Jump to content

Oakland Incident?


Swan_Song
 Share

Recommended Posts

Who was Bill Graham?

Bill Graham was born Wolfgang Grajonca, the child of Russian Jews who had moved to Berlin before his birth in 1931. His Father was killed in an accident just two days after Bill was born, and his mother was forced to put her only son and the youngest of her five daughters in an orphanage so that she could seek employment.

Bill and his sister were in France as part of a student exchange program when the German army invaded. With a group of 65 children and a Red Cross worker, they fled—and trekked to Marseilles and Toulouse, across the Pyrenees to Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon, then on to Casablanca, Dakar, Bermuda, Cuba and, finally, New York. Bill was one of eleven who survived the trek; his sister perished on the trek.

Raised in a Jewish foster home in the Bronx, Bill changed his name to Graham and became an American citizen in 1949. He worked his way through City College of New York, with his studies interrupted by Army service in the Korean War (where he garnered a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart). He later moved to San Francisco, finally reuniting with two of his older sisters who had emigrated there from Israel.

Bill pursued a promising business career for the next eight years, with time out for a try at becoming an actor/director. In 1965, he quit an $18,000 a year corporate job to become the manager of the San Francisco Mime Troupe for $120 a month.

Bill produced his first concert as a benefit for the Mime Troupe, in November of 1965. Held in a San Francisco loft, it brought together the Jefferson Airplane, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, The Committee, The Fugs, Allen Ginsberg, and other elements of the San Francisco art scene and subculture. Financially, the show succeeded beyond anyone's expectations; aesthetically, it was magic. The artists performed, the people danced, and the room was pervaded by an intoxicating sense of joy and freedom.

As Bill put it, he "saw the writing on the wall"—and he continued producing shows and perfected concert production as no one had before. An untiring worker known for his tough exterior and relentless idealism, Bill entertained and educated the young audiences by booking shows that combined jazz, blues and folk musicians with the most popular rock bands of the day. Artists like Miles Davis, B.B. King and Ravi Shakar shared stages with bands such as the Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. Bill nurtured the development of "psychedelic art" by engaging local artists to create posters and handbills for his shows. From the start, the Bill Graham trademarks were apparent: the best sound and lighting equipment, a friendly and comfortable atmosphere, and an overriding concern that audiences get their money's worth.

Bill's company, Bill Graham Presents (BGP), achieved great success, following the standards of ethics and excellence that Bill established and demanded. BGP has brought the best of professionalism, creativity and experience to the leisure-time industry, and continues to provide enjoyment to concert audiences around the world.

Since Bill's earliest days as a concert producer, he devoted much time and energy to a wide range of benefit events, showing a passionate interest and enthusiasm in aiding people in need. By mobilizing musicians on behalf of crucial social issues, he helped to raise millions of dollars for diverse organizations and causes including The Live Aid Concert for African Famine Relief; the American-Soviet Peace Concert for Nuclear Disarmament in Moscow; Amnesty International's Conspiracy of Hope and Human Rights Now! tours; the Nelson Mandela concerts and rallies in California; In-Concert Against AIDS; Concerts for the Advocacy of Indigenous People's Traditional and Cultural Rights; and benefits for the United Farm Workers, Lighthouse for the Blind, the San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco's Earthquake Relief - and many, many others.

Among Bill's many other professional achievements, he staged the Watkins Glen (New York) "Summer Jam" in 1973; produced national tours for Bob Dylan and The Band; Crosby Stills Nash & Young; and George Harrison in 1974; created the series of summer outdoor "Day On the Green" concerts; produced "The Last Waltz" in 1976, which was filmed by Martin Scorcese for the film; conducted the Rolling Stones' World Tour in 1981-82; managed the careers of artists including Santana, Eddie Money, the Neville Brothers, Joe Satriani, Blues Traveler and others; and, in his spare time, appeared in cameo acting roles in films including "Apocalypse Now," "The Cotton Club," "Gardens of Stone" and "Bugsy".

