I'm just waking up, drinking my morning java and trying to clear out the cobwebs with yesterday's Summer Of Love 40th Anniv. show in Golden Gate Park still buzzing in my head.
My wife and I and a good buddy drove over to the park from Modesto yesterday morning and arrived around 9am. It was obvious from the number of parked cars that we underestimated how many would be there early. Must have been at least 10,000 already packed into Speedway Meadow when we got there. We found a good spot towards the back near the official SOL t-shirt and poster booth.
Lots of activety on the stage early on. Mostly Indian blessings, bagpipes, speeches etc. This was a good opportunity to soak up the surroundings, meet our meadow neighbors(including two Zoners) and check out the vendor booths. I made a beeline for the TRPS poster booth and bought a full set of posters(29) for a $100 bucks. Hell of a deal considering the $250 price the producers of the festival were charging.
Now, on to the music. The 1st couple of acts failed to get much of a rise out of anybody. Emmitt Powell's Gospel Elites, Jeff Jolly, Jim Post, and the Rowan Brothers(Chris & Lorin only) filled up the morning slots.
By noon, the crowd had more than doubled, with people pouring into the meadow from all sides. It was starting to look like, as my wife put it, a cluster fuck. It was also about this time that the quality of the music was pushed up several notches. Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks, NRPS(w/John Dawson!),and The Charlatans was a nice Trifecta.
Ray Manzarek w/Michael McClure, Rob Wasserman and Jay Lane played a really cool, very Beat poet/Jazzy set that turned out to be the highlight of the day for me. McClure sounded so much like Jim Morrison that it was downright spooky.
By mid-afternoon, 100,000 folks had filled the park. Barry "the Fish" Melton, Country Joe McDonald Band, Canned Heat, Moby Grape, Jerry Miller Band and, to know one's surprise, Jefferson Starship, rounded out the bulk of the afternoon's music. I packed up and bailed at 4:30. There were still a few acts left to perform, including Terry Haggerty and Cold Blood.
Overall, a great day. A bit too crowded for my comfort.Some of the performers didn't bring their A game to the show. Some serious rough sounds. There was also a weird, political vibe that permeated this show. Lots of jabs at Bush, the war, the healthcare system etc. You know, the usual rants.The best one I heard, and I'm still chuckling, came from some clown from The Black Panther Party. The guy gave a speech about all the injustices blacks are suffering from and that black people are worse off now than they were 40 years ago. Give me a break!
The 500,000 at Hardly Strictly last year limited us to just a couple of attempts to check out music last October. Way too crowded. We're not going this year.
I wish the celebration had gone better for you.
WOW! What a score on the posters! That made it entirely worth your time, there were some great designs!
I know the MC was reporting 100K but I didn't really believe it. and the local CBS station was reporting about half that, 40-50,000 which sounds about right to me. Still a much bigger crowd than I expected, 100,000 in that space would have been worse than a clusterfuck.
I really like the Wasserman/Lane/Manzarek trio, McClure was awful in my opinion, nothing at all like Morrison. He was awkward and stiff. Too choppy, no sense of rhythm. I was thinking Sam Flot (WCZJ MC) would have been better for the job!
The Hot Licks were great, especially loved the guy on the fiddle, think his name was Dan Chan (maybe?).
The New Riders were the highlight of the day for me...Panama Red, Any Naked Eye. Best two song set ever? Could be
The Fish surprised me, he was great!! I expected him to be sorta boring, but he jammed it out!! It was funny when several of us watching the stream all posted at once--Hey, the fish was GOOD! And he had banana with him, of course he was good
I was impressed by the Jerry Miller Band, David LaFlame of It's a Beautiful Day was with them, last I saw him was the Tribal Stomp, he was great then too...They did a nice sweet version of Wild Mountain Honey at 4:20, the guy who wrote the song was with them, an added treat.
Moby Grape, mostly sucked. Canned Heat, who I was looking forward to, was the one band the stream crapped out for, oh well, sometimes it happens.
Over all, I was really impressed with the quality of the entire day, the music has some low points, but that's always the case. The good outweighed the bad, I fully expected to shut the stream off after NRPS and be done with it, but I listened to most of the day.
