As an overeager music fan who was happy to finally be in the double digits in terms of age, there were big concert events that I had wanted to see. I had become aware of Woodstock when it was shown on HBO during the film’s 10th anniversary in 1979, so I knew that concerts with more than one or two bands were considered an “event”. My parents and relatives always had live albums in their collections, so anytime an event was about to happen, I wanted to go. Keep in mind I was 9, 10, and 11 years old, and while my parents were music fans, they weren’t going to let me go alone and due to financial priorities, they weren’t going to buy tickets for themselves and my younger sister. My uncles and aunties had lives too, and really, it wasn’t their “responsibility” to take their nephew to a rock show.
Summer Jam 82 seemed like a very big event for a few reasons. When I was in my single digits, I would listen to hit music on AM radio, back when AM radio did that on a regular basis. Stations like KKUA, KIKI, KCCN, and to some degree K59 in Honolulu were a major source of my audio entertainment, along with records. I don’t remember the first time I abandoned AM for FM radio, but I know that once I heard the sound quality of FM, there was no turning back. Plus, I could hear songs longer than 5 minutes, played by DJ’s who sounded as stoned as some of my uncles and aunties. As a kid who wanted to be a radio DJ, this was like home away from home.
In 1982, MTV was a brand new cable network and Joan Jett was one of the hot, young artists with “I Love Rock’N’Roll” and “Bad Reputation” getting a significant amount of airtime. The Runaways were new to me and probably to most mainstream music fans in Hawai’i, but I would guess they were played on the University of Hawai’i radio station, KTUH. Nonetheless, Summer Jam 82 was the time to see the hot Joan Jett.
The Charlie Daniels Band had been making music for about ten years before they had a massive pop hit with “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”, and while a long like that seems fairly normal today, to rock audiences this was very different. It was country, it rocked hard, and the Satanic fiddle solo was the funky part of the song. As someone who used to hate anything and everything that was country, hearing funky country was odd, almost as if I was hearing Loggins & Messina. Because of this, I would keep a distant eye and ear on Daniels until I was able to buy records on my own, with my own money, and discovered their truth.
When Foreigner headlined this festival, it had been a year since their 4th album, 4 was released, and songs like “Juke Box Hero”, “Urgent”, “Waiting For A Girl Like You”, and “Break It Up” were played religiously. (At my elementary school, we would have occasional dances in the cafeteria, and in the 6th grade, I clearly remember dancing to “Urgent” in a line not unlike Soul Train. I liked a girl back then named Mary Jean Smith and I wanted to dance with her down the line, but it was not happening.) By the time Foreigner arrived, they were the season’s kings of rock’n’roll, and very few albums could beat its power. It would be three months before Michael Jackson released Thriller, which wiped Foreigner off the radio for awhile.
Also at the show were a group called the Surf Punks, who were considered raw and dirty because of their look and the fact that they were punk. It was Honolulu, a good amount of people went to the beach, surfed, and partied on a regular basis, this was the music of the times. It didn’t matter that one of the guys in the band was the brother of Daryl Dragon, the Captain of Captain & Tennille, and I don’t think too many people knew or made that connection anyway. Oddly enough, one thing I remember always hearing on the radio was about people entering to become in the “Air Band Finals” sponsored by 98 Rock. If you loved music and loved to rock, you’d air guitar, that’s what young kids, men and women did. Along with the groups arriving, you could be a star for a few minutes and win a few dollars. With luck, you might be able to make an apperance on a TV show that aired in Honolulu back then called The Hawaiian Moving Company, but I don’t remember if the winners did.
Unfortunately I did not go to this show. Look at the ticket price: $16 in advance, $17.50 day of show. I was a month away from making my debut as a 7th grade intermediate school student, and my parent’s priorities was school clothes, not a damn concert ticket. I do remember listening to 98 Rock that Sunday, for while the show was not broadcast over the air, they would have scene reports throughout the afternoon so listeners could hear… the crowd. Sometimes an artist might come in to the booth and be interviewed, but I honestly don’t remember if that happened. Nonetheless, it meant rock stars were in Hawai’i at Aloha Stadium, and it felt cool to know that rock stars were in my backyard.
I never went to any of the Summer Jam’s, and I only went to one concert at the Aloha Stadium: The Police in February 1984. Still, to be able to carry this flyer around and think “yes, one day I’ll go to a big concert” was anticipation of the highest order. I’d have to move across the ocean to the Pacific Northwest in order to go to bigger concerts on my own, and eventually with my own money, but this flyer represents a bit of my concert Jones.