The same bands over and over and over again?

dc5The first concert I attended was on May 25, 1964. I went with my older sister, Barbara, and we saw the Dave Clark Five at the Mosque Theater in Newark, New Jersey. I was 11 at the time.  The concert was the start of their U.S. tour. Stops in the following nights were in Philadelphia and Washington DC. The show was great, though I had no perspective given it was my first concert.

The Dave Clark Five were really big stuff in 1964. Obviously you need to be 55+ to remember this, but they were considered a rival band to The Beatles (I guess that didn’t last). I remember buying a Beatles vs. Dave Clark Five magazine with photos of the rival bands and pithy quotes like George saying, “Five against four isn’t fair”

The Dave Clark Five (also called the DC5) had the second most hits in 1964-1966, second to that other British band. The Dave Clark Five’s United States singles hits in 1964 and 1965 included:

Bits and Pieces (No.4, May 1964)

Can’t You See That She’s Mine? (No.4, July 1964)

Because (No.3, August/September 1964),

Anyway You Want It (No.14, December 1964),

I Like It Like That (No.7, July 1965),

Catch Us If You Can (No.4, October 1965),

Over And Over (No.1, December 25, 1965)

I remind Strumings readers that Dave Clark was the drummer, not the lead singer. The lead singer was the late Mike Smith, whose name hardly is remembered in rock history other than for his untimely passing less than two weeks prior to the induction of the Dave Clark Five into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

This concert was the first of what I guess is more than a thousand concerts that I have attended during my lifetime. Though I still see shows, my attendance was heavily skewed to my youth, Rutgers/NYU years and early post college years. The band I’ve seen the most is the Grateful Dead including various incarnations including Furthur, the Other Ones, the Dead, the Jerry Garcia Band, Kingfish, Rat Dog, New Riders etc. I know I’ve attended 50+ Dead shows but alas I have not specifically counted.

Having worked in Central Park in the summers of 1971 and 1972 I was fortunate enough to have seen countless shows at the then Schaefer Music Festival (later the Dr. Pepper Music Festival). If you’re interested in the shows I saw in 1971check out the Struming, The Summer of 1971 I was fortunate to have seen the Allman Brothers Band when there were brothers, Greg and Duane, playing together. Cost of ticket $2.

I also saw Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band there on August 3, 1974.  I recall tickets had gone up to $2.50 in 1974. Bruce was the second of three acts that evening. The opener was Brewer & Shipley (“One Toke Over the Line”), Bruce & E Street band followed and were an unbelievable combination of great new music and energy. I did not stay to see the headliner, Anne Murray (I couldn’t make this up!). Most of the crowd was there to see Bruce and left when he did. I suspect the remaining crowd  probably “Bruuuuuuuuced” Anne Murray all night. I wonder whether Bruce came back on stage to do a Snow Bird duet with Anne. I suspect not.

I wish I had kept the tickets from all the concerts over the years. It would make for an incredible scrap book of memories. But this big wind up of concert memories is a precursor to ask today’s Struming question:

Why are almost all of today’s biggest tours feautre older bands?

I don’t want to sound like an old codger claiming that music was only great in my youth, but it’s awful that the most of the biggest tours are “classic bands” not new ones. According to Pollstar, of the 6 top tours in North America 2011 of $50Million+ three were older acts, U2, Bon Jovi & Elton John (The other three were Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney and Lady Gaga). And this year among the biggest concerts will be the Van Halen tour (with David Lee Roth on lead), the Beach Boys (touring again with Brian Wilson in support of their 50th anniversary), Black Sabbath with Ozzy, Madonna, Roger Waters, and a new tour from Bruce and the E Street Band (alas no Anne Murray on the bill–guess she refused to sing Rosalita with Bruce). There are also rumors of a Stones tour in support of their 50th anniversary.

50th anniversary! Where is the new music? Why are mostly older bands playing the larger venues on big tours?  God knows I like much of the music from the acts above, and I admit to being a Deadhead, and they are hardly a new band, but why are the arenas filled with the classic acts while the newer bands, with some exceptions, playing the smaller venues. Fast forward 20 years when all the classic acts above will be gone, the question will be who will be playing the big venues then?

I regret that, given Mike Smith’s passing in 2008, there will be no 50th anniversary Dave Clark Five tour. But let’s hope that some of tomorrow’s bigger shows will be newer acts, and not the same bands over and over and over again or this dance is going to be a drag. Do you agree?

BTW: While of no relevance to this post–LET’S  GO  GIANTS !

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  1. Bruce Lowe (Cunningham) says:

    i was there at the Mosque Theater concert too ! couldn’t hear anything but screaming ! i was 17, Junior in HS, playing drums in new band THE MODS, at the Jersey Shore. i also went to Ed Sullivan Theater for their first appearance on his sunday night Show. i loved drumming to the DCF songs, and also loved being with the girls and having Because or Anytime You Want Love playing in the background :)
    i was so dissapointed i missed Mike Smith & The Rockers when they were in NYC, but caught them on Letterman.
    went up to the benefit at BB King’s they held for Mike Smith (Paul Schafer, Zombies, Peter & Gordon, Fab Faux, et al) and thanked Peter Noone last summer at Ocean Grove Auditorium for all he did for Mike.
    very fond memories of playing in the mid 60’s along the Jersey Shore and the British Invasion !

  2. Lonny Strum says:

    Great memories, Bruce. It was a great era.

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