Being a “Metal-Head” and growing up in the Midwest was interesting. Let me just focus the lens a bit, Midwest, meaning… Southern Indiana. And to most, that means kinda’ out in the middle-of-nowhere. Well, I have to admit that sometimes I felt the same way. I have lived in Chicago for over 15 years now and I am sure 99.9% of “Chicagoans” do not know that there are actually PEOPLE and TOWNS south of Indianapolis! And of course “Indy” (as it’s commonly referred to) probably only exists in their eyes because of the world-famous Indianapolis 500.
For starters, (way) more than half of the population listened to Country Music. Whether that be the “real” hardcore/old school twanger stuff like Hank Williams Sr. (not Hank Jr. or let alone Hank III), or more modern country (which is not really country to me per say, as it sounds more like commercial 80’s rock, except they throw on some cowboy hats and call it a day). There are also a few “bible-thumpers” in those parts (nothing against them), so naturally there are lots of gospel-flavored Country listeners and such as well. To get right down to it -all forms of Country & Western music are supported 24/7, 365 days a year.
Was there a “Metal scene” around there? Not really.
Yes of course there was (and still are) some great local bands but most of them settled on playing cover tunes and were satisfied to play all the many bars as opposed to working on their own original music. Since this post is about concert ads (or advertisements) I will not turn this into a Indiana 80’s Music Scene Report as I am sure one of those will be posted one day!
We did have a few rock radio stations that played Hard Rock, AOR (Album-Oriented Rock) and of course the staples of “Classic” Rock and Southern Rock (or “Southern Fried Rock” as I used to call it). Luckily I could tune into WYER FM 94.9 and as a result was fed a steady diet of Led Zeppelin, Styx, Head East, Foreigner, AC/DC, Cheap Trick, Foghat, ZZ Top, Van Halen, BTO, E.L.O, Steve Miller Band, Boston, Allman Brothers and finally Lynyrd Skynyrd!
And hey, I liked those bands then and I STILL do. Listening to these bands (among 100’s of others) was a major factor in my developing an acquired taste for all things HEAVY!
The only stations that were playing anything remotely close to HEAVY METAL were the local college stations. I have already posted some stuff here from the “vaults” for nostalgia purposes. So needless to say, when a hard rock or Metal band did actually come to Evansville, Indiana it was usually a pretty big major act and or a regional up n’ coming band. You know like: AC/DC, KISS, VAN HALEN, JUDAS PRIEST etc.
What was cool when the “big-boys” made their way to the Stadium, was that they usually picked somewhat decent opening acts and that’s where you started to hear more music “outside of the box” and a bit more aggressive.
I always liked when the Dinosaur Metal Bands (as one fellow youngster blogger recently called it) took a chance and picked the latest bad-boys on the scene and were astonished when said band(s) were proceeding to blow them off the stage!
For example: when VAN HALEN opened for an aging BLACK SABBATH. No contest, at the time. When OZZY took out a super-young group called MOTLEY CRUE (that didn’t last long), and the madmen himself even took out freakin’ METALLICA (though they did not end up playing due to an interesting accident), who were MUCH heavier than the OZ. They too moved on to bigger and better things and turned into an arena-worthy headliner pretty fast.
In this section you will find a few old newspaper scans of some of the many great shows that I attended while growing up in Indiana. Consider this an online [digital] scrapbook if-you-will. I am still digging deep in the Demolish Vaults for many shows that I got to see. I know I have the ticket stubs from most of them somewhere!
Most of these shows were at Robert’s Stadium and some of the summer shows were held at Mesker Amphitheater.
*If anyone has any newspaper clips or pics from the 80’s then please send them on over to DEMOLISH HQ and we will update this post. We’re making every attempt to find live concert shots from the same tour year for the following shows. Also looking for ticket scans (contact me for missing shows please or to update/posted info)!
*This is when Sammy Hagar rocked. Not that “5150” Van Halen crap.
I remember Sammy having a platform nearly at the top of the stadium.
KROKUS were still in their prime as well!
QUIET RIOT + SAGA + GIRLSCHOOL
Weird choice of opening acts but I was there. I still have that jailbird shirt. haha
Q.R. was the #1 band on the charts in 83′. A “metal” band. 6× Platinum!
*Look at that ticket price!
*Still love R.E.O.‘s “Ridin’ the Storm Out”!
Come on – it was the early 80’s. ZEBRA had some decent songs.
First RATT show (outdoors) with Y&T & Mama’s Boys.
*a local source claims Bon Jovi did not perform.*I guess he was starting to get too big to open up for the rodents any longer! I don’t remember.
RATT, Y&T, TWISTED SISTER, FASTWAY & MAMA’s BOYS
*”Invasion of Your Privacy” Tour -I think!?
Another great “rodent” show.
Robbin Crosby [R.I.P.]
August 4, 1959 – June 6, 2002
*RATT + newcomers POISON on the same bill.
click for a larger view.
*These are crappy camera/audience shots, but nostalgic none-the-less. Maybe you will see the back of your head in one of these shots or finger-less black leather gloves!
*WTF 3 songs only? Oh well!!
*Whitesnake was the opening act. They might have been better than the Crue that night!
It was around this time that I “gave-up” on the Crue anyway.
1985 Motley Crue “Theatre of Pain” Tour.
This tour was not as “evil” as the previous year, but good nonetheless.
Y&T was good too.
1984 Motley Crue Show w/ SAXON on their “Crusader” Tour.
Saxon was great too!
*Love that pic Richard…thanks!
Yup, I used to like some of the early Loverboy “rockers”…don’t really remember Joan Jett.
*Local sources tell me DOKKEN rocked the opening slot in 1987.
1984 KISS “Animalize” Tour with new guitarist Mark St. John.
Queensryche supporting for “The Warning” Tour.
*This is Queensryche in their prime!
1984/85′ Iron Maiden -“World Slavery Tour” with Accept and local band Why On Earth (6/8/85).
*Derek Riggs – artwork, design & sleeve illustration
One of the best shows to ever come to Evansville (even though Accept‘s lead singer.
Udo took a dive on stage, but he recovered nicely)!
Great 1984 DIO “Last in Line” Tour show+ Dokken during their best “Tooth & nail” era’.
1942 – 2010
*Illustration by Barry Jackson
Yes, this is Ronnie James DIO… rock legend and THE “dungeons and dragons” master!
1983 AC/DC “Flick of the Switch” Tour. Special guest was Fastway.
This was a big show. Rumor has it that AC/DC “guns” tore up the stadium ceiling!
Some of us made custom silk-screened T-shirts/sweatshirts in high school. I still have it.
Fast Eddy Clarke [ex-Motörhead ] was great as well!
Sorry, Dave “King” is no relation.
He sings for Flogging Molly in recent times.
*Sadly, this marked the “beginning of the end” for this great VAN HALEN lineup!
The VELCROS (a lame “rockabilly” band) was the opening act.
*OZZY OSBOURNE + Metallica (who were supposed to be the opening act) but they canceled after James had a skateboard accident earlier that day!
I guess OZZY and band tried to make the best of the situation. Pretty decent (albeit short) performance.
Jake E. Lee was killer as usual though!
*Another KISS show! This time around they had new guitarist Bruce Kulick.
Openers were KING KOBRA with drum legend Carmine Appice!
DAVID LEE ROTH – “Eat em’ & Smile” Tour 1986. Opening act was CINDERELLA.
Crowd shot taken dead center @ Robert’s Stadium.
We’re you there?!
*click on the above pic’s to enlarge
David Lee Roth (vox/jokes)
Steve Vai (Guitar), Bill Sheehan (Bass) & Greg Bissonette (Drums)
Judas Priest (Turbo Lover) at Roberts Stadium Fuel For Life Tour 1986
*Than goodness this was a short-lived direction for the band!
*DEF LEPPARD in “the round” in E’ville…
Not as good as their prev. two LP’s but they still put on a good live show!
TESLA was the opening act.
*Another year, another KISS tour. Can you tell I was a big KISS fan?!
The Motor-City Madman himself opened the show.
I never managed to get any guitar pic’s or drum sticks – thanks Troy!
Ted Nugent blew Aerosmith away on this summer night on June 1st, 1986.
It appeared that Mr. Tyler was a bit too intoxicated to sing…sad but TRUE!
Triumph “Thunder Seven” 1984 Tour!
A young Yngwie Malmsteen opened.
Crowd expectations were high, but Rick Emmett pretty much erased Yngwie‘s name from our memory and fast!
Triumph with Golden Earring at Roberts Stadium 3/13.
1983 “Never Surrender” Tour
*Early VAN HALEN (esp. their début LP) were some of my records.
This was the “5150” Tour with none other than B.T.O. opening. 4/19/86′
1988 with CHEAP TRICK and JOAN JETT back again to open.
Alice Cooper and Armored Saint in 1988.
Not a big turn out but it was a great show.
I got to interview John Bush (of Armored Saint) at this show.
One day I will actually transcribe from cassette and post.
Alice Cooper put on his usual amazing theatrical stage performance.
*This is a great shot (one of my best) and looks fab. blown up to 8X10 and framed.
Contact me if you’d like to purchase a framed copy.
Yes, Metallica did in fact make it back to Evansville (after canceling in 1986)! This show was moved to Robert’s Stadium because of rain.
THE CULT put on a decent show.
*As found on the floors from Indiana concerts, to huge German Festivals & ultimately the grounds at the massive Moscow Music & “Peace” Festival (Monsters of Rock Tour).
Opening act was LOVE/HATE
*Metal Hammer Festival in 1990. Cool ticket stub!
*What an interesting lineup…@ this Monster of Rock show in Sept. 7, 1991.
Mr. Tate and the QUEENSRYCHE boys ALWAYS put on a classy show!
Queensrÿche backstage (w/Alex Gernandt) Munich/Germany (1993)
Yes, finally more HEAVY bands back @ the Stadium! WHITE ZOMBIE + PANTERA…
MEGADETH “killed” Metallica’s show!
An the best for last = most coveted:
*Ah, the memories. I wouldn’t trade those for anything!
*Special thanks to Pat M., Troy P., Sherri R., Keith Brame, Mark Peerman and Jeff V. for some of those scans (until I unearth my full collection).
And to the main local promoter Larry Aiken for Aiken Management who was ultimately responsible for bringing most of the acts to town (along w/Sunshine Promotions & local radio stations).
“Aiken was formed in 1963 with his brother Kevin and reportedly produced 1,700 shows over the last 38 years, including events with Frank Sinatra, the Harlem Globetrotters, Larry Bird, Elton John, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno and Barry Manilow. It’s also worth noting that “The company, which Aiken sold in 1999, ultimately became the second-largest presenter of touring Broadway shows in the United States. Aiken still serves as a consultant to the buyer, Jam Theatricals of Chicago.” Excerpt from the Evansville Courier & Press.
**Unfortunately with this update I have to be the bearer of bad news, Larry just passed away this Feb. R.I.P. 1940-2010
Robert’s Stadium is quite popular in more recent times when TAYLOR SWIFT decided to kick-off her Fearless Tour there last April in 09′. Hey at least she [reportedly] played 5 different guitars!
And the “Music As A Weapon” tour came to town to assault all the neighbors!
“Guitarist Chris Garza of the band Suicide Silence performs on the auxiliary stage outside Roberts Stadium in Evansville as part of the band Disturbed‘s “Music As a Weapon IV” tour on Wednesday. The bands Killswitch Engage, Lacuna Coil and Chimaira appeared onstage, as well. Numerous other bands performed on the auxiliary stage in the parking lot, which also featured a tattoo convention.”
**excerpt + pic JASON CLARK/Courier & Press.
2013 – Robert’s Stadium was “demolished” and is no more!
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