Bill was lauded in the Congressional Record of the United States on four occasions and, among his many honors, received San Francisco's St. Francis of Assisi Award, MTV's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Humanitarian Award of B'nai B'rith, the Award of Honor of the San Francisco Arts Commission, the City of Hope "Spirit of Life" Award, and the prestigious "Scopus Award" of the American Friends of Hebrew University. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and continues to be granted numerous honoraria posthumously .

Bill was killed in a helicopter crash on October 25, 1991.

http://www.billgrahamfoundation.org/bio.html

Rest in peace.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was there at the second show, and from my memory, it seemed much longer than a 45 minute wait. The crowd was really getting restless, and Bill Graham came out and was pissed at the crowds reaction. People were starting to throw things, and boo. The concert was also short. They were good, but not what I expected as far as long guitar solos ect. The concert was less than 2 hours if i remember right. There may have only been one small encore, or none. Again, my memory is not what it used to be!

I also went to all the day on the greens and concerts in the Bay Area. For some reason, we hated Bill Graham! I can't remember for the life of me why, other than maybe we thought he was driving ticket prices up or something. But we did not have a good impression of the man.

As for his employees, most were fine, and yes, drugs and alcohol were allowed, but some of the guys were a little rough. Once concert at Cow Palace, I was in the front with my friends. We were 16 and from the heat and smoke I started to pass out. One of the employees that stood between the barrier and the stage, started to lift me over the barrier. I came to, and said, I'm fine, let me go back over. He drug me to the end of the barrier and pushed me out into the crowd!

Cow Palace as always a rough crowd, and not a good place to be a young female alone. So there I was alone in this huge crowd, and no cell phones back then. I was scared and pissed off! So some employees were not nice. ;-) By the way, I did manage to work my way back up to the front and find my friends, and let him know what an ass he was. :rolleyes:

Ah, fellow Bay Area concert go'er's from the 70's on here, nice! B)

From the recordings of the 2 shows, the only differences are that they played a 2nd encore of Black Dog on the first day, and a bit of Mystery Train in the acoustic set on the 2nd day. Otherwise, they were identical, and about the same length, well over 2 hours. But don't worry, I wouldn't have remembered without the bootlegs either! I have no doubt it took them a long time to start, and that the crowd got restless. Crowds used to always get restless, even when there was only 1/2 hour between 2 bands. Hell, they got restless at the first show, and they weren't even that late! I remember hearing it was something like 3 hours for the second show, but I was not there, so I don't know for sure.

Our impression of Graham was just that he was a hardline business guy, and you didn't mess around with him. He competely owned the concert business in the Bay Area, so if you wanted to play out there, you dealt with him. Again, my experiences at the shows were generally good, and he always seemed to have a good relationship with artists. But I'm sure not every one of his employees was so nice. That does suck that you got roughed up at that show. And yes, Cow Palace crowds could be pretty unruly! But I'm sure there are some people on here from other parts of the country who could tell us much worse stories of security at concerts, riot police, massive arrests, etc. We used to hear about them, and be glad we didn't see that crap at the shows we went to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, fellow Bay Area concert go'er's from the 70's on here, nice! B)

From the recordings of the 2 shows, the only differences are that they played a 2nd encore of Black Dog on the first day, and a bit of Mystery Train in the acoustic set on the 2nd day. Otherwise, they were identical, and about the same length, well over 2 hours. But don't worry, I wouldn't have remembered without the bootlegs either! I have no doubt it took them a long time to start, and that the crowd got restless. Crowds used to always get restless, even when there was only 1/2 hour between 2 bands. Hell, they got restless at the first show, and they weren't even that late! I remember hearing it was something like 3 hours for the second show, but I was not there, so I don't know for sure.

Our impression of Graham was just that he was a hardline business guy, and you didn't mess around with him. He competely owned the concert business in the Bay Area, so if you wanted to play out there, you dealt with him. Again, my experiences at the shows were generally good, and he always seemed to have a good relationship with artists. But I'm sure not every one of his employees was so nice. That does suck that you got roughed up at that show. And yes, Cow Palace crowds could be pretty unruly! But I'm sure there are some people on here from other parts of the country who could tell us much worse stories of security at concerts, riot police, massive arrests, etc. We used to hear about them, and be glad we didn't see that crap at the shows we went to.

