Oregon Jam 1983

The date was July 16, 1983 and I remember it well. Almost 31 years have passed, but I still remember all the events surrounding that weekend. I had just graduated from high school and was working as a dishwasher at the Crescent City Denny’s. I was 17 years old and finding my own freedoms for the first time in my life. I heard that a group of my friends Eric and Todd Taylor with Francisco Lopez and Andrew Barneburg were headed to the Oregon Jam. I wanted to go to the concert but I was working. But little things like that rarely deter me.

Eric had gotten the use of his parents van and the four of them loaded up on Friday and headed for Eugene. I remember they had an Oregon Jam or Bust sign on the side of the van. The exceptional part was they had drawn tits instead of writing the word bust.

I was working graveyard and had decided I could leave as soon as I got off work at 6AM and drive straight to the concert. Of course on Friday morning my car was acting up and making noise. I needed to get my car fixed so I did not sleep much Friday. When I headed to work Friday night I had left my car with Tom Westfall who was fixing it for me. He arrived at Denny’s with my car around midnight accompanied by a couple cop cars complete with the lights. A little excitement for our small town. The car was fixed and was full of gas and ready to go.

I jumped in my car and hauled ass for Grants Pass and the interstate. I drove up the interstate way too fast. I made the 240 mile drive in a little less than four hours. I was in time to get a ticket and buy a shirt on my way into the concert. I saw several people from Crescent City, but I never ran into my friends. The days before cell phones were really quite different.

While researching for this story, actually just looking for a picture or two from back in the day, I ran into an interesting blog by Greg Kihn Band. In the GKB blog they talk about playing the Oregon Jam in 1983. GKB mentions the line up as Loverboy, Triumph, Joan Jett, and Night Ranger. Those four bands played and the opener was Quiet Riot and not Greg Kihn. GKB mentions it was outside and it rained that day. That also is false, there was no rain. The part about Joan Jett kicking eveyone’s ass is the only part they got right. Anybody else that was there remember Greg Kihn playing?

I stayed at the concert until 6 PM and ran to my car to get back to Crescent City because I had to work at 10PM. I drove home even faster than I had driven up there. I had a stretch of over 30 minutes where I was going 100 mph or more. This trip was different because I was dead tired and fighting sleep the entire way. Mountain Dew and sunflower seeds were enough for me to will myself home on a couple hours sleep in the last three days.

I pulled into work about ten minutes late because I had to make several survival stops. I would get out and jump around, splash myself with cold water and grab another soda. I ran into work and clocked in and started the nights work. A couple hours into the shift any adrenaline I had working was gone. I was as tired as I have ever been.  I was working my third straight shift on no sleep and fourth on three hours sleep. About three in the morning a waitress came back to the dishwashing area to find me sleeping standing up. I actually closed my eyes and took short naps while standing.

I have attended many concerts in my life, but this one stands out for all the circumstances surrounding it. I made huge sacrifices and took big risks just to be there.


5 Responses to “Oregon Jam 1983”

  1. Francisco Says:

    Victor Ray Shaw….I just discovered your blog. I was looking for some pictures of Crescent City so could show my new team here where I grew up and somehow came across your blog with pictures. Great stories. Oregon Jam and working at Denny’s just brings back a lot to great memories. What a great summer that was.

    I lost my phone last year and lost all my contacts so give me a call or email me when you get a chance.

    Take Care,

  2. Dawn Marie Nunn Says:

    Hello, I was also at the jam,my first concert, my first drink of alcohol, {because it was hot NOT raining and i was told it was gatorade} and the first time i was allowed to go out of town with a bunch of friends.I’m wondering …did you find any pictures or videos online? I would love to see some but haven’t had luck in finding them.

  3. ms Says:

    I was there and Quiet Riot did open. I was actually blow away by Triumph live and it did not rain, it was HOT that day. My buddy from school was originally from EUG so we road tripped from St Helens (40 mi west of Portland) to stay with his dad in EUG and went to a rager party on River Rd the night before. Great show and a great weekend! Greg K must have the booze drugs and RNR fuzzing his brain. Cheers! \m/

  4. teri Williams morgan Says:

    I went. I was ” goin out with” Reece we went together with his sister Robyn yes it was hot you left out foreigner though. Good times awesome memories

  5. Reina Michelle Bluth Says:

    Reina Michelle Bluth

    Oregon Jam 1983 | Tells-n-Lies

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