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Waiting for Superjam '77 at Busch Stadium

Fans wait in the heat at Busch Stadium for the start of Superjam '77. 

On July 9, 1977, 45,000 rock fans sweated it out at Busch Stadium to see Ted Nugent, REO Speedwagon, Head East, Gypsy and Judas Priest perform at Superjam. At the time, it was the largest crowd to see a music event in St. Louis. Here was our original coverage of that event.

Glenn Tipton, clad only in his bikini Underwear and with beads of sweat still glistening on his chest, slumped in his chair Saturday afternoon in the interior of Busch Memorial Stadium. 

In lucid body language, Tipton and the other members of his rock band, expressed the same idea about what it's like to give a rock concert on a day when the temperature is in the high 80s: Yech!

"It was burning the toes of my boots, today," said Tipton, guitarist with the English rock band, Judas Priest "We obviously had to pace ourselves."

Tipton had it easy. Judas Priest performed for about an hour under a Canvas-topped stage; thousands of rock fans, on the other hand, planned to stay for hours on the stadium infield, where the sun beat down without interference.

The occasion was "Superjam," a marathon rock concert featuring five groups, several of them widely known. According to Irving Zuckerman, the 45,000-plus persons who attended made the concert the largest crowd to ever pay to attend a musical event in St. Louis.

Zuckerman is executive vice president of Contemporary Productions, Inc., the Creve Coeur based promoters of the concert.

Although the concert did not start until 4:15 p.m. it was slated to end at midnight the gates were opened early and the crowd began to enter at about 1:15 p.m.

It was a spectacle, something like the citizens of Rome welcoming the conquering American Army. The young persons came onto the field cheering, waving and holding their arms over their heads like conquering heroes.

Within a few hours, some of them felt conquered, instead. The first aid station reported treating more than 100 persons, most of them for heat exhaustion and some for drug overdoses. No one was seriously ill, head nurse, Virginia Price said.

The leading acts for the concert were R.E.O. Speedwagon, a five-man group originally from Champaign, Ill., and Ted Nugent, who Zuckerman says is also known as "The Motor City's guitar animal."

Other acts included Head East, of St. Louis, and Gypsy, a five-man five-group from Los Angeles.

St. Louis police reported about 6 p.m. that a group of persons, attending the concert broke into the Stadium Club. Police said the group broke the glass doors to the entrance of the club by pressing on them.

No other details were available, police said.

Lt. Edward J. Kasperski, who is in charge of a 33-man police detail stationed outside the stadium, said three arrests for fighting were made. Kasperski said he believed the crowd had generally been controlled. Parts of a fence surrounding the stadium were pulled up by youths attempting to crash the rock concert, Kasperski  said. He said damage was minor.

Four youths from Beliefontaine Neighbors Neighbors said they saw about 20 persons crash through a gate at the stadium. Security guards could not contain the youths.

The first aid room at the stadium reported about 200 cases of heat exhaustion exhaustion and alcohol and drug abuse at 8:30 p.m. Four youths were taken to City Hospital for alcohol and drug abuse. All were unconscious. Two policemen were reported to have suffered minor injuries.

Lt. Kaperskij said the officers were injured in separate incidents when they broke up fights among the spectators.

At 10 p.m., the stadium's gates were opened, and a small crowd of persons that had gathered outside rushed in cheering. The last hour-and-one-half of the concert was free for them. Ushers said that the crowd had damaged the gates earlier in the evening trying to get in.