Story #18 “Our First Concert”

It was the end of the summer in 1973, Scott DeAngelo and I were really excited because we were going to our first Rock Concert! We caught a ride with Dan Gillming and Sue White. The four of us got into Dan’s Rambler and took off for the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium! As we walked into the Auditorium, we looked around and we seemed to be the only Caucasian people in the building! We found our seats which were, Section 203 Row F, which was in the balcony in the very back, and Row F was the last row in the balcony. Tower of Power was the warm up band. I remember the warm up band being really hot, (but after all these years I am embarrassed to say, I could not remember who the warm up act was till I talked to Sue last week). The Auditorium was about two-thirds of the way full, and everybody was smoking marijuana. 15 minutes after Tower of Power finished playing, the place was packed, and we were still the only Caucasian people in the building. As we were waiting for the next band we had some educational moments.

We were overwhelmed by the culture of this hip crowd, especially their fashion. I don’t remember the women so much, but the men were dressed in very bright colors, fur coats and cloth hats. We saw a bright pink overcoat, leopard spotted overcoats and lots of jewelry. It was a little intimidating even going to the bathroom. Everyone was in a really good mood though, and I do not remember feeling hassled at all. Maybe that was because of all the marijuana being passed around. People kept passing us joints and we would just pass them down the line. I remember looking out from our seats which were pretty “High” up and just seeing a haze of smoke in the auditorium. The time had passed when the second band was supposed to start, and the crowd started to get a little impatient. After 45 more minutes the crowd started to get a little loud and more impatient. We didn’t know what to think; was the band going to show up? I had the feeling that if someone came out to the stage and announced that the band wasn’t going to show up, that we would have a riot on your hands!

At the 60 minute mark, the lights went out and everyone got up and started clapping as Sly and the Family Stone came out onto the stage! They started with “Thank You” which really got the crowd going, and you could tell everyone had forgotten about the late start! I remember them playing “M Lady”, “Sing a Simple Song” “You Can Make It If You Try” but I was so impressed when they played “Everyday People” and “Stand”. They played those songs with so much power, the energy level was way off the charts! Both songs sounded so much better than the record! I looked around and everyone was movin’ and really groovin’ to the music! Dan had his elbows on his knees, his head was being held up by his hands, and his whole body was bouncing up and down! Then they played the three songs I came to hear! They did a funky version of “Dance to the Music” then they played a long version of “Music Lover” and then right into our Woodstock favorite “I Want to Take You Higher”. Even with no encore, and starting 60 minutes late, I will never forget how much fun my first concert was!

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