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Who have you seen walk onstage and immediately own the place (not just because they were famous)?

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
I saw John Campbell a couple times in the 80s, once in Central Park. In person, he was a soft-spoken, gentlemanly guy. On stage, magnetic. Still soft-spoken, but intense. You couldn't not go where he was going.

Another NYC gentleman in the '80s and on: Bobby Radcliff. Saw him so many times. When he really let his voice loose - with that wild but rhythmically precise guitar work pumping underneath - Bobby really cast a spell live.


Supporting Member
Susan Tedeschi back when she was living in Atlanta and dating Sean Costello came into the Northide Tavern at the open mic. I was hosting on drums that night and they got up and did a few tunes. Susan absolutely TORE THE HOUSE DOWN. We did Big Mama Thorton's Hound Dog. She started off just singing while Sean was playing guitar then she came up behind him and put her arms around him and started playing his guitar just ripping it. The whole venue was flipping the heck out. It was amazing.


Rory Gallagher. 1976...I think. Did not know a lot about him. He took ownership of the place within seconds of the first note played! Opened with "Souped-up Ford" He was the opening act for a couple well known big name acts....couldn't remember who.
Ah...google and found out who...Deep Purple and Nazareth! How could I forget get that! I remembered Rory tho!


Silver Supporting Member
I've told this story here a few times, it fits nicely here.

My "dad band" was seeking gigs, one of the places in our area, The Georgetown Saloon in Redding CT, had a policy that all potential bands need to come by their open mic night and play a few songs to prove their worthiness. So one Thursday night, me and the boys signed up to play.

Our spot came up, we got up and played our four songs, everyone dug us, we had a blast.

During the last song, there was a "kurfuffle" near the back of the room, the attention was drawn away from us as a few kids ambled in with guitars, basses across their backs. An older guy with sunglasses was with them, arm in arm with one of the kids.

The open jam manager, showed up offstage, looking anxious. Once we were done, he told us to get off the stage ASAP. The kids that just walked in came up, looking to plug in and start playing, much to the dismay of the guys who were next on the list. The older gentleman in sunglasses was brought to a chair near the front of the stage, sat down and quietly sat there.

The stage area was chaos, the din from the crowd got louder, people were muttering, clamoring for open chairs, seemingly excited about something. The kids were trying to set up, we were trying to get off the stage, dudes on the list were arguing with the organizer, a complete mess.

At one point, the front of the stage was clear, and the old guy with sunglasses was brought up to the stage, and plunked down in another chair and a microphone was set up in front of him.

The organizer grabbed another mic, and blurted out "we need a few minutes to set up a very special guest", but the chaos and loud chatter got even louder.

The old man in the sunglasses tapped the mic, quietly asked for it to be turned up a little, and started singing, somewhat quietly. It was a voice and song that was somewhat familiar, but it wasn't loud enough to be discerned. I was at the back of the room, fumbling with guitar cases and other gear.

As the old man continued to sing, quietly, people started to sit down and settle in. The man continued to sing, and as it got quieter, his voice sounded really familiar, but I could not quite pick it out. It was beautiful, sweet and very clear. The song was "Ave Maria", sang with an almost operatic quality. The room was completely silent now, as the kids were set up. Every eye was on this old man, and he started singing louder and with more conviction.

"My god" I muttered, "this is amazing!". A woman standing next to me heard me and said "it's wonderful when Jose comes down".
"Jose who?", I asked.
"Jose Feliciano"

My jaw hit the floor. Jose Feliciano was there with his kids, turns out, he brings them down once in a while so they could learn how to play in front of people. He played a few songs with them, played a few songs by himself and left. I was transfixed, as well as everyone else, the entire time.

When he was done, he thanked everyone, including my band for "opening" for him, and playing one of his favorite tunes ("Use Me" by Bill Withers) and being nice to his kids as they loaded in.

I have seen many of the acts mentioned here, and agree with the impact they have. But many of these stories are how they captured attention in a large venue.

It was amazing to witness how this unassuming guy plunked down and totally diffused the chaos around him by just singing a beautiful song by himself...


Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush. They opened for Triumph and literally blew them off stage. Backstory from a friend that was part of the sound crew is that they played longer than they were supposed to and were asked to stop by the promoters. Triumph came out and was only able to play around 45 mins due to noise ordinances. Frank got my utmost respect that night. They were incredible live. Felt somewhat sorry for Triumph as they’re also an awesome band but Frank owned the stage that night.
I remember being totally amazed by Layne Staley at one of the Lollapalooza shows. Mohawk, incredible voice and just acted like the world was his.


Slayer in '86 on the Reign In Blood tour is the big one for me. It was like a bomb went off when they walked on stage. Just absolute mayhem.
Without a doubt the most intense and commanding performance I've ever seen. It was one of those "you had to be there to really understand" shows.

Phil M

Shapeshifting Member
Silver Supporting Member
Ian Moore in a club in October 1995. Holy sh1t ...


Ian Anderson back in Tull’s Thick As A Brick era.

More recently Justin Hawkins of The Darkness.
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Years ago I saw a band called Loudhouse, in the jankiest club you could imagine. The singer/shouter was a huge bald guy who intimidated the mosh pit into scattering every time he jumped in. I think his own band was afraid of him. It was a very unsettling yet fascinating show. Don’t know what became of that guy, but the band eventually turned into Sponge.
I like that root word, "Janky". It's been in the rotation for 30+ years.

I kinda thought it was mine, actually.

Glad to share.


Definitely Liam Gallagher

saw Oasis in a small club and most people there had no idea who they were

the rest of the band started up and then after they’d been jamming for a few minutes Liam walks out

it was like, ok, this guy is the rock star here

Goldie Glocks

Slayer in '86 on the Reign In Blood tour is the big one for me. It was like a bomb went off when they walked on stage. Just absolute mayhem.
Without a doubt the most intense and commanding performance I've ever seen. It was one of those "you had to be there to really understand" shows.

I saw Slayer last Friday at a Festival. They came on after Anthrax. Anthrax was just great, but Slayer really blew the place up. When they came on the crowd noise was deafening. And this is 2019, Tom Araya is 58. They are still not to be trifled with.

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