Jerry Garcia – Happy 70th Birthday – August 1, 2012

 

Wednesday, 8/1 vs. NYM 7:15 p.m.
SOLD OUT!

Presented by McAfee
The Giants invite you to the ballpark to celebrate the 70th Birthday of legendary musician and San Francisco Native Jerry Garcia! Garcia was born in San Francisco on August 1, 1942, and grew up in the city’s Excelsior District, before becoming a founding member of the iconic rock band The Grateful Dead. AT&T Park will be rocking with pre-game music on the field, compliments of the band Moonalice and entertainment, featuring some of Jerry’s most famous hits throughout his illustrious career. Your special event ticket package includes a seat in one of the Jerry Garcia 70th Birthday Bash sections for the August 1st game against the New York Mets, and a special birthday-edition Jerry Garcia bobble head! Ticket proceeds will be donated to the Rex Foundation, along with other non-profits affiliated with The Grateful Dead! Come support a great cause and help us celebrate the birthday of one of San Francisco’s biggest legends!

 

Jefferson Starship – Blows Against The Empire

When I think of the music of Jefferson Starship, I am transported back to their premier recording, Blows Against the Empire (November, 1970). It echoes in my head and heart with a unique resonance these many years later.

I especially love the track, “Have You Seen The Stars Tonite”. I can visualize being on a deck in outer space, looking up through a clear glass ceiling floating amidst the stars.

Blows Against The Empire is an amazing blend of science fiction combined with a rich textured musical synergy. One can only imagine what life was like back then in the canyons above San Francisco as members of Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Quicksilver Messenger Service and friends communed and recorded together.

This amalgam of musicians became known as the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Empire.

I purchased today from the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Store the 3 CD set that includes the Blows Against The Empire deluxe edition, the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra CD (the sequel to Blows…) and the bonus Perro CD. When I have received these items and digested the music I will write an update blog post.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for the following information and for continually providing a great backdrop of music encyclopedia knowledge for research and blogging purposes.)

  • Paul Kantner – vocals, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, banjo, bass machine
  • Grace Slick – piano, vocals
  • Jerry Garcia – banjo on “Let’s Go Together”, pedal steel guitar on “Have You Seen the Stars Tonite”, sound effects and vocals on “XM”, lead guitar on “Starship”
  • Bill Kreutzmann – drums on “Let’s Go Together”
  • Mickey Hart – percussion on “Have You Seen the Stars Tonite”, sound effects and vocals on “XM”
  • Joey Covington – drums and vocals on “Mau Mau”, congas on “Hijack”
  • Jack Casady – bass on “A Child Is Coming” and “Sunrise”
  • David Crosby – vocals and guitar on “A Child Is Coming” and “Have You Seen the Stars Tonite”, background vocals on “Starship”
  • Graham Nash – congas on “Hijack”, sound effects on “Home”, background vocals on “Starship”
  • David Freiberg – background vocals on “Starship”
  • Harvey Brooks – bass on “Starship”
  • Peter Kaukonen – lead guitar on “Mau Mau”
  • Phill Sawyer – sound effects on “Home” and “XM”
Year Title Chart positions Certification
US
1970 Blows Against the Empire by Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship 20 Gold (RIAA)
1971 If I Could Only Remember My Name by David Crosby 12 Gold (RIAA)
Songs for Beginners by Graham Nash 15 Gold (RIAA)
Sunfighter by Paul Kantner and Grace Slick 89
1972 Graham Nash David Crosby by Graham Nash and David Crosby 4 Gold (RIAA)
Rolling Thunder by Mickey Hart 190
1973 Baron von Tollbooth & the Chrome Nun by Paul KantnerGrace Slick, and David Freiberg 120
1983 Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra by Paul Kantner

Capitol Theater in Portchester, NY Plans Triumphant 2012 Return, Part II

This blog post is about The Capitol Theater resurgence in Portchester, New York.

The San Francisco Scene on the East Coast

When I look back on the concerts I attended at The Capitol Theater I was thankful to see the psychedelic sounds of San Francisco were well represented.

the cap

Our first concert at The Capitol featured Santana and John Lee Hooker at the late show on Friday June 12, 1970. We bought the tickets late and got seated in the balcony. You had a great seat no matter where you sat as the vantage points were all conducive for the stage. John Lee Hooker opened for Santana. I am embarrassed to say that I wasn’t a patient concert goer like I am today. We were rude to the great bluesmen and kept shouting for Santana. I regret my actions that night and wish I treasured John Lee Hooker’s set more than I did. It turns out that was the only time I got to see him play.

When he came back out for an encore we groaned but let me tell you this, he schooled us that night. He did a rendition of “One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer” that included the boogie blues beat that enthralled me. He turned me around with that number and I was cheering for him when he left the stage. Little did I realize how much Carlos Santana respected John Lee Hooker until years later when they recorded The Healer together.

Santana ripped the roof off The Capitol that evening. I recall they were bathed in a warm red light most of the night. I owned the first album Santana and played it all the time on my hi-fi system. Their percussive sound formed a rhythmic beat that kept us dancing out of our seats.

