50/50 Tour Stop: # 20
Date: November 11, 1981
Venue: Park West. 322 West Armitage Ave. Chicago, IL. 60614.
Find it on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/fOO4M
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.
Above: The interior of the Park West venue during a Manhattan Transfer concert.
Above: The interior of the Park West venue. The group ‘Renaissance’ is on stage here.
Opening Act: Short Stuff.
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.
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).
- 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.
Below: Screen shots from the 1982 “Catch a Star” documentary of George Thorogood and the Destroyers at the Park West on November 11, 1981.
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).
Other Notes: 50/50 carpet sighting!!!
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