It was late August in that eventful year of 1972 when I arrived at a little-known University in Oklahoma for my Freshman college orientation.
Because of my background as a good little church boy and my pretty tightly-controlled upbringing, I hadn’t seen many rock concerts.
The Association, at the Bob Carr Auditorium in Orlando, was about as wild as it got for me.
And that’s not a knock on that fine band, not at all.
It’s just a way of saying that, although I spent a very considerable chunk of my time listening to Rock and Top 40–especially over WLOF, our legendary Channel 95–I had experienced few Rock concerts.
Especially compared to most of my boomer buds in those heady days of the ’70s, when Rock ‘n Roll was in its heyday.
So when my college bestie and I heard on the radio that Grand Funk Railroad was coming to Skelly Stadium on Tulsa’s north side, we put it on our calendar.
Grand Funk and Sugarloaf. Yeah, the “Green Eyed Lady” group.
The opening act was some other band we didn’t know so well, The Doobie Brothers.
There was not a shadow of a doubt that we’d make the show come hell or high water, but there was one little problem: we knew that Public transit would get us there–it was eight miles to the site–we had no idea how we’d get back to campus.
As you might imagine, the show was awesome! I’m still a Grand Funk fan and think that Mark, Don and Mel made up one of the very best bands from the late ’60s and ’70s.
Jerry Corbetta and Sugarloaf impressed.
And the Doobies absolutely tore my 18 year-old head off! I damn sure knew who they were after that show!
We didn’t mind the insanely-long walk back all the way to 71st Street and Lewis.
Even though Tulsa received its first snow fall for the year on that October night and we were only wearing light jackets.
We two hard-core Rock lovers trudged all the way back, knowing that that sojourn southward was but a small price to be paid to see a show like that.
The memory of that night is still fresh in my mind.
Like so many of us, I’m now a total Rock ‘n Roll wimp and am not willing to go to any more effort to hear the good stuff than to start one of the playlists on my trusty laptop.
But in the Fall of ’72, I was more-than-willing to go to great lengths to be there in the middle of it.
Hell, yeah! Those were the days!
Still a Rock child at heart, I am,
“Bulldog Ben” Basile
© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile