Experience Rock History!
Hello Hippies, Hipsters, Rockers, Music Lovers and anyone interested in archived rock concert reviews, real-life experiences and observations made during the magical and surreal 1960s and 1970s!
I present true archival reports and reviews 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.
Imagine the fun, fresh, thrilling and wonderfully strange impact the artists, their music, the LPs and the concerts had on us upon hearing it all for the first time!
Every day was a celebration and held forth magic and excitement of the unknown and all by just living during the mind-expanding and consciousness-raising evolvement of our “Counter Culture”. Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll! And a whole lot more.
Each countdown is published in asscending chronological order.
Remember, these are only the Top Ten, I will publish many other historic culture and concert reviews in the near future. Thanks for your interest, enjoy!
All Time Top 10 Historic Rock Concerts 1968 -1972 #10
with Spirit 03-18-68
Anaheim Convention Center Arena, Anaheim (Capacity: 9,100)
Spirit was a local L.A./Topanga Canyon band, so to have them open for Cream was a real kick; hometown boys make good! I remember vividly their performance of “Fresh Garbage” and “Mechanical World” as well as Ed Cassidy’s drum solo. Spirit were a bit ahead of the curve; these guys tapped into and presented an inventive and pioneering blend of musical styles and elements that would later serve as a career basis for other artists. Spirit organically blended hard rock and jazz-fusion with melodic interludes, great diverse vocals and lyrics that touched on social and ecological issues.
Our seats were mid-way back and mid-way up to the left of stage, you know the experience, you’re there, the music, sound and performances are great but the band members are these brightly-lit featureless humanoids on stage. There were no huge monitor/screens to bring the artists closer to their less-fortunately seated fans back in ’68.
This concert has always left a definite “flavor” in my mind; it was/is one of those memories that bring you right back to that era of experience – virtually all music can have that effect for one reason or another, but this is sideways from that, more emblematic of a period-shift or state of mind shift.
This was my first indoor arena concert and it seemed huge even though it was half the size of the Fabulous Forum, so relatively speaking these were good seats!
The “Wheels of Fire” LP live cuts were featured and we were treated to lengthy jams plus “Sunshine of Your Love”; groovy! I was fortunate to experience live Cream! I mean this was Eric Clapton of the Yardbirds! I Loved the Yardbirds they were one of my fave “rave up” brit bands and am very sad to say I never saw them live. The upside is that I saw Jeff Beck several years back at the House of Blues up on the Sunset Strip and was blown away – a true Guitar God!
I had listened to “Wheels” “Gears” and “Fresh” so many times that to hear the songs live was truly, Far Out!
Spirit Lineup:Randy California (guitars, vocals), Jay Ferguson (vocals, percussion), Mark Andes (bass), John Locke (keyboards) and R. California’s stepdad Ed Cassidy (drums)
Cream Lineup: Eric Clapton (guitar), Jack Bruce (bass) and Ginger Baker (drums).
Set List: Spoonful, Sunshine of Your Love, Rollin’ & Tumblin’, Stepping Out, Traintime, Toad, I’m So Glad.
with Steppenwolf and The Chambers Brothers
Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood (Capacity: 18,000)
The Doors were a standout among legends. Their music was so distinctly different it cast a spell that turned the days strange and the nights stranger. I never felt the same about the night after hearing the Doors first LP on tape at night riding in a car near the beach and suddenly I’m in this unknown landscape in an unknown city with a weird, yet assuring vibe in the air; kind of like what it must feel like just before a master criminal pulls a crime; invigorated, scared, but cool and strangely exciting.
Prior to the Doors performance was Steppenwolf and sadly, I believe we arrived late, as I don’t remember the Chambers Brothers performance, which actually pisses me off now that I think of it – Time (Has Come Today) was and still is a truly fine example of extended psychedelia with a soulful hard rock delivery. At a little over a month of being 17 years old, I had no reliable transportation or steady funds, as I was still in high school with a part-time minimum wage job. This meant the reliance on others for timely transport. And unless a trip was urgent, the most inexpensive and fun way to get from one place to another in those days was hitch-hiking; which was a perfectly normal form of transportation. Stick out your thumb and not only could you get a ride to or near your destination, but in some cases the trip and any side ones you experienced were more fun than the original plan. Hitch-hiking was actually harmless fun, no killers or rapists to fear, brotherly love prevailed, that’s what it was like for a while. Fast forward to the present: I found myself in need of “thumbing a ride” to pick up my Jeep in the shop and I stood on the onramp to the 101 – but no one would pick me up. I realized that to some I may appear to indeed be a serial killer; so I planned ahead, I held up a sign that said, “Brad and Angelina’s Wedding”, yet even then no one picked me up. I called a cab. Hitch-hiking days are over.
Anyway, led by John Kay’s voice with its cool semi-gruff swaggered delivery, Steppenwolf’s leather/motorcycle image served them well as thee psychedelic hard-rock band of the day. Their imprint singles, “Born to be Wild”, “Magic Carpet Ride” and “The Pusher” were big hits that were perfect for the times. In the years that followed, “Born to be Wild” was required to be inserted in every tenth movie released. Personally, I believe Steppenwolf hit their creative highpoint with their future LP, “Monster”, a real classic full of social awareness and monster rockin’ tunes!
The Doors were more than a rock band, the Doors were an event. I knew I was in for something special. Their sound; I knew it like my own skin, every turn of each song, the mood it created and the way it made me feel; I was liberated by the Doors sound! Only now it was live, and as we all know Live Music Rules!
We had pretty good seats, back a bit, just right of center – close enough to make out facial expressions. In the Doors world, they had their own unique vibe, probably the closest to ritual music, very otherworldly and dark, even the “up” songs came from a deep source that inhabits their sound. While focus is on the Lizard King, seeing the band live reinforces the fact that each members’ contribution came from that same source. A unity of creativity of not just music but of mood is a rare formula. Like Hendrix; maybe the Doors as a group were yet another example that maybe you can’t be that good and exist on this plane of existence for too long! I know, I know, then how does that explain all the truly excellent and gifted artists that are still with us today! Hey, when I’m given the power to be the Master of Space, Time and Reality, I’ll get back to you on that one but until then I’ll chronicle concerts.
Filmed Live at the Hollywood Bowl during the Fourth of July weekend 1968, this is the only complete concert performance ever filmed of the Doors and if you listen carefully you can hear me clapping at the end of each song, so check out the video below!
Steppenwolf Lineup: John Kay (guitar and vocals), Goldy McJohn (keyboards), Jerry Edmonton (drums), Michael Monarch (guitar), Rushton Moreve (bass).
The Doors Lineup: Jim Morrison(vocals),Robby Krieger(guitar),Ray Manzarek(keyboards, some vocals), andJohn Densmore(drums).
The Doors Setlist:When the Music’s Over, Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar), Backdoor Man, Five to One, Moonlight Drive, Horse Latitudes, from Celebration Of The Lizard (A Little Game, The Hill Dwellers), Spanish Caravan, The Unknown Soldier, Light My Fire, The End.