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Ventura, CA

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4.0

Worth the Wait

Written by  Jun 06, 2008 at 03:10 PM
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September 6, 1998

I've waited over 20 years to see this guitar legend and with everything that Greeny's been thru I have to say that it was the most memorable concert this year...He played tunes from the old Mac like "Rattlesnake Shake", "Albatross", "The Stumble" and of course "The Green Manalishi" which without hesitation went right into "I'm Going Down"....... a truly exciting show for all fans waiting for his return...after the show, the band signed autographs in the lobby.... nice touch.
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4.0

Back From a Dream

Written by Phil Hoff Jun 06, 2008 at 02:47 PM
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September 6, 1998

I am still shaking. I just got back from a dream, somebody pinch me.

Peter was so strong tonight! He smiled, grinned, spoofed, and even flashed that "bite the lower lip" intense look like at the top of the Ledge#1 page-- you know the look I mean. Peter had FUN!

He played the regular set, and never faltered that I could see. He must be getting stronger as the tour goes on, because I saw no sign that he was anything but in control and playing everything with sure-footedness (sure-fingeredness?) that just left me amazed!

I got to the Ventura Theatre right at 5. It’s an old 1920’s theatre converted into a dinner club, holding about 900 I would say, including the balcony.

Out front I met a few fans who had been to Peter’s last LA shows so many years ago. A younger guy who was hanging around, not going to the show, made the mistake of asking "if this guy was any good." The friends of one fan kind of stood back, expecting blows to be thrown! "The best," was the short answer. Then the kid got a lecture and history lesson that he won’t soon forget! Every word true.

We could look in the rear stage door and see them warming up, and there he was, playing and chatting with Nigel. GASP! Not wanting to offend, I motioned to the main roadie guy with my camera, and he came over and admonished us that there would be NO PICTURES unless I had a photo pass. The door closed and we worried if we would get any pictures at all.

No worries, it turns out he meant before the show only. A TV spot was being filmed and they didn’t want any interference. At the show, they allowed cameras with no restrictions. WHEW!

 KE Gil and his brother came up, and we chatted and took down several of the xeroxed posters they plastered at the front of the theatre. A few minutes later a ravishing Renee and her friend Bill came up, and we staked out the very front of the line. We were let in, and sat at the tables one row from the stage, where we were told the sound would be better than the stage tables. I was able to walk up almost to the stage for pictures, anyway. We sat for dinner and exchanged eager grinning looks of anticipation.

The opening act did an enjoyable job of guitar/harmonica blues numbers, but we really just couldn’t wait for the Splinter Group. While waiting after the opener, KE spotted Mick Fleetwood at the rear of the stage! I walked up to make sure, dragging Renee to make sure she had a look. Yup, there he was, towering above all in his maroon jacket and ponytail. He walked upstairs to the band room and presumably talked to Peter until they came out to play.

It was sweltering in the club. But I forgot about it the minute the host came up and announced Mick to do the band intro. He said few words, but mentioned that he and Peter had started Fleetwood Mac so many years ago, and that they had kept the fire going through all the years, and that it was great to be here to see Peter and the Splinter Group play.

Then came the music, and it just never let up!

It Takes Time: Okay, I was watching Peter like a hawk, soaking in every move, and admittedly watching for any signs of trouble. By the time this song was over, I started grinning uncontrollably. I could see that, unlike the slow start that reviews of earlier shows had talked about, he was ready to play right from the first note! What a wonderful surprise.

Homework: Any doubts about Peter were gone by now. He sang with a smile and played with a focus that became hypnotizing. Hot lead and sweet rhythm playing were both engrossing.

Black Magic Woman: My god, I named this song on the first note they played in the key check. So did the crowd, because there was applause before the echo stopped! Great jamming in the middle, a little like the album, then some interesting new twists.

Indians: A new song with Nigel on vocals. He commented that in the American westerns the cowboys always won, and he wanted to see one where the Indians win.

