Imagine watching Aerosmith, in a gymnasium, for $3 a head!

For students attending the University of Maine at Farmington in the early 1970s, they didn't have to use their imaginations. Thanks to a forward-thinking Student Senate Social Chair named Tullio Nieman, they had the opportunity to do just that.

Nieman, a sophomore at the school, managed with some luck, the phone book Yellow Pages (remember those?) and the promise of gasoline, to secure the up-and-coming Bad Boys from Beantown to play at the University's 1974 Winter Carnival in the school's gymnasium.

In a University of Maine Farmington Alumni newsletter published a few years back, Nieman recalled, in detail, exactly how the deal went down.

He said that a classmate had been raving to Nieman that this new band "Aerosmith" might be good to get for the event. Being a student, and not a savvy concert promoter, Nieman said he first consulted the Yellow Pages, which led him to an entertainment agency in Boston. He said he initially tried to get Aerosmith and ZZ Top to play a double bill, but the agency said ZZ Top wouldn't agree to go second on the bill, so they opted for just the one band.

He also said there was some hesitation because there was a question of how the band would get to Farmington, as there was a limit to the amount of gasoline (due to shortages from the Opec Oil Embargo of 1973/74) but that he promised that there would plenty of gas in the small Maine town, enough to fill up the two limos it would take to bring the band to Maine.

Finally, after a little convincing, and signing contracts he probably didn't have any legal authority to sign, the band was booked, for a February show.

"When they came in, everybody sat on the floor of Dearborn Gymnasium because we didn’t have any chairs. So it was body-to-body on the floor, right up to the stage. We weren’t even sure if we had exceeded the fire-code capacity or not. "

The openers were a band called The Repairs.

Nieman said the school's Athletic Director, Roger Wing, was very skeptical at first, but in the end, offered to host other shows in the gym because he was impressed with how the Aerosmith concert went.

"When it was their turn, I introduced Aerosmith on stage, and the place just went nuts. They played a really long show, considering the fact that they were fairly new and I didn’t know how much material they had. They played for at least an hour and 45 minutes and got a standing ovation. When they came back for encores, I remember Steven Tyler turning to Joe Perry and saying, “You’d think this is New York City or something!'"

Nieman went on to become President of the Student Senate due to the popularity of the Aerosmith concert, among other things. After college, he ended up working in Higher Education Administration for 40 years.

Pulling off a feat like that, I'd say he was certainly qualified for it!

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