The Top 30 Historical Rock Shows in Tidewater. Ever.


We researched, we asked questions, we got feedback from many of you on the Facebook page, …this the list.  We added, we took back, we considered …it was tough.  

It’s numbered in chronological order, there is no rating as far as best to subpar here.  

We were looking for the best ‘historical’ shows that had an extreme significance or impact, someway, somehow.  Notice that I say ‘historical’ and/or ‘legendary’, …the performance could have been horrible, but the show and circumstances surrounding it made it ‘historical’, symbolic, ehh… you get the point.

Also, it did not matter if it was a local band, a national rock band or a rock icon of a generation that has been immortalized through time, …if it was ‘historical’ and/or ‘legendary’, it’s down below in this list. 

We had to extended the list some from 25 to 30 shows.  Why? Cause 25 just wouldn’t do it.  So many great shows, on and on.  But, here is the top 30 we feel are the best in this ‘historical’ way.

Finally, I presume your reaction will agree and disagree with some of these.  The reaction from some of you will indeed be “They should have mentioned this one because…”, and chances are we thought about adding that show. BUT! …these are the ones that made it.  



1. Elvis Presley - Municipal/Norfolk Auditorium, Norfolk, VA, September 12, 1955

Elvis Presley - Municipal/Norfolk Auditorium, Norfolk, VA, September 12, 1955

Elvis Presley - Municipal/Norfolk Auditorium, Norfolk, VA, September 12, 1955

This was the second time teenage heartthrob Elvis Presley appeared in Norfolk, VA, …but, it’s not so much Elvis himself on stage, it’s who is in the audience that makes this concert ‘historical’ and ‘legendary’, for the future of all Rock and Roll, and it happened here in Tidewater, keep reading.  As the Chicago-Tribune reported a few years ago, “The important thing about the concert held in the Norfolk, VA, at the Municipal Auditorium in September 1955 wasn't so much who was onstage, a pretty boy named Elvis Presley, but who was in the audience: a 20-year-old named Vincent Eugene Craddock who was anything but pretty, with his greasy curls and dingy teeth.”  You got it, Norfolk native Gene Vincent!  Gene was so impressed by Elvis at this show, he entered and performed in a talent contest singing “Heartbreak Hotel” in early 1956 gaining the attention of a local DJ, "Sheriff Tex" Davis, who became Vincent's manager. Shortly after, Gene gets signed to Capitol Records with his hit “Be-Bop-A-Lula”, enter the Blue Caps!  So, this all makes that 1955 Elvis Presley concert in Norfolk, VA pretty freakin’ legendary and one for da books to be remembered. 

2. Ray Charles - The Dome, Virginia Beach, VA, September 22, 1962

Ray Charles - The Dome, Virginia Beach, VA, September 22, 1962

Ray Charles - The Dome, Virginia Beach, VA, September 22, 1962

This concert obviously is legendary and historical, not just because it’s reportedly the first rock concert to ever take place at the Virginia Beach Dome, but because Ray is breaking racial barriers here.  He’s black, blind and shows everyone he’s talented as Hell.  I mean really, this 1962 folks! We still got a long way to go with civil rights in America back then, especially here in Virginia, it couldn’t have been pretty.  If you deny that then you might as well resign yourself to the fact that you have your head stuck in dog shit.  These racial tensions didn’t stop Ray. Charles coming here to Tidewater back then and blowing our minds!  If there is one ‘thing’ that shatters racial barriers it’s music. 

3. The Animals - (2 shows, same date) The Dome, Virginia Beach, VA, & The Peninsula Auditorium, Hampton, VA, April 24, 1966

Picture from the April 24, 1966 Peninsula Auditorium, Hampton, VA show… in colorvision!

Picture from the April 24, 1966 Peninsula Auditorium, Hampton, VA show… in colorvision!

Historically, these two local shows are often overlooked for whatever reason, not sure… Let’s make sense out of it though shall we?  Ok, just like the Stones and Who in the mid-1960s, the Animals had hit after hit on radio for years running prior to their first appearances that day in Virginia Beach and Hampton.  But, unlike the Rolling Stones and others, this would be The Animals ONLY appearences in Tidewater and this band shortly after was NEVER the same again.  Seriously, let’s get real here and cut though this cake of bullshit, the reason why these two Tidewater shows are so historic is that one month later in May 1966 the original lineup of the band would dissipate and the group would then become “Eric Burdon and the New Animals” with mostly different members.  By early 1967 the band had completely changed it’s direction to psychedelic songs; no more of the catchy blues-rock songs that most of us like, and on top of that the band completely broke up permanently by late 1968 anyway, so ya know…boo hoo right?  

