Foghat, Winterland, 1-16/17-76. Foghat was a popular arena rock band in the 1970s who are still plugging away all these years later. They were formed when several members of Savoy Brown left that band and formed their own. They were known for their live performances, and hit it big in late 1975 with the album Fool for the City, which included their biggest hit, "Slow Ride". We saw them a few months later on a show headlined by the J. Geils Band. No disrespect intended, but if you were on a bill with J Geils, I probably don't remember much about your own set.
Rod Stewart, Cow Palace, 12-19-77. A disappointment, one I have written about before. His first solo albums, from 1969-1972, were masterpieces, and his simultaneous work with Faces was sloppy rock and roll fun. Then he got even more popular and famous, and it's simplifying things, but it was all downhill from there. (In 1980, Greil Marcus famously wrote, "Rarely has a singer had as full and unique a talent as Rod Stewart; rarely has anyone betrayed his talent so completely. Once the most compassionate presence in music, he has become a bilious self-parody – and sells more records than ever ." At his best, Rod was able to pull off softer music with literary touches, and balls-out rockers. In his greatest song, "Every Picture Tells a Story", he managed to work in a line about "Dickens, Shelley or Keats" without sounding dumb. In 1977, he was touring behind his recent release Foot Loose & Fancy Free, which was one of those self-parodies that sold a lot of records. The big two-sided hit from that album was a perfect example of where Stewart had gone: the stoopid raunchy "Hot Legs" backed with one of his most poignant ballads, "I Was Only Joking".
At that concert, he came out to "The Stripper" by David Rose, and finished with a snippet of "Every Picture Tells a Story". It was never more true, or more sad.
Robin Lane and the Chartbusters, Keystone Berkeley, 7- 2-80. I wrote quite a bit about Lane a few years ago ... you can read it here. Meanwhile, here's one of her songs from back then:
(She opened for The Undertones at that show. We exchanged emails awhile back, and I told her about that show. She replied, "Boy did the Undertones hate us. We liked them a lot though."
The Black Keys, GAMH, 2-3-03. Yet another band I saw when they opened for Sleater-Kinney. They only had one album out then. They were a cult band that made it big, winning several Grammy awards along the way. A guitar-and-drums duet, I didn't connect with them at the time. They played a lot of covers: The Beatles, The Stooges, "Have Love Will Travel".
It's a yearnin' for my own back yard
I realize maybe I was wrong to leave
Better swallow up my silly country pride
Down to Gasoline Alley where I started from
Going home, and I'm running home
Down to Gasoline Alley where I was born