big name concerts

I’ve been working on a compilation of big name concerts held at RPI.  People occasionally ask questions about bands that played here and it’s useful to have a quick reference to that information. So far, I’ve covered the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s.  I thought I would share some interesting tidbits from my research.

Peter, Paul & Mary played here three times.  They appeared during Soiree Weekend in 1963 and 1965, then did a fall concert in 1966.  Also appearing in 1966 was Ray Charles in the spring and Simon & Garfunkel in the fall.  Ray Charles was on probation and kicking the heroin habit that year.  Simon & Garfunkel only played on the weekends at college campuses.  Art Garfunkel was still a student at Columbia.

We often get asked about The Doors — yes, they were here December 8, 1967.  A reviewer for The Poly stated that they “like true showmen gave not quite their all for 45 minutes.”  At the end of the concert Jim Morrison shouted  “If this is Troy, I’m with the Greeks.”  He was arrested on stage the next night in New Haven, CT for attempting to incite a riot.

Jimi Hendrix stopped by in 1968 and was one of shows held in the Troy Armory.  It didn’t seem to matter that the Armory had really bad acoustics, Jimi’s music thrilled the crowd anyway.

UPAC teamed up with the American Bureau of Arts to promote big name concerts in 1972.  The relationship was short lived, but they produced a jam packed schedule of concerts that year.  Chicago played back to back concerts at the Armory in 1972 — both sold out.  They were the only band to stick it out in Troy for two straight nights!  Bette Midler had just released her first album and was relatively unknown when she played at the Field House.  She called Troy “the pits,” a phrase she used over and over in an interview after the concert.  J. Geils, Isaac Hayes and Melanie also played at RPI that year.

Tickets for The Grateful Dead concert on May 7, 1978 sold out within a few hours.  People started lining up for tickets before the concert date was even set.  They were told to go home because the line interfered with Ice Capades shows going on at the Field House.

The 80’s were all about rock and 1986-87 was the most ambitious concert year — Judas Priest, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bon Jovi and Motley Crue.  In their midst was a concert by the Monkees, who one reviewer defended as being “legitimately rock and roll.”  I was a little puzzled about The Monkees being here, but learned that they were on their 20th anniversary tour in 1986.  The Poly didn’t review many concerts in the late 80’s so details of these concerts are lacking.

If you attended any RPI concerts, please share your memories!

See also: my list of big name concerts at RPI

Share
This entry was posted in RPI Trivia and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

79 Responses to big name concerts

  1. Bill Criss says:

    Peter Paul & Mary and Simon & Garfunkel were my favorities. But Sammy Davis Jr and Pete Seegar also are right up there from my “great performers” memories of RPI Big Weekends ’64 – ’69 !

  2. Bill Criss says:

    Peter Paul & Mary and Simon & Garfunkel were my favorities. But Sammy Davis Jr and Pete Seegar also are right up there from my “great performers” memories of RPI Big Weekends ’64 – ’69 !

  3. Dickey Small says:

    Amy, The Only Concert That Mattered from the 80’s was the Clash at the Huston Field house on 10/3/82. They were at the height of their popularity at that time, and the played Shea Stadium with the Who the following week. I was there in the front row, and that was the high point of my time at RPI.
    –Dickey, (almost graduated) ’83

    • amythearchivist says:

      Dickey, thanks for the info. on the Clash concert — especially the date. I’ll add it to my list. I had a difficult time finding information about concerts in the early 80’s.

  4. Bob Mayo says:

    Hi Amy,
    I attended a great Bob Dylan concert at the Field House on Feb. 22, 1999. Natalie Merchant was the opening act. Some perspectives on the concert can be found at http://expectingrain.com/dok/set/99/02/990222a.html and a set-list can be found at http://www.bobdylan.com/#/tour/1999-02-22-rpi-fieldhouse. Several recordings from this concert show up on bootleg CDs. Bob’s performance of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” at that concert appears on many of them.

  5. Steve Davis says:

    I fondly remember the Peter, Paul and Mary concerts. They really seemed to enjoy playing at RPI. I also remember Simon & Garfunkel, Sammy Davis Jr. and the Kingston Trio as great concerts during my 63 to 69 undergraduate/ masters degree years at RPI.

