May 22, 2017

Starlight memories

The infamous 1977 show that drew noise complaints around Royals Stadium.

The nostalgic triple bill coming up at Starlight Theatre on Friday, May 10 — Styx, REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent — made me wonder just how many times those three acts have collectively played Kansas City.

A Chris Fritz presentation, circa 1972-74.

The poster at left shows that promoter Chris Fritz presented two of the three groups – along with Joe Walsh’s Barnstorm – at Memorial Hall in the early ’70s. Nugent was still billed as leader of the Amboy Dukes then, just a few years after their Top 40 hit from 1968, “Journey to the Center of the Mind.” Barnstorm existed only from 1972 to 1974, so this would have to be from that period.

Guitar battle poster

The Nuge had played KC before, and he came through many times thereafter, as did REO and Styx. Part of REO’s 1977 double-live album was recorded at Memorial Hall.

When Nugent was at his commercial, multi-platinum-selling peak, he even headlined two stadium shows for Fritz. The first of those, on Sunday, June 26, 1977, became infamous for drawing noise complaints from miles around the Harry S Truman Sports Complex. (See story above) Second on the bill that night was REO Speedwagon.

The Nuge headlined Summer Rock '79

REO also headlined a memorable show at Royals Stadium on Sept. 1, 1979, literally “Ridin’ the Storm Out” on a night so rainy they could barely finish their set. Someone is selling a vintage T-shirt from that show for $140 online here.

Next month’s show is a production of Live Nation, Starlight’s promotional partner for the current season. I was also trying to think, for the purposes of this post, about what were the first rock shows staged at Starlight. I remember seeing the Grateful Dead and Elvis Costello (in separate shows) there during the 1980s, but I’m almost certain rock shows were held there during the 1960s and ’70s.

What are your Starlight rock memories? Please leave a comment below.

Need to unearth Cavern photos

Cavern studio letterhead, provided by Tom Sorrells

Tom Sorrells, a great friend of the Kansas City Rock History Project, has a request. He needs photos of the former Cavern Studios in Independence, Mo., for a project he is undertaking with Chicago’s esteemed Numero Group.
Cavern was active at least from the 1960s to 1980s. As evidenced by these 2 photos at (Jim) Wheeler Audio’s website, not only local acts, but giants like James Brown recorded there.
Tom has rescued some great trax from the Cavern vaults, but he needs more pix for a package that will meet Numero’s deluxe standard.
BTW, if you haven’t heard it, Tom’s first project with Numero, a history of his pure-pop Titan label, is available in both 2-CD and expanded, 4-LP versions here.
If you have any Cavern photos, friend/message Tom Sorrells on facebook or email him at: Kansas City rock history will thank you.

‘Science of Rock’ premiere includes KC focus

Cowtown Ballroom mirror ball.

The Science of Rock,” an interactive exhibit that made its world premiere in October and which runs through May at Union Station, is something of a misnomer. But it’s fun and informative, and it contains a good deal of KC-specific rock history in its anteroom.

Kustom amp wall, unfortunately not marked as made in Chanute, Kan.

Kudos to the staff of Union Station, many of whom donated their own memorabilia, for adding the KC-centered exhibit, placing our town in the context of the larger exhibit, which otherwise features posters and concert tickets from other towns.

A local "Bandstand"-type program.

The KC room has informative panels that tell local pop history by decades, including such highlights as the Beatles concert at Municipal Stadium and the Ozark Music Festival in Sedalia.

Display albums by regional heroes Brewer & Shipley and Kansas can't be an accident.