ISSN 1551-8086
return to home search for a contributing writer

seach for poems by title

archive of previous issues submissions information mailing list online store links to other interesting sites contact us  
   poets list
   Francisco Dominguez & Aire Celeste Norell
   Marie Lecrivain & Angel Uriel Perales
   Sheikha A.
   Steve Abee
   L. Ward Abel
   Carl Abt
   Han Adcock
   Elizabeth Addis
   Aderemi Adegbite
   Adeolu Emmanuel Adesanya
   Neil Aitken
   M.I Akande
   Shahd Al-Shemmari
   Lynn Albanese
   Nicole Alexander
   Gwyndyn Alexander
   Scott Alexander
   Alaina Renee Alexander
   Inalegwu Omapada Alifa
   Maureen Alsop
   Rafael Alvarado
   Steven Alvarez
   Keiko Amano
   Veronica An
   Amy Anderson
   Kristine Anderson
   G.D. Anderson
   Zack Anderson
   Lori Anderson-Moseman
   Grace Andreacchi
   Renae Andruse
   Arlene Ang
   Roger Angle
   Stephen Anstay
   Azure Antoinette
   Theresa Antonia
   Aurora Antonovic
   Maria A Arana
   Carlye Archibeque
   Joseph Armstead
   Feral Artist
   Baron James Ashanti
   Charlene M. Ashendorf
    Askew
   Gregory Austin
   Shawn Aveningo
   maeghanne ayers
   Goodness Lanre Ayoola
   John-Patrick Ayson
   Jim Babwe
   Sophie Bachard
   Vasile Baghiu
   Bridget Bagne
   song-hue bahk
   Michael Baker
   Prerna Bakshi
   Anna Balint
   David Banuelos
   Jared Barbick
   J. Mae Barizo
   Peter Barlow
   Matthew A. Barraza
   James Barros
   Jeni Bate
   Jonathan Beale
   Richard Beban
   Gary Beck
   Gary Beck
   Lytton Bell
   Hakim Bellamy
   Michele Beller
   Laura Bellotti
   Stefanie Bennett
   Hayley Berariu
   Lawrence Berger
   Kevin Berger
   Mike Berger, Ph.D.
   Tom Berman
   luis cuauhtemoc berriozabal
   Catherine Berry
   Nick Bertelson
    Besskepp
   Mary Rose Betten
   Cheryl Beychok
   Gwendolyn Beyer
   François Biajoux
   Heitham Black
   Jarvis Black
   Beau Blue
   Rose Mary Boehm
   Bonnie Bolling
   Julie Bolt
   Lek Borja
   Cristogianni Borsella
   Gerald Bosacker
   Amanda Boschetto
   Wendy Bourke
   Jack G. Bowman
   Jennifer Bradpiece
   Bob Bradshaw
   Marcielle Brandler
   Peter Branson
   Sumiko Braun
   Adam Bresson
   Quiana Briggs
   Jack Bristow
   paulo brito
   Alan Britt
   Michelle Brodeur
   Lynne Bronstein
   Charles Brooks
   Leah Brown
   Deborah Edler Brown
   Adam Levon Brown
   Jason Sanford Brown
   zoey brown
   Bob Browning
   Sir Mark Bruback
   MC Bruce
   Jeffrey Bryant
   Kate Buckley
   Robin M. Buehler
   Ron Burch
   Graham Burchell
   Maria Rose Burgio
   Betsy Burke
   Matt Burns
   Richard Burrill
   Tony Bush
   Zachary C. Bush
   Elissa Calvin
   Joseph Camhi
   Dana Campbell
   Velene Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Neil Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Luis Campos
   Janine Canan
   Lyn Cannaday
   Pasquale Capacosa
   Joey Capone
   Hélène Cardona
   Britton Laine Carducci
   D.J. Carlile
   Julia Carlson
   Alicia Carpenter
   Jonathan Carr
   Patricia Carragon
   Oscar Carrasco
   Jared Carter
   Michael Aaron Casares
   John Casey
   Lisa Castro
   Rachael Kelechi Caulker
   Nika Cavat
   Michael Caylo-Baradi
   Steve Ceniceros
   Michael Ceraolo
    Cerise
   Robert Cesaretti
   Cheryl Chambers
   Lita-Luise Chappell
   Shibani Chattopadhyay
   Lisa Cheby
   Beth Cheng
   Ralph-Michael Chiaia
   Juhi Chowdhury
   David Christensen
   Terry Clark
   Phil Clark
   Terry Clark
   Darice Clark
   Charles Claymore
   Jeanette Clough
   Kim Cochran
   Ed Coet
   Tobi Cogswell
