NRPS, Marshall Tucker Band, Sausalito Arts Festival, 9/3/7
After baking in the sun at the Summer of Love Festival the day before, it was admittedly difficult to motivate to Sausalito. But once I realized the main stage at the Sausalito Arts Festival was under a tent that would keep any redhead happy, it was a no brainer, so off we went!
We drove effortlessly on the almost abandoned Bay Area freeways, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, and located the easy-to-find parking. A bus was waiting for us – an entire bus – that took the two of us, plus a family of four to the ticket office. No lines at the ticket office, and we were in!
Upon arrival at the main tent, I found it strange to not recognize a soul in this sea of Marin madness. We decided to grab a fistful of $5 beers and make way to the front of the stage.
Sure enough, as soon as we got to the front, family faces came from every corner. UncleJohn was the first to grab me, and he had me stow our stuff at his table. ToreUp was at that table with her friend from the Springsteen board. Soon I spied Jessica's pink cowgirl hat floating through the crowd, FroggyPJs and Michele (who was thrilled that I finally remembered his name), and Gray—I mean, GaryFish and his girlfriend. Rob was there doing what he dies with his lovely girlfriend, Karen along for the ride. Bob Matthews happened by at one point, so I gave him a pat on the back and a "whuttup." He looked at me like I was crazy. I went from not knowing a soul 30 seconds prior to being surrounded by an excellent crop of show going buddies.
All this time, NRPS was already on the stage setting up their gear. It was the usual setup, but there was an extra mic front & center and an extra guitar amp off to the bass side. While we stood in the shadow of the main tent, the stage was protected by another tent, and behind that was the Bay filled with people grooving on their boats. If the boat is a rockin', don't bother knockin'!
And then it was downbeat. I tell ya, there's nothing quite like a NRPS show on a sunny afternoon, outdoors, while everyone chills in the shade drinking cheap beer. Nelson wasn't playing his usual sunburst Tele, but opted for his yellow one (still modified with that extra pickup). Cage had some problems with his amp, but figured it out quickly. I was keenly aware of how important Cage's pedal steel is to the overall sound of NRPS. The bass was crisp and clear – Fender Precision through an Ampeg 8x10, which is as good as it gets.
It was a treat when the stage manager escorted John Dawson onto the stage to a nice fanfare/introduction by Cage. I guess Nelson is "the young one" of the band, huh? Dawson looked as one would expect, including a big smile to be on stage again. Everyone was in good spirits, and when one of the songs had a false stop (band stopped; Nelson kept singing), everyone giggled, and Cage said, "You never know what you're gonna get at a New Riders show!" Dawson forgot the lyrics to Portland Woman, but Nelson was on task and fixed it in a hurry. ("It's cold in Oregon!")
After Marmaduke left the stage, I noticed a bald guy in a cowboy hat sitting on an amp backstage enjoying the show. A song later, and he was walking on stage, again introduced by Cage. "Mark Karan?!" Had he not said "from Ratdog," I probably would have missed the introduction altogether. I didn't at first recognize Mark. But once he strapped on his Gold Top Les Paul, he suddenly became MARK KARAN. What a treat to see him on stage, in good spirits, looking good, and playing music. Michelle talked briefly with Maile, Mark's wife, who was also in good spirits. After seeing Mark this weekend, I believe he's going to make it.
The show was a party from here on out. The stage manager was very strict with timing, though, and told them in the middle of Any Naked Eye that they had only ten minutes left. You could almost see Nelson thinking to himself, "Well, shoot, we have some more songs to play." So ANE wrapped up in a hurry and we got one or two more, all with the stage manager standing on the side holding up his fingers. Four – three – two . . . Needless to say there was no encore; the band used up every single second of their timeslot.
After New Riders, we set off with UncleJohn and Jessica to check out the artwork and photo collections. The art was WAY better than your typical San Francisco "art fair," which usually means toe rings, glass pipes & $10 shades. This time, we're talking sculptures as tall as me, paintings in impossible colors, and robot dragons with red glowing eyes. The photography was absolutely amazing. But it was hot and the sun was strong, so we made way to the food court, then back to the tent for the Marshall Tucker Band.
The Marshall Tucker Band was also in really good spirits. Those guys were thrilled to be on the stage, and their leader (the only remaining original member) knew how to work his crowd. The audience was WAY more into MTB than NRPS, so we chilled in the back for half the set and let the drunken Marin-heads do their thing. But ultimately we made way back to the front again. MTB probably went a good 15 or 20 minutes over time, which was completely acceptable to the now-absent stage manager.
We ended the holiday with a wonderful dinner on the deck of Scoma's eating sashimi and cioppino looking over the San Francisco Bay – easily one of the most beautiful places in the world.
What a weekend!!!
Doogles, you really need to start having more fun!
>> What a weekend!!! <<
Ain't that right. Mine started at Oakland airport Thursday evening where I picked up a friend from Michigan coming in for the shows. The party began Friday night at the Oakland As/Detroit game, so sorry for my guest but the fireworks rocked! After bball we quickly moved to Berkeley for some great dancing fun and Melvin Seal's JGB.
After a late night we managed to get into Sausalito on Sat for Moonalice and never really moved for the rest of the day. Saturday's music lineup was pretty hot! Another lost sleep night and onto the first ferry off the island to catch the Summer of Love Reprise.
After all this music you would think that was enough...but NRPS was on the stage in Sausalito and I would not miss that one!
The day started with a last minute addition...Jeffrey Halford and the Healers
Most enjoyable, lots of that California sound I hear in folks like Dave Alvin. I'd like to catch them again.
Next up was Maids of Honor
were they ever different!
They gave major props to David Nelson and I think the drummer was Lex from Survivor.
Then the band I went to see...NRPS
I'm not the only one loving the music and presence of David Nelson. So many under the tent that day. Some even ventured out into the sun to be close. I happened upon the rail as Mark Karan walked out....destiny
Marshall Tucker Band was a pleasant ending to an inspiring weekend. Happy to have shared it with so many that seemed to have shared it 30 years ago.
Nice reviews and photos..thanks a lot
Tore Up..more like 40 years which blows my mind
GDad, NRPS and Marshall Tucker Band opened for the GD on 9-3-77 and many folks in the crowd were there in Englishtown.
The Marshall Tucker Band really tore it up at Englishtown too. One of the greatest Americana bands that there has ever been. No doubt why the crowd was more into them.
thanks for the great reviews.
Thanks for the great review, Sir Doogels. Glad to hear that Mark Karan is recovering well. I may not be a fan of Ratdog, but I certainly wish Mr. Karan a full recovery!
Nice review, Doogels!