November 14, 1982 (Sunday)
Norma Jean's (next to Duffy's)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.
My impression of the night comes from memories of an event
20 years ago. Details on some things are sketchy. I don't recall specific songs or
the order in which they were played, only that they played the hits and that I was
able to meet Bob Jackson, Mike Gibbins, and Tommy Evans after the show. The most
lasting impressions I had were meeting the guys in the band.
The Badfinger show was quite a treat and I was as much a Badfinger fan back then as I am today. I recall a very lively and receptive crowd who appreciated the rare opportunity to witness a band that had disappeared from the scene years before following Pete's death. It was so exciting being able to see Tommy up close in a bar scene and Mike pounding away on the drums on the same stage. I kept thinking how lucky I was to see even a part of the band carrying on and that considering their history these guys should be playing in an auditorium style concert. My focus was on Mike and Tommy and I thought they fulfilled all my expectations of Badfinger. I had seen another version of Badfinger a year or two earlier with Tommy and Joey, and this seemed every bit as memorable. They played the hits and had the crowd on their feet a couple of times that I recall. Bob Jackson, seems to me, sang a couple of Pete songs and at the time I thought, who is this British rock-n-roller? I recall the band being very charming and very appreciative of the receptive audience. They played a couple of encores and then called it a night.
I had brought my Badfinger albums on the outside chance that I could get them signed by my heroes. I was hoping they would hang out at the bar after the show, and they did. Going back to see Tommy in the back room with the band was a bit unnerving as I absolutely loved Badfinger more than any other band and now that the bouncers were letting me back to see the great ones I was a bit overwhelmed and tongue tied. I was one of a number of fans that got back stage. Tommy politely said hello and asked what I thought of the show. I'm sure I said it was great and I remember him looking surprised and pleased at my collection of Badfinger albums. He signed them all and I was very appreciative, thanking him a couple times I am sure. I thought he seemed pleased with the enthusiasm of the bar, yet he seemed a bit distanced from all the excitement. Bob Jackson came over while I was hanging with Tommy and politely grabbed Say No More from me and signed it. At the time I never knew about Head First or Bob Jackson and I remember thinking who the heck is this touring guy and why is he signing my albums. It wasn't until years later that I realized who he was. By this time, Mike had already left the dressing room and was out at the bar getting a drink. I remember Mike being quite comical with this funny sarcastic side. It was past closing time at this point and most people were cleared out by now. We were in a back corner of the bar away from most people when I handed over the Airwaves album to him to sign. He looked offended and he said something like, "I didn't play on this" and I said, "I know" but it is Badfinger I thought. He pulled out the sleeve and signed the sleeve of the record rather than the cover. After signing the rest of the Badfinger albums and some small talk the bouncer finally asked the last of us fans to leave. Quite a night it was and I felt so lucky to see Badfinger still carrying on. I did not find out about Tommy's death until a few years later.
Interesting to note was the warm-up band featuring Al Wodtke on guitar. I don't remember the name of the band he was in. I had met Al shortly after this night at a bar called Iron Horse in Crystal, MN. I approached Al who I had seen hanging around this bar on other occasions. The night I met him, he was sitting at the bar and because I was fascinated at how much he looked like and reminded me of Pete Ham, his band opened for Badfinger, so I approached him and struck up a conversation with him about Badfinger and his striking resemblance to Pete. Low and behold he knew tons about Badfinger and claimed he was in a recording project with Tommy called "Goodfinger". I was fascinated and I was just soaking up info as a half lit patron of the bar. I didn't
take him very seriously at the time and just listened as he talked about Goodfinger and Tommy. I remember that I thought this
guy was just another talent local musician who was a fanatic about Badfinger and was embellishing on his heroes. It wasn't until
years later that I found out that everything he was saying was the truth. At the time and in a bar scene environment it was tough to
really take someone seriously that you had never met before. In hindsight, Al was completely on the level and was quite sincere.
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