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Now & Then: Campus concerts

Marissa Frobes | Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In case you haven’t heard, OK Go is coming to Notre Dame this weekend to perform at halftime of the Pittsburgh game and later in the evening at Legends Nightclub. Some other musical acts that have graced South Bend with their presence in the last couple of years include Good Charlotte for “The Show” in 2008 and Papa Roach with Trapt at Club Fever just last week.

Now, I am not equating the caliber of OK Go’s music with that of Trapt (although I do not doubt several of you know every word to “Headstrong”). I recognize OK Go’s talent and staying power. Nor am I denying that we have welcomed some other extremely gifted acts to campus in recent years (Guster, Mike Posner, The Roots).

But I cannot lie. As I paged through the yearbooks of the 1970s to see what artists had been at Notre Dame, I wept out of jealousy. Each year in the blissful decade, at least one music legend performed at Stepan Center, the Athletic and Convocation Center (ACC, now the JACC) or at an intimate blues festival. Only a straightforward chronology can do the 70s set-lists justice, and I am only mentioning some highlights. My apologies if you end up wallowing in the mediocrity of modern campus concerts after reading.

1970

Welcome Smoky Robinson and the Miracles, the first successful group act signed by Motown Records and performers of Motown’s first million-selling record, “Shop Around.” Dionne Warwick also made an appearance, an artist probably best known to our generation as the singer of “I Say A Little Prayer,” featured in the hit 1990s film “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”

1971

“Jeremiah was a bullfrog…” sang Three Dog Night at Notre Dame. It’s safe to say their hit single “Joy to the World” is known by almost every American.

1972

Students hopped on Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train,” were entertained by “Proud Mary” herself, Tina Turner and relished SoCal vibes with The Beach Boys.

1973

The student body received English rock from Yes, local American rock from Chicago and Latin rock from Santana.

1974

Rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry. Motown phenomenon, The Temptations. Sibling duet, The Carpenters. Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkel. Joni Mitchell. Words do not suffice.

1975

Van Morrison serenaded female Domers with “Brown Eyed Girl.” Elton John donned a flashy sequined costume to entertain. And Elvis Presley was just an added bonus.

1976

The Beach Boys returned. Notre Dame experienced another British invasion, this time from Rod Stewart and Jethro Tull.

1977

This year was host to a couple familiar faces as well as some notable newcomers: Chicago, The Doobie Brothers, Boston and KISS.

1978

Hall and Oates and Steve Miller. Don’t you wish you could hear “Rich Girl” and “The Joker” live? Crosby, Stills and Nash finally performed together, having visited Notre Dame as solo acts or duos in years past.

1979

Neil Young’s performance was apparently a “disappointment” to students, according to “The Dome.” Maybe they preferred the performance of Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys, Yes or Aerosmith (who’s “warm-up group” just happened to be a little band called AC-DC).

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Marissa Frobes at mfrobes@nd.edu