Re: The 'Official' "I saw Jimi Hendrix in concert" Thread
Temple Stadium Philadelphia Pa 5/16/70 - PART II of III
OK - I just re-read this and dearly want to hit the delete button. But maybe I'm a bit like 1 or 2 of you & hopefully I'll not take such a big hit for being "out there". I've never discussed my feelings about this, my sweetest passion ever, with anyone else but myself in 38 years, except for my wife Sheri, so I'm privileged & thankful to have you guys here that I don't know, but know so well, to share this with. I was a child when I saw Jimi that day, but I didn't come home as one . . . . Read on - If you dare. Sorry in advance - for the length.
We had spent the better part of an hour going over the "after concert" plans with little Jeff's dad, as he dropped us off at Temple. We were going to meet him at 10pm about a half mile away at the Cedarbrook Mall in front of Korvette's (a now defunct dept store). In fact Temple Stadium is now sadly gone also. His last words to us, "Don't make me wait. I have things to do early tomorrow."
So, the sun is almost down, stars are coming out, Steve Miller is hitting the stage, probably around 9:00pm, I'm feeling MUCH better, so Little Jeff turns to me and says, Steve, don't forget my dad's picking us up at 10 o'clock. He'll kill me if we're late. Jeff there's no way I'm leaving until this is over. He's telling me, Steve I'll get killed. So I said, Well go meet him then & tell him I'll get home myself. (HOW I wished now, he'd just had gone) . . . . But he was worried about me, and I suspect he was a tad horrified to be tripping alone in a car with his father . . . Big Jeff was on my other side-GONE. Tilt sign under his eyelids. Huge smile, like a grizzly on V's, Totally immersed in the day, as I was.
I was never-ever into the San Francisco scene.
I was listening to The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Zappa, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Nazz . . . This music took me to places in my soul that I believe some people have never ever been to - or even knew existed. A possible creation point of all things dream-able, a place where ALL things are possible. The SF thing just meant nothing to me. I mean no disrespect. It was just my perception at the time. People dropping Acid & putting on Dead records for hours on end and when the entire day was over they'd turn to each other, slowly, and proclaim "WOW man". What a thrilling way to spend a day . . . . . I hung at plenty of my friends "happenings" (I was a couple years behind them-I always hung with older people) and more often than not, at the end of the day, other than the warmth of having spent time with friends, I basically came out of it as a day wasted I'll never have back. This is because I was learning to play and almost always had my 62 Stratocaster in my hand. I missed her whenever we were apart. I know I'm nuts, but this was very personal to me - & I'm just setting up my day at Temple. This was the most important day in my life. I was 15 and I was going to see a man who took me to Atlantis and brought me home "safely" with nothing but a guitar in his hands. And a little help from his friends.
I never consciously rejected the SF music scene. It just, at the time, bored me to tears. Some of the SF bands music truly transcended to wonderful places that exist only in the other world. Those songs are as beautiful to me as the day I 1st heard them. Lather, Wooden Ships, ALL CSN&Y songs, Box of Rain, lots of Workingman's Dead, even later Quicksilver, but I just could never embrace the "scene". It just seemed to me like a hoard of people with no place to go & nothing to do, so they all just did "it" together. I always thought Steve Miller was one of those that left SF behind . . . . . .
So his band is on stage and out of the PA comes the 1st familiar music I'd heard all day. They were sooo good. But just the same, as every song ended, I was dearly hoping it was his last one. By time they played Livin' in the USA I was in a spectacular groove. Friends we'd met & hung with all day were coming & going - always with a smile & a hug. The only problem I was having at this point, was keeping my concentration. Tripping never ever posed this specific problem for me again, but this was Hendrix. Fucking HENDRIX ! ! And I knew this day would come, and I finally made it! And I had planned to study every single fingering to take home with me, every single move, every expression in his eyes, in his lips, even his posture, and I was so fucked up. Every time I finally talked myself down, the concentration expended for the task actually brought on another wave, each more intense than the last. It was like, "Here we go again!" But I was finally starting to have a lot of fun. So, when little Jeff started on me again. . . . Steve, my dad's probably already waiting for us and it almost takes a half hour to walk . . . . I snapped & said Leave me the fuck alone dude. Go tell your father I'll get home myself and get the fuck out! I had already made plans to stay over big Jeff's that night anyway and as B.J. just stood there with that big grin on his face (I was so jealous) I knew he was with me & we'd be just fine. I'd been thru a lot of shit w/ L.J. though & loved him like a brother, so I apologized and asked what he wanted to do. Make your decision-now, and let it go. I don't have the energy for this, but I have to stay. So he was in. He was gonna see Hendrix with me! I believe he's still thanking me - wherever he may be . . .
So about 10-10:30 Steve Miller is done. I have no clue if he did an encore. I'd probably guess no & would probably be wrong. . . .
All I know is, a good 45 mins later, the entire stage is completely stripped of all things irrelevant to Jimi Hendrix, and nothing, including ANYTHING I just recalled in the last 20,000 words (or less :-) meant anything to me. IT WAS TIME. All previous memories and anxieties of the day are quickly turning to gray for now. But Jimi Hendrix is nowhere to be found. Little Jeff is trying his best to stay off my case, but it's already after 11pm & he's simply freaking. I then eliminated all thoughts about my 2 best friends from my life as I realized in a short time Jimi Hendrix would be there. The same Jimi Hendrix that left a crowd at Monterey gawking, without any words to say. And yet, a different Hendrix. A grown up Jimi. A Hendrix that about 6 days before had given us the "Band of Gypsy's" LP . . . I already knew every note of that sweet sweet record. The intro to Power of Soul from that record left me in a cold sweat & I had never heard anything like it. Just as I had felt after the 1st 20 or so listenings of Electric Ladyland, Axis: Bold As Love before it, and Are You Experienced before that one. There was no humanly way to coax music like that out of a 6 stringed instrument. And the man who had unlocked the key was on his way!
The announcer kept coming on saying Jimi was on his way, so everybody roared. But nobody showed. The crowd in its frustration began to push forward. There had once been a rope barrier about 10 ft in front of the stage which gave its life at that point. We were now being pushed up against the stage. I was about 15 ft back. So the MC announced that Jimi was here but he "can't" come on until we move back. Word filtered back, supposedly from a roadie, that Hendrix, in fact had not arrived yet and of course, in grand Philadelphia style the crowd largely ignored the MC & went ape shit. [Morons] So it went on like this for another 25 mins. All that mattered to me was this bullshit had to be cutting into Hendrix's playing time. And . . I was also discovering some interesting patterns forming on my hands I had never seen before. I was somewhat aware of Jimi's legal & band hassles from the interviews and knew he was on tour under a certain amount of duress. So I wondered for a moment if this place was endeared somehow to him, or was this just another date he wanted to "get it over with" and get out. I didn't have much of a chance to ponder this thought, because all of a sudden in mid thought, at about 11 or 11:30 out of nowhere some guy comes out and says . . . . . . . . .
Just below the surface of our everyday world lie riches . . .