I took a break from reading Liam Newton’s outstandingly thorough and fascinating 10cc biography, 10cc: The Worst Band in the World to reflect on when I saw this remarkably talented band live.
Like many who lived in the New York area, I first became familiar with this band from Manchester UK courtesy of radio WNEW-FM disk jockey Scott Muni’s “Things from England.” This one-hour segment of his show was a weekly ritual every Friday afternoon. As 10cc rocketed up the UK charts, we knew we would get a chance to hear “Rubber Bullets” and the other singles since many like me couldn’t afford to buy their pricy, then import-only, eponymous debut LP at a record retailer like Sam Goody’s.
After finally securing the LP upon its July 1973 US release, I also sprung for the $3 at the door to see 10cc live on March 13, 1974 at the aptly named Joint in the Woods out in the boondocks of Parsippany, NJ. I wished I recalled more about the show, but I do remember a decent-sized crowd and enjoying the show immensely. I suspect that they played songs from the first LP and its follow-up, Sheet Music, which was already in the can and about to be released. From what I read in Mr. Newton’s bio on the band, it’s likely that I did not hear my fave 10cc song, “The Dean and I” since its technical wizardry was understandably too difficult to properly recreate on stage.
I do remember being quite impressed with Eric Stewart and Lol Creme’s guitar-work and specifically recall, that they closed the night with a second encore jam they labelled “The Parsippany Boogie” claiming they had run out of songs to play.
Well, success of course followed for 10cc, and just a year and a half later, with three successful LPs and a mega-hit with “I’m Not in Love,” I was overwhelmed with excitement that they would be playing the Beacon Theatre in New York City. I regularly followed their concert schedule, and like I did on occasion, I made a Sunday morning drive into Manhattan to buy tickets at the box office when they first went on sale at noon. I was likely first or second on the line to secure tickets and grabbed four seats smack dab in the third-row center for me and my music pals.
Again, I wished that I had better recall of the show, however I do remember that I was far from disappointed. At the time, I fantasized about being a lead singer/guitar player in a band and back then, 10cc’s Lol Creme was someone who I’d have loved to swap places with in life. It was a delight to see songs that I loved so much come to life on stage.
One fact however that I do seem to remember about the Beacon show is that the advertised opener, Starz, did not open the show. I have zero recollection, nor can I find any evidence however about who it was, and I’m usually obsessive about recording these tidbits of information.
To get a better sense of the show I saw, which by the way, I learned from Newton’s book was the first night of their US Tour, I presume that the November 26 show a month later at the Santa Monica (CA) Civic Center recorded by the King Biscuit Flower Hour bore a similar set list. An abbreviated version of this show (for contractual reasons, only songs from the first two LPs) was eventually released on CD and a “lossy” version of the entire show can be streamed (if you subscribe and pay) through Wolfgang’s Vault.
Man, opening a tour in NYC where audience expectations are high was sure a bold move. Things must have gone well though since I don’t recall the crowd eating them alive! However, the erudite rock critic, John Rockwell, thought otherwise in his less than flattering review in the New York Times.
As the 10cc story goes, after four fine LPs, the band split in half (I hate those 5cc jokes) with Kevin Godley and Lol Creme going their own way and Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart carrying on as 10cc. Album #5 was the smash Deceptive Bends and, as pictured below, yours truly scored some great seats for a July 16, 1977 show on the Asbury Park (NJ) Boardwalk’s Convention Hall. My excitement was further enhanced by the fact that the opening act would be The Hollies. One of my all-time favorite bands, 10cc’s Graham Gouldman had even penned one of their big hits, “Bus Stop.” Sadly, this American tour would be cancelled and marked the second time I had tickets for a Hollies show that never happened.
10cc toured America one last time in 1978 and I missed it So, I never did get to see The Hollies, nor did I ever get to see 10cc again. But. I will always fondly remember, and proudly brag to my music buddies, about the two great 10cc shows that I did see.