Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Alpine Valley

During one of my road trips, towards Elkhorn, I made a stop at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre to snap some photos. I haven't been there in awhile. As I was sneaking in through the cracks in the chained up fence, memories of some great concerts I've seen here flooded my mind. Yes, Deep Purple/Blackfoot, Rush, Robert Plant, Aerosmith/Black Crowes, Boston, Guns n' Roses/Skid Row, and Eagles/Melissa Etheridge were some the artists that I saw there.

God, I remember sitting in the seventh row for Aerosmith/Black Crowes (1990). So close that I feel the breath of Steven Tyler! The laser light show for Rush (1990) was hallucinating! Getting hammered by flying sod at Guns n' Roses/Skid Row (1991) show was not fun. Someone sneaked in a keg of beer for Deep Purple/Blackfoot (1985). The best vibes were at the Eagles/Melissa Etheridge concert.

This 37,000 seat amphitheater, built in 1977, was the largest of its kind till 1993 when the San Manuel Amphitheater was built in San Bernardino, CA. Along with a ski resort in the back, Alpine Valley is located in East Troy, WI. This about 35 miles to the west of me, about 40 miles southwest of Milwaukee and 87 miles northwest of Chicago. It is a favorite stop for many bands passing through.

I have noticed since the completion of the 25,000 seat Marcus Amphitheater, on the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee, fewer bands have been playing at Alpine Valley. It was built in 1987. I'm not sure the reason for this, but my guesses would be: A-the rental is too expensive and/or B-it's too far away and remote from the metropolitan Milwaukee/Chicago area.

Anyways, here's some notes about the place:

Blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan died here in a helicopter crash, slamming into a ski hill after a show in 1990.

Boz Scaggs headlined the venue's inaugural event on June 30, 1977.

Boston had a four night stand here from August 6–9, 1987 as part of their Third Stage World Tour, the band's first since 1979. (I was there)

The Black Crowes filmed their "Hard to Handle" video here. (I was there)

The Grateful Dead played at Alpine Valley 20 times from 1980 through 1989. Their album, Dick's Picks Volume 32, was recorded here in 1982, and their concert performance video, Downhill From Here, documents concerts from 1989.

Mötley Crüe filmed their video for "Same Ol' Situation" at a concert here in 1990.

Below are more pictures of Alpine Valley. I did not take these, lest the fear of getting busted skulking around taking pics. (Maybe another time)


Perplexio said...

I attended my first concert when I was about 10 years old. My older sister brought me to see Franki Valli and the Four Seasons at the Canandaigua Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua, NY.

The first concert I WILLINGLY went to was Chicago @ the Starlite Theater in Latham, NY in 1993 (and again in 1994). It was a theater in the round that has since closed. Have you ever seen a concert at a theater in the round with the revolving stage in the middle? At oine point the stage was facing the opposite direction and I had a bit of a drummer's eye view of Tris Imboden's drum solo. That was kind of cool. But the highlights for me were meeting the band after the shows and the bonding with my dad on the 3 1/2 hour drives to and from those 2 concerts. It made for some late nights as we didn't get home until about 3:30 am

Anonymous said...

I have never been to Alpine Valley for any concerts. But your blog makes want to go there to see a concert now. I hope they do start to have some more concerts there so I can go and see how it is.

I can see you did a lot of research on this blog. It is really good and I really enjoyed reading it. I hope you don't get caught getting anymore pictures with out the place being open. I did hear about the crash there but never knew exactly were the place was that they where talking about. Now thanks to you I do know were it is. I also like the links that you put on here to check out the other bands.

drewzepmeister said...

Perplexo, my first major concert that I went to was Rush at The MECCA, in Milwaukee, in 1982. I was 16 at the time. The day of show was the same day the Milwaukee Brewers made their way into their only World Series. The traffic was so backed up from Brewer fans celebrating and Geddy Lee wore a Brewers jersey at the show.

Also, I LOVED your story about Chicago! Glad that you got to meet them!

Anonymous, hopefully someday you will see a show at Alpine Valley. One thing I forgot to mention, tailgating is A MUST do out there!

Unknown said...

My wife and I lived in Elkhorn, WI for 10 years. We were able to attend a lot of concerts at Alpine Valley. Favorite memories there were the Concert Voucher years. WLZR Laser 103 out of Milwaukee, WI would give out vouchers that you could redeem at The Alpine Valley box office for a $10.00 lawn ticket. Talk about a bargain price to go to a show. There was nothing like a cool Wisconsin night and a blanket on the lawn with a good buzz going. Listening to some of the biggest names in Rock and Roll. Favorite concert probably has to be the Stars and Guitars show with Motley Crue, Tesla, Bonham and Joe Satriani. I still remember the helicopters buzzing the place all day and bringing in the performers.

Unknown said...

@anox3 you forgot johnny crash. Agreed on of the best concerts ever! wooo sod!