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Posts tagged “Winterland

Early Concert Memories

RIP Winterland

**I never asked my mother to take me to another concert again, figuring that when she turned down my first request, she always would. So, when the Monkees came to town, I just quietly suffered and let them come and go without a word, having to find satisfaction by watching their TV show, knowing they were far away and only to be near in a young girl’s fantasy. I do remember when my mother read the article in the local newspaper to me that revealed that the Monkees were a farce, and that during a concert, the tape they were lip-synching to, broke while they were performing. Boy, was I devastated to hear this, to the point I was actually angry at my mother for divulging this heartbreaking news to me. I didn’t want to know or hear this bubble bursting information! It hurt…and I now realized that with all the joy and happiness music brought me, it also caused deep pain. I think it was then that I decided that I shouldn’t become so emotionally involved with any particular band, or idolize a specific musician again. So, I didn’t. However, this didn’t stop me from continuing to follow, pursue and participate in my favorite activitiy of discovering new music, musicians, and places that would satisfy my appetite for this intense interest of mine. It did, though, keep me from actively participating in an activity that I could easily have fallen into – that of a groupie! The pain of childhood disappointment, as well as my Catholic upbringing kept me safe from any temptation to fall into the clutches of Groupiedom. Don’t get me wrong, I was up front and making eye contact with the musicians any chance I got, but I was more interested in their delivery of tunes, the command of their instruments, and the fascination of the whole concert scene. Yep, I was always in line for hours at Winterland (my concert hall of choice) in order to blast through the doors right when they opened and rush to the front of the stage. I have many a good (and not so good) memory of those crazy, hazy days of good ol’ Winterland. May it rest in peace. My concert viriginity was first, and finally, lost in 1973 when a friend invited me to go with her, her older brother and his friend. You bet I jumped on it! Now, when I say I lost my concert virginity, I do not mean that it was by either of the guys we went with, or anyone in the crowd (or bands, for that matter.) I just want to make that clear, not that it really matters. I had barely heard of the bands we went to see, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Jesse Colin Young, and Alice Stuart & Snake, but I didn’t care. I was up for the concert experience equally as much as the music. It ended up that, inexperienced and all, like a magnet we were pulled directly to the front of the stage…and I was instantly in Heaven! Of course, the mind-altering substances that our companions shared with us surely intensified the enjoyment of this new adventure. I still remember rocking out, holding on to the stage at times, and wondering why people in the audience kept annoyingly shouting out stuff to the bands in between songs. I wanted to tell them to shut up and leave them alone to entertain us, but being the timid newbie, I just kept quiet and tried to ignore them. It wasn’t until soon after, and after becoming a new fan of NRPS, that I realized that those non-such idiots were yelling out song requests! Now, who was the idiot? And, thankful that I didn’t snarl and bitch at them at the concert. What a fool I would’ve been!

Needless to say, this first concert experience of mine opened up the floodgates that till this day hasn’t been plugged. Once the music is in you, it never leaves! After that night, I became a collector of the weekly Winterland advertisements in the SF Chronicles Sunday Pink (Entertainment) section. I became a teenage expert in Winterland (and other local) concerts and was the one who informed friends who was coming to town. And then, we went – to the Fillmore, Great American Music Hall, Cow Palace, free concerts in Golden Gate Park, the County Fair Grounds, Days on the Green, and even to Great America Africa USA when it was still in the sleepy town of Belmont, Ca. and brought in local (and not so local) bands in their early days, such as Tower of Power, Santana, Malo, Elvin Bishop, Leon Russell, etc. A few times we hopped the fence to get in to those concerts for free. Little did we realize at the time that we were living through one of the greatest musical periods of history, but then again, who isn’t, I suppose?

We experienced, on more than one occasion, some of the biggest bands of our time – The Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead, Traffic, Derek & the Dominos, Johnny Winter,  Robin Trower, Fleetwood Mac, Joe Cocker, and the list goes on! The countless hours I spent in lines waiting (for tickets, and for entry,) driving to and from shows, and actively participating in the concerts experience, defines my teenage years. Many times I wished I was either a little older (nah, not really) or had an older sibling who was willing to bring me to earlier shows so that I could have experienced a Beatles, Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin concert. But, unfortunately that wasn’t the case. I do have stories from others about such shows, as do many others out there, which can be shared some time if ever anyone reads and would like to. Which reminds me, there is a pretty cool site that I found that does this to some extent. Check it out at: ( It’s by a guy named Chris Horn and is very nostalgic. If you were a Winterland junkie like me, you will love these stories!!