The political rantings were a bit over the top, especially the Black Panther guy...I'm sorry, but go to hunters point or the western addition and then tell me that it's a problem for the police to profile groups of young black men all dressed in gang colors. He was far from racist though, he was sure to include latino and poor white in that group as well. It's a sad reality in San Francisco, gang violence brings a lot of deaths to the city. Fits in with the discussion yesterday RE: alcohol check-points. Sometimes it's worth it for the general population to endure certain hassels for it's own safety. How much does it take to justify the means?
At any rate...Long Live the Summer of Love, 40 years later it's still important. It's interesting to read the recent articles where people like Ray Manzarek are disillusioned with things, they thought they were going to change the world back then and now, they fell like it didn't happen. I dunno...I don't see it that way. It did happen, the results might not be the exact ones he wanted but change happened, and it's still around to influence us today. It was Arlo Guthrie who said it 'if it's just one guy, he's crazy, but if it's three guys...it's a movement!' I'd say we've got ourselves a movement!!
>> I made a beeline for the TRPS poster booth and bought a full set of posters(29) for a $100 bucks. <<
Damm, they told me the set was $200...and I was all set to pay but my friend talked me out of ot.
>>>>some clown from The Black Panther Party. The guy gave a speech about all the injustices blacks are suffering from and that black people are worse off now than they were 40 years ago.
Were there two BPP guys? The one I saw said almost nothing about general injustices and talked about a very specific case, the San Francisco 8. They are a group of people who were just arrested this year for the murder of a cop in 1971. There has a been a lot of uproar in the black community about whether the arrests are justified. Was there some other guy going on about general injustices? Cause this is what the BPP guy I saw was talking about.
>>>>The 500,000 at Hardly Strictly last year
And I thought it was really really crowded two years ago.
John Dawson played?
The Summer of Love celebration was a gas. The SFPD statement that there was 50,000 peeps was a conservative estimate as I've never seen that many folks fill up Speedway Meadows. To begin the day Tribal elders from the Eastern Shoshone Nation blessed the festival site with a pony ritual where a Native American rode a horse around the field in front of the soundboard while another burned sage to smudge the area to remove unclean spirits. Following this sacred ceromony a group of Lakota Sioux drummers and singers took to the stage to continue the blessing. One non native up there was Buzzy Linhart, a musician with a colorful past. Besides penning "Friends" that was a hit for Bette Midler, Lindhart recalled that he attended the east coast Human Be In that was held the same day forty years ago at Tompkins Square Park in Greenwich Village. That one included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and The Fugs, recalled Buzzy. Highlights of the magical afternoon were many begining with the Cast from Hair which included 2 members of the original Broadway production and 2 from the initial touring company from 1970. Filling out the cast was the current touring company. "Let The Sunshine In," was met with a delirious ovation as everyone in the crowrd sang along with arms outstretched to greet the sun's rays that bathed them. Jim Post - the name may not ring a bell - but his "Reach Out In the Darkness" was a bonifide 60's smash and he played it well too. The Rowan Brothers wowed with their brotherly harmonies. NRPS with John Marmaduke Dawson, David Nelson, and Buddy Cage from the classic lineup tore it up at high noon. There was some excellent video footage on KTU televison news that night from their set. The Charlatans: Michael Wilhelm, George Hunter, Dan Hicks, and Richard Olson, augmented by Austin deLone on keys were sensational performing in their trademark old western clothes looking like 40 years had only been last week. Moby Grape: Jerry Miller, Peter Lewis, Bob Mosley, Don Steveneson and Omar Spence filling in for his late father turned in a rollicking set that included: "Fall on You", "Omaha," "8:05," and "Hey Grandma," that was thrilling for the old folks. Moby Grape's debut album from 1967 still sounds fantastic today and easily elipsed the debuts from their musical contemporaries: the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane, and Quicksilver back in the day. Taj Mahal