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Where were you on July 21, 1974?


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I attended this show at Fans Field in Decatur, IL on July 21, 1974.  I was 17, had just graduated high school and was about to start my freshman year at the University of IL at Urbana-Champaign.  My friend Tom and I easily procured a bottle of gin, as I vaguely recall, and headed out to Fans Field, which was the stadium for the Triple-A minor league baseball team in town.  I don't remember a whole lot about the day, except it. being blazing hot, and I somehow managed to catch a drumstick thrown from the stage by Cactus' drummer.  

I found this newspaper clip on a Facebook group called Decatur, IL - Rock From The Past.  There's more information about this show on there. I'll copy and post some of it.  Very interesting!

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That’s my neck of the woods!  I grew up just east of Decatur and south of Champaign. Went to U of I as well. 

Of course, that’s almost 4 years to the day before I was born, so…. to answer the question in your post: I was nowhere, yet…

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Not sure what I was doing on that  exact day, but that year I was in a neighborhood rock band called "Caution".  Still have the guitar I used back then. Geez, that things gotta be almost 50 yrs old now. Still use occasionally,  a flame top Univox Gimme.

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Posted (edited)

Here's a blast from the past from that timeframe.  My brother started working as a sound guy for this band around 1974-1975.  They all became good friends, and David Pickett, sporting the Les Paul in this promotional poster, sold me my first guitar, in 1976, I think?  It was a white Telecaster, which I still own.  I distinctly remember showing up at one of their sound checks at a local bar, and he was playing Fleetwood Mac's Bare Trees using that guitar. A few months later, I gave him $200 and it was mine.  Check out the admission and drink cost.  I can't even find a cent key on my keyboard these days.

Edited to add, I don't remember taking this poster, but David Pickett autographed it.  I found it earlier this year tucked away in a moving box that I still had from the 80s.  It's now in the frame shown in this photo, on the wall by my back door.
 

Slip Mahoney 1975.jpg

Edited by BruceM
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I was in the 6th grade and listening to Cactus and a few others. The only one I see missing from that bill is Black Oak Arkansas. I hadn't gotten into Ted until Free For All. 

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Just turned 4 in Los Angeles, my dad was finishing up graduate school at UCLA. I was more than likely watching Underdog and bugging my mother for more saltines that day.

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5 minutes ago, Stike said:

I was more than likely watching Underdog and bugging my mother for more saltines that day.

Hey, that's a full day's work for many adults these days!

 

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I started going to concerts the year before the show listed in the newspaper clip above.  In Dec. '73 I saw Blue Oyster Cult at the Decatur Armory.  Mind blowing (first acid trip was involved as well).  I saw Styx and Fanny soon after at the Decatur Armory, as well as REO Speedwagon.  I had also seen Aerosmith, who were touring after their Get Your Wings album was released, in the gymnasium at Stephen Decatur High School.  Ah, the good old days.

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Spending the summer before my Sophomore year in H.S. I hadn’t seen my first rock concert yet (which would be The Yes ‘Relayer’ tour, in QUAD sound, during Dec. 1974), but I had seen Arlo Guthrie a year or so earlier.

Wish I’d bought every vintage Fender guitar and Marshall plexi head that was floating around the Midwest in those days!

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Here's a little more information about the bands and the concert listed in the news clip.  

My recollections:  Back in the day, it was not unusual for bands to be very late to take the stage.  It was also not unusual for there to be lengthy delays between bands.  At this particular show, fans were sitting in the sun, and it was a very hot day.  The music didn't start until evening, and it was a scheduled 3:00 show.  People were partying of course, and cooking in the sun.

Recollections from people on the FB group from which I pulled the above news clip.  There's a few first hand accounts of people that were at that show, and people that helped set up the sound system.  I'll quote the info I draw from the FB page:

"I remember the PA being hours late from St.Louis? Everyone frustrated in 100degree+heat. Bob Seger came out and played the piano and sang out loud for those of us close enough to hear him.Much respect! It was ungodly hot that day."

"all the gear came from Sedalia Mo. the 3 bands played a festival there the night before I remember 1 guy from Cactus the drummer I think or maybe the guitar player anyway he pulled in driving one the trucks lol back in the old days when rockstars pitched in with the crew"

"I climbed up on the power pole in center field and hooked up to the wires to run to my homemade breakout box for system power for PA and amplifiers. I worked my tail off along with several other people to make this concert happen. Nugent's brother said Blackwood would not be able to play because all the other bands we're late coming up from another concert. That's when Willis took exception to young Nugent's attitude."

"All the bands coming to Decatur had played at a outdoor fest in Sedalia, MO. I'll never forget Bob Seger driving right up to the front of the stage (two semi flatbeds) in a Toyota Corolla or the like and hopping out in a t-shirt and gym shorts. He was really cool about the whole situation. Dan Manke provided the semi trailers."


"I was at the Ozark Music Festival in Sedilia Mo.  That was also when the RR explosion happened...The temperature at Ozark Music Festival was 106....108....112....Great Festival.... but miserably hot and humid.I was backstage when Skynyrd played on Saturday night. I shared a bottle of Boones Farm and a joint with Buddy Miles....."  (My note here:  there had been an explosion in one of the railroad yards in Decatur just before this.)

 

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And finally, the Ozark Music Festival mentioned above, from which the bands at the Decatur show came, was legendary in the midwest.  I thank goodness that I was too young to attend, but had a few slightly older friends that did.  There was enough trouble there that the show has its own Wiki page:

Ozark Music Festival - 1974

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This is a great thread.

I was kinda in your wheelhouse, Bruce.....at Catholic School (St Mary's) in Lake Forest, Illinois. Pissing off nuns and developing my rascally personality.  

What a great time to be alive...I know our country was going through  some political issues and everybody needed an outlet. Thank God for Rock n Roll.

 

And btw, Bob Seger is a hell of a guy.

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In July 1974, I was 16 years old and preparing to move from suburban Philadelphia to suburban Seattle.

I saw my first rock concert that year. It was November 16, 1974 at the Seattle Center Coliseum. Deep Purple was the headliner with Elf and ELO opening.

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53 minutes ago, hamerican gigolo said:

In elementary school listening to my favorite AM hits.

This. Me too.I was a 12 year old in Venice FL who had left Delaware in 1973. 
I currently live in Sedalia, MO where the Festival-is the stuff of legend.  I wish I attended. It was crazy here then.

The city banned all rock concerts and didn’t relent until about 2005 when Rockfest happened and destroyed the Fairgrounds again to a lesser extent. Blues Festivals work here, but we seemed cursed here in lil Sedville when it comes to full bore rock and roll festivals.

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I was probably working my very first job flipping burgers and saving up to buy school clothes for High School, hadn't gotten a car (or a guitar) yet.  I grew up in Northeast Oklahoma, so I remember the ungodly hot and humid summers in the area back then, too.

BTW, who (or what) won the 'battle of guitars'?

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Probably starting a week at Long Beach, NC.  My parents were totally sucked into the Watergate hearings and my 7th grade self decided Elton John's Caribou sucked. And then I discovered Pachinko!

(Nixon resigned in August and I did not return to Long Beach for over 30 years)

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