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The Thunder Chicken

Grand Rapids – Alpine Ave. (AKA Top of the Rock 85-86, Alibi, Club 911, DV8)

Thunder Chicken

Thunder Chicken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thunderchicken (aka Thunderbird Dinner Theatre) was there in 1974 and 1975, for certain, run by Dick Bichler.
Rory Gallager, Kingston Trio, Kansas, James Gang, Kiss and the production of Jesus Christ Superstar played there.
Dirk Rivers was the House Band after this in 1975 and John Rumney was the head chef there.

Alibi Disco was there in Dick Rivers was the House Band, as my website partner Kim Rush saw John Mayall there.

Top of the Rock: concerts there in 1984 Foghat and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Where the Teen Club plays in here, I’m not sure???
It’s now Hanson Body Shop.
So it sounds like it was going for at least 10 years.

Thunder Bird Dinner Theater

Ah yes, the Thunder Chicken… (brief moment of silence in honor of all the brain cells I left dead there). I saw Bob Seger there before he got big. Others who have mentioned this venue’s later iteration as the “Top of the Rock” may be forgetting that in between it spent some time as “The Alibi” which was a tricked-out disco club in the mid 70’s.

Speaking of the scar disco has placed on our society, anyone remember the Coral Gables on 28th just west of the train overpass near Breton? I recall seeing the horn section from Earth Wind & Fire play there. As I recall, this club went through a handful of make-overs until its ultimate demise. Of course, back in those days Coral Gables was an entertainment behemoth with locations in Kalamazoo, Lansing, Saugatuck and several others including I believe Manistee. If you attended college in the 70s, you were accustomed to seeing concert posters advertising bands touring all their locations.

Whistle-Stop

Thunderchicken had 3 different lives..first the Thunderchicken with concerts and nightclub entertainment, then the Alibi, which was a mixed bag. Saw John Mayall there during that stage, and then it was a teenage place, correct?

Thunder Bird Dinner Theater

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Bichler’s Money Problems:

http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F2/715/1059/404887/

Thunder Chicken Ad June 1974

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dirk Rivers – Wrangler Country Music Star Search at the Thunder Chicken 1981

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRBnC-a387c  (11:37 Min)

Dirk Rivers – Wrangler Country Music Star Search at the Thunder Chicken 1981

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSz0FtmsXaY&feature=relmfu  (5:46 Min)

Steve Damstra on Lead guitar, Drummer Dick Vogel on Bass and Bass player Ronn Burke on Drums (Bass & Drummer switch) from Dirk Rivers – Wrangler Country Star Search at the Thunder Chicken 1981

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7FMTbXBbqY&feature=relmfu  (3:29 Min)

Thunderchicken infamous (dinner )Theatre ....a 30 plus yr old bumper sticker! Far out!

Thunderchicken infamous (dinner )Theatre ….a 30 plus yr old bumper sticker! Far out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Thunder Chicken Club – Anyone Remember It?

List of Rock Concerts & Stage Shows:

Not in any order!!!

  • KISS October 17, 1974
  • Rory Gallagher
  • Lettermen
  • James Gang
  • T Rex 1972
  • John Mayall March 1979
  • REO
  • Kingston Trio
  • New York Dolls
  • Skip Van Winkle and the Night Rockers
  • Kansas there twice in the early 70’s
  • MS Funk
  • Bob Seger (73-74 c.)
  • Chubby Checker
  • Minsky Burleques
  • Godspell
  • Pippin
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Wrangler Star Search Contest
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • Dick Rivers was the House Band
  • Foghat 1984

 

 

 

7 Responses to The Thunder Chicken

  1. John MacAulay says:

    I remember Thunder Chicken well, particularly the Rory Gallagher
    show. He had the whole place rockin’, including the members of
    Tanglewood (standing on their chairs !), who coverered a number of
    Rory’s songs in their shows at Putt-Putts, Harbor Inn in Grand Haven,
    etc. etc.
    Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush put on a great show, along with the
    first Kansas show, a band I’d never heard of before. I remember
    saying to a buddy, “For $5 these guys had better be good !” They
    were.
    The Rockets were also wonderful, covering Peter Green’s (Fleetwood
    Mac) “Oh Well” and Savoy Brown’s version of Louisiana Blues. TC also
    sponsered a bus TRIP to the Led Zeppelin concert at the Olympia in
    Detroit on Jan. 31, 1975…$30 for the whole gig, a show at The
    Chicken before the bus took off, LED ZEP and no concerns about
    driving !
    I could go on and on, but these are just a few of my memories of
    some great times at Thunder Chicken and the music scene in GR in
    the early to mid ’70s.

    John (Grand Rapids)

  2. al Wagenaar says:

    another great concert there was with Wayne Cochran & CC Riders…it was an oldies show of sort with Billy Joe Royal and a few others I do not remember, Wayne closed the show and was a wild man rocking hard and standing on tables. Anyone else remember who was on that bill?

  3. Danny Broyhill says:

    Coral Gables on 28th street was also The Grotto’ at one time in 71 or 1972, and I believe it was originally, The Kentwood Roller Rink, which moved from Divison and 52nd street area, where many big bands played in the late 60’s early 70’s… Saw Uriah Heep and Alice Cooper there.

  4. Mark says:

    TXosuIjNtUX0
    I bought a ticket to the John Mayall concert there. I was going to Grand Valley State Colleges at the time and was pretty broke. So I had this ticket and just enough gas to get there. I had no idea how I was getting back but I went anyway. When I got there I was looking over the sound board and the spot light. Some guy asked me if I’d ever run a spot light before and I said yes which was true from running spots at the Dome Production concerts at GVSC. So I got to run the spot light that night and the guy gave me $10! I stopped at the first gas station I could find after the concert and stopped to have a burrito. It turned out to be an interesting and enjoyable night.
    I didn’t get to meet the band though. Shucks.

  5. Will Schader says:

    Played both the Chicken and the Manistee Coral Gables in 78 and 79. Lot of fun. Miss it sometimes.

    • Kathy says:

      Blue Motorcycles, Car Crashes, water fountains, Thur. college nites, biggest disco & light show & dance floor, 3-tiered seating, and kick-ass sound system! I would give anything to dance all night there again.

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