Rob De Luca of Spread Eagle: Five Concerts That Changed My Life

Rob De Luca Interview

Feature Photo: ChrisJamesRyanPhotography /

We’ve had the great Rob De Luca of Spread Eagle here before, and he’s one of our favorites to chat with. During a recent conversation after dishing on the albums that changed his life, Rob made light of the fact that many concerts also changed his life.

And so, we listened, making this the first of a series where we grab our favorite artists five concerts that changed their life. Thanks for the inspiration, Rob! Were any of you at any of these shows, too?

# 5 – Kix at The Channel

I read that many audience members formed known bands after seeing The Ramones play in London for the first time at The 100 Club. Well, my version of that story is when Kix came through The Channel in Boston in the mid-1980s, I witnessed the metal scene change overnight.

All the local bands would come out to watch when a national rolled through town, and it was certainly packed for Kox. Their professionally choreographed show, the segues, the props, and the killer tunes had everyone watching raising their game. Bands (including mine) immediately began building “ego boxes” to stand on, involving lights.

We were still local bands but now performed like we were playing for much bigger stakes. Kix continued to build and got MTV success on their following album, Blow My Fuse (1988). It’s good to know when they retired, they went out on top.

#4 – Guns N’ Roses at The Paradise 

Long before the “Sweet Child O’ Mine” video was filmed, the only place we could see and hear Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to The Jungle” was on the video reel at Jim Blute’s Narcissus in Kenmore Square. Then it was announced that Gn’R would make their first-ever Boston appearance at The Paradise, just up the street.

We, the metal scene squeezed into the 500-seater, witnessed raw power unlike anything else at that time. I remember Axl [Rose] spoke introductions to describe almost every song. I remember Izzy [Stradlin] having some tuning issues. I remember feeling that I was witnessing a sea change. And the rest is, as they say, history.

# 3 – Fugazi at the NYU Auditorium

DIY ethics were embodied in the band Fugazi from Washington, D.C. They refused major labels and Lollapalooza. They owned their own label, produced their own records, did their own booking, and demanded venues only charge $5 for shows.

I saw Fugazi every time they came through NYC, including what they described as their craziest show ever, at the NYU Auditorium. This post-hardcore band invented a guitar attack that (directly or indirectly) influenced thousands of punk, indie, and rock bands. Always one of my favorites!

# 2 – U2 at the Worcester Centrum

The first time I saw U2, it was not a concert that changed my life. Don’t get me wrong, the 1985 Unforgettable Fire Tour at the Worcester Centrum was quite good, but I grew up seeing the absolute greats: Van Halen with Diamond Dave, AC/DC with Bon, Sabbath with Ozzy. Although I enjoyed U2, we were just as focused on rushing home in time to hit the clubs before the last call.

However, years later, when U2 released All That You Can’t Leave Behind, I was ready to try it again and am so glad I did! The band had reached dizzying new heights of inspiration that taught me heaviness is not only defined by guitar distortion or thundering drums. I saw that concert and had to continue to experience it repeatedly throughout the Northeast. A legendary band at the peak of their powers is truly something to behold.

# 1 – Dead End Kids at various shows throughout New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania

Speaking of the Northeast, every scene in every region had bands that defined it. When I was a teen, in my eyes, the absolute kings of the Philly/Jersey scene were the Dead End Kids. Picture Motley before Motley, mixed with classic hard rock. Two great singers, two great guitarists, and the most hypnotizing live show around.

Dead End Kids wrote strong originals and played their own versions of cover songs, as was the style on the club scene at that time. We traveled to see them in NJ, MD, and PA; being close to something so powerful and unique forever changed me and is the defining reason I wanted to be in a band.

In the mid-80s, bands from the Philly region began succeeding on MTV, and to my absolute horror, they had “pinched” the entire Dead End Kids stage show! Any band spinning their guitars around their bodies or doing high kicks through the drop ceiling owes credit to the originators, Dead End Kids.

Bill Matson went on to sing for Tangier, Georgie Rumbol is still out there doing his thing, and Kelly James is sadly no longer with us. Check out this rough video:

Rob De Luca of Spread Eagle: Five Concerts That Changed My Life article published on Classic© 2024 Protection Status


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