   Megan Coker
   Bruce Colbert
   Karen E. Cole
   Merrill Cole
   Christopher Coleman
   Larry Colker
   Beverly M. Collins
   Christiane Conésa-Bostock
   David Concepcion
   Christiane Conesa-Bostock
   Brendan Connell
   Alice Constantine
   Jack Cooper
   Flavia Cosma
   Rachel Coventry
   R. Paul Craig
   David Cravens
   William Crawford
   Natalie Crick
   Rosemarie Crisafi
   Carla Criscuolo
   Chris Crittenden
   Benjamin Crowley
   Susan Culver
   Joe Cyr
   Jim D Babwe
   Morgaine d'Abney
   Karen Corcoran Dabkowski
   Daniel Daian
    Dalton
   Catherine Daly
   Iris Dan
   Marie Lecrivain & Daniel Gallik
   Dan Danila
   Michelle Daugherty
   Piper Davenport
   Kathrine David
   Gareth Davies
   Holly Day
   Frank De Canio
   Gregory De Feo
   Steve De France
   J de Salvo
   J. de Salvo
   kumari de Silva
   Pijush Kanti Deb
   Shalla DeGuzman
   JD DeHart
   Diane Dehler
   Aurelius Demarco
   Darren C Demaree
   Gloria Derge
   Chris Derrico
   Lea Deschenes
   Maurice Devitt
   Theo Diamantis
   Mike Dias
   Martin Dickinson
   Edward J DiMaio
   Mark Dixon
   Peggy Dobreer
   Rosemarie Dombrowski
   Francisco J. Dominguez
   Linsly Donnelly
   Lisa Helene Donovan
   Kevin Doran
   Marvin Louis Dorsey
   John Dorsey
   Marvin Dorsey
   Laura A. Lionello & Douglas Richardson
   Doug Draime
   Donelle Dreese
   Dale Duke
   Jawanza Dumisani
   Henri Dumolet
   Max Dunbar
   Robin Wyatt Dunn
   t. joseph dunn
   Tyler Dupuis
    Durenda
   Walter Durk
   Douglas Dvorkin
   Ron Dvorkin
   Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
   Alfie Ebojo aka alfie numeric
   Elisabeth Adwin Edwards
   Sabrina Edwards
   Patricia J. Edwards
   Miguel Eichelberger
   John Elison
   Julian Ellis
   Neil Ellman
   K. Eltinaé
   R.M. Engelhardt
   Margarita Engle
   Jon Epstein
   Sufi Erter
   Eli Eshaghian
   Michael Estabrook
   Alexis Rhone Fancher
   Richard Fein
   John Feins
   Emily Fernandez
   Melissa Fischer
   W.S. Fisher
   Jamie Asae FitzGerald
   Amelia Fleetwood
   Jake Fleshner
   John Jay Flicker
   David Flynn
   Arthur Charles Ford
   Liz Fortini
   Sesshu Foster
   Heather Fowler
   Clint Frakes
   Sarah Francois
   Amélie Frank
   Amelie Frank
   Alex M. Frankel
   Allie Frazier
   E.L. Freifeld
   M. Frias Frias-May
   Suzanne Frost
   Delia J. Fry
   Elliott Gabay
   Steven Gabriel
   Timothy Gager
   Daniel Gallik
   J Gamble
   Ishmael Garay
   Jerry Garcia
   Daniel Garcia-Black
   Gabriella Garofalo
   Vince Garofalo
   Yvonne Garrett
   Nelson Gary
   Donna Gebron
   Ulrike Gerbig
   Janice Gero
   Ursula T. Gibson
   Rebecca Gimblett
   Tony Gloeggler
   Steve Goldman
   Vesna Goldsworthy
   Melanie Gonzalez
   Jeffrey Graessley
   Allison Grayhurst
   Jeff Green
   Timothy Green
   Jeanie Greensfelder
   Rhoda Greenstone
   Amos Greig
   John Greiner
   John Grey
   Summer Griffiths
   Danielle Grilli
   Brian Grillo
   John Grochalski
   Wendy Grosskopf
   Andrew Grossman
   Ro Gunetilleke
   Kenneth Gurney
   John R. Guthrie
   Debashish Haar
   Erik Haber
   Hedy Habra
   Tresha Faye Haefner
   Matthias Hagedorn
   James Hall
   Tom Hamilton
   David Harrington
   William Harris
   Matt Harris
   Dawnell Harrison
   J. Alana Hauenschild
   Kari J. Hayes
   KJ Hays
   Ann L. Healey
   Eloise Klein Healy
   Jessica Healy
   Jim Heavily
   Dan Hedges
   Paul Hellweg
   Samantha Henderson
   Jack Henry
   David Herrle
   JD Heskin
   Kenneth Hickey
   Jerry Hicks
   Marvin R Hiemstra
