What Was Your Favorite Concert at The Summit?

Categories: Only In Houston

The_Summit,_exterior,_Houston Nov7.jpg
Gemini7 via Wikipedia
It must be music-venue day today. Rocks Off would like to thank Jon Harvey of Houston (@oompahead) for alerting us via Twitter to the fact that on this day in 1975, when I was a few weeks away from turning one year old, the sports and entertainment arena then known as the Summit opened in Greenway Plaza.

Besides basketball, hockey, wrestling, bull riding and the stray circus, for almost 30 years the Summit (renamed Compaq Center in 1998) was about the only place in Houston and southeast Texas to see the biggest names in pop, rock, country, R&B, hip-hop and more at shows largely produced by Live Nation forerunner Pace Concerts. According to a 2003 Houston Business Journal article, the arena cost $18 million to build.

The first concert at the new Summit was The Who on November 20, 1975, the opening night of the band's North American tour behind The Who by Numbers ("Squeezebox"); some footage survives in 1994's Thirty Years of Maximum R&B box set. Sure wish they would come play Houston on their new "Quadrophenia" 40th-anniversary outing, but never mind.

The Summit's archives on concert wiki setlist.fm run almost 40 pages, including Paul McCartney's "Wings Over America" stop the next year. Take them with a grain of salt, because the first show listed is Procul Harum in 1973, two years before the arena opened. (Unless there was some kind of construction party going on.) There you'll find two nights of the Rolling Stones' "Bridges to Babylon" tour in 1998 and lots more.

Dragon Snake Nov7.jpg
Such as: Smashing Pumpkins and Garbage (which Craig saw); The Cure; Peter Gabriel; Depeche Mode; George Strait (lots); Morrissey in 1992; Guns N' Roses; Neil Young with Sonic Youth in '91; Steve Earle and Bob Dylan in '89; Public Enemy; N.W.A.; Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; R.E.M.; Frank Sinatra; Lionel Richie; Tina Turner; Whitney Houston; Reba; Waylon & Willie; Ozzy; every hair band you can think of; two nights of Bruce Springsteen's Born In the USA tour in November 1984; and lots of Rush, Van Halen, Metallica and AC/DC. It goes on a while.

Prince practically paid rent at the Summit in the '80s, with six nights on the Purple Rain tour alone, and Michael Jackson sold it out three straight nights in April 1988. Performances filmed there available on DVD include a Halloween 1976 show from George Clinton's Parlaiment-Funkadelic crew, Springsteen in 1978 on the Darkness on the Edge of Town tour, available on the 2010 The Promise reissue, and Journey's Live In Houston 1981: The Escape Tour, released in 2006. This link will take you to "The Dragon Snake," a three-disc bootleg from Led Zeppelin's May 1977 Summit show, the last time they were in town. (They opened with "The Song Remains the Same.")

According to Wikipedia, other acts who were filmed at the venue include Motley Crue (the "Girls, Girls, Girls" video), Aerosmith ("Blind Man," from 1994 hits comp Big Ones), Genesis for the King Biscuit Flower Hour and Linda Ronstadt's footage in the 1978 cult movie FM. John Travolta -- who would have been in town filming Urban Cowboy -- supposedly joined the Bee Gees onstage there in 1979 for "You Should Be Dancing."


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Lakewood Church

3700 Southwest Freeway, Houston, TX

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51 comments
lovepresley
lovepresley

Elvis Presley: The "Greatest Entertainer" ever and always will be. No one can ever come close to Elvis. Greatest Entertainer, Greatest Showmanship, Great Charisma. Greatest Concert.

stjnky
stjnky

Peter Gabriel on the "So" tour. Or Kiss on the "Love Gun" tour. That Kiss show was pretty much the first concert of my own choosing I ever went to. I think I was about 12. Styx was the opening act.

 

Also, Roger Waters, touring for "The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking" was a pretty good one.

MarcoFromHouston
MarcoFromHouston

I remeber catching Carlos Santana with Citizen Cope there with my best friend Derek. We usually saw him at The Woodlands, so seeing the show in a smaller arena was a real treat.

trevibiles
trevibiles

I saw Kiss there in 79. Sure it was on the Dynasty tour and they looked pretty silly but I was 9 and I got to see my hero the God of Thunder breathe fire, vomit blood, and fly so it ruled. I learned the smell of marijuana that day. I also had my first communion that morning. Also saw Ozzy in 84 on the Bark at the Moon tour with Motley Crue on Shout at the Devil and Maiden in 85 on the Powerslave tour with W.A.S.P. The fact that's it's now a church is so beautiful knowing what sorts of sordid acts happened within those walls.

franktex
franktex

Had a good ticket connection for most of the shows at The Summit so there's not many I missed, but some faves are:

The Zeppelin show in 1977

Paul McCartney & Wings 1977

Aerosmith, Journey, AC/DC (w/Bon Scott)-1979 (?)