    One concert that really stands out was a show advertised as Little Anthony & the Imperials. I don’t remember exactly what happened but the Imperials were a no show. Little Anthony showed himself to be a real trooper when he came out and performed without a backup band and did a wonderful job. There must be a Poly review of this show someplace.

  6. Charlene Moore says:

    Hi

    I was at a supertramp concert back in the 70’s I can’t remember the exact year but it was the best concert I have every seen. Can you tell me when that was. Thanks

    • amythearchivist says:

      Charlene, according to an online concert list, Supertramp was here May 27, 1979. I haven’t been able to verify this in local sources yet. Since this was after the RPI spring semester ended, it wasn’t covered by campus publications. I have a list of concert dates to look up in the Troy Record when I have the time.

    • amythearchivist says:

      As a follow up to the Supertramp query, I just came across information in a 1985 Poly about a Supertramp concert held at the Field House October 9, 1985. Martha Davis and The Motels were the openers. I’m still not sure about the 1979 concert date, however.

  7. Tom Engel says:

    I remember Santana in late 1970 or early 1971. The concert was held in the Field House with plywood over the ice and floor level seating. Carlos announced that his goal was to make the music so hot that the ice would melt – which it did, partially.

    • amythearchivist says:

      Tom, thanks for sharing your memory of the Santana concert! They played here October 9, 1970. We have a drum stick from that concert, which was donated by Ken Hoffman. I assume it was one of Michael Shrieve’s sticks.

    • Bill says:

      That was indeed in 1970. My first rock concert at the age of 16. Elvin Bishop was the opening act.

    • Chuck Koch says:

      I was one of the hundreds that was not able to get in for the show. The music was loud enough that it could be heard outside, where we all gathered on the hill behind the place. After about 20 minutes the huge back doors were opened and stage crew began rolling a bank of speakers outside! As cold as it was outside everyone stayed and enjoyed the show! We were informed that Carlos Santana had said to have it done!

  8. Howard Henze says:

    During the 60’s we also had Woody Allen and the Lovin’ Spoonful, Dave Brubeck, and Little Anthony and 1 Imperial.
    Ar the new Union, we had Jim Croce and his wife before he was at all famous. They were a great duo and I have probably the only recording of the two of them together..just great. I didn’t go to the really hard-rock concerts but the Chambers Brothers appeared and I can remember hearing them all the way down on 15th St. Don’t know how Samaritan Hospital tolerated that.

  9. Suzanne says:

    Verry cool topic! What about shows in the Union or in Mother’s from artists that later became REALLY famous. I think I saw 10,000 maniacs for a dollar or two, and Suzanne Vega played in Mothers often before she hit the big time!

  10. Bill W. says:

    Does anyone remember The Beach Boys appearing at the Troy Armory in 1969? It was the day (night) that the Apollo 11 astronauts stepped onto the moon, July 20. The concert was stopped and The Beach Boys went backstage to watch it on TV, and they broadcast the audio to the audience. Then they came back onstage and finished the concert.

    • amythearchivist says:

      Wow, what a great memory of the lunar landing! I’m making a note of this and adding it to my list of things to look up in the Troy Record.

    • Marty says:

      I was there much to the chagrin of the camp director of the Rotary Boy Scout camp where I was employed. He expected us to be glued to the TV rather than enjoying Good Vibrations.

    • Bill says:

      I was a few blocks away in the basement of St. Francis de Sales Churh watching the landing. It is now an RPI frat house.

  11. Bill W. says:

    Amy:

    Please let me know what you find in the Troy Record Archives. I tried to do a search but couldn’t find anything. If I recall (I’m working a 60 year old memory here!) there was another “warm up” act of some prominence also there that night.

  12. andrew says:

    Hello there people….Did you all l that bob dylan also played the troy armory in february of 1965?? Yes,it is indeed true! Does anyone out there have a bob dylan concert poster from the trou armory?? If so, a serious buyer is willing to pay $3,000 cash..any condition would be accepted! Please call 1-310-346-1965…………By the way,I have a concert poster for the doors at the RPI field House.From what I was told it wasn’t one of their better performances but still historic nonetheless.Would be happy to post a photo of it if somebody would show me how…thanx! …PS Please let me know if you have any leads on the dylan poster!

