TICKETS TORN IN HALF:July 17,1969:CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL/ TERRY REID/AUM @ Fillmore East, NYC.
JULY 19: CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL with TERRY REID and AUM, July 19, 1969 at FILLMORE EAST. With my kid brother, a fan of Creedence at my side, I was there to see the undercard,Terry Reid, having loved both of his albums. San Francisco’s AUM opened the show and closed their set with GOD IS BACK IN TOWN, a song which was getting some air play at the time. Terry Reid hit the stage announcing that his favorite Les Paul guitar was stolen the previous night and he begged for its return. Despite not having his trustworthy axe, Terry had the place on its feet by sets end. Then the hit makers CCR rocked the house. Dressed like rich hippies with flannel shirts, jeans and boots, these swamp rockers closed it all out with a 20 minute version of “KEEP ON CHOOGLIN”. Even with my limited experience I knew this band would not be playing for the East Village hippies much longer. Bigger pay days in shittier, larger halls would be their destiny.
Set list for Summer of 69: Born on the Bayou Green River Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do) Commotion Bootleg Bad Moon Rising Proud Mary I Put a Spell on You The Night Time Is the Right Time Keep on Chooglin’ Suzy Q
TICKETS TORN IN HALF:July 12,1969:BLIND FAITH/DELANEY,BONNIE and FRIENDS/FREE @ Madison Square Garden, NYC.
But as they sang on ever popular TV show LAUGH IN “what’s the news across the nation”, well, Warren Burger becomes CHIEF JUSTICE of THE SUPREME COURT and two weeks later he votes with the majority in ROE v WADE, establishing a woman’s right to an abortion. In late June I read an article about the STONEWALL RIOTS, a confrontation between gay rights activists and the NYPD outside the gay bar STONEWALL INN located in Greenwich Village. Sexuality, or the way folks thought about sexuality was changing right in front of our eyes, Women’s Rights, Gay Rights.
JULY 12,1969 BLIND FAITH
For some strange reason in the late sixties record companies coined the phrase SUPER GROUP, as in CREAM the first and then BLIND FAITH the most notable. TIME magazine even wrote about the “supergroup” as a “potent but short-lived rock phenomenon” which was an “amalgam formed by the talented malcontents of other bands.” The article acknowledged that groups such as Cream and Blind Faith “played enormous arenas and made megabucks, and sometimes megamusic”.Harsh words but somewhat true especially in the case of BLIND FAITH, JULY 12,1969 at MADISON SQUARE GARDEN.
To put BLIND FAITH in context, the week they performed at THE GARDEN, the song “IN THE YEAR 2525” by Zager and Evans was a Number 1 hit across the nation. Lord help us. So for what in today’s economic standards would be a meager $6.50 but was costly in ‘69 I ventured out to see the American debut of BLIND FAITH the “newest” SUPER GROUP featuring Eric Clapton (guitar/vocals) and Ginger Baker(drums) from the aforementioned “supergroup” CREAM, Ric Grech (bass and violin) from FAMILY and Steve Winwood(vocals, guitar,keyboards) from TRAFFIC, on a bill with FREE, and DELANEY,BONNIE and FRIENDS. All to be showcased on a revolving stage set in the middle of the cavernous arena; which in hindsight, having the stage located where it was… was not a good idea.
A few of my thoughts on the performance are a bit cloudy, musically that is, especially the BLIND FAITH portion of the show as their first lp was still days away from hitting the shops and most of their live material that night was unfamiliar to the attending audience, especially me. It was believed that their musicianship when blended together should have perked up our ears, as these members were already “musical legends”. In hindsight one could say that these guys as a band hit the road a bit too early. Add to that, the sound system used that evening was atrocious.
The English group FREE kicked off their American career with an enthusiast set to which the audience responded in kind, some even positive. Most of their tunes were unfamiliar to this crowd as would be BLIND FAITH’s set.
