With my new diet of rock music, my Aunt Soula (Greek for Christine…??) thought that since it was my birthday (much like it is today…yes it is), that I might like to attend my first concert. I had never experienced live music. This was an exciting proposition. She offered to take me to any group I would like to see.
I had zero patience to wait for Alice Cooper and The Beatles were not reuniting anytime soon. I opened the NY Times Sunday section that listed all the local concerts. In those days, since The Fillmore East had closed, they had only a few venues. The Felt Forum, The Academy of Music were the two big ones.
My Aunt said I could bring my friend Jimmy along. Jimmy had a better idea of who to see, since he was more well-versed than I on the music scene. He noticed The James Gang at Carnegie Hall coming up. He said, “we should go see that.” It was billed as “The James Gang Wild West Show”. Who the hell knew what that meant? Who cared. It was a concert. Off to Ticketron (that’s what it was called back then). Three tickets to see The James Gang. We were ready to ROCK. We had seats in the 2nd row, so we were pumped.
Of course, on the way back from Ticketron, I bought The James Gang Live at Carnegie Hall album. The show I saw was the return trip to Carnegie Hall.
James Gang Live at Carnegie Hall is a classic live album. The front cover is horses tied up in front of Carnegie Hall, the back cover is a picture of the band cleaning up horse crap. It’s considered one of the greatest live albums ever recorded. Joe Walsh on lead guitar and vocals is at his all time best. With hits like “Funk 49”, “Walk Away” and “Tend my Garden”, it’s still one of my favorite albums. Check it out.
Off to the show. Excitement is building as the show starts. First up is a midget swami swallowing swords, juggling, and walking on broken glass. Is this what happens at every concert?
Next up, the lights dim, and a couch comes out in the middle of the stage. Is this The James Gang? Nope.
It’s Tempest Starr. A stripper. Is THIS what happens at every concert?
Now, I am barely 15 and my Aunt is freaking out. Why did I take her to a concert with a stripper? Did I know? Did Jimmy know? We didn’t. She tried to shield my eyes from the depravity, but trying to stop a 15 year old boy from looking at tits is futile. I may have even bit her (my Aunt, not the stripper), I don’t remember.
Finally, the band came out and it was by far the loudest music I ever heard. I mean really freaking loud. Just three guys. Joe Walsh on Guitar, Dale Peters on Bass and Jimmy Vox on drums. Even by today’s standards, an amazing band. Little did I know it was the very last time Joe Walsh played with the band until 2007. It was also the last time my Aunt took me to a concert.
An amazing start to what would be hundreds of concerts (all without strippers).