Tag Archives: Rock Theater

THE BOOK – Rockin’ the City of Angels

Rockin’ the City of Angels, available at Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/Rockin-City-Angels-Douglas-Harr/dp/0997771100/

For the two years ending January 2017, I was working on a book with the title of Rockin’ The City of Angels. It’s an account of my experience in the clubs, concert halls, arenas and stadiums in and around Los Angeles, bearing witness to the greatest rock concerts of our time. I illuminate those shows, the album that spawned them, and the best film of the band from that tour or near it. A few reviews from some of the rockers included in the book:

“This book brings to life some of rock’s most creatively magical times”
-Nancy Wilson/Heart

“Rockin’ The City Of Angels” so perfectly captures time and place that I can almost feel the satin pants against my skin as I try to navigate three-inch platform shoes.  The myriad of photos and descriptions of these concerts remind us all of the joy that we shared as rock bands and fans came together to celebrate the thrill of live music. Great job Doug. Now, will you send someone to my house to lift it?
-Dennis DeYoung/Styx

I must say that when I first laid eyes on ROCKIN’ THE CITY OF ANGELS I was struck by the sheer beauty of the packaging and the artwork contained within the pages. I commenced to read the book top to bottom, fantastic! If only I had felt that way about my schoolwork!
-Burleigh Drummond/Ambrosia

Wow, what an extraordinary and absolutely beautiful book! Love the extensive artwork, photos and in-depth text that just pop off of the sleek black pages, nice touch! Mostly tho’, I am extremely humbled and honored to be included in this book with my old Arista Records prog band Happy the Man! Being acknowledged by the wonderful Mr. Douglas Harr in this book is the greatest gift he could’ve ever given me/us. We weren’t anywhere near as popular as most of the acts in this book and were a bit of an “acquired taste”, so to be included with such HUGE acts is indeed a blessing and quite mind-blowing! Thank you for your attention to detail, your time, your passion, your blood, sweat and tears and your commitment to sharing great music! The photos alone are worth the price of admission! Absolutely stunning!!!
-Stanley Whitaker/Happy The Man

It looks like a box set. Instead it’s a Book. And what a Book! It’s one of the best that I have held in my hands. Heavy, good paper, great printing of amazing photos of the best performing band and rock musicians of the early ’70s: Zep, Who, ELP, Queen, Genesis, Elton, Cat, Gabriel, Crimson…

The author, Douglas Harr, defines himself a “patron” of rock concerts. In his youth he paid for over 400 shows in the Los Angeles area. A great fan. Now he is sharing those historic moments of the ‘70s with the help of the photographers who shot them. And I feel honored that I am one of them.

This lavish Book looks good in your home. Any day, anytime of the year! In any room and in any collection. It’s a must. Those were the best years of our life. And you will fall in love with that music all over again. Or for the very first time, as you will discover that Douglas has produced a real labor of love. Get it!
-Armando Gallo/Photographer/Maestro!

It is available at Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/Rockin-City-Angels-Douglas-Harr/dp/0997771100/

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The Pitch: At the dawn of the 70s, massive music festivals were born – Monterey, Woodstock, and others launched a decade that would feature some of the greatest musical performances of all time on rock ‘n roll stages. All across the world, rock bands had to take their shows to the next level – lighting, stagecraft, props, films, everything writ large for huge venues packed with adoring fans. The hippie oriented rock of the 60s gave way to epic concept albums packed with fantasy, fiction, and drama, the shows became mega-entertainment experiences. I saw these phenomenal shows in my home town of Los Angeles, at clubs like The Roxy, arenas like The Forum and larger sports venues such as Anaheim Stadium. The bands that excelled offered up entertainers, flamboyant stage antics, rock God presence, virtuosity, or theatrical spectacles combining rock, orchestra, ballet, opera and choir…. Their records promised “theater of the mind” while the shows brought these dreams to life….

This book will raise the curtain on these classic performances with exciting pictures from some of the top photographers of the rock era to visually tell the story of these seminal bands, as I reflect on the music, art and performance that made them into legends. The most revealing films of these and other concerts will be reviewed for each artist.

The Wall Torn Down

The Teacher

I’m seriously prone to nostalgia, but never would have thought that a production of Pink Floyd‘s “The Wall” would touch the nerve it did, even for a guy who re-collected and framed all his high school era rock posters.  Did not see the original 1980 production of said wall, after being terribly disappointed by the 1977 Animals era concert at Anaheim Stadium.  As it turned out, the original stage production of the show was inspired by composer, bassist Roger Water‘s disassociation with the live experience in 1977 when the separation between the band and audience seemed so complete he imagined playing to the crowd from behind a wall.

Taking this out on the road again, the normally mercurial Waters redirected the focus of the live show into much more of a statement of personal triumph, and a strong anti-violence message.  For this long term fan it was a deeply touching experience seeing Roger so transformed into his adult self, now much more at peace, and actually having fun.

Roger (2010) with Self (1980)

Best moment for me was when he shared a bit about his personal growth, queuing up a film of his younger “frightened, pissed off” self playing “Mother” at Earl’s Court in 1980.  He played “Mother” on acoustic guitar, along with this film, creating a very sentimental montage of old and new image and sound.

Overall the show exceeded all expectations in every way.  The wall itself stretched across the width of the auditorium creating a hi-def video screen on which old and new footage traced both the story line of “Pink” along with various statements against violence, and the terrorists, religions and governments that perpetrate it.  The original designs for the giant marionettes were used, including the school teacher, mother, girlfriend, and pig.  The opening still included the plane crashing into the wall, falling behind in a burst of flames, and ending with the “trial of Pink” and final tearing down of the wall.

Nobody Home

This production was far more well imagined and spectacular than any rock opera every produced, the closest precedent still being “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” tour by Genesis after all these years.  Yet even with all the artifact and amazing effect, there remained room for a glimpse into the man behind the genius, who stepped out from behind his wall to give a welcome dose of hope and positivity to salve the pain and grief of the loss of loved ones.  A triumph in every way.