gfxgfx
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
logo
 
gfx gfx
gfx
665700 Posts in 26693 Topics by 3823 Members - Latest Member: BeachBoysTalkonTwitch January 18, 2021, 03:59:16 PM
*
gfx*HomeHelpSearchCalendarLoginRegistergfx
gfxgfx
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.       « previous next »
Pages: [1] Go Down Print
Author Topic: June 8, 1974 Oakland Coliseum Stadium  (Read 666 times)
Rocker
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 9566


"Too dumb for New York City, too ugly for L.A."


View Profile WWW
« on: January 08, 2021, 01:35:12 PM »

This is something I found on the web and thought that it was interesting. I hope it wasn't posted before. Click the link for more, I will only post the Beach Boys related parts. BTW, "BGP" probably means Billy Graham Productions.


June 8, 1974: Day On The Green #1
BGP kicked off the 1974 outdoor concert season the same way they had in 1973, with a stadium concert featuring the Grateful Dead. As the ad shows, however, they shared top billing with The Beach Boys, and the New Riders of The Purple Sage and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen filled out the day's entertainment. Tickets were just $8.50, and the bands would start at the unrock and roll hour of 10am. Even in the 1970s, $2.00 per band was a very low number, so it was a great deal if you were looking to see a bunch of bands for very little money.



The Beach Boys' Endless Summer
The Beach Boys co-billing with the Dead was a very odd but in the end very shrewd booking. At the time, the Beach Boys had spent a few years in the wilderness, derided as an oldies band who weren't capable of making "serious" music. The group had struggled desperately to be hip, but their efforts had largely failed. Nonetheless, at the same time AM radio had lost a lot of ground to FM, and were countering it by playing more and more oldies, so 60s Beach Boys hits were well known to most local radio listeners. The co-sponsor of the show was KFRC (610), the biggest AM music station in the Bay Area. The Beach Boys were a regular part of their playlist, and the Dead gave a cachet of hipness to KFRC that it didn't deserve, but probably served them well.

BGP's goal in booking cool local favorites with an over-the-hill LA hit machine was to draw from two different fan bases. I now realize that BGP recognized that people were going to come by the carload, and the Beach Boys essentially appealed to a lot of people who wanted to go with their friends, but didn't like or know about the Grateful Dead. The Beach Boys, on the other hand, were known to everyone who was under 30 and not deaf, because even if you didn't know the names of their songs, even someone who only listened to classical music knew the opening strains to "Good Vibrations" or "Fun Fun Fun." In those days, the Grateful Dead were a "cool" band, but not to everyone's taste, and their popularity was definitely finite. The whole idea of Deadheads as a weird cult had not developed yet. Of course, Dead fans had a reputation as long-haired stoners, but Bay Area High Schools in the 1970s were full of long haired stoners (or would-be ones, anyway), so the Dead weren't out of step with the times.

In 1975, the Beach Boys would release a double album of their greatest hits, called Endless Summer, which would establish them as America's premier oldies band, a title I believe they hold to this day. In 1974, however, this wasn't fully established. Nonetheless, stations like KFRC were playing their old songs, and music fans (myself included) were starting to notice that amidst the catchy hooks and dopey lyrics, the Beach Boys had made some pretty well sculpted music. Thus in 1974, the Beach Boys were on the verge of a comeback. BGP would book the Beach Boys with more current groups at a number of stadium shows in the next few years, and they went over very well, but this June booking with the Grateful Dead was the first test of the concept.



The Beach Boys
The New Riders must have left the stage by or before 1:00pm. There was the usual rapid set change, and after a little while people were getting restless in the hot sun, looking forward to seeing the Beach Boys. I was less interested in the Boys than the other groups, but there was nothing to do and I wanted to see them or anyone rather than just bake. After more than half an hour, people were starting to get restless. Eventually, someone--maybe Bill Graham--came on stage and announced that the Beach Boys were having travel problems and were going to be late, but that the Dead had given up some of their time to let them do their set.

Well, even if this was just musician's courtesy, it didn't sit well with me, baking in the sun so a band I didn't really want to see could play their entire set, but there wasn't anything I could do about it. It did leave ample time to socialize with the people in the crowd. The most surprising and telling thing was the discovery nearby of two girls from my high school, neither of whom liked the Grateful Dead, and thus rather less likely to be found at such a concert. In the interests of not embarrassing their no-doubt-by-now-adult children, I will redact their names, but while they sort of liked rock music, they were both violinists in the Youth Symphony and knew nothing about rock beyond The Beatles. One of them claimed to have never heard of or heard the Beach Boys.

