Buffalo in the ’90s: Dead Heads outside Rich Stadium

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

The Grateful Dead seemed to be on a single, constant, unending tour through the ’80s into the ’90s.

Buffalo News archives

They played at Rich Stadium in 1986, 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1993. There were also a number of solo concerts from each of the band’s members during those years, giving Grateful Dead fans — Dead Heads — ample opportunity to hear from Jerry Garcia and the boys.

Buffalo News archives

“Truckin’ Up to Buffalo” was a double CD/DVD released by the Dead in 2005, a recording of the 1989 concert at Rich.

The photos on this page were from what was the most memorable experience for many — the 1992 concert marred with box office problems that resulted in what police later called a near riot among many in the sellout crowd of 65,000.

Fans who were familiar with both Bills games and Dead shows said stadium officials dropped the ball at the concert.

“At the Dead show, there were no garbage cans in the parking lot, no toilets, and the wait in the ticket line was horrendous, as bad as I’ve ever experienced,” one fan told The News. “Everybody was pushing up against each other trying to get in. But we had to keep waiting and waiting. People were getting angry. You never see this kind of stuff at a football game. They’ve got to do something at Rich Stadium, or there’s going to be big trouble at one of these concerts.”

Following the show, two men were found dead in separate areas outside the stadium in suspected drug overdoses.

The following year, the Grateful Dead returned with Sting for what would be their last show at Rich Stadium.

The K-Mart Radio Network was my favorite radio station

By Steve Cichon | steve@buffalostories.com | @stevebuffalo

I was 11 when we moved to Orchard Park.

We lived within walking distance of Taffy’s, McDonald’s, and K-Mart, and when we were bored, we’d shake the couch cushions (or make a small raid on Dad’s change bowl) for a buck or two and head to one of those places to waste some time and get something to eat. I laugh at the thought of me at 11– ordering a small coffee and a hamburger at McDonald’s because it was something like $1.24.

When we had no money– or a lot of money– we’d go wander around K-Mart for hours. Never causing any trouble, just browsing and wishing… Toys, bikes, camping equipment, records, tapes, CDs, electronics, tools, books… We spent A LOT of time and most of our money in there.

The store was about where the Lowes and Tops now stand on Southwestern Blvd. It looked like the K-Mart in this video– But all the K-Marts built in the 70s looked like that.

This K-M-R-T jingle used to play incessantly on the PA at K-Mart… along with the big voiced announcer reading specials and always ending with “Thank you for shopping your Orchard Park K-Mart.”

I snagged this audio clip from this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t5TYw2bkOk

Buffalo in the ’90s: Bills’ future in Orchard Park in jeopardy?

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

While renovations at Rich Stadium continued, Erie County Executive Dennis Gorski was looking toward the end of the Bills’ 25-year lease in Orchard Park.

The Bills would go on to sign a 15-year lease to remain in the stadium in December 1998. The deal, which included renaming the facility Ralph Wilson Stadium, called for $125 million from New York State and Erie County public funding.

More recently, a 10-year lease extension was signed in December 2012. That deal involved a total of $130 million being spent — $35 million of it from the Bills — on stadium upgrades.

April 24, 1994: Erie County, Bills have not met about lease

“County Executive Gorski and Bills owner Ralph Wilson agreed last Oct. 4 to do $23 million in renovations at Rich Stadium this spring. That work has begun. It also was announced then that the agreement committed the Bills to begin negotiations on a new lease in January.

“That was 4 1/2 years before its expiration date in August 1998. But both sides confirmed this week that this has not happened.”