Basically, if you caught the Virginia Beach and/or the Hampton show in April of 1966 of The Animals, you witnessed rock history that would NEVER be repeated again no matter how many BS reunion shows you maybe saw of this band.  The Stones, The Who, back then you could catch 'em on the next tour when they came through Tidewater,… not The Animals; these two shows were it, and only it.  

Tidewater native Mitch Kirsner was at the The Peninsula Auditorium, Hampton, VA show and will never forget it: “The Animals were the very first show that I bought my own ticket for. It was $2.50 and the show was on a Sunday afternoon. The band was 2 hours late but all was forgiven once they got started because they were tearing it up. I'd never seen anyone handle a mic that way and I was completely gobshit thunderstruck. I doubt I'll ever quit going to shows after that.”  

4. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - The Dome, Virginia Beach, VA, April 4 & August 21, 1968

Jimi on stage at The Dome in Virginia Beach, August 21, 1968

Jimi on stage at The Dome in Virginia Beach, August 21, 1968

I said it before and I’ll say it again: Many locals talk about it, but only very few were there. I know I’m breaking the rules of having two separate dates/shows here but… it’s Hendrix in 1968, we’ll make an exception.  Let’s face it, it’s 1968, an extremely pivotal year of change in America.  Maybe you heard Hendrix on the radio or had the “Are You Experienced” record by that time, but the ONLY way you were going to see and hear him was to be at that concert.  The sad part is, the April 4th show in Virginia Beach is when Jimi would be informed that Dr. Martin Luther King had been assassinated in Memphis, TN that same day. Symbolically, these two dates/shows in 1968 represent a lot going on at the time, not only in America but here in Tidewater… we were embracing change, musically and as a society as a whole.  The Jimi Hendrix Experience would return to the Virginia Beach Dome later on that year, August 21, 1968.  With that being said, Jimi Hendrix, the greatest guitar player ever to live, a huge major rock icon of the 1960’s in America, would never return to Tidewater again. He died 2 years later in September 1970.  Photo of local radio talent Gene Loving backstage with Hendrix at the August 21, 1968 Virginia Beach Dome show. 

5. Black Sabbath - The Dome, Virginia Beach, VA, March 8, 1971

Picture of Tony and Ozzy at the Dome that day taken by the Virginian-Pilot.

Picture of Tony and Ozzy at the Dome that day taken by the Virginian-Pilot.

Now THIS is historic and for a good reason, the band itself and the year it happened, Sabbath in 1971!  This was their first time ever to play in Tidewater and they just released their third album “Master of Reality”, which stands the test of time.  There is no video/audio (we wish) that exists of this show, …but lucky for us the Virginian-Pilot was there to take some pictures and also interview singer Ozzy Osbourne after the show.  During this interview backstage Ozzy commented that he would like to see less drugs at the Sabbath shows and that the Vietnam War was a ‘real drag’ for America.  This concert is also way ‘historical’ for Tidewater because, …well again, can you imagine seeing Sabbath in their prime, 1971? At Virginia Beach Dome non-da-less amongst only 4,000 people and that is it? The bottom line is, if you were there you were lucky!   

6. “Concert by the Sea” or “The Pungo Rock Festival” (Various Bands) - Pungo, Virginia Beach, VA, July 1973

Picture of the stage after this ‘historical’ fiasco was over, from the Virginian-Pilot archives.

Picture of the stage after this ‘historical’ fiasco was over, from the Virginian-Pilot archives.

It was pinned as Virginia Beach’s ‘Woodstock’ sort of idea of an event in the summer ’73, on a frickin’ abandoned concrete air base, one day, 11 national rock acts, and a piss load of drugs.  Bands that played were Savoy Brown, ZZ Top, Black Oak Arkansas, John Sebastion, Bloodrock, Foghat, Blue Oyster Cult, Dr. Hook, and Tower of Power.  ’True’ there has not really ever been a local rock festival like this one before and after it happened.  But, unlike the original Woodstock there was high security at this show making drug busts left and right.  The real problem was the damn heat that day as I was told from local Tidewater musician Bink Brown who attended.  It was soo hot that musicians on stage had to take breaks and that equipment was starting to malfunction with all the sweat, I mean… it was that hot.  And these kids are in the audience laying down on a huge lot of concrete!  Many attendees did mention they had alot of fun the night prior as the cars began to ‘jam’ the roads coming into the festival site.  

Because of how ‘unique’ the setting, line-up of bands (pretty damn good!) and time this took place in… it makes this list of both historical and memorable local Tidewater rock concerts.  Next! 

7. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Foreman Field, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, August 17, 1974

The location, the time, and popularity make this concert a notable one for the history books, especially locally.  President Nixon had just resigned only a week prior to this show, the idealism of ‘free-love’ just didn’t work by the mid-1970s, Vietnam was gradually rolling to an end (in terms of politics if you will)… and the country was rather doubtful about weather we really were the best nation ever.  Where am I going with this? Oh yes… this concert took place in a football stadium with scorching hot weather, as 40,000 young Virginians enjoyed (or tried to) hours upon hours of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (Evan Bishop opened I think).  It was so hot the fire department opened their hoses and sprayed the audience.  Despite an abundant amount of drugs and a few arrests, the audience had a good time, and the words “Virginia is for Lovers” was written on the stage that became so widely popular it was chosen as the new official slogan for the state of Virginia by the Virginia Tourism Corp. (or Bureau, not sure) after this concert happened.  

Youtube vid: Here are some pics and audience audio from part of the show in this youtube.  The audio sucks but hey, it was recorded 45 years ago, give me some slack, …eh? 

8. Queen - Scope Arena, Norfolk, VA, November 25, 1977

Picture of Frank Kelly Freas and the band checking out his artwork display at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA that day, November 25, 1977.

Picture of Frank Kelly Freas and the band checking out his artwork display at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA that day, November 25, 1977.

The concert itself, I’m sure as anyone would be that it was awesome, but NOTHING exists that documents this show.  Oh it happened, but there is no audio/video, pictures …not even a damn ticket stub exists! But something remarkable did happen when QUEEN was here that day in late November 1977, read on…

Prior to this show the band had been searching for a Virginia Beach artist named Frank Kelly Freas, whom the band saw his artwork on the cover of a 1953 science fiction magazine.  Queen loved this artwork sooooo much, they decided to use it for their upcoming 1978 album “News of the World” and on this Nov. 1977 date the Chrysler Museum staged a showing of Freas' work, the band wanted to see it prior to their Scope performance a few hours later that day.  Two long, chauffeured limousines pulled up to the museum, where the band was greeted by Walter P. Chrysler himself, backed by an odd mixture of art and rock fans.  

If you look at the cover of the band’s 1978 album “News of the World”, that my friends is Mr. Frank Kelly Freas’s artwork, with that robot or whatever breaking into the top of the Norfolk Scope pulling the band out of the arena with it’s mechanical arm.  History indeed if you attended this show.  

9. Van Halen - Rogue’s Gallery, Virginia Beach, VA, April 25, 1978

Picture of Van Halen at Rogues in VB, April 25, 1978

Picture of Van Halen at Rogues in VB, April 25, 1978

As quoted from a Van Halen fan website about this Virginia Beach gig, “The band had been on the road in support of Van Halen (first album) for less than two months. Their first single, “You Really Got Me,” had peaked at a respectable #36 on the Billboard singles chart, but the four musicians were far from superstars at this time.” 

Rogue’s Gallery probably held what… 500 people max?  So, uhhh yeah if you were at this show you can boast about it to everyone in Tidewater, being this fucking band went on to rule the early to mid-1980s arena rock, at least prior to Sammy Hagar joining (don’t get me started on that, please. Pardon for evening mentioning it at all), either way this can go down as a historical and legendary show in Tidewater, VA. 

10. The Police - Rogue’s Gallery, Virginia Beach, VA, October 9, 1979

Three reasons why this show is historic and I’ll tell ya right now: 1. This was the first time The Police had ever played in Tidewater supporting their album Reggatta De Blanc. They would go on to be fucking huge less than a year later playing sold-out arenas.  2. The soundboard audio of the show was broadcasted ‘live’ that night in 1979 on K94 WMYK-FM, this recording has become a favorite among Police fans and locals alike, a real treat. AND 3. Kelly Miltier attended this show, looked around and realized that the genre or whatever of ‘new wave’ was taking over and it might be a good idea to embrace this somehow with his own band, which did happen, The Rave (Later the X-Raves).  So, in a way this Police show in 1979 sort of served as a catalyst (or what have you) for the formation of our own local ‘new wave’ bands in the Tidewater area, coming together in late 1979 into 1980 with such bands as the Daily Planet, Tango Storm and The Rave.  

Youtube Video below of this 79’ Police show to the right… 

11. The Rave (X-Raves), Friar Tucks, Norfolk, VA, April 13, 1980

Original K94 FM-Broadcast... The Rave live at Friar Tucks, Norfolk, VA, April 13, 1980 Opening with "Take Me to Your Leader" (Sinceros cover)

This night the band is recorded for a K94 FM-Broadcast and man, it’s hard not to imagine how energetic and awesome it was that night.  I’m sure 99% of the X-Raves shows back then were off the hook, simply great, but this audio recorded show represents and captures the band that is a real time capsule in so many ways.  One song from this show ended up on a K-94 live compilation record called “Homebrew”, another reason this X-Raves show is a historical one that if you attended, ‘yes’ you witnessed history.  Hey, you don’t have to take my word for it, the proof is in the ‘new wave’ pudding here I tell you!  As you listen to the recording you can tell the place is packed and energized. It is very evident in this recording that Tidewater is starting to embrace new music and a new decade.  Disco was quickly dying and rock ’n’ roll was finally coming back more simplified and fun again. Bring on the 1980s! 