  13. Sharon T says:

    I was at RPI from 1984 through 1987 and I remember seeing the Thompson Twins, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), Howard Jones and Robin Williams (not really a concert, but…). I also remember sleeping outside the Field House to be first in line…always fun to camp out there!

  14. Dave Donnelly says:

    Pete Seeger introduced Arlo Guthrie at a very nice small concert in the ’87 gym, sometime around 1969-70.

  15. Frank says:

    Supertramp concert was great, I also saw Sting there, on one of his first solo tours. I think it was 1987 or 1988, he had Branford Marsalis in his band, it was a great show.

    • amythearchivist says:

      Supertramp was here in the fall of 1985. I will have to do some searching on the Sting concert — I don’t have that one on my list. Thanks for the information!

    • amythearchivist says:

      I have been able to verify that Sting played at RPI on February 6, 1988. There was no article or ad about the concert in The Polytechnic (which baffles me!), but the concert was listed in a calendar of weekly events. I also found it listed in an online concert archive.

    • Mike says:

      I saw that show as well.

  16. thom harris says:

    As a 14 yr old I attended my 1st rock concert 1969 other than other local bands.
    The Young Rascals after the New Colony Six performed .
    The Beach Boys did a set then there was a break for the moon landing.
    during which I wandered and found a small empty room with a tv.
    As I watchedthe broadcast , several guys came in and sat down.
    One was upset that the set was stopped.(Dennis as I remember?)
    I was a small kid so they didn’t noticed me . As they were closing the door they saw me and asked me to leave.
    I finished listening to the broadcast over the armory loudspeakers from my seet in the audiance but told my friends where I “met” the Beach Boys.

  17. Bill W. says:

    Thom:

    Thank you for this post. I’m glad someone other than me remembers this concert. I knew there were other “lead in” bands before the Beach Boys but I forgot who they were.

    • paul caglione says:

      I was there that night as well, remember the New Colony Six opened for the original Beach Boys, but don’t recall the Rascals on the bill – walking through hallway from entrance to the stage, I stopped at one of the office “half doors” and looking in to see people(including some performers) watching t.v., covering the moon landing

    • John Carr says:

      The other two groups were the McCoys (Hang on Sloopy) and the New Colony Six (I will always think about you). Somebody threw a beer can and hit Mike Love for making a wise crack about us being there watching them instead of being glued to a TV set.

  18. Taras says:

    I recall seeing Neil Young on the Ragged Glory tour, circa 1991, with Sonic Youth and Social Distortion. You must mention this one—-a classic!

    • Joe Testa says:

      yes – I’ve seen a lot of concerts and that one really sticks out as one of the most memorable I’ve ever been to. Opening acts were Sonic Youth and Social Distortion. Neil had a yellow ribbon tied to his giant stage prop mic and you could tell by the way he played he was a bit angry about the Gulf War that was going on at the time.

  19. s rockhill says:

    I am trying to remember back a few years (over 20) but I am pretty sure I saw Joan Jett with Robert Plant at RPI in fall of 1988. It was a great concert. I remember the music and the atmosphere as if it were yesterday. I just don’t recall with 100% certainty if we were RPI or another area venue

    • Mark says:

      For what it’s worth 5 years after you posted this, yes, it was the RPI Fieldhouse. I was at that same concert in ’88.

  20. Steve Bailey says:

    I attended the ‘Tute from 1968 through 1973. Two headliners I can recall that aren’t on your list are Bill Cosby and Jay & the Americans. Roberta Flack was the opener for Cosby. Sorry, but I’m not sure of the dates.

  21. Steve Pincott says:

    During the late 60’s I remember seeing Gordon Lightfoot, The 5th Dimension, and the Iron Butterfly at the Field House.

    Gordon Lightfoot was reviled by the audience for refusing to sing his hit song “If You Could Read My Mind”. He said he was tired of singing it. He was kind of surly that night, but otherwise put on a good performance.

    The 5th Dimension was popular at that time and sang all their top songs. They were great.

    People got up to dance in the aisles when the Iron Butterfly began their hit “In-a-gadda-da-vida”, which on record (vinyl) was about 11 minutes, but in this rendition lasted for more than 1 hour. The dancers collapsed before the song was over.

