|1978 Todd Rundgren (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
During this year's Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Michele at Angel's Bark for the letter "C" wrote about concerts she had attended. Her post brought to mind some of my own concert memories. In my comment response to her post I suggested that I might use her idea as an occasional series topic. This post will be the first of a sporadic series that will most likely correspond to Battle of the Bands posts that you will find on my blog Tossing It Out. If you haven't visited to vote on my current Battle I hope you will drop by before Sunday evening September 21st at which time I will tally the votes to come up with the most favorite artist of the two I've presented. The winner will be announced on my post of Monday the 22nd.
The Sounds of the Silent
Many of us undoubtedly have fond memories of concerts we've attended. Most of mine come from my college years and the decade or so that came after those years. I had more time to spare, less obligations to care about, and more friends who were more than willing to join me in my concert experiences. Actually there were more than a few concerts that I attended by myself since my eclectic music interests took me to events that no one else I knew was willing to join me.
Another of the reasons that I attended so many concerts was that they were relatively cheap--anywhere from free to five or six dollars. The big concerts with two to three big acts averaged about five dollars each. I don't recall paying for parking for most of these, but if we did pay to park the fee was only a dollar or less. A concert night was not a huge outlay of cash even considering I was only making $1.75 to $2.50 an hour at the job I worked during my off school hours.
One of the more outstanding concerts (they were almost all outstanding for that matter) was in May of 1972 with the line-up of the headliner Alice Cooper, the band Free, and Todd Rundgren with The Hello People backing him up. Alice Cooper was the draw for most attendees--I was certainly an avid fan. Free was a bonus. Their song "All Right Now" had been all over the radio as a huge hit. They rocked and would have been a great headline band.
However, the pairing of Todd Rundgren with the Hello People was the act that interested me the most. I'd already been a Rundgren fan for a few years and had a couple of his albums. But the Hello People? I owned their first two albums having found them in cut-outs and loved their music. What a surprise to find two great acts unpretentiously paired as an opening act. Being able to see Todd Rundgren in concert was definitely cool, but to see the Hello People coming to Knoxville, Tennessee was a totally unexpected treat.
I will say here that Rundgren and the Hello People delivered a great concert far exceeding any expectations I had for them. Honestly I didn't know what to expect, but the show they put on would have been enough for me. I would have been happy to sit through a couple hours of their act with no other accompanying groups.
After the coliseum lights darkened and a myriad of lighters flamed up to ignite the joints that were a staple of any rock concert back then, the stage lights came up to reveal a group of mimes. The white-faced characters began a typical mime routine. They were proficient in their mimery, but there was no clear indication as to why the mimes were there until they took to their instruments. As they broke into a jazzy tune from their second album, the Hello People broke the silence barrier and began doing what they did best--playing music.
Todd Rundgren soon joined them and the collaborative group skillfully addressed a series of some of Todd's best songs. The Hello People were solid as a back-up band. The set was too short for my tastes. As I have already noted, I could have devoted the entire evening to nothing but these fantastic musicians. But alas, the set ended all too quickly and proceeded to the next two acts.
I wish there was a filmed record of the Todd with the Hello People. There may very well be since I've run across at least one YouTube clip of them. I'd like to see the entire set as I saw it on that May night in 1972. Those concerts all went by so quickly that it's hard to remember a lot of the details.
Here's the YouTube clip that I've found:
Those concert years were great times. It was cheap entertainment compared to now when the cost of parking alone can often exceed an entire night out back in the 70's. There were many great entertainment events that I witnessed during that time. I'll try to recapture some of those memories in future posts on Wrote By Rote.
What great concert memories do you have? Were there any groups who surprised you with their presentations? What do you like best about going to hear music artists perform live?