Showing posts with label Watkins Glen Concert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Watkins Glen Concert. Show all posts

Friday, May 17, 2019

Watkins Glen Revisited: A continuation of our conversation on the previous thread...

Bob suggested a trip to Watkins Glen (on the previous thread) which got me reminiscing...

Our thread about the Watkins Glen concert has always been, and still is, one of my favorite blog posts on this website.

The thread was originally posted in 2011. (Holy Crap... we're getting old!)

If I remember correctly, at that time, Bob had told us that his older brother had attended the concert. He shared several memories and facts.

At the time, I really didn't know anything about the concert at all, so I started digging.

The facts and statistics that I found when I started researching, were astounding. And, our "Watkins Glen" thread resulted from that research.

Here's a link to the original thread:


The facts and statistics contained there-in (regarding the show) are impressive.

I had also posted accounts from actual attendees of the show (in the comments section), which were equally impressive.

I never felt that the topic got as much attention/conversation as it deserved.

As I said, although it was off-topic, it was one of my all-time favorite threads, spawned by a conversation with one of my all-time favorite bloggers.

Check it out!

For real... if you're into stats and history regarding things like Woodstock or Haight-Ashbury... you'll definitely "dig it".

I even gave the thread a quick "facelift" for the reboot. LOL


Thursday, March 24, 2011

I was researching the famous "Watkins Glen" Concert, following my conversation with Bob... and figured I'd share the results.

The Summer Jam at Watkins Glen was a 1973 rock festival which once received the Guinness Book of World Records entry for "Largest audience at a pop festival."   
An estimated 600,000 rock fans came to the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Raceway outside of Watkins Glen, New York on July 28, 1973, to see The Allman Brothers Band, The Band, and the Grateful Dead perform.

The concert was produced by Shelly Finkel and Jim Koplik, two promoters who previously organized a successful Grateful Dead concert at Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1972. Similar to the 1969 Woodstock Festival, an enormous traffic jam created chaos for those who attempted to make it to the concert site. Long and narrow country roads forced fans to abandon their vehicles and walk 5–8 miles on that hot summer day. A young woman, 8–9 months pregnant, travelled on foot as well. Once in the concert area, she went into labor. Ambulances struggled to reach her until after her baby was born.

150,000 tickets were sold for $10 each, but for all the other people it was a free concert. The crowd was so huge that a large part of the audience was not able to see the stage; however, twelve huge sound amplifiers, installed courtesy of legendary promoter Bill Graham, allowed the audience to at least hear.

Although the concert was scheduled to start on July 28, thousands of music fans were already at the concert site on the 27th. Robbie Robertson of the Band requested to do a soundcheck, but was perplexed that so many people were sitting in front of the stage. Bill Graham allowed the soundcheck with the crowd of people in front, and the Band ran through a few numbers to the delight of the audience. The Allman Brothers Band did their soundcheck next, playing "One Way Out" and "Ramblin' Man". The Grateful Dead's legendary soundcheck turned into a two set marathon, featuring their familiar tunes such as "Sugaree", "Tennessee Jed" and "Wharf Rat". They also performed a unique jam that was eventually included on their retrospective CD box set So Many Roads (1965-1995).

On July 28, the day of the concert, 600,000 music fans had arrived in Watkins Glen. The Grateful Dead performed first, playing two long sets. They opened with "Bertha" and played many hits such as "Box Of Rain", "Jack Straw", "Playing in the Band", "China Cat Sunflower" and "Eyes of the World".

The Band followed the Dead with one two-hour set. However, their set was cut in half by a drenching thunderstorm, in a scene again reminiscent of Woodstock, people were covered with mud. During the storm, keyboardist Garth Hudson performed his signature organ improvisation "The Genetic Method;" when the rain finally let up, the full Band joined Hudson on stage, and segued into their signature song "Chest Fever," in a manner similar to how the songs were presented on the Band's live album Rock of Ages.

Finally, the Allman Brothers Band performed for three hours. Their performance included songs from their soon-to-be-released album Brothers and Sisters, along with their standards "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed", "Statesboro Blues", "Les Brers in A Minor" and "Whipping Post".

Following the Allmans' second set, there was an hour encore jam featuring musicians from all three bands. The jam featured spirited renditions of "Not Fade Away", "Mountain Jam", and "Johnny B. Goode".

“ Many historians claimed that the Watkins Glen event was the largest gathering of people in the history of the United States. In essence, that meant that on July 28, one out of every 350 people living in America at the time was listening to the sounds of rock at the New York state racetrack. Considering that most of those who attended the event hailed from the Northeast, and that the average age of those present was approximately seventeen to twenty-four, close to one out of every three young people from Boston to New York was at the festival.