How's it going "Steve Z(oso)?" I lived in Sacramento and L.A. for a combination of 29 years. I travelled to see the Forum show on 23 June 1977 which was also one hell of a drama day for me that I will never forget as long as I live. If you ever ge a chance, read my "WHAT WAS THE CRAZIEST THING THAT YOU DID AT A LED ZEPPELIN CONCERT THREAD" on the Led Zeppelin Master Forum Link. You'll hear the majority of my TRUE STORY on that link. I also have one hell of a true story to tell all of you that took place on Friday, 22 July 1977 as well as Saturday, 23 July 1977 which I have not told yet. As someone once told me here on the Led Zeppelin Forum, I should submit screen plays or scripts to the movie studios and have my true life experiences made into movies. Tell me what you think after you read my true story. ROCK ON!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How's it going "Swan_Song?" Yes, I was truly there and I have the ticket stub and tour program to prove it. ROCK ON!

:slapface:

All right, I do not doubt that you were that day, actually these two concerts I have a passion for years, I did not have the opportunity to be there, even if not born, you have my admiration, truly, you saw it live to Robert, I do not . :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, fellow Bay Area concert go'er's from the 70's on here, nice! B)

From the recordings of the 2 shows, the only differences are that they played a 2nd encore of Black Dog on the first day, and a bit of Mystery Train in the acoustic set on the 2nd day. Otherwise, they were identical, and about the same length, well over 2 hours. But don't worry, I wouldn't have remembered without the bootlegs either! I have no doubt it took them a long time to start, and that the crowd got restless. Crowds used to always get restless, even when there was only 1/2 hour between 2 bands. Hell, they got restless at the first show, and they weren't even that late! I remember hearing it was something like 3 hours for the second show, but I was not there, so I don't know for sure.

Our impression of Graham was just that he was a hardline business guy, and you didn't mess around with him. He competely owned the concert business in the Bay Area, so if you wanted to play out there, you dealt with him. Again, my experiences at the shows were generally good, and he always seemed to have a good relationship with artists. But I'm sure not every one of his employees was so nice. That does suck that you got roughed up at that show. And yes, Cow Palace crowds could be pretty unruly! But I'm sure there are some people on here from other parts of the country who could tell us much worse stories of security at concerts, riot police, massive arrests, etc. We used to hear about them, and be glad we didn't see that crap at the shows we went to.

Yes, I've been here in the bay area since 1969! Still here..... B)

That bootleg would be interesting to hear! That concert seemed pretty short from my memory LOL! And I remember other poeple saying the same thing. But then again, we were spoiled in those days, and lots of bands played longer than 2 hours. The grateful dead always played for ever! And LZ were known for 3-4 hour concerts.

The time they took to come on the stage that day, was much longer than the normal amount of time. Not 30-45 minutes thats for sure. I thought is was more like 1 1/2 hours or more. A lot of bands were late coming out back then, and no one really cared because everyone was partying and not noticing the time. This time everyone was getting pissed, and Bill G. kept sending people out to entertain us. :blink:

Yes, he was a business man alright. He made millions! Smart man, but I don't recall anyone saying he was a nice guy. ;-) But you are right, in that we had it pretty good. No one stopped the drinking, or drugs going on. I remember seeing at one day on the green someone having sex on the stairs! LOL! SEX, DRUGS, AND ROCK AND ROLL! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:slapface:

All right, I do not doubt that you were that day, actually these two concerts I have a passion for years, I did not have the opportunity to be there, even if not born, you have my admiration, truly, you saw it live to Robert, I do not . :rolleyes:

How's it going "Swan_Song" as well as our fellow die hard hard core ZEPPELIN fanatics? I truly feeled blessed that I saw THE FORUM show in L.A. on 23 June 1977 because that was LED ZEPPELIN performing at the best on all 8-cylinders. It hurts me to say this but by the time LED ZEPPELIN got to Oakland for the 23 and 24 July 1977 shows at the Oakland Coliseum, the band was in bad shape. Their timing was a little off on some of the songs and the effects of Heroin were really starting to take a serious toll on Pagey and Bonzo. It was really a sad scene to see. On a good note, I'm just glad and proud of the mighty LED ZEPPELIN for setting the record straight on 10 December 2007 and putting all doubts to rest once and for all that ZEPPELIN can still kick ass. ROCK ON!

