Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tour Book Time Machine

When I was a kid I didn't have a lot of disposable income; when I went to concerts I generally only had enough money for the ticket. Because of this I didn't buy many concert shirts compared to my friends (which is ironic given what I do for a living here in the 21st Century). However, one merchandise item I did try to splurge for was tour books. Since I'm as big of a History Geek as I am a Music Geek, concert programs appeal to me because they are a document of a specific time in a band's history. In most cases, ALOT of the information and images from these old concert programs has disappeared into the ether of time and can't be found anywhere else... even here in the 21st Century with The Internets. Sorry kidz, you can't find everything online.

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
The Who were an important band for me in my pre-Metal Days, but it's too bad I missed seeing the band with Keith Moon by 19 months. Umlaut is still a huge Cheap Trick fan. Several years ago someone posted a MINT copy of that same Dream Police program on Ebay and I snatched it up. So now I have a "reading" copy AND a pristine copy that no other human will ever touch. "Surrender... but don't give yourself away."


  • Women and Children First Tour - Oakland Coliseum Arena - October 10, 1980.
For a couple of years I was completely fanatical about Van Halen; hearing 'Runnin' With The Devil' for the first time changed my life in my pre-Metal Days. This was one of the most fantastic concerts I saw in my Salad Days and it made a HUGE impression on me. It was David Lee Roth's birthday and they wheeled a huge cake onstage and a stripper jumped out of it. Lock 'N Loll! David Lee Roth also said the show was being recorded for a live album, but nothing was ever released. Where are those tapes now!? I was obsessed with the live photos in the pages of this program...

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.

Front row:
  • 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
Back row:
Not many bands do tour programs now, but back in The Day it used to be interesting to get a band's programs from different parts of a tour. The Mob Rules programs that I have are from 3 different legs of that tour, with the "1982 U.S. Tour" coming from early in that tour and featuring live photos from the previous 1980 Tour. The program I bought at the Cow Palace features photos of the band from those earlier Mob Rules shows. Interesting, right?! "If you listen to fools... The Mob rules!"


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
When Randy Rhoads died I stopped listening to Ozzy and literally haven't owned any of his solo albums since... It's true. I'm thankful I saw Rhoads destroy on guitar in person twice in his brief time on Earth. Randy's 2-page section in the Diary Of A Madman program is a cool photo spread of him live and shredding onstage. "Don't ask me... I don't know.."


  • Point Of Entry Tour - Oakland Auditorium - May 22, 1981
  • Screaming For Vengeance Tour - Cow Palace, San Francisco - November 19, 1982
The Screaming For Vengeance program features a Q&A with each member of Priest. Trivia: Halford's favorite movie in 1982 was... Cheech & Chong's Things Are Tough All Over!? "Electric eye... in the sky.."


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
The Iron Fist program has photos of the band wearing the War Pig masks from the cover and Lemmy sporting the Iron Fist on his hand. Where are those props now?! "Devil's grip... The Iron Fist!"


  • Reign In Blood Tour - 1987 U.K. Tour
It's trippy seeing Kerry King with hair, isn't it? Trivia: All of the photographs in the program were taken by Glen E. Friedman. "Raining blood... from a lacerated sky.."


No band has done more magnificent tour programs than Iron Maiden. None. Nobody.

Front row:
  • 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
Back row:
Iron Maiden's tour programs have always been the benchmark against which I compare other bands' tour programs. The attention to detail and the amount of information that Maiden gave to their fans via their programs is one thing that has kept me a fan all these years. All of the early programs had extensive messages written by band members or their manager Rod Smallwood detailing what the band had been up to since their last tour; to a teenage Metalhead it was like Maiden were communicating directly to ME... and that's the beauty of Maiden. They've ALWAYS done things right by their fans... ALWAYS. Another endearing aspect of Maiden's vintage tour programs is they always featured photos of their road crew along with their names and what they did. Fast forward to the 21st Century and some of those guys are still with Maiden and, because of those old tour programs, I still recognize them at Maiden shows. Crazy, right?! In 2005 Maiden reprinted their vintage 1980-83 tour programs as one volume that they sold on their Summer Tour (which included OzzFest in the States). It's beyond cool... and now I have a "reading" copy of those old programs so I don't have to disturb the originals from their archival slumber.

It was a brilliant move since Maiden were only playing songs from their first 4 albums on that tour! Dude, Maiden were so amazing on that tour and wiped the stage with all of the other OzzFest acts (including the original Black Sabbath). After the 'Ides Of March' intro tape Maiden opened with 'Murders In The Rue Morgue' and the set also included 'Phantom Of The Opera'! My Inner Teenage Metalhead completely lost it during their set. The 2005 program included a reprint of the Iron Maiden Tour program from the 1980 U.K. Tour, which I had never seen before!

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.

Front row:
Back row:
  • 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
Even when Metallica lost me (specifically between 1996-2007), I would still go see their gigs and their tour programs remained top notch. The St. Anger tour program was basically a photo book by legendary photographer Anton Corbijn and that alone made it worth getting. Fast forward to the 2008-10 Death Magnetic tour program and it was cool that the band recreated the vibe and look of their classic 1989-1992 tour programs with it. It was even cooler that Maiden's Steve Harris wrote something for the program and revealed how he first saw Metallica at Lars' invitation in 1983 in Staten Island, NY and thought they were weak! Full circle, man.

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
Click HERE to read about Umlaut's Blackfoot fandom. The penpal in England who I got the Scorpions program from stuck his backstage pass on the cover; pretty cool, right? The Thin Lizzy program includes a Q&A with the band. Trivia: Phil Lynott said his favorite drug in 1979 was "Angel Dust"..... SINATRA! YES I did see Sinatra in concert and it was one of THE best gigs I've ever witnessed! SERIOUSLY! For the newbies: Sinatra was a Rock Star before there were Rock Stars. Even at 75 years old he had so much badass cocky attitude onstage. I'm really thankful I saw The Chairman in person. "Regrets... I've had a few.. but then again.. too few to mention."

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
I got the Girlschool program from a penpal I had in the U.K. back in The Day and it's autographed by all of the band members. For the newbies: For awhile Girlschool were the greatest all-female band ever. No bullshit. I saw the Robert Plant / Alison Krauss tour twice (in New York City and Berkeley) and this program is a BEAUTIFUL hardcover book; a classy program from a classy tour. It really is quite a stunning publication...


  • The 24th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony - Cleveland, OH - April 4, 2009
Longtime readers know that Umlaut attended this event as a guest of a certain Bay Area Metal band... If you don't know the story already, click HERE for all the gory details. Anyway, only guests in the VIP Tables were given copies of the ceremony's program... and Umlaut didn't rate to be at a VIP Table on that night. However, thanks to the management of that certain Bay Area Metal band, I was able to get a copy of the souvenir program afterwards.

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:

This show is otherwise known as the LED ZEPPELIN REUNION SHOW. In case you don't remember, there were less than 20,000 tickets available to the general public for this event that were distributed via an online lottery. The lottery reportedly drew 1,000,000 (ONE MILLION) people registering for the chance to see Zeppelin fly again. I don't know what the odds are, but Umlaut knows 5 (FIVE) people who were at this once in a lifetime epic concert. The Rock Godz work in mysterious ways and one of those 5 people scored me this souvenir program from the show (THANKS again John!). I should also note that James Hetfield attempted to "steal" this from me. True story.

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!