By: Danny Coale Is My Spirit Animal
DRIVES THE FURY ROADon January 30, 2023, 6:05 PM | 114 comments
Hey all. Inspired by our conversation in the Darn Tutin Commit thread, I thought I would start a new one to continue that conversation about some of the best (and worst) concerts at VT.
FYI: archive.org has a the actual audio files for many Blacksburg concerts if you want to download and re-live some of those shows: link.
Also I have the audio for Concert for VT (DMB, John Mayer, Nas, Vassar), Blues Traveler circa-2001, and I think I have Brand New @ Squires on a hard drive somewhere. Let me know if you want them and I can share them.
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Was at the Nov 4 1990 Allman Brothers concert at Burris Auditorium. An incredible performance. They jammed.
'14 Grad, and boy did things change in terms of the kind of bands that played Tech.
Saw Joy Formidable open for Passion Pit in Burruss. Meh.
Reel Big Fish played Squires, and there were maybe 50 people there.
Somehow they got Kendrick Lamar for the homecoming concert in 2012, a couple weeks before good kid maad city. A month later, and he'd have sold out Lane.
'13 grad that recently found Joy Formidable and I wish I would have known about them back then. I feel like that would've been right up my alley in undergrad. I listened to Passion Pit from time to time, but not really my scene.
I know I went to a handful of shows while in Blacksburg, but sadly the only one I can recall is Wiz Khalifa. Nothing against him, he put on a pretty good show, I just wish I could remember the other acts I saw.
Joy Formidable was outstanding. I listened to a decent amount of alternative stuff even then, but only recognized Whirring because Lonely Island sampled it for YOLO. Passion Pit was hugely disappointing. One of those bands where the singer just does not sound good live.
Didn't Kendrick open for Hoodie Allen too? LMAO
I went to Passion Pit and it was overall meh. Burruss kinda sucks for concerts.
I was one of the 50 at Reel Big Fish. It was fun. Wish they had more concerts in squires instead of Burruss.
Highly Tighty from 14? I'm a highly tighty from 13' what up fam! What up Mr. Manuel!!
Saw BB King sometime after I graduated (09)
Reel Big Fish in 04
Went to the concert for vt.
Blanking on anything else.
At the time, I thought most of the acts that came through weren't at all interesting. I missed reel big fish the second time they came. I think that was around 08, maybe.
I saw a lot of killer shows in Roanoke in my college years and immediately after. There were a couple different music and bbq festivals that had good acts. The only downside was having to listen to Kerry Hurley emcee. That guy was insufferable.
Then we had Bob Saget for homecoming in 04. That was a quality show.
Saget was great! RIP
I was there 2002-2006 and got to see Saget, Chappelle, and Lewis Black. What a run of great guests!
Prolly forget a couple but here are the few I remember.
Squires. - a tribe called quest, George Clinton and parliament funkadelic and violent femmes
Burris - Adam Sandler, harry connick jr and Sheryl crow
South main cafe - leftover salmon
I had a test either in Squires or next to Squires the night of the George Clinton concert. Was waiting for my ride when one of the guys came out and lit one up beside me. It was kind of odd how eerily quiet things were for like 5 minutes at that entrance when a concert was about to go on.
Helmet opening for Faith No More in Burruss in '92.
Several times seeing DMB and Dave around campus and town.
Helmet and FNM after Angel dust released? You lucky son of a gun🥺
we were 3rd row back for that and helmet crushed it.
They sure did!!!! We were around 7th row center.
Blues Traveler (01) and Something Corporate (05) in Burruss. Flogging Molly (02) on the drill field. Brand New in Squires (08 IIRC). Loads of local and smaller bands but I think those were some of the bigger acts.
LOL. I mean you're not wrong but I was long gone by the time that Brand New show came to town, but I couldn't turn down the opportunity to see one of my favorite bands at VT so I drove back for that one.
I saw Nickel Creek in Burruss in '03 before I was a student. I had a friend who was a freshman get me crazy good seats when they went on sale and then I just paid the difference in the price when I didn't have a student ID at the door.
Yellowcard on Henderson Lawn in 04 or 05. I think Jimmy's Chicken Shack played that show too.
311 in Burruss was good.
Chris Thile and Mike Marshall at the Lyric in 04ish
Hot Rod Circuit, Murder by Death, Bayside, and Juliana Theory in Squires Ballroom.
Refuge Trio with John Hollenbeck on drums, Gary Versace on keys and Theo Bleckmann doing weird sounds with his voice into a mic with processing.....yeah.....in Squires for any jazz cats. Turns out my future wife was there for her then boyfriend who was in the VT Jazz Ensemble.
