The Doors played three other San Diego concerts with Morrison; 11-4-67 and 6-29-68 at the Community Concourse and 8-22-70 at the Sports Arena (captured on the bootleg vinyl album Celebration). A 10-26-69 date at Balboa Stadium was canceled after Morrison was accused of exposing himself onstage in Miami. After Morrison died, the Doors returned to Balboa Stadium -- 8-13-72 -- for a taped performance widely circulated among Doors concert collectors under titles like Turn Me On Dead Man and Breakin' through Balboa.
The Turtles, the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Stone Poneys, others: 1-13-68, Sports Arena
"Although I loved the hits of the Turtles, I took umbrage at them getting top billing over the Byrds," remembers AcousticMusicSanDiego operator Carey Driscoll of this ten-band event. Buffalo Springfield refused to leave the stage after their two allotted songs, instead playing a full 30 minutes (irking organizers). The Stone Poneys with Linda Ronstadt had Mike Nesmith's "Different Drum" on the charts and were about to put out their third album, though they would split up within two weeks of the San Diego show (one of their final concerts). The Byrds had released The Notorious Byrd Brothers just ten days before and were in the midst of lineup changes; though they'd lost David Crosby, the San Diego date was one of their first with eventual cult icon Gram Parsons.
The Turtles, touring behind their Golden Hits album, were at the peak of their powers and popularity. "One of the best sets I've seen to this day," recalls Driscoll. "Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan were energetic and entertaining.... Volman's antics included throwing his tambourine straight up into the rafters of the arena, doing spins and splits while it was up there, kicking it off the heel of his foot when it came down, grabbing it out of the air and hitting it, on the beat, in perfect timing with the next verse."
Spring Fling: 5-11-69, SDSU Aztec Bowl
The Grateful Dead headlined this event, held on Mother's Day, supported by Canned Heat, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Lee Michaels, Tarantula, and Tijuana-bred Carlos Santana. Jerry Garcia performed "Morning Dew," and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (four years before he died) sang lead on a 20-minute version of "Hard to Handle." Pigpen also fronted the band for "Good Lovin'," "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl," and "Turn on Your Love Light," the last highlighted by a jam with Santana's percussionists and singer.
One of Spring Fling's promoters was future mayor Roger Hedgecock, who at the time aspired to create a local concert scene similar to San Francisco's. "There was a lot of opposition from the city," he recalled in a 1980 interview. "But all the predictions of total chaos and calamity did not come true." Hedgecock recruited the local chapter of the Hell's Angels to provide security, sealing the deal with a complimentary case of Jack Daniel's. "I got a note back from them thanking me for the case," according to Hedgecock. "They drank it all at one party." Space was provided for arts-and-crafts exhibits, as well as a booth for the city's brand-new free clinic. "Even the Black Panthers had a booth," said Hedgecock. Much of the show was aired live on KPRI-FM, and tapes of the broadcast still circulate among tie-dyed and squinty-eyed collectors.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience: 5-24-69, Sports Arena
Experience bassist Noel Redding recently recalled an argument with the band's road manager upon the group's arrival in San Diego. "I think that was the first time Mitch [Mitchell, drummer] and I were put on a daily dole -- an allowance, I guess you'd call it -- that we had to use to pay for anything besides the hotel and room service. Everything used to be taken care of and paid for, but all of a sudden it was up to me to buy my own guitar strings if I needed another set!"
When the Experience hit the stage just before 10:00 p.m., a professional crew recorded the entire concert. In charge was Wally Heider, owner of a Northern California recording facility frequented by Jefferson Airplane and many others. (Heider would also be sound engineer on Hendrix Live at Fillmore East.) Running the mix from the soundboard was Abe Jacob, a San Francisco sonic engineer credited with designing the sound system for the Monterey International Pop Festival. The San Diego tapes would become widely bootlegged, as well as be excerpted for various official releases.
The 12-minute Arena version of "Red House" turns up on Hendrix in the West (Polydor/WB Reprise, 1972). A 1982 LP, Concerts, uses snippets of Hendrix's stage chatter spliced between live takes from other performances. The four-CD set Stages (Polydor/WB Reprise, 1991) has nearly the whole show, except for "Foxy Lady" (the feedback-heavy intro caused too much buzz on the master tape). A box set collection, The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Universal/MCA, 2000), features the San Diego version of "Red House," along with "Purple Haze" from the same show. The Experience split up a few weeks later.
Pink Floyd: 10-17-71, Golden Hall
One of the most widely bootlegged concerts of the vinyl era, collectors of ROIOs (recordings of illegitimate origin) at www.pf-roio say of this concert:
"This is post-Syd pre-Dark Side Floyd at the height of their jamming power...Each instrument is clear and, for a change, Rick [Wright]'s organ is played up in the mix."
"Possibly the best currently available show from the fall 1971 shows...'Fat Old Sun' is the extended version, with an extra verse sung before the jam."
"PF shows off their quad sound effects. The music fades out and somebody enters through a door, walks around in the room opening doors with different sounds behind them. After a while, 'Cymbaline' fades in again."
Among the many bootlegs available of this performance, From Oblivion appears to have the closest to a complete setlist, now available on CD and frequently auctioned through eBay.
Jefferson Airplane: 9-7-72, Sports Arena
This was one of the Airplane's final concerts with their "classic" lineup, which split up two weeks later following a San Francisco date. Onstage at the Sports Arena were Paul Kantner, Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen, and Grace Slick. Singer Marty Balin had left the band, and drummer Joey Covington had quit in April, to be replaced by John Barbata from the Turtles. Future Jefferson Starship members David Freiberg and Papa John Creach were also on board for this show, recorded for the original Airplane's final album, Long John Silver. Poco opened, playing a short set that included "Consequently So Long," with Jorma Kaukonen guesting on the latter.