Not long ago I told a story about a Dave Mason concert that I never made it to thanks to the work of a vigilant Highway Patrolman. Well, it turns out I’m not the only one with a tale to tell about a show they planned to attend before life intervened. To my surprise, the police were involved in only one of these stories. So you’re probably wondering what else could keep a true rock and roll fan from seeing their favorite artist? Well, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl has the answer. I’ve got tales of hurricanes, funerals, and parents, specifically Richard’s mom down in Plantation, Florida and Craig’s folks in New Jersey. More about them later.
First let’s return to 1969. John and Cathy were dating and decided to hitchhike from Buffalo down to the Atlantic City Pop Festival. First three days of August, a couple of weeks before Woodstock. On the bill: Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, Three Dog Night, Johnny Winter, and a dozen other major acts. John and Cathy got to Atlantic City with two rides. The way John remembers it, there was a hurricane watch in effect when they arrived. Doing a little research, I found out it was actually Tropical Storm Anna, but the guy who gave them the ride to Atlantic City talked it up like it was a Category 5 hurricane. Still, instead of fleeing the city, John and Cathy got a room in a boarding house and panhandled on the boardwalk to stay fed. A few days later, having never set foot on the festival grounds, they were hitchhiking back to Buffalo when a limo pulled over and offered a ride. Inside was the Grease Band, Joe Cocker’s backup group. They took John and Cathy to breakfast, then drove ‘em all the way to New York City. By the way, John and Cathy have been married now for 37 years. As a side note, John admits that one time he missed a Yardbirds show because he was siting in the parking lot of the venue, so goofy he couldn’t figure out how to get into the building.
I’ll tell you about Richard, Craig, and Heidi after the show. Right now, just imagine a giant rotating stage with one band following another, like a lazy Susan of rock and roll. From the Way Back Studios, here’s another All Hand Mixed Vinyl Concert.
|Climax Blues Band||You Make Me Sick|
|Grateful Dead||Big Boss Man|
|Three Dog Night||Eli’s Coming|
|Rolling Stones||Street Fighting Man|
|Johnny Winter||Good Morning Little School Girl|
|Frank Zappa||Big Leg Emma|
Joni Mitchell wrapping up another Hand Mixed Vinyl concert with “Carey” from Miles of Aisles. We also heard some Zappa, Johnny Winter, and Three Dog Night Live at the Forum. We started the set with the Climax Blues Band followed by the Grateful Dead doing “Big Boss Man.” And that’s for Heidi who sent an email about a show she missed back in 1995. She was supposed to celebrate Father’s Day at Giant’s Stadium with her dad and the Grateful Dead. Sadly, Heidi’s grandfather passed away the Friday before the show. The funeral was on Sunday, the day of the concert. So she missed it, the concert, not the funeral. Making matters worse, Jerry Garcia passed on six weeks later. So Heidi missed her last chance to see Jerry with the band.
In the middle of the set, the Stones from Get Yer Ya Yas Out, which brings us to Richard’s story. A high school junior in Massapequa, NY in 1972. Sitting in class one day, filling out postcards for a lottery, hoping to get tickets to a Stones show at Madison Square Garden. He mailed in a fistful of the cards and didn’t think about it again until later that summer, while he was in Ithaca, taking some classes presumably because he wasn’t paying attention that day he was filling out the postcards. Anyway, Richard’s on the phone with mom when he asked if he’d gotten any mail while he’d been gone. She said, “Yeah, you got something about some concert tickets.” Arrggh. It’s enough to give a Stones fan 19 Nervous Breakdowns. Turns out she didn’t mention it because she didn’t think Richard would be able to get down to the city from Ithaca, figured there was no point in bringing it up.
And finally, there’s Craig from New Jersey who says he missed Lynyrd Skynyrd opening for The Who because he’d been grounded for “getting in trouble with the law.” Well that covers a lot of ground but we’re out of time so we’ll have to pick up with Craig’s sordid life next time. If you’ve got a concert story to tell, send me an email and I’ll share it with the class. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and you can find the set lists, show commentaries, and my email address at billfitzhugh.com. I’ll be back next time with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here n the Deep Tracks.