Flaskaland
Sunday, June 25, 2006
 
Back when every tree in Berkeley respirated tear gas for days after the melees on campus or the surrounding environs, when that little worker's collective record store was supplying excess profits to community groups, and I in my regular every day life was scrimping and saving for another few week's education while mopping the table tops of spilled beer in a blues and jazz club ... I not only had that big rock arena experience I told you about with that English group ... I also saw Crosby Stills Nash (and maybe even Young, not that that would matter a whit) perform onstage, somewhere across the Bay. This was close in time after both Monterey and Woodstock.

That evening, I got to see another music act I'd never before seen because they usually played in far away San Francisco.

As I recall, Cold Blood opened and in their way they nearly blew the new up and becoming more famous by the minute act right off the stage. Cold Blood (and Lydia Pense in particular) was very good that night, they'd thrown their hearts and souls into their set.

Then came the famous group, and those guys loved being on stage with each other and themselves as individuals. As the set wore on, I was surprised they weren't wrapping their arms around themslves and giving a big self hug. I don't know, I tried to have an open mind, I even tried to like them. But they were putting me off. They weren't at that time played very much if at all on the underground radio stations I listened to. And the rare times that they were, well, they weren't my favorite group by far. There they were onstage, and although they could harmonize in nodes, I ungenerously thought that might only be the result of some genetic accident, like the corns on Bing Crosby's uvula that resulted in his golden tones. And I did think how fortunate they were to have found each other in this big old world, to resonate one against the other to provide the listening audience with such pleasure.

That evening, it was small things irritated me about them. They way they'd beam or smile in self-satisfaction at each other after a well rehearsed harmony. I don't even remember what they sang, but it was likely the songs they were making famous at the time. And I didn't care for the onstage remarks, nobody knew what the hell they were going on about. Especially things like Graham Nash chatting between tunes, pandering to the audience, telling us he was just like us, showing us how hip he was and by extension we in the audience must be, just for being in the audience listening to them. Talking about his early career with "The Hollies" ... I mean, who had ever heard of the Hollies, that was like a hack's line of introduction from a press kit. I doubt anyone in the Bay Area had, we were distracted by other events and cultural explosions at the time. And if we had, even heard of the Hollies, that is, so what? What difference would it make, really, more especially if you had actually listened to their stuff. And then Graham asked rhetorically, "Can you imagine working with such squares?" Wow, I was getting a good idea.

I didn't pay to get in to that show, and I wouldn't have even if I'd had the money to spare. I was comped by someone who was associated with this group. I almost didn't go even comped. At the time I felt uneasy, like the plastic world of Hollywood was trying to not just knock on the door but hog its way and if the entry were still barred, then ooze its way in around the cracks in the door. And I fought against what I considered to be snobbishness or exclusivity on my part and attended. They weren't playing in Berkeley, but over someplace like San Rafael or Marin.
 




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Compiling the best online articles about music so there will be more of both in the future. In periods of drought, the reader will be innundated by my own blogs on the matters.

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