36 years ago today, Sammy Hagar played his first Portland headlining show at the Civic Center He'd been here twice previously. The first show was opening for Boston in 1978. the second appearance was as the warm-up for ZZ Top in 1983 (my first concert evah! BTW) Sammy did more than just warm up the crowd that night, he melted every single face.

On April 7, 1985, the Red Rocker returned to Portland on the VOA tour with Dokken opening. The VOA album eventually went platinum and features his signature song, I Can’t Drive 55. 
The show fell on a Sunday. We bet some Blimpsters had a rough first day back to work or school after being up late partying with Sammy. Looks like it was well worth it, though. Check out what he played.


Later on that year in September, Sammy played onstage with Eddie Van Halen for the first time at the first Farm Aid. This was the historic and public transition from successful solo artist to fronting Van Halen.

Here's that first very public onstage jam with Eddie covering Led Zeppelin's Rock and Roll.

His next appearance as a headliner at the Civic Center for a two night stand in Portland in the summer of ’86. Now Sammy Hagar was Van Halen’s new lead singer.

Here's the whole show in New Haven a couple days after they rocked Portland senseless.

We count a total of 11 Maine appearances by Sammy Hagar from 1978 in Augusta to 1995 in Old Orchard Beach. He came here 6 times as a solo artist and 5 times with Van Halen.

Sammy Hagar is definitely at the top of our list for must-see concerts when this COVID craziness is finally over.

He actually has shows with The Circle booked for next month in Florida.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

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