Opening songs...

In the late 60's and early 70's there was a popular venue where they held teen dances Saturday and Sunday nights. It was originally a grocery store that went bankrupt, not long after it became a gathering place where they projected surfing movies on the wall. A father and son bought the place, erected 2 stages and hired local bands to perform there. The pay wasn't great, but it was steady work where as many as 4 bands playing each night and sometimes we were booked 6 to 8 nights a month.

The venue (legally) had a capacity of 90, but there where nights where kids stood outside waiting to get in and it was mostly 'standing room only' as the owners packed the place.
Lots of places would stamp your hand as identification so you could leave and return later and more kids would pay to get in as soon as a few left... even if they were going for a hamburger with plans to be back in 30 minutes. So total paid attendance would easily be 250 to 300 in a 4 hour period.

Because it was so popular, bands as far as 50 miles away were booked to play there. I got to hear a good sampling of the music being played in South Florida. There were a few Latin (Cuban) bands playing and a few soul or blues groups, but mostly the mix was rock & roll and later changing to hard rock music.

Over the years, I had been in a few different groups and my father managed us which was great because he was friendly with the owners that helped us get more bookings.

One afternoon, we had solid rain for a few hours and the streets were flooded. Some of the groups were forced to cancel their appearances. We weren't booked that night, but a desperate last-minute call from the owner asked if we were available. No problem. Our drummer had a Volkswagen bus, so we loaded our gear and was able to go through the flooded streets to make it to the gig! That effort put us in 'solid' with the owners.

As always, it was important to have a good opening song at the beginning of each set.
There was a band we often shared a stage with called "The Body Shop" and they played a mixture of blues and rock & roll. They were located across town so none of us knew them from school or any other connection, but we got along great with no friction or band rivalry in any way, so it didn't matter if they opened the set first or we opened the set first.
The cool thing about this group was they often opened their set playing the high-energy song "Living in the USA" by the Steve Miller Band.
I heard this song on the radio today and it reminded me of the group.
Great song!

"Somebody get me a cheesburger..."
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The last time The Rolling Stones played in Florida, a friend and his wife were able to get tickets to the concert. The day before the show, he asked "What song do you think they will open with?"
My response was "Jumpin' Jack Flash."
During the night, I received a text with a photo of the 'Stones' on stage and his question to me "How did you know?"

It was a huge arena they performed at and unfortunately, my friend was up in the 'nose bleed' seats!


I like those early Steve miller albums. Number 5 is a great album. Charlie McCoy did some outstanding harp tracks on tunes like "Going to the Country." thumbs up
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created Feb 25
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