BUS TRIPS Revisited after 20+ years.....

 The Chronicles of DA BUS TRIPS to concerts! FIRST OFF, this kind of stuff will NEVER happen again. Think about it as a parent, your teenager comes to you and says “Can I go to a concert on a bus that another teenager rented oh and BTW, there will be NO adult supervision.” You would say ‘H’ to the ‘E’ to the double ‘L’ NO!!!!! Anyways, I don’t know about you BUT I LOVE telling people that as a 14 year, my friends and I went on a rented bus to a concert of some band that is of no more but was HUGE at the time. People are blown away!!!! According to the GODFATHER of the trips, Todd Hopkins, This is how it started:
 “One day while on a typical after school "hanging at the fantastical Olean Center Mall" session, we were walking to Blue Bird Coach Lines on Union St to catch the Bona Bus home. As we stood there waiting, I said "you know Dave, We should charter a bus to UB Spring Fest to see the Ramones." Dave thought about that for a minute and then replied "How would we go about this bus idea Todd?" To which I responded "I'll call Blue bird and try to set things up," So when I got home, I called the Blue Bird office and said to the woman who answered "I would like to charter a bus please." She asked me for the pick-up time and location, and asked which type of bus we required and gave us pricing options. I realized that the $$ was completely feasible and that if we could fill each seat, it would only cost about $10 per rider. Later that evening we realized what a great service we would be providing people so nobody would need to drink and drive. It also afforded many who had no means to get to Buffalo or Rochester an opportunity to go see a concert.”

 So it began with the pioneer trip to UofB’s ‘Spring Fest’ (4-88) to an all day festival where the Ramones were headlining. I was on this trip!!!! WOO HOO!!! The school principal and a few teachers actually watched us get on the bus! Their ‘red flags’ were raised when they received a bunch of notes from our parents asking us to be excused from school on the SAME day!!! Word on the street is that they were amazed how organized we were in pulling this off. Can you verify that Mr. Petruzzi? ANYWAYS, I can tell people that I saw Living Colour before anyone knew who they were! HA!!!! I soooooo remember Corey Glover telling the crowd of maybe 200 people, to STAND UP because we were all sitting on the ground….. An act before the Ramones took the stage was Grand Master Flash…. Sure they were on the ‘downward spiral’ of their career BUT still!!!! People at work are AMAZED that a white boy saw them and actually knows who they are! HA!!!! The Ramones were no thrills just B@LL to the wall music with the only thing between songs being Dee Dee yelling 1-2-3-4!!!! One of the many HIGHLIGHTS from that day was Todd and Dave leading me to an empty car (Ford Taurus) at the side of the stage. I wasn’t quite sure why we were there until I saw all four of the Ramones get in and being whisked away. WOO HOO!! I was 5 ft away from freakin’ ROCK ‘N’ ROLL legends!!!!! I remember Todd yelling at Joey that he wanted to play ‘pocket pool’ with him and Joey saying ‘”WHOW!!! I don’t play for your ‘team’ kid.” HA!!! I soooooooooooooo just made that last part up BUT Todd did say something and Joey said “ALRIGHT MAN!”

06-88 Monsters of Rock (Kingdom Come, Metallica, Dokken, The Scorpions, Van Halen) Rich Stadium, Buffalo: Dare I say, one of the greatest days of my life! As an 8th grader and 25 years LATER I still pinch myself when I think of it and say “was I really there?”…. So many memories, the trip up and getting PLASTERED at 9AM in THE MORNING, people screaming that Steve Lippert was SHOT when he really had a bottle thrown at him, people wondering where my brother was when he was passed out someplace from all the booze he drank, Billy Miller being taken to the E.R and having his stomach pumped because he drank too much Night Train wine, Watching Van Halen with my best friend Mark Singer……. I could go on BUT I will resist the urge.

03-89 Metallica/Queensryche Buffalo: I wasn’t on this one but Todd wrote “Dave and I were at the dept. store in the mall that had ticketmaster. Bob & Phil Quinlan's mom worked there. We would always stop there on paydays, get our checks cashed and she would look up any shows coming to Buffalo, Erie or Rochester. On this particular day she saw that Metallica just went on sale. There was no internet yet so we were able to get third row on the floor. The 2 end seats. When the lights went down for Queensryche we ran like hell around those first 2 rows and ended up front row center right up against the wall. James Hetfield literally stood over us”.

05-89 Cinderella, Bullet Boys, Winger Rochester: I was not on this one either BUT Todd told me that on the way home the state troopers stopped the bus and boarded it. He said that he was freakin’ because everyone was drunk or hung over and the police were walking over empty beer bottle and stuff going from seat to seat looking. It turns out they were looking for someone that just escaped from jail. Basically they could give a cr@p about all the underage drinking that was going on, they were on a mission to find this escape fugitive and that’s it….

12-89 Motley Crue/Warrant Rochester: Again, I was NOT on this one but Mark Vitale and Mark Singer told me a great story about it. Usually the bus driver was very cool! Heck, I think he was the same guy for a lot of them, he was the husband of one of the managers at McDonalds where Todd and Dave worked BUT this was a different driver and he was kind of a prune! He wouldn’t let everyone drink on the bus. WHAT THE H@LL, he had a conscious!!!!! So after some ‘negotiating’ he agreed to let everyone have ‘adult beverages’ BUT only after they got out of the city limits? Not sure how that would help BUT OH WELL! Mark Vitale donated his services and packed his little Dodge Colt full of ALL the booze and met the bus at the designated place where everyone paid him for his services and they loaded the bus up with all of the alcohol. I forget how much $ he told me he made BUT it was A LOT!

06-89 Ozzy, White Lion, Vixen Darien Lake- Even after moving to Charlotte, NC 10 months before, Mark Singer and I STILL talked on the phone at least every month and he asked me if I wanted to go up on a bus to see Ozzy Osbourne at Darien Lake in June. WELL DUH!!!!! Of course I do!!!!! I knew it was going to be a BLAST being I had been on two already. Well I don’t remember the trip up because Mark Vitale made me some lemonade and vodka drinks. Needless to say I was PLASTERED! The concert you ask?? Well I have no idea, I assume it was good. The one thing I DO remember about was making the HUGE mistake of getting some chocolate cookies and milk and downing it!!! HUGE MISTAKE because 10 minutes after that they had to stop the bus so I could PUKE on the side of the highway!!!!! HA!!!!!!!!

06-90 Aerosmith/Metallica/Dokken/Black Crows at Silver Stadium Rochester: Todd stated that Dave Howard started organizing the trips BUT when I emailed him he stated ”I was not at that show. I think Mike Z and doc did that trip.” So who did this trip and WHO is Mike Z. and 'doc'?

This is from Todd:

"Here are a couple corrections and answers to your questions. It was the Crue/Warrant/Bullet Boys show that Dave Howard put together. The bus left from the old Kmart parking lot. When Dave and I arrived as participants and not organizers for the first time, we were greeted by everyone freaking out about Jack being a dick not allowing alcohol. We knew him very well....he drove a few of our earlier trips and yes he was married to one of my McD's managers. He said that the Blue Bird folks had caught wind to the whole underage drinking thing we had going and he didn't want to get in trouble. We talked him into the outside the city limits thing. The Silver Stadium show with Metallica/Aerosmith/Dokken/Black Crows was organized by Dave and I. I can't tell you a damn thing about the show because my girlfriend at that time left her ticket at home in Olean. I stayed on the bus with her the entire day while everyone else enjoyed the show. It was pouring rain and Richie B was moshing down in the front in like a foot or so of standing water. He lost his shoes."

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