My ten favorite bands, in no particular order are; The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, The Allman Brothers Band, The Beach Boys, REM, Led Zeppelin, Foo Fighters, and The Grateful Dead. Of these ten I have been fortunate to have seen six of them in concert. The four I haven’t seen The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin and The Allman Brothers. It’s the last one that causes me so much heartache.
My “golden era” of attending concerts was between 1977 and 1984. I grew up in a large Southeastern city with a big coliseum so we were typically on most band’s touring schedules. The bigger bands, The Who or Zeppelin, may have skipped us and gone to Atlanta, but growing-up I saw a lot of great concerts. Sadly, I don’t remember all of them given the condition I might have been in at the time but I was there at least in spirit. The college I attended had a popular and well-known music venue in the next town over. During these years, which I extended as long as my Dad would let me, I was able to see several band’s perform, REM for one, before they made it big. But my one regret is never having seen The Allman Brothers, but I got close, oh so close.
My partner on my Marketing 201 class project was a very cute and very preppy girl named Karen something and she made it abundantly clear from day one that she was way out of my league. I was no preppy. My “look” consisted of long shaggy hair, a beard, pierced ear, jean jacket, t-shirt, and whatever pair of jeans I could find under my bed. I didn’t look like a preppy nor did I smell like one either.
Somehow Karen and I got to talking about the The Allman’s and she informed me her Dad, who lived in Atlanta, was friends with one of them. The next day Karen told me The Allman Brothers Band would be playing in Atlanta in a couple of weeks at the famous Fox Theater (I saw the Dead there, great place and show) and her Dad could get me a ticket if I would take her home and bring her back to school. Deal done!
Now my transportation at the time was a 1972 MGB convertible and I looked good in it. But the problem with MG’s or any other British Leyland manufactured vehicle is you never know if or when it will actually run. I refered to my tenure in my MG as an adventure in driving. For the five years that I owned it I became very proficient in the art of hitchhiking but I wasn’t going to tell Karen that.
So when the faithful Friday arrived to begin our journey to Atlanta, and Karen’s suitcase was secured in my trunk along with my grocery bag of clean underwear and socks I turned the key and…..nothing. No click, no spark, no hum, no nothing. My rendezvous with destiny to see my beloved Allman Brothers in the world-famous Fox Theater was over before it even started. Thirty-six years later and I still haven’t recovered from it.
Drummer Butch Trucks, an original member of The Allman Brothers Band, died yesterday. He was 69 years old. Of the original six there are now only three left. I don’t need to look in the mirror to be reminded that I am getting older, all I need to do is read the obituaries as these legends of Rock, these icons of my 8-track tapes fade away.
My children constantly remind me that there are wonderful new groups out there making great music that I would enjoy listening too. My response is always the same, listen to The Allman Brothers Band Live at the Fillmore East and get back to me.