Richie Havens, 1941-2013


Many years ago (’75?) I saw Richie Havens play a live show at the Sahara “Space Center “(now just a parking lot where the Monorail ends) in Vegas.

The opening act was the Mahavishnu Orchestra at their most elaborate. John McLaughlin, Jean luc Ponty (& a six piece string section), Ralphe Armstrong, Michael Walden (pre-Narada) & Gayle Moran. An incredible show, and what I had really come to see.

Richie Havens sat up his band rather quickly. No drums, just a pair of hand percussionists, a jazz electric guitar and a second acoustic guitar player. His bass player got lost & never showed up so they took a mike & amplified the floor by Richie’s foot in lieu of the bass guitar. He played for better than 2 hours, burning a hole through his guitar’s face and stamping his foot for the bass line. One of the three best shows I have ever seen, Richie made the Mahavishnu Orchestra sound pedestrian.

Sadly I never found any of his studio or live recordings to come close to that incredible experience.

I don’t need no Steenque-ing reminder about how old I am at 72.

But I compensate with my GT-R, and if I appear in your rear-view, get out of the way, children, if you want to outlive me.

I’ll go out in style. And for Blogenfreude, if you go down to Osten-tatious for the USGP in November, the ride/drive offer is still good.

@jaycubed: I was so intrigued by your description I had to look for it. Could it have been 12/29/74?

Sadly, nothing on the Tubes of You.

@RevZafod: If you go to Austin for USGP, I have a friend who will rent you her house via AirBNB.

1. Beautiful. Any artist who is so into their craft is amazing. Fair seas and following winds, Richie.

2. Who’s that fool in the ermine? It doesn’t look like Bene.

3. My mother used to sing this song. Her grandmother who raised her would get very upset.

4. My great-aunt, Ida Dear, looked like Lena and would get INCREDIBLY PISSED if anyone told her so. I have no idea why. I just ducked. She also taught me to knit.

5. I’m drunk

6. Nojo, thank you again for never displaying how many times I edit shit.


Yep. That was the show. The seating was in tables, with drink service by cocktail waitresses. We had a great table in second row center for the show.

We had a complete front row center table reserved for Jefferson Starship (Blows Against the Empire/Sunfighter era). They cancelled so we turned in our tickets since the opening band, that none of us had ever heard of, KISS, took over the show. Good thing we didn’t go, I was with a bunch of bikers who would have started stomping people when they started throwing fireworks at the stage, with us potentially getting the brunt of them (standard fare for a KISS show back then I understand).

The best place for shows in Vegas at that period & shortly after was at the Aladdin Theatre for the performing arts. Not only did they have bands ranging from Zappa to the Dead to Yes to The Tubes (White Punks on Dope tour, another of my three best concerts of all time, 50 person touring troupe), they had 2 AM shows of Jazz musicians where we got to watch the sun rise.

Back then Vegas had huge numbers of live musicians, and these shows were after lights out at the main showrooms & lounges so they could attend. All the music has been canned for decades now.

Thanks for the link to that article!

@jaycubed: We had drinx service tables in the VIP section for Neil Young and Crazy Horse last summer. They were playing at an outdoor venue operated by a tribal government as an adjunct to its gaming operation. A co-worker’s uncle was on the tribal council and turned her on to two VIP and two lawn seats.

We were already going and had chairbacks (w/no drinx service) so I called up my bro to take those seats and Son of RML and a school friend got to go with the lawn tickets. (The kid’s dad was seething with jealousy – “he doesn’t even know who that is!” *fume, fume*) Great seats, fulfilled a lifelong dream to see Neil Young with Crazy Horse, but the G&Ts were pretty watered down.

I thank you for this. Sensational. What a beautiful voice.

@JNOV: I don’t do fur. Spandex, yes.


The tour I saw was the one where, according to Fee Waybill, they were costing their record company $50,000 a week. Every penny was visible on stage.

One of the great things about The Tubes was that they were essentially two separate bands that shared a single lead singer – two guitars, two basses, two drummers & two keyboards in these shows. This was particularly useful during such a visually oriented stage show. The two parts of the band could be playing two different songs at the same time permitting seamless changes involving the dancers/singers/costumes/stage sets.

Another Vegas music story. A few years before these shows Led Zeppelin was scheduled to play the rotunda at the Convention Center (only Led Zeppelin I & II had been released). They dared to charge the outrageous price of $6.oo a ticket. People were outraged. Radio stations (that were not promoting the concert) led protests. Fewer than 50 tickets were sold (one of them to me). Led Zeppelin cancelled the show. supposedly because Robert Plant had a sore throat following the previous night’s show in Phoenix. Zepp never played Vegas, although Plant & Page have both played shows there decades later with $100± ticket prices.

Re: AP Twitter hack announcing double Obombing

At least they didn’t have a Like button.

What’s next? Will the NPR Twitter feed start flooding the net with dick pix?

Wait. Wait. I’m an ignorant fool so heads up. I grew up under the tyranny of jazz so didn’t hear artists like Richie. To my everlasting shame (till next Tuesday) I realize all these years I’ve had him confused with Lionel Richie.

:ducks as shoes are thrown:

On the upside, my trainer is really producing results. My arms have become ropey with sinew. My thighs are like steel. My butt is Gibraltar.

@Benedick: It’s OK. When I first saw this, I thought, “but didn’t he die in the plane crash with the Big Bopper?” (Richie Valens).

@Benedick: So are you saying that the last Neandertals lived in your butt?

@Mistress Cynica: We’re like dweebs together. Blessings on you. (Richie Valens!!? Good God Almighty!! Helen Reddy for the heavy metal set.)

@Dodgerblue: My ass is a thing of beauty. As are my triceps. And quads. I can hardly get into a suit.

Not to mention my obliques. The Dickens workout.

Obliques House.

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