April 22, 1971
Sam Houston Coliseum
Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
A friend and I went downtown for this concert which was to
feature 4 acts: Badfinger, Lee Michaels, Poco, and Leon Russell. I was a senior in
high school. I did not have any of Badfinger's LPs, but being a Beatles fan, I was
familiar with their Apple connections. I had also enjoyed their music on the soundtrack
of The Magic Christian and owned the 45 of "Come and Get It".
According to all of the advertisements as well as the printed tickets, the starting time of the concert was to be 8 PM. We arrived downtown and parked by about 7 PM, and then loitered around in the plaza for a while before going into the Coliseum at about 7:15 or 7:20. We figured we would go on in a little early to get a good seat. When we walked in, Badfinger was already onstage and rocking away! Apparently the concert had started at 7 instead of 8! BUMMER!!
Anyway, we took a seat and caught the last few songs of Badfinger's set. I remember the group was dressed in matching dark suits a la The Beatles, who had performed two concerts on this same stage back in August 1965. Joey and Tom shared the left side mike just like Paul and George, while Pete pounded his guitar over in John's position on the right. I believe that they finished up with a medley of vintage Rock 'N' Roll songs, including Long Tall Sally.
The audience's reaction was lukewarm and not very enthusiastic. Badfinger's stage appearance and sound were such a throwback to the Beatle era; I think most fans in 1971 were much more into the type of music played by the other 3 bands that night. Lee Michaels, Poco and Leon all had the crowd on their feet. In fact, at the end it was kind of strange because Leon was playing on and on and the crowd was loving it, but the Coliseum management started turning off his electrical power because the concert had run past someone's "deadline"! Leon held his ground and told everyone that he would finish his set with or without power and light! The crowd roared in delight, the power came back on and Leon wrapped up this long evening with several encores and standing ovations.
Looking back on it, of course I feel that Badfinger's appearance was the most important from a historical perspective, even though they were overshadowed at the time by the other acts. Although I still regret that misinformation caused me to miss a good portion of their set, I am glad that I had the opportunity to see Badfinger in concert as they approached the prime of their career.
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