50 Dates in 50 Posts – Tour Stop # 47 – Popejoy Hall, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico

50/50 Tour Stop:  # 47 (Concert # 48)

Date:  December 8, 1981

Venue:  Popejoy Hall.  203 Cornell Drive.  Albuquerque, New Mexico.  87131.

Find it on Google Maps:  https://goo.gl/maps/iF2EC7NESgm

Venue Exterior

1981: 

I do not have a photo of Popejoy Hall’s exterior as it looked in 1981.  I would be much obliged to anyone who can point me to a good picture from that era.

Circa 2015:

48 Popejoy Hall Front Entrance

Photo credit:  http://hypnotherapyacademy.com/location-accommodations/

Venue Interior:

1966:

48-popejoy-hall-interior-1966-large

Source:  Screen grab from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLcgn8W_oq8

Opening ActStevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble.

48 Stevie Ray Vaughn George Thorogood 50 50 Tour Popejoy Hall New Mexico Daily Lobo Dec 14 1981

Above:  Photo of Stevie Ray “Vaughn” from the New Mexico Daily Lobo.  December 14, 1981.  Photo credit:  Bill Wechter.

In a short, post-show interview published in the New Mexico Daily Lobo, SRV says that this was his first-ever performance in Albuquerque.  When asked about his connection with George Thorogood, SRV says that he’d played with Thorogood once before in Austin.  “Nice man, always looks us up”.  

Poster / Flyer / Handbill:  I have not come across a poster, flyer or handbill for the Popejoy Hall show to date.  Please get in touch if you have a scan that you can share.

Press & Promotion:  Several ads and concert listings for the Albuquerque 50-50 tour stop appeared in area papers, including the University of New Mexico’s Daily Lobo campus newspaper.

48 George Thorogood 50 50 Tour Popejoy Hall Ad New Mexico Daily Lobo Dec 3 1981

Above:  Popejoy Hall 50-50 concert ad from the Daily Lobo.  December 3, 1981.

48 George Thorogood 50 50 Tour Popejoy Hall Concert Preview Destroyers Take Over New Mexico Daily Lobo Dec 3 1981

Above:  Popejoy Hall 50-50 promo article from the Daily Lobo.  December 3, 1981.

Excerpt:  “Popejoy Hall will never be the same after this one, and I seriously doubt that Big River and PEC (the people who are bringing us all of this) will ever get a rock-n-roll performance in that hall again, so get it while it’s hot”.

48 George Thorogood 50 50 Tour Popejoy Hall Concert Ad with Photo After Hours

Above:  Newspaper ad for the George Thorogood and the “Defenders” (sic) show at Popejoy Hall on December 8, 1981.

48 George Thorogood 50 50 Tour Popejoy Hall Tickets Still Available After Hours

Above:  Popejoy Hall 50-50 concert listing from a Santa Fe area newspaper.

Ticket Price:  $9.50

Ticket Stub:

48 George Thorogood 50 50 Tour Popejoy Hall Ticket Stub 1981 Dec 8

My sincere thanks to blog visitor and concert attendee Ted M. for sharing this photo of his Popejoy Hall 50-50 ticket stub!

Attendance:  Unknown.  Popejoy Hall currently has a capacity of 1,985.

Set List:

  • House of Blue Lights
  • Kids from Philly
  • Who Do You Love
  • I’m Wanted
  • Cocaine Blues
  • One Way Ticket
  • One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
  • It Wasn’t Me
  • Bottom of the Sea
  • Night Time
  • I’ll Change My Style
  • Madison Blues
  • Can’t Stop Lovin’
  • The Sky is Crying
  • That Same Thing
  • Bad to the Bone
  • Move It On Over
  • Nobody But Me
  • No Particular Place to Go
  • Ride on Josephine
  • Reelin’ and Rockin’*

* The last song is unconfirmed.  On the concert recording, Thorogood does his customary encore routine of asking the crowd if there are any obscenity laws in this part of town…  but the recording fades out right at the point when the song is (seemingly) about to start.

The music portion of the Popejoy Hall 50-50 concert was just over 2 hours long.

It is interesting to note the introduction into the set list of three songs – Bad to the Bone, Nobody But Me, No Particular Place to Go – from the then-still-eight-months-away Bad to the Bone album (released in August 1982).

Source:  Concert recording.

Was the Concert Recorded?  Yes.  A bootleg audience recording exists of the Popejoy Hall 50-50 concert.  See the track listing above.

Concert Photos:

48 George Thorogood 50 50 Tour Popejoy Hall Concert Photo New Mexico Daily Lobo Dec 14 1981 Main Photo

48 George Thorogood 50 50 Tour Popejoy Hall Concert Photo New Mexico Daily Lobo Dec 14 1981

48 George Thorogood 50 50 Tour Popejoy Hall Concert Photo New Mexico Daily Lobo Dec 9 1981

Above:  George Thorogood on stage at Popejoy Hall as part of the 50-50 tour.  Photo credit:  Bill Wechter.

Concert Reaction

48 George Thorogood 50 50 Tour Popejoy Hall Concert Review Headline New Mexico Daily Lobo Dec 14 1981

In a follow-up article published in the New Mexico Daily Lobo newspaper, Bill Wechter provides a first-hand account of the Popejoy Hall 50-50 show from the side of the stage: 

“Thorogood was running in and out for encores.  He’d come in from the stage soaked in sweat, looking ragged out. There was this imaginary line right where the flies [the space above the stage where scenery and lighting hang out of audience view] met the stage. He’d hit that spot coming off and it was like, “Whew!”  He’d wipe himself down, catch his breath, pick up another guitar, get that set up, get a running start, aim for that line and when he’d hit it, he’d start it up all over again.  The man was a pro to the point. He’s done it 47 times in a row.  The man knows what he’s doing.”

The Daily Lobo review notes that “people were dancing in the aisles”, “everyone was having a good time”, and “overall it was a good show”.

48 Concert Review Thorogood Rock Wild Albuquerque Journal Dec 10 1981

Albuquerque Journal music writer Dwight Loop’s review recounted the Popejoy scene as follows:

“For pure rock ‘n’ roll excitement, this show was one of the year’s best.  The crowd roared the moment the athletic Thorogood strolled on stage with his Gibson guitar and didn’t stop for two hours…  The aisles quickly filled with those wishing a closer look at the animated Thorogood.  Thorogood duck walked, pranced with Mick Jagger-like moves, played the guitar behind his head, kneeled and laid down on the carpeted stage, and anointed the heads of those in the first row with his guitar – all within the first few numbers”.

Other Notes:  None.

Fate of the Venue:  Albuquerque’s Popejoy Hall continues to function as a venue for concerts.  The hall underwent an extensive renovation in 1996 to improve lighting, building acoustics and the in-house sound system.  

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50 Dates in 50 Posts – Tour Stop # 20 – Park West, Chicago, Illinois

50/50 Tour Stop:  # 20

Date:  November 11, 1981

Venue:  Park West.  322 West Armitage Ave.  Chicago, IL.  60614.

Find it on Google Mapshttps://goo.gl/maps/bYdsmgRnkuB2

Venue Exterior

1981: 

I do not have a good photo of the Park West’s exterior as it looked in 1981.  I would be much obliged to anyone who can point me to a good picture from that era.

2011:

20 Park West Chicago Street View 2011

Venue Interior:

1980:

20 Park West Chicago Venue Interior 1980 Manhattan Transfer Concert v2

Above:  The interior of the Park West venue during a Manhattan Transfer concert.

1983:

20 Park West Chicago Venue Interior 1983 Renaissance On Stage v2

Above:  The interior of the Park West venue.  The group ‘Renaissance’ is on stage here.

Opening Act:  Short Stuff.

20 Short Stuff Talk is Cheap LP cover

Above:  Photo of the band Short Stuff from cover of their 1980 LP “Talk is Cheap”.

Short Stuff was a funk-blues-synth-rock group from Wisconsin led by harmonica player Jim Liban.

Poster / Flyer / Handbill:  I have not come across a poster, flyer or handbill for the Park West show to date.  Please get in touch if you have a scan that you can share.

Press & Promotion:  A few concert listings for the Chicago 50-50 tour stop appeared in area newspapers.

20 George Thorogood Park West Concert Ad w 50 50 Wording Chicago Tribune Oct 18 1981

20 George Thorogood 50 50 Tour Chicago Park West Text Advert 1

20 George Thorogood 50 50 Tour Chicago Park West Text Advert 2

20 Thorogood Park West 50 50 show ticket ad

Ticket Price:  Unknown.

Ticket Stub:  I have not seen a ticket stub from this show to date.  A quick check of eBay tells me that Park West shows during this era were ticketed events.  Please contact me if you have a ticket stub from this concert for sale.

Attendance:  Unknown.  The Park West had a capacity of 750 in 1982.  (Source:  Billboard Magazine.  Nov 13, 1982.  Pg. 56).

Set List:

  • Intro music:  Theme from Jaws (John Williams & the Boston Pops Orchestra)
  • No Particular Place to Go
  • Madison Blues

Source:  Catch a Star documentary.

Was the Concert Recorded?  Yes, at least in part.

Video footage from the Park West 50-50 show appears in the 1982 film “Catch a Star” (Image Union Productions).  Concert highlights, interview segments with George Thorogood, and footage of the Destroyers’ 1979 Checker Cab driving on Chicago-area roads make up the final segment of a larger documentary about performing artists in Chicago circa 1981.  The other acts in the film are comedian/radio personality Steve Dahl, the Michael Stanley Band, and blues legend Muddy Waters.

The entire “Catch a Star” documentary is posted online at this site:  http://mediaburn.org/video/catch-a-star/

In his interview segments, Thorogood laughingly suggests that the band is “cracked” for their touring style, mentions a “close associate” of the band “who wishes to remain anonymous” that suggested the 50-50 tour concept, and discusses his desire to put on a great live show that people will talk about “forever and ever”.  Thorogood ends by noting the band is off for their next 50-50 concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

To date, I have not come across a complete audio or video copy of the Destroyers’ entire Park West 50-50 concert.

Concert Photos:

Below:  Screen shots from the 1982 “Catch a Star” documentary of George Thorogood and the Destroyers at the Park West on November 11, 1981.

20 George Thorogood Park West 50 50 Tour Chicago Catch A Star Documentary Still 2

20 George Thorogood Park West 50 50 Tour Chicago Catch A Star Documentary Still 3

20 George Thorogood Park West 50 50 Tour Chicago Catch A Star Documentary Still 5

20 George Thorogood Park West 50 50 Tour Chicago Catch A Star Documentary Still 6

20 George Thorogood Park West 50 50 Tour Chicago Catch A Star Documentary Still 7

20 George Thorogood Park West 50 50 Tour Chicago Catch A Star Documentary Still 8

Concert Reaction

20 George Thorogood 50 50 Tour Chicago Tribune Review Headline

In her review of the 50-50 show at Park West, Chicago Tribune pop music critic Lynn Van Matre notes that the Destroyers started off the concert “in high gear and [went] from there […] mostly pumping and pounding out rave-up roots music”.  The review also mentions Thorogood chiding the crowd mid-show for not dancing – presumably, this was George doing his “Is that what you call dancing in [insert name of city]?” routine.  There are few other specifics about the show beyond these pieces.  For the most part, the article focuses on the Destroyers’ musical debt to all-time greats like Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.

Other Notes:  The CD tray inlay for the album George Thorogood & the Destroyers Anthology (Capitol Records, 2000) shows a sepia tone montage of backstage passes from the 50-50 tour, including one from the Chicago Park West show (Right-bottom of photo).

00 George Thorogood Anthology CD Inlay w 50 50 Tour Backstage Passes

Other Notes:  50/50 carpet sighting!!!

00 Carpet 50 50 Tour Chicago Park West Nov 11 1981

Fate of the Venue:  Chicago’s Park West continues to function as a venue for concerts. 

Read more about the Park West at this link:  Park West on Wikipedia.org