Dire Straits

Miles Davis

Several ZZ Top Thanksgiving Shows

ChrisD
ChrisD

1st concert ever: Motley Crue/Y&T - 1985..I was 14..I just remember being overwhelmed at how loud it was and the flash bombs scaring the shit out of me. (Coincidently, I smoked my 1st joint that night too so maybe I was just paranoid..but I digress..) They filmed the Home Sweet Home video that night so they played it two times..

 

Other memorable shows:

Ozzy/Metallica 1986 (RIP Cliff Burton)

Run DMC/Beastie Boys 1987..Togethe Forever

Micheal Jackson 1988 Night 2

NWA 1989

Rage Against the Machine 1999...Biggest mosh pit EVER

Dawgnme
Dawgnme

Prince - Purple Rain Tour. 6 sold-out concerts in January of '85, I think it was, and I was there to witness all 16,000 of the half-naked, camisole-wearing, weed-smoking freaks on the Friday, Sunday, and Monday night shows. Absolutely blew my 12th-grade mind.

massmurdermedia
massmurdermedia

neil young played a "trans" set solo...  then after stepping off stage, ostensibly before an encore, returned with a full rockabilly ensemble, the shocking pinks, and played an "everybody's rockin'" set...  mind effectively blown...  even though i had a head full of acid, i'm confident it actually happened...  in the summit...  83, 84?...

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

The cure/shellyan orphan 1989 - Disintegration tour... 

tlm9697
tlm9697

I also attended the U2 elevation show and was blown away by PJ Harvey.... that show is my most memorable because of it being the only time I've ever seen the lovely PJ and it was the first show attended by my then 5 year old son.

Thenonymous
Thenonymous

The 1991 Benson & Hedges Bluesfest was one of the greatest single days of live music in the history of the city. I think a ticket was less than $40, and it came with all the free cigarette samples you could stuff in your pockets. Best of all, it looked like there were only about 4,000 people there, so you could pretty much sit wherever you wanted to.

HTownChowDown
HTownChowDown

Queen, with Billy Squier opening in 1982.  Remarkable show.

idylwino
idylwino

The die-hard fan boy in me wants to say the Pumpkins tour in support of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, but since that was the tour where their keyboardist OD'd and they kicked Chamberlain out (Matt Walker from Filter filled in) it does not deserve first place.   So, I choose the Nine Inch Nails show they did supporting The Fragile.  A Perfect Circle opened.

 

 

blkblueguitar
blkblueguitar

The only concert I ever saw there was Smashing Pumpkins.. around 1995 or so? I was a youngen then.

bibulb
bibulb

I was at the Police/UB40 show in 1983 for the Synchronicity tour, and also Peter Gabriel on the Secret World tour in 1993. And approximately eleventy-zillion "Holiday on Ice/Ice Capades/Disney on Ice/Sesame Street on Ice" shows in the late '70s. I don't think those are quite in the same league, though.

stevek77536
stevek77536

My favorite was an Eric Clapton concert that I did not attend.  I did attend the Johnny Johnson (played piano for Chuck Berry) concert at the Satellite Lounge the next night.  I learned that Johnson had come in a day early for the Lounge concert and got a call at his room.  Clapton wanted to know if he wanted to sit in that night at the Summit.  So he did.  So 10,000+ folks instead of a couple of hundred.  Pretty classy of Clapton (funny he didn't call me, I have a guitar).  But I bet I got a better show.

Jack Gilbert
Jack Gilbert

Elsa, thanks for reminding me of Peter Gabriel's Secret World Tour concert - well preserved on film and recently remastered for Blu-Ray - and also of Bowie's Glass Spider show with Peter Frampton on lead. It stings that you missed The Who for automotive misfortune.

oompahead
oompahead

Great article Chris. My favorite shows were the two nights GnR and Soundgarden played and the Benson & Hedges Bluesfest show in '91 - John Lee Hooker,B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Etta James and the Fabulous Thunderbirds all in one show.

 

I also saw Andrew Dice Clay there at the peak of his popularity.  (Always makes me smile when I drive by Lakewood now.)

 

Jon (@oompahead)

dangellet
dangellet

Oh, and Steve Miller Band on the night after Elvis died. His drummer held up a stick into a laser beam and it caught fire! Or so I remember.

dangellet
dangellet

Bruce Springsteen in December 1978, playing "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" and it being so cold outside that Bruce said it reminded him of Jersey. Bob Dylan in 1980, about to become a born-again Christian or just after, don't remember. The Who in 1980 and Prince on the Purple Rain tour. Jackson Browne and Karla Bonoff, Fleetwood Mac without Lindsey Buckingham, Bruce again on his Born in the U.S.A. tour. Always a great place to see a show but a bitch gettin' out of that parking garage!

NathanSmith
NathanSmith

I think the only show I ended up seeing at the Compaq Center was Black Sabbath, with Pantera and Deftones opening. Our seats were horrible-- behind the stage-- and it turned out to be one of those "bad" nights for the Deftones that they were semi-famous for at the time. The great performances by Pantera and Sabbath more than salvaged the experience.

jd_key
jd_key

Beastie Boys, The Roots, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - May 6, 1995 - The Roots did a small club set at The Magic Bus later that night - Freaking awesome show!

