“You Crazy Bastards!”

It’s safe to say my folks abhorred rock music and everything it represented.

But we kids weren’t about to back down under the weight of their disapproval. The pull was too strong. Since February 1964, when baby brother and I watched The Beatles play “I Want To Hold Your Hand” on The Ed Sullivan Show, the genie was out of the bottle. Ironically it was an Edwardian gentleman—my Grandpa Adams—who stoked the flames further by giving me a 45 of Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “SS-396”—my first record ever.

Now it is the fall of 1977. And Aerosmith was coming to town.

Thing is, I couldn’t give a crap about Aerosmith, then or now. They were just a band everybody talked about, and whose latest album everyone had to own. Like Boston’s debut LP, it was in every kid’s record collection. Grooves were also worn down on Frampton Comes Alive! and Rush’s Farewell to Kings. Steven Tyler’s vocals on Toys in the Attic were so distinctive—like Geddy Lee on Rush’s records—that we were drawn toward listening.

I was crazy about The Beatles, of course, but after Linda Fahlin introduced me to Bob Dylan, I drove the ’rents crazy blasting Planet Waves on endless loop, playing air guitar along with Robbie Robertson and yowling like a tomcat in the rut.

So the concerts I saw back then were pure and simple “lemming experiences”: leaping off the rock music cliff with the rest of the crowd. The days leading up to that concert were hectic with homework, writing my school paper column and flipping burgers at the mall. I had two tickets, but still couldn’t work up the courage to ask Sonya.  The Friday before the show I spent most of the school day working in the Smoke Signal staff room.

Saturday, Nov. 12, 1977. Concert day. That morning, kids called our house clamoring for my extra ticket. It went to … Vince Marshall. Vince was able to buy beer, which I’m sure was a contributing factor in my selection. Moreover I’m surprised to read that the folks even let me have Mom’s car for the night, especially after the home football game incident. Riding along with us was Steve, Skeeze, Jeff Greene and Pete Andreasen. We gassed up and hit the muni for a 12-pack, leaving Mound around 6:30 p.m.

At the St. Paul Civic Center we ran into Geoff Morrison, Mary Jassim, Phil Benedict, “Harvey” Hanson and others. Nazareth opened, playing nearly everything off their LP Hair of the Dog, including their hit cover of the Everly Brothers’ “Love Hurts.”

Excitement peaked as Aerosmith took the stage, opening with “Back in the Saddle” from their 1976 LP Rocks. It was followed by earlier hits, “Dream On, ” “Sweet Emotion,” and “Walk This Way.” The air was heavy with the sweet smell of pot. Glaring spotlights swept over the audience, roaming the crowd on the floor while Steven Tyler “beat off” with his microphone stand.

You crazy bastards!” he yelled at us.

They encored with “Toys in the Attic.” The diary says it was “pretty rowdy.” On the way out everyone agreed to meet up at the Wayzata Perkins, where we laughed and recounted highlights from the show.

Sunday morning I awoke, the diary says, “…feeling—well, despite the ringing in my ears—pretty good.” I had to hurry off to a noon shift at Sam’s. When I got home I drove by Kim’s, where, the diary reports, we had “our first real conversation in four months. We both must have sounded pretty nervous—talking fast and spilling out news as if there were no tomorrow.”

Well, there’d definitely be a tomorrow, with more concerts on the horizon. The next band du jour—KISS—would be coming in concert the following month.

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~ by completelyinthedark on July 28, 2012.

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