   Ed Higgins
   Carlos Hiraldo
   Sherri Hoffman
   Guy Hogan
   Ali Hosseiny
   Dave Houston
   Nate Howard
   David Howard
   Eric Howard
   Bryon D. Howell
   A J Huffman
   Hunter Lee Hughes
   Roger Humes
   Trista Hurley-Waxali
   Elizabeth Iannaci
   Thea Iberall
   Armine Iknadossian
   Gedda Ilves
   Alegria Imperial
   Victor Infante
   Victor D. Infante
   Augustus Invictus
   Susan Irvine
   Alexandra Isacson
   Natalie Itzhaki
   Amber Jacob
   Scott Jacobson
   Larry Jaffe
   Sonika Jaggi
   Emmanuel Jakpa
   Matthew James
   Andrea Janov
   T.A. Jennings
   Ivan Jenson
   Dani Jimenez
   Alex Johnson
   Michael Lee Johnson
   Lois P. Jones
   Tao Jones
   Strider Marcus Jones
   Georgia Jones-Davis
   Jasmin Jordan
   Quentin Josephy
   Liu Jue
   Ruth Juris
   Gene Justice
   Gary Justice
   Pete Justus
   Mikel K
   Scott C. Kaestner
   Sheema Kalbasi
   Peycho Kanev
   Rachel Kann
   Jay Kantor
   Paula Sfier Kattan
   Russ Kazmierczak
   James Keane
   Gretchen Keer
   Aaron Keller
   Collin Kelley
   Kamuran Kelly
   Raud Kennedy
   Bernard Kennedy
   Kathleen Kenny
   Stephen Kerr
   Hari Bhajan Khalsa
   Just Kibbe
   Jerome Kiel
   lalo kikiriki
   Robert S King
   Ashley King
   Franklin Lafayette King
   Sofia Kioroglou
   Rusty Kjarvik
   Kenny Klein
   LeAnne Kline
   Julia Knobloch
   Deborah P Kolodji
   Tracy Koretsky
   Edith Kornfeld
   George Korolog
   Dimitris P. Kraniotis
   Thomas KrÀmer
   Mark Krewatch
   Chris Krueger
   Amanda Krut
   Gerard Kuc
   Christopher Kuhn
   Donna Kuhn
   Len Kuntz
   Craig Kurtz
   Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
   Daniel Lambert
   Anthony Langford
   Donald Langosy
   Ray Lanthier
   Phillip Larrea
   Phillip Larrea
   Kasandra Larsen
   Wolf Larsen
   Ethan Latham
   Lisa LaTourette
   Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello
   Marianne LaValle-Vincent
   Kevin Lavey
   Judith A. Lawrence
   Eric Lawson
   Richard Leach
   Marie Lecrivain
   Anne Lecrivain
   Noah Lederman
   Pete Lee
   Kevin Patrick Lee
   Emma Lee
   N.M. Leepsa
   Alexandra Leggat
   Laura LeHew
   Gary Lehmann
   Sharmagne Leland-St. John
   Kevin LeMaster
   Michal Lemberger
   Kim Leng
   Roland Lesterin
   Tiffany Lettieri
   P.A. Levy
   Martin Lewis
   Cheyenne Lewis
   Anthony Liccione
   Cynthia Linville
   Laura Lionello
   Zachary Locklin
   Jessica Lopez
   Harold Lorin
   Tess. Lotta
   B.D. Love
   Adam Lowis
   Ron Lucas
   Andrew Lundwall
   Rick Lupert
   Suzan Lustig
   Radomir Luza
   Stosh Machek
   John MacKenna
   Sarah Maclay
   Stefanie Maclin
    Magdalena
   Gary Maggio
   Holly Magill
   Anthony Magistrale
   Marieta Maglas
   Suvi Mahonen
   Donal Mahoney
   Robert Maiolo
   Kelly Ann Malone
   Michael Malota
   Shahé Mankerian
   Angela Consolo Mankiewicz
   Chris Mansell
   H.E. Mantel
   April-May March
   Rick Marlatt
   John Marshall
   Agnes Marton
   Francis Masat
   Lee Mason
   Anthony Mason
   Hyatt Mason
   Johnny Masuda
   Mira N. Mataric
   Ellyn Maybe
   Michelle Mazzetti
   Mary L. Mazzocco
   Ted Mc Carthy
   Austin McCarron
   Terry McCarty
   Paul McConnell
   Brendan McCormack
   Deborah McCreath-Akbar
   Catfish McDaris
   Bray McDonald
   Karen J McDonnell
   Matt McGee
   Allen McGill
   Afric McGlinchey
   Terance James McGunigle
   David McIntire
   Cat Angelique McIntire
   david mclean
   Isobel McQueen
   Fernando Meisenhaulter
    Mephistopheles
   Corey Mesler
   Melissa Michaels
    Mike the Poet