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones in Burruss.
Mark Curry and Saget in 04. I went with a friend who thought Saget was going to do a bunch of family friendly Full House type humor. She was quite disillusioned in the aftermath.
One of my biggest regrets in college was not going to see Roy Haynes play drums in Roanoke in 05ish.
Oooh, I forgot about Fleck. Saw that one.
Did Vroom ever play on/near campus? I only found them years after they went inactive.
Vroom throws like a girl
The Roots in Burruss (07) was a great concert. I'd have to go searching for stubs on the rest I went to.
Edit: NERD/Wale (10), O.A.R (08) from memory as well.
That Roots show was really good. Favorite of the ones I went to at Tech, the others being Concert at VT, 311, Lupe Fiasco, and NERD/Wale. All were good, but its hard to beat The Roots live.
They also played a show in the early 2000s. What was great was after the show, we were walking by the bus and they asked where the place to hang out at would be. We sent the Roots to Tots!
Please, for the love of all thing Hokie Bird, it's Burruss everyone.
I'm glad I got it right. You had me second guessing myself.
In the late 60s, saw The Four Seasons, and Sam and Dave
Wait? You have the audio from the Blues Traveler concert we went to? You need to get it to LancerHokie because I have mentioned to her several times about how crazy it was to hear John Popper do the Devil Goes Down to Georgia on the harmonica.
I do. I'll send it over to her. IIRC the part of the show that left the biggest impression on me was an alternate version of Runaround that was heavy AF.
Ok. John Popper busting out Devil Went Down to Georgia was nuts.
Pietasters and Eek-a-Mouse back in the day... can't remember all the spots... Pedro's maybe? South Main?
Eek-a-Mouse was at South Main - maybe '89?
My brother's band opened for the Pietasters at Main/the Library- the Cabo building, in 2003. The afteparty was better than the show.
My old roommate used to date Steve's sister...aftershows were a blast.
And got to see the Pietasters in my hometown in 2000'ish. After I graduated. Wore a VT hat and Steve nearly tackled me to take me on stage. Good times.
For all the 80's guys, Electric Woodshed at 117 countless times. And Bob Margolin. Aka: South Main Cafe now. Or Cabo Fish Taco.
Those were the days.
Amen- I saw Bob Margolin show (among many others) there- loved that place!
no controllin', duckpin bowlin'.......
I used to sit in with Bob alot in the 80s. I still converse with him from time to time.
Yes, Margolin was awesome. Also, saw Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson (seperate shows) in Burruss in early 80s. Our fraternity had Tex Rubinowitz in our basement in 83.
All were awesome shows. THE DAYS!!!
widespread panic in 95, helmet and faith now more 92, blues traveler i think in 92.
off campus, drivn' n cryin in 93. that was the smoke album or better called his divorce album. it was loud and angry.
dmb a couple of times, tho too drunk to remember any of it.
my personal fave local band in 91-92 was daniel bone.
Daniel Bone was my fav as well. Their horns section was awesome
Flogging Molly on the Drillfield was dope. Also saw Murder By Death at Squires...Bob Saget and Dave Chappelle did good sets too
Saw a jam band at a house party, Sun Dried Opossum...they shred
I saw the Bouncing Souls in Squires I think 98? Small show, like 50 people.
I also saw Henry Rollins spoken word in Burruss around the same time. Dude went for 3 hours and it was amazing, I had front row seats.
I was not at this show but I recall Run DMC and Biz Markie coming through town during the late 90's sometime, and Run DMC never showed up. Apparently Biz Markie kept coming out and played like two sets. People that had tickets were pissed.
Bizmarkie was awesome. RunDMC were my childhood heroes and I was super disappointed that they never showed.
It took forever to get the ticket refund too.
Was at that show, Biz brought it, Run DMC had an issue with their flight and never made it.
Front row and ticket #0001 in Burruss for Allmans/Little feat split bill in
'90 or '91.somewhere beween 1988 and 1991...I cant find the exact date on the internet....one Little Feat site says 11/28/88, but the Allmans site doesn't list a concert on that date....
George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers in Cassell '87 or '88
Gallagher in Cassell same time frame.
Little Feat was so good I forgot the Allmans were there until I saw your post.
The Internet Archives music site has it at 11/28/88
Wish I could have seen them in '78 when they came to VT while Lowell was still alive.
I don't remember Little Feat coming to Tech in '78. I may have been there, can't imagine I would miss it. They have always been my favorite band, and have seen them multiple times before and after that date, including Lisner in August 77 when they were recording for 'Waiting For Columbus'.
