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San Francisco Stories

Mix readers share their favorite music memories while in the Bay Area

Taking the train from Palo Alto [Calif.] to the city in the fall of 1967 to hear the Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and Big Brother play at Winterland. The ticket was $3.00. My ears are still ringing from Janis’ shrieking emanating from the stacks of Marshall amps.
Jim Hewitt

I am a Bay Area violinist who has worked in every genre of music for more than 35 years, both live and in the studio. I’m still in there pitching, mostly playing weddings, and branching out into sound recording with my new little studio, which is why I’m coming to the AES show for the first time.

I have a lifetime of stories and “magic moments,” but one of my favorites is taking part in Boz Scaggs’ Paramount Theatre [Oakland, Calif.] shows in mid-1975, and the later New Year’s Eve run in the same venue. Imagine: a 30-year-old longtime rock music fan (though classically trained) working as assistant concertmaster of a huge rock ‘n’ roll orchestra in the classiest venue in the Bay Area.

Also, we were playing some arrangements from Boz’s Moments album that had been lost, but I “reconstituted” them for him. It’s about as close to pop music heaven as I’d been up to that time, and it has seldom been equaled (although some of the Bammie Award shows that I played every year for a decade, a 1986 national tour with Van Morrison, and Bjork’s show at the Paramount a few years ago, all came close).
—John Tenney

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