   Scott Miller
   Richard Lee Miller
   Robert John Miller
   Hany Haggag Abdl Mobdy
   Richard Modiano
   William Mohr
   Sonnet Mondal
   Jason Monios
   Leslie Monsour
   Amanda Montei
   Patrick Mooney
   Carl Moore
   Greggory Moore
    Albert Lee Moran
   A.J. Morelli
   Christopher Mulrooney
   Frank Mundo
   Barbara-Marie Mundt
   Augusto Munoz
   Mark Murphy
   Craig Murray
   Kristine Ong Muslim
   JL Nathan
   Nimah Nawwab
   Leslie Maryann Neal
   Jason Neese
   Raghab Nepal
   Robbi Nester
   Mindy Nettifee
   Martina Reisz Newberry
   Beth Escott Newcomer
   Peter Nezafati
   Scott Nichols
   keith niles
   Dave Nordling
   Aire Celeste Norell
   Steve Norwood
   Laura Nye
   Toti O'Brien
   Charlotte O'Brien
   Suzanne O'Connell
   Katie O'Loughlin
   Peter O'Niell
   Tom O'Reilly
   Akor Emmanuel Oche
   A.J. Odasso
   Rita Odeh
   Kirsten Ogden
   Daniel Olivas
   Maurice Oliver
   Marc Olmstead
   Philip ONeil
   Nzingah Oniwosan
   Chika Onyenezi
   Sergio Ortiz
   David Ishaya Osu
   Scott Thomas Outlar
   Holly Painter
   Lizbeth Palma
   Heather Palmer
   Greg Patrick
   Miss Natalie Patterson
   David E. Patton
   Tim Peeler
   Steve Pelcman
   Angel Perales
   Alice Pero
   Angela J. Perry
   Helen Peterson
   Brenda Petrakos
   Adam Phillips
   James G Piatt
   Rebecca Pierce
   Gareth Pike
   James Pinkerton
   Rob Plath
   Kushal Poddar
   Contributors to poeticdiversity
   Meg Pokrass
   Traian Pop Traian
   Bethany W Pope
   Wayne E. Popelka
   Elisha Porot
   Adrian Potter
   Ren Powell
   Frank Praeger
   Luke Prater
   Kristena Prater
   Shannon Prince
   Stephany Prodromides
   Hattie Quinn
   Octavio Quintanilla
   Beverly J. Raffaele
    Raindog
   Catherine Rajca
   Steve Ramirez
   Mauricio Alejandro Ramos
   Vishnu Rao
   Ingrid Rattay
   James Rauff
   Kasey Ray
   Bili Redd
   Brian Redfern
   Marie Rennard
   Luivette Resto
   E.W. Richardson
   John Richmond
   Francisca Ricinski-Marienfeld
   Kevin Ridgeway
   Lillian Ridgeway
   Dee Rimbaud
   Elijiah Rios
   Cat Risinger
   Ariel Robello
   Ebi Robert
   John D Robinson
   Paula Rodriguez
   Nydia Rojas
   Daniel Romo
   Emily Rose
   Rina Rose
   Diana Rosen
   Poet-broker Rosenthal
   Alison Ross
   James Robert Rudolph
   Walter Ruhlmann
   Gina MarySol Ruiz
   Cody Rukasin
   Cody Rukasin
   Ashley Rumery
   David W. Rushing
   Maryann Russo
   Sonya Sabanac
   Howard Sage
   Russell Salamon
   April Salzano
   Bryan Sanders
   Lisa Marie Sandoval
   Cecile Sarruf
    Sasparella
   Ethan Sassouni
   John Saunders
   Lorraine Sautner
   Rati Saxena
   Iftekhar Sayeed
   Frances Schiavina
   Kim Schroeder
   Carol Schwalberg
   Peter Schwartz
   Sondra L. Scott
   Ken Scott
   David Scriven
   Justin Scupine
   LB Sedlacek
   Lisa Segal
   Anthony Seidman
   Anthony Seidman
   Oleg Semonov
   Sanjeev Sethi
   John W Sexton
   Jack Allen Shafer
   Dahn Shaulis
   Tom Sheehan
   Jake Sheff
   Steve Shickman
   Nancy Shiffrin
   June Shiitake
   Ferrari Silverpowder
   Rishan Singh
   Durlabh Singh
   Kalpna Singh-Chitnis
   Bobbi SInha-Morey
   Apryl Skies
   Knute Skinner
   Sam Skow
   Ratpack Slim
   Lee Sloca
   Carol Smallwood
   Danielle Smith
   Clinton Smith
    smzang
   Kate Soto
   Ghetto Speare
   Jeanne Marie Spicuzza
   Richard Spuler
   Matina Stamatakis
   Jan Steckel
   Julia Stein
   Eric Steineger
   Carl Stillwell
   Bruce Stirling
   Alex Stolis
   Karr Stratynberg
   Kevin Stricke-9
   Keith Stump
   Daniel Suffian
   Annette Sugden
