Dolls At The Mercer Arts Center

I certainly remember the Mercer Arts Center. There were about 5 different performance spaces so in one room there might be classical, in another a play, etc. At intermission and before, everybody would meet at the bar and if you add the Dolls to this mix and it was quite an eclectic group.

The first night I saw the Dolls there was the best. I had heard the buzz about them, they were being compared to the Yardbirds and stones so we decided to check them out. Turns out, it was their first gig after returning from England after their drummer had died so it might have been their first gig with Jerry Nolan. (they opened with Chuck Berry's "Livin' in the USA".)

I thought I was a reasonably cool looking guy for the time but was I wrong! My friend and I walked in the auditorium and were blown away by the crowd! We said, "if the crowd looks like this, what does the band look like"? Todd Rundgren was sitting next to me and he was dressed in all pink. I mean complete with pink hair, pink makeup and pink gloves!

The first band was called The Planets and they were awful. After 3 or 4 songs they announced that the dolls wanted to play so they got off the stage. The Dolls came on and wow! David J was dressed like Greta Garbo but I could not take my eyes off JT. He looked, acted and played like Keith Richards rebellious son. What a night of music!

I think what set the Dolls apart from their contemporaries was their sense of humour. They knew they weren't the greatest musicians and did not take themselves that seriously. Just straight ahead rock n' roll. That was the best show I have ever seen. It was everything that rock n' roll should be. I have seen better playing and singing at other shows, but nothing tops the Dolls at the Mercer Arts Center for getting to the soul of r'n'r. I remember stumbling into the street in the wee hours with my buddy and we were stunned. We had just seen the future of music.

David Goodfriend

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