    As was already reported the Chambers Brothers really belted out their hit “Time Has Come Today”.

    Great music, great time, great memories.

  22. Dave Quick says:

    The band “Live” played in the union in Fall of 1992. I remember that the guy down the hall (Pat from Texas) kept bursting into song the week afterward with one of their tunes and we’d all tell him to stop. 🙂

  23. oldzilla says:

    When I was about 16 I seen Jimi Hendrix in Troy. I think it was here but not sure we were all confused back then !
    Nobody mentions the Hendrix concert. It did happen. I took picture of Jimi and the the opening act was the Soft Machine I think. I am almost 60 now so…..

    Please was any of you there or was it a different building ?
    It was Troy for sure though !

    • paul caglione says:

      Jimi Hendrix Experience played Troy Armory in 1968, the Soft Machine did open
      I was there too !

  24. Great to be reminded of all the concerts I attended in the 1966-70 time frame: Simon & Garfunkel, Peter, Paul & Mary, Iron Butterfly, Chambers Bros., 5th Dimension, etc.

    But two good performances at the Fieldhouse I haven’t seen mentioned yet (I would guess 1967-68):

    The Association and Tom Rush.

  25. amythearchivist says:

    A subsequent post on this blog includes a list of concerts held at RPI. http://rpiarchives.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/big_name_concerts_rpi4.pdf

    The Association, Tom Rush and Jimi Hendrix concerts are all this list.

    Thanks for the comments!!

  26. CN says:

    I saw numersous concerts while at RPI in the 1970’s, many at SPAC. I do remember seeing Supertramp in May of 1979 at the Fieldhouse (awesome concert as a previous poster mentions). Also saw Boston at the Fieldhouse, though I can’t remember the date, probably around 1977. They were less than stellar since they couldn’t match their studio prowess with electronics in concert. But the crowd was pretty amped up anyway!

  27. JRowinski says:

    I was at RPI ’60-64 Chem Engineer. Among concerts I recall Dave Brubeck ( who left the stage when the audience became rowdy); another was Bo Diddely

  28. AD says:

    I saw Matchbox 20 at the Field House in 2000 during their peak. They put on a great show!

  29. Jim says:

    I saw 2 Concerts at the RPI Fieldhouse. First, Boston on May 8, 1977. Great show, Brad Delp was very animated and I also remember Drummer Sib really pounding the skins!..What an honor and pleasure to see this wonderful Band!
    On February 6, 1978 Emerson Lake & Palmer played on the night of a fierce snowstorm. Fanfare For The Common Man was awesome, and Carl Palmer’s drum solo was amazing!..Another great show!

  30. Carol J. Lloyd says:

    I saw Bette Midler at the Fieldhouse, and also one of the Chicago concerts in 1972. The acoustics in the Armory were really bad. But I remember it well. It also seems to me some big name heavy band like Zepplin or Butterfly appeared at the Fieldhouse sometime 1969-73, but I don’t remember who it was. I remember going to that concert, does anyone else ?

  31. Mark says:

    I attended the Dec. 8, 1967 Doors concert on the Hockey Rink at RPI. I remember being truly amazed at the show. In reading recently about the concert it has been said that the show wasn’t well received, I remember that the seats faced the ice not the stage and the audience that had “ICE” seats were uncomfortable. I liked the show very much though, as I was a pretty big DOORS fan at the time and was 17 years old. The opening act was Tim Rose who sang a lot of folky songs and had the crowd booing. We didn’t know that Jim Morrison hadn’t made it to the arena yet. Finally Tim Rose got irritated and admonished the crowd,”If you can’t handle it, don’t smoke it.”, and then said, “Here’s a song I wrote.” and proceeded to blow everyone away with “Hey Joe”. The he walked off the stage and the DOORS came on. All in all it was an event I’ll never forget. In the days before arena concerts were the norm it was a real happening.