Mama, Keep your Big Mouth Shut: I hadn’t heard this one before, but Peter plays harmonica and guitar.

Dark End of the Street: Nigel on vocals again, well played, but I have the Linda Ronstadt version too drilled into my brain.

Rattlesnake Shake: At this point, I think, the band was introduced, and the drummer "apologized for playing Mick’s part on this one." When Peter sang the words, "Now, I know this guy/ His name is Mick/ Now, he don't care when he ain't got no chick/ He do the shake," he was looking up at the side of the theatre (where Mick was, in the back room) and Peter was grinning, almost laughing out loud! This strikes me as a reconciliation as important as the Stevie/Lindsey make up for the Dance. You KNOW that upstairs Mick was playing "air drums" to every beat! Oh, for a camera in that room!

The Supernatural: Has to be heard to be believed. Peter and Nigel both again shined on these, all over the scale, gently tickling the melody without mercy. It’s songs like this that make me wish I was 10 years OLDER, not younger, so that I might have heard these in the late ‘60s live. The chord changes grab me every time, reminding me of Black Magic Woman at first, then dropping down. Heavenly!

Hip Shake: Peter was almost laughing through this song. I can’t tell you the joy in his eyes, looking at other band members, closing his eyes in concentration, just having fun.

Travelling Riverside Blues, Steady Rollin' Man: These two Robert Johnson songs were so full of soul, in vocals and playing, they were much more engrossing than on CD. I guess blues are really made to sit and watch, as much as listen.

The Stumble: If I remember right, Nigel played lead on most of this. But Peter was noodling and strumming some really nice parts along the way. I think this was his choice to let Nigel shine here, because he stepped back of Nigel before they started playing.

Tina: Another new one of Nigel’s, about his young (and current) adoration of Tina Turner, apparently. Can you blame him? I hope this makes it onto a new CD.

Albatross: Magic, ethereal, soothing like the original. A standing ovation followed, of course.

Green Manalishi: How do you top Albatross? Here was the answer. After these two songs, I was having a late ‘60s flashback, and I wasn’t even there the first time! You really felt the power that a guitar great can muster in a song like this. We all have heard these for years, so we are used to their strength. But for a moment I tried to imagine how it must have felt to hear this live for the first time back then. It would have been a revelation!

Going Down: Wild and rolling finale like you would expect, and Peter’s softer voice is a great match for this song.

Nigel’s sister and Splinter Group manager Mich Reynolds came out, and she asked if we’d had enough and wanted more. Oh, really, you have to ask?!

Help Me: Some fine fiery reminiscence of Booker T’s "Green Onions" by Peter and Nigel on guitar here in the instrumental middle, with some fine organ licks, too.

Look on Yonder Wall: Peter alternated between singing and harmonica, both with soul. We all clapped on the back beat.

After, as they walked off to a standing ovation, Nigel pointed to Peter, who very understatedly nodded and raised his hand to waist level as he walked off the stage, about as much of a bow as he would allow himself. But he was grinning, nodding, and obviously loving the attention, however he might be trying to squelch it!

We waited at our table a bit, all grinning and looking a bit dazed. Renee disappeared and came back shortly with a t-shirt for me (what a sweety!), and the news that there was a sign in the lobby saying Peter would be signing autographs after the show! I had to see it with my own eyes. YES!

So we lined up, the rather foul mouthed host lady exhorting us to show RESPECT. This turned out to be totally unnecessary, as the crowd was calm, even reverent. After half an hour, the band slowly walked behind the tables, and proceeded to sign anything put in front of them. Michelle also sat with Peter as he signed autographs. She was so kind and gentle, accommodating pictures of Peter with fans, turning down no tactful requests.

pg_venturaThis was a gathering of the faithful, judging from the photographs, some amazing original prints from the late '60s, personal photos from that era, even a repro of Peter’s Les Paul guitar, all of which were signed. Peter examined every inch of the guitar, a funny mix of curiosity and a grin on his face. Chili D, you would have died at the sight of that signed guitar! I asked the guy if he was going to put it hermetic storage, and he shot back, "you bet your a$$!"

