World-Class Rock ‘n’ Roll Battle of the Bands! TYA vs GFR!
Hello Hippies, Hipsters, Rockers, Live Concert and Music Lovers and anyone interested in archived real-life experiences and observations during the magical and surreal 1960s and 1970s!
I present true archival reports on the concerts, music and culture in and around Los Angeles during the Classic Rock Concert Era of the ‘60s and ‘70s. My life, heart and soul couldn’t have been at a better place in time than in my late teens in the late ’60s in L.A.
Each countdown is published in ascending chronological order.
All Time Top 10 Historic Rock Concerts 1968 -1972 #4
TEN YEARS AFTER
with GRAND FUNK RAILROAD and Pacific Gas & Electric
07-22-70 Fabulous Forum, Inglewood (Capacity: 18,000)
The group I ran with back in the day were all big TYA fans from their first LP on up through Undead” and “Stonedhenge” and now with “Ssssh” we had reason to celebrate; this was a stand-out rock LP (on heavy rotation at the pad) perfect for the times! Stonedhenge and Ssssh! totally take me back (as do many LPs from that exact time period) to my first pad at 19, right at the beach for $150- per month rent that was spilt three ways with my two good buddies. I had: a job at a “subsidized by the gov’t.”, art department, a beach pad, a ’51 Buick (a huge toad), a motorcycle, two girlfriends and all the drugs I wanted! So, with all that, kicked-back listening to Stonedhenge with a tight group of friends – it really doesn’t get any better than that!
The Grand Funk Red album was also a stand-out rock LP perfect for the times, and although I was not a fan of GFR this album was lysergic! Real over the top rock!
Personally I feel that this time period was thee highpoint of creativity in both bands’ careers.
Opening act PG&E were a great rock-funk outfit – very visual, a real crowd invigorator!
We had very good seats, to the right of, and even with the stage but angled enough to get a good shot of the whole stage.
So we approached this concert as we did for all concerts of this magnitude; psyched and psyched – see: TRUE PSYCHEDELIC TRIPS #1 Summer 1970 for the psychedelic events that led up to this concert – and beyond.
We could never have known that what we were really going to see was a World-Class Rock ‘n’ Roll Battle of the Bands!
This was the first and only concert I had experienced where the second act, in this case, Grand Funk, delivered such an awesome show that some among us questioned TYA’s ability to live up to headliner status! I mean, Whew! GFR were that good!
I remember “Inside-Looking Out” literally surging through my body, not like the concussion from today’s speakers, but purely from the music grabbing hold! The fans were all on their feet, the Forum was madness! This was before GFR were saddled with their “American Band” boogie moniker and the spontaneity and freedom of spirit showed. GFR finally left the stage with thunderous requests for an encore! Sheesh! With the audience demanding an encore from the second act, how must Alvin Lee & Co. felt? Pressure? I can say that we almost forgot about TYA, it was as if GFR were the headliners and after a performance like that, you’re ready to leave for the night!
Sensing the crowd reaction, TYA now had a mission; they had to not only top GFR, but leave an even bigger lasting impression! TYA would have to pull a “better than Woodstock” to satisfy these fans! So there we were – witnessing a World-Class Rock ‘n’ Roll Battle of the Bands! For real, far out!
A look at TYA’s setlist* does not reveal what was truly performed; each piece was the supercharged version of the song. Virtuosity guitar? Smoldering! Tight jamming? Churchill, Lyons, R. Lee were all in top form – had to be! Even Alvin knew he’d have to leave the “boogie” at home; the masses of music fiends wanted rock and TYA delivered! Each musical excursion was a masterpiece, pushed to all corners of the envelope! They pulled it off!
So, the evening’s winner in the World-Class Rock ‘n’ Roll Battleof the Bands was TYA!
But the real winners were the fans who’s hard-core, “Nosebleed or front row, I just want to see the show!” devotion to sound, music and performance paid off, historically!! We had just experienced the fulfilled expectation of concert-going: to catch those magical moments, like the perfect wave, which we all knew were out there.
GFR Lineup: Mark Farner (guitar, vocals), Mel Schacher (bass) and Don Brewer (drums).
TYA Lineup: Alvin Lee (guitar/vocals), Leo Lyons (bass), Chick Churchill (keyboards) and Ric Lee (drums).
TYA Setlist: Love Like A Man, Good Morning Little School Girl, No Title, Hobbit, Scat Thing, I Can’t Keep from Crying Sometimes, I’m Going Home.
Encore: Sweet Little Sixteen.