I didn’t see Santana in concert again until 2002, 32 years later. I have seen them live 15 times since the first show in Portchester. They are my favorite band and I have every one of the Santana recordings in my music library. 42 years of music and still going strong, Viva Santana.

The next concert by a band from San Francisco was our first concert by The Grateful Dead on November 7, 1970. I was sitting in the balcony the night of the Santana show when the sound system started playing Workingman’s Dead. The announcer stated that The Grateful Dead would be playing a bunch of dates at The Capitol in November. I ran right downstairs to the lobby box office and purchased our tickets for the third row.

Seeing The Grateful Dead and the New Riders of the Purple Sage that close was a pretty awesome deal. NRPS featured Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar. Jerry played right in front of us and he was spectacular on pedal steel guitar. He loved playing that instrument. He smiled throughout the entire NRPS set. I was especially taken with the vocals by John “Marmaduke” Dawson on “Last Lonely Eagle”.

The Grateful Dead played from 9:00 pm until 4 am the next morning, which was an incredible feat. I loved the energy the band gave off and how cosmic it all felt. You could tell they loved playing The Capitol. I loved the people twirling in the lobby and how happy everyone was to be there. I am glad this show was taped and I can play it often to relive the experience.

The following week Jefferson Airplane pulled into town. We attended the late show on November 13, 1970 which featured Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna and E Pluribus Unum. I was excited to catch Jefferson Airplane with Grace Slick on vocals, along with Marty Balin. They were a powerful combination with Jorma and Jack playing behind them. The JA set was a classic music choice of their catalogue. Hot Tuna was a surprise that night and they also featured Papa John Creach on fiddle.

We would see Hot Tuna again January 20, 1971 on a cold winters night. They headlined for a bill that featured Big Brother and the Holding Company and John Hammond. The funniest part of that show was that there were so few people in The Capitol due to the snow storm that we were invited to stay for the second show, which we did. The guy behind us tried to get an encore from Hot Tuna but Jack Cassady just told him come to the second show, its free 😉

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Anthem of the Sun – Grateful Dead

grateful dead- anthem of the sun
Image by cdrummbks via Flickr

I was turned on to the music and positive chemistry of the Grateful Dead by an article I read in Circus Magazine in 1968. The author made a profound impact upon my consciousness by describing his concert experience in the California desert at a Grateful Dead concert. He articulated well what the concert felt like for him, how karmic the Dead were live. I went to the record store the very next day and bought Grateful Dead, Anthem of the Sun on vinyl for $2.79. It proved to be one of the best music values I would buy in the initial phase of my record collection.

I played that record on my hi-fi system in my bedroom. I would leave the selector arm over to the left-hand side so that the needle would pick up at the end and replay from the beginning again.

I must admit my first few plays of Anthem of the Sun did not exactly click with my mind. I found the tracks densely layered and I couldn’t concentrate on what they were trying to communicate to me. But by the fourth full listen I had a couple of breakthroughs and I was forever hooked on the acid sound of improvisational psychedelic jamming.

Adding to the psychedelic madness on the album was Tom Constanten, a friend of bassist Phil Lesh who joined the band in the studio to contribute piano and prepared piano (influenced by John Cage) tracks; Constanten would formally join the band in November 1968. His contributions to the band’s sound were always much more clear in the studio than in their live shows, and Anthem of the Sun was no exception. Constanten made it so that the piano pieces seemed like three gamelan orchestras were playing all at once. He even went so far as to use a gyroscope set spinning on the piano soundboard.[6] (Courtesy wikipedia)

My favorite track on Anthem of the Sun is “That’s It for the Other One”.  I liked its four-part interwoven thematic interpretation.

"That's It for the Other One" – 7:40
I. "Cryptical Envelopment" (Garcia)
II. "Quadlibet for Tenderfeet" (Garcia, Kreutzmann, Lesh, McKernan, Weir)
III. "The Faster We Go, The Rounder We Get" (Kreutzmann, Weir)
IV. "We Leave the Castle" (Constanten)

Anthem Of The Sun - LP (Back)

One More Saturday Night – Bob Weir

aceThe song, “One More Saturday Night” was written by Bob Weir for the superb solo debut of Bob Weir’s album Ace

It’s been said that Ace is less of a solo album and more a derivative of the Grateful Dead as Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann all perform on the recording.

The song was first performed on 19 October 1971 by the Grateful Dead, and first appeared on Bob Weir’s Ace album (May 1972) and The Grateful Dead‘s Europe ’72 live album.

Its become a set staple and crowd pleaser ever since. It gets played often on Saturday nights somewhere on the planet…

Rock Music Photographers, A-Z, Michael Zagaris

Michael Zagaris, known as ‘the Z-man’, became the Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin; not vicariously but actually. As an insider in those days, he took photographs of what was, not what one expected to see, and as an insider today he does the same thing for 21st century bands and artists. (Courtesy of Wolfgang’s Vault)

Copyright Michael Zagaris

Copyright Michael Zagaris 1976

Copyright Michael Zagaris