   J. C. Sullivan
   Mani Suri
   John Duncan Talbird
   John Talbird
   Sister Taxi Hopscotch
   Barbara A. Taylor
   Jonathan Taylor
   Mark Taylor
   Allen Taylor
   Paul Kareem Tayyar
   Alene Terzian
    The Unarmed Man
   A. Thiagarajan
   G. Murray Thomas
   Lynne Thompson
   David Thornbrugh
   Kari Thune
   Sarah Thursday
   Ilona Timoszuk
   Tim Tipton
    TJungle
   Chrys Tobey
    tolbert
   Imani Tolliver
   A. TOMIC
   Anthony Torchia
   Mary Torregrossa
   Zev Torres
   Evan Traiger
   Davide Trame
   Tri Tran
   Ryan Tranquilla
   Alain Marcel Treadaway
   Pedro Trevino-Ramirez
   Ben Trigg
   Paul Tristram
   Maja Trochimczyk
    Troy
   The TruthHearse
   Tatiana Tulskaya
   Yelena and Roman Tunkel
   John Turi
   Danny Uebbing
   Amy Upham
   Amy Uyematsu
   Philomena van Rijswijk
   Gene van Troyer
   Wanda Vanhoy Smith
   Brenda Varda
   Luis Rubio Vargas
   Carmen Vega
   Ms. Veronica
   Papa Vic
   Clee Villasor
   Ajise Vincent
   Curran D. Vinson
   Jason Visconti
   Anca Vlasopolos
   Daniela Voicu
   Claire Walker
   toren wallace
   r.k. wallace
   Evan Walsh
   Sharieff Walters
   John Wariner
   Deborah L Warner
   Christopher Watkins
   Brian Watson
   Lafayette Wattles
   Charlie Weber
   Ellen Webre
   Justin Weiler
   Viola Weinberg
   Florence Weinberger
   Desmond Weindorf
   Cindy Weinstein
   Denise R. Weuve
   Rev. Dave Wheeler
   Megwynn White
   Kelley White
   Leigh White
   J.T. Whitehead
   Claire Williams
   John Sibley Williams
   Patrick Williamson
   Martin Willitts, Jr
   Amye Wilson
   Jessica Wilson
   Robert D. Wilson
   Alicia Winski
   Tyler Joseph Wiseman
   Joseph Wistren
   Wayne Wolfson
   Terry Wolverton
   Nina Womack
   Seth Woolf
   Kirby Wright
   Gianna Wurzl
   Abigail Wyatt
   John Yamrus
   MÌesser Yeniay
   Julie Yi
   Gregory T. Young
   Britney Young
   Omar ZahZah
   Mariano Zaro
   Michael Zeltser
    
   home
   poems
   archive
   submissions
   events
   calendar
   message board
   store
   links
   contact
   
G. Murray Thomas
August 2009
   

 

Two Concerts (TWO Big Ones!)

1. The Rolling Stones

I opened the paper one August morning in 1975, and read some great news. The Rolling Stones were coming back! Or at least they were coming back to Buffalo, NY, just an hour away. They had played there earlier in the summer, in a 20,000 seat auditorium, and I had not managed to get tickets. But now they were going to be playing Rich Stadium, which held something like 80,000, so I had a chance. Tickets went on sale that morning, and there were still tickets left when I finally got to the record store after work.
(Remember, this was a much different time, not only before the Internet, but before any sort of computerized system for selling concert tickets. No, they printed up physical tickets, however many they planned to sell, and then distributed them to the various outlets which would sell them -- mostly the box office and selected record stores, which meant it took a bit more effort to buy a ticket, but it also meant there were still tickets left at the local record store at five in the afternoon).
Id wanted to see the Stones ever since I first saw the movie Gimme Shelter, some four years earlier. ,em>Gimme Shelter is one of the greatest rock documentaries ever. It has a built-in advantage over other classic concert films (Woodstock, Monterey Pop, Stop Making Sense) in that it has an actual story to tell -- the story of the disastrous Altamont free concert.