The two of them had come to the show with two older guys from San Jose (shocking to a Palo Altan). In fact the boys were probably about 19 and must have been San Jose State students, but it was an interesting marker of how the show appealed to different sorts of people. Here were two girls from my High School who would never have attended a Dead show, but because it was an easy ticket at a convenient venue, and two (presumably) college guys invite them on a double date, so here they were. Now, to give the violinists their Palo Alto cred, they had arrived during the New Riders and slept through them, because they were too stoned--at 11:30am. It was another mark of the half-filled Coliseum that patrons could cheerily take a nap in right field (Reggie Jackson territory in those days) whenever they felt the need. At about 2:00, when we bumped into them, they were still three sheets to the wind.

The Beach Boys came on at about 2:30 or even 3:00pm. Lead singer Mike Love irritated many people by saying, "sorry about being late, man, but we're all on Universal Time," a sentiment not shared by me. However, that aside, the Beach Boys played and sang very well, and ended up winning over the Deadhead crowd along with entertaining violinists and other more casual fans. While Brian Wilson had stopped touring many years before, obviously, the other two brothers (guitarist Carl and drummer/singer Dennis) and cousin Al Jardine (guitar) were still in the band. Bruce Johnston took Brian's parts, so the band's five part vocals (Love, Johnston, Jardine, the Wilsons) were still intact. The rest of the band was pretty solid too, including Blondie Chaplin (lead guitar) Ricky Fataar (guitar and drums) and Billy Hinsche (on piano--from Dino, Desi and Billy; don't tell me you've forgotten them?). I no longer recall if producer Jim Guercio played bass on that tour.

The Beach Boys were real professionals, cranking out all their 60s hits (and "Sail On Sailor") with enthusiasm, hitting all the high notes, and putting in just enough genuine guitar solos to seem like they belonged in the 1970s to pull off playing in a baseball stadium. Whatever reservations Deadheads like me may have had about the group were forgotten while we all sang along to "Help Me Rhonda" and "Wouldn't It Be Nice." I looked over and saw my violinist friends singing along too--it turned out they knew a bunch of Beach Boys songs, even if they hadn't known that beforehand.



Update I: Backstage Report
I am fortunate to be in touch with keyboardist Ned Lagin, who had a unique perspective on the Grateful Dead's music in the first half of the 1970s. I asked him

"do you recall if Seastones (or "Phil and Ned") was supposed to play in Oakland Stadium on June 8, 1974? The Beach Boys were also on the bill, and they were late, so the Dead agreed to shorten their show to help out. The band still played two full sets and an encore, so I wondered what was missing. I know that you started appearing between sets later in June."

While it turns out that Lagin was not scheduled to play, he was indeed present, and had a remarkable story to tell

"My girl friend and I rode to the gig with Phil and his girl friend, all four of us happy and excited, flying (in Phil's car) over the Bay (on the Richmond Bridge) and down the east shore of the bay to Oakland. Everything (the PA) was set up when we arrived and the NRPS were playing, but after walking in through the performer's entrance area, and seeing the NRPS finish, the real story of that day for us became quickly apparent - that the Beach Boys were seriously afraid of the GD and possible psychic or liquid or other physical "infection" or contact, or the appearance of contact or association. It seemed that an underlying reason they as co-headliners were booked to go on first (meaning before the GD played and things got loose, but after CC and NRPS) was for them to play and get away unharmed, untainted (and, the thinking was, the Beach Boys' audience as well if they wanted). The Beach Boys did not allow any one from the GD on stage or backstage with minor exceptions. They put yellow police crime tape all around the sides of the stage and the back stage area to keep the GD out while they were present. I remember them being very late in starting (but not so late arriving as Bill Graham said at the gig) - only that they were there but didn't come out on stage for a very long time, for whatever reasons. I had great respect for the singing abilities of the Beach Boys, and their becoming a part of mainstream Americana, but really otherwise didn't care much about them one way or the other - seeing them in some full GD phobia mode was hysterical to say the least (even knowing their personal history). They did put on a good show that was them, the Beach Boys. But I'm not sure why no one ever reported one of the more bizarre and funny occurences in Rock and Roll, especially since it was the first (Oakland) Day on the Green and an important bell-weather for Bill Graham's future stadium summer gigs. I guess out of respect for the Beach Boys. The GD played as long really as they wanted (or felt the need to, given the constraints on Graham to have a reasonably well controlled and contained, and hence reproducible, stadium event).

Phil and I had no plans to play (it wasn't considered) because no one thought it would be a good start (for us) at a large outdoor party show. Particularly one with such an eclectic mix of mainstream outdoor summer pop audience attendees. (Soon on tour though we would play outdoors at Hollywood Bowl (much smaller, but with CC and Maria Muldour on the bill), and Roosevelt Stadium, and do well....). We also skipped the first cities on the tour because we (prejudicially) thought it unlikely to get a reasonable response from Southern audiences. As it turned out the least favorable response we ever got was later in (northern liberal) New Haven."

