Co-ordinated Independence at Miller Outdoor Theatre

Candido y Caliente

Candido Camero, 93, inventor of “coordinated independence” on the Congas – steady rthymn with one hand, improvisation with the other

Candido brought Congas into the emerging Jazz revolution of the 40s and 50s

When the standard was a single conga, Candido brought three and changed the conga from backup instrument to lead

A show by Candido is the Holy Grail for every Conga player on the planet

44 Light Years From Home

Have You Seen the Stars Tonight?

You’ll never have friends like the ones when you were 12 but the music when you were sixteen will always be with you. 44 years after Blows Against The Empire, The Starship brought it all back home – for a couple hours.

Jeffereson Starship today

Ride the music

Riding the Music at Miller Outdoor Theatre – July 2nd 2014

Liner Notes:
Paul Kantner invented the free concert in 1965 … when a San Francisco councilman asked him if he intended to make money. He said, “Yes, but not today” … in 1969, Woodstock was a free concert for 500,000 people and some have been making money off it ever since … today corporate sponsors lineup to pay bands to perform free concerts in city parks

In 1970, following the failure to end the war with protests and love-ins, close encounters with alien drugs and bizarre love triangles, the San Francisco scene collapsed into Kanter’s project code-named, Jefferson Starship … the first album, “Blows Against The Empire,” memorialized his big give-up on ending the War and expressed the need to get far far away by hijacking a Starship … it was not a popular album and an even less popular position with the political activist-songwriters of the day … I listened to it at least a hundred times

“Wooden Ships” was written by Paul Kantner and Steven Stills and is an anthem symbolizing the shift to apocalyptic thinking in 1970: “The Population Bomb” in ’68, followed by “Future Shock” in 1970, and the shocking popularity of Kurt Vonnegut’s novels (I read them all in high school) … much of life is just acting-out bizarre dramas and the musician is the Pied Piper of Hamelin

But at least “Wooden Ships” ends on the ultimate hopeful note – peace between enemies

The performance last night was astounding  – the artists and the songs have stood-up even if the themes have not … the songs have haunting melodies, harvest harmonies, and the soft driving rhythms of a stagecoach rolling across the plains … the folk rock scene in San Francisco in the 60s was really Americana 1.0 … I loved it – and I still do

Paul Kantner is 73, David Freiberg is 75 – they were true gentleman and stellar performers

That afternoon Miller Theatre was subjected to Woodstock-scale rain … in total defiance, the largest crowd ever, showed-up to see the Starship … after the show, people hung-around, mingled, and reminisced … the air was thick with peace ‘n love

UPDATE – February 2016:
Paul Kantner finally left planet Earth on January 28, 2016, 18 months after his last free concert, at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Safe Travels.

Juneteenth, Tousan, and Local Charm

Allen Toussaint with Steinway & Sons and his band … photo/nico
steel wheel
Juneteenth at Miller Outdoor Theater – 06.19.2014


Juneteenth is a uniquely Texas celebration

The first Juneteenth was in Galveston, Texas June 19, 1865

It eventually spread to Houston where it’s been celebrated annually for nearly 150 years

Niko Lorraine is an amazing singer-songwriter from Houston

Ruthie Foster was born in Austin and still lives there

Her band-mates are all from Houston

Ruthie brought down the house. Period.

Allen Toussaint was profoundly influenced by Professor Longhair, naming him “the Bach of rock”

“Tousan” was born in New Orleans and almost never leaves for any length of time

Who can blame him?

During his performance Tousan threw chotzkies into the crowd in the spirit of Mardi Gras

We’ve been  going to Juneteenth celebrations at Miller Outdoor theater for as long as we can remember

The music was real different this year—and as good as it gets