Hello Hippies, Hipsters, Rockers, Live 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.
Here are #2 and #1 of the top ten published in ascending chronological order.
All Time Top 10 Historic Rock Concerts 1968 -1972 #2
The ROLLING STONES
with Stevie Wonder
Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood (Capacity: 3,500)
Dreams can come true – the Rock Gods smiled upon us.
If you’ve ever been to the Hollywood Palladium you know that it’s a terrific venue for concerts. With a maximum capacity of 3,500; it’s just large enough to accommodate a select concentration of the dedicated tribe who made the cut, as well as small enough to create a relatively intimate party atmosphere where “the bands and the fans can rock the house”. With that in mind you may wonder, out of a population of seven million in L.A. county with at least a few hundred thousand Stones fans, how did I get tickets for myself and a group of close friends?
The tickets were available on a first come first serve basis from information in an ad in the L.A.Times Saturday edition. The first 3,500 people, whose check inside their mailed requests were received, got tickets. I had an L.A.Times distributor connection and obtained a few Saturday copies on Friday night, around Midnight – I can clearly remember as if it was yesterday; I cut open a bundled stack of newspapers as if it was the lid on a treasure chest! And it was! A rock ‘n’ roll treasure chest! For inside were assured early-access-to-Stones-concert-tickets gold! I passed out the ads to friends on stand-by and we had our requests for tickets in the mail before anyone else in L.A.even received the paper! That’s right, “we’re talkin’ ‘bout the Midnight Rambler; the one that scored ticket gold!”
Opening for the Stones was a legend, Stevie Wonder! I was twelve in 1963 when I first heard thirteen year old “Little” Stevie Wonder’s rousing “Fingertips (pt.2)” with the knockout harmonica! This night’s performance saw Stevie reveling in the success of his “Music of My Mind” and “Talking Book” highpoint, with “Living for the City” and the classic funk-electro-rocker “Superstition”,- what a thrill for real!
Once the Stones took the stage it was party time! Our group, about eight of us, had staked-out an area in the middle of the Palladium floor about ten to twenty deep back from the edge of the stage, perfect position to put us within 30 to 40 feet of the Stones the whole evening! This was during a good, clean, fun cocaine phase and we came prepared! There was no search-at-the-door back then and we literally crouched down and did cocaine pow-wows throughout the concert.
Mick and his band mates were hyped, they knew who they were about to perform for; that’s right, the hard-core L.A.Stones fan that made it to this concert!
Joints were passed; joints were received and the Stones rocked the house!
This was a rejuvenating time for the Stones with their double LP, “Exile on Main St.” as a return to their rock ‘n’ blues roots and punkish attitude that attracted us to them so much in the first place. Although initially panned, (we knew better) the “Exile On Main Street” LP rocked hard and dirty, just the way we liked our Stones – and is now not only considered a classic high-point but possibly the last “classic” Stones release to date.
So, we rocked just as hard ‘cuz from our viewpoint it literally felt as if the Stones were the live entertainment for a small party that got out of hand! Wow! Insane! The Best! Historic! World-Class Good Times! Imprinted Memories! Too cool!
To prove the intimacy of attending this concert of 3,500; the Stones next L.A.area gig was the Long Beach Arena (capacity: 13,500) and then two nights at the Forum, Inglewood (Capacity: 17,000).
So nearly 50,000 L.A. fans saw the Stones in 1972 – but only 3,500 saw them intimately.
Epilogue: A super rare, fun and memorable classic concert in Rock ‘n’ Roll History. Sigh.
Lineup: Mick Jagger (Vocals and Harmonica), Keith Richards (Guitars and Vocals), Mick Taylor (Guitars), Bill Wyman (Bass), Charlie Watts (Drums), Nicky Hopkins (Piano and Organ), Bobby Keyes (Saxophones), Jim Price (Trumpet and Trombone).
A Classic Kick-Ass Set: Brown Sugar, Bitch, Rocks Off, Gimme Shelter, Happy, Tumbling Dice, Sweet Virginia; You Can’t Always Get What You Want, All Down the Line, Midnight Rambler, Jumping Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man. Whew!
STONES LIVE 1972 Just like we saw ’em! Historical!
All Time Top 10 Historic Rock Concerts 1968 -1972 #1
9-22-72 Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood (Capacity: 18,000)
Ah yes, the Masters; Gilmour, Waters, Wright and Mason! My all-time favorite group! Consistently innovative, hard-rockin’ superb musicians, composers, arrangers, who created music that could literally transport you to other dimensions and with an admirable rock star image of blue-jeans and t-shirts worn by true sophisticated pioneers and Gods of Psychedelic Space-Rock!
