Backstage: Classic Concerts With Hendrix, the Who, Springsteen, and More
Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman shares stories of memorable rock 'n' roll encounters that took place in our local environs. This week, Lee's most memorable shows ever...
The list of memorable concerts I've had the pleasure of attending numbers into the hundreds, and several stand out immediately. There was Jimi Hendrix at the Dallas Memorial Auditorium in 1968 (during "Purple Haze," Jimi pointed into the audience and shouted "'Scuse me... while I kiss this guy!"). The Who at Forest Hills in New York was a show that coincided with the release of Who's Next and found Pete Townshend pouring a bucket of water over a hapless Keith Moon.
I've missed a few concert opportunities too; the same year I caught Hendrix, I passed on the chance to see Cream, a decision I'd always deeply regret. I never went to Woodstock, although I followed its progress from a distance in the New York Times while I was residing in the Virgin Islands. (My wife went, and she still has her original ticket, but for some reason, she has only selective memories of what transpired...) The same night that I attended the aforementioned Who concert, I could have had seats at Madison Square Garden for George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh.
That's not to say the larger settings haven't been superb. During the '90s, I ventured to England and Oxfordshire in particular for the annual Fairport Convention Reunion festivals, which is where I first caught the Saw Doctors and other notable representatives of the British folk-rock scene. (For those unaware, Fairport Convention were among the first English outfits to fuse traditional music with the electricity of rock 'n' roll. Their alumni included Richard Thompson, late singer Sandy Denny, and a superb vocalist and musical interpreter, Iain Matthews.)
While visiting in the U.K. in 1971 -- and on my own after being stood up
by a girl from back home I was supposed to meet overseas -- I attended
one of the famous free concerts in London's Hyde Park, where I caught a
concert headlined by Grand Funk Railroad and featuring Humble Pie,
fronted by Peter Frampton and the late, great former Small Faces singer
Steve Marriot. Ironically, photos from that show were later included on
the inner sleeve of Humble Pie's famous Rockin' the Fillmore LP.
Locally, there was Genesis, helmed by Peter Gabriel at the Gusman
Concert Hall in downtown Miami, featuring an explosion of strobe lights
that practically blinded the audience. I saw Led Zeppelin at the old
Miami Beach Convention Hall (scene of the infamous Republican convention
in 1972), but as luck would have it, I had an obstructed view because
my seats were positioned behind a pillar.
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