It was the end of the line for the band known as the New York Dolls when they limped into Youngstown for a show on June 6, 1976 at the Tomorrow Club. Having had a promising start to a career just a few years before, the band collapsed in 1975 due to drugs, internal conflicts and mismanagement by the late Sex Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren.
On the ticket and in ads for the show, the band is referred to as the New York Dolls. In reality, original singer David Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain were calling the band The Dolls by that point. It made sense too. The punky swagger that former lead guitarist Johnny Thunders and drummer Jerry Nolan brought to the band was absent in the new version of the band. The band, made up of Johansen, Sylvain, Pete Jordan on bass, Bobby Blaine on keyboards and Tony Machine on drums, probably played no songs off the first two classic New York Dolls studio albums. I could not locate a setlist for this show, but a show the next day in Cleveland was mainly made up of stuff that would grace Johansen’s 1978 solo debut album.
Johansen and Sylvain would return to Youngstown to play with the New York Dolls 35 years later when the group opened for Motley Crue and Poison on July 29, 2011 at the Covelli Centre. The group did play its well known hits that time, but it was not with the personnel which made for the outstanding run of reunion shows from 2004 to 2010. Notably missing that time were lead guitarist Steve Conte and bassist Sami Yaffa. They were replaced by the much older Earl Slick and Kenny Aaronson for the Poison/Crue tour.
WHAT DID THE SHOW SOUND LIKE: There’s not much recorded material available from this version of the Dolls, but there is a decent bootleg of the band from a May 21, 1976 show in NYC on Youtube.