EXPERIENCE ROCK HISTORY!
1st Annual Newport Pop Festival, Orange County Fairgrounds, Costa Mesa, CA
My girlfriend and I doubled with another couple which is, I’m sad to say, never a good idea when venturing into “festival seating” concerts. Also the term ‘doubled” was a warning sign right off. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a feminist if I’m a hippie; chicks were hip, at least the ones that I hung with, but most times seated concerts were best for “dates” (although standing is preferable if you want to rock out); as festival concerts could get, … well, a little more adventurous than initially envisioned.
It was very hot and you could either stand or sit in dirt – therefore the day was cut short for a return to “civilization.”
But not before seeing Blue Cheer up close as they decimated the audience with “Summertime Blues”. Somehow, between sets, we wound our way through the mostly sitting crowd and sat down about fifty feet from the stage for their entire performance!
Blue Cheer, named after a popular run of Owsley LSD, were the first Hard Rock Psychedelic Power Trio and are now widely-recognized by everyone but the Rock and Roll Hall of Shame as thee pioneers of Psychedelic / Heavy Metal / Punk!
First time I heard Blue Cheer’s version of “Summertime Blues” I kept waiting for the explosion!
I mean, this version was volatile! And immensely orgasmic! Multiple orgasms, actually.
This is one of those moments when, if you can clear your mind for just 3 minutes and 28 seconds and put yourself in this altered state: it’s 1968 and the last time you heard Summertime Blues was the Eddy Cochran original from 1958 – and you hear this (Click Link Below and Crank It Up!) – that’s right speechless! I mean, three guys can do that?! Where’d that even come from?
Songs and groups at this level made us believe that anything was possible! Blue Cheer was waaaaay before their time – I love it when we get glimpses of the future but in weird, sometimes marginalized ways.
Everything about these guys was huge; their sound; their hair; their style; their approach; their name, (which, if I remember correctly, at one time they had a legal scuffle with the detergent company over their same name) and even the LP cover design made the LP look bigger!
Others tried, but the raw honesty of Blue Cheer could never be imitated; they were from the future and when you’re the only guys on the scene, like Hendrix, all others are posers.
Blue Cheer was the real deal.
Oh, and the rest of their debut LP is equally executed with their power punk raw rock psychedelic blues excursions.
Screw the Rock and Roll Hall of Shame; we the people don’t need their stamp of approval; we know who’s worthy and who’s not; Blue Cheer’s mere existence is why the Hall of Fame exists!
BLUE CHEER RULES!
Lineup: Leigh Stephens (guitar), Paul Whaley (drums), Dickie Peterson (bass/vocalist).
Setlist: Songs from their Vincebus Eruptum LP.
Trippy Note: We stopped off at the “Nu Pike” Amusement Park in Long Beach on the way back from the Festival and rode the Cyclone rollercoaster, a fixture at the Park since the 1930s. The next week they condemned it and tore it down. So who decides which ride is the last one before it’s condemned?