So, it turns out that the "story" about the Beach Boys being late was concocted for the crowd, and much more mysterious behavior was happening backstage. On the positive side, it seems that the Grateful Dead played more or less what they wanted to.



Update II: Another Backstage Report
As if this post weren't great enough already, I was contacted by Kevin Smith, one of the road managers of the Beach Boys' 1974 tour, who had yet another perspective:

"There are a few inaccuracies I'd like to correct.  I am qualified to do so because I was also there that day on the green!  I was the roadie/stage manager for the Beach Boys in 1974.  We arrived in Oakland with the Beach Boys backline gear June 7th to set up gear that evening.  We were set and ready to go as specified by the Grateful Dead's crew.  I had met the Dead in Chicago in October of 1971.  They were playing the Auditorium Theatre great shows!!  Phil had just got the first quadraphonic bass from Alembic and was really jazzed!!  So I knew the Dead's crew already and they showed me the in and outs of the wall of sound concept.  Amazing!!  No monitor console, they each mixed their own monitors onstage!  
Which is why the Beach Boys had their own PA system.  Our production manager didn't trust the concept of the wall of sound.  In regards to the band line up.  Yes Ricky Fataar was playing drums but Blondie was long gone from the band then. If I recall the band line up was Dennis and Carl Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Billy Hinshe, Carlos Munoz, Ed Brewer  and Ricky Fataar.   Al or Carl played the leads.  James Guercio, Chicago's producer didn't join us until later that year.
Your assumption that the Beach Boys had you waiting in the sun because they had some problem with the Dead is totally untrue.  The reason the Boys were late is because they chose to stay in San Fransisco instead of Oakland like the crew did.  They misjudged the amount of traffic going to Oakland and got stuck in it.  Believe me I was dealing with Bill and his staff regarding there tardiness. That is why Bill Graham's people came onstage and made that announcement!  We knew we were holding things up by being late!!   I was waiting for them to arrive at the backstage entrance.  The last thing we wanted to do was screw up a Grateful Dead Show.  The Beach Boys have a lot of respect for Grateful Dead!  When they arrived I escorted them directly to the stage and put them on!!  I don't recall any yellow tape being around the stage at all.  If there was it might have been there to keep people from wandering into the tech area where the Dead's crew had several of their McIntosh Power Amps in various states of repair.  They were the weak link in the system since they would literally shake themselves to pieces during transport.
There was one fact that you neglected to mention although you may not have been aware of it at the time.  After we did the set change, Osley Stanley came up to me on the side of stage to ask me why the Beach Boys weren't using the wall of sound.  He told me he had designed the PA himself and was a bit upset by our decision not to use it. I explained to him it was not my call.  We had gotten most of our gear down and in the truck when an EMT wagon showed up backstage.  It was there for Stanley who had fallen off the scaffolding while pulling down the PA we had just used.  He broke his leg!!
I felt really bad about it and told Jerry Garcia so as he was making his way to the stage and I was making my way to my truck. You were right about one thing, we did do a really good show once we got there."

Thanks Kevin, for letting me include this. It's amazing to imagine the idea of the Beach Boys' harmonies soaring out over the Wall Of Sound, although I hardly blame their crew for not wanting to try out a new system in front of a whole stadium.














Thanks to the original author. Here's the link:

http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2011/05/june-8-1974-oakland-coliseum-stadium.html
« Last Edit: January 08, 2021, 01:44:18 PM by Rocker » Logged

a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was one… their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

- Lester Bangs on The Beach Boys


PRO SHOT BEACH BOYS CONCERTS - LIST


To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

- Jack Rieley
c-man
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 4790


View Profile WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2021, 05:51:48 PM »

Yeah, too bad the part about Bruce and Blondie being in the band was reported - since they weren't.
Logged
Pretty Funky
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 5624


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2021, 06:25:03 PM »

I was ready to type ‘ the Beach Boys were to chickensh!t to appear on the same stage as The Dead’ until the correction.
Logged
Rocker
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 9566


"Too dumb for New York City, too ugly for L.A."


View Profile WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2021, 10:43:40 AM »

Although we don't have a recording of this show (afaik), we do have a great radio broadcast from June 14th, so you can an idea how the Boys sounded on the 8th. Though Blondie was gone, they still were red hot.
Logged

a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was one… their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

- Lester Bangs on The Beach Boys


PRO SHOT BEACH BOYS CONCERTS - LIST


To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

- Jack Rieley
gfx
Pages: [1] Go Up Print 
gfx
Jump to:  
gfx
Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Page created in 0.968 seconds with 21 queries.
Helios Multi design by Bloc
gfx
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!