FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Forty-five years ago, a legendary concert took place at the War Memorial Coliseum.
During an Aerosmith concert, numerous people were arrested for drinking and smoking marijuana. Some who were arrested were later bailed out by the band.
The concert was October 3, 1978.
96.3 XKE host Doc West arrived in Fort Wayne in 1979. He shared some of the tales from that concert with WANE 15 on Wednesday.
“The stories that some of the people have are amazing,” West said. “I guess the guy who came in and paid their bail paid in cash. He brought in a brief case and he was like an accountant. So, he had on, like a bow tie.”
West said Aerosmith came to Fort Wayne, a city known for embracing hard rock, often. West shared that Steven Tyler has always revered Fort Wayne. He once shared in a book and later with West that he used to listen to WOWO radio when he was raised on the east coast, and the first ever rock sock Tyler heard came from Fort Wayne radio.
“It’s in his book. He would hang a wire out to a tree on the second floor where his bedroom was, and at night he could pick [WOWO] up,” West remembered.
That story showed the role Fort Wayne played in who Steven Tyler went on to become. It’s why the legendary 1978 concert and subsequent bail-outs paid for by the band became such a big deal.
West also recalled the tales of how “wild” Fort Wayne was when it came to concerts and partying.
“I’ve heard the stories about when that happened and when [police] arrested them, they didn’t search them very well before they put them in the jail. So, even though they had been arrested for partying at the Coliseum in some cases, they continued to party in the jail,” he shared.
Some of the stories that have come from that night are certainly true. Some could be what West described as concert lore.
WANE 15 sought stories on Facebook from those who attended the concert. Many people remembered that night very well. Many said that they weren’t arrested. Some said they knew people who were.
“I was there, my very first concert. Steven Tyler called the police ‘the Gestapo’ over the microphone. I was ushered out with most of the other people in the upper sections. I went on to see Aerosmith another 46 times over the years,” Dee commented.
“I was 15 and was there with my boyfriend and one of his friends. His buddy got busted for smoking pot and was bailed out by Aerosmith! My boyfriend and I had to wait for him to get back to the coliseum to get back home!! LOL What a great memory!!” Pam said.
“AC/DC and Aerosmith. I was on the floor shoved up again stage. My first concert!! Will never forget. My scrapbook should still have my ticket stubs. And Steven bailed every one out of jail,” Marla posted.
Doc West said that years later they were able to gather people who could prove they were arrested that night and let them actually meet Aerosmith.
He said the evening had big implications as well because it led to the Coliseum outlawing rock concerts for a while. Eventually, he said, there was litigation to bring them back.