This night was my second shot at seeing DB and F in only a month’s time. Again the sound system hindered their funky proselytizing but from where I sat they worked and wooed the crowd to its feet.They were a band on the rise.
Blind Faith on the other hand was dead in the water from the opening tune.They appeared underrehearsed, seemingly uncomfortable with each other on stage and then there was the poor sound system to deal with. About 18,000 people awaiting to hear songs they were unfamiliar with didn’t add anything positive to the mix. It was truly a “blind faith” on our part for showing up as only one song had been released by this “super group”. Being familiar with Traffic and Cream I was anticipating a blend of both from this outfit and Blind Faith did their Cream/Traffic thing as expected until tensions in the crowd grew and the show was ended by the NYPD. Ginger Baker the drummer, left his throne, walked to the edge of the stage where he hit a security guard (NYPD) who allegedly “manhandled” a girl. Show or the musical portion of the show anyway was over, now the dramatics began as the security team attempted to get the “supergroup” through the crowd surrounding the circular stage in the center of Madison Square Garden. From what I remember the NYPD who were slighted by Mr. Baker did little to control the crowd hindering the security attempt to exit the band.
Despite all this drama and a poor sound equipment, overall, this show was a great concert experience for my young concert days. Yes, sometimes the crowd IS the show as it was tonight and yes, sometimes the undercard (Free and DB&F) is better than the head liner.
The BLIND FAITH set list is from a bootleg which has circulated for some time:
Had To Cry Today
Can’t Find My Way Home
Sleeping In The Ground
Well All Right
In The Presence Of The Lord
Sea Of Joy
Do What You Like
Means To An End
Blind Faith: Madison Square Garden, July 14, 1969 Review
Blind Faith Group Sings
New York Times, July 14th 1969
By Mike Jahn
Blind Faith, the British rock group succeeding Cream, which became very popular in the last few years, played an impressive opening Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Blind Faith presents Eric Clapton on guitar, Ginger Baker on drums, Steve Winwood, guitar and keyboards, and Rick Grech, bass and electric violin.
The group packed the Garden in its first United States appearance. As usual, the Garden sound system was bad, and the breaks between songs were punctuated by indignant shouts to that effect. Considering the acoustics and the size of the house, Blind Faith did rather well.
Mr. Clapton and Mr. Baker play loosely structured, emotional music. Mr. Winwood leans toward tightly structured but soulful rock. Putting together such intensely individual artists as those three men is a risky business. Blind Faith emerges as more versatile and precise than either cream or the rival British group Traffic, but unfortunately not as exciting as either.
Mr. Winwood’s vocals were taut and effective as usual. Mr. Baker contributed an explosive, imaginative drum solo that was the emotional high point of the night.
Also on the program were Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, an exciting soul-and-gospel group from Los Angeles.
(5)June 15, 1972: Led Zeppelin @ Nassau Coliseum was advertised as a 3 1/2 hour show and as I was still shaking from the MSG fiasco (9/3/71) less than a year ago so I had NO intentions of going to this venue to see Led Zeppelin especially in this new arena which made headlines by have the Nassau PD bust scores of concert goers in the parking lot for drinking (tailgating) and smoking before a GRATEFUL DEAD show only a few weeks before. BUT at the Todd Rundgren show only a few days before, my girlfriend found two tickets for LZ next to the gear box in my VW. Strange as it sounds she did not place the tickets there and to this day I still never found who or why, but we went to the show, with me looking over my shoulder the whole time. (Great review by Robert Christgau in NEWSDAY- see LZ website for setlist and review of this 2 night stand.)
(1)May 30,1969@Fillmore East: For me the first time and in the best place in NYC, FILLMORE EAST was THEE venue to see LED ZEPPELIN. The talk since late January was how this band from England, the undercard on the bill, destroyed IRON BUTTERFLY which was the headliner for this weekend of shows. The buzz was that Led Zeppelin left IB stunned in the wings awaiting to hit the stage,left only to play their hit IN A GADDA DA VIDA to the chagrin of many. The schism is now widened as a new sound is in town.
