Written by Katy St. Clair
Oakland, CA – Anyone who grew up in the ‘70s took going to concerts for granted. You could wait in line all night to ensure a great seat instead of taking your chances online. You could buy a ticket and actually have some money left over for gas. And, once you snuck out of your parent’s house, you knew it was going to be one of the best nights of your life.
Kids in the Bay Area were especially lucky—they had Oakland’s Day on the Green for nearly 20 years. Spanning from 1973 to 1991, these outdoor concerts featured acts as huge and varied as Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, The Clash, The Eagles, and U2. “It was a coming-of-age tradition,” says KKIQ’s “Hometown Mornings” radio host Wayne Coy, who eagerly awaited the shows every year.
Now Coy wants to bring back that same feeling and experience. His concert promotion company, Got Live Entertainment acquired the Day on the Green trademark and amassed a great group of bands to relive our old memories. “I just feel like there is a certain kind of concert experience that has disappeared since the ‘70s and ‘80s,” he says. You can say that again. It’s not unusual to pay upwards of $700 dollars to see a hot concert these days, especially since the music industry has changed so much and there is less money to be had in album sales.
When Coy decided to resurrect Day on the Green, he knew he wanted it to be outside on grass; he knew he wanted to book the best bands, and he knew he wanted to make it affordable for people.
So, how to recreate the excitement and energy of the original? Easy. Coy has amassed a monster collection of premier professional tribute bands– All the music without the breakups and infighting! Evolution features the music of Journey and has twice been voted the top tribute group in California. The Boys of Summer perform the music of The Eagles; with the sad passing of Glenn Frey this year it will truly be a treat to recreate a live Eagles experience. Mirage is a Fleetwood Mac tribute group that has been praised by none other than the “White Witch” herself, Stevie Nicks. Foreigner Unauthorized sounds just like the name—A Fresno band dedicated to the band fronted by Lou Gramm. Finally, there’s Savor, a multi-instrumental nod to Santana.
As well as recreating the sounds, Coy wanted to duplicate the easy outdoor feel that the original concerts had. He even approached the Oakland Coliseum, but things had changed since 1973. The Oakland A’s agreed to it only if a surface was put down to cover the playing field’s grass. “I wasn’t interested in ‘Day On The Plastic!” he laughs. Finally he settled on the gorgeous grove of the Pioneer Amphitheatre on the Cal State East Bay campus in Hayward. This location, coupled with the premier tribute groups means you can relive (or enjoy for the first time!) Day on the Green for only $24.99.
“There’s nobody better to bring back Day on the Green than Wayne,” says former KFRC program director Dave “The Duke” Sholin. “He’s someone who’s been there, done that and now he gets to do it himself which is really cool.” Dave has known Wayne since high school and can remember how involved he was in the music scene. “He’s a Bay Area guy, and you gotta have that true local vibe and feel to put it together the right way. It’s going to be fantastic.”
Long time concert promoter Jim Ocean agrees. “The idea of the ‘zombie brand coming back is exciting! Day on the Green was a mini Woodstock, though 3000 miles away.” Ocean is enthusiastic about the idea of bringing back the Boomers for more revelry but also introducing the feeling to Millennials. “If Wayne can make this multigenerational that would be so cool.”
“Lots of young people love going to outdoor concerts,” says former Live-105 Program Director Richard Sands, who sat in the audience himself for many a Day on the Green shows. “I don’t think that’s changed at all! I salute Wayne for putting this together.”
Most importantly, Coy hopes to create the same memories and friendships for other people that he did back in the day. Concerts used to be about community and celebration. “Yes,” he says, “We wanted to see Zeppelin or Skynyrd or Frampton or Journey. But we also looked forward to meeting others who went to different schools, lived in different towns and came together for the same reasons we did. The music was the glue and the main attraction but the residuals went so much deeper.”
Day on the Green 2016 happens on Saturday, September 10th, and $5 of your ticket price goes to the Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Fund for wounded post 9-11 vets.
What: Day On The Green (www.dayonthegreen.net)
Who: Evolution (Journey), Boys Of Summer (Eagles), Mirage (Fleetwood Mac), Foreigner Unauthorized, Savor (Santana)
Where: CSUEB Pioneer Amphitheatre – Hayward
When: Saturday 9/10/16 – Gates open at 11am