Tuesday, June 15, 2010

30 years later, Yes & Peter Frampton again

Now I officially feel old.

It wasn’t so much that yesterday I marked by 30th anniversary here at the Daily Times.

Flag Day 1982.

This time it’s something that actually happened a few years before.

June 12, 1976, to be exact. Ring any bells? No? Then how about this.
Peter Frampton and Yes. JFK Stadium. A crowd of more than 100,000 packed into the rickety old stadium that once sat at the wite that is now the Wachovia Center.

That’s on my mind because tonight Frampton and Yes will be back in the area, at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, 30 years after their historic show.

I won’t be at the Tower tonight.

I was, however, at JFK 30 years ago.

I consider it one of the best concerts I ever saw. And also one of the best shows I never saw.

Let me try to explain.

I had literally just gotten home after driving back to good, old Oxford, Pa., from Colorado when I ran into an old concert-going friend in town.
He told me that he had tickets to the Frampton/Yes show and said he couldn’t make it and that did I want to use one of them. Absolutely, was my reply.

It was literally a last-minute thing. I went to the show alone. Instead of sitting in one seat, I just kind of wandered around. The place was packed.

Remember, this was the summer that Frampton released his classic live LP, “Frampton Comes Alive. I played that 8-track all the way back from Colorado and couldn’t wait to see the show live.

For some reason, I keep thinking George Thorogood opened the show. But apparently it was Gary Wright, he of the "Dream Weaver" hit. Didn't much matter. Everyone was waiting for Frampton. He took the stage next and from the first note just owned the place. He was, in a word, dynamite.

Then a weird thing happened. Apparently Yes had planned an elaborate laser light show. Frampton had finished up his show in the late afternoon. But Yes, at least from the buzz in the crowd, did not want to come on until it was dark, to make the light show all the more spectacular.

Time started going by, and the crowd started to get restless. As the time stretched, people started looking for ways to entertain themselves.
At one point, someone started throwing paper. The next thing you know the entire stadium was doing it. It was like a blizzard in June. Paper was everywhere.

Then people started stamping their feet and swaying. At one point it actually seemed like the old stadium was literally moving from side to side. I never remember being in a place that was that crowded.

After that show, officials changed the seating arrangement. The attendance at the show was over 100,000. You literally couldn’t move.

It was one of the very few times during the dozens of concerts I went to when I was actually a little scared.

Bottom line? I decided not to stick around for Yes. Instead, having been satisfied with Frampton, I headed for the exits.

So I saw half of a historic concert.

Maybe I should go to the Tower tonight to check out the other half I missed.


Blogger Dannytheman said...

You measure by decades, me? By pounds.

If Rick Wakeman is with Yes, you should go.

June 15, 2010 at 11:43 AM 

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