weaved a bluey musical tapestry during a set that included "Take a A Giant Step." Canned Heat with only drummer Fido de la Perra left from the classic lineup tore into a boogiefying "On The Road Again," and "Going Up the Country." Initially when folks heard that there would only be 20 minute timeslots there were complaints but the truth was that every band did their hits in the time allowed and non were any better on Sunday than The Chambers Brothers. The legendary psychedelic soul band featured Willie and Lester Chambers from the original lineup and they blew the roof off the sucker with a soulful rendition of "People Get Ready," before turning up the heat with a psychedelasized "The Time Has Come Today." The latter tune was perhaps the best performed song in an afternoon of incredible songs. The crowd by now was over 50,000 people. Barry The Fish Melton, and Country Joe did seperate sets with the later featuring original Fish bassist Bruce Barthal and Quicksilver/Starship vocalist David Frieberg. Beat poet Michael McClure was accompanied by Ray Manzarek, Jay Laine, and Rob Wasserman while backstage Hells Angels and Merry Pranksters mingled in merriment. The special guests of the afternoon were the Jefferson Starship. They were clearly energized by performing before the huge throng. They were joined by original vocalist Marty Balin and they had the crowd moving with "Somebody To Love, "It's No Secret," and "Volunteers." By the time the late Dino Valente's sone Joli sang "Get Together" to cap an historic afternoon for Peace, Love, and Music, everyone who attended bore witness to the fact that peace and love are still in fastion, especially in San Francisco.
For those of you that missed it. Oh well. The revolution will not be televised.
Great day in the park! Had an absolute blast.. musically way better than I expected.
Fun crowd too..
Summer of Love BT
Bob Minkin's Summer of Love photos:
Thx for the link, Sue. As usual, some top-notch photos taken by Bob!! Even tho I was there, seeing those hi-qual pics from close-up is a real treat!
more cool SOL pics at
Joel Selvin's review of the event in the SF Chronicle, Monday 9/3
Rob sure gets some nice photos
thanks for the link
thanks so much for the photo links ..
what a special day indeed !!!!
Long Live The Summer Of Love !!!!!
Belatedly, here's a few photos I took at the event.
Fun times, so glad I went!!
View of the crowd behind us. We were adjacent to the SBD. Not sure if I believe the 50,000 figure I've seen bandied about, but it could have been 40,000 or so.
dancers and Nature Boy by the SBD
amazing beer drinking juggling act
puppy Zoned out under chair
Damn that's a cute dog!
Damn that's a hot juggler!
Damn that's a cool guy----Drinking a beer.
No comment on the naked guy.
Summer of Love 40th celebration photos:
2 reasons for being there
>>>No comment on the naked guy.
HA!! Good thing he had his hat on - wouldn't want to get burned, ya know!
My quick (and delayed highlights)
Terry Haggerty - kicks it
Taj Mahal - fantastic - forgot just how good he is
NRPS = way out psychedelic jam 10 minutes in - right after noon !!!
Jerry miller generally disappointing - because I was so Psyched - and the sound - so so
as nick observed
"non were any better on Sunday than The Chambers Brothers. The legendary psychedelic soul band featured Willie and Lester Chambers from the original lineup and they blew the roof off the sucker with a soulful rendition of "People Get Ready," before turning up the heat with a psychedelasized "The Time Has Come Today." The latter tune was perhaps the best performed song in an afternoon of incredible songs"
The Chamber Brothers were way beyond fantistic for me - the absolute highlight- by far the best sound - a wall of sound - with that great soul / psychedilic sound - tales me back to my roots
I was blown away -and taken back - There used to be Be-ins by the MFU - Mid Peninsula Free University every Saturday in the Summer at Frost
Saw War, Clapton, Cold Blood, Hair, Chambers Bros, Santana with a 16 year old neil schon, Boz Skaggs, Tower of Power ( equal to the bros)
and many other amazing acts ...brain cell problem... Did see Sly and the Family Stone for a night show too - talk about amazing....
I want to see more Chambers Brothers.
What a great day
Great to be blessed by such great music and great vibes. Grate for 40 years too, If only there was another explosion of that magnitude.
Great to see some of you - sorry I missed many others
boy we had fun
and now the Greek -- Pregame???
some of us are planning to pregame for the Greek in line and then inside (getting there early enough to get a good spot)...