Last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday -- April 17th, 18th and 19th -- marked the 50th anniversary of the first three shows by The Band. They had previously done shows as The Hawks, as well as with Bob Dylan.
Now, 50 years later,previously unseen photosf from the second of three nights at the Winterland in San Francisco have been unearthed.
They were taken by Seattle photographer Philip Amdal, a jet mechanic aboard the USS Coral Sea, which was docked the Naval Air Station Alameda after having spent the winter in Vietnam.
Amdal was a fan of The Band, who had released their debut album,Music From Big Pink, the year before. In 2009, a friend of his tried to help get the photos published for the 40th anniversary of the show, but nothing came of it. But now, for the 50th, Amdal decided it was time they were seen.
He said, "I thought, 'I gotta get these out there.' These are going to sit in my safe deposit box forever."
While it was officially The Band's second show, it was their first complete show as the night before, April 17th, was stopped after 40 minutes because guitaristRobbie Robertsonhad a stomach flu. The only reason he was even able to play that first show was because promoterBill Grahambrought in a hypnotist namedPierre.
Robbie Robertson on being hypnotized by Pierre, a Frenchman, before The Band's first show on April 17th, 1969 in San Francisco:
"This man all in black came in and he put his hand on my head and he spoke French. So we started to play and this crowd -- it's a little psychedelic to me because, you know, I'm just in this strange frame of mind and the people are like clamoring and they're looking up and I look down and all of sudden it zones me out. And I look over at him (Pierre) with this pathetic look and he would say 'Grow.' And I can hear it like right directly in my ear louder than the music, louder than anything. And I actually start to come back and I'm feeling like pretty good. I think, 'Boy, this is alright,' you know."