In 1986 Billboard magazine ranked Neil Diamond as the most commercially successful solo performer of the year.  If appearances at Poplar Creek were any indication, they definitely contributed to this impressive ranking.

Even though Neil Diamond wasn’t selling as many albums in 1986, his concerts were still a hit.  Poplar Creek started the season with three Neil Diamond shows in the lineup (July 8-10) and quickly sold out the pavilion seating.  When the lawn seating started to go in a hurry too, they added an additional two shows on the 11th and 12th.  Additionally, his shows were the most expensive of the season, coming in at a whopping $23.50 a ticket!

The only other performer that season who added an additional show was Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band.  His first show–pavilion and lawn seating–sold out in a red hot hurry too.

Whitney Houston was also at the top of her form and it showed by virtue of the fact that she signed on for two shows.  1986 was a huge year for her.  She was nominated for three Grammies and won for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for her hit single “Saving All My Love For You.”  Her performance of that song at the Grammies earned her an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.  She was HOT that year and those who saw the shows were fortunate!

And, since we’re keeping track, the only performers who had performed every year since the theatre opened in 1980 were still Jimmy Buffett and Willie Nelson!  Music machines.

It’s also interesting to note which of the backup bands became famous in their own right.  Metallica, Randy Travis, The Bangles and Fine Young Cannibals certainly leap to mind when viewing the list.

May 25   Reba McEntire

June 6   Johnny & the Leisure Suits with Steve Dahl & Garry Meier

June 7   Alabama

June 15   Joe Jackson

June 19   The Chick Corea Electric Band, Wayne Shorter and Al DeMeola

June 20   Stevie Ray Vaughn with the Fabulous  T-Birds

June 21   Stevie Nicks with Peter Frampton

June 22   Depeche Mode with The Book of Love

June 25   Eddie Murphy with the Weather Girls

June 28   Willie Nelson

June 29   Bob Dylan with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

July 1   Julian Lennon with Chris Bliss

July 2   Kool and the Gang with Van Gunter

July 3   The Judds with Gary Morris

July 5   Moody Blues with The Fixx

July 6   Jimmy Buffett

July 7   Robert Palmer with Bourgeous Tagg

July 8,  Neil Diamond

July 9   Neil Diamond

July 10   Neil Diamond

July 11   Neil Diamond

July 12   Neil Diamond

July 13   Ozzy Osbourne with Metallica

July 14   Jackson Browne with Peter Case

July 15   The Cure with Phil N’ Blanche

July 19   .38 Special with Honeymoon Suite

July 25   Santana

July 26   Bobby Vinton

July 27   Manhattan Transfer

August 1   Starship with The Outfield

August 2   Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme

August 3   Billy Crystal with Randy Newman

August 4   Pointer Sisters

August 6   Air Supply

August 7   The Monkees with Herman’s Hermits, Union Gap and Grass Roots

August 8  The Oak Ridge Boys with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

August 9  The Temptations and The Four Tops

August 10   Judas Priest with Krokus

August 12   James Taylor

August 15   Bob Seger with The Fabulous Thunderbirds

August 16   Bob Seger with The Fabulous Thunderbirds

August 17   Mr. Mister with The Bangles

August 20   John Denver

August 21  Eurythmics

August 22  George Benson

August 23   Elton John

August 24   Loverboy with Dokken

August 25   Anne Murray

August 26   Steve Winwood with Jimmy Cliff

August 27   Beach Boys with Katrina and the Waves

August 29   UB 40 with Fine Young Cannibals

August 30   Whitney Houston

August 31   Whitney Houston

September 1   Andreas Vollenweider

September 4   AC/DC with Loudness

September 5   Patti LaBelle with Woody Henderson

September 6   Hank Williams Jr. with Earl Thomas Conley

September 19   Barbara Mandrell with Randy Travis

Does anything else in this list catch your eye?  Did you attend any of the shows?  I know I went to the Anne Murray show because the library had tickets.  I remember she made a special point about welcoming us to Hoffman Estates on a Monday night.  It was a pretty darned good show and the fact that we had pavilion seating made it all the better!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

3 Responses to “POPLAR CREEK’S 7TH SEASON 1986”

  1. Jim B Says:

    Didn’t Kenny G open for Whitney Houston?

    • jrozek Says:

      It’s possible but I did not see it mentioned in either the Daily Herald or the Chicago Tribune. It looks like he opened for her in 1987 in various venues per this site. If you find a definitive answer, please let me know and I’ll add him to the list.

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

  2. David Keljik Says:

    I saw 3 shows on that list. Chic Corea, Wayne Shorter & Al DeMeola. The speed of this trio was truly mind blowing. Santana I saw 27 times over the years, my favorite artist. I got to meet him and the band years later in south Florida. He welcomed me to speak to him and his wife as if we were old friends. The Cure was new to the scene at that time, no one really new who they were. Their opening with the cryogenic fog would have made Deep Purple proud. They were a tight band that I followed from then on.

    David Keljik

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