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top 3 stadium concert experiences?

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All of my top 3 are still from the early 80's when I had no real responsibilities and was still quite impressionable. We had limited access to bands in Eastern Canada. Stadiums here are the semi pro hockey arenas. My top 3 all reflect the bands that frequented us at the time....

1 - Neil Young. I didn't know what to expect, he ended up doing a largely acoustic set and had the crowds undivided attention

2 - Triumph. Allied Forces tour. Great show. Pre-legal cannabis, the arena was full of smoke..

3 - April Wine. Harder Faster tour. Thanks to Canadian radio content rules, everyone knew the words to all songs 

Most surprising concert from the same era? REO Speedwagon. A girl I was dating wanted to go, I ended up being blown away by Gary Richrath. Still one of my favorite guitarists. Conversely, I went with a date to see The Cars and was underwhelmed, good thing she was hot...

Today I mostly go to small venues to see local talent but am still kicking myself for not clearing the calendar to go see Springsteen's the River tour...

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Posted (edited)

I've only been to three stadium concerts, and that was enough.

#1. Frank Marino / Journey / Ted Nugent / Aerosmith. AKA: The Jersey Jam
August 6th, 1978 - Giants Stadium - East Rutherford, NJ.

My father and a 12-year-old Me went and scalped tickets (as Frank Marino played) and got great seats as close as one could get to the stage while still being under the 2nd deck, which would prove to be serendipitous, as torrential rain would begin as The Nuge Tarzan-ed to the stage from a long rope.
It's amazing how much we left to chance; driving from NY to an event in NJ for which we had no tickets, heading to an open air event on a day when thunderstorms and heavy rain were a sure thing, and attending an all day event on a Sunday, knowing full well that weekend traffic on your ride back to New York was as certain as the rain.
As I've said many times about this concert, Neil Schon melted our faces, The Nuge was a complete wild man at the height of his powers, and then Aerosmith came out...
They simply didn't belong on the same stage as Journey and Nugnet, especially after the high energy sets they both played.
My Dad and I looked at each other...
Me: Wow... They suck.
Dad: Seen enough?
Me: Yep!
And off to the parking lot we went.
 

 

#2. The Who (It's Hard Tour). with The Clash
October 13th, 1982 - Shea Stadium - Queens, NY.

So, here we have my two favorite groups of all time, together in one evening.
My girlfriend hopped on a bus from her college dorm in Boston, MA and headed to New York. Her family lived in NY, and she never told them she was coming to town - lol.
We headed to Shea, again, with no tickets for the event. I can't imagine even leaving my house these days without knowing where I was going and that I could get in once I got there, but this was a different time and I was a different guy.
We got tickets and could almost see ant-sized people on the stage.
The Clash's sound seemed under-powered to me for such a huge venue. It seemed to me that they just used the same amplification that they used for the small clubs that they had been playing just months before, and mic-ing them through the PA. The best part about going to that concert for me is being able to say that I had seen them. Sadly, not much else.
This was a strange era for The Who, and it showed in this concert.  It was low energy, and kinda flat.
On a whole, I was disappointed with the whole evening.  Until I got back to my house and sneaked the GF into my bedroom for the night.
I caught Hell from Mom in the morning, but... WORTH IT!!!

#3. The Who (Tommy Anniversary Tour)
June 30th, 1989 - Giants Stadium (again)

This time it was my wife and I, but I did have tickets!
Being a life-long Who fan, I had to give them a second chance.
This was when The Who had guest singers, musicians, horns, etc. Simon Phillips on drums (their greatest drummer not named Keith Moon) and The Ox were amazing.  Pete had his brother, Simon, and another guitar player helping out as well.  A strange dynamic.
It was also the loudest outdoor event I've ever been to (and I used to attend tractor Pulls), but I will always long for 1975-ish era The Who, which I was never able to see in person.


 

Edited by kizanski
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Posted (edited)

My best experience was a concert at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium in August 1978, a mere 41 years ago. Jerry Springer was on Cincinnati's city council at the time, and pushed hard to get this done. Cincinnati had a curmugeonly city council that had a long tradiiton of being anti-rock'n'roll.

But there it was, a packed stadium, everybody had a seat (IIRC, and I know we did) and the show started with Eddie Money (who was at the top of the charts at the time) followed by the Steve Miller Band (great!), and closed out by The Eagle, who'd recently been joined by Joe Walsh for their "The Long Run" album. Great sound system for all participants, killer musicians, and The Eagles even let Walsh perform "Life's Been Good" from his solo album released a few months before, "But Seriously, folks..."
 

41 years later and I still have fond memories of it.