Supposedly was 4/18/1978 Burruss Hall - Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA.
Yeah...but I dont how if that was the split bill date with the allmans....one Feat site says it is, but I can't get a corroborating info from the allman side of it. I know it happened...cause I camped out for 2 days to get tickets and got #0001 thru #0004 (i still have my ticket somewhere i think (i didnt let them tear it), but i cant find it) ......I also just saw Feat in September at the Count Basie Theater in NJ for their 45th anniversary tour doing the entire Waiting for Columbus album straight through. I can tell you that they still are fantastic, and that show kicked ass.
Thanks for the link.
Listening to it now.
Little Feat played a Radford bar in early 80s. Me and a fellow frat bro roadied for that show. Great time.
Dude! Thorogood had to be insane! I saw them with the Stones in Orlando after I graduated. EPIC!
I don't remember the specific years...
Some MTV concert that included Lostprophets and Hoobastank
Concert for VT
Cheech and Chong in '76.
I remember Fish coming in the early 2000s. I didn't go, but I remember coming out of a late CEE lab at like 6pm and there were VW vans parked on the drill field and hippies playing hacky sack. I thought to myself "dude, that lab was so long I went back in time"
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band In Burruss early 70's
Really envious of that. It looks like it was a hell of a time.
I was there, still have the ticket stub!
It was April 22, '76. Born to Run had just come out.
Springsteen fell off the stage.
Vanilla Ice but I forget the year.
Really hoping the downvote doesn't come but it was actually up in Roanoke in 1990... Vanilla Ice opened for En Vogue who opened for MC Hammer. I'm just gonna say it... it was a hell of a show.
No he played in Burruss probably like 2006-2011. It wasn't a great show as I remember, but he did play Ninja Rap.
It was 06/07 (my freshman year).
Was a terrible concert, but Ninja Rap "encore" was hilariously awesome
Oh shit, I was there, I forgot all about that one!
It was both it sounds like... I just saw him in his "prime?" :)
I saw Pretty Lights at the venue below She-Sha in April of 2009. That was right before/when they were blowing up. Absolutely amazing live show. I know I saw Aries Spears live too; I think it was in the GLC? Brand New in Squires was awesome, I'm pretty sure Cartel opened for them (or maybe that was another show altogether). 311 in Burruss to start freshman year. Went to some cool electronic shows at Awful Arthur's (PANTyRAID, Papadosio, and MiM0SA come to mind). NERD and Wale together was incredible. Nick Swardson in Burruss and Ben Folds Five. I'm sure there are more but that's what I remember.
Forgot about that one but I was there. It was a good show, it just seems like another lifetime ago.
I remember this as one of the worst I ever went to. He did this thing where he had some song he wrote for his daughter and he wanted to play it without interruption and would start over of someone cheered or hollered. Well Burruss full of pregame college kids and he must of spent 20 min restarting, ruined the whole show.
The Smashing Pumpkins at the Salem Civic Center in '94 for the Siamese Dream tour was flat out amazing.
Haven't seen it mentioned yet. Living Colour at Burruss in the early 90s was a hell of a show.
I don't remember the names of the bands but the spring block parties during my undergrad years there (1983-88) were fantastic events with 5-6 bands playing over the course of noon-7pm Saturdays. (Stonegate and Bargerfest being the most prominent with 2000+ people at each)
PS Also saw Los Lobos in 1983 but that was at Easters 1983 (at our satellite campus at Charlottesville lol)
The Kind, Electric Woodshed, About Time, Out of the Blue all come to mind.
I'm Facebook friends with a lot of those folks. One of them has a pic of The Kind playing Bargerfest and every one of them is wearing Daisy Dukes - except for Wendy, the only woman in the band.
I have seen that picture on FB as well. And have a few pictures from Bargerfest the year it rained. Guessing we may have a few mutual friends. We used to watch The Kind almost every Wednesday at wherever they used to play (what was the name of that place behind Ton 80?) before moving to Macado's on Thursdays. Probably saw you you sit in at some point?
Victoria's Secret Concert with Gym Class
Heroes, Theophilus London and Chiddy Bang (2011)
Passion Pit (2013)
J. Cole and Wale (2013)
Reel Big Fish (2014)
I went to a lot of the small concerts at Sycamore Deli. None were that noteworthy but they were more fun than anything in Burruss. I also went to Radford for a Big Gigantic and Cherub concert. Cherub was awful but Big Gigantic was great.