If you are not familiar with Altamont, the Stones decided to close their 1969 U.S. tour with a free concert outside of San Francisco. Woodstock had been held that summer, and the Stones wanted to prove they were down with the whole peace/love/free concert thing. Unluckily, they decided to hire the Hells Angels for security. (They had used the Angels, successfully, for security at a free concert in Londons Hyde Park earlier that year, but the British Hells Angels, as it turned out, were a bit different from their American counterparts). The predictable disaster ensued -- the Angels spent all day beating up on the audience (and even a musician or two -- Jefferson Airplanes Marty Balin got knocked out on stage). The day climaxed with a young man stabbed to death by an Angel right in front of the stage while the Stones played. The incident was coincidentally, yet conveniently (for the sake of the movie) captured on film.
In addition to telling this story, Gimme Shelter contains much concert footage of the Stones playing Madison Square Garden. The Stones were in top form. This footage captured them at their absolute best, especially Mick Jaggers showmanship. I walked out of the movie an instant Stones fan (I hadnt really paid much attention to them before that).
But any chance to see them lay in the distant future. At that point (1970), it wasnt clear if the Stones would ever tour again.
From Christmas 1971, I got a Rolling Stones double header -- the album Hot Rocks (which had just come out) and ,em>The Rolling Stones, An Unauthorized Biography, an amazing, and amazingly complete, chronicle of the Stones up to that point. The two of them together solidified my Rolling Stones fandom.
I generally prefer whole studio albums to greatest hits collections. An album is usually a complete artistic statement. The best albums have a coherence beyond that of a mere collection of songs; the various songs play off each other and provide a deeper listening experience. Also, at least to my taste, musicians dont always release their best songs as singles. Many of my favorite songs by my favorite artists are album tracks which never get played on the radio.
Hot Rocks is an exception. Many of the Stones best singles in the late 60s (Jumping Jack Flash, Honky Tonk Women) never made it onto albums. (The same is true for the Beatles of the same period.) In order to fully experience the late 60s Stones, you need a greatest hits collection. And Hot Rocks does have a flow rare for such a collection; on vinyl, each of the four sides captured a stage in their musical development.
As for the book, it collected reprints of interviews and reviews from the mainstream press (esp. Rolling Stone Magazine), some original writing by editor David Dalton, a chronology of their career, sheet music for every Stones song, and photos, tons and tons of photos. The message (or at least the one I got) was that you have to see this band live.
Then there was Get Yer Ya-Yas Out, the official live album of the 69 tour. It remains the best live Stones album ever, capturing them at the absolute peak as a live band. (There are rumors of bootlegs from the 72 tour which are better, but I have yet to hear one.) But however much I listened to it, it only made me thirsty for the real thing. I had to see them, somehow, some way, someday.
(For the record, my first Stones album was Got LIVE if You Want It, a sped-up, overdubbed travesty of a 1966 live recording, which gave no hint of the powerhouse live band they would become. I believe I bought it because it contained Under My Thumb and Satisfaction, two songs I was familiar with that early in my Stones fandom. And my favorite studio album is Let It Bleed, followed closely by Aftermath.)
We (my family and I) made a half-hearted attempt to see the Stones on their 1972 tour. The closest they got to Rochester, NY, was Montreal, Canada. But coincidentally, we were traveling in Canada that summer, and would be close to Montreal on the date of their show. Again, this was long before the days of Ticketmaster. If you wanted tickets to a show, you camped out at the box office. There was such a thing as mail order, but that literally meant sending off a check and crossing your fingers. So we did not get tickets to the Montreal show.
But now (now being that August day in 1975) I actually had a ticket to a Rolling Stones concert. The concert was only a week away, and I damn near died out of fear something would prevent me from going (like I might actually die before the concert).
Rich Stadium was a huge football stadium. The Buffalo Bills played there (I have no idea if they still do; if so, Im certain it has some corporate name now). I was literally in the back row. Seriously, the very back row of an 80,000 seat stadium. And this was before the days of big video screens at concerts. (Actually, they did have a primitive screen, but it only worked during daylight hours; by the time the Stones came on it was worthless.) It took me half way through the concert to even figure out which guitarist was Keith Richards and which one was Ron Wood.
They played for close to two and half hours. That was long enough to fit in nearly every major song from their later (1968-75) catalog. They did pretty much limit themselves to those selections; Get off My Cloud was the only pre-68 tune they played.