May 22, 2004: THE WHO @ MSG This was a very short tour of the States consisting of stops in Boston and New York. My 7th time seeing what is labeled as THE WHO. I guess Pete has all rights to claim the name when he stands along side of Roger. Tonight they did all songs penned by Pete Townshend, except Mose Allisons’ “Young Man Blues” which was an encore. We arrived early to see an un-announced opening act The (New and Reformed?) NEW YORK DOLLS.
The Who: Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, with “Rabbit”, Zak Starkey, Simon Townshend, Pino Palladino
We sat in the very last row middle of MSG, so far back from the band but a delight.
Throughout my 50 plus years of going to concerts I spent many a night and early morn in various clubs, bars, VFW halls and ballrooms throughout the tri-state area. I’ve been to the usual spots such as CBGB’s, MAX’S KANSAS CITY, The Bitter End, The Bottom Line, The Mudd Club,Great Gildersleeves, Kenny’s Castaway,The Blue Note, Village Vanguard, Club 82, Hurrah, etc., then throw in a few Long Island hot spots such as My Father’s Place, Right Track Inn, The Iron Horse, UBIE’S, Hammerheads, Malibu and so many more. Many of the bands were famous for a moment, or they were notorious and had to be seen by me, some more than once, some on a semi-regular basis. They include:
Attila (Billy Joel/Jon Small duo)
Boom Town Rats
Bow Wow Wow
Bulldog (Dino and Gene from The Rascals)
Buzz and The Flyers
James Chance and The Contortions
aka James White and The Blacks
Cycle Sluts From Hell
The Del Lords
8 Eyed Spy
The Harlots of 42nd St.
Richard Hell and The Void Oids
HooDoo Rhythm Devils
Incredible Baby Band
Jason and The Scorchers
Levi and The Rockats
Little Buster and The Soul Bros.
Milk and Cookies
Teenage Jesus and The Jerks
Murray The K’s Music In The 5th Dimension | RKO 58 St Theater (28 shows over nine days and nights) featuring:
Mitch Ryder & Detroit Wheels, Wilson Pickett, The Who, Hardly-Worthit Players, Cream, Blues Magoos, The Blues Project, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Jim & Jean, Mandala, The Chicago Loop, Phil Ochs, Simon & Garfunkel, The Young Rascals
(udiscovermusic.com)When both The Who and Cream made their live debut in America, it could hardly have been any less auspicious. It happened for both of them on 25 March 1967 at the RKO Keith Theater on 58th and 3rd Ave in New York City. The shows were redolent of the old 1940s variety shows with a bill packed with artists that actually began at 10 o’clock in the morning and ran all day with a movie thrown in for good measure. All the artists on the bill played five shows a day and it was grueling; the whole thing was promoted by New York’s legendary DJ, Murray the K.
The Who and Cream, or The Cream as they were billed, were well down the bill. Headlining were Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Wilson Pickett, with Buddy Miles was on drums, The Hardly Worthit Players, The Mandala, the Chicago Loop, Simon & Garfunkel, Jim & Jean, Phil Ochs, The Young Rascals and The Blues Project, Al Kooper’s band.
For me, Led Zeppelin began as the epitome of everything good about rock: solid guitar work, forceful vocals and rhythmic backing, devotion to primal blues forms, and most of all, thunderous excitement on stage and vinyl. But as superstardom came to them, so too came the gradual evaporation of those qualities from their sound. In the same way that the Rolling Stones evolved into a senior, “safe” bizarro-perversion band, Led Zeppelin has become a senior, “safe” heavy-metal band. But by its very nature safety cannot coexist with heavy-metal fire and macho intensity (or bizarro-perversion, for that matter), which is probably why Houses of the Holy is one of the dullest and most confusing albums I’ve heard this year.