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December 08, 2008


Mr Mannn

WDBR, 103.7

do you remember WSMI from Litchfield (106.1)? it was pretty farm-report oriented during the day, but starting at 6 pm (this is in the early/mid-80s) it would play a lot of harder rock that didn't get airplay on WDBR (I remember Aldo Nova and Billy Thorpe being in heavy rotation....I didn't say it was especially good), mixed in with alerts as to which shifts at the Peabody mines would be on the next day...looks like it's a country station now


My first was at the New Haven Coliseum (which has long since been demolished) in 1974 or '75 and it was Bachman Turner Overdrive with Elvin Bishop, kind of an unusual pairing but both put on a good show and I was hooked on live rock.
Some of the best I remember: Rush with AC/DC- with Bon Scott on vocals- and a band called Trooper- who actually got the middle slot, go figure.
I also remember seeing Ted Nugent open for Black Sabbath and the Nuge blew Ozzy and his guys away! Osbourne kept complaining to the audience, "What's wrong, people?!" Iron Man finally got the crowd going but the night belonged to Ted Nugent. I saw Nugent 3 more times after that.
Another great one: The Who performing Quadrophenia in its entirety. Simply amazing. I have seen The Who a total of 5 times but that was the best. Townshend is still fantastic but Daltrey's voice only lasts a few songs these days.
Finally- Cheap Trick. Still amazing. Sad to say I missed them back in the late 70's/early 80's but have now seen them 9 times (including an unforgettable Sgt. Pepper show with a full orchestra at a sold out Hollywood Bowl in CA). The new Budokan DVD is great as it showed me the intensity they had in their early days. They still rock- Robin still has a wonderful voice and Rick Nielsen's antics make for a great show, but they were hungry then.

Kurt Gottschalk

Hey Mr. Mann -

Was WSMI formerly WEEE (aka W3E)? I think so. I remember W3E fondly. Their only sponsor was JOB rolling papers, as I recall, and they'd play full albums, usually mid-period Pink Floyd, it seems. Except when it was preempted by a high school basketball game.

And Ed - quite a lineup!

Scott Mercer

Not a rock concert proper first music show I believe was The De Franco Family at the Concord Hotel in the Catskills, probably at that moment the biggest venue in the Borscht Belt. They opened for comedian Alan King. (Or was it possible that Alan King opened for, not at the Concord, are you kidding me?)

I'm thinking it must have been 1974 at the height of the DeFrancos' brief fame, probably right after their two hit singles. I was 8 years old. The Concord Hotel no longer exists, petering out some time in the late 1980's. There's some recent pictures of it on the internet: a bombed-out shell of its former self, sinking into oblivion; the deep shag carpeting ripped up and plants growing in the indoor swimming pool. I can still hear the echoes in my mind of elderly Jews complaining about the herring.

But that was my first musical experience: a bad impression of the Osmonds' impression of the Jackson 5 in a 1950's nightclub showroom environment. I'm still not sure how I went on to enjoy music after that.


When I was 12, my mother took me to see the broadway show "Beatlemania" (at my request) at some theater in downtown Chicago, but since it was at a theater it doesn't count as a real concert,though it did get pretting loud when they played "Helter Skelter."

My first "real" concert was a couple years later in 1981. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers were giving a "free" show at the Rosemont Horizon. You could get your two "free" tickets by waiting in line on Saturday morning and buying his new album "Hard Promises." I had already bought the album the week it came out, but was willing to buy another copy to get a couple free tickets. Luckily, my friend John, who worked at the store, convinced the store owner give me free tickets if I bought a different album by Tom Petty, so I was able to complete my Petty collection by buying "You're Gonna Get It." (I already had his first and "Damn the Torpedos.") I was only 14, so it was a big deal that my parents let me and my friend John go alone. They dropped us off and picked us up. Petty puts on a good show, and I remember enjoying it.

But it was my second "real" show that really knocked me out, the Ramones at the Metro in 1983 when I was 16. It was a completely different experience than the Petty show, which was in a huge stadium and where I was in the upper deck. At the Metro, I was able to run up to the stage, which came up to my chest. When the Ramones came out, I could literally reach over and untie Dee Dee's tennis shoe if I wanted to. It was the first time I "slam danced" (it wasn't called "moshing" yet.) It was incredible. I remember jumping off my friend Scott's shoulders and flying through the air. As I flew in front of the stage, I gave Joey a thumbs up. Without missing a beat, he threw out his hand and gave me a thumbs up back. By the show's end, I was as drenched as if I had taken a shower with my clothes on, and after 4 or 5 encores, as my friend and I walked back to the car, we literally steamed in the cold Chicago night. I've been to a lot of concerts since then, but none was better, though Husker Du at the Cubby Bear a couple years later came close.

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