Big Gigantic rocks. They were scheduled to play at Awful Arthur's but the venue closed 2 weeks before the show.
I totally forgot all about the Chiddy Bang and Theophilus London concert.
Kinks in Cassell in 83-84ish. Short set but cool to see a legendary band.
If we're including Roanoke (as some have)- Van Halen at Roanoke Civic Center for 1984 album tour- David Lee Roth in his prime! (and Michael Anthony chugging a bottle of Jack a la Bluto in Animal House (RIP Eddie!)
I have an audience recording of that VH show, and Diamond Dave says "Roanoke" in a way I've never heard out of anyone else.
Did anyone see the Grateful Dead at Cassell in 78? I did not exist but I like to listen to it every now and then
Was at a No Strings Attached/Konnarock Critters show at 117 South Main. Had to be late 90's. The walls of the building seemed to be billowing in and out, or so it seemed, with the dancers.
I wasn't a student, but here were a couple I enjoyed.
1) Gran Torino at Main Street Cafe (now Cabo)
2) Avail at some dance venue in a basement. It was a weird vibe, but Avail was great
3) Lake Trout and Running with Scissors at the venue in an older hotel on Prices Fork
My brother was the guitarist for RWS, so I saw them at Champs, the place that is Sharkeys now, the place that is Cabo now opening for the Pietasters. They also played with 2 Skinnee J's at TOTs but I couldn't make that one.
Wait, am I reading this right? Champs is gone and Sharkey's took the space over?
I think it's three places: 1) champs, 2) the place that is now sharkeys, and 3) the place that is now Cabo fish taco
Thank goodness, Champs is my spot. I'm not totally in the loop with Campus and Blacksburg goings on, but I was just in champs last bball season and was thinking there's no way I missed this news.
Correct. I can't remember what Sharkey's was called back then, but it wasn't Sharkey's. I have it written down somewhere, but I am not going digging for it.
per this article from CT 2007 http://www.collegiatetimes.com/news/downtown-through-the-ages/article_d1...
Three different dance clubs came and went in the building
that now houses Sharkey's. First, a place called Arnold's
offered pizza and subs, and later, Preston's
and Woody's offered food similar to Sharkey's.
And from this article https://downtownblacksburg.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/sharkeys-fun-and-fri...
Sharkey's was originally called Sharkey's Bar & Grille and was located in the building next door which had been known as Cricket's. In 2005, Sharkey's became Sharkey's Wing & Rib Joint and moved to its current location at 220 N. Main Street which was formally home to Woody's, Preston's, and Arnold's.
edit- The original of this post came before the below by few seconds but since I edited it afterward and it now post dates the below, I'll drink tonight at league pool. (Full disclosure this magnanimous gesture comes at no cost to me...I would have been drinking anyway!)
It was Woodys when my brother used to play shows there. Thanks for the memory booster!
It was "Preston's" for a few short years after "Arnold's" and before "Woody's"
That corner store on Main Street was Argabrite's Varsity Shop, mens haberdashery before many others and now Sharkeys. Lots of fine Townie students worked there in it's time.
That corner store on Main Street was Argabrite's Varsity Shop, mens haberdashery before many others and now Sharkeys. Lots of fine Townie students worked there in it's time.
LOL-identical posts by same user 29 or so minutes apart- getting old will get after ya! /s
Does this qualify for the "drink rule?
I think where Sharkey's is now used to be Arnold's in the late 90's. Sharkey's used to be a few doors down from there, and what a go to spot for me and my crew during that time. I remember those all you can eat wing buffets on Sunday and Wednesday nights. I for sure got my money's worth out of those. I can also remember the happy hour special on Fridays, a 22oz long island iced tea for $3.75. Yeah, was wasted on that special many times.
Also IIRC someone was shot and killed on the dancefloor at Arnold's I think mayber 97 or 98.
Pretty sure in its earlier incarnations, I vaguely remember being fairly drunk on the upper floor, stumbling down the steps with someone holding the back of my shirt to keep from falling and getting sick in the bushes off to the right of the buildings (but it's all a bit hazy..being as it was 35-40 years or so and I WAS fairly inebriated.)
Yep, the upstairs had several pool tables and a tiki style bar. Me and my friends would take over that bar on late Friday afternoons. I have fond memories of that place.
I think the thing I miss most about "the old days" is finding Long Island or similar specials for $3 and $4. Even if it was a small serving, it was still a small serving of almost 100% liquors. You could actually go out and get hammered for $20. Safely, of course.
Mid 90's, Downtown Blacksburg.
