Sammy Hagar's explosive opening for the band Boston at Madison Square Garden August 1978

July 08, 2013 by Brian Kachejian

My first glimpse of one of Rock and Roll's greatest voices happened one summer night in New York City in the most famous arena in the world, New York City's "Madison Square Garden." As a 16 year old rock and roll fan ,I went to see one of the hottest bands of 1977. The band Boston had a huge hit with their single ,"More than a Feeling," and their debut album had been spinning in rotation on rock radio stations like New York's WNEW,and WPLJ. Before the band Boston had a chance to perform for the New York crowd ,the lights went down and the opening drum and bass line from Sammy Hagar's song "Red," filled the arena and silenced the crowd instantly. There was an excitement in the music that seemed perfectly written to open a rock concert. As the music built to a crescendo, from out of the corner of the stage,a crazed rock and roll singer dressed entirely in red, sprinted ferociously across the stage. With multiple guitars lighting up the Garden, and the band ripping into the opening licks of the song "Red," the Garden was introduced to one of Rock and Roll's greatest voices.For forty minutes, Sammy sang his heart out and introduced to all of us in that audience, some great new rock and roll music from his first few albums. Furthermore,Sammy's guitar playing was on fire. At the time, I was young and had not known of Sammy's previous work with Montrose, but it was evident from Sammy's stage presence, that this was a singer who knew how to work a crowd, and he held the Garden in the palm of his hand.
Sammy Hagar's energy on the stage that night was only matched by the vocal range that he displayed in incredible fashion. This was no opening act, Sammy Hagar and his band played like they were headlining the Garden. In all honesty, it should have been Boston opening for Sammy, because after Sammy left the stage, Boston had no chance of matching his energy and talent. Rock and Roll history is filled with stories of opening acts blowing away the headliners. Sammy Hagar's opening night at Madison Square Garden in front of Boston was a Rock and Roll moment for the ages.
Yeah Yeah Rock and Roll!
Brian Kachejian

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