Saturday, December 29, 2007

Project Ticket Stub - 1979

1979. Sid Vicious. Pol Pot. The Shah of Iran and Ayatollah Khomeini. C-SPAN is born. A swamp rabbit attacks Jimmy Carter. Margaret Thatcher is elected, and Muhammad Ali retires. (No, those two events are no related.) Saddam Hussein gains power in Iraq, and Diana Nyad swims from the Bahamas to Florida. (Those two events aren't related either.) Chrysler needs money. Pac-Man. Eleven people are killed in a stampede at a Who concert in Cincinnati. The Clash releases London Calling.

And my year was bookended by the Grateful Dead...

Grateful Dead, January 12, 1979 Grateful Dead
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
January 12, 1979

This night sure did alter the course of my life, or at least how I spent a bunch of time in the next decade. Sure, I was familiar with the Dead before the show, particularly the Europe '72 album. But in terms of a concert experience, this was something completely different and unlike anything I had experienced to this point. Maybe Zeppelin could be compared, but an awful lot of my first concert experiences had been "shows", but this was music. I was hooked.

If I remember right, I went to this concert with Mark, Scott, and my brother, Bob.

Grateful Dead, February 11, 1979 Grateful Dead
Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MO
February 11, 1979

A month later and I'm back at school in St. Louis.

Steve Goodman, February 17, 1979 Steve Goodman
Graham Chapel, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
February 17, 1979

It's too bad I got the bottom half of this stub instead of the top half. Nevertheless, I wrote Steve's name and the concert date on the back, and this stub is a prized possession. At the time of the concert I didn't know that Steve Goodman had been fighting leukemia since 1969, nor of course that he would lose that battle in just another five years at the all-too-young age of 36. I just knew that I was hooked on his quirky songs such as The Twentieth Century Is Almost Over, and also that Steve wrote City of New Orleans.

This concert was held in the incredibly beautiful Graham Chapel, with its breathtaking stained glass window backdrop.

If there was any one concert I could go back to and re-experience again, this one is it.

Sea Level, March 31, 1979 Sea Level
Graham Chapel, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
March 31, 1979

Sea Level was a rock/blues/jazz band spun out of the Allman Brothers. They were quite popular on my campus, but I don't recall a thing about this concert.

J. Geils Band, April 6, 1979 J. Geils Band
Keil Opera House, St. Louis, MO
April 6, 1979

Can't tell from the ticket, but I'm fairly certain this was held in the opera house side of Keil, not the auditorium side. The building had both back to back, sharing a common backstage area.

I bet this concert was fun. Too bad I don't remember it.

Dixie Dregs Dixie Dregs
Washington University Quadrangle, St. Louis, MO
April 29, 1979

What can be better than a springtime Sunday all-afternoon concert on the college campus? Called "Quadrock Sunday" because it was held in the picturesque campus main quadrangle, it featured a bunch of local bands all afternoon, with the Dixie Dregs as the headliner and show closer late in the afternoon.

Supertramp, May 11, 1979 Supertramp
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
May 11, 1979

Supertramp was big in 1979, and this concert was a lot of fun. Bloody well right.

I think this whole outing was organized by my friend Scott.

I wonder about the date, though. My ticket stub clearly shows "5/11", but I found this concert program that says it was a week later on May 18. Was it originally scheduled for May 11 but postponed for a week for some reason?

Jorma Kaukonen, July 14, 1979 Jorma Kaukonen
Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ
July 14, 1979

There were both acoustic and electric sets, but no Jack on bass (at least according to

Me, Scott, and Mark? Anyone else?

Jethro Tull, November 8, 1979 Jethro Tull
The Checkerdome, St. Louis, MO
November 8, 1979

Back in St. Louis and yet another Tull show.

Jorma Kaukonen Jorma Kaukonen
Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ
November 24, 1979

Back home for Thanksgiving.

Interestingly enough, this show isn't listed in Maybe that's because this was when Jorma was playing with a band called White Gland, and the music was more punk than anything else. I remember that Mark and I were horribly disappointed in this show. We came to hear Jorma and Hot Tuna material, but they played what can only be described as weird punk. This concert is a solid contender for my bottom-of-the-barrel list.

Grateful Dead, December 9, 1979 Grateful Dead
Keil Auditorium, St. Louis, MO
December 9, 1979

As I began the year, so I ended it. First with the Sunday night show in St. Louis, and then...

Grateful Dead, December 10, 1979 Grateful Dead
Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KS
December 10, 1979

...the Monday night show in Kansas City.

I distinctly remember this particular show, both for the 250-mile drive (each way) across Missouri and back just for the show, as well as for the show itself. The second set, in particular, was rockin' (Scarlet > Fire, Easy To Love You > Let It Grow > He's Gone > Truckin > Drumz > Wharf Rat > Johnny B. Goode E: U. S. Blues) and the crowd went nuts for a long, long time after the band left the stage.

While a 500-mile round trip drive (in my 1970 Chevy Impala) to see one concert might seem excessive, it will turn out to be nowhere near my single-concert drive record, although all of my distance records will turn out to be for the Dead.

So there is 1979, starting and ending with a pair of Grateful Dead shows - and setting the tone for the next ten or twelve years.

On the trivia front, three of those four Dead shows had U.S. Blues encores. What's up with that? I grew to groan at "Useless Blues" encores, wishing for almost anything else!


Clay Eals said...

Wonderful ticket-stub site, and good to see the stub from the 1979 show by Steve Goodman. He often doesn't get his due. You might be interested in my new 800-page biography of Goodman, "Steve Goodman: Facing the Music." Please check my Internet site below for more info on the book. The first printing just sold out, and the second printing will be out soon. Just trying to spread the word. Feel free to do the same!

Clay Eals
1728 California Ave. S.W. #301
Seattle, WA 98116-1958

(206) 935-7515
(206) 484-8008

Tom Spine said...

Thanks for the kind words, Clay. I'm happy to say that I helped sell out your first printing -- I bought my copy of your book about a month ago! It is a wonderful book, and a must-have for every Goodman fan.