Video: Audio of The Rave playing “Take Me to Your Leader” (Sinceros cover) live at Friar Tucks, April 13, 1980, (Video is from another gig that same year).

12. Tango Storm/The Ramones - Peabody’s, Virginia Beach, VA,  October 10, 1981

Tango Storm (1981), Photo by Katherine Byrd

Tango Storm (1981), Photo by Katherine Byrd

This show started off great… andddd ended as a nightmare, which makes it ‘legendary’ and fucked-up also for that matter.  Let’s start in the beginning and then roll through what happened, especially back-stage in the kitchen area for our local boys in the band Tango Storm.  Tango Storm opened for the Ramones, show went great, anticipation building for the Ramones with the wall to wall audience there at Peabodys. Only, unbeknownst to the audience and Tango Storm, The Ramones were NOT going to show up.  Apparently the drummer Marky Ramone couldn’t get a ride to this show all the way from Columbus, OH where the band played the night prior and well… the shit was soon to hit the Tidewater fan!  Tango Storm after their set were having a few beers given cheers to each other in the kitchen behind the stage.  The owner of Peabody’s came in and offered Tango Storm’s singer Bruce Gray a thousand dollars cash to go out and play another set.  Bruce, having good common sense as always, questioned this as to ‘why’, the desperation was off the hook with the Peabody’s owner it seemed.  He then tells Bruce the Ramones weren’t going to show.  Bruce quickly refused the money and said ‘Listen, you give us 10 minutes to get our shit out of here before you tell anyone, got it?!” The owner of Peabody’s agreed, took out a pistol from underneath his coat and made sure it was loaded, put it back in his holster and waited the ten minutes before making the announcement the Ramones weren’t going to show.  Tango Storm moved quickly to get their equipment in their van and get the flippin’ fuck outta there.   Indeed, when the full-packed audience found out the Ramones were not going to show at all, they completely trashed in the inside of Peabody’s and burned a bunch of bushes across the street where a McDonalds was (…and still is there today). Considering the Ramones almost NEVER cancelled a show for all the years they were a band, this goes down as one historical show!  Next! 

13. The Rolling Stones, Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA, December 18, 1981

This was Keith’s 40th Birthday and also became a very popular concert among Stones fans because it was professionally filmed and recorded supporting their Tattoo You album and then some, etc..  Didn’t Keith hit a guy on the head with his guitar because the dude jumped on stage? Regardless, not only is this the last show of the American 81’ tour (Stones go off to Europe in 1982), this concert goes down big time in Rolling Stones history… but more importantly it goes down locally for Tidewater rock history as well.  

Youtube Video of the song “She’s So Cold” from this show.  

14. Amnesty International (Various bands) - Northside Park, Norfolk, VA, August 8, 1982

This show is legendary, not for the greatest of reasons but is highly remembered by locals all over Tidewater as the time when all fucking Hell broke loose.  After a few bands played on a mobile stage in the park, later that evening two hardcore punk bands ‘FrontLine” and “White Cross” played,  …they were met with nothing but flying glass beer bottles.  Vic Demise (who we all know and love) referred to this event as Norfolk’s ‘Bay of Pigs’, and it was just that, a beautiful bloody nightmare.  The Youtube video below pretty much describes everything that happened at this infamous show.  Basically, Norfolk was changing, and a majority of Norfolk’s hick residents weren’t having it!  So, if you were indeed at this legendary event at Northside Park, congrats!  You witnessed Tidewater, VA rock history!  

15. The Clash - William and Mary Hall, Williamsburg, VA, October 15, 1982

Ok, in terms of documentation beyond a ticket stub for this show, I found no pictures, audio and/or video for that matter.  Hell I couldn’t find a gig poster or a set list.  BUT! But, what’s kinda interesting is this William and Mary Hall show took place only 2 days after the band’s famous appearence at Shea Stadium on Oct. 13, 1982.  Now, take a moment to think about that.  The band is at Shea Stadium in NYC playing to a crowd of 60,000+ people in attendance. Only to hit the road down to Williamsburg, VA 2 days later and play to a Tidewater audience of only of no more than 11,000 people at William and Mary Hall.  Obviously the massive Shea Stadium show was professionally filmed (youtube vid below) and recorded, which was finally released officially on album in 2008.  This is kinda ‘cool’ because although there is no audio or video of the Williamsburg show you might have attended, the Shea Stadium show gives a great glimpse into what the band most likely sounded like live at William and Mary Hall, since the dates are so close to each other, … I mean really, a mere fucking 2 days apart, how lucky we are. 

