I’m starting to gear up for the Summer 2009 concert season, I already have my Def Leppard/Poison and Judas Priest/Whitesnake tix. I went online today to see who else is coming to the New England area and it got me thinking about all the concerts I’ve been to and which ones were my favorites. So I pulled out all of my ticket stubs and I realized I’m missing a few of the early tours I saw when I was a kid but I remember the shows like it was yesterday! So here we go, my Top 5 Concerts…..make sure you check out some of the ticket prices!
1. KISS – Reunion Tour (Boston, MA) – 7/30/1996 – $50: Wouldn’t it figure that a diehard KISS fan would put KISS at the top of the list?! But it’s true, the Reunion show in Boston is the best concert I’ve ever seen. I never got the chance to see the band in makeup but I had seen them several times without it…..but it was the reunion with Ace & Peter and it was the “holy grail” for KISS fans. Two nights went on sale for the show at the Fleet Center but we got shut out…..this was back in the days of actually CALLING Ticketmaster! So we got shut out. The good news was that my best friend’s father had the right connections at the Fleet Center and we were able to get reserved seats on the Ace side of the stage, one section from the exact side, in the lower arena. We were so close that you could see the facial expressions! The section in front of us was the V.I.P. section and members of Boston, Aerosmith, and Extreme were in attendance. I forget who opened (didn’t matter), and the actual show is still a blur, but I screamed so loud and sang every word at the top of my lungs that I ended up damaging my vocal chords and I lost my voice for a month! All in the name of Rock ‘N’ Roll! This was the first of four shows I would catch on this tour.
2. Saxon & U.D.O. – Metalhead & Holy Tour (Warwick, RI) – 10/31/2000 – $40: This show was at The Station Nightclub…..yes the same Station that had the tragic fire during the Great White concert. The Station was a nice small bar that got all the Metal bands for our area. What a great place to watch a show! Anyway, I was online now so I knew the show was coming and I bought my ticket at the local Strawberries Records. Getting U.D.O. in as an opener was a huge bonus. It was Halloween night so I headed over to the venue around 6pm and had a beer, at the bar was Biff Byford and Doug Scarratt from Saxon and Fitty Weinhold from U.D.O., so I was able to meet the guys and get autographs. No cameras were allowed in and I couldn’t get the guys to leave the bar and come outside while I got the camera from the car. All nice guys, a pleasure to talk to, they all autographed my show flyer. The show was awesome, I was right at the front in front of Biff’s mic stand and Saxon played two solid hours! Unfortunately U.D.O.’s set was cut short (7 songs) because the local band they had open ran late taking down their gear. I ended up with a Metalhead Tour shirt, a Holy Tour shirt, and a Wheels Of Steel long sleeve shirt…..the guy running the merch booth was Udo’s brother, Peter Dirkschneider, who was in Vanize. I ended up hanging around after the show and got a guitar pick from Nibbs Carter from Saxon and another flyer.
3. KISS w/Ted Nugent – Crazy Nights Tour (Providence, RI) – 12/12/1987 – $16.50: This was the first time I saw KISS live, I was 15 years old, and it was at my home arena the Providence Civic Center. I missed the Lick It Up, Animalize & Asylum tours when they came through because my parents thought I was too young but I started going to concerts shortly after I missed the Asylum tour. By December ’87 I was a concert veteran! I remember my friend smuggled in a tape recorder to bootleg the show and I still have that old cassette somewhere. I lived and died KISS so when the band took the stage after their intro, I was in hysterics! Great show, they played a lot of older tunes and six off CRAZY NIGHTS. As for Terrible Ted…..he was solid but I had already seen him open for Aerosmith in ’86 so I was glad to hear him play but just wanted KISS…..nothing beats the first time I heard the KISS intro with my own ears.
4. UFO & Blue Oyster Cult – You Are Here Tour (Hampton Beach, NH) – 9/25/2004 – $26: I’m a big UFO fan and when this stop on the tour was announced I grabbed a ticket and took a vacation day at work! The problem was that the tour got delayed, it was orginally supposed to be on 5/1 but there was a problem with Pete Way’s visa, etc. The Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom is about a two hour drive from my home in Pawtucket, RI so I packed a lunch and hooked up the CD player and jammed all the way there! There was an opening act but I forget who they were (Healing Sixes maybe?). UFO and BOC were trading headline positions that tour so UFO came on first and played all the classics and a bunch off YOU ARE HERE in around two hours. I was camped in my usual spot in front of the stage but near Vinnie Moore’s side. Towards the end of the encore, I made my way more towards the side of the stage where the band entered and exited from. When the show was done, the band came off stage and by the barrier I was near and I was able to high five Vinnie Moore, Paul Raymond, and Barry Sparks. I ended up buying a shirt and hat, I where the hat all the time (I need a replacement, come back again guys!). As for BOC…..I ended up watching most of their show from the bar and I cut out early before the encore so I could get a move on home.
5. Aerosmith – Nine Lives Tour (Boston, MA) – 12/31/1997 – $39.25: Aerosmith & New Year’s Eve = a huge party! This show was at the Fleet Center in Boston and, if you live in New England, you know not to drive into downtown Boston on New Year’s Eve! This was the 2nd show of a two night stand at the Fleet Center and it was a 21 song party complete with a countdown to 1998 in the middle of the show with balloons, confetti, etc. By ’97, I’d seen Aerosmith on every tour since the Done With Mirrors tour in early ’86 so I knew it would be a good show. It turned out to be a great show because the band went over the top to give their hometown fans a New Year’s Eve to remember. The opening acts were The Upper Crust (a local Boston Hard Rock band that dressed in French renaissance gear with powdered wigs) and Days Of The New (who sucked). The original opening band was supposed to be Talk Show (Stone Temple Pilots without Scott Weiland) and I remember my best friend getting all upset when Talk Show pulled out but he loved Days Of The New too. I watched The Upper Crust, took a nap during Days Of the New (we had been doing some drinking during the day in some Irish pubs) and was refreshed for a 2 hour Aerosmith show. My 1o yr old daughter wears my Nine Lives tour shirt now!