Music By Turner: Concert memories are a hit

A hunt through The Augusta Chronicle archive for photos of Augusta concerts turned up this one from 1977 of Johnny Cash signing an autograph for then-Chronicle reporter Don Rhodes.

Gee whiz! I must admit I was taken aback (and, in some cases, affront) by your first concert experiences.


In my last column, I wrote about some of the first shows that I attended. Let’s take a quick peek at a few of yours.

Thomas Sumner, now an educator at Academy of Richmond County, is a major Who fan who was very fortunate to catch the English rockers on the 1972 Who’s Next tour in Atlanta.

Sumner writes: “They opened with Won’t Get Fooled Again and it was so loud my ears continued to ring for several days after the concert. I still have my never-worn T-shirt stashed away from that night, too.”

That’s really cool, Thomas, but does that T-shirt still fit? None of my old concert tees seem to.


Reader Mike Walker was in Japan in 1977 for his initial concert experience: KISS in Tokyo!

“I had just turned 15 and took the train from Yokohama.”

Mike, too, said that he suffered from “ringing ears” but not from the music. “It was because of all of the girls screaming that were right behind me!”


Dan Hillman, head guru at Child Enrichment Inc., wrote: “It was 1968, and I had just bought a 1960 VW Bug. We drove three hours to Buffalo and saw the Guess Who.”

Dan commented that he was “blown away by Burton Cummings’ voice and Randy Bachman’s guitar playing.”

Those two musicians still amaze me, Dan. That was the original hit-making lineup of my favorite band ever from Canada that you witnessed that night!

Dan’s wife, Jan Hillman, had an entirely different first show experience – seeing Dionne Warwick in Greenville, S.C.

“I was in the seventh grade and still have an autographed program from that night. I also went to a Righteous Bros. and Sergio Mendes concert soon afterwards and loved it!”


The Fab Four played only one time in Georgia, in 1965. Tickets were a very pricey $4.50 and $5.50. Yours truly thinks that I would have splurged for the extra-dollar seat if my parents had taken me to see The Beatles.

“It was in August of 1965 and I’ll never forget the sound of the screaming as they walked into the field,” said Genie Scott, who was just 9 at the time. “We saw several first-aid trucks outside of the stadium because so many girls had fainted or were just sobbing hysterically.”

“Iptatto” e-mailed us about his memories of that same evening seeing the Beatles.

“It doesn’t get any better than this. I went with my mom, and surprisingly, the teenagers did not outnumber the adults by all that much. The girls were dropping like flies!”

Yes, Iptatto, the hapless ’60s-era Braves dropped “lots of flies” that year, too. But not anymore!


Isabella and Gracie Walker, from Washington, were just 4 and 3 years old, respectively, when they saw Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr’s solo tours just a few years ago. They were taken by the parents and grandparents who obviously know well how to expose their children to great artists.


“Bubbalicious” also e-mailed his first show highlights. “I was only 5 when my father took me to the Bell to see Johnny Cash.

“The crowd went crazy when Johnny unbuttoned the top of his shirt! Mr. Cash was real skinny back then and the audience was very, very loud.”


Other first shows from readers include my Chronicle colleagues Rob Pavey (Mother’s Finest and Bob Seger at Columbia’s Town­ship Auditorium), Sean Moores (Jimmy Buffett at the Carolina Coliseum, for just $7.50), and my editor Mary Frances Hendrix (Tony Orlando and Dawn, also at the Carolina Coliseum.)

I now have Dawns' mega-hit Knock Three Times stuck in my brain and even after the fourth knock ... it's still there.