A Facebook “memory” I posted this morning brings to mind a personal anecdote I want to share briefly on this blog.
The memory was this, from Feb. 10, 2013: Best bumper sticker of the day: “I may be old, but at least I saw all the cool bands.” You go, dude!
I am now 68 years of age. I graduated from high school in the Summer of Love, which would be 1967. My life took a dramatic turn the following year when I shipped out after being inducted into the U.S. Army.
It took yet another marvelous turn in 1971 when I married a girl who had appeared before my eyes, like a vision. The rest, as they say, is history.
But in 1965, I got to watch the all-time greatest rock ‘n roll band. It was the very first rock concert I ever attended. I tell folks that today and they are shocked and amazed, I tell ya. The Beatles came to my hometown of Portland, Ore., in August 1965. It was their second U.S. tour.
They played at the old Memorial Coliseum, built in 1960 at a cost of $8 million. When it opened, the “Glass Palace,” as it was called then, was considered a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue. These days, you can’t repair the plumbing in such a venue for what it cost to build the Memorial Coliseum.
John, Paul, George and Ringo came to Portland back then. They played in front of a hysterical crowd of about 10,000 fans at the Coliseum. My sister and I sat at the center of the front row.
My most vivid memory of that event isn’t so much the music The Beatles played. It is the brevity of the event. They played 10 songs. The “concert,” if you want to call it that, lasted about 30 minutes.
They came onstage, they hooked up their instruments, played some songs and then were gone. Poof! Just like that.
I’ve been able over the years to see many more such events. The Association, Toto, the Doobie Brothers, the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, the Beach Boys, the Monkees, the Grassroots. I’ve seen some others. Those just stand out.
Oh yes, I also saw Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney perform solo shows long after The Beatles broke apart.
Yes, we Baby Boomers got to see some “cool bands.”
Rock on, y’all!