The world got to know and love Pink Floyd’s music in 1973 when “The Dark Side of the Moon” LP took everyone by surprise and went on to become the longest charted album in history; a record 741 weeks on Billboard’s top 100; that’s fifteen years!
And justly so, their contribution to rock history previous to this LP was simply incredible, but with DSOTM PF transcended their own peaks and created another level where they unveiled an emotionally-moving masterpiece, a perfect blend of light and dark, of outward observation as well as inward.
Filled with heavenly choruses and a capella solos, stratospheric guitar excursions, sexy and savage keyboard riffs, lyrics that I’m sure changed lives; (“…ten years have got behind you, no one told you when to run; you missed the starting gun.”) perfect rhythms and the dreamiest, saddest, ecstatic and coolest saxophone passages ever! This music opened PF to millions of instant fans who would never have had the introduction.
On the other hand, I had been enjoying PF since their earliest LPs with Syd Barrett back in ’67 and literally played “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn”, “A Saucerful Of Secrets”, “Music from the film More”, “Umma-Gumma”, “Atom Heart Mother”, “Relics”, “Obscured By Clouds” (the soundtrack to the French film “La Vallee”) and “Meddle” (along with my world-class collection of bootlegs – Rubber Dubber? Trademark of Quality? Ah, yes, bootlegs!) so much that I replaced new copies regularly and had stashed copies of virgin-vinyl imports for special occasions. Really.
PF started the concert off with the debut of their new LP; “The Dark Side of the Moon”, in its entirety. Immediately we were entranced and spellbound by Breathe and On the Run but “Money” blew everyone away as the cash-register sounds circled the Bowl in quadraphonic sound!
Once again, history in the making! We were hearing “The Dark Side of the Moon” for the first time – LIVE – and the LP wouldn’t be available for another six months!
The “Meddle” LP was/is a personal favorite, even the cover is mysteriously cool – like the music inside. I just love “Echoes”, easily one of my all-time Top Ten “singles”.
“One Of These Days” was the space version of a Love “7and 7 is”/ Music Machine “Talk Talk” single that’s a compact, beautiful attack on the senses that opens with a swooping Bolero intro that builds to a crunching climax that releases a growl of lyrics that cut loose a bursting dam of psychedelic fury and high-flyin’ rock. Righteous!
I rarely brought a camera to concerts but we had good box seats so this time I did and caught a classic Pink Floyd moment through my Minolta SRT 101 during “Careful with that Axe, Eugene” as the crescendo builds, and just as Waters screams; pink-lit smoke bombs explode and fill the stage! (See photo.)
Epilogue: This was my virgin PF concert; I should have seen these guys earlier in their career but I was still in Jr. High and early High school, with little or no transportation and less cash. When I had the car and cash I was too involved with my life and missed the “Atom Heart Mother” tour, shame on me! But I vowed to see them every time they came to town in the future; and did, for the most part.
For while I did miss the “Animals” Tour, I did have great seats for the L.A. performance of “the Wall” and I had FRONT ROW SEATS, that’s right, absolutely no one between me and Pink Floyd, for the FIRST THREE NIGHTS of five sold out shows at the L.A. Sports Arena on 4-23/24/25-75 featuring WYWH!!! Chronicled in the next of this series.
This outdoors among-the-stars incredible concert experience had a dream-designed seemingly hand-picked set of songs – absolute gems! Historic!
Lineup: David Gilmour (guitar, vocals), Roger Waters (bass, synthesizer, vocals), Nick Mason (drums), Rick Wright (keyboards, synthesizers).
Set 1: “Dark Side of the Moon” – Breathe, On The Run, Time, Breathe Reprise, The Great Gig In The Sky, Money, Us And Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse.
Set 2: One Of These Days, Careful With That Axe, Eugene, Echoes, A Saucerful Of Secrets.
Encore: Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun.
Note: I went to “Filmex”, the Sundance Film Festival of its day, to see the movie, “La Vallee”, and gave a standing ovation when PF’s credits hit the screen and enjoyed the film very much as well as the opportunity to hear PF’s terrific “Obscured By Clouds” music amplified at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard!
PINK FLOYD Hollywood Bowl 1972 Complete Concert!