Peter seemed really tickled by some of the early photographs, looking at them, pointing things out like "gee, this is back when I was clean-shaven!" He really seemed into this, not like he was just obliging us. Peter signed Renee’s CD, KE Gil’s book and CD, and a couple of CDs for me (interestingly, "Green" on my old BBC CD, and "Greenbaum" on the new Splinter CD).

Several people took pictures right in front of him, and while he sort of rolled his eyes at how corny the scene was, he smiled when he did so; I think he really enjoyed the attention.

I took a lot of pictures, more than I expected thanks to KE Gil's donation of a roll of high-speed film. We were at the stage or at the next table, so they are close. We also took some after the show of Peter signing our stuff. After this, we kind of just stood there, not really believing our eyes. If you had asked me a few years ago, I would have said this would never happen-- hearing Peter, meeting him, shaking his hand.

And he seemed to enjoy it as much as we did!
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4.0

The Green God!

Written by K.E. Gil Jun 06, 2008 at 02:43 PM
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It was such an honor for a young lad like me to actually meet Mr. Peter Greeen(baum). I became extremely excited to exchange words and to actually touch the hands of the man who was once called "The Green God"! To make the most this rare event I had Peter sign my Peter Green biography, a CD copy of his 2nd solo LP "In The Skies", and a flyer in which I had my brother steal from the front of the theatre.

I remembered back in 1996, Peter Green(baum) said that he really wanted to help out Danny Kirwan if he could. So after the concert I asked Peter, "Are you going to ask Danny Kirwan to join the Splinter Group"? Peter shook his head and replied "No", but then Mich Reynolds also replied that, "Danny's isn't well"...

The second question I asked was, "What size strings did you use when you were in Fleetwood Mac....10's, 11's, 13's "? Peter looked at me with a bit of a puzzled look and said, "Strings?.....(long pause while looking at Mich)...I forget what size I used, but I think the middle one was a 17".

There was one last question that I really wanted ask Peter Green(baum) was if he has had any contact with his only daughter Rosebud Samuel Green(baum), but I didn't since it might have made him feel uncomfortable.
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4.0

A Night to Remember!

Written by Renee Jun 06, 2008 at 02:37 PM
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I had a great time last night. Peter was really really good!

It was so neat to see Mick also. Phil, KE, KE's brother, and my friend Bill were all there with me to enjoy this wonderful night of great music. I feel so lucky to have seen P.G. and his band here in the U.S. once again. He sounded great.(I love his voice) I couldn't have asked for a better time. I got his autograph on my Live in London "68" c.d. Phil took pictures and I'm glad because this was a night to remember!

Phil: THANK YOU! Can't wait to see the photo's.
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Overall Rating
4.0

Ventura Theater

Written by Ron Chambles Jun 06, 2008 at 02:30 PM
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THE PREAMBLE:

I have been a fan of Peter Green since I first saw him open for ‘The Who’ with ‘Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac’ in June of 1968. Since then, I've seen him nine times, the last being January 9, 1970. So, this concert meant quite a lot to me. I arranged for tickets at the Ventura Theater -- the first hour that they were available -- I think this was back in May. They set me up with the best seats in the house, Louie the floor manager saw to that. Our entourage encompassed eight people of which only two had seen him before. Four other friends also came to join us. We had our own table at the very front and just to the left of Peter, so the view of him and his fingers was perfect.

Got there a bit early for the show, about 4:30, so took some pictures of the theater and had a look around. The first fan I meet is a softspoken lad named Phil. I think he told me his brother turned him on to Peter Green and I also believe he's a regular hear on The Ledge. A fellow named Rick Berthoud and his wife, Carol, were soaking in all the activity at the back door while the band was sound checking. It was eerie to hear some familiar tunes being warmed up through the back door, trying to figure out if it was Peter or Nigel playing guitar. Rick plays guitar in “The Persuader Band,” and they play blues as well as cover some old Fleetwood Mac material.

