Thursday, October 21, 2010

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Shafer Court, VCU, April 14, 1989.

Red Hot Chilli Peppers, from left to right, John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis, and Flea, April 14, 1989.
The drummer is not shown in the image - it was either D.H. Peligro or Chad Smith.

Friday night rock concerts in Shafer Court at VCU were free. The beer truck was about 20 feet away from the stage. A glass of beer was a buck in the 1980s (students could drink beer at 18 then). The concerts began with set up around 4 pm and the music began at 5 or 6 - lasting until about 8 pm when people headed off to parties in the Fan or in the VCU dorms. Most of the concerts were organized by the student concert committee which began in the late 1960s bringing local and national acts to not only Shafer Court but to the Franklin Street Gym and the Mosque (now the Landmark Theatre).

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who played here on April 14, 1989, were one of hundreds of local and nationally known bands who performed on the brick stage in Shafer Court. That stage stood about where the elevator is in the "new" VCU Shafer Court Dinning Center. The stage was built in 1960 and was demolished in 2002. There is a historic marker on the ground commemorating the stage and the concerts that took place there - its about 30 feet back from Shafer Street just to the right of the Shafer Street Playhouse. 

The 1980s were the peek years for the Friday night rock concerts with local bands like the Awareness Art Ensemble, The Good Guys, Death Piggy, and The Bobcats playing often to large crowds. 

The Richmond music scene needs to be documented - if you are interested in learning more about its history, VCU Libraries' Special Collections and Archives' holdings include a full run of Throttle and the Richmond Music News and other alternative publications documenting Richmond's music scene through the decades.
 
- Ray B.

10 comments:

Amblus said...

Heh, I went to that show.

Ray said...

Then YOU rock. Wish I could have been there.

- Ray

Alfonzo said...

I was six years old and my dad took me to this. It was awesome.

scott said...

I remember we went through twenty kegs if forty minutes. our average crowd of 500-1000 was 5,000. 45 minute show until the speakers started to sway so much the sound guy closed the show... But it was a moment of a lifetime.

gusto said...

I worked the beer truck for the show, but when we got busy all I could hear was calls for mo beer!
gusto

Anonymous said...

What??? no shout out to Gwar who perfected their show on that VCU stage and is still touring Europe?

Anonymous said...

yup. i was a student living in johnson hall at the time. i remember seeing flyers all over campus which stated "our socks are bigger than your cocks'...go figure. i do remember a very short set, and thinking that the band members left the stage kind of pissed, or maybe they made the decision to bolt first. idk. i do remember climbing to the top of adjacent building via the iron escape ladder and watching the show on the roof for about 5 minutes when we were told to come back down by some campus security or cop. wow.

Ginny Fleming Biggs said...

My husband Wayne worked the beer trucks at those parties...hell of a good time!

Gusto - do you remember Greg See? Wayne and him shared the VCU parties. Both worked at Brown Distributing too!

Brendan Love said...

My friends and I were at this show. We drove from Virginia Beach and arrived early enough to be in the very front. The drummer was Chad Smith. I have photos of this show as well. I lost my hat in the melee and when I went back after the crowd dispersed, the band was packing up. They were cool-ass.

Jeff-Carmichael@comcast.net said...

I was attending VCU and was at this show. It was sick. In front of the stage were long, semi-circular steps leading up to the stage. It was one cascading, throbbing mosh pit with the roadies barely able to keep the throng from knocking over the monitors.

The fire department stopped the show more than once because of fans on fire escapes and rooftops. Eventually they pulled the plug, hence the short set.

That was Richmond for you at the time. Bunch of uptight southern authority types who don't know a good thing when they see it.

Could have been one killer show because the Peppers were clearly into the whole scene.

Still one of the best shows I've ever been to. And, yes the music scene in RVA at that time is worth preserving. GWAR was a standout.