Now that the Allman Brothers are coming to an end as a band after 45 years, what can you tell me about when they opened the Superdome in 1975?
You'd expect a building as big, important and multi-faceted as the Superdome to have a diverse lineup for its grand opening. Ah, I remember it well. The Allman Brothers played there on Sunday, Aug. 31, 1975, capping off an opening weekend that included Bob Hope on Friday and a New Orleans Saints-Baltimore Colts game on Saturday night. Yes, young readers, the Colts originally played in Baltimore.
Tickets to the "Pride of Dixie" concert were $10 in advance or $12 at the gate. The music started at 4 p.m. and ran well past midnight, with a country, Southern rock and blues lineup that included The Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie and The Charlie Daniels Band.
In addition to great music, the concert also generated controversy. The Allman Brothers later sued the concert promoters, the Superdome and the ticket-taking company for $1.3 million, claiming the band did not receive money for more than 25,000 tickets sold. Lawsuits aside, memories of the music remain strong.
The Allman Brothers, formed in 1969, played in New Orleans many other times over the decades, including at City Park Stadium, Audubon Park, The Warehouse, The Saenger and Jazz Fest. Band members were even busted on drug charges after one local concert. At the time of their 1975 Superdome gig, the band featured Gregg Allman on lead vocals and organ; Dickey Betts on lead and slide guitars; Chuck Leavell on piano; Lamar Williams on bass guitar; Jaimoe on drums and percussion; and Butch Trucks on drums and timpani. Allman, Trucks and Jaimoe remained with the band for the entire 45-year run and Oct. 28 played what they say will be their last concert together.