© — While a junior in high school, I was a big-time concert-goer, having by then two years of experience under my belt seeing the best seminal bands that San Francisco put forth, and drew in. The ticket (see below) is from perhaps the greatest concert I was fortunate enough to attend. Ray Green and I, along with O’Reilly, or Heinlein, or Stibich, or some other long-haired San Rafael HS Cross-Country Team member – bought tickets early to see the team’s musical mascot: The Allman Brothers. One of the guys could not attend with us, so it was just Ray and me rockin’ Southern-style. Somehow, I have kept the ticket, which also attended the concert in the hopes of selling it at the door, and it is now kept, along with its Ticketron envelope, prominently displayed in my curio cabinet.
We took Marin Transit to The City and Muni to the Cow Palace. Excited and rapturous, we poured in with the crowd, forgetting the extra ticket in my pocket. No bother, I simply hawked the ticket inside, to the smiles and laughter of my fellow fans. We sat on the north side, about halfway back, and halfway up: great seats to see the whole show, on stage and within the crowd. First, Charlie Daniels lighting up “Fire on the Mountain,” then Marshall Tucker wailing “Can’t You See,” and then…
The lights remained dim as the roadies swapped out the equipment. The drone of eager revelry humming in the crowd. A light hits the stage…a man wearing his signature Levi’s and crisp, white dress shirt, comes to the center, warms the restless crowd with his charm…and Bill Graham, doing what he had done at the two-dozen+ concerts I had seen him at on stage at Winterland, says, “Out of Macon, Georgia…The Allman Brothers!”
What they played was everything; how many songs they played (current and soon-to-be hits) was 26. And if that was being tied to the whipping post, I want more!!! The Allman Brothers, sadly sans Duane, played until 4:00 in the morning. And out they came…the locals: Boz Skaggs, Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzman…and more. By the wee hours, the stage filled with over 20 musicians from the three bands combined, and the locals just playin’ with The Bros. They jammed on Macon-style, seemingly endlessly. The last tune, Mountain Jam, must have lasted for over an hour, and wore us out. Completely blown away, Ray and I stumbled out into the fog with the herd, which was now blissfully quiet.
Ray and I had carefully planned our trip back, writing down the bus routes. However, our journey home was anticipated to be by 2:00am. By 4:30am Muni wasn’t running that far south, so we walked north through the deep of South City. We finally found a Muni bus headed roughly our way, and jumped on board. We were still somewhat dazed and confused, and now alone, when the bus pulled into the Muni corporate yard, that is, the bus parking lot, and the driver announced the end of the ride, and the end of his long day. We explained to the driver what had happened, and that we had no idea where we were (true). He hopped off the bus and into the office, then came back and offered us a ride back to a Marin Transit bus stop up by the Embarcadero. He fired that bus back up, and Ray and I got personal chauffeur service in our big orange ride.
We found the next Marin Transit bus headed north easily enough, and were finally going home. Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge as we watched the sun rise over the East Bay.
Some nights are just magical. And for ten bucks!
You can listen to all 4 hours and 23 minutes of the Allman Bros. & Friends, in hi-fi, firin’ up just before midnight, here: New Years – 1973 (‘Whipping Post,’ an instrumental with Jerry, starts at 2:18:30…WOW!)
Copyright – Robert W. Hansen – 2016