Back in the Day

music musings, beaverdamusa.comGrowing up in Middle Tennessee, the main place to see a concert was the Municipal Auditorium.  There was no Ryman (closed, and close to demolition), Bridgestone, Fontanel, or Wildhorse Saloon.  Then in 1985, while I was still in college, word came out about a new concert venue – Starwood Amphitheater.  This venue would have about 5,000 reserved seats and an additional seating of 12,000 on the lawn.  I can’t remember the first show that I saw at Starwood – no, not for that reason.

In 2007, Starwood fell victim to the building craze and the land was sold to a developer who planned a retail and residential development on the site.  Well, the rock gods (little g) must have been pissed that their venue was gone.  Right after the sale, a recession hit and the ground still stands vacant today.  The awning and buildings were razed, but some of the familiar structures were left.  A local paper recently published photos of the old Starwood site taken over a year ago.  Looking at the photos caused me to reminisce about the shows I have seen there.  Here are some Starwood memories, in no particular order:

  • It was the last place I saw my friend and former neighbor, George McCorkle, before he passed away.  George was a founding member of Marshall Tucker Band (MTB) & I saw MTB back at the Volunteer Jam but I didn’t know George then.  He left MTB several years ago, but he played most of the set with MTB that night when they opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Sadly, George passed away a few months after that, but I was glad I got to see him play and visit with him backstage before the show.
  • Backstage – Starwood was the first place I went backstage – while not what I expected, it was still a treat to go back and see the dressing rooms, catering, and picnic area.  I even remember Will playing basketball backstage on a portable goal they had set up – not many can say that they played basketball backstage.
  • Jimmy Buffett – I saw Buffett many times at Starwood and it was always on the grass.  Something about a Buffett show under the stars.  Those Buffett shows were where I discovered Mac McAnally and his talent for playing and writing.  While sitting on the hill, you endured rain, storms, heat, and people who were half-nekkid, but should have been in a haz-mat suit.  Sadly, I witnessed the paramedics take out several people over the years who didn’t know when to say when, including one in my area who didn’t make it.
  • Stevie Nicks – saw her once at Starwood and wound up with third row seats.  These were the best seats I ever had for a show at Starwood.
  • Eagles – got to see them on their reunion tour back in the 90’s after accepting that I would probably never see them live.
  • Van Halen – my favorite band.  Numerous shows for me seeing Eddie and the boys.  I even saw the Sam & Dave tour there.  If Van Halen would have played a certain song one night, I would have proposed to my bride that night, but they didn’t.  I did propose a couple of weeks later though on her birthday.
  • Grass Pass – no, this didn’t come from Denver.  For a few summers, you could purchase ten lawn tickets for $100.  You could use all ten at one show or one person see ten different shows.  It was a great deal and I went to some shows that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • Traffic – Starwood vets understood the shortcut way into the Amphitheater.  You go past the exit and then double back at the next exit.  There was one night that it didn’t work – my great friend Kim and I were going to the Buffett show and my flight was an hour late.  I truly pitched a hissy-fit on the US Air flight at Charlotte because we had to re-fuel before we left.  We listened to the Neville Brothers open for Buffett from Murfreesboro Road while sitting in traffic.  Also, we were to meet my friend Joe before the show at the gate because he had the tickets.  Needless to say, we missed him and had to buy more tickets.  [Kids, there weren’t cell phones, so we couldn’t just call him and tell him.]

I saw some great music at Starwood with many different friends.  There are a lot of memories out there on that vacant lot in Antioch. Yes, I remember most of them…….


About Zach Clayton

Zach Clayton started Music Musings in 2013, but isn’t a stranger to music. While he may be a mild mannered accountant by day, he always has tunes going and forces his staff at work to play music trivia when they enter his office. He is a self-proclaimed lover of all music genres with over 3,500 songs in his iPod. Zach’s first concert was Eddie Money in Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym in 1979 and claims to have seen Van Halen (all three incarnations) over 25 times. There have only been one or two years since 1979 that Zach hasn’t been to a concert. He also has the uncanny knack of getting to know several folks in the music scene – both out front and behind the scenes. Zach is in the process of indoctrinating his two boys into the rock and roll way by exposing them to concerts and various music while holding them hostage in his truck screaming the mantra – “rap is crap!”

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