    • John Bishop says:

      I was at that concert (14 at the time). My brother and I begged the parents. They couldn’t leave the younger ones with a sitter so they all came. We were way high up in the seats to the left of the stage, Mom/Dad, me, brothers 13 and 10, and little sister Wendy at 7. Light my fire was on all the time in my home so it seemed natural to me. But when the fans around us offered funny smelling cigarettes (my parent’s name for them) to them and me, I had to refuse and focus on the concert…I was a local – grew up in Niskayuna, NY. RPI grad class of ’75. (Saw Country Joe at Sienna, Arlo Guthrie at RPI… 71-75.) Does anyone remember the stripper they brought into the Armory in 1971? Times have changed…

  32. amythearchivist says:

    Carol, Iron Butterfly was at RPI in October 1969.

  33. carol says:

    Thanks so much, I knew I had seen one of those ‘new’ heavy bands back then, but it wasn’t mentioned in this compilation…I had forgotten and thought maybe it was Zepplin, but I recently went to a Zepplin music concert by the Houston Symphony and realized it wasn’t them. So it had to be Butterfly, but I needed verification.

  34. dave says:

    Jethro Tull was there – late 80’s?

  35. A Bruno says:

    I didn’t go to RPI (although I work here) but my husband and I grew up in the area and went to many concerts at the Fieldhouse including the Jethro Tull shows and these: The Clash, Oct 3, 1982; Ratt with Bon Jovi (and bon jovi was the opening act!) Oct. 13, 1985; Jimmy Page in Nov, 1988; Motley Crue and Whitesnake August 14, 1987; and Tesla and Firehouse, date unknown but probably sometime around 1992.

  36. Roger Mike '70 says:

    Amy, as seen from your excellent list of concerts, McKendree Spring performed several times at RPI, and they had an avid following here. They were an interesting group because they had a violinist but no drummer. I thought Fran McKendree was both a great singer and rhythm guitarist (partially filling the void of having no drums.) They went on to be inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.

    There is one McKendree Spring concert I can add to your list. They performed at the ’87 Gym on the evening of Sunday, May 17, 1970. I remember this vividly because I organized that concert. It was nearly two weeks after the four tragic deaths at Kent State, and after someone at the Student Union gave me their manager’s phone number, McKendree Spring nicely agreed to do the concert as a benefit and took no payment. I happened to play in a band called Monolith at the time, and we opened for McKendree Spring. After the concert, Fran McKendree told us that while we were playing, they came up from the locker room and listened to us. He especially liked what we did with Neil Young’s “Down By the River.” That song was on their next album.

  37. Hi all, I was an RPI groupie. Imagine that. In 1967-70. I am looking for anyone who could put me in touch with Sanford (Sandy) Kresge. We saw so many concerts together!@ The Doors was the best but I saw that with someone else. Amy, I am 65 and have been ill so I really want to find my old friends soon. Can you look him up? I don’t think he graduated but I could be wrong. He was there for sure in 68. All my aloha from Maui HI, Leslie Williams or Leslie Corina.

  38. suzi says:

    Saw BonJovi (warming up for Ratt) on my 16th birthday and fell in love. 25 years later-still in love

    . also saw RUSH there for the first time (Hold your Fire tour???) saw them 10 more times since!!

  39. Nicole Fanelli says:

    I saw Sting in the eighties at RPI. It was around the release of “Nothing Luke the Sun”. Maybe 1987? I also saw Robin Williams do standup there. Might have been 85 or 86.

  40. AJP says:

    The only concert I saw in the “hockey barn” (as the band called it) was Guster in probably ’04. I’d have to look at my ticket stub at home to know the exact date. I feel like Green Day had a concert either right before I got to RPI (which would have been ’01) or my first year (’02).

  41. Larry McKeen says:

    Concerts from 1969-1973 That I saw included:
    Iron Butterfly Fall 1969 ($3 tickets! as I recall), Also saw but I forget the dates: Bill Crosby who introduced robert flack, 5th Dimension, Bette Middler, Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears, Youngbloods/Mountain, Don McLain (sp?), I remember seeing the Dead several times but that could not have been on Campus (probably Hartford and Springfield?). Those come to mind, and as I recall prices got up to about $5 in 1972.

  42. mike says:

    I saw Rush, Niel Young, Judas Priest, Heart, Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, Sting. All in the mid 80s

  43. TME says:

    The Clash in 1982. Literally sat on stage, Combat Rock tour. Also saw Cheap Trick there in 1981. Wish I got to see the Dead or Iron Butterfly.

