Veteran Cosmic Rockers

I’m weird about dates.  I remember them.  I’ll occasionally email my sister and brother in-law and playfully ask them if they remember where we were on this day, thirty years ago.  It drives them nuts but it makes me smile.  So…

On this day, October 19th, in 1983(it was a Wednesday night), we were in the front row, floor at the old Buffalo Aud for one of the strangest concert pairings I’ve ever seen.  The amazing Stevie Ray Vaughan opened the show for The Moody Blues.

Back then, it was still possible to get front row seats without having to pay some scalper thousands of dollars.  I knew the manager of Record Theater in Midtown Plaza because I also worked in the mall and I spent all of my spare time in the record store.  I went there the morning tickets went on sale and because the show was in Buffalo, there was no line.  I asked him to keep pushing the button as 10am approached and lo and behold, I got five front row, center tickets to the show!

Stevie Ray had his first album out with Double Trouble and Pride & Joy was all over rock radio. I was happy to get to see him but it was the Moody’s that I was really pumped to see.  They were my favorite band.  Certainly a minority opinion among high school kids in 1983.  No matter.  They wrote songs that asked the big questions. They had three very good singers and four very strong songwriters(although Pinder was gone by then).  Their harmonies were excellent.  I was so excited to finally see them.

I remember we drove into downtown along the river, passing the Peace Bridge.  It’s a drive I make every day now, to and from work.  Back then, I thought the proximity to Canada was interesting and memorable.  I also thought that Buffalo was a pretty big city in comparison to Rochester.  Or, at least the downtown was.  I also remember walking into the Aud and seeing all of the Sabres history on the walls.  Older Sabre fans will remember the stat and standing boards they had up as you walked in the arena.  I remember walking into the arena and being led by the usher all the way to the front row, almost embarrassed by our good fortune.  It seemed like everyone was watching us and wondering how we got those great seats.

Front row, center.  I sat back and had my feet up on the temporary wall between me and the stage.  Stevie Ray Vaughn was five feet from me, playing his guitar with his teeth.  Playing it behind his back.  Stevie Ray Vaughn!  The Stevie Ray Vaughan!  He and the band were so tight, so amazing to watch. Here’s the set list from the following night.(god, I love the internet)

http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/stevie-ray-vaughan/1983/ripleys-music-hall-philadelphia-pa-3ddfd3b.html

The Moody Blues came on and I was in my glory. singing along to every song.  Patrick Moraz was the star of the show, even though he didn’t sing or say one word.  His keyboard pyrotechnics were what stood out to me the most.  He had a strap on keyboard which he played on a couple songs, including their current hit at the time, Sitting at the Wheel. I remember Justin Hayward playing keyboard too on Tuesday Afternoon and joking about the flimsy, $15 keyboard he was playing.  And I remember the crowd getting whipped up into a frenzy for Veteran Cosmic Rocker.  Setlist FM lists the wrong set list for this show.  The correct one is this:

  1. Sitting at the Wheel

    Play Video

  2. Gemini Dream

    Play Video

  3. Tuesday Afternoon

    Play Video

  4. The Voice

    Play Video

  5. Going Nowhere

    Play Video

  6. Steppin’ in a Slide Zone

    Play Video

  7. The Story in Your Eyes

    Play Video

  8. Hole in the World

    Play Video

  9. Under My Feet

    Play Video

  10. Painted Smile

    Play Video

  11. Reflective Smile

    Play Video

  12. Veteran Cosmic Rocker

    Play Video

  13. Driftwood

    Play Video

  14. Talking Out of Turn

    Play Video

  15. Running Water

    Play Video

  16. Gypsy

    Play Video

  17. Isn’t Life Strange

    Play Video

  18. Blue World

    Play Video

  19. I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)

    Play Video

  20. Nights in White Satin

    Play Video

  21. Legend of a Mind

    Play Video

  22. Question

    Play Video

  23. Encore:
  24. Ride My See-Saw

I saw the Moody’s four more times but this show was by far, the most memorable for me. It’s also one of only a few shows where I ever got to sit in the front row.  Where were you on Wednesday, October 19th, 1983?

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One thought on “Veteran Cosmic Rockers

  1. Probably coming off the soccer field after a game or practice in the early evening of October 19, ’83. But I think I would have MUCH rather been in the front row watching THE Stevie Ray Vaughan!!

    Liked by 1 person

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