Coming Home

student government productions

Homecoming Weekend at the University of Florida is always Gainesville at its most energized, And in 1981, with hometown boy Tom Petty coming home to play, the town was more electric than ever. Regardless of the music, even Tom, it was THE GATOR GROWL that headlined the celebratory day. The show was Friday night at Florida Field. The stadium, always filled, was where “THE WORLD’S LARGEST PEP RALLY” was held. It was the Friday night spectacle before Saturday afternoon’s game in the sun, where the Gators made short work of the weekend’s ATHLETIC DISTRACTION, before the Saturday night party gets started. A party that, if you’re still able, is always one of the year’s most memorable. 
Earl Petty lives the quiet Gainesville life — Usually.

A 1973 interview with Tom Petty and his Mudcrutch bandmates, when they were still a group of hometown, North Florida country boys, looking to make it in the music business.


“The Thrill Is Gone”
Marshall Tucker Band
Live — A Southern Rock band’s tribute to B.B. King, the original Blues Boy.
((( ode to the past )))

sandy felsenthal and dave hogerty


Since its proposal, everything about The Stephen C. O’Connell Center was controversial. Its experimental (inflatable roof) design, its cost, its difficulty to build, and maybe most criticized was it looking like a huge bounce house from outer space. The inflated roof proved to be a temptation that many, less-than-straight, late Saturday night/early Sunday morning revelers, couldn’t resist the opportunity for one last thrill before the party ended. They just had to jump on it.

As “streaking” had become a campus fad in the mid 1970s, “O’Connelling was a uniquely Florida variation on the theme. The “criminal” activity became so popular, that the cost of building the O’Connell rose again, enough to pay for overnight security.

Stephen C. O’Connell — UF’s sixth president (1967-1973)

Stephen C. O’Connell was born in West Palm Beach in 1916 (when the KKK were Democrats). When O’Connell attended UF, he was the president of Blue Key, a champion middleweight boxing letterman, 1940 graduate of the UF law school. Started a law practice in Fort Lauderdale in 1940. He joined the Air Force after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. After the war, O’Connell returned to his law office in Fort Lauderdale …


One of the best educations any UF student received in the 1970s and 1980s was a music education. So many of the world’s best musicians and bands visited Gainesville, including Floridians: The Allman Brothers, The Outlaws, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Dixie Dregs, Cowboy, Fat Chance Band, Don Felder (The Eagles), and of course HOMETOWN BOY, TOM PETTY.

For many who saw it, one of the finest shows at the Florida Bandshell was played by the Talking Heads. David Byrnewas still in his big-suit phase, when the band was just breaking out of Downtown New York City, after making an early name for themselves at CBGBs. Gainesville was a stop on their first international tour. All along, the shows featured different musicians invited to play in different cities. In Gainesville, at The Bandshell, it was keyboardist Bernie Worrell who joined the band, and the result was fantastic. No surprise, considering Worrell was a long-time collaborator with George Clinton, and a member of Funkadelic and  Parliament-Funkadelic.

 The above (((video))), was recorded in Rome, Italy, on the same 1980 International Tour that came to Gainesville. The European leg of the tour featured Adrian Belew, much different than Worrell, but equally interesting, experimental, and free thinking as he often pounds and shakes his guitar as if it a drum, more than a finely tuned, electric instrument. When the Talking Heads asked him to play, Belew was a member of King Crimson ‘s , with Robert Fripp,  Tony Levin, and Bill Bruford. Sitting atop the Talking Heads Ad is an anonymous, bootleg recording of the Gainesville show at the Bandshell, featuring Worrell.

1979Iranian Hostage Crisis (11/4/79- Jimmy Carter, Hip Hop Happens (Vanity Fair)

1980s  —
1980 — Ronald Reagan (Just Say No)

U2 at The Rathskeller
More than a surprisingly good show. Looking back, U2 playing the small, dark and dingy, on-campus bar was a monumental event, and only a few were there to see it.

alligator ad

May 2, 1981 I remember the night well. I paid $2 for a ticket, and I met Bono and the band after the show. It was 700 jammed into the Rathskeller, with a maximum occupancy of 200. But nobody was complaining, and we were all having a good time. Not many had heard of U2 then, having just released its first album, “Boy,” But the band was young, energized, and in complete command of the room, the room that screamed for an encore after the band left the small stage. U2 obliged with extended versions of “I Will Follow” and “Out of Control.”