While in line, I tried to find anybody who’d seen Peter perform before, and I’m thinking of the sixties. Only one guy volunteered so I went to talk to him, his name is Robert Schaffner. It turns out he had seen him before, but four days earlier in Chicago... we both have a laugh.

Mich Reynolds, Pete's manager, was spotted across the street. I went to chat with her and make sure photographs would be possible. She was very charming and kind and filled me in on all the details I wanted to know about Peter and the show. Next thing I know, Mick Fleetwood comes driving up in a black Mercedes. Word has it that Peter has given the OK for him to sit in on congas if they can scrounge up a pair on this Labor Day weekend at the 11th hour.

It is decided he will announce Peter and “The Splinter Group,” and if they can find congas, he may perform.

The entire night was magical from beginning to end. The crowd seemed full of anticipation for the evening to come. There were a lot of real fans there, and people who were curious, and people who had a few memories and wanted to reconnect with them.

I spotted Peter long before the performance on stage left. He’d come down to view the audience and see the stage setting, evidently. A few of us observed him spontaneously breaking into a brief little dance. It would be about an hour before "The Splinter Group" would take the stage.

We observed David Hildago from Los Lobos going upstairs/back stage apparently to greet Peter. Mick Fleetwood was also observed in the wings. In the audience, we also observed a few stars. Billy Mumy (“Danger Will Robinson”) was at the table next to us as well as Tony “gee, Wally” Dow and their entourage.

THE SHOW:

Mich Reynolds announces that Mick Fleetwood will do an introduction. The magic spell is beginning. Mick, in fashion similar to the Rock Hall of Fame Awards introduction, pays homage to Peter for being his inspiration and greets The Splinter Group.

Peter and the band launch into Otis Rush’s old tune, “Little By Little” a.k.a. “It Takes Time,” and it becomes clear that this is going to be one hell of a great night. Peter’s singing is “spot-on.” No, this is not the singing of Peter’s yesteryear; this is Peter Green now, in the moment, just as he always was. His voice is smoky and expressive. I am bursting with excitement. His guitar playing is in control, again different than yesteryear, but in the now.

I DIVERGE:


I see Peter as this kind of “sage” or ancient wise man. He seems oblivious, or perhaps indifferent with many of the worldly events around him... his ego is very much in the background, and he is charming. The entire audience has risen to their feet to make him feel welcome to Southern California, and he barely seems to take notice, just a slight smile of acknowledgment -- he is concerned with the music.

If you believe that music is an expression of the soul, however you see that, then you would have seen the concert as an amazing connection to that most private of places. That expression is the bones of this performance. Facility is secondary, the how-to of playing – although it certainly is not lacking. It’s just that you’re not saying to yourself, “Gee, whiz, look at that technique.” You can’t, because you are somewhere else. Many performances lack that major component of feeling and are “nothing” except guitar gymnastics. From where I sit, Peter does not think about the “how-to-impress” part of music. He is an artist and a true artist places content above all else. The artist just expresses. That is Peter.

And, when Peter Green is in that moment, his self consciousness disappears and he has become a channel for a much higher level of being..

THE SONGS:

 It Takes Time (Little By Little) - F#
Homework - Dm
Black Magic Woman - Dm
Indians - Am
Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut - Bb
Dark End of the Street - G
Rattlesnake Shake - A
The Supernatural - Dm
Shake Your Hips
--------------------------------
Traveling Riverside Blues - A
Steady Rollin' Man
--------------------------------
The Stumble - E
Tina -- G
Albatross -- E
Green Manalishi - Em
Going Down
--------------------------------
Help Me - F
Look on Yonder Wall - E

SOME NOTES:

LITTLE BY LITTLE--This is obviously a song of Peter’s choice. He’s into it, and it’s a strong performance all around. In 1968, he recorded this song, which is on the “Rarities” album. He still does it great and with more authority and maturity.