All Time Top 10 Historic Rock Concerts 1968 -1972 #3
with HUMBLE PIE and Sea Train and Ry Cooder
12-04-70 Fillmore West, San Francisco (Capacity: 1100)
While none of these groups are heavy-hitters, they just happened to be big faves around the pad and amongst the group I ran with back then so consider this a “personal” personal favorite that I hope you’ll find very interesting and entertaining.
What a serendipitous concert this was! I was on another road trip with two good friends; we had no real destination in mind other than North of L.A. The driver had customized a step-van and turned it into a mobile home. We made it to San Francisco and found out that two of our personal favorite bands at the time were playing the Fillmore West that night! Savoy Brown and Humble Pie! Groovy!
Our road trip funds were tight and in order to buy the tickets $3.00 each (!) we had to budget and sacrifice food. So we all chipped-in for a bottle of sloe gin and a package of Oreo cookies for our dinner meal before the concert. Hey, it was classic Frisco, but instead of “livin’ on vitamin C and cocaine”, we were “livin’ on Oreos and sloe gin”! That left us enough gas money for our return trip to L.A.
Once inside the Fillmore, the lights were low and we grabbed several unused legless chairs (sorta like beach chairs) that were up against the back wall and settled-in on the floor and lit up a joint. I took a hit and passed it on, when it came back to me I took a big hit and mid-way through the inhale a bright flashlight blinded me and all I could hear was, “Alright! Let’s go!”, “C’mon, get up!” Sheesh! Busted, and out of town, what a drag! But then I heard words of relief, “Put the chairs back!” What? “Let’s go, put ’em back!” I was puzzled, the chairs? We got up and put the legless chairs back where we found them. That may have just been a routine they’d pull on the out-of-towners, but it worked; whip-lashed emotions.
Anyway, the entire concert kicked-ass! Ry Cooder was great; a legend in the making as we all now know. Sea Train were more in league with The Band; great musicians, homespun pieces with violins and flutes, rockin’ all the time, they won us over big-time.
Humble Pie featured songs from their current LP “Humble Pie” with great cuts like, “Live with Me” and “I’m Ready” – the whole album was a gem and a big personal favorite. Steve Marriott was an explosive talent with a classic rocker-voice. Humble Pie with Marriott would hit their peak with “Smokin’” – and it was! Peter Frampton would later go on to create the double album “Frampton Comes Alive!” that was required ownership upon it’s release – everyone owned that album and I mean everyone.
Savoy Brown were a really great blues band and an extremely tight rockin’ combo. I believe they were somewhat marginalized by the “boogie” imprint they so enthusiastically endorsed and felt they were better than that. In any case, SB were immensely under-rated in their prime time. SB should have been much bigger than they ever were; but in some ways it’s good – lower-level success keeps bands creatively honest, so to speak.
Kim Simmonds, legendary lead guitarist, had a distinct sound (like many greats’ that have their “signature” sound of recognition), Lonesome Dave Peverett’s voice was a good fit as a replacement for classic Chris Youlden. Check out; “A Step Further” LP’s “Life’s One Act Play” followed directly by “I’m Tired” (videos follow article) both collectively just under 10 minutes of the rawest most beautifully honest lyrics, voice, instruments and emotion portrayed. ”Life’s” lays the down-tempo side of the theme of life and “I’m” rebels, up-tempos and righteously tells it like it is! Chris Youlden; the blackest white man to ever sing the blues, hands down!
SB’s current “Looking’ In” LP was featured as well as songs from “Blue Matter”, such as the smokin’, rockin’ extended blues classic, “Louisiana Blues”. Whew! (video follows article)
It didn’t hurt that SB’s “Looking In” LP and Humble Pie’s self-titled LP were two that made an indelible stamp on a specific time period. I played them both – a lot. Cool imprints! This was a big contributing factor in the fun we had that night; we were overly-familiar with two out of four bands’ music and our very close proximity to the stage (Capacity: 1100 ! ) created a party atmosphere for us! Good times!
Note: Peverett, bassist Tone Stevens and drummer Roger Earl would later form another successful band; Foghat with Rod Price – a really good off shoot of SB!
Epilogue: The only side-effect to our “dinner” of sloe gin and Oreos the night before was that the next morning we all left black oil slick souvenirs in the toilets of San Francisco.
HP Line-up: Steve Marriott (guitar), Peter Frampton (guitar), Greg Ridley (bass) and Jerry Shirley (drums).
SB Line-up: Kim Simmonds (lead guitar), Lonesome Dave Peverett (guitar and vocals), Tone Stevens (bass) and Roger Earl (drums).