YOU WANT IT ALL
BUT YOU CAN’T HAVE IT!
My hometown – Joplin, Missouri – had a population of 39,256 in 1970, which was the year I graduated from high school.
You wouldn’t expect concert promoters to bring their biggest stars to the 527th-largest city in the U.S. So it’s not surprising that the Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Taylor Swift, and others of their ilk never stopped in Joplin on one of their tours.
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In the last 2 or 3 lines, I told you about seeing Rare Earth, Sugarloaf, and Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show play at Junge Stadium in Joplin in 1973. Each of those bands had a top ten single or two, but none of them were in the same league as the recording artists mentioned above.
The best concert I ever saw in Joplin was Paul Revere & the Raiders, who appeared with opening act Billy Joe Royal (who can forget “Down in the Boondocks”?) before roughly 2750 fans at Joplin’s Memorial Hall on June 17, 1967 – a few weeks after I had completed the ninth grade.
Paul Revere & the Raiders were busy that June – they put on shows in 21 different southern and midwestern cities in a 23-day period.
The cities they visited that month included Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Memphis, and New Orleans. Joplin was by far the smallest burg on their itinerary – I don’t know why they didn’t chose Kansas City or St. Louis over Joplin, but they didn’t.
Paul Revere & the Raiders was at the peak of its popularity in 1966. That year, they released “Kicks,” “Hungry,” and “Good Thing” – all were top ten hits – and appeared regularly on Dick Clark’s Where The Action Is television show on ABC.
Click here to read more about that 1966 concert.
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But it turns out that Paul Revere & the Raiders were not the only superstar recording artists to perform in Joplin.
For example, Led Zeppelin’s former lead singer, Robert Plant, appeared at Memorial Hall in 1990. Plant wasn’t as big a deal as a solo artist as he was when he fronted Led Zeppelin, but he had released three top ten albums in the eighties and was far from washed up.
And Plant’s opening act was one of my favorites, Faith No More, who was riding high in 1990. That group’s 1989 album, The Real Thing, sold well and was nominated for a Grammy Award. And their music video for “Epic” – an absolutely silly single from that album – was nominated for an MTV Music Video Award the year they visited Joplin.
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I moved away from Joplin many years before that 1990 Robert Plant/Faith No More appearance, but you best believe I would have begged, borrowed, or stolen a ticket for that show if I had still lived in my old hometown.
Maybe you were at that show, but the odds are you missed it, too.
If so, there’s no use crying over spilled milk. Just be happy that you can click here and watch the official music video for “Epic,” which was the second single from the group’s third studio album, The Real Thing:
Click below to buy “Epic” – which made it all the way to #9 on the Billboard “Hot 100” – from Amazon: