March 9, 1971
Appalachian State College
Boone, North Carolina, U.S.A.
In the fall of 1970, I headed for the hills of North Carolina
to enter Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Back then Boone was a sleepy
little mountain town in the northwest corner of the state, not far from the Tennessee
border. The university only had about 6000 students then, most of them very conservative
looking and acting. Not exactly what one would expect during the turbulent '60s.
Most of the students looked like they belonged in the Young Republican Club. The
majority of the few hippie/freak types with long hair and funny clothes were in that
As a young, wet-behind-the-ears freshman, when I saw a poster for an upcoming concert, I marched up to the office of the Student Union Committee Chairman for Popular Programs. I introduced myself and announced that I wanted to help him select, book, and put on concerts with decent rock and roll acts. Despite my approach, he took a liking to me and invited me to join the committee. I soon discovered most of the members were those Young Republican types. We had a huge challenge ahead of us. We managed to get Steppenwolf at their peak for Homecoming that fall. To offset an earlier concert with the Four Seasons.
Scott, the chairman, another upperclassman (also named Jeff) and I, the lone freshman, went to a National Entertainment Conference (NEC) regional seminar in Raleigh, NC a few weeks later. The three of us piled into Scott's VW bug and headed eastward. I was fiddling with the sorry-excuse for an AM radio, when I heard this wonderful chorus of "Knock down the old gray wall, be a part of it all...". As I was under the influence of a certain mind-altering leaf, I didn't think about Badfinger. I thought, "A Beatles song that I've never heard". Of course, my already blown mind was re-blown by the announcer's identification of Badfinger. When we stopped in Chapel Hill, NC for a dinner break, I went to a nearby Record Bar store and bought No Dice. Fortunately, that night, we visited some friends, who were more than happy to listen to this new album of great song after song. Probably played it four or five times in a row.
After that, I became a one-man publicity firm for Badfinger, talking to anyone who would listen. Each week in the Popular Programs committee meeting, I would tout the virtues of Badfinger. Most of the Young Republicans would just give me that "puzzled-dog look", as they always did when I mentioned "another one of those hippie bands".
This time, the squeaky wheel did get the grease. Scott booked the band for a small show in the early spring. (The rest of the budget was earmarked for the big school-year ending weekend). Badfinger was the perfect band to fill that winter-is-almost-over-maybe-and-spring-will-get-here-eventually-we-hope bill. (At ASU, we used to have a saying: There are two seasons in Boone - Winter and July). I do not have any ticket stubs for the ASU show, because, as a member of the committee which put on the show, I didn't have to have a ticket. Committee members were expected to do various jobs putting the concert on. I usually worked them from early in the day, unloading equipment, selling tickets, watching exit doors, running errands, loading equipment again at the end, and clean-up. But this was one concert I declared I would be actually sitting through and listening to.
Sometime during the time leading up to the concert, my roommate Al went and bought a carton of Winstons for Pete [Ham], as I recall. They started remarking how similar Al and Pete looked. (Mostly the shag-type haircut). (There's that 'shag' word again). The guys gave Al an autographed 8X10 black and white glossy publicity photo. It was the one with them framed in an oval - not one of their better photos. In fact, Tommy wrote "This photo is shit. Please complain" with his signature. Pete wrote "Thanks for the ciggies. (AL)", then signed his name.
I don't really remember a whole lot of the the song list. Of course they did No Matter What, twice, as I recall. Once early, then at the end. They played quite a while, as they were the only band (I think) to play that night. I specifically recall Watford John (using the cheaper upright spinet piano, instead of the more expensive to rent baby grand). Pete told the wooden spoon story to intro Blodwyn. I Can't Take It rocked indeed. They also ventured into Traffic/Dave Mason territory with Feelin' Alright. During the encores,they did a '50s rock'n'roll medley including Johnny B. Goode, Little Richard, and some others. I especially remember We're For The Dark, as Pete stood at the back of the stage, and walked slowly towards the guitar mic for the fade-in intro. They also did a song from "...our new album coming out this summer." I suppose that was the lost album that they were working on when Bangla Desh came calling. At the time, I didn't know the song, except it was good. Later, when Straight Up came out, Al said "that's the song they did that night in concert", when Day After Day came on. [actually, the song was more likely Suitcase since Day After Day hadn't been recorded yet - Tom Brennan] (Apparently Al didn't hurt his vital memory cells, like I did). I do remember having a good time talking to the band, both before and after the show.
© Copyright 2001-2004 Tom Brennan's
Badfinger Library (TBBL). All Rights Reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Tom Brennan's Badfinger Library, is prohibited.
All trademarks used on TBBL are the property of their respective owners.