December 21 1976 Philadelphia Spectrum. I had convinced my mother that all twelve year olds go to Kiss concerts and tickets were only $7.50. To my surprise she agreed and why wouldn't she. I was beating the heck out of my drums every day and she knew what this meant to me. The journey was monstrumental being a school day and with general admission tickets that meant one thing, get there early and that is what we did. I remember getting dropped off with my cousins in the afternoon and seeing bright yellow wooden barriers blocking the steps leading up to the doorways and a few other kids already claiming their spot of concrete at the starting gate. It was really cold that day but we had our flannel shirts and a philly pretzel bought from a scary dude with a shopping cart. Darkness had taken over and the temperature was in the low twenties. We were at the front of what seemed to be thousands by now and everyone was starting to push in all directions. The Spectrum security felt so bad for us at the front knowing that we had been there since the afternoon and all feeling in our feet had been lost that they actually passed out phone books for us to light on fire to help break the chill. At this moment someone had had enough with the waiting and pushed over their barrier and it was like fallen dominoes after that. We all made a break up the steps and to the doors that surrounded the Spectrum knowing we could not give up any positon we had worked so hard to claim. With nothing between us and the glass doors the door men realized that if they didn’t open the doors soon, someone was going through and not with the door open. We held our tickets firmly in hand and as the doors opened made our way past the ticket takers, straight to the opening, down the steps and right to the front of the stage, at the left side of course. We had to feel the fire and not just see it. From that moment on it was forever. We were allowed in two hours early and they were not ready for us. I remember all the house lights were on and smoke had begun to fill the entire building but there was no fire, just joints, pipes and bongs. Like small campfires being stoked by all, if you had come empty handed there was always a friend nearby. This was all new to me and I was there to rock. The sound system had now begun to make some noise and the lights where coming down as a few roadies rushed across the stage and one making his way up a small rope ladder to the top of the staging. I can remember looking at all the nearby faces and they all looked back with that same sense of excitement and wonder, knowing that something big was about to happen and that we were the lucky ones being pushed into the security rail. Knowing that Kiss was still putting on their battle gear, the opener was taking the stage and plugging in their guitars. A man came up to the microphone and asked if we were ready for some rock & roll and we proudly screamed that we were. I could not tell you who this guy was at the time, but he did grab me immediately and his stance demanded that I watch his every move. He had this way of holding his microphone and with his foot up on his speaker he seemed to almost reach right out to us. This guy was there to rock himself and I began to forget about Kiss at that moment. Blazing from one song to another with the force of a freight train his vocals were gritty and explosive unlike my painted hero's. I began to look around and notice this girl was singing every word with this rocker and I asked her “who is this guy”. She screamed back with a smile “That’s Bob Seger man, don’t you know” From that point on, I made it my mission to listen for this guy on the radio. Buying his album was out of the question, money was tight and heck I was in the sixth grade. I came across a song here and there but remember not hearing him very much on the radio back then and I did not know why that was. He was a force to be reckoned with and his stage show was all horsepower. Fast forward many years and here I am. Singing this guy’s songs with a killer band in front of thousands of people and catching the eye of someone in the audience unfamiliar with his music and knowing that I better deliver the goods to that fan as Bob did to me that night!
Rick Murphy