This Clash W&M Hall ’82 gig makes the ‘historical’ Tidewater, VA list because it was the one and only time The Clash were ever to play here in Tidewater. They band broke-up permanently in May 1983.  That was that.

Youtube video of The Clash at Shea Stadium, NYC, Oct. 13, 1982, just two days prior to the Williamsburg, VA show on Oct. 15th. 

16. David Bowie - The Scope, Norfolk, VA, August 24-25, 1983

David Bowie - Scope, Norfolk, VA, Aug. 25, 1983 (Virginian-Pilot pic)

David Bowie - Scope, Norfolk, VA, Aug. 25, 1983 (Virginian-Pilot pic)

Long time Bowie fan Denise Lawerence Brown of Norfolk says it all with this show for it would be Bowie’s last time ever appearing in the Tidewater area: “Serious Moonlight tour. We arrived at 9am. On the way there I stopped at a quick-mart to buy a rose for him. It had a little teddy bear tied to it. We sat outside all day with some other hard core fans listening to Bowie and playing cards. I got a spot directly in front of him that night. I held that wilted rose up for what seemed like forever. Finally, during Young Americans (4th or 5th song in) he reached down and took the rose, held my hand briefly and gave me a wink. Heaven.”  

17. Dead Aim/Corrosion of Conformity/Disarm - Junction Hall, Virginia Beach, VA, August 15, 1985  

The show’s flyer… from 34 years ago.

The show’s flyer… from 34 years ago.

“Those were the fun carefree days.” -Mark Bishop (Dead Aim)

This show really is not only is historical in many ways but represents the mindset of America’s youth back in the mid-80s, especially here in Tidewater. The whole DIY aesthetic back then was strong, bands putting forth their music and efforts to put on a killer show, at very little cost. Just to fucking play …that was what it was all about.

Hardcore Punk in Tidewater by the mid-1980s had flourished amongst it’s youth by this time. Teenagers networking and supporting each other’s bands; booking shows, exchanging cassette tapes, promoting gigs, on and on.

Mark Bishop of Dead Aim remembers, “Looking back it was a fun show. The highlight of that night for me was Clay Rice from Sacrilege telling me after our set that he thought I was a killer vocalist. I’ll never forget that. COC was awesome of course. That was my favorite era and line-up of that band. Adrenaline Overdose showed up and wanted to play a set after COC but the club owners said 'no’.

Raymond Epstein of Disarm comments: “It was just fun for my 17 year old self feeling like I was a part of something. That said the show was a complete trainwreck for us. My guitar fell apart and I had to borrow one from Dead Aim, yet still we had a blast.”

Note: This show can be seen practically in it’s entirety on youtube provided by Mark Bishop. Nothing like a nice grainy VHS camcorder shot from back then!

18. Metallica - Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA, August 3, 1986  

Although this is Metallica’s very first appearance in state of Virginia and they were supporting a rather bloated Ozzy Osbourne, the real reason this is an absolute historic concert is a sad one. This was the LAST Metallica show in America that the late-great bassist Cliff Burton would play.  He died less than two months after this show in Sweden because of a fatal traffic collision with the band’s touring bus.  If you were there, then you saw Cliff Burton playing with Metallica. And for that reason alone you saw important concert but very sad heavy metal history.  

Youtube video, soundboard audio of the band that night in Hampton, Aug. 3, 1986.

19. The Waxing Poetics - The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA, November 23, 1988

This was the first show at the Boathouse for the Waxing Poetics, kind of a monumental gig for them as well and their fans. It was becoming obvious by this point there was something special about this band, they were worked hard through the past few years, finally it was paying off by the time. The future was only going to get better.

Randy Holmes, a close friend and music archivist for the band remembers: “The capacity Boathouse crowd was ready; kids who had heard their older siblings talking about them, folks that had maybe only heard "Baby Jane" on the radio, hardcore fans who had been following them since their Cogan's days... everyone couldn't wait to see these guys on the bigger stage. They maybe wondered what they were in for when Dave wandered out on the stage, clicked on a single light bulb and sang a song they'd probably never heard, "Manakin Moon." He turned off the bulb. Paul, Sean and Bill hit the stage and an ungodly wailing feedback came from Paul's guitar and Billy snapped off a four count. From there Sean Dave and Paul jumped forward right on the big beat that kicks off "Blue-Eyed Soul." It didn't let up for the next two hours.”

Youtube video: You can see a fair amount of this Boathouse show (video and pics) in this video put together for the Veer Magazine Music Awards like 2 years ago for the band… thanks to Randy Holmes who had his camera rolling back then 30 years ago! Enjoy. 

20. Antic Hay/Ant Man Bee/Buttsteak - The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA, October 12, 1990

Boathouse show advert from Oct. 1990… provided by Anthony Torres.

Boathouse show advert from Oct. 1990… provided by Anthony Torres.

Antic Hay’s “A Few Cuts in Return” album release show at the Boathouse. The album is legendary and so is the band. When you listen to their music even today, especially from the album “A Few Cuts…”, quite simply …it’s ‘fresh’, it withstands the test of time. When it comes to this show, it’s an historic one easily. Hell, the line-up, location and time it took place is undeniably a damn good reason this show makes the ‘list’ here. If you were there I am envious of you, you saw local Tidewater ‘rock’ history.

Antic Hay’s singer Gary Ziroli looks back, “I just remember that it was great show. There were more people there than I thought would be and I was more thrilled to see Buttsteak than when I was to play. Mike Bowen (Buttsteak) started a spit fight with the audience. It was magical!!!”

Musician Raymond Epstein gives his thoughts saying “These guys (Antic Hay) were the band that really seemed like they would break big. Their shows were legendary for their intensity if not near destruction of equipment and band members. They routinely blew national touring acts off the stage. You did not want to follow them.”


Youtube Video: The Antic Hay “snippet” from the film “Hardcore Norfolk (2011), here you will also see some footage from this legendary Boathouse show. Click play now!

21. The M-80s/The Ramones - The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA, June 21, 1991

Of course the M-80s gave a great show that night at the Boathouse, but that’s not why this show went down in Tidewater rock history.  It’s what those M80s rascals did backstage that managed to piss off the management (Cellar Door) and get them pretty much ‘blackballed’ completely from Cellar Door Entertainment in the future.  Bassist Rob and rest of the M-80s (Especially guitarist Witt and Kaveman) decided scaling over the wall next to them where the Ramones’ dressing room was to get their hands on the band’s beer would be a great idea.  And why not? The Ramones weren’t going to drink it anyway… and the Boathouse management provided no more than a six-pack of cheap beer for the M80s, it had to be done.  

Long story short… once the staff/management of the Boathouse found out somehow, the big wigs were furious!  “I’ll make your life HELL!!” a Cellar Door representative yelled in Rob’s face.  Rob simply responded “Man, I’m unemployed, hooked on drugs and just got paid $75 bucks and a six pack of beer to split between 6 serious alcoholics including our "crew".  Have at it!”  Now that’s rock and roll!  And because of this pissing match and awesome-o response by the M80s backstage at the Boathouse, this officially goes down as a ‘legendary’ local Tidewater rock concert you had to be have been at, …errr backstage anyway.  

Youtube Video…The M-80s ‘snippet’ from the Hardcore Norfolk documentary movie (2011), enjoy.

22. Body Count - The Peppermint Beach Club, Virginia Beach, VA, December 14, 1992

Was this show historical and legendary? Yes.  Was this show sort of controversial in a way? FUCK YES!!   Read on… 

Several months prior to this show in June 1992, Virginia's Fraternal Order of Police cited the song “Cop Killer” by Body Count as "disgusting, vulgar and advocate violence against police officers.” as reported by the Daily Press.  The FOP went on to say at a Virginia Beach School Board meeting that “We are calling on all of law enforcement and the citizens of this state to show their concern about the deplorable lyrics and the message that this song sends by writing or calling Time Warner Brothers Records and demanding they pull this propaganda from the market.”

Fast forward to Dec. 1992 just prior to this show happening at the Peppermint Beach Club.  As reported by the Daily Press (again) that same month of December 1992, “Police and business leaders in Virginia Beach had asked Whisper Entertainment Consultants to cancel Monday's performance, saying the group doesn't represent the family-oriented image Virginia Beach wants to project.”

The show went on to be booked anyway with 900 people (full house folks) packed in the Peppermint Beach Club, waiting to see if Ice-T and Body Count would play the controversial song “Cop Killer," even though the concert promoter gave written confirmation to the Virginia Beach Police and leaders of the VB community that the band would NOT perform this song. “Cop Killer” was indeed performed anyway that night in Virginia Beach.  

So, once again, if you were there, you witnessed Tidewater ‘rock’ history.  A real sign of the times this show was indeed, …and a lot of metal detectors upon entering the Peppermint Beach Club that night.

Youtube video, Body Count, the entire original album from 1992, listen away.

23. Nirvana - William and Mary Hall, Williamsburg, VA, November 7, 1993

The show title speaks for itself… the one and only time Nirvana played here locally (that is if you include Williamsburg as part of the 7-cities).  Either you saw Nirvana locally at this William & Mary show or you only watched the band on MTV and youtube vids today, like myself.  I had a chance to see them during the late 1993 In Utero tour but, turned it down, “I’ll catch them next time” I thought, dumbass.  Oh yeah, Cobain gets hit in the face with a Converse shoe in the beginning of Lithium, causing him to stop the song.  Bassist Krist Noveselic and ol’ Kurdt Kobain taunt the crowd and deliberately fuck-up the beginning of Lithium on the 2nd attempt.  Whoever threw that shoe, if you’re out there, … you’re an asshole.  

Youtube video: Hear a pretty good audience recording of Kurt getting hit with the shoe and playing Lithium below that night in Williamsburg many moons ago.  

24. The Candy Snatchers - Kings Head Inn, Norfolk, VA, 1995 (Exact date unknown)

“Rock N Roll, Blood, Beer, Fire, Glass, and Violence.” -Brian ‘Idle’ Diederich

Ahhhh yes! The mid-late 1990s in Norfolk, VA, the return of fast energetic beer stained cigarette smoking Rock ’n’ Roll with real attitude, and Tidewater had it!  

Attending a bar show like this was easily a one-way ticket to mayhem.  I mean …our Candy Snatchers had the ability to send you to Hell when they were playing, and you would enjoy the wild ride there with them.  Bloody fucking rock ’n’ roll was here and was not leaving anytime soon.   ‘Yes’ this show makes the cut as historic but not by itself only.  I feel this particular show is a damn good representation of how it was like 20+ years ago in Norfolk/Virginia Beach, overall.

Youtube video of the Snatchers playing this Kings Head Inn show shot by Brian Idle! Enjoy.

NOTE: Please do a search on youtube to see the entire show shot by Idle… it’s great!

25. Prince - The Norva, Norfolk, VA, April 17, 2001 

Prince, The Norva, …2001 ticket stub of the show.

Prince, The Norva, …2001 ticket stub of the show.

This show sold out in less than 5 minutes.  I think that is a record for the Norva in Norfolk, VA.  This was part of his “Hit ’n’ Run” tour, playing smaller venues throughout the States.  Local Prince fans were slightly apprehensive as to weather or not Prince would actually show up, as he failed to do so on two separate occasions in 1997 for Hampton, VA shows.  Tickets were $65 bucks, Prince showed and blew everyone’s mind that night.  What was unique about this is the setting it took place in.  The Norva only holds 1,500 people, standing room only… so if you made this show, you spent an intimate evening with Prince, one night only baby. Also, this would be his last appearance in Tidewater ever.  Prince did not ever return to Tidewater after this show, he died in Sept. 2016. Sooo… because of the location setting and this was the very last chance you could see Prince locally here in Tidewater, it goes down as ‘historical’, yes yes.

26. Phish - Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA, January, 2-3, 2003 

Yes, Phish, that band.  Ok the reason I put this show(s) in the list of being legendary is not because of the band, weather you love or hate them, but what happened later because of these concerts in the future of attending arena shows in this area, bear with me here and read on please.  The local news here in Tidewater captured and broadcasted footage (the actual video of the news report below on youtube) of the Phish-heads getting high at these Hampton Coliseum shows in early ’03, not only smoking weed, but also actual footage of LSD and ecstasy being sold and used amongst the crowd, openly in and outside of the venue.  Uh oh!  Annnnnd of course, the Hampton Police Dept. got wind of this through these news reports and since then they have been using the Phish Hampton Coliseum shows as a great way to increase drug busts, undercover narc agents gone wild!  Basically the local news blew the whistle on this shit and other arena venues and law enforcement in the Tidewater area have taken note as well.  Prior to this news story about drugs at the Phish shows, it was a pretty good free-for-all, from what I was told …ahem.  Anyway, the reason this is somewhat historical is… well in a shitty way, things just haven’t been da same for us poor concert-goers and as Sgt. Stedenko (Cheech & Chong) used to say “The bigger the bust, the better the boost! …Hard Hat! Hard …Hat!” Whatever… Next! 

Youtube video of the 2003 news story that changed it all for the Phish Heads attending future Hampton Coliseum shows.

27. The Trolling Bones Revue, The Norva, Norfolk, VA, December 26, 2008

Kelly Miltier and Pete Desnoyers managed to showcase 10 bands at the Norva that represented the ‘scene’ here in Tidewater 30+ years ago.  Reminiscent of what was a whimsical time in Tidewater … the 1980s.  An eye-opener for me personally, since I was a transplant from Michigan, the concert gave many of us the realization that something happened in this Tidewater area years ago that was creative and unique. There was a scene here damnit! 