I was in heaven. How could I not be, after waiting so long? How could I not be, with them playing almost every song I might want (reasonably expect) to hear? I didnt care about the distance. I was seeing the Rolling Stones! However tiny they might be. Besides, even at that distance, Jaggers energy came through. At that point, thats what it was all about to me -- Mick Jagger putting on a show.
It was only some time later, probably the next time I saw them, in 1978, that I saw the flaws in that first concert, that I realized they really could be much better.
The first problem was that, in fact, the concert was too long. This became obvious after seeing the '78 show, which was only about an hour and a half. This shorter set allowed them to give it some focus, some structure. Instead of trying to play everything, they chose a selection of songs which created a strong show. As a centerpiece (literally, it came in the middle of the set) they played most of their new album (Some Girls, by far their strongest album since 1972s Exile on Main Street). By presenting the new material as a lump, it gave the audience a chance to really appreciate it. Also, somewhat ironically, by not trying to include every hit, the Stones were able to sneak some surprises into the show, including Sweet Little Sixteen and Love in Vain.
By contrast, the 1975 show was a sprawling mess.
Of course, it also helped that, for the '78 show, I was up near the front (that concert also took place in Rich Stadium). By now, for whatever reason, I found myself more interested in Keith Richards than Jagger. Jaggers showmanship, this time around, struck me as way too over the top. Keith, on the other hand, was the essence of cool. Perhaps this had something to do with the fact that, by 1978, I was a hardcore punk fan (although a Stones concert was still acceptable). Keith was, and always will be, much more punk than Mick.
It is interesting that, in both of these concerts, I wasnt really that concerned with how well they played, although my impression is they were much tighter musically in the 78 show. (I did notice that Ron Woods solos on Love in Vain did not come close to Mick Taylors work on the same song on Ya-Yas. But I have always felt that the Mick Taylor Stones (1969-72) were the musically strongest version of the band.) At that time in my life, it was all about the show. It wasnt until the third time I saw them (1989) that I really concentrated on how well they played. But that is very much a story for another phase of my life. Were getting far enough ahead of the game as it is.
Nonetheless, that first Stones concert was a dream fulfilled. If youre keeping track, it was my second dream concert coming true, the first being Blue Oyster Cult (and the third being Iggy Pop). But there was never any real doubt that I would eventually see BOC -- a New York band, they played Rochester regularly. The Stones, on the other hand... At that time I seriously wondered whether I would ever get to see them. (No one expected them to still be playing thirty (!) years later). That August it felt like a once in a lifetime experience, and I loved it as much as I could love any such opportunity. I made sure I enjoyed every minute of the concert, I didnt waste any of it.
One of my memories of that concert is the guy a few rows down from us, who drank so much he passed out before the Stones even came on. I remember thinking, what a waste! How could anyone ruin an opportunity like this, like that? I sure wasnt going to.


2. Bob Dylan

Just a few months later, someone stood up in my college dining hall (my freshman year, if youre keeping track) and asked for a ride to Springfield (about an hour away). To buy tickets for a Bob Dylan concert.
I was not a big Dylan fan. Of course, I knew a lot of Dylan songs, even loved some of them, but they were peripheral to my musical taste. Frankly, I just hadnt paid that much attention, had certainly never really listened to him deeply. But I knew I shouldnt pass up a chance to see him. It seemed to be another once in a lifetime chance, perhaps even rarer than the Stones; at that time Dylan was not known for touring (unlike today, when he tours near constantly -- again, who could have known?).
My friend Brian, who was a bigger Dylan fan than I, although his thing was really the Beatles, agreed. So I set out to hitchhike to Springfield to get us tickets. (To try to limit scalping, tickets were only available at the box office.) I got a ride right at the gates of the college, and when I explained what I was up to, they agreed this was a great idea, and drove all the way to Springfield to score tickets for themselves as well.
By then some posters had appeared on the campus, advertising Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Ramblin Jack Elliot in something called "The Rolling Thunder Revue." But they gave little hint at what we were really in for.
"The Rolling Thunder Revue" was Dylans version of a traveling minstrel show. He basically invited all his musician friends to come along and play a tune or two. And you can believe Dylan had a few musical friends. The show I saw featured appearances by Roger McGuinn and Arlo Guthrie. Other concerts on the tour included Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot and others.
But not only did Dylan feature some incredible guest stars, he put together an amazing all-star band to back him up. Folk singer Bob Neuwirth was the front man, but the real musical director was T-Bone Burnett, a behind the scenes superstar responsible for producing some of the greatest albums of the past 30 years, including the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack, and a great songwriter himself. The band also included a superb Rob Stoner on bass, violin by Scarlet Rivera, and on guitar...
