Just a year out of college, I was still acting like a kid and took a trip with the guys to the Florida beach around Memorial Day. Our destination was Daytona Beach, but after a visit to a local record store where I found the above poster, we took a drive to Orlando for this Sunday afternoon stadium concert, the day before the Memorial Day holiday.
At the time, this was a stellar line-up with both Fleetwood Mac (Rumours) and Bob Seger (Night Moves) touring behind what would become career-defining records for both. A few years earlier, the Mac had found new ground adding Lindsley Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to their line-up. Seger and his band were playing at full throttle like they had done for years, only now, more people were listening. Kenny Loggins was now without his former partner, Jimmy Messina, launching himself as a solo artist with his Celebrate Me Home debut disc.
Oddly, scheduled to open the bill were jazz-fusion superstars, Return to Forever, with Chic Corea and Stanley Clarke. While undoubtedly at the top of their game, this pairing was as unlikely as Jimi Hendrix was opening for The Monkees. However, Mother Nature intervened and most of the near-capacity 50,000 crowd on hand would never get to get down with their smooth grooves.
The Tangerine Bowl is a big downtown football stadium, and big scale shows like this were now very much in vogue. (The stadium has since had a facelift and is now called Camping World Stadium.) Although, not named such at the time, revisionist history now refers to this show as Rock Super Bowl I of which they made it all the way to Rock Super Bowl XX with a scattered schedule through 1988.
In our shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops, my buddy and I arrived mid-afternoon and mingled mid-field with the friendly crowd in the beautiful Florida sunshine. However, on this day, the usual daily afternoon rain shower was more severe than usual, and we were forced to retreat to cover inside the stadium walls. The 4pm scheduled start was delayed several hours.
When the show finally started, the powers that be decided to make a schedule change–start with the more crowd-friendly Kenny Loggins and move Return to Forever to the final slot of the night. While I can’t recall the specific times, this was a brilliant move for the non-jazz fans like us who got to go home earlier since I’m sure that the Corea and Clarke set didn’t start until early Monday morning.
Who knows what the impact of this line-up change might have been. Could the improvisational sounds of Corea and Clarke have inspired one of the young pot-smoking Seger fans to become a jazz-fusion superstar? Most likely not. There probably would have just been a lot of booing.
For those that stayed, RTF played a heck of a set. A fond memory.
A great end to a good day.
Well Mike, you missed a great set. Return to Forever came out and played a 2-3 hour set ALL acoustically. You also failed to mention Lenny White on drums and Al Di Meola, who at the time was a young phenom and today thought of by many guitarists to be one of the greatest. It really cooled off that night and probably 200-300 of us stuck around and huddled with blankets to keep warm. ALl the bands were great but RTF stole the show!
What I rember about the show was the collapse of the I beam holding up the tarp over the stage. Took 3 hours for a forklift to push it back up, that’s why the delay. Great show though, complete with a shower!!!