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Street Scene

Written by Robert Green Jun 06, 2008 at 03:24 PM
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

September 2, 1998

For the past 14 years San Diego has put on a magical, musical, show called "Street Scene". It's a three day, open-air party on closed streets of the downtown with some of the best music you will hear anywhere on the planet. My wife and I go every year and sample the blues and rock sections of the multiple stage menu, but this year we went for one reason only. That reason was Peter Green.

I still remember how I listened to Peter's last concert on the BBC with Fleetwood Mac with a sinking heart. I grew up in England with Peter Green's music so it's ironic that only after I moved to America do I get a chance to see my favorite musician.

After 28 years the anticipation was excruciating. Of course, it was a highpoint just to see Peter walk onto the stage after so long.

I am still digesting the concert. The group started out with some new material and it was great to see what a tight team Splinter Group is. Nigel Watson excelled on lead. The bassist and drummer were outstanding musically and did a great job of providing a solid foundation for the show on all fronts. The keyboardist was wonderful and warmed the crowd with his sense of humor (sorry Splinters, I couldn't hear all your names for the noise). Peter played with such style and feeling and his music's strongest quality was still the emotion and tonality which cannot help but pour out of the songs.

There were plenty of people of my generation at the front of the stage obviously reveling in the same historic moment, but there were also lots of Generation X'ers stomping to the beat of "Rattle Snake Shake", reinforcing the universal appeal of Peter's music.

"Street Scene" runs on a tight schedule of approximately 50 minute sets in order to fit all of the artists in. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed an event organizer drawing a finger across his throat in a gesture to indicate that the next song had to be the last. I found myself yelling "No!". Doesn't he know how long we've waited?

The group's roadies did a great job keeping the organizers at bay and there were still two songs left to relish. Albatross and Green Manalishi. As the Splinter Group finished their set and left the stage to huge applause, a young girl ran forward. She spontaneously hung her necklace of green glowing light tube around Peter's neck and planted a big kiss on his cheek. Seemingly surprised by all the fuss Peter smiled then slipped quietly away leaving the rest of us just trying to keep from following him.
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Blues Tent

Written by Lesley Thode Jun 06, 2008 at 03:23 PM
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

September 15, 1998

Peter's tour date down in San Diego was at an annual street musical festival called Street Scene, where many musical acts occupy about 10 stages for sets between an hour and 90 minutes, over a three day period. Peter and the Splinter Group played in the Blues Tent last Friday night.

Now, I have to say up front that I'm not a gigantic fountain of knowledge about Peter, so I can't even say which songs he sang, besides "Black Magic Woman." I was also not too terribly close to the stage, so I couldn't really focus my eyes on his hands and his guitar, as I usually enjoy doing when I watch guitarists play. And, since I was with some other people whom I could not seem to make understand who Peter was and why I "had" to see him, I didn't get to stay and see the whole set. So I've got to approach this quasi-review from a different angle. As others have probably offered lots of musical review, I guess I need to share a more personal story. I had an experience at Peter's show that was really touching, and it had as much to do with Peter as it did with Peter's affect on his fans . . .

We got to the Blues Tent while the roadies were still setting up the stage and testing the equipment. There was a older gentleman, dressed in his work clothes, standing alone. He looked a little uncomfortable surrounded by mostly younger music fans, and he looked a bit antsy . . . waiting for the show to begin. He kept glancing around and he finally sort of cautiously moved towards me. I don't know why he picked me, but he did. He began with, "How many people here do you think really even know who Peter Green is? How many of these people here really know what he was, and that he wrote 'Black Magic Woman,' and that he was in Fleetwood Mac, and that he was Fleetwood Mac when he was in the band?"

The man was English, and probably about Peter's age or a little older. I realized that the reason he came over to me was because he was simply bursting with the need to talk to SOMEBODY about having the experience of seeing Peter. He explained that he never ever thought he'd have the chance to see Peter Green play again, not after all of the troubles Peter has fought with and has had to emerge from in the last 15-20 years. He told me that he agreed with John (he never said: "John McVie," he just assumed that I would know who John was - and I did!) that he was uneasy and unhappy to see Peter through the years since leaving Fleetwood Mac, because it made him sad to see a shadow of the man and the musician that once was. But when he'd heard that Peter was playing again, and was playing well - he wouldn't believe it until he could see it for himself. So this man had bought a ticket to the entire street festival for nobody but Peter; he had raced down from work before being able to change into more comfortable clothes; and was there by himself because he simply had to see the legendary Peter Green play again. He repeated to me several times that he just couldn't believe that this opportunity presented. He just couldn't believe that he was going to see Peter playing again.

As the concert started, I kept an eye on this gentleman. Everytime Peter held a particularly long and sweet note, this gentleman shook his head, looked to the ground and closed his eyes. He drank in everything Peter did and I was very touched and got a tremendous amount of enjoyment watching how touched this man was to see a musical hero that he thought had disappeared into tragedy years ago.

Peter never talked to the audience, his guitar player did all of the introductions. Every once in a while, in between concentrating on his tender playing, he would bust into a big, goofy grin and look around at his band and the audience. Between seeing Peter look genuinely comfortable and happy to be playing, and seeing the older gentleman in the audience derive such obvious and heartfelt pleasure from hearing the music - it was just a really touching, sweet concert experience for me.
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