Brando's Badfinger Newsstand

Bowman Field, Williamsport, PA...Badfinger's last stop on their 4th U.S. tour (?) Coder Puts Halt to Rock Concerts
(At Bowman Field)

author unknown
Williamsport Sun-Gazette , August 8, 1972, page 18

The rock festival at Bowman Field last night that attracted nearly 4,000 persons may be the last to be held at that city facility, according to Mayor John R. Coder.

The four-hour program concluded shortly after midnight. Although there were no incidents reported to city police, Coder and John M. Samony, director of public safety, said today that the programs will stop.

"You can't subject people who have to get up in the morning to that loud racket," Coder said today.

The mayor cited the language of the performers, as being oppressive and said that there was much debris on the field including beverage bottles. He also said that there was some smoking of marijuana at the concert.

The main group, Badfinger, was supposed to be finished playing at 11 p.m. The group arrived late and did not finish until after midnight.

The city contracted to provide police protection at the concert. The director of public safety reportedly has the option of canceling the contract after each concert.

Samony called the concert, "too much of an inconvenience." He listed problems with crowd control and said that the policemen would have to be paid overtime.

A church van equipped with its own public address system reportedly was told by Coder that it could not present a program on religion following the concert. Several of the participants stated that they felt the mayor did not have the authority to tell them to stop. They cited their constitutional rights.

The city's contract is with Lucas Industries of Pittsburgh.

Brando comments: I was only eight years old at the time that Badfinger performed in my hometown. I was not present at the show. I was more likely at home listening to my Archies 45's or my families Osmond or Jim Croce LP's. Bowman Field is the same place our minor league baseball teams play. In the late 1980's I made music tapes for our team to be used in-between innings (read my story for more info). Over the last 20 years I have been fortunate enough to run into more than a few people who did attend the concert and what follows is a brief synopsis of what some of these folks remember (or according to the news accounts, what they think they remember).

The band did arrive late and the opening act, believed to be a local band, played for an additional half hour. When Badfinger began to play there were several songs where the band either forgot the words and / or started a song over. The band did swear on the stage because of equipment breakdowns. Folks I talked to remember this, but not that they (the fans) were upset about it, the crowd response was more of a "right-on man, you tell that f***** guitar where to go." People also thought that some of the band members were either drinking or experimenting in a substance that perhaps explained their behavior at the concert.

Here is where it gets odd: People remember the band saying to the audience that this was the last stop on their current tour. At some point during the show, the band began throwing custard pies (or something of this nature) at each other , perhaps because it was their last show and they were glad it was over and wanted to have a good time. Keep in mind this is what I have been told, perhaps the fans I talked to where hallucinating about this (judging by crowd activity reports, I'm sure it was possible), but several folks remember it. All the people I talked to regarding the performance said it was a good show (regardless of the shortcomings) and they enjoyed it thoroughly (whether it be because of the music or other things).

Was this the last stop on Badfinger's fourth American tour? There is some support in a round about way on several other Badfinger websites. Tom Brennan's excellent pages list concert dates for the 4th U.S. tour up to July 27, 1972 with an engagement at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. The next concert on the list is for the beginning of the 5th tour in January 1973. Kiyoyuki Kohsaka's detailed Badfinger pages also lists Badfinger concerts. His pages list a Badfinger concert on August 7, 1972 in Boston, MA. The only way Badfinger could have played in Boston on August 7th would have been if they performed at the Garden in morning because in the evening they were in Williamsport, PA. Kohsaka isn't sure of the venue himself because he put a question mark by it on his site. If this was indeed the last stop on the tour, then this would have been the last appearance of Rob Stawinsky on drums for Badfinger, as this was the tour in which Stawinsky replaced Gibbins. A strange honor to "possibly" bestow on the home of little league baseball (Williamsport).

Badfinger had the distinction of being the last major artist to play Bowman Field, as the mayor made good on his word and banned all concerts from this venue. Promoters attempted to allow the glam-band Kiss to play in Williamsport in either 1975 or 1976, but city government said no. The promoters then tried to arrange to play a local indoor venue but safety inspectors said Kiss's "pyrotechnics" would not be permitted and Kiss took their show somewhere else.

In the early 1980's with a new city government in place, promoters once again lobbied to use Bowman Field as a concert venue. The promoters were eventually successful, and in September 1982 (over ten years removed from the Badfinger concert), the Beach Boys played Bowman Field. I'm not a big Beach Boys fan, and I didn't attend the concert, but I do remember in the news reports, that the crowd was very well behaved.

One nice thing about the Beach Boys show: A young local girl with leukemia, who was the world's biggest Beach Boys fan, was permitted to be on the side of the stage the entire show and she was brought center stage while the Beach Boys sang several songs "looking into her eyes". She claimed it was a dream come true. The girl passed away within several months of the show, but I never forgot how kind the Beach Boys were to the young lady.

Since the Beach Boys in 1982, concerts that have taken place here have used indoor venue's for the most part. We have two colleges in our town and a beautifully restored Community Arts Center. These establishments have hosted most of the rock-n-roll activity in this town, with their ability to control the crowd a little better and remove some fear from concert promoters. Bowman Field's current tenants, the Williamsport Crosscutters

To the right is the logo of our minor league baseball team, the Williamsport Crosscutters. They are named the Crosscutters in reference to the lumber boom that took place in our town in the late 1800's. They are the current tenants of Bowman Field. A field which once played host to the major recording artists, Badfinger.

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