What is a gig list, and the importance of source documents from a very hazy time in rock ‘n’ roll history
I got a call from Robert Troxin, a fellow who lives on the East Coast somewhere, a month or so ago asking about gigs for Rush and Kiss concerts in Spokane. On the Internet there are fan sites where people gather and publish information they glean from various sources about their favorite bands. What these fans often do is research and produce a “gig list” for a band. These are sometimes extensive lists of dates, venues and set lists. I’ve seen gig lists for Jimi Hendrix, and lists of dates and venues for the Mothers of Invention on the Internet.
These gig lists are becoming part of the rock ’n’ roll Internet canon. However, the problem is, and a topic of consternation I had with Mr. Troxin, that a promoter working for a band, such as Northwest Releasing, makes a contract with the venue, publishes their own advertising and arranges with other entities to sell tickets. Documentation for the gig then is a “use agreement” with the venue, in this case, a use agreement with the Memorial Coliseum, owned by the City of Spokane. Some of these records are done minimally, the documents eventually shredded or thrown out, and sometimes the only record of the event is a ticket stub someone has kept, or in this case, a printed flyer that shows up for sale on eBay.
I gave Mr. Troxin what information I had, but I could not confirm one of the dates for Rush because I could not document that the concert had ever taken place at the Coliseum, October 31, 1976. The flyer he had seen on eBay indicated that the concert was at the Spokane Convention Center. I speculated that the booking agency may have had some difficulty, for whatever reason, selling enough tickets for the show, maybe they asked to move the concert to the Convention Center, or eventually cancelled the gig. I’ve read a use agreement report from the Sports, Entertainment, Arts and Convention Advisory Board (SEACAB), Spokane’s oversight committee for it’s venues at the time, that indicated Rush did ask to rent the Coliseum for a concert, but unlike the other bands that came to town that year, there is no mention of attendance for the show. The same thing happened for the Jefferson Starship concert. I did not see from any reports that there was a Rush concert at the Convention Center.
That does not mean that the concerts did not take place. It just means that I can’t confirm that they took place with a document from any official sources. On that matter, I do accept testimony from anyone who went to concerts and can tell me the date and venue. But then again, many fans are left with very hazy memories of the particulars of time and date, or even who they were with that night, which is why official documents are of some use for history’s sake. Included in this post is a new gig list page for concerts at the Spokane Memorial Coliseum for 1976 from one source, the SEACAB reports in a binder with a list of concerts. The Spokane Public Facilities District was kind enough to let me look through the binder last year.
© Robert G. Schoenberg 2012