Excellent Look in 1975 at Detroit’s Dying Concert Scene
I was looking at this story and photo of the Cobo Hall marquee from 1975. Damn, that’s an impressive roster of bands coming down the line in November. I saw the Roxy Music show, Styx and Angel the unlikely openers. The story laments the passing of an era, one in which out of town bands dwarfed the locals, a switch from the previous decade, when visitors would be blown off the stage by Detroit’s wrecking crews. Cream? Fuck ‘em, we’ve got the MC5. Alice Cooper? Got so into the Detroit bands it was seeing on its never ending early tours that the band moved to a house on Brown Road in Pontiac and wrote Love It To Death and some songs for Killer.
This story ran as the Michigan Palace was about to close and Ford Auditorium, which had hosted everyone from the Stooges to Deep Purple in the preceding few years, was also on the way out.
The biggest things with a Detroit name attached were Bob Seger and Ted Nugent, who were both in the process of being all sold out. There was no more seedy, hungry, lean bands making music because it felt good. That would have to wait for another five years, when punk rock hit the city. Along the way, The Romantics put some power in pop and came out with a couple Detroit-vibed singles, “Little White Lies” and “Tell it To Carrie.” The band’s debut album hit #61 on the charts in 1980. It was Detroit’s success story.
But back to the 1975 story; It’s a well-written, well reported story by Frank Bach, who was also vocalist in The Up, one more Detroit band of the Grande Ballroom era. While the story is brief, it describes the last leg of concert rock in Detroit, before megacorporations took over the radio and the booking. And the Ann Arbor Sun? The paper founded in 1967 by John Sinclair had another year left. Everything has a beginning and an end.
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