Monthly Archives: August 2012

Rock pictures at the porn theater

I found this ad while going through looking for 1975 concerts for the Tomorrow Club list. It’s for a Pink Floyd concert film in late July of that year. Of course, everyone knows the Foster as a porn theater (oldest movie theater still in operation in Youngstown BTW), but it did sort of get into art house and foreign films from time to time back in those days.

I have no clue as to what the Pink Floyd concert film was here. I’m leaning toward something from the Dark Side tour. Perhaps it was just the album set to the backdrop film the band used. It definitely did not have anything to do with Wish You Were Here as that wasn’t released until September 1975.

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The failed metal experiment

The Starr Palace (formerly Youngstown Agora, Tomorrow Club) made one last stab at relevance in 1988 and it involved booking regional heavy metal acts. I found a few ads in The Jambar from early 1988 showcasing these rather cheap ticket shows. By early March the ads were gone from the YSU newspaper.

Wretch are a well-known Cleveland metal act who is still active today.

Some of Spoyld’s members went on to form Warrant.


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Will Smith way before movie and TV stardom

As mentioned in other posts, the State Theater location in the late ’80s was all over the place as it tried to hang on in a time when entertainment options were more established far away from the downtown area. One item that jumped out was a show with Kool Moe Dee, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince on September 5, 1987 at the Starr Palace. I’ve seen other mentions of popular hip hop shows being held at the venue around 1987 (Salt ‘n’ Pepa and Kid ‘n’ Play allegedly gigged there as well), but hard evidence is difficult to find. The September 5, 1987 show was like many over the years at the venue in that all were just about on the cusp of stardom. DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince were off and running the next year with He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper. Kool Moe Dee’s How Ya Like Me Now was released later in 1987 and successfully pushed his sound into the mainstream.

WHAT THE SHOW SOUNDED LIKE: Here’s some crude footage of the future movie and TV star in 1987.

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Joan Jett sans Runaways

Joan Jett is a rare breed of rock ‘n’ roll artist who has played anywhere and everywhere that has requested her services. When she pulled in for a show on January 17, 1982 at the Youngstown Agora, she was already a veteran of three shows at the club with the Runaways in the ’70s. This show was at the start of her trip into super stardom as the eventual No. 1 hit single “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” was released three days after. Reviews of the show at the time have the attendance at about 1,000.

WHAT THE SHOW LOOKED LIKE: Here’s Joan in 1982 (much later in the year) performing the famous Arrows cover to a crowd of rabid German rock fans.

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Elton John fills Covelli to the rafters

Billed as the biggest act to visit here by some local pundits, Elton John’s performance on May 1, 2010 at the Covelli Centre had a lot of rock fans drooling over the potential of the 5-year-old arena to draw big name talent. While he’s clearly a huge name associated with rock, you can look over the list of shows on this site and see that Sir Elton fits comfortably among the many stars who have performed here over the years.

The demand for this show was clearly there as the concert sold out in less than five minutes in March. John, the old pro, fillled the setlist with plenty of hits and gave the people a show worthy of the high ticket prices paid.

WHAT THE SHOW SOUNDED LIKE: It was professionally recorded and made commercially available for sale after the show (mp3s, CDs). I don’t believe the option to purchase the show still exists, but someone has put the tracks on YouTube (one of the songs is posted above).


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Ike and Tina Turner at the end

With Ike and Tina Turner‘s marriage just about down for the count, the pair did two shows on June 30, 1975 at the Tomorrow Club. Ike was in the throes of a severe cocaine addiction at the time and it might have led to the shows being postponed from June 27. Tina Turner would end her relationship with Ike the next year and would later become a pop solo icon in the ’80s.

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Gorilla loose on campus

James Taylor is not what this author would consider to be a “rock ‘n’ roll” star, but he’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is a big recording artist who still racks up big numbers in sales. Taylor, fresh off the release of what would be a hit album in Gorilla, appeared in Youngstown on May 9, 1975 at the Beeghly Center. At this time Taylor was enjoying the success of the cover of “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” which reached No. 5 on the pop charts. His wife at the time Carly Simon sang on that recording.

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Third Eye Blind for the YSU crowd

Even though Third Eye Blind enjoyed its greatest success some 13 years before its April 29, 2010 show at the Beeghly Center, YSU’s Penguin Productions welcomed the band with open arms in continuing a tradition of rock ‘n’ roll at the university.

WHAT THE SHOW LOOKED LIKE: In the YouTube era, no show goes uncovered.

Thanks to former Penguin Productions member Ryan K. for sending the poster along.

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Ray Charles at Stambaugh

Ray Charles showed up on September 3, 1968 to do a gig at the Stambaugh Auditorium. By this time, the R&B legend was entering a period of commercial decline as more modern sounds came into play. As a bonus, I found the following ad in the same Vindicator edition for a James Brown performance at Struthers Fieldhouse.

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Smokey Robinson at Stambaugh

Motown was the flavor of the moment in the ’60s and it was not unusual for its biggest stars to show up here to play a gig. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, who produced some of the label’s biggest hits, were another big Motown roster name to do a show here. This one coming on June 22, 1968 at Stambaugh Auditorium.

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