I don't have a "top 3" stadium experiences. I only have a #2, which is a distant second--Willie Nelson at the San Jose State University stadium. Actually, it wasn't bad. Willie was good and the sound system was good, but we were stuck with "festival seating" on the crowded grassy area, and a lot of the audience was stoned (shocking!) and at the same time petulant and hostile. Then there's Willie's "I'm a bad ass schtick with a chapter of the Hell's Angels standing around looking for someone who needs a beating. Fortunately I steered clear of them, ignored them, and enjoyed the music, which was pretty good.

Edited by JohnnyB

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There have only been four stadium shows for me.  One was a small stadium, and the other three were giant sized venues.  All the rest are coliseums and smaller. 

So, the best was KISS at Tiger Stadium in Detroit on June 28, 1996.  It was the first full show of the reunion tour.  They did a short set at a radio station's festival in Los Angeles before that, but this was a full KISS show.  We were way at the top of the stadium in the back, but it was still a KISS concert.  The two hours felt like five minutes because everything felt so natural and comfortable.  It was KISS! 

The other two big stadium shows were in football stadiums.  One was Pink Floyd at Death Valley in Clemson, SC.  It holds 80,000.  The stage and the crowd were huge.  The other was The Rolling Stones at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA on the Bridges To Babylon tour.  It was a stadium sized stage.  Neither of those shows made me feel the way I felt seeing KISS on the reunion tour. 

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Fun! In no particular order:

Guns N Roses April 1991 at Madison Square Garden on the Use Your Illusion tour. Soundgarden opened and was basically getting hazed by the GnR team- their sound was not good, and they kept the house lights on for the better part of their set, pretty rough to do to the opener. It was at the time when Axl had thrown temper tantrums and fucked up shows and caused riots, so nobody knew what to expect. Took a long time to build the stage setup with ramps and everything, so the crowd got pretty antsy. They came out and played a totally epic two-hour show that was generally regarded as their best performance on that otherwise ill-fated tour. A great memory.

Pink Floyd Spring 1994 at Yankee Stadium. Just freaking unbelievable.

Pantera 93 or 94 at Nassau Coliseum on the Far Beyond Driven tour. White Zombie opened up with a short but explosive set. They literally had ginormous skulls, 20 feet high, shooting flames and sparks, and a bizarre break in the set where they played a few minutes of a Japanese film where a woman flies down a hallway with her legs spread shooting sparks out of her vagina...😳 Totally over the top, Spinal Tap stage show for a 40-min set. Then the crew stripped the stage down to a drum riser and a few stacks on either side, totally bare, lean and mean. Pantera with Dimebag came out and it was like a force of nature. The entire crowd stormed the floor and jumped over the barricades, security didn’t even try to stop it, and it was like an indoor riot for two hours. Just amazing.

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Only been to one stadium concert, others were in arenas, but it was LiveAid in '85 at JFK in Philly.  Too many acts to list, but lots of fun and a lot of music I wouldn't have listened to at that time otherwise.  I only wish Queen had appeared in Philly.  They owned it that day. 

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I lived near DC for nearly all of the 90's and caught several of the HFStivals at RFK stadium (and one over in Baltimore at PSInet stadium, as I believe it was called at the time).  Great times, those were, seeing tons of the "alternative" rock bands that WHFS was playing - way too many to remember, because it was a stage inside the stadium and a stage outside, with good bands on each one, going back and forth.  It was "25 bands for 25 bucks" until it was eventually more.  Primus, Bush, Cranberries, No Doubt, Offspring, Blondie, dozens more over the years.  I need to dig out the programs from those years to see who all I'm forgetting.

They also had the Concert for a Free Tibet or something like that there at RFK, which drew bigger names.  It was two days, and Red Hot Chili Peppers were to close the first night, and Pearl Jam the next.  During Live's set on the first day, a law student sitting pretty low down inside the stadium was struck by lightning.  I saw it happen, but didn't know what I was seeing - I thought it was a firework.  Just a descending flash of light and a flat crack, not a big boom.  Then slow-motion commotion at her seat, culminating in the ambulance crew wheeling her out.  They closed the show down early, and RHCP didn't play.  The next day went to completion, but Pearl Jam played an annoyingly short set.  We knew it was a festival date, and it was not likely to see a 3-hour marathon, but it was ridiculously short.  We were storming out, pissed off, when it turned out that they had shortened their set so that RHCP could play after all, and still stay within the allotted shut-down time.

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If "stadium" includes indoor college gyms and venues (indoor or outdoor)  that double as sports arenas, I'd cite

The Allman Brothers Band, Feb. 1971 (a month before they recorded Fillmore East)

Ike & Tina Turner Revue, Spring 1972

The Who, Who's Next tour, Spring 1972 (Bell + Arc opened)

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1 hour ago, Willie G. Moseley said:

If "stadium" includes indoor college gyms and venues (indoor or outdoor)  that double as sports arenas...

I don't think it does.

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Well, I have become a concertgoer just in recent years. I haven't seen most of my favorite bands. I always say I was just born 10 years too late (born in 1968, having a passion for mostly 60's/70's bands). In the 80's I could have seen many concerts, if I had the money. My parents had no interest in live music. In Germany, there were not much big "stadium" concerts I would have attended and I am not really a "festival guy". Nowadays I am mobile and a trip to Frankfurt, Hamburg or Berlin is no problem, but before GPS/Navi, it was a pain in the ass to find the locations. The highway system was not as good 30-40 years ago (though it was far less traffic than nowadays). There were many missed opportunities to see bands. Many of my favorites have been playing in Bremen (about 40 km away from my hometown), some were even playing in my hometown (Oldenburg). Billy Joel and Phil Collins were two "stadium" concerts I attended in the recent 5 years. The Stones in Hamburg 2016 with 82000 people attending may have been the biggest even I have seen. I remember when I got into music a bit more, I have been obsessed with Deep Purple/Rainbow a lot. I always followed what those musicians did. I got into Black Sabbath when Dio was fronting them. I learned that the 2nd gig of Sabbath with Dio was in my hometown just a few months before (their first one also was in a town near me), talking about missed opportunity. I never saw Sabbath or Dio live. I saw Toto in 1992 (Kingdom Of Desire tour with Simon Phillips, one of my drum heroes, having just joined them) in the Hamburg Sports Arena, they played for almost 3 hours. That was one of the best concerts I have seen. Lukather was on fire then.

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14 hours ago, mrjamiam said:

I lived near DC for nearly all of the 90's and caught several of the HFStivals at RFK stadium 

 the Concert for a Free Tibet or something like that there at RFK,   During Live's set on the first day, a law student sitting pretty low down inside the stadium was struck by lightning.

I was at that show too, and later met the chick who got blasted at a bar in Fairfax City. Lisa something. She had pretty nasty burn scars to show. And a penchant for kamikazes, which she expected to be provided gratis to her for the privilege of relating her story. Actually, the whole group of people around her at RFK were severely injured as well.

I remember taking the metro out of RFK that day and so many drunken people on the blue line train kept shouting "He's a heavy hitter, The Lama!" but I didn't laugh, because I felt it was disrespectful.

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Only one Stadium show sticks out for me, as I've only been to a few, and mainly was just along for the ride.

BUT, the one:  [Can't remember] -- Ted Nugent -- Lynyrd Skynyrd [ about a month before the plane crash] --

and Blue Öyster Cult.  Rich Stadium, laser light show streaming to the horizon etc.  BÖC at their pinnacle,

and my favorite band all time anyway.  Darn near a religious experience!

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Sadly, I’ve only been to 3 live shows in my life. The first one was AC/DC in Cleveland in the early ‘80s during their “For Those About to Rock” tour.  My friends and I had terrible seats—we were off to the side of the stage, and didn’t have a good view of the band. They had several HUGE cannons for that song, and were very LOUD. I think the opening act was Red Ryder, but I can’t remember. 

In the early ‘90s, I saw Pat Travers and Ted Nugent. The only thing I remember about that concert was Ted played a black & white striped PRS.  He also shot an arrow at something, but I don’t recall what it was. 

i don’t remember the year, but I also saw The Godz when their popularity was beginning to wane. It was just a local nightclub, but it was probably the best show out of the three I saw. It was loud, roudy, and everyone I saw had a good time. By the time the show was over, most of the ceiling tiles were gone.  

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I attended nearly every Rock Superbowl in Orlando.  I can't remember which three were best.  I was stoned...

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7 hours ago, Thundersteel said:

i don’t remember the year, but I also saw The Godz when their popularity was beginning to wane.

The Godz were popular?

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9 minutes ago, RobB said:

The Godz were popular?

lol - I have honestly never heard of them.

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Mark Chatfield was the guitar player in The Godz.  After they broke up he became Bob Seger's guitar player through the 80s.  He had a music store for a while.

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38 minutes ago, Steve Haynie said:

Mark Chatfield was the guitar player in The Godz.  After they broke up he became Bob Seger's guitar player through the 80s. 

Bob Seger was popular. 

