Day on the Green Concert in Oakland, California June 6, 1976.
Sometime during May of 1976, while I was working my shift at Wilton Pet Supplies in Mill Valley, Ca. a really beautiful woman walked into the store wearing a very nice “Montrose” shirt.
When she got to the counter, I commented to her that I Loved Montrose! She smiled at me and said, “Me too, I married their lead singer”!!!
So, I responded, “Wow, nice to meet you Mrs. Hagar”.
I had already purchased my ticket to see the “Day on the Green #4” concert at the Coliseum in Oakland, Ca. coming up on June 6th, which Sammy Hagar was slated to be the opening act, … to be followed by Mahogany Rush (my favorite band), Blue Oyster Cult, Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group, and the J. Geils Band. I recognized the Opportunity and asked her if there was any way I might be able to get a Photo-pass for the show from Sammy! She asked me to write down my phone number and said that she would have Sammy call me that evening to discuss it with me.
I thanked her very much and carried a 50 Lb. bag of Dog food out to her car.
Later on, when I was home, at about 6:00 the phone rang, and it was Sammy! I thanked him for calling and inquired about the photo-pass. He asked me what I was planning to do with the photos, and I said that I was planning to share them with my friends and also that I was practicing becoming a better Musician Photographer. He said, “Okay, cool…I will put you on the guest list for the show and will add that you can bring your camera”. I was so Elated in that Fantastic moment, and I thanked him, and also told him to thank his wife for wearing the Montrose shirt or NONE of this Miracle would have occurred.
Fast forward about 3-4 weeks to the day of the concert.
Sunday June 6, 1976, at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Ca. for Day on the Green #4.
I approached the gate and told them I was a guest of Sammy Hagar, and they pulled out a list that had my name on it. They said I had the option to be backstage and so I said, “Yes Please”. I was led to a hallway and proceeded to make my way to the backstage area….
When I got there, I realized how limiting it would be for taking photos from that perspective (behind the musicians). I snapped a few photos from backstage of Sammy preparing to hit the stage and then decided that I would make my way down into the crowd.
I started heading down this backstage pathway towards the crowd when I spotted my favorite Musician in the Universe, Frank Marino of Mahogany Rush, sitting and talking with a friend, or fan. I stopped in my tracks and thought that if I wait a few minutes, I could actually go and say hello to Frank!
After a few minutes passed, Sammy started playing, I walked over to Frank and introduced myself to him. I told him that I had seen him at Winterland, in San Francisco about a year earlier (8-31-75) and that his music blew my mind. I also mentioned to him that “Child of the Novelty”(his 2nd Record) was my Favorite album and he seemed pleased to hear that. He said he had to go get ready for the show and I shook hands and said goodbye.
I headed down into the huge crowd, somewhere between 60,000 to 75,000 fans in attendance, and worked my way to the center, about 25 to 30 yards in front of the stage. This took a while but was well worth it. I decided that it was time to consume my hit of LSD so that I would be feeling it’s effects by the time Mahogany Rush hit the stage!
Sammy was promoting his first solo record, “9 on a 10 scale” with his solo band. The sound was great, but there were a lot of cold dark clouds heading in and making the temperature drop about 10 degrees!
I was being passed joints and lit one up myself…The crowd was loving Sammy’s new band.
I snapped a few pictures of the Hagar Band, which consisted of Sammy on Lead Vocals & Guitar, Scott Quick on Guitar, Bill Church on Bass, Jerry Shirley on Drums and Alan Fitzgerald on Keyboards. Sammy was offering up a mix of songs from his new record and a few Montrose songs such as “Space Station #5” and “Make it Last”. Then between songs Sammy said, “I don’t like these dark clouds coming in Man……I think that we will just keep playing this next song until the Sun decides to come back”.
He then broke into a great song written by Donovan, that he covered on his new record, called “Young Girl Blues”, which just so happened to be my favorite track from the new record!
The song is a slow blues that builds in intensity and allows Sammy to show off his guitar skills during several heartfelt solos during the song. As the song was nearing it’s conclusion the Sun burst through the clouds, and you could feel this Gigantic Rush go through the crowd as if Sammy’s Music had worked the Rock & Roll Magic to bring the Sun back!!!
Truly Amazing moments……And now with the Sun shining bright he asked if anybody wanted to hear another Montrose song? The crowd roared their approval and Sammy got a huge smile on his face…..He proceeded to sit on the front of the stage with his lap-slide delivering the crazy, wild intro to “Bad Motor-Scooter”! The energy was off the charts, and I felt really great in that moment…..
Sammy said goodbye to us and then left the stage…..
Almost Immediately Mahogany Rush were on stage and tuning up, Frank Marino on Guitar and Vocals, Jim Ayoub on Drums and Paul Harwood on Bass. I was ecstatic…..ready for my Favorite band to blow me away…I timed things good as the acid was just starting to kick in……The Band jumped right into their opening song, “A New Rock & Roll” from the “Child of the Novelty” record and the sound was Big, and Clean and Bold…..I was in Heaven……I put the camera up to my eye and as I focused in on Frank I saw all of these swirling magical Psychedelic colors appearing behind them…The combination of the sound, the LSD, and the energy of the moment put me into a state of pure bliss. I snapped MANY Photos and couldn’t stop smiling…. The audience response was really appreciative …. After the first song ended Frank greeted the crowd and said, “Now we are going to do a couple of new songs for you”…….They proceeded with “Dragonfly” and “The Answer” off of their latest record, “Mahogany Rush IV”……. which were stunning and beautiful renditions….
I was taking LOTS of photos and felt as though I was in a Cosmic Dream in that Moment and the band then honored Jimi Hendrix with their rendition of “Red House”. Let me tell you, Mahogany Rush do an Incredible version of this stand out Hendrix Blues original from his “Are You Experienced” debut album. Their version includes a Very Quiet section in the middle where Frank’s Guitar playing had the ENTIRE Crowd in the palm of his hands….I swear that between notes you could have heard a pin drop…..There was a Universal consciousness occuring that left me breathless…Until Frank jumped back in with his whammy bar dropping Sonic Guitar Bombs everywhere….I was beyond High at that point…I was In Tune with the Universe…
At that point in the show Frank became seriously on Fire and delivered more gems including his Highly Energetic version of Chuck Berry’s classic, “Johnny B. Goode”…. followed by two more songs from the “Child of the Novelty” record, “Talkin’ ’bout a Feelin” which morphed into “Electric Reflections of War”……Then one more nod to Jimi as he ended with “Purple Haze”…..
I was about 14 Miles High at that point and wished that he could have stayed on the stage much longer, but the way the day on the green shows were structured the early bands usually only had 45-60 minutes sets….
Click here to see Mahogany Rush Photos by Ben Upham III: https://1-benjamin-upham.pixels.com/collections/mahogany+rush+1975+1976+1978+1979
Click Here to see Mahogany Rush Artwork by Ben Upham III: https://benjamin-uphamiii.pixels.com/collections/mahogany+rush+visionary+rock
By this time my buzz was very intense, and I was prepared to climb to the next level…
Blue Oyster Cult were a great band. I never considered them to be quite as good as Mahogany Rush…..But… they put on a Killer performance following Mahogany Rush that exceeded my expectations. Blue Oyster had their original lineup intact consisting of Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser on Guitar and Vocals, Eric Bloom on Guitar and Vocals, Allen Lanier on Keyboards, Guitar and Vocals, Joe Bouchard on Bass and Albert Bouchard on Drums, Vocals and Guitar! I had only seen them live once before, and that had been a very memorable performance at Winterland on December 21, 1975, with Kansas and Link Wray opening for them. Quite a strange billing order, as Kansas came out fresh on the heels of their 3rd record, “Masque” and just destroyed us….Next Link Wray came out looking like a cross between Elvis and Liberace…Sequined suit and greased back hair….And the Winterland audience was VERY Rude to him….Booing him loudly through his first two songs….Then…some idiot in the audience threw a tomato at him and hit him in the chest! Link had enough and flipped the crowd off and dropped his guitar to the stage and walked off……The house lights came on (which never happened at Winterland, they would have black lights on us during the time between sets) and out came the OUTRAGED promoter Bill Graham…..Bill walked up to the microphone and angrily declared that this had to be one of the rudest audiences he had ever seen. He then said something to the effect of….”Enjoy the wait…Blue Oyster Cult might come out and play for you in an hour or two”……I think it was actually about 45 minutes…But very strange energy…..
Back to the Green….
The Oyster Boys hit the stage HARD starting their set with three uptempo Rockers, “Stairway to the Stars> Harvester of Eyes> Cities on Flame” and the energy level was very High….I shot lots of Great pictures of them as they worked their Magic….From there they continued the set with “Flaming Telepaths> Last Days of May” a bit gentler and off into some great soloing by Buck Dharma.
I was really Flying High now and the Crowd LOVED what the Oyster Boys were laying down…. From that point on they pulled out all the stops and continued with “M.E. 262> Dominance & Submission> Bucks Boogie> This ain’t the Summer of Love> and Born to be Wild”…Unbelievable set…. The sound was mixed Great, and the Band were clearly having lots of Fun whipping the audience into a Frothing Frenzy! The Jamming in “Summer of Love” went on for about 20 minutes with even drummer Al Bouchard strapping on a guitar to join in the Jam.
They finished their set and were brought back for an encore which was their new single, “Don’t fear the Reaper”…. They played it perfect and ended their show for the day…. Bravo Oyster Men!
Click here to see Blue Oyster Cult Photos by Ben Upham III: https://1-benjamin-upham.pixels.com/collections/blue+oyster+cult+1976
Click here to see Blue Oyster Cult Artwork by Ben Upham III: https://benjamin-uphamiii.pixels.com/collections/blue+oyster+cult+visionary+rock
By this time the weather had become really nice, and I was feeling Fantastic. I realized that this was a Historic Gathering of a True Rock Tribe….and the Vibrations were palpable.
Next up on the bill that day was Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group. I was excited to hear Jeff as I had 2 of his records in my collection, “Blow by Blow” from 1975 and also the Brand-new Record, “Wired” which had just come out a month earlier.
I was really happy with ALL of the Music that I had heard so far that day and was curious if Jeff and Jan’s band could keep that flow going to even higher realms. I was pleasantly blown away by what they delivered.
The Band consisted of Jeff Beck on Guitar, Jan Hammer on Moog, Oberheim and Freeman string symphonizer synthesizers, electric piano, and timbales, Tony Smith on Drums, Fernando Saunders on Bass, and Steve Kindler on violin, string synthesizer and rhythm guitar.
Their set began with the Jan Hammer group tuning their instruments and Hammer telling the massive crowd, “I hope everybody is ready because we have many different kinds of boogie.” The quirky rhythm and Hammer’s shouts of “Oh, yeah??” was more than enough to get the audience’s attention.
They began their set with “Country and Eastern Music,” a song from the Jan Hammer & Jerry Goodman record, “Like Children” from 1974. Hammer then introduced the band and continues, saying “On this next piece … Jeff Beck will join us.” The Crowd gave Jeff a great roar and they treated us to their rendition of “Darkness / Earth in Search of a Sun”, a track from Hammer’s 1975 record, “The First Seven Days”.
Next up was “Freeway Jam” from Beck’s “Blow by Blow” record, they really rocked it hard, one of the highlights of their set for my ears!!!
Then they followed with “Sophie”, a Narada Michael Walden penned song that appeared on Beck’s latest release, “Wired”. Steve Kinder on violin played a beautiful duet with Beck on guitar, pushing into Kansas-style progressive rock.
After Sophie they did a Brand-new Jan Hammer song, “Earth (Still Our Only Home)” that would wind up on the Live record they recorded during that tour and was released in 1977 as “Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live”.
Beck plays a bit of his cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” perhaps trying to lure the rest of the band into the song, but they didn’t follow.
A real Gem came up next with a Fine Flying version of “Blue Wind,” from Beck’s Brand new “Wired” record referred to as “just a piece of rock and roll,”.
Their set ended with a fun version of “Full Moon Boogie” (which would also appear on the 1977 Live record) where Hammer absolutely tore it up on the keyboards.
I was Totally Blown away at that point in the show…..Sammy Hagar-Mahogany Rush-Blue Oyster-and Jeff Beck with Jan Hammer had sent me to another Galaxy, far, far away from Oakland, California.
I really didn’t feel the NEED for any MORE MUSIC because at that point my Musical Sponge was FILLED!!!
Click here to see Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Photos by Ben Upham III: https://1-benjamin-upham.pixels.com/collections/jeff+beck+1976
Click here to see Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Artwork by Ben Upham III: https://benjamin-uphamiii.pixels.com/collections/jeff+beck+visionary+rock
I was not very familiar with the J. Geils Band at all…. I did own the double Live Record, “Mar Y Sol” from a Puerto Rican Rock Festival from 1972 (which featured Allman Brothers Band, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Nitzinger, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, BB King J. Geils Band, Osibisa and others) which had one song by them, “Lookin’ for a Love”, a cover of a Valentinos song. They were good…. Maybe even a bit better than good…..But I was a Cooked Goose by that point.
The Band consisted of all-original members still, with Jay Geils on Guitar, Peter Wolf on Lead Vocals, Danny Klein on Bass, Stephen Jo Bladd on Drums, Magic Dick on Harmonica, Sax and Trumpet, and Seth Justman on Keyboards.
Plus, their style of “Lets Party/Boogie” Music just didn’t seem to fit after what I had just witnessed.
They did bring Peter Frampton out for their encores, and as I recall that was quite good…about 20 minutes’ worth with some good Jamming.
This “Day on the Green” Concert was absolutely Outstanding, and I really wish that some tapes were rolling that day…I would Love to re-live every note!
For my tastes…..I would have scheduled the running order for the show- J. Geils Band, Sammy Hagar, Jeff Beck with Jan Hammer Group, Blue Oyster Cult, and Mahogany Rush as Headliner with a 2-hour set!!!