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The Day on the Green gigs were legendary. They took place in Oakland Coliseum across from San Francisco and were put on by Bill Graham of Fillmore fame. They ran from 1973 through to 1992, a year after Bill’s tragic early death in that 1991 helicopter crash, but their peak years were mid70s to early 80s when he would compile some truly amazing bills, often featuring local SF bands like Steve Miller, Sammy Hagar, Journey, 415 and many more.
Perhaps the peak years for people of our tastes were 1976-78. Look at these bills.
Day On The Green # 1 & 2: Peter Frampton, Fleetwood Mac, Gary Wright, Status Quo (4/25 only), UFO (5/1 only) (April 25, 1976 / May 1, 1976)
Day On The Green #3: Boz Scaggs, Tower of Power, Santana, Jeff Beck, Journey, Nils Lofgren (June 5, 1976)
Day On The Green #4: The J. Geils Band, Jeff Beck, Blue Öyster Cult, Mahogany Rush, Sammy Hagar (June 6, 1976)
Day On The Green #5: The Beach Boys, America, Elvin Bishop, John Sebastian. (July 2, 1976)
Day On The Green #6: Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Loggins and Messina, Renaissance (August 3, 1976)
Day on the Green #7 & 8 (proper): The Who, Grateful Dead (October 9 & 10, 1976)
While punk rock was fashionable in the UK, classic rock was playing to 70,000 in Oakland. The first show of the summer of 1977 was Fleetwood Mac, Doobie Brothers and Gary Wright, (May 7, 1977). On May 28 & 30 the barely believable top notch bill was the Eagles, Steve Miller Band, Heart, Atlanta Rhythm Section and Foreigner!!! All for about $10. In July 2 & 4th Peter Frampton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Santana, Outlaws was another scorching line-up.
Later in July saw Led Zeppelin play what would turn out to be their last two shows ever in the USA as the last DOTGs of that year supported by Derringer and Judas Priest. This was the controversial occasion of legend when Zeppelin’s crew beat up some of Bill’s staff and ended up in court. The whole situation is brilliantly documented in the book Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out and absolutely terrifying it must’ve been too. Ironically Zep had been due to play in 1975 supported by Joe Walsh and the Pretty Things, but had to cancel after Robert Plant was injured in a car crash before the tour.
The shows continued next year with no drop in the quality..
Day On The Green #1: The Beach Boys, Linda Ronstadt, Elvin Bishop, Dolly Parton, Norton Buffalo (May 28, 1978)
Day On The Green #2: Steve Miller, Bob Seger, Outlaws, Ronnie Montrose, Toby Beau Band (June 17, 1978)
Day On The Green #3: Aerosmith, Foreigner, Pat Travers, Van Halen, AC/DC (July 23, 1978)
Day On The Green #4: The Rolling Stones, Santana, Eddie Money, Peter Tosh, Toots and the Maytals (July 26, 1978)
Day On The Green #5: Ted Nugent, Blue Öyster Cult, Journey, AC/DC, Cheap Trick (September 2, 1978)
Can you imagine how much money it would cost for a promoter to get all these bands onto one gig bill and how much the tickets would now be? Things were different back then. And I think it’s fair to say, much, much better.