but the following year leased it to Alice Schafrath who reinvented the theatre as the Theatrical Lounge and eventually brought in live entertainment, not the least of which were appearances by nationally known acts.

Theatrical Lounge

With a bar installed the Theatrical Lounge began offering a variety of entertainment, with local & regional bands like The Godz, White Horse, McGuffy Lane, Norman Nardini & The Tigers,  Link, Raising Cain, country performer Lacy J. Dalton, Diamondback,  the Chippendale’s and, of all things, Caesar The Bear, a wrestling bear that would take on all locals for a potential cash prize. One of the top names brought in was Nazareth. It eventually closed in 1988 and in 1999 the building was demolished.

You can read ‘Big Time’ Rock N Roll In A Small Town Pt.1 by clicking HERE.

Advertisements
h1

UPBEAT: TV THAT ROCKED

April 18, 2012

If you were a young person in the 1960’s and early 1970’s who loved rock ‘n roll and lived in northeast Ohio and if you were anywhere near a television on Saturday’s at 5:00 PM from 1964 – 1971 you were more than likely tuned into the Upbeat TV Show that aired weekly over Cleveland’s WEWS Channel 5. Upbeat was a weekly music program that featured the top national, international and regional bands of the day.

“It was the first show of its kind that really wasn’t a dance party,” said David Spero to WEWS not long ago. David Spero is the son of Herman Spero, producer of the WEWS program The Old Dutch Polka Review, which would later be known as Polka Varieties. “Instead of having, like American Bandstand, where they’d have Frankie Avalon come on and sing two songs, all the rest was kids dancing to the records, he said ‘Let’s have 10 acts.'”


 Upbeat was a trendsetter having appeared long before Hullabaloo, Shindig, Where The Action Is and later, In Concert, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert and the Midnight Special. It debuted on August 29, 1964 as The Big 5 Show, named so because it aired on Channel 5 at 5:00 PM on Saturdays. It was hosted by a variety of Cleveland area disc jockeys until Spero decided a permanent host was needed. Spero saw a young Don Webster hosting a Canadian dance party show and hired him to take over the soon-to-be-renamed Upbeat show.
 
After being hired by WEWS one of Webster’s first duties was to interview The Beatles during their Cleveland appearance.

                                       Don Webster & The Beatles – 1964
 
Soon after Upbeat’s popularity grew so large that Spero and WEWS began syndicating the show around the country, eventually appearing in 105 television markets.
 
Bands/performers would be brought in on a Friday and Spero, Webster and their staff would try to get them a booking at a local High School or club so they’d get some extra pay out of it.

The McCoys (Rick Derringer – left) w/ Don Webster

“We would tape it on Saturday afternoon, rehearsal started at nine, took a break at noon, came back at 1:30 and shot the show and hopefully it was done by five o’clock when you had to see it,” Spero explained. The videotape of one-hour “Upbeat” episode would be copied nine times and then sent to a station in each of the top ten markets (such as New York, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas) broadcast and then that station would sent to a station in the next lower market size, shipped or “bicycled” from market to market.

It didn’t take long for acts who appeared on Upbeat to eventually be seen nationally after a month or so of the tapes making the rounds.

Eric Burden & The Animals appeared

Over the years a virtual who’s who of national, international and regional bands performed numerous times on Upbeat, a few examples included Marvin Gaye & Tammie Terrel, Music Explosion, Velvet Underground, McCoys, Yardbirds, Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, B.B. King, John Kay, Steppenwolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, Monkees, Sonny Geraci and The Outsiders, Canned Heat, Paul Revere & The Riders, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tommy James, Sly and The Family Stone, Terry Knight and the Pack,  Johnny Nash, Billy Joe Royal, Stevie Wonder, Gene Krupa, Steam, Box Tops, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Eric Burdon, Lou Christie, The 5th Dimension, Gene Pitney, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Otis Redding, Bar-Kays, the Strawberry Alarm Clock, Fanny, Scott MacKenzie, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Circus, The Toys, American Breed, Steve Colt, The Chylds, The Fifth Estate, The Sonics, Doughboys, Pleasure Seekers, Tiffany Shade, London & The Bridges, The Debutantes, Cyrus Erie, Kickin’ Mustangs, John Sebastian and The Lovin’ Spoonful, Bob Seger, GTO’s, The Shangra-La’s, Spanky and Our Gang, Peter and Gordon, Simon and Garfunkel, Chubby Checker, Grasshoppers, Gary Puckett and Union Gap, Pete Best, Left Banke, Raven, James Gang, Eric Carmen, Choir, Damnation of Adam Blessing.

The legendary BB King

One memorable guest who appeared performed for the last time. On December 9, 1967, after appearing on the Upbeat show and doing a gig in Canton, OH, Otis Redding subsequently died in an airplane crash on the way to his next gig in Madison, WI. “The end of the show was him (Redding), with the Bar-Kays and Mitch Ryder singing ‘Knock On Wood’,” Spero said.
 
Over the years Upbeat featured several ‘house bands’ to back up solo performers. Upbeat house bands were Dave C and the Sharptones, The Grasshoppers (of which the late Ben Orr of the Cars was a member), Rapid Transit and the People’s Choice (Puzzle People).

The Cowsills

Another selling and focal point to the Upbeat show were the ‘Upbeat Dancers’ who performed during various guests’ performances. Maurice “Hank” Nystrom, who went on to national acclaim, was Upbeat’s choreographer (1968 – 1971) when the show was televised to 105 cities nationwide.

Over the years Upbeat Dancers included Jean Hagedorn. Linda Mulcahey, Arline Burks, Jacquelyn Carson, John Magill, Mary Lynn Curnayn, Arlee Gibson, Constance Gibson, Michael Ray, Linda Mulcahy, Kim Havrilla, Arline Burks, Mary Lynn Curnayn, Jacquelyn “Jackie” Carson, Peggy Miller, and Diane Rini, among others.


 After Upbeat ended in 1971 Webster remained at WEWS until his retirement in 1999. He did weather, hosted the Ohio Lottery show, Academic Challenge, The Gene Carroll Show, Bowling for Dollars and anchored Live On Five. Webster is now enjoying his retirement in South Carolina.

Mitch Ryder, Webster, Otis Redding

Ironically, Upbeat founder Herman Spero, who died in 1979 at the age young of 55, proposed to cable networks the idea of a music TV channel just before his death. HBO turned him down. Within a couple years MTV was born.

UPBEAT honored by Hall of Fame

Alex Chilton & The Boxtops appeared several times

The UPBEAT DANCERS

h1

(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  


h1

Chippewa Lake: A Baby Boomer’s Paradise

February 23, 2008

 

***

 

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.

***

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!

 

***

 

  

***

 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.

*** 

 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. 

***

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.

***

  

***

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?  

***

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! 

***

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

***

Contact Doc at: DocLehman99@gmail.com

h1

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. 

%d bloggers like this: