By Sandra J. Jordan
When my son David asked me to share my experience attending concerts “back in the day” an avalanche of sensational music flooded my memory. This music had such amazing energy, yet relaxed the soul. All the concerts that I attended had their own unique vibe. Once you entered the concert venue the stage was set to completely delight your musical taste buds. The audience,myself included knew that we were going to get lost in the music and the showmanship of the artist performing. The fans were assured to get their money worth and then some. The tickets prices were truly reasonable especially for the show you were going to witness.
The first concert I attended was the hardest working man in show business; “Mr. James Brown” in 1968 in Jackson, TN. I was in elementary and so excited to go see Mr. James Brown. I have always been an avid lover of music starting at a very young age. Mr. Brown came on the stage and the room was electric as he begin singing “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud”. Everyone was singing and dancing along, myself included. The song simply made you feel proud to be black, when the media and powers that be wanted blacks to feel inferior. The band was completely in sync, horns, guitars and drums all blasting with perfection. Mr. James Brown was was on point singing with pure soul and his dancing was impeccable! As he sang a medley of his hit songs the audience screamed with delight. When the concert drew to an end as he sang “Baby Please Don’t Go” Maceo Parker would put the cape on Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown would then drop the cape and act like he was leaving the stage. However, the cape continued to be put on and and dropped. The crowd went wild each time the cape was dropped. Mr. Brown captured the audience with awesome showmanship! . The Jackson Five came to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the early seventies and I was blessed to attend the concert. I truly loved the Jackson Five and like many others Michael was my favorite. I knew all the lyrics to all of the their songs and loved singing and dancing to them. As you can imagine when the brothers hit the stage myself and all the others girls were screaming to the top of our lungs. The Jackson Five played their own instruments and sang all of our favorite songs dancing in step to every song. When Michael sang “Who Loving You” I thought the roof would come off with everyone screaming and crying because he completely nailed every high note. The brothers were all true showman and professional at such a young age. I will never forget the concert; it was an awesome experience, something that could never be duplicated. Did I mention the brothers were so cute especially, Michael.
Al Green also came to Milwaukee in the early seventies and I attended his concert. I was about eleven or twelve. I grew up listening to his music and loved every soul stirring song. Al came on stage dressed in a white suit. The women in the audience were simply mesmerized as each word he sang pulled at their heart strings and every inner emotion. Once he had the fans in the palm of his hand he would the pass out red roses which was his staple of affection for his fans. Needless to say the roses were a crowd favorite. I attended two great concerts at Summer fest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1979. K.C. And the Sunshine band performed at the height of their popularity. K.C. “Blue Eyed Soul” sounded incredible and the ladies were also fantastic; the guys in the band playing the horns and dancing on point. The crowd dancing, singing along and enjoying all of their long list of disco hits. I had the privilege of seeing the master of jazz, George Benson. This man’s performance was unbelievable his voice enchanting which touched every part of my soul! He was so classy and the epitome of elegance. When he sang “Masquerade” the entire audience was completely under his musical spell.
The Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis TN was the setting for several concerts I attended in the late 70s and early 80s. I was honored to see in my opinion, one of the greatest groups ever. This my friends, the one and only Earth, Wind and Fire. Their music defined a time and space in music that will never be repeated. Its hard to find the right words for Earth, Wind and Fire because their sound and lyrics truly touched and inspired a generation. The concert was explosive with Maurice White and Phillip Bailey singing with undeniable passion and soul which you felt from your head to toes. The band played with amazing precision while never missing a dance step in their flashy colorful costumes. Maurice White was definitely a musical genius who left us with an incredible legacy of music. I also had the pleasure of seeing Cameo perform songs such as Word Up, Why Have I Lost You and Sparkle. Cameo wowed the audience with powerful funk and and passionate love songs. The Mid-South Coliseum was also the setting for Rick James and Tina Marie.
Rick came on stage smoking his Mary Jane, then proceeded to electrify the audience with hit after hit. Some audience members were also smoking Mary Jane as he was singing the hit “Mary Jane.” Rick was simply a fantastic singer and showman. When Tina Marie came on stage with Rick and they sang Fire And Desire the audience went into a screaming frenzy. It was true pandemonium which I will never forget!
Last, but not the least, The King of Pop, Michael Jackson performed at the Mid-South Coliseum when his album “Off The Wall” was ruling the charts and the airwaves. What can I say Michael was doing Micheal. Singing hits from Off The Wall and dancing as only Micheal Jackson can dance.
Many were screaming his name, myself included while witnessing the legend in person perform. His singing and dancing were simply exquisite. I’m so happy that I was able to see Michael when he was in the Jackson Five as well as when he was a solo artist. He will never be duplicated , a truly one of a kind and a musical genius who gave us his all. Micheal’s music will no doubt live forever in future generations.
The Concerts of Yesterday were phenomenal and unforgettable. I’m so glad that I was able so see artist perform their songs live, not lip-syncing. These memories I will cherish forever with a smile on my face.