Edited by ZeppFanForever
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2bizzy, ah yes, those were the days, eh?! :D Boy, I sure remember stepping over all the drunk people to get a good place in line for those Day on the Greens, and this was at 6am!

ZeppFanForever, great stories! We had fifths of vodka stuffed down our pants, and froze a couple of gallon jugs of fruit punch, or something like that, the night before so it would stay cold throughout the day. Then we spiked them with the booze and passed them around! Damn, and I wasn't even 15 yet, what the hell were my parents thinking, letting me go to that?! :rolleyes:

Are you still there in Sac?

Edited by Steve Z(oso)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Steve,

There is a photo of Jimmy Page captured on July 24th, by Michael Zagaris. He is shown clearly standing:

michaelzagaris1977.jpg

Meg

I also think the statements that Page sat down through most of the second day are an exaggeration. Remember, the '77 show included a fairly lengthy acoustic set as well as White Summer/Black Mountain Side, which he would be seated for. I've never seen any photos from that day of Page sitting down playing the Les Paul or the Doubleneck.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I was at that trainwreck on the 24th, the most dissapointing show I ever saw! Zeppelin was well over 45 min late, more like an hour and a half at least! Boy were they in a bad mood! Bonham had giant sunglasses (I guess to cover blackeyes) and Page and Jones just scowled through the whole thing. My memory (albeit damaged) sez Page skipped the solo in ALS! (Am I right? Anyone got the boot?) All in all it was just a taste of what was to come, poor Robert, so many of his songs since seem to be telling me to spend time with my kids while I can! Well Bob, I got the message. If I'm blasting the new Zep boot and someone needs help with homework, a ride to the store or their bike fixed I'm there immeadiately!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So after this incident people became bitter and suddenly had an axe to grind against California fans.

I noticed a difference in attitude at the time and did not understand then. Although I had read something in the news, at the time I had not followed the story closely.

It's disappointing that something that was once carefree and wonderful turned into something else. I did not foresee that happening.

I can understand why Peter Grant thought he had made the biggest mistake of his career at this point, and why neither he nor John Bonham returned to the United States afterward.

Edited by eternal light
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The scene around the grateful dead was getting bad with gate crashing and petty theft and the doors had that miami courtroom ordeal, which seemingly marked the end for the doors.

and in later years, Mountain Girl related issues also happened in Oakland.

http://www.levity.com/gans/MGinterview.html

Edited by eternal light
Link to comment
Share on other sites

..and I can guarantee that the incident in question would have fostered ill will towards the Zeppelin gang in the Deadhead community and likely the band themselves. Bill Graham was a big part of the Dead family (Uncle Bobo was his name).

The Dead themselves I'm sure will have forgiven and forgotten the whole thing as you can see with Bob Weir playing one of their songs.

The dead and Zeppelin were similar yet so different. the whole ego excess with Zeppelin would never be seen with the Dead. Zeppelin was about smashing you over the head with the Hammer of the Gods while the Grateful Dead was more Tibetan Book of the Dead kind of opening yourself and freeing yourself from your ego to experience first hand the things that wait beyond.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

..and I can guarantee that the incident in question would have fostered ill will towards the Zeppelin gang in the Deadhead community and likely the band themselves. Bill Graham was a big part of the Dead family (Uncle Bobo was his name).

The Dead themselves I'm sure will have forgiven and forgotten the whole thing as you can see with Bob Weir playing one of their songs.

