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Retro rock just right for Fiesta

By John Toth

The Bulletin

They rocked the afternoon away, complete with guitar solos, anthem retro rock, hair flying, jumping up and down. It was like being back in the 1970s.

Geezers my age, perhaps older, were singing along. I could not join them. When I was in my teens and 20s, I didn’t think about memorizing the lyrics to the songs I liked.

Many in the crowd belted out song after song. It was like a mini Woodstock around us, except there was no mud to jump into.

This was not your typical retro rock ‘n’ roll. Mick Jagger wasn’t there. He is preparing for his next Rolling Stones tour at the age of 78. All that jumping around on stage has kept him in good shape. Plus, they fixed up his heart.

These band members could have been Mick’s grandkids.

I felt like I was back in Madison Square Garden as Led Zeppelin brought down the house.

Music has a way of transporting me back in time. It ignites memories of events that stand out.

Scents have that effect on me also. I don’t want to go into detail about what it smelled like in the Garden. This was, after all, the ‘70s.

These young musicians looked like they were still in high school. They performed on a Saturday afternoon at San Antonio Fiesta at Historic Market Square on three stages. If a long-in-the-tooth rocker wanted to get his or her fill of retro sounds and some really good renditions, this was the place to be.

The bands chose to play classic rock, which says a lot about the type of music that was created back in those days. The songs were written way before they were born. They had the right audience that could still rock out during the day, although it’s lights out for most of them after the 10 o’clock news.

Except for Mick. He is actually a robot. The real Jagger now lives on Mars, along with Elvis.

These kids are not robots. They knew their stuff and how to entertain. One of the groups was called “Dream Place.” We liked their originals, but what perked us up most was when they started into Blondie’s “One Way Or Another.”

I didn’t catch their names. The music was loud, and the words just melted together, just like in the old days.

On another stage, Young Klassics drew so many people that it was hard to get past that part of the square. I wasn’t trying to. I stayed put and continued my trip down memory lane.

The Academy of Music in the early ‘70s was not as big as Madison Square Garden, but it was packed to the rafters with city kids who came to see a loud, raunchy southern band called Black Oak Arkansas.

Jim Dandy came to the rescue, and after they finished, I could barely hear. I should have worn some ear plugs. We took turns yelling, “what?”

Young Klassics on the square were not that loud. But they were good. They closed with the Eagles “Hotel California,” and the guy next to us holding a beer bottle in each hand went around looking for people with whom he could sing along.

He found some. They had a great time. Maybe they weren’t even at Fiesta. Maybe they were back in the ‘70s, reliving the good times, good music.

The kids on the stage may not even realize what effect their music has on the geezer set. They looked like they just had a great time playing the music they really liked.

I hope they all sell out Madison Square Garden. Thanks for the memories, kids.

Now, what’s that smell?

Do you want to share your concert stories from the ‘70s (or any other decade)? Send them to me at, and we’ll share them with our readers.


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