GRAND FUNK RAILROAD – “INSIDE LOOKING OUT”
Live version from “The Show” WITF-TV in Hershey, Pa. – November 1969
TYA vs GFR: World-Class Battle of the Bands!
The Fabulous Forum – July 22, 1970
If you remove the “critics” and allow the people to make their decisions in regard to anything (as in the guise of “Democracy”) you will see the reality of popularity within any given group.
In our Rock ‘n’ Roll World of the ’60s and ’70s critics meant absolutely nothing. We read Rolling Stone but purchased and listened to the albums and went to the concerts that we knew touched our souls and didn’t need anyone to guide us or tell us who or what to like – and to this day, still don’t.
We were individuals with our own minds who made decisions based on investigative journeys to obtain knowledge, Hell, that’s what the era represented: individual thought, . . . in this case, 00individual thought.
Besides that, we knew as much, if not more, than any paid critic, as we made it our business to know all about the groups, bands, singers and musicians, the lyrics, the instruments played and authors of the songs, who they were, where they came from and how they got their band names, when they were touring, the artists and photographers who did their album covers and where the album was recorded and when it would be released and even who the guest vocalists/musicians were that performed on each track of all of the Historic and Classic Albums of the ’60s and ’70s – and beyond – and before.
And this independence of choice is no more strongly portrayed than with Grand Funk Railroad, ultimately, “The Peoples’ Band”.
Now don’t get 00individual wrong, GFR were not one of my favorite bands, I appreciated their important place in Rock History, but had it not been for the timing of the Raw Rock of the “Red Album”, 00individual would never have had any GFR LPs in his collection.
This was an individual choice; remember that 1969, 1970 and 1971 were the top years for Classic Album releases – so there were plenty of Rock ‘n ‘ Roll thrills in the air that manifested as Historic and Classic Rock Concerts in the flesh.
The Rock critics were brutal, yet in spite of Grand Funk Railroad’s constant trashing by the critics, they became the top arena draw for the Rock Masses for the better part of their eight year stint. 00individual loves all underdogs and loner individuals and this was the kind of Three Guys From Flint, Michigan Cinderella Story that made 00individual smile.
Inspired by Cream’s power trio, Grand Funk Railroad owned the World of Rock at one of Rock’s most important high points. They sold more records than any other bands of the ’70s and sold out Shea Stadium faster than the Beatles - and here are two perfect true-life examples of why:
TYA vs GFR: World-Class Battle of the Bands!
On July 22, 1970 our current Tribe; Doctor Dean, Agent Thomas, Krik, Rick, Marzenus and Mike had tickets for a much-anticipated concert at the World Famous Fabulous Forum. Our seats were to the right of and even with the stage but angled enough to get a good shot of the whole stage to see one of our Tribe’s all time favorites, Ten Years After, as well as Grand Funk and PG&E.
So we approached this concert as we did for all concerts of this magnitude; psyched and psyched – see: TRUE PSYCHEDELIC TRIPS #1 Summer 1970 for the psychedelic shenanigans and events that led-up to this concert – and beyond.
We all dropped Double Dome or possibly White Lightning LSD, they over-lapped, and as we drove to the Forum we could never have known that what we were really going to see was a Historic World-Class Rock ‘n’ Roll Battle of the Bands!
After a rousing set by Pacific Gas and Electric, Grand Funk Railroad took the stage and proceeded to decimate the Forum. I remember “Inside-Looking Out” literally surging through my body, not like the concussion from the speakers of today, but purely from the music grabbing hold!
To get an actual feeling for what we saw and felt you owe it to yourself to watch the header video – an iconic song by an iconic trio during an iconic era. This performance rejuvenates!
The fans were all on their feet, the Forum was madness! This was before GFR were saddled with their “American Band” boogie moniker and the spontaneity of youth and freedom of spirit was gloriously on Rock ‘n’ Roll display that night creating a near-riotous frenzied Forum-filled Tribal Nation of Funk Fans!
When GFR finally left the stage there was a thunderous unrelenting request for an encore! Sheesh! With the fiending audience demanding an encore from the second act, how must Alvin Lee & Co. felt? Pressure?
00individual can honestly say that we almost forgot about Ten Years After, really – it was as if GFR were the headliners and usually after a performance like that, you’re ready to leave for the night!
This was the first and only concert I had experienced where the second act delivered such an incredible over-the-top show that some among us questioned TYA’s ability to live up to headliner status! I mean, whew! GFR were that good!
Sensing the crowd reaction, TYA now had a mission; they had to not only top GFR, but leave an even bigger lasting impression! TYA would have to pull a “better than Woodstock” to satisfy these fans!
So there we were – witnessing a World-Class Rock ‘n’ Roll Battle of the Bands! For real, Far Out!
TYA’s setlist was the supercharged version of each song. Virtuosity guitar? Smoldering! Tight jamming? Churchill, Lyons and R. Lee were all in top form – had to be! Even Alvin knew he’d have to leave the “boogie” at home; the masses of music fiends wanted Rock and TYA delivered!
Each musical excursion was a masterpiece, pushed to all corners of the envelope!
Alvin Lee and Company pulled it off!
So, the evening’s winner in the World-Class Rock ‘n’ Roll Battle of the Bands was TYA . . . but the real winners were the fans whose hard-core, “Nosebleed or front row, I just want to see the show!” devotion to Rock ‘n’ Roll sound, music and performance paid off, historically!
We had just experienced the fulfilled expectation of concert-going: to catch those magical moments, like the perfect wave, which we all knew were out there.
BUT WAIT, . . .
. . . if that’s not enough to convince you of the true Power Trio Rock Icon status GFR earned, check out another True Rock ‘n’ Roll Story:
GFR were set to play second bill to Led Zeppelin late Summer ’69 at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium but when the fans went full-blown crazed over GFR’s performance Led Zep’s manager Peter Grant told GFR’s manager Terry Knight to pull them off the stage – and in the middle of “Inside Looking Out” Grant literally pulled the plug, however GFR had time to warn the fans of Led Zep’s intentions.
Led Zep waited an hour and a half before coming on stage to let the fervor over GFR’s performance cool down, but by then half the stadium had left.
– as told by both Don Brewer and Mark Farner.
The above says a Hell of a lot in the positive about Grand Funk Railroad,
even more in the negative about Led Zeppelin and Peter Grant,
and way more in the positive about Alvin Lee and Company -
Ten Years After were fearless, they used a World-Class Performance by Grand Funk
as a launching pad for their own Historic Performance
and as instigators for the Best World-Class Battle of the Bands Ever! . . . in which they won!
Like Grand Funk Railroad, Ten Years After had balls and confidence!
Led Zeppelin and Peter Grant had neither.
GRAND FUNK RAILROAD
Mark Farner (guitar, vocals)
Mel Schacher (bass)
Don Brewer (drums, vocals)
One of the Absolute Best Rock Album Covers Ever!
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