(Originally posted April 22, 2007)
Lynyrd Skynyrd: Oct. 19, 1977, Columbia, SC. I saw Skynyrd twice and both times they were great, but this show gets the nod for one simple reason: It was the next to the last show the original Skynyrd band ever performed. The next night they performed in Greenville, SC and flew to Louisiana but their plane ran out of fuel and crashed in Mississippi. Ronnie Van Zant had one of the greatest stage presences I’ve ever seen.
Allman Brothers / Atlanta Rhythm Section: 1980, Columbia, SC. What a double bill! ARS was at its commercial peak and the Allmans are always good. Ronnie Hammond of ARS did one of the greatest Mick Jagger parodies I have ever seen. While ARS was playing ‘Imaginary Lover’ they effortlessly morphed the song into the Stones’ ‘Miss You’ and Hammond did a dead-on Jagger prancing on the stage and singing.
Mary Chapin Carpenter: 1990, Greenstreet’s, Columbia SC. I’ve seen her several times in larger arenas (one memorable show w/ Vince Gill), but she is better in smaller venues. This was one hell of a show, just as she was on the cusp of winning several Grammy Awards. BONUS: Radney Foster opened up as an acoustic solo act.
Rodney Crowell, 1988, Greenstreet’s, Columbia, SC. What a club Greenstreet’s used to be. Crowell is one of the greatest song writers of the past 50 years and one helluva performer. This was the first tour for a young hotshot guitar player named Stuart Smith, whom Crowell had discovered. Smith is now playing guitar for the Eagles when they tour. (He’s the clean cut guy who outplays Joe Walsh every night.) Crowell has only gotten better with age. BONUS: Crowell’s then-wife, Roseanne Cash, sat on a stool on the edge of the stage all night.
The Eagles / Amazing Rhythm Aces, 1980, Columbia, SC. The Long Run tour, with Timothy B. Schmit on his first tour as the new bass player replacing Randy Meisner. As a long time Poco fan that was very cool. BONUS: My second time seeing the Aces in one year. Even though they were only give a 45 minute set, they were, as always, amazing.
Radney Foster, 1994, The Wagon Wheel, Orangeburg, SC. Radney would the heir to the Rodney Crowell throne except that Rodney is still around and as good as ever. This club show was in support of the Labor of Love CD, Radney’s last release for a major label, before he went Indie and expanded his musical vision. Great voice on stage with one helluva band – Mike McAdams is an amazing guitarist. I am anxious to see Radney again.
Amazing Rhythm Aces, 1980, USC Spring Fest, Columbia, SC. The greatest outdoor musical event & drunkfest I’ve ever attended. The Aces are one of those bands that are always better live. Their rendition of ‘I Must’ve Died and Gone to Texas’, which was changed to “I Must’ve Died and Gone to Carolina’ for the show was one of the most fun singalongs I’ve ever participated in.
Dixie Dregs / Mother’s Finest / Little Feat, 1978, Civic Center, Augusta, Ga. What a triple bill! At this point hardly anyone had ever heard of the Dregs and their guitar playing genius Steve Morse, and unfortunately most people still don’t know about Mother’s Finest, the greatest funk/soul/ hard rock band in the world. And Little Feat, even on a bad night, can blow away most other live acts.
Bob Seger, 1980, Columbia , SC. The Against the Wind tour. I recently saw Seger in Charleston in 2007, and he was still phenomenal, even though his voice was nowhere near its old glory. Back in 1980 when he was still a younger man, this was as good as a rock-and-roll show could get. Three hours long and no let up!
Montrose / Foghat / Black Oak Arkansas, 1975, Augusta Auditorium Augusta, Ga. Being that I was 15 and had never attended a rock concert ever, I loved it. Montrose had a lead singer named Sammy Hagar, and Foghat was two years away from ‘Slow Ride’, but was one of the best live acts of the 70s. Black Oak just sucked, even at age 15 I could tell. Foghat blew them off the stage.
Honorable mention: Roseanne Cash, 1990; Elton John/Billy Joel, 2005; Earth, Wind & Fire, 1978; Grand Funk Railroad, 1977; Paul McCartney, 1996; Poco, 1985; The Police, 1980; Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1992.