HOMEWORK--Peter really enjoys doing covers of some of these great tunes. He used to do this one in F#m but now he’s moved it down to Dm to suit his current vocal style. This, by the way, is another Otis Rush song.

BLACK MAGIC WOMAN--While the performance and singing on this song is wonderful, I get the feeling he does it because the fans or band members want it. Nigel Watson does the solo guitar work, almost note for note to Peter’s original. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

BIG MOUTH--This is the first song that Peter really lights up on. There is much expressiveness in his voice and animation in his face... he’s really into it. He seems to be ad-libbing with the vocals as well.

THE SUPER-NATURAL--I’d read on the net that this song was now in the set. This must have been Peter’s idea, because he goes to town with it. His playing is exceptional. I’m watching his fingers like a hawk. They are so beautiful and graceful, he plays without effort and speaks volumes. All the emotion of the original. The crowd gave him a standing ovation after this one.

ROBERT JOHNSON TUNES--These are the ones that got him interested in playing again, and again he is very expressive with his voice. But his harp playing is what really stands out here to me. It is amazing to me how fine a harp player he is. I mean, he was always good, but now there is an additional depth or dimension to his playing.

Whether he’s playing or singing, he seems to channel his music from this wonderful place.

pg_ventura2 THE STUMBLE--This is of course a great one. It’s now played much closer in style to the Freddy King version, which we all know because we have the CD. Great fun. He seems to get a kick out of playing this one.

ALBATROSS--Nigel actually does most of the lead work on this one. Peter plays the lower harmonies on the twin guitar parts. Nice to hear this song for nostalgic reasons, but again, I don’t think Peter really cares if it’s in the set. I think Peter has always had this mind-set of playing what he wants to play, can you blame him?

GREEN MANALISHI--An excellent vocal performance and he has fun singing it. I learned a few things watching him play the guitar parts. Again, Nigel does most of the solo work at the end of the song in the Peter Green ‘old style’ and he does it very well... he’s actually an excellent guitarist.

GOING DOWN--This is the song they close the set with, and it’s the most string bending Peter does all night. Again, he seems to enjoy it and the facial expressions during his soloing seem to affirm that he’s having fun.

HELP ME—This, I believe, was the best vocal of the evening. He’s a very convincing blues singer, which I guess is no surprise but on this tune something changes. He becomes the song. When he sings “When I walk, you walk with me -- When I talk, you talk with me -- you gotta help me” it is not somebody just singing the lyrics. He is telling the story, and it is very convincing, as is the harp playing.

LOOK ON YONDER WALL--More good stuff. He starts off on harp and midway switches to guitar. What I notice is that as the roadie hand him his guitar Peter says “thank you.” How many performers are that polite to their stage crew? Sadly, this is the last song, and we cannot coax another out of the band. It’s like being at Disneyland at 12 midnight and there will be no more rides.

As the reality that the show is over begins to set in, they begin to play “Man of the World” over the PA.
Bitter sweet.

THE EQUIPMENT AND PLAYERS:

--Nigel Watson--
Fender Strat, Gold w/maple fingerboard
Fender Twin Amp, silver face w/4-12 extension cabinet underneath
Vox AC-30
Guild black dreadnought acoustic w/cutaway

--Peter Green--
Fender Strat, Cream w/rosewood fingerboard
Gibson Howard Roberts
Vox AC-30
Fender Tweed Blues Deville Amp, w/4-10’s

--Larry Tolfree--
Yamaha drum kit

--Pete Straud--
Ampeg bass amp (couldn’t identify the model)
custom fretless bass

--Roger Cotton--
Hammond B-3 and Leslie speaker cabinet
Roland keyboard
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