Craig Wilkins
Craig Wilkins

Nine Inch Nails on the Fragile tour. No question.

Steve-o
Steve-o

My favorite show in the Summit/Compaq Center was Bruce Springsteen on the "Darkness On The Edge of Town" tour in December 1978.  That show changed my life.

 

Worst show was the last one...ZZ Top closing the Compaq Center in 2003.  When they brought Governor Goodhair on to play drums at the end, the "boos" and single-finger salutes were hilarious.

Jack Gilbert
Jack Gilbert

The opener for The Summit, The Who, was really good - last time to see Keith Moon. Parts of that concert are featured in their movie "The Kids Are Alright". Led Zeppelin, 1977, the famed "Dragon Snake" concert was an absolute killer and ZZ Top's Recycler tour (great show) & Antenna tour (fun show) were pretty special. Many others but these are the standouts.

Mont Hoyt
Mont Hoyt

Motley Crüe & Warrant 1990, Clash of the Titans (Slayer,Megadeth,Anthrax,Alice in Chains) tour 1990, Metallica Black tour 1991, GnR x2 1991

Missy Jane
Missy Jane

My most memorable was Ozzy Osbourne with Anthrax.

christinalynn
christinalynn

when I was young my parents took me to this christian concert called the young messiah tour back in 1992. I was 6. Anyways it had all these christian artists that were popular at the time: cindy morgan, twila paris, maybe sandi patty (who is a powerhouse vocalist in her own right) and a few others. Anyways what they did was this updated rendition of Handel's Messiah complete with synthesizers, guitars, etc. 

 

We also went to the young messiah farewell tour which was pretty interesting but a little different. This time I remember they had Point of Grace, whom I really liked as far as christian groups go. (think the harmonies of Wilson Phillips with 4 members meets the hype of the Spice Girls and that basically describes them) They did a bangup version of "Hark the herald angels sing." 

 

But now that I am older I would have loved to have also seen some of the other bands that came through there like Stevie Nicks on her many tours in the 80s, Journey's Escape tour (I love journey!), and countless others. 

estesk
estesk

I am getting old but believe the wife and I saw Shenna Easton @ Summit?

rprince85
rprince85

As a 14 year old in 99, it couldnt get any better than seeing rage against the machine drop their banner that read "battle of houston." gang starr opened and became my dad's first (and last) rap show. I can almost remember him chanting "fuck you i wont do what you tell me" but i think thats just revisionist history on my part.

bunker
bunker

1. Rush, Signals Tour, 1983.  Golden Earring opened.

2.  Police, Synchronicity Tour, 1983.

 

Saw other shows, including U2 on Unforgettable Fire.  But those stand out.  Rush was amazing.  I think they started the Show with the first part of 2112 and ended with the 2112 Grand Finale.  With  La Villa Strangiato encore.  I can't believe I still remember that.

 

Outdoor venues are great but there is nothing like a live rock show in an enclosed space. 

mark_h01
mark_h01

Bowie on the Heroes Tour. Think I was in the 7th row. Queen on the News of the World Tour. I was in the 4th row for that one. Freddie was the ultimate showman!

 

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

First concert I ever saw - Metallica in 1991. Only concert I was able to see there.

estesk
estesk

George Strait in 90's up close was great !!!

David Cook
David Cook

beastie boys with the roots and jon spencer blues explosion

Smedley
Smedley

October 31st, 1994... Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and The Jim Rose Circus.

itstdl
itstdl

.....   great article.   I never attended the final show, but I heard at the time that Billy was quoted as saying "..ZZ walks out and Jesus walks in...".      last show i saw there was queensryche doing operation mindcrime.  it was excellent. 

Chris Tate
Chris Tate

Hands down. The Cure. 1989 Prayer tour.

MurderersBeware
MurderersBeware

Funny, I was there and don't remember any boos. Perhaps it was just your hatred booing.

Averylyssa
Averylyssa

 @Smedley I was there too. 

October 31st, 1994... Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and The Jim Rose Circus.

stevek77536
stevek77536

 @emclibjp  @stevek77536 That does sound pretty good.  I've always been a blues fan, and those are some pretty big guns ... Do you remember Johnny Johnson playing?  He was great at the Satellite Lounge.

jd_key
jd_key

 @MarcoFromHouston  @jd_key

 It was at 202 Tuam, where F Bar is currently located.  It was a really nifty bar/lounge/club with pool tables, foosball, a dance floor, and a coffee bar in a separate room.  They had some amazing party nights there and also operated as an after-hours club for a time.  Opened by some friends of mine and other partners - very cool, laid-back vibe - lotsa good times had there.  I think they opened in like '94 maybe and probably only lasted about 2-3 years.

H_e_x
H_e_x

 @MurderersBeware "Perhaps it was just your hatred booing."

Still trying to dissect that one.

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