  44. Leanne says:

    Concerts I have tickets from:
    – 10/3/1982 The Clash
    – 11/9/1984 Cyndi Lauper, opener was The Bangles
    – 10/13/1985 Ratt, opener was Bon Jovi
    – 3/31/1992 Tesla, opener was Firehouse
    – 4/12/1992 Skid Row, opener was Pantera
    – 2/11/1996 Red Hot Chili Peppers, opener was Spacehog

    I know I attended others already on your list, but I don’t have tickets for them.

  45. Linda Parks says:

    I was RPI Homecoming Queen during halftime show at the Fifth Dimension concert at the hockey rink 1970. Receiving greetings from the 5th Dimension, flowers and $100 check. I’d love a photo!

  46. Lonnie Lykins says:

    I attended RPI ’64 & ’65. Date is hazy, but I think Fall of ’65 we had a “Beer and blanket” concert at the Field House with the Rolling Stones. There were no seats, just the open floor. They walked off the stage twice, once when someone tossed a beer can onstage, and once when someone yelled “faggot” at them. Both times, they were convinced to return to the stage, and they did complete their performance. There is a record of a Rolling Stone concert in New Hampshire about that time, and I’m thinking they may have been on a mini-tour.

  47. Eric Merrills says:

    I saw Poison wsg Tesla at the fieldhouse in 1989. I also saw Ozzy Osbourne there smoetime in the mid nineties (maybe 96).

  48. John Carr says:

    Went to a concert at the RPI Fieldhouse, Beach Boys, McCoys and the New Colony Six were playing. They made an announcement of the landing and the bald Beach Boy made a wise crack about how we were not good Americans because we were there instead of home watching the moon landing. Somebody then thru a beer at him and he got real mad!

  49. Alessandro Borri says:

    Dear All,
    I am an Italian rock gig collector and I know of the following gigs played in Troy – R.P.I. Fieldhouse not yet listed on your nice website, as follows:
    RATT / POISON 21st March 1987
    ROBERT PLANT / JOAN JETT 18th October 1988
    POISON / TESLA 11th February 1989
    RATT / BRITNY FOX / KIX 9th April 1989
    GREAT WHITE / TESLA / BADLANDS 24th October 1989
    OZZY OSBOURNE / KORN 27th January 1996

    I’ll hope this helps !

    All The Best,
    Alessandro Borri
    Bologna
    ITALY

  50. paul caglione says:

    shows I attended at R.P.I/Troy Armory/R.P.I.Fieldhouse/87′ Gym
    Jimi Hendrix Experience -armory
    Beach Boys/New Colony Six -armory
    Chicago Transit Authority – armory (1st of 2 consecutive nights) Don McLean – fieldhouse
    Bruce Springsteen +band – fieldhouse Bo Diddly – ?
    Paul Mauriat Orchestra – fieldhouse Doors – fieldhouse (from outside)
    Emerson,Lake & Palmer – fieldhouse The Fifth Dimension – fieldhouse
    Bette Midler – fieldhouse (Barry Manilow keyboards/musical conductor)
    Stevie Wonder – fieldhouse
    Chuck Mangione – 87 gym

  51. Harry Robinson says:

    Les Elgart was the IFC ball band in fall 1954, my first RPI big weekend. The sound in the Field House was amazing. Dave Brubeck player in the 86 gym for Saturnalia the next year.

  52. David Curry says:

    I was at the 10/3/82 Clash show. I also saw both Stevie Wonder and Eddie Murphy (two separate shows), I believe in 1986. If someone who went to either of these shows could post the exact dates, it would be greatly appreciated!

  53. John Carr says:

    I was at the Armory for The Beach Boys concert. They were backed up by the McCoys and The New Colony Six. Mike Love got hit with a beer can when he made a wise crack about us being bad Americans because we were not watching the moon landing. The PA had picked up the announcement of the moonwalk, and The Beach Boys got kind of smart ass.

  54. Robert Hansen says:

    Saturnalia 1969 – Grass Roots and Jay and the Americans at the HFH
    Soiree (I believe) 1969- Iron Butterfly at the HFH
    Pete Seeger and Don Mclean at the 87 Gym, winter 1970-71. (Don M. was almst unknown at the time)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *