Monday, January 19, 2015

Rock and Roll in the 70's Part 4

Back to the 70's again. At another Day on the Green, Bill Graham's extravaganzas held in the stadium next to the Oakland Coliseum Arena, Jeff Beck joined five other bands for a marathon day of mostly good music, excepting the Jefferson Starship, a poor imitation of the Airplane. This concert took place on June 5, 1976. Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull came to the aforementioned Coliseum on July 23, 1973. I had great seats on the aisle for this show and got some excellent photographs. The next two photographs are of performers no longer with us. Lowell George, the founder and soul of the great Little Feat, is shown in this shot from Winterland on February 14, 1976. The band carries on to this day and has overcome his death to remain a an excellent group. Lou Reed appeared at the Old Waldorf on March 22, 1978. I had no recollection of this show until I dug out old slides from the garage, and voila! there he was.

Rock and Roll in the 80's Part 1

I'm still culling through old slides to scan, bringing back long-forgotten concerts to mind. For this group, we're moving into the 80's for a bit, although cameras were beginning to get banned at almost all shows. At the top is Jim Carroll at the Old Waldorf in December of 1980. A poet, ex-junkie, street hustler, and author of the acclaimed "Basketball Diaries" he embarked on a tour of clubs across the country. Next up in the much-beloved Kiwi band Split Enz, featuring my favorite songwriter Neil Finn of Crowded House, shown in the blue suit next to his brother Tim, in red, who founded the band. This photograph is from the Old Waldorf in November of 1980. Just another of the shows I had completely forgotten about. On October 23rd of 1982, the Who arrived at the Oakland Coliseum for Day on the Green #3, along with the Clash. Sitting in the bleachers behind the stage, I got this shot of Pete Townsend doing one of his trademark jumps. Finally, we have Peter Frampton at Winterland in November of 1982, about six years removed from his massive hit, "Frampton Comes Alive" also recorded at Winterland.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Rock and Roll in the 70's Part 3

More archival photographs from the 70's starting with Rockpile from the Old Waldorf in June of 1978. One of my favorite bands from that era consisting of Nick Lowe on bass, Dave Edmunds and Billy Bremner on twin lead guitar, and Terry Williams on drums. Great band with three excellent songwriters and singers. Next up is the late Tommy Bolin from Winterland. He played with the James Gang for a while before going solo. Died tragically at 25 years old. Third is Hall and Oates from the Paramount Theater in Oakland on October 12th, 1976, still a great place to catch a show. I'd completely forgotten that I'd ever seen them, much less where it was once I found the slides. The internet came to the rescue. Cat Stevens from the Oakland Coliseum on February 10th, 1976 follows. This was a terrific show despite the less-than-perfect acoustics of the basketball arena. Finally, the Bruce Springsteen protege Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes from the Old Waldorf on October of 1979. He's still touring fairly regularly to this day.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rock and Roll in the 70's Part 2

I didn't always go to clubs to see music in the 70's. Often accompanied by my friend Dana Jang, a disc jockey and music director at two of San Jose's main rock stations, we saw countless shows in every imaginable venue in the Bay Area. Usually the deal was, "You drive, I've got the tickets." This was a cozy arrangement because Dana's tickets were always good, often with backstage passes included. We (I should say he) often got to schmooze with the talent as well. I stood by watching the interactions, sometimes getting introduced, sometimes just a bystander trying to stay under the radar. At the top is Elton John at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum in October of 1975. This is a large basketball arena not conducive to great photography unless I was with Dana. Below Elton is George Harrison with guitarist Robben Ford and Jim Horn on horns, also at the Oakland Coliseum in November of 1975. Great band, lackluster performance by George who was suffering from throat issues throughout the much-maligned tour. Next up is Steve Miller at one of Bill Graham's Days on the Green extravaganzas, almost always held at the outdoors at the Oakland Stadium next door to the Coliseum. This is where the A's and the Raiders still play. We had backstage passes and sat in the bleachers behind the stage with the bands playing with their backs to us. I told Steve to turn around so I could get a shot. Roger Daltrey and the Who came to town in March of 1976 to play Winterland, a great venue for photography because you could roam freely around. For this shot I went into the balcony behind the stage for a few songs. Last is Rod Stewart, back when he was great. This is in March of 1976 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, a show which also included Peter Frampton and other bands I can't remember. For this show, I was in the photographer's pit in front of the stage, thanks to Dana.

Rock and Roll in the 70's

Over Christmas vacation, while my wife was in El Salvador, I dug out a large box from the garage and found a cache of little yellow Kodak slide boxes I hadn't looked at in years. It turned out I had photographed bands and individual performers I had forgotten I ever saw! Talk about feeling old! The ones above I actually do remember seeing, thank God. So began hours of scanning and Photoshopping. At the top is Gary Busey and the late Paul Butterfield at the Old Waldorf, a now-defunct nightclub in the Financial District in San Francisco in February of 1978. I think Busey was riding the coattails of the Buddy Holly Story. The late, great Rick Danko of the Band was also along for the ride on this tour. Next up is one of my favorites, Elvis Costello at the Berkeley Community
Theater in February of 1979. Below Elvis is Ian Hunter at the Old Waldorf, also in February of 1979. Hunter was the lead singer and songwriter of the British group Mott the Hoople. He also played the Fillmore last night. Still going strong apparently. The fourth photograph is the beautiful Emmylou Harris at the Boarding House in downtown San Francisco, the most intimate of the clubs but also the one with the worst lighting by a wide margin. Mostly red with an occasional yellow thrown in for variety. Emmylou had a powerhouse band with her, and in this shot is the excellent British guitarist Albert Lee. This show was in November of 1977.

The Jayhawks at the Fillmore, 1/9/15

Thursday night, my friend George and I braved the evening traffic up to San Francisco to catch one of my favorite bands, The Jayhawks, at the venerable Fillmore Auditorium. George was kind enough to get tickets for a band he had only a passing familiarity with, but left a fan of this great "Americana" group from Minneapolis. Two hours of terrific songs written by Gary Louris and played by a band with thirty years of touring and recording under their belts. We got up there in time to have dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant and then walked a block to arrive early enough to get a table near the front. I also had time to go upstairs to the restaurant to take some shots of the amazing collection of posters spanning the entire history of probably every show held there. The Fillmore has a capacity of 999 on the floor and it was about 75% full on a Thursday night. Trapper Schoepp and the Shades from Milwaukee opened and were excellent. That's him with his brother Tanner on guitar in the third photograph. I used the tiny Sony RX 100 111 and am still astonished how fantastic this little camera is even in extremely low light. I had to shoot at 1/125th of a second to get sharp results, but the noise even at the high isos is pretty well managed. These photographs are at between 2000 and 6400 iso with almost zero manipulation in Photoshop, except for cropping.