Umlaut has been wanting to do this post for a long time so I finally took time to crack open the Umlaut Archives and pulled out some of my favorite tour books from the past and the present. For the full Music Geek experience, I've noted the exact show where I bought programs where applicable. Okay? Here we go...
You never forget your first... and these were my first concert programs:
- Cheap Trick - Dream Police Tour - Oakland Coliseum Arena - December 27, 1979
- The Who - Who Are You Tour - Oakland Coliseum Arena - April 20, 1980
- Women and Children First Tour - Oakland Coliseum Arena - October 10, 1980.
According to the Umlaut Archives this was the 6th concert I ever attended. Van Halen were completely larger than life onstage and in the weeks after the show I stared at the pages of this program as I listened to my Van Halen albums trying to relive the magic of that night. I also saw Van Halen on their next tour (Diver Down 1981 Tour - Oakland Coliseum Arena - June 12, 1981) but I traded the '81 concert program to a penpal in England a couple of years later. NOW I wish I still had it... Oh well. The Women and Children First album still rules! Listen to 'Romeo Delight' and try to disagree with me, mofo! "I'm takin' whiskey to the party tonight and I'm lookin' for somebody to squeeeze.."
I got some of the Sabbath programs via trades with overseas penpals back in The Day or I bought them at the local Record Factory store when they got in leftover tour merchandise to sell.
- Mob Rules Tour - Cow Palace, San Francisco - April 17, 1982
- Mob Rules Tour - 1982 U.K. Program
- Never Say Die Tour - 1978 U.K. Program
- Born Again Tour - Cow Palace, San Francisco - January 25, 1984
- Reunion Tour - HP Pavilion, San Jose, CA - January 8, 1999
- Mob Rules Tour - 1982 U.S. Tour
- Heaven & Hell 2007 Tour- Sleep Train Pavilion, Concord, CA - September 30, 2007
I was a massive Ozzy fanatic when he released his first 2 solo albums, mainly because of Randy Rhoads.
- Blizzard of Ozz Tour- 1980 U.K. Tour
- Blizzard of Ozz Tour - Oakland Stadium - July 4, 1981
- Diary Of A Madman Tour - Cow Palace, San Francisco - December 30, 1981
- Point Of Entry Tour - Oakland Auditorium - May 22, 1981
- Screaming For Vengeance Tour - Cow Palace, San Francisco - November 19, 1982
Although I bought my first concert programs at shows I attended, I eventually met some like-minded Music Geek penpals in Europe and we traded concert merchandise since bands who toured in Europe didn't have the same merchandise when (or IF) they toured the States and vice versa. For the newbies: This was a million years before The Internets. Having a "penpal" meant doing something called "writing letters" and sending these "letters" via something called a "post office". Communication and trading sometimes took months; it required something called "patience".
- Ace Of Spades Tour - "Ace Up Your Sleeve" October / November 1980 U.K. Tour
- 30th Anniversary Tour - 2005 U.K. Tour (Acquired for Umlaut by Tour Manager Doug who attended the London show on the tour... THANKS again TMD!)
- Iron Fist Tour - 1982 U.K. Tour
- Reign In Blood Tour - 1987 U.K. Tour
No band has done more magnificent tour programs than Iron Maiden. None. Nobody.
- Number Of The Beast Tour - Oakland Coliseum Arena - September 4, 1982
- Powerslave Tour - Cow Palace, San Francisco - March 21, 1985
- Killers Tour - 1981 European Tour
- Piece Of Mind Tour - Cow Palace, San Francisco - July 2, 1983
- Somewhere Back In Time Tour - Concord Pavilion, CA - May 28, 2008
- The Early Days Tour - Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA - August 13, 2005
A tour program can be a time machine: When Dennis Stratton and Dave Murray shared the stage! MAIDEN... ALWAYS. "Iron Maiden's gonna get you... no matter how far.."
Metallica were profoundly influenced by Iron Maiden during their climb to becoming the most successful band of their generation. This influence affected the way Metallica approached their merchandise... including how they've always done excellent tour programs that mirror Maiden's in many ways.
- Death Magnetic Tour - Arco Arena, Sacramento, CA - December 8, 2009
- Master Of Puppets Tour - 1986 European Tour
- ... And Justice For All Tour - 1989 U.S. Tour
- Black Album Tour - Cow Palace, San Francisco - May 9, 1992
- Black Album Tour - Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA - October 3, 1992 (same as the previous tour book but with additional tour dates listed)
- St. Anger Tour - HP Pavilion, San Jose, CA - November 28, 2004
- Load Tour - Cow Palace, San Francisco - December 30, 1996
Of course, it's the Master Of Puppets program that is my most treasured. As I said at the beginning of this post, tour programs are like time capsules that (when done well) capture a specific moment in a band's history... and the 1986 program does that and MORE. It not only shows the band when they seemed young and invincible, but it also offers a glimpse at what could have been for them.
"They're dirty, obnoxious, noisy, ugly and I hate them... but you can't deny their success." - Dave Roberts, Faces Magazine, March 1986
What could have been: The tour dates listed in the program include the ones that were supposed to happen after that ill-fated night in September 1986. According to the program's itinerary, the Master Of Puppets Tour was scheduled to run until a final show on November 27, 1986 in Sydney, Australia. That means the band and crew would have spent Thanksgiving '86 in The Land Down Under; what could have been, man... As it turned out, Metallica didn't visit Australia for the first time until almost 3 years later. "Needlework the way... never you betray... life of death becoming clearer.."
- Blackfoot Marauder Tour - 1982 U.K. Tour
- Scorpions Blackout Tour - 1982 U.K. Tour
- Thin Lizzy Black Rose Tour - 1979 U.K. Tour
- Frank Sinatra - Circle Star Theater, San Carlos, CA - April 27, 1991
Oh, here are a couple of other favorites from the Umlaut Archives:
- Girlschool Demolition Tour - 1980 U.K. Tour
- Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Raising Sand Tour - 2008 Tour
OH, AND THEN THERE'S THESE...
- The 24th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony - Cleveland, OH - April 4, 2009
The program is a really nice book that honors each of 2009's inductees and the Metallica portion is pretty cool. I couldn't help but get misty when I saw the band photo they used as the main image. Scroll back up and read about Metallica's own tour programs and then chew on the historical nature of this one. The Rock Godz work in mysterious ways, man. "Enter night... Exit light.."
... and FINALLY there's this program from the Umlaut Archives:
- Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert - O2 Arena, London - December 10, 2007
This program is another BEAUTIFUL hardcover book and it includes a DVD of the documentary about Ahmet Ertegun and Atlantic Records called Atlantic Records: The House That Ahmet Built. The film has been released commercially on DVD and every Music Geek should watch it to see just how grand and magical the Music Industry used to be. It goes without saying that this program is a prized possession and guarded by dogs and demons within the safe confines of Casa de Umlaut.
ANYWAY... I think you get the gist of it: Umlaut digs concert programs. These aren't all of the programs in the Umlaut Archives, but these are the ones that I cherish the most. The Geeks shall inherit The Earth!