Surprise! I wasn't expecting to post this, and it isn't part of our Dels rarities series because it isn't an official release, but a little lightbulb -- or sparkler? -- lit up over my head, and here is a holiday post for you Rare Stuff lovers! Fitting right in with our trend of live Del Amitri, this is a radio broadcast of the Dels themsel's, live in Chicago's Grant Park on Independence Day, 1996!
And I've also gathered links from three other music blogs, to three terrific-sounding recordings of concerts that took place on our nation's birthday three years in a row in the 1980s. I checked, and their download links are all still active. If you do grab 'em, you might say thanks and tell 'em who sent ya!
First, from Addicted to Vinyl, comes a show dubbed "The Liberty Concert", and once released on VHS though never yet reissued on DVD: Hall & Oates in Jersey City, NJ's Liberty Park on July 4, 1985.
Next, at The Midnight Cafe, we find Bob Dylan with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in the heat of their True Confessions Tour, in Buffalo, NY on July 4, 1986.
And finally, from the great blog The Clock That Ran Backwards Again, an epic moment from the Vietnam Veterans tribute concert at Capital Centre in Largo (a.k.a. Landover), Maryland near Washington, D.C., July 4, 1987.
This was a long-overdue, televised, public "welcome home" concert for Vietnam vets, an opportunity for them and all of America to make peace with the difficult legacy of that war. At the time, Fogerty had long been embroiled in vicious lawsuits with his former label head, Saul Zaentz, mostly over the rights to his classic songs from the Creedence period. For years, he had refused to perform any of his '60s material so as not to put another dime in that man's pocket. Zaentz even went as far as suing Fogerty for ripping off his own song, "Run Through The Jungle" -- a favorite of Vietnam-era troops, for obvious reasons -- which Zaentz "owned", in his comeback single, "The Old Man Down The Road". Fogerty began his set for the vets with a vamp on the intro to "Old Man", but then dramatically stopped his band and suddenly shifted instead into the Creedence classic "Born on the Bayou", followed by "Down on the Corner", after which he addressed the audience:
"I just want to tell you something real short and sweet. I'm talking to vets here. I myself had gone through about 20 years of pain, and I finally faced that pain. I looked it right in the face and said, well, got a choice: you can do it for 20 more years, or you can just say, "That's what happened. " You can't change it, that's just what happened. So I'm telling you guys, thats what happened. You got the shaft. you know it, we know it, it's reality. So drop it. In fact -- [crowd reaction] You got it. Send me a letter, Berkeley, Californa, but you promise me something: you send the letter, you drop it in the box, and then you drop all that shit you been carrying around. Is that a deal? And get on with it, buddy!"
With that, Fogerty launched into "Who'll Stop the Rain", another song that was central to American soldiers' experience in Vietnam, generally taken as a metaphor for the war. And he proceeded to play a whole set of those Creedence songs right down to "Fortunate Son", one of the most amazing catalogs in rock 'n' roll history, getting over his issues with his past to honor and inspire the courage of those veterans to face theirs, in order to free themselves of its hold on them. I was a 19 year old watching at home, and even for me, it was a total goosebump experience.
So that's my message to you this Independence Day, music lovers. Honor the sacrifices and wounds of the past, and the triumphs, too. But don't let them rule you. Face them in order to better turn and face the future. We all have the freedom to declare independence from our history, let go, and "get on with it, buddy!"
Del Amitri, July 4th, 1996 @ The Rare Stuff (Tracklist in comments)