Bill Perry (UF)

Bandshell — WEATHER REPORT w/Jaco Pastorius, PETER TOSH, “Legalize It,”  Devo (Aug 2, 1980), Plasmatics (Oct 31, 1981), Allman Brothers Band (Jan 16, 1982), Talking Heads (w/Bernie Worrell) w/Psychedelic Furs (Sep 19, 1982), Don Henley (Oct 10, 1982), Randy Meisner, Marshall Tucker Band w/B. B. King, The Wailers (May 22, 1983) Oingo Boingo (Oct 30, 1983) Outlaws (Oct 20, 1984) The Ramones (Oct 31, 1984)
Charlie Daniels (Mar 9, 1985),  Lone Justice (Oct 17, 1985), INXS (Dec 8, 1985), Warren Zevon (Oct 29, 1987), Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson (Oct 29, 1988), Screaming Blue Messiahs (Oct 31, 1988) LOCALS & ATHENS R.E.M. (Sep 30, 1984) B-52s w/Love Tractor (Oct 1, 1989), Bo Diddley (Mar 6, 1990), Stanley Jordan w/The World’s Most Dangerous Band (Mar 10, 1990),
Mar 1, 1991 Living Colour, Lenny Kravitz w/The Cult (Feb 9, 1992), Midnight Oil (Sep 8, 1993) Widespread Panic (Sep 9, 1994)
FLA/GA CONNECTION: Allman Brothers, Sea Level, Dixie Dregs, Cowboy, Fat Chance Band, Outlaws, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steve Forbert at Lake Alice Field, a small, gator-filled lake at the bottom of Fraternity Row. The lake also serves as the center field “fence” for the softball field, which serves as a venue for such shows, with a stage set up at home plate. Also a center of attention of tail-gate parties and gatherings on Football Weekends.
Lake Alice — Softball at the bottom of Fraternity Row
“Florida Jam”
The Dixie Dregs / Jaco Pastorius
Live — Fort Lauderdale
— xyz.
1982 Both Jaco Pastorius (bassist) and Steve Morse (guitarist) were Floridians, and they played Gainesville frequently. Noteably, Jaco with Weather Report, and Steve Morse with his band the Dixie Dregs opening for Sea Level in a Saturday afternoon show at Lake Alice (Field). The recording above is the two together in Fort Lauderdale (Jaco’s hometown) in an after show, improvised jam, in a club on Sistrunk Blvd.
Weimer Hall — (The Top of Fraternity Row)
Making it a Swamp Again.
FLORIDA FIELD  — South Stands (wooden bleachers, tall, thin palms, a barely bigger than a high school gym scoreboard, a small windowless press box, and 100 yards of natural grass. Artificial (Intelligence) Turf, an error in judgement, and a costly meltdown.
How the University of Florida turned an elegant, classic, red-brick stadium into an obnoxious, over-sized, Bull Gator-funded SWAMP.
The Grateful Dead

Tom Petty
Jimmy Buffett
Elvis Costello
The Cars
Al Di Meola — (w/Jan Hammer, Anthony Jackson, Steve Gadd)
Tim Weisberg (w/Duane Allman)
Spyro Gyra — (Great Southern Music Hall)
Roy Buchanan Trio /Crack The Sky (bass), Tammy Wynett (drums)
Andy Kaufman — Women Wrestling, SNL, David Letterman
Marshall Tucker Band
B. B. King
Rick James
Pat Benatar w/David Johansen (Moved to Florida Gym)
Frank Zappa (Moved to Florida Gym)


Student Government Productions

Ground Zero
Holiday Inn

Krispy Kreme — Pink Neon, Robert McClure’s Second-Floor Apt.
Hyde & Zeke’s
Burrito Bros.
Florida Bookstore (off-campus, text books and artistic, hand-made ‘zines)
Richenbacker’s — “Gainesville’s Only Jazz Bar”
Sea Level, Pennsylvania (Fusion) band, Blue Stratocaster, Philip’s head screwdriver whammy bar, “kids today, don’t know what it’s like to drive in a real man’s car.” Spec’s Music (first corporate signage)
GREAT SOUTHERN MUSIC HALL — Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Return to Forever, Roy Buchanan, Spyro Gyra (tunes on Access album)
ONE WEEK IN ORLANDO: Billy Cobham, Sea Level, Spyro Gyra. Valentine’s (“Pancakes” — Lead clarinet, arthritis, MOFRO @ SOCIAL (54 N Orange Ave., Downtown Orlando)

John F. Seagle Building
Corner Bar (?) — Romantics, Artificial Ingredients (Bob Block, Mike Brennan, Joel Benjamin, Daryl Pinsky, Patty Avick)
HIPPODROME THEATER — “Death Trap” Bob Bartolotta (Lighting)
1980 — John Lennon Assassination
The Day The Music Died Again — Futch and Bartalotta (Mourning in the Afternoon) Double Fantasy (Yoko Ono)

American Pop


Ron Sachs
Don Wright
Carl Hiaasen
Tom Kennedy
Tom Julin
Ed Barber
Jean Chance
Jon Roosenraad

The stone carvings on the walls of UF’s oldest dormitory tell stories of Love and War out of Florida’s legendary past.

september 24, 1912
vol. 1 no. 1
florida history (1912-1983)
Much more than just another sleepy, little, North Florida town.
New Student Edition 1981
OPINION (Letters To The Editor)
CONVENIENCE (Is In The Eye of The Beholder)
Gainesville Green (“I’d like to fertilize her buds”)
TOM PETTY (Coming Home)
MUSIC (The Sound of Higher Education)
PREACHERS (On The Green)
Murphree’s Opening Message (alt.)
Naked Launch (Pretty As A Florida Picture)
Diamond Teeth Mary (Singing With The Devil’s)
MOVIES (Pop Culture of The Day)

— dave.