Some of the bands that played were The Daily Planet, X-Raves, Tango Storm, The Basic Riffs, Jerry’s Kids, Dead Aim, The Left Wing Fascists, …I can’t remember them all off the top of my head.  The concert seemed to light a flame (uhh resurgence if you will) or interest in the glory days of the 1980s… to let the good times roll again. It did indeed do just that. Mission accomplished.   

Youtube video of Jerry’s Kids that night 10+ years ago, history indeed!  

28. The Colley Cantina (Various Bands) - Norfolk, VA, June 30, 2012

Joe the owner saying ‘Goodbye’ after 20+ years. Photo by Danna Cullen

Joe the owner saying ‘Goodbye’ after 20+ years. Photo by Danna Cullen

I think everyone there that day of the closing of the (original) Colley Cantina knew this was the end of something artistically great that was jussssst getting started.  Joe, whom opened the original Colley Cantina since 1991, was giving many of us local musicians and artists free reign to do whatever we wanted, especially the last few years it was opened, spontaneous shows, art displays, on and on.  As far as Joe saw it, as long as it kept money coming in, have at it. Simple enough, right? You couldn’t beat the location either, right in the Lion’s Den of Ghent, Norfolk… da Colley strip, whatever. I could piss and moan about why Joe was forced to close his doors that day but I’ll save us this agony.

Some of the local bands that contributed to this ‘farewell’ included The Bottle Babies, The Great Dismal Swamis, The Nerve Scheme, The Unabombers, 60 Cycle, Humanoids from the Deep, …2/3rds of the band Antic Hay as I recall.  Historical? Yes, it was.  

Todd Owens, singer of the Bottle Babies pretty much sums it up, “It was a strange night for sure.  I hated to see it go, but if you’re gonna go, that’s definitely the way to do it. It’s was like conducting a 100 person wrecking crew. I left bloody, bruised, covered in sweat, stale beer, and who knows what else!!!  I consider it one of the best shows The Bottle Babies ever did....if not the best. All the bands that night were just on fire! One of my fondest I still have the scars down my back.”


Video of the sights and sounds that day when the Colley Cantina closed it’s doors permanently (sort of), June 30, 2012.

29. FLAG IIII - Shaka’s Live, Virginia Beach, VA, July 2, 2016

The buzz about this show the next day after it happened was off the fucking hook locally.  I didn’t attend and regretted this, especially after seeing the wild posts on Facebook the next morning.  

Not a big deal entirely, but one thing I thought that was ‘significant’ about this show as it happened BEFORE Shaka’s Live put up a wooden barrier 4 foot wall separating the audience from the musicians on stage. As can see just from this picture that photographer Andy McKay took (below)… it speaks volumes of how wild and intimate this show was.

Hardcore Norfolk contributor Brian McDonald submitted pics and video of this historical event, plus wrote a great article about the show a few days after it happened, but gave a head’s up to readers before they clicked on the link, "If you were lucky enough to attend this show, you really don't need to read this submission. I hope you do and comment about your experience but you were a part of something special and know it already. If you did not make the show, you may not want to read it because it will reinforce that aching feeling of regret when you realize you missed an experience such as this.. Do not miss another chance if you get it.. Or better yet, plan a quick road trip and catch another stop on the tour, you would certainly not regret that." 

Photo by Andy McKay… FLAG IIII at Shaka’s Live, Virginia Beach, VA… July 2, 2016

Photo by Andy McKay… FLAG IIII at Shaka’s Live, Virginia Beach, VA… July 2, 2016

30. The Rock and Roll Safety Net (Various Bands) - Shakas Live, Virginia Beach, VA, January 14, 2017

This makes the list of legendary and historical shows in Tidewater because it was just that, legendary.  Local music enthusiast David Munoz had put this show together for a charitable cause and sure enough the local music community came together, well!  The place was packed! 500 crazy motherfuckers ready to see their hometown bands.  These were our bands!  They represented the music community for years with everyone in it and we couldn’t be more proud of them.  The bands that played were The Lonely Teardrops, The Unabombers, Dead Aim, Freedom Hawk and The Candy Snatchers.  Hell of a line-up to say the least.  The performances were shot on 3-cam edit with soundboard audio… and gave a fairly good pro-shot (if you will I guess) online video(s) for those that were there and those that couldn’t make it.  Shaka’s Live in Virginia Beach has since closed it’s doors permanently in late 2018, but…  Either way, historically this night will be remembered by many.   

Youtube video of the Candy Snatchers full set that night… 

Paul Unger