By Todd Houston
Exclusive to TRRT
This week we continue with Part II of our interview with former Rockford MetroCentre General Manager Doug Logan. We threw some names and dates at him and he was kind enough to elaborate and share what he remembered about bringing them to Rockford. Today Mr. Logan is Director of Homelessness Initiatives in Sarasota, Florida.
The construction work was never completed by curtain time. We had contractors in the building until 5 p.m. the night of the show. I remember shouting out…”Get the trades out of the building… we’ll go with what we have”.
February 28, 1981 – Johnny and June Carter Cash
We had Roseanne Cash open the show. After she was done she proceeded to trash her dressing room [the first of many]. I got paid for the damages and got a sincere apology from the man in black.
May 9, 1981 – Judas Priest and Savoy Brown
First of several appearances by this band from Birmingham. Ironic that we always had “groupie” problems with young [very!] Rockford girls every time the band was in the building. Ironic, given Rob Halford’s sexual preferences. Even though he didn’t publicly come out until 1998, everybody in the business knew what was up. I always enjoyed dealing with them.
July 27, 1981 – Styx
Paradise Theater Tour. Beautiful ballads and harmonies. Was the day I found out Ald. Denny Johnson was a contemporary music aficionado. Tommy Shaw drove to the gig in a camper from his home in northern Indiana. Had a wonderful conversation with him.
October 30, 1981 – Jefferson Starship
Wild night! We had a costume competition for Halloween and many entrants skimped on their materials. I remember the winning entry was six pallbearers carrying a coffin with a guy [and a case of Heineken] inside. I had to have a heart-to-heart with Paul Kantner about his behavior with security and the crowds. Show went great.
February 20, 1982 – Loverboy and Quarterflash
I had seen the band play in a club in Vancouver and knew I wanted them in Rockford. I made a point to have a relationship with Bruce Allen and Lou Blair and they sold me 50 percent of the Rockford date on their next tour. They forced me to share the date with Bruce Kapp [now with Live Nation] who ran Celebration Productions in Chicago. Sometime after the show went on sale Kapp pled guilty to a ticket fraud charge at Soldier Field and was thrown in the hoosegow. The night of the show I accepted a collect call from Cook County Jail. Bruce wanted to know how much money he made.
March 6, 1982 – Prince
Backstage was full of talent. Morris Day and The Time Band opened, Sheena E played on the gig and everybody in the Minneapolis music scene was hanging out. Prince blew the doors off.
July 11, 1982 – Bob Hope
The show was part of the Pro-Am. Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) opened the show. She was so nervous Ann [my wife] let her hold and play with Carter Logan [our two-week old son]. She would not give him back. I have never been a Bob Hope fan. In December of 1966 he left me and about a thousand other sick and wounded patients for four hours on a hot tarmac at the MASH unit in Quin Nhon in South Vietnam. Once the show started they stopped it several times and asked us to laugh/applaud louder because they were making a special for US TV. We felt very used. This day I had a private occasion to get my anger off my chest. I told him how I felt. Never apologized.
July 31, 1982 – Rick Springfield
This was a tough date to book. He would only play on the weekends because he was acting in the soaps during the week. I had three dates cancel on me before we finally did this one. His agent was a close friend, Bobby Brooks, who lived in Montclair, New Jersey, where I grew up. Sadly, Bobby died sometime later in a helicopter crash at Alpine Valley, Wisconsin, with Stevie Ray Vaughan. I have never seen so many swooning girls/women as I saw at this show.
August 3, 1982 – Van Halen
With David Lee Roth; before Sammy. And, yes, the show rider asked for bowls of M&M’s with “no browns”, and we gave them to them. The Rolling Stones rider asked for all the leftover brown M&M’s from Van Halen and we gave them what they asked for. In my book one of my top 5 “high energy” performers, ever, joined by Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bruno Mars and Guns N’ Roses.
Their road manager, Noel Monk, was anal about details and was paranoid about merchandise bootleggers. We built a sandbag military bunker for him on the roof of the building, complete with a sniper scope and a searchlight. The band all wanted to see it and loved it.
August 21, 1982 – Doobie Brothers
One of my favorite all-time bands. When they began the opening chords to Long Train Running I began to cry.
February 19, 1983 – Eric Clapton and Ry Cooder
The only Midwest date for this package; I stole the date from Chicago. One of the few shows I sat for most of…I think Pat Cunningham was my guest. Two of the best to ever pick strings. I remember talking at length with Cooder about Cuba. He went on to produce and play on Buena Vista Social Club.
July 10, 1983 – George Burns
Another Pro-Am show. It was marvelous…like spending a weekend with a leprechaun. We built a revolving stage for him but told him he could not dance on it…it was too fragile and would break down. He assured me he would not. I spent the show at the edge of the stage apron and at a certain point he looked at me and winked and began to dance. Of course the mechanism failed to we had to rotate him manually for the rest of the show.