Rock Concert: An Oral History as Told by the Artists, Backstage Insiders, and Fans Who Were There

Grove. Nov. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9780802157911. $30. MUSIC
The live performance is an integral part of the rock and roll experience for both performers and fans; it can create community, offer escape, and even forge political awareness and activism. For this oral history of the evolution of the rock concert, spanning 1950 to 1985, writer and music journalist Myers (Anatomy of a Song) interviewed more than 90 performers, promoters, journalists, and photographers, who discuss early Elvis appearances and package tours in the 1950s, the folk music boom of the early ’60s, performances at the March on Washington, the Beatles’ early stadium shows, the massive festivals of the late ’60s and ’70s and the turn to arena and stadium shows, and, finally, the rise of MTV and the increasing sophistication of computerized ticketing in the ’80s. Myers deftly weaves a compelling narrative that documents decades of music and cultural history.

VERDICT While not a totally comprehensive account, this book places the live concert in context with the broader story of popular music; its insider perspectives have an immediacy that will appeal to a broad swath of music fans.
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