The dead and Zeppelin were similar yet so different. the whole ego excess with Zeppelin would never be seen with the Dead. Zeppelin was about smashing you over the head with the Hammer of the Gods while the Grateful Dead was more Tibetan Book of the Dead kind of opening yourself and freeing yourself from your ego to experience first hand the things that wait beyond.

if you think the grateful dead and led zeppelin and the dead were similar in anything you need to clean the pigeon shit out of your eyes and ears dude!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I found the 568p. 1992 Bill Graham auto-biography, that he wrote with Robert Greenfield, at the Half-Price bookstore today. I just happened to flip the book open, to the chapter specifiaclly devoted to Led Zeppelin. I began reading.... and it was all about the 1977 Day on the Green goings on. Besides what Bill had to say, there were specific remeberances and quotes from:

PETER BARSOTI

BONNIE SIMMONS

JIM DOWNEY

JIM MATZORKIS

NICHOLAS CLAINOS

ROBERT PLANT

I went ahead and bought the book. It's just plain interesting to read about the world of concerts from the perspective of someone like Bill Graham, born Wolfgang Grajonca, and who escaped the Nazi's as a child by crossing Europe by foot, and, won a bronze star for his valor in Korea.

-----------------------------------------------------

I also ran across this article from Proximity that covers some things from July of 1977.

Though he {Bill Graham} may never have felt vindicated, some kind of a truce must have been reached by 1985, when the paths of Graham and Zeppelin crossed again at Live Aid in Philadelphia. And as stage manager of the Atlantic 40th Anniversary concert in 1988, Graham nixed the idea of an all-star jam to close the show, accurately stating, "No offense to anybody else on the bill, but nobody could follow Zeppelin!"

Despite the trouble in Oakland, the band left California with the intention of completing the final seven dates of the tour, arriving in New Orleans on the 26th to prepare for their July 30 show at the 80,000 seat Superdome. It was here that Robert Plant got the trans-Atlantic call bearing the tragic news of his son's death, and the remaining dates were immediately cancelled.

http://www.oldbuckeye.com/prox/77tour.html

---------------------------------------------------------

I want to read over the information in the Graham book {BILL GRAHAM PRESENTS} several times, to really get the picture that he is painting.

Edited by The Rover
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 1977 tour was just so negative and dark, overall...it just has that vibe. Some of my favorite Zeppelin concerts and setlists are from this tour, but overall there was so much more behind it than the previous tours. It seems like 1975 was the last time a Zep tour was "fun"...1977 just doesn't seem "fun" even when you listen to the best shows.

The crowds were there for the event more than the music (riots, constantly tossing firecrackers at the stage, etc) and Page and Bonham were so far up their own arses with drugs/booze it affected the performances (Page, mostly...either brilliant or shite)...

Still it's a tour that fascinates me and continues to to this day...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went ahead and bought the book. It's just plain interesting to read about the world of concerts from the perspective of someone like Bill Graham, born Wolfgang Grajonca, and who escaped the Nazi's as a child by crossing Europe by foot, and, won a bronze star for his valor in Korea.

Hendrik Hertzberg wrote about Bill Graham in his book, Politics: Observations & Arguments, 1966-2004.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 1977 tour was just so negative and dark, overall...it just has that vibe. Some of my favorite Zeppelin concerts and setlists are from this tour, but overall there was so much more behind it than the previous tours. It seems like 1975 was the last time a Zep tour was "fun"...1977 just doesn't seem "fun" even when you listen to the best shows.

The crowds were there for the event more than the music (riots, constantly tossing firecrackers at the stage, etc) and Page and Bonham were so far up their own arses with drugs/booze it affected the performances (Page, mostly...either brilliant or shite)...

Still it's a tour that fascinates me and continues to to this day...

Disagree about Bonzo, this was by far some of his best performances. His drumming on TSRTS from the DVD (you can find it on one of the menus) is the best and fastest he sounded. It sounded like cannons being fired up. Just amazing. Page on the other hand could sound fantastic on one song and crappy the next. SIBLY was pretty horrible on this tour. They should have played "Tea For One" instead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^^I wasn't necessarily implying that Bonzo *played* like shite...he actually was really excellent. But he was going nuts with the booze and drugs as much as Jimmy...it just didn't affect his performances...

Jimmy could alternate, as you said, between phenomenal and phenomenally awful...and that super-thin guitar tone he had on this tour...awful! He looked lousy, too...gaunt and frail...and Bonzo looked fat and bloated...

Sad, really...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...