As we waited for the show to begin, I overheard the following conversation: I hear Roger McGuinn might play. My friend saw the early show, and she said he had a blond guitarist who was pretty good. Well, Roger McGuinn did play, but the pretty good blond guitarist turned out to be Mick Ronson! I was floored. (Mick Ronson was David Bowies guitarist from The Spiders From Mars. See my column on David Bowie for the details of just how much I loved Ronsons guitar playing.)
I was certainly surprised to see Ronson in this context, about as far from the glam flash of the Spiders from Mars as you could get. But he did a great job, providing tasty fills and some strong, but restrained solos. I suspect that I may have paid more attention to him than was warranted; I followed every single note off his guitar.
But there was really too much going on to get too focused on any part of it. The show was structured to give everyone the spotlight, and then mix and match. For example, everyone in the back-up band got a chance to do a song or two before Dylan even came on.
Once Dylan came out, they played a set of hard rock versions of Dylan classics. Then, after a short break, Dylan and Baez came out together to sing an acoustic set (a combination of Dylan songs and old folk songs). Baez took a solo turn, and then brought out McGuinn. Gradually, Dylan and everyone else filtered back in, until everybody (a huge line-up on stage) sang This Land Is Your Land and Knocking on Heavens Door.
It was an amazing concert. Three or four concerts worth of musicians packed into one. In addition, the camaraderie and pleasure of the musicians made it that much better. These guys were obviously having a good time playing together, and we, the audience, picked up on that good time.
If there was ever a concert that deserved to be preserved on a live album, it was this one. Unfortunately, such an album did not appear. Hard Rain, the official Rolling Thunder release, was recorded later on the tour, and bore little resemblance to the show I saw (it had no sense of the camaraderie or pleasure, for example). A few bootlegs emerged, but they barely scratched the surface, and were mostly marred by miserable sound quality.
Thirty years later, Dylan finally released Live 1975, a true live album of the tour. Live 1975 is a great album, capturing some truly electric (in every sense) Dylan performances. It also managed to capture some of the atmosphere of relaxed fun Ive mentioned.
However, I do have two complaints about the album, one minor and personal, the other major. The minor one is that Ronsons solos, so crystal clear in the concert, are mostly lost in the mix on the album. (Im sure being able to watch him helped me pick out his guitar in the live setting0.
My other complaint is a bit more serious. The concert, as I said, was very much a group effort. Live 1975 is all Dylan, nothing but Dylan. A true record of the show would feature some of the guest stars -- McGuinn, Joni Mitchell, or at Joan Baez solo. As it is, Live 1975 captures some great performances, but misses the spirit of the shows.
As I mentioned, I did not go into the concert a big Dylan fan. I certainly came out one, but I still ended up a fairly narrow Dylan fan. Although I quickly bought his new album, Desire, my real attention focused on the mid-60s trio (Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde. For years I considered those three albums not only the best Dylan, but really the only necessary Dylan. That may or may not be true, but they are certainly one of the most mind-blowing explosions of creativity in all music. I feel those three albums are as responsible for changing the face of popular music as the Beatles output from the same time period. (Changes which produced that amazing year of 1967, which I started out this series by discussing, as well as pretty much everything we have listened to since.)
I have only recently begun exploring the rest of Dylans catalog. I have found some good albums, and some great songs, but nothing to dethrone those three.
Anyway, I went to the concert more out of a desire to see a rock superstar than any specific interest in Dylan. Coming just a couple of months after the Stones, it suddenly seemed possible that I could see all the top names in rock in a period of a year. It was not to be.
The Who came to Springfield a couple of weeks later. I could not score tickets. Paul McCartney came to Boston in the spring. I failed to get tickets. The McCartney experience was a lesson in the growing pains of a Ticketmaster system -- there was a ticket office on the UMass campus which would be selling McCartney tickets. But rather than todays computer networks, they had to wait for someone to physically send them tickets. Because of the unpredictability of that, I wasnt able to be there when the tickets actually showed up, and they sold out before I could get to them.
But still, I had seen a couple of great concerts. Two names to be ticked off the list. The Who fell a couple of years later. I still have never seen a Beatle in concert.
The final irony of these two concerts is that The Stones concert, the one I most looked forward to, the one I had looked forward to for years, was the lesser of the two. Although I thoroughly enjoyed it at the time, looking back, it was not nearly as great as I had anticipated. In my final analysis, it was almost a disappointment.
On the other hand, the Dylan concert, something that had never been high on my list of concert priorities, something I went to almost as an afterthought, turned out to be one of the best concerts Ive ever seen. In fact, I would, even now, rate it as #2 on my all time list. (Dont worry, the story of #1 will be coming up soon enough.)

copyright 2009 G. Murray Thomas