Wednesday, August 5, 2009
AUGUST...I'm going to take a bit of detour for the upcoming month. As I've alluded to elsewhere, I produced concerts at Hobart and William Smith College in Geneva NY in the early 1970s. We were a small school, unable to write out big checks for artists like Jethro Tull, the Grateful Dead, or Elton John as nearby schools like Syracuse and Cornell were able to. But we had a student population that was intensely interested in music and supported whatever the concert committee presented. As a result, we were able to focus on relatively unknown or upcoming artists as well as veterans who didn't necessarily have a hit record at the time. Some of the concerts at the school during this period have become legendary and whenever I go back to school for a reunion, that's all people want to talk to me about. To the extent that I am remembered, I'm introduced to spouses as "the guy who was responsible for all those concerts I've told you about"...and then the spouse duly rolls his or her eyes, having heard the stories umpteen times. I wasn't the first nor last in a string of student promoters who put together the series of shows (three of us actually went on to be in the concert business at one time or another) so I can only tell my part of the tale. Last year the alumnae magazine did a cover story on the concerts of yore. As cool as it was, it was riddled with factual error. So for the next few weeks I'm going to travel chronologically through the shows. For those of you who weren't there, I'm going to try to put the events in the broader context of what was going on in the music business back then and how it differs (monumentally) from today. As far as any connection to Big Star, there isn't one. Except that it will become readily apparent that if I'd heard a Big Star record when they were first released, I would have booked them at Hobart at the first chance. There would have most certainly been a date in Geneva during the Radio City tour plugged right in between Boston, Syracuse and Niagara Falls.