Thursday, June 1, 2017

Hampton 70 - I was there!

Hampton 70! At the Fabulous Fox, no less. Everybody there to pay homage to their Daddy. This concert was a must-see for me. It's been a carrot on a stick that helped get me through tax season. I've been seeing Col. Bruce for nearly 25 years. He exemplifies and fosters everything I love most about music -- freedom and self-expression, spirituality and a connection with the cosmos, vulnerability and authenticity, camaraderie and community, commitment, excellence and professionalism.
The emcee for the night said, "Get ready for a night you will never forget!" That, it was! Throughout the night, I kept thinking of the 10 concerts posts people have been posting. I could produce a pretty impressive list, just from this one night. But, it wasn't just an awkward jam session of unfamiliar all-stars. They were there as family with a worthy common goal. The emcee also mentioned that proceeds from ticket sales were going to charity. I thought, "They're playing for free... keeping their motives pure. They would've had this party anyway. I'm sure glad they invited us to join."
It was everything I was hoping for, and more.
There may have been a couple of the regular cast missing. But, one thing is for sure- those who were there, brought 100%. The show was smooth and well-rehearsed with plenty of room for stretching out. Highlights are too many to name. The drummer game was strong. Two kits with either Duane Trucks, Jon Fishman or (my MVP of the night) Jeff Sipe always in the mix. Dave Schools handled most of the bass duties as did Matt Slocum the organ. Guitar monsters – Herring, Haynes, Trucks, Taz, Tinsley. Chuck Leavell bossed a rocking stretch… other key characters – John Bell, Susan Tedeschi, Popper, Herman, Emmitt, Denson and others. “Working on a Building”, “Compared to What”, “Time is Free”, “Space is the Place” and on and on with all of the favorites performed with intensity and what seemed like an eagerness to show Bruce that they could do it how he taught them. It all built to the crescendo of “Glad”, with the Col. in command, sitting right in the middle. It could have gone on forever with no complaints. The feeling was euphoric.
For the encore, they poured out onto the stage – around 30 musicians along with Zambi and a some Zambiland props. They conjured up the vibe that I feel so grateful to have been in the presence of many times over the years. “Zambi has but one command. Peace and Happiness in Zambiland.” All 30 went at their instruments as if they were trying to pull them apart and find new sounds in them. And, together from that chaos, they busted into “Lovelight”, a Col. Bruce showpiece.
I don’t know how to recount the final act. It’s strange and awkward and haunting to witness death. It definitely shook me and my head is still spinning. As I try to process it a few things keep coming back.
-In the end, he had a huge part in his own undoing. There is likely no other person on the face of the planet (over age 3) that could go down in a heap and lay face first for almost 4 minutes in room full of people who love them and no one think it out of the ordinary. We all thought it was part of the show. Despite some obvious clues and a nagging confusion, I kept that possibility alive in my head until emergency vehicles rolled in as we walked out the door.
-I will keep tabs on the career of Taz Niederauer.
-The quality of the show should not be totally overshadowed by its finale. Find it and listen to it
-I can think of no better way for anyone – or no more fitting of a way, for him, to go out. It was harsh, but it was beautiful. The perfect ending to an incredible story.
-As suggested by Jeff Mosier, I choose gratitude. There's a lot to be thankful for.
-It is absolutely a night I will never forget!

(copy and pasted from my facebook page - originally written on May 2, 2017)

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