The Trick Is To Keep Going

Tag: Yale

Concerts Vol. 13: Jimi Hendrix

by on Feb.21, 2011, under Music

By the fall of 1968, I had seen Cream four times, another of my favorite artists The Paul Butterfield Band five times, The Electric Flag with Mike Bloomfield, Traffic, The Stones, The Beach Boys, among a host of other artists, but I had yet to see Jimi Hendrix.

Jim Hendrix at Woolsey Hall, Yale, Nov. 1968. Photo by Joe Sela. Courtesy of Wolfgang's Vault.

Jim Hendrix at Woolsey Hall, Yale, Nov. 1968. Photo by Joe Sela. Courtesy of Wolfgang’s Vault.

Two members of the Bram Rigg Set, Peter Neri and Rich Bednarzyk along with the group’s road manager Mike Geremia had met Hendrix on the street in Greenwich Village in the summer of ’67. The three had ventured into the city after the first night of a weekend engagement in Brewster, N.Y. The group’s drummer, Beau Segal, and I had driven back home after the gig and our lead singer Bobby Schlosser had also opted for his long trek back to Rhode Island.

The boys had run into Hendrix at about 3 a.m. on Bleecker Street I believe opposite the Cafe Au Go Go and he was affable, friendly and wished them well.

Beau got to see The Jimi Hendrix Experience by accident that same year in the fall. He traveled into the city to the Cafe Au Go Go to see a show billed as Eric Burdon and The New Animals and found when he arrived that The Experience had replaced them on the bill. Nice surprise. And, of course, Beau raved about them.

Hendrix was still a bit of an unknown quantity at the time here in the States as opposed to the United Kingdom, where he was a sensation with a string of single releases and his first album.

Notwithstanding the bizarre ads in Billboard during the summer that showed the three Afro-adorned musicians on the inside cover of the industry magazine and the buzz in musicians’ circles, the album Are You Experienced? had just been released and there was no single from it running up the charts. It was probably getting the majority of its play on the new FM radio stations, particularly the college stations, which were just starting to play what became known as Album Rock programming.

When I had played the first track of the album for guys in my dorm at Boston University in Sept. 1967, before I transferred to Berklee School of Music, some of them thought there was something wrong with their record players. True. Those same guys would come to love Hendrix in a few months. (continue reading…)

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Concerts Vol. 4: Heavy Cream

by on Apr.23, 2009, under Music


In Concerts Vol. 3, I wrote about the single concert performance that was probably the best out of hundreds I’ve attended and certainly the most influential: Cream at the Psychedelic Supermarket in Boston, September, 1967.

That wouldn’t be the only time I would see this amazing trio. I was lucky enough to see them three more times in a little more than a year. The second opportunity came in April, 1968. I was still going to school in Boston at Berklee School of Music and coming home on weekends to rehearse and/or play the Connecticut club scene with Pulse.

cream-another-portraitCream was scheduled to play at Boston’s Back Bay Theatre in April, but they were also going to play near my hometown in New Haven at Yale’s Woolsey Hall on April 10th and I decided to come home for that, mainly because I had a new girlfriend who was still in school in New Haven. This would be our first big concert date. That made sense.

The intact ticket above is from that date. I didn’t  hold on to many tickets or stubs from that period, but I kept this one tucked away in an old wallet. I’m glad I did. The reason it’s intact is that the Yale students didn’t take or rip any tickets, they just looked at them. Thank you, Yalies.

After playing for a week of a scheduled two-week engagement in Boston in September, 1967, Cream cut short its stay there over money problems with the owner of the Psychedelic Supermarket, not to mention they disliked Boston because of the discrimination and derogatory comments on the streets they endured, and moved on to play New York at several venues, including the Cafe Au Go Go and Village Theatre (later Fillmore East).

They also played two shows in Michigan, the second at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom in a much booted performance with fairly decent sound, a pretty good example of what they sounded like that fall. From there, they toured Europe fairly extensively, leading up to the release of their second album, Disraeli Gears (November, U.K., December, U.S.), the record that really started to break them as a big act. (continue reading…)

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Concerts Vol. 3: Fresh Cream

by on Apr.16, 2009, under Music

I mentioned in Concerts Vol. 1 that one of my earliest major influences from a live show was seeing the Paul Butterfield Blues Band at the Cafe Au Go Go in the winter of 1966-67. That remains true but there was a series of concerts that had an even bigger impact for me. I saw Cream play live four times in 13 months between September, 1967 and October, 1968. After the first show, nothing would ever be the same for me musically.

I had just arrived in Boston for freshmen orientation at Boston University in the first week of September, 1967. Back then, freshmen came up to the school for a full week before classes, unlike today when orientation is usually finished up in less than two days by many colleges.

classiccreamI was having mid-afternoon waffles at a small breakfast/dinner restaurant near Kenmore Square when my buddies, one of whom was a fellow bass player from Connecticut, and I found out that Cream, yes that Cream, would be playing practically across the street at a new club called the Psychedelic Supermarket. I was astonished by my good fortune that Cream, one of my favorite bands would be in town, just a few blocks from my dorm on Commonwealth Avenue, and that they were scheduled to play for two weeks! I intended going more than once.

My first encounter with Cream was in one of the old listening booths at one of the best record shops in Connecticut in the ’60s, Cutler’s, which was on Broadway in New Haven. In the spring of 1967, my friend and fellow band-mate in the Bram Rigg Set, Beau Segal, told me I had to check out this group from England that featured the Cream of the crop among British blues musicians and were aptly named.

I went down to Cutler’s with a friend, Holly Lovig, who if you remember accompanied me on the trip to see that first Butterfield concert in New York. Those listening booths at Cutler’s were great. One of the clerks would spin a record on a turntable in back of the store’s elevated counter and pipe in the music to one of I believe at least two booths, which was wood and glass and had a large glass pane in the door so you could look out at the store while you listened. Precursor to the headphones you find at record stores today. (continue reading…)

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Bolero, Beck-Style

by on Apr.13, 2009, under Music

Billed as the Legendary Jeff Beck, the guitar maestro walked onto the stage of the 4,000-seat MGM Grand at Foxwoods Saturday night decked out like a white knight. He had on a white T-shirt, white vest, white scarf, skin-tight white pants tucked into white boots with fringe and a white, the body naturally yellowed, Fender Strat with a white pickguard.

Jeff Beck LiveHe launched into what has become in the past few years his traditional opener, Beck’s Bolero, a Jimmy Page composition from the classic 1968  Truth album with the Jeff Beck Group, which influenced most of the heavy blues-based rock that would follow in the 1970s (see Led Zeppelin). The album cut is heavily produced. In concert, the tune benefits from a scaled down, tight, spare version with his four-piece band: Vinnie Colaiuta, drums, Tal Wilkenfeld, bass and Jason Rebello on keyboards.

The tune set the stage for a set consisting of most of Beck’s best known tunes from his fusion era, which now spans the mid-to-late 70s to present day. The Pump and You Never Know, from the ’80s album There And Back, followed. Beck is still in command of his considerable and unique skills, playing in his hybrid style, sans pick, of using his thumb and fingers and producing a trademark sound with effects he generates  mainly through only his hands, sounds he has been noted for since his days with the Yardbirds in the mid-’60s.

The first ballad was the stellar Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, from Blow By Blow, the album that really brought Beck to prominence as a solo artist in the 1970s. The tune, though, was dominated by Wilkenfeld, a 23-year-old female wunderkind, who took a breath-taking solo and received a big response from the audience. (continue reading…)

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