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I've only ever been to 3 true stadium shows-

1982 August 21st- JFK Jam JFK Stadium, Philly, PA - Flock of Seagulls, Robert Hazzard (not sure if it was with the Heroes or not) Blondie, Elvis Costello, and Genesis headlining. I got a little too 'altered' with big sis' friend's recreational pharmaceuticals and libations and only made it to the midway point of Genesis show. Uhhhgh.

July 30th, 1987- Veterans Stadium, Philly, Pa- David Bowie Glass Spider Tour w/ Peter Frampton. Horrible sound/acoustics overshadowing an otherwise mediocre, overly-hyped show. Much prefer his Serious Moonlight Tour at the Spectrum.

1988- June 11th- Monsters of Rock  JFK Philly, PA with Kingdom Come, Dokken, Scorpions, Van Halen and Metallica. Sadly, I remember little about this one other than it was loud and so bloody fucking hot that I bailed midway through Van Halen.  Missed all of Metallica. :( 

Caught Lollapalooza twice, once in Reston, Virginia in '92. Lush, Ministry, Ice Cube (and some Body Count material) Soundgarden, Jesus and Mary Chain, Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili's on the main stage.  And once at FDR Park in Philly in '94- Flaming Lips, Guided BY Voices, A Tribe Called Quest, The Breeders, Beastie Boysm Smashing Pumpkins, L7, George Clinton, The Verve, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.  Not stadium shows but they were outdoors.

In general,  based on my experiences, my opinion of stadium shows is: Not worth it. YMMV

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Ha!  The Godz were cool -- as a teenager I got to see them in the late '70s open in Long Beach, CA, then ran out & bought the album the next day...

https://youtu.be/dA0emzVL4VI

My favorite (first) stadium event was similar to Kizanski's… getting to see spectacular Rick Derringer & Jeff Beck ahead of a 'dope-sick' Aerosmith, though we stuck it out to the end. My ears rang for a week. 

Edited by Crwth145

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Only been to 2 real stadium experiences -

'Monsters Of Rock',  Castle Donington 1982 - AC/DC, Whitesnake, Blue Oyster Cult, Slade, Molly Hatchett, Blackfoot, More. As in a band called More, not More bands.

Rolling Stones, Roundhay Park Leeds, 1982 Very memorable not for the gig but that all the coaches run by National Express left before all the stones fans arrived back at the coach station after the gig leaving a good few hundred people from many parts of the UK stranded in a not very friendy little northern town for the whole night.  When everybody refused to leave the coach station at closing time the National Express staff called the police who turned up en masse in riot gear and threatened us with a friendly Yorkshire arse-kicking.  Spent most of the night walking aimlessly around the darkened streets in a city I didn't know with a group of other Mancunians (mancunian= someone from Manchester) with a vanful of police tailing us at walking speed, ready & itching to f*ck us up if we misbehaved.  Lovely night.

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Grand Slam Jam at Milwaukee County Stadium, June 30, 1978 (I had to look the date up) - Journey, Cheap Trick, Heart, and Ted.

About 10 of us went in a buddy's dad's work van that we rigged to hold a giant bowl on the dash with about a 10-foot hose to pass around. Fired the first one up - along with the first cocktails - before we were out of town. From there it was a 2-hour non-stop party ride and we were AFU by the time we hit Milwaukee. I don't know how we got to our seats but they were the farthest away from anything, so 'seeing' the bands is a bit figurative, but it was a fun time anyways. 

I only remember bits and pieces of most of the day, and got dropped off directly at my job the next morning (well, noon-ish). Ahhh, the good old days.....

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I just realized I have never been to a stadium concert.  Such is the life of a rural fan.  Especially if the Omni doesn't count as a stadium.

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To add clarity re my use and understanding stadium: All 3 early 80's concerts that I noted at the top of this post were held at Frank Clair stadium in Ottawa Canada during exhibitions. Home to the then Canadian Football League Roughriders team. Capacity approx 20,000. The arena concerts I went to back then were actually held in the hockey arena below the outdoor stadium. First concert there for me was Ted Nugent with Loverboy opening. Memorable and friggin loud!

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Only two stadium concerts that come to mind for me...

1. Day in the Park - Comiskey Park, Chicago - August, 1979 (Had to look up the date).  Eddie Money, Molly Hatchet, Thin Lizzy, Santana, Journey.  Kind of an impromptu thing as I recall.  A couple buddies and I decided to go just a day or two before.  From what I remember, it was pretty good.  Nothing earth shattering.  Then again, it was 40 years ago - I'm lucky I remember going...

2.  Crossroads 2010 - Toyota Park, Chicago.  An incredible day for so many reasons.  Great line up, great weather.  Took my 16 yr old son (His first concert) and a couple friends.  Just a perfect day of music and fun.  

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