Friday, February 19, 2016

Show Notes for HMOTD 023: Riverfront

0:00 News reports: This collage of news reports, gathered from various sources on YouTube, demonstrates how the Who concert disaster was national (and global) news. The second and third reports respectively are ITN News in Britain and John Chancellor on NBC. Watching and hearing these old news intros and reports was a real flashback.

2:00 "...and now the comedy stylings of Terry Maguire!" "Are you ready to laugh?" "Quiet, you awful man!"

3:50 The Who concert simulcast in 1982 on CityTV: Terry provided us with a link to the interview of the band during that simulcast. I can't see it in the States, so that's some guaranteed Canadian content for y'all. Also, one of the very few bright spots of my year in Toronto for grad school was getting to know the history of, yes, the indeed great CityTV, Moses Znaimer, Speakers' Corner, and MuchMusic. (Also, obligatory link to Retrontario, a fantastic set of videos and ephemera from 1970s-1990s Ontario media). And let us not forget: anyone who wants to get me a Civic TV t-shirt (3XL pls) is welcome to do so. Civic TV... the one you take to bed with you!

9:00 et subseq. The story of the Who concert disaster: Leading up to the episode we all did a lot of research (mostly Rob and Terry, as you can probably hear). The best online textual version of events I've seen is this Rolling Stone story written in the immediate aftermath. Just a warning: it's a tough read.

11:40 Multi-purpose stadiums: Spectator safety is of course the most important concern in the building of these multi-purpose stadiums, but there are also long-standing aesthetic, player safety, and visitor-friendliness issues as well. There's only one true multi-purpose stadium left in the U.S.: the Oakland Coliseum.

12:43 WKRP taking on the disaster: The Wikipedia page on "In Concert" is a good précis of what Rob talks about here as far as the development of the episode.

14:40 Publicity stills of Gary Sandy and Gordon Jump: These can be found in our Monday post from this week. As we mentioned, one of the bars they visited was actually The Cricket, mentioned in "Put Up or Shut Up."

21:27 Not mentioning The Who: One of the things that this awkward first-half avoiding of the Who's name reminded me of is the fact that sports radio and TV commercials cannot mention the name of the Super Bowl if they are advertising something else. Unrelated to this WKRP episode, obviously, but the logistical loops that the writers had to take with this episode to avoid mentioning the Who are quite jarring.

23:10 The topic of the episode/TV Guide: I will look for a TV Guide for this week the next time I go to The Outer Limits to see if/how they mentioned the episode in promotions.

Edit: Our good friend Leah Biel saves me from dropping another $30 at The Outer Limits by sharing with us two articles about the lead-up to the airing of "In Concert" on her fantastic WKRP tumblr!

29:45 "I like it when people on TV hug." Rob channeling Todd Chavez and hearkening back to our Christmas episode with this quote. And the clip immediately following is of course the famous final episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

31:00 Altamont and Gimme Shelter: Some great essays as usual on the Criterion Collection site for Gimme Shelter, including this one titled "Gimme Shelter: The True Adventures of Altamont" which begins with "The first words we hear are Sam Cutler’s: 'Everybody seems to be ready—are we ready?'" Ominous words.

33:03 Rise of stadium rock: This Wikipedia entry, while very short (and odd), has an intriguing and eclectic set of sources in the notes that describe the shift to big-money, big-venue tours in the mid-70s. Or, yeah, you could just watch Almost Famous.

33:45 Pete Townsend: He is very much an odd duck, as Rob says. This interview with Melvyn Bragg exposes a little of that fatigue we mention in this segment.

37:00 The Van Halen "no brown M&M" rider: Snopes confirms, with an image from the original rider, and here's The Smoking Gun's analysis and all 11 pages of "the Holy Grail [of rock riders]."

38:02 Spinal Tap's arrangements backstage: Come on, how could I avoid using this clip, my favorite scene from one of my favorite movies? And speaking of band safety and stagecraft... God bless you, Moke.

41:00 The Station Nightclub fire: Just another horrible story, 100 lives lost, hundreds more injured physically and scarred psychologically. An odd connection back to the Cincinnati area in the late 70s: the Station nightclub fire was the deadliest fire in America since 1977's Southgate, Kentucky Beverly Hills Supper Club fire. The over-capacity crowd was there that night to see singer and future That's Incredible! and Hollywood Squares host John Davidson.

43:48 John G. Fuller's Are the Kids All Right? John G. Fuller is my personal next Weird writer I'm going to dive into after my recent John Keel kick. If I can find any of his books. Here's a review of Are the Kids All Right? from Rolling Stone writer Robert Palmer in The New York Times.

46:24 "Disco bondage headgear": It's a good line. Sold by Jump and Hesseman and their respective body language and physical comedy, of course.

50:00 The Pretenders: Johnny plays a deep cut off of The Pretenders s/t debut (import) album, "The Wait."

52:11 "The Doctor's Daughter": This has to be the only WKRP episode that shares a title with a Doctor Who serial, right?

55:30 Laurie and Justin at Johnny's Apartment: We had to sadly cut a deep discussion on the posters in Johnny's apartment; all the character close-ups led to great shots of Johnny's decor. Some stuff we spotted: Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, the poster from the legendary Fillmore gig where Frank Zappa and the Mothers opened for Lenny Bruce, and this Bob Dylan and Joan Baez poster, also from 1965, that was used as the cover for the book about Dylan, Baez, and good friend of Thomas Pynchon's/Gravity's Rainbow dedicatee Richard Fariña, Positively 4th Street. I get the feeling '65, '66 were good years for Johnny, but he's not the only Bay Area Silent Generation freak to think that way.

59:17 "...the kids are all right." I did pull a completely spontaneous unrehearsed St. Vincent-reacting-to-Harris-Wittels type reaction to Rob's unexpected Who reference here. "Oh!"

1:00:27 The Top 40 from February 23, 1980: Here's the Top 40 from the week this episode aired. As we mention, remarkably accurate with references to the Captain and Tennille and the Eagles! Even though this episode was likely taped weeks earlier.

1:03:37 Second-generation hippies: I thought this first-person piece about being a "second-generation hippie" was kind of interesting. I'd also point you to the short story collection at the beginning of Douglas Coupland's Polaroids from the Dead.

1:06:05 The Commitments: Do you know how impossible it is to find the lovely little 1991 movie The Commitments on streaming? Don't ask how I eventually found the clip. Definitely one of my favorite repeat VHS rentals from my undergrad years.

1:08:35 "Justin says tubing is wheeeeeeere it's at." So hard to listen to. Bleh. I'm not sure which set of overdubs are worse, Laurie's or Andy's. I hate the fuckin' Eagles, though.

(Many thanks to Terry Maguire for help with many of the links for this set of Show Notes. Outstanding research work for this episode, Terry.)


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  2. Minor correction, the concert was at Riverfront Coliseum, not Riverfront Stadium. Riverfront Coliseum still exists and is now called US Bank Arena. It's a basketball/hockey arena where the Royals played before eventually moving to Sacramento and the Sting played before the WHA merged with the NHL. Riverfront Stadium was its next door neighbor and no longer exists. It was replaced by Great America Ballpark (even closer to US Bank Arena) for the Reds and Paul Brown Stadium for the Bengals. Riverfront Stadium did look pretty much exactly like Oakland Coliseum (pre renovation) and all those other concrete donuts of the 70s.

    It makes sense that Gordon and Sandy made the trip to Cincy, with Jump being from Dayton and Sandy being a grad of Wilmington College.

    1. Oh, thanks, Mike! Seems like they could've done a better job giving different names to all these arenas. :)