You could get $1 pitchers of Natural Light from 5-6 on Wed. Play it right and you could get one close to 5, around 5:25, and a third at 5:55. $5 including tip for 3 pitchers. (Yeah, they weren't the 64oz'ers, but still.) Then, quarter drafts and $3 sandwiches at Sharkees. For $10 you could have a great buzz, full belly, tipped so you aren't a dingus, and home in bed for early Thursday classes by 9pm.
Also $1 highballs at Marriotts on Tuesday nights from 8-9 pm. time it right and you ordered two before 8pm to arrive t 8; as soon as those are placed in front of you immediately order the next two; repeat,repeat and order the last two at 859 for total of 10 drinks for $10 (yes they were slightly smaller portions- I think 4-5 oz including soda and likely 1 oz shots in it rather than 1.5 but still a great deal.) RIP Marriotts)
Guessing the newer happy hours laws got rid of the other two best deals besides the ones mentioned above:
Bogens had 2 for 1 kamikazes from 11pm-1am Friday nights(maybe Saturday too- hazy memory).
And the (can't remember the name or day of the week ) "bust a bladder" deal at TOTS where beers were incredibly cheap (I think a nickel though I could be wrong) until the first person in the bar had to use the bathroom-you did NOT want to e the one who broke down first!)
Ah the good old days!
late 90's the happy hour at most bars on Main Street ran from 2-9 every day. Guessing that has changed.
$2 Michelob pitchers @ HokieHouse. It was all beer joints in the day when you could be 18 and buy it. Then liquor by the drink laws passed in 80's along with age 21 prohibition. Now every place is a liquor bar and cheap pitchers are an old man's day dream.
The 07-09 architecture Friday happy hour consisted of $2 32 oz yuenglings at hokie house. Then you went to sharkey's for a $2 double, just as their happy hour was winding down. Then you had choices. The cellar had dollar Schlitz. Rivermill had dollar keystone or pbr. Or you could hit the hookah lounge for 69 cent strohs. We didn't do that on the regular , though.
I went back about two years after graduating and found that architecture happy hour wasn't a thing anymore. Incredibly disappointing.
Used to love the cellar luck of the draw for the $1. At worst you got the Schlitz like you said. They had some decent stuff earlier in the night if you came earlier.
Avail is a favorite of mine. I'm also a fan of all of Tim Barry's solo work.
Reel Big Fish 2x
Concert for VT
Ralphie May and Pablo Picasso
I'm probably forgetting a few...
I was on the VTU concert committee in the mid 80s. It was a lot of fun and I'm still in touch with friends from those days.
Prior to my joining, we had just hosted the Kinks and it went pretty well. But we had taken a bath on some other shows so by the time I joined we had to scale back to do much smaller shows, fit for Squires. We did Husker Du, Soul Asylum, Hoodoo Gurus and the Smithereens amongst others. Then after we had stabilized financially we did George Thorogood in Burruss. Burruss shows were great for us.
All of our shows had to be approved by the VTU paid staff, who advised us and answered to the bigwigs. They passed on several shows we really wanted to do - Stevie Ray Vaughn and Blue Oyster Cult were two of them. I can elaborate on the former.
On the other hand, we passed on a MAJOR show that the staff really wanted to do - Robin Williams. We thought it was far too risky financially - Robin didn't come cheap. So the staff passed on the opportunity to another committee. I ended up running security for the show. Sure enough, though, the show lost money and the CT ran a scathing op/ed on us.
A lot of times we were beat out for national shows by Roanoke. Their civic center was superior to Cassell for hosting shows, because they had a metal truss roof whereas Cassell has a laminated wood roof. You need the metal trusses to fly lights and sound, so doing shows at Cassell incurred additional production expenses.
After I graduated I came back in town one weekend and saw Throwing Muses in the Field House. I wish that had been available for us when I was there - it has a metal truss roof....
Really a missed opportunity on Blue Oyster Cult....
Also, Stevie Ray Vaughn. Man, that would have been amazing.
SRV was especially frustrating because it fell into our laps. The tour guy needed a fill-in date and SRV was going through the area at that time. We got a great price - it would have been an $8 ticket and it would have taken only 1500 tickets sold to break even. Plus the Fabulous Thunderbirds were included as the opener. To me it was a slam dunk.
The problem was that the offer came to us right before Christmas break and the show would have been in mid January. Back then of course we had no campus email or intranet or any easy way of communicating with the students. We promoted shows via sandwich boards, fliers and tent cards in the cafeterias.
We presented it to the VTU